So I was going to make a tutorial for how I make simple animations, but I ran into some difficulties and making a video today turned out to not be possible. Gonna have to take a rain-check till next week, but I really want to make one.
Anyways! I have been working on a few aspects for the game-maybe-not-game (game concept?) that is (sort of?) my Independent Learning Project!
The idea is that it’s a magical realm, and I love the idea of magic being the only thing in color. I think it’s a nice aesthetic, and has the potential to maybe set up an interesting plot. Even if — in the likely event that — I don’t actually get this to be a game, I’d like to do something with it. This animation was a bit easier because I already had the base done, but that arm position drove me nuts.
(So, what this ILP turned into, in the end, is really a learning project about…animation, character design, and pixel art. Or, more concisely, it’s turned out to be about: character design using pixel animations. I don’t think I would’ve been able to propose that at the beginning of all this.)
Even when you think you’ve gotten nowhere — I get frustrated when I don’t have a completed, tangible project in my hands — it’s important to look back and see where you’ve started, and see where you are. I look at these two designs side-by-side, and I see progress. I see improvement. I see an endeavor that’s been worth my time.
And it’s not just the results that should have merit. I’ve remembered how much I loved designing and animating characters — something I haven’t done since high school.
(I had to go back to my DeviantArt days to find that little dude. Not bad, but that line-work makes me cringe.)
I can’t help but compare everything else I work on to writing. I’ve balanced art and writing since way back when I could first pick up a crayon and write sentences at the same time. Art doesn’t just exist for its own sake for me; most everything I draw somehow ties back into writing — whether that’s maps or characters or creatures. A little less than a year ago I tried to blend those two mediums into one project — a webcomic, since collecting dust in my files — and I think the reason it ended when the semester ended was because it wasn’t, entirely, writing. The writing was important, but the art was the focus when it had always been the support.
And it’s always intrigued me, this creative cycle. When I’m fatigued on writing I seek reprieve in art — and reprieve is a word I’ve been circling back to lately — and vice versa. It’s in line with what I’ve learned about breaks of creativity, of taking a step back from a project and working on something else (or nothing) for a bit. If you work on one thing for too long with no respite, you’re liable to burn out, and I can definitely see this happening right now with my writing; I am nearly burnt out.
But I’m thankful for this project because it gives me time to step back and enjoy another creative activity that I love. It’s refreshing. It’s also given me the opportunity to really examine myself, my work process, to really look at what is healthy and unhealthy. It’s been about learning how not just to be creative, how to use new tools, and how to keep learning — it’s turned into an exercise in the examination of the sustainability of my work ethic.
It’s been interesting. And I think the most beneficial lesson I’ve learned from this — fitting, for a week during which we are discussing mindfulness — is that of balance.