Inspiration: The best way to learn is…drawing!

I haven’t yet read the book, but I found this write-up about the recently published Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice by design historian D.B. Dowd very interesting. He encourages drawing as a practice rather than an aesthetic art form.

Our anxiety around drawing starts around puberty, when we begin self-critiquing our abilities to render a perfect likeness, Dowd says.

I have definitely noticed a marked difference in their own expectations  between the 2nd and 5th grade students, and it serves only as a handicap to their ability to express themselves. I’m all for making beautiful marks, but sometimes just getting the narrative down (or starting the exploration) is what’s most important. I encourage them to not view their drawings with such a critical eye, and some of Dowd’s words will be my new backup. “At its core, drawing is a problem-solving tool.”
I also love this:
“If practiced in the service of inquiry and understanding, drawing does enforce modesty,” says Dowd. “You quickly discover how little you know.”
“Drawing makes us slow down, be patient, pay attention,” he says. “Observation itself is respectful, above all else.”
Excuse me while I grab my pen and paper.

New: Black Earth Rising

“BBC and Netflix’s new series Black Earth Rising follows the story of Kate Ashby – a young woman who was rescued as a child during the Rwandan genocide and raised in London by a criminal prosecution lawyer.” – Creative Review.
Writer/director/producer Hugo Blick tasked the amazing Studio AKA with creating hand-drawn animations to recount Kate’s memories of the genocide.


Studio AKA director Steve Small wanted a black-and-white painterly feel, inspired by the content and emotive nature of memories. The animations were created using a mix of CGI, rotoscoping and line drawings.

He explains, “A lot of these stories illustrate that events that are almost retold or recalled in shock and in that sense, I felt that colour might either over-dramatise the sequence or it might distract. We took away details if we didn’t need them.”
Also, this (also from CR):
“It’s rare to see animation play a key role in primetime drama…Yet in some ways, it’s surprising animation hasn’t been used more in drama – particularly in series that deal with dark and difficult subject matter. As the sequences in Black Earth Rising show, animation can do something live action can’t. It can offer up a glimpse of an event – encouraging viewers to use their imagination to complete the picture – and that can be a powerful thing.”
I’ve seen many great examples of independent animations used in exactly this way, but it’s true they are not presented as/to mainstream.
I look forward to watching on Netflix once it’s released.

Inspiration: Mix

Sasha Svirsky’s 2016 animation, “9 Ways to Draw a Person“.
(English version here). The style moves from abstract collages to line drawings – ever-changing and rarely still. I didn’t always follow, but I’m sure that’s the point – imaginative and compelling and a little bizarre, just like the best people.