In my late 20s, I met a guy who worked in Hollywood as a writer. We started talking about the tv shows he wrote for. He had quite an impressive list.
Then, we discussed money.
It was amazing. No, not in a good way.
Writers don’t make shit. No wonder they went on strike years ago.
So in my early 30s, I had the idea for an animated tv show. It was a great idea. The problem was, I was a writer, not an artist (at the time). In fact, I was so bad at the time that my drawings literally looked like those little kid drawings that their mothers put on the fridge.
Yes, that bad.
I knew better than to sell my scripts. I needed money and there was no way I’d write a bunch of scripts, sell them, and still have to keep a day job.
So I decided to learn cartooning. How hard can it be?
You got to learn to draw first
Well, one thing about cartoonists – they can still draw. So I read somewhere online from this old lady that drawing is nothing but lines and circles. If you can’t draw, get good at drawing lines and circles. Then, everything else will get easier.
To this day, I wish I could remember her name. I want to give her credit, especially if she’s still alive.
Anyways, that’s what I did. Every morning, lines and circles with coffee.
My lines and circles started to look good after awhile. They started to look like lines and circles.
Once I got that done, I bought Preston Blair’s Cartoon Animation.
Preston Blair is the man! He did the infamous Sorcerer’s Apprentice scene in Fantasia plus a lot of other awesome Disney scenes.
He’s also one heck of a teacher. I got the beginnings of my gesture drawing technique not from my current art teacher, but from Preston Blair’s book. Gestures were everything to his work. I’ll write more on that another day as gesture drawing is the basis for my work as well.
It didn’t take that long
It really didn’t take that long to learn cartooning. Probably about a year.
Keep in mind though that I was putting five to eight hours a day into it. I was working on doing the cartoon pilot myself.
I eventually threw in the towel though because it was simply too much work for one person. However, the beginnings were there. The structure was there. The roots were planted.
From there, it turned into a side career. I still needed a day job though because I sucked at the business aspect of it. More on that another day too.
The point of this all is simple. You, yes you, can learn how to draw.
I went from stick figures to some pretty cool cartoons in only a year. But another thing to keep in mind – it’s not years. It’s the hours you put in.
Just like guitar. Within two years of playing guitar, I passed up all my friends who also played guitar. Not because I’m some musical prodigy. But simply due to the hours.
They’d practice an hour or two a day. I’d practice five or more. Obviously I’d eventually catch them.
Same thing with drawing. You put the hours in, you’ll get the results you want.
But you do need good roots.
I’m currently working on a drawing course and I hope to have it finished by this time next year. I’ll teach you how to go from stick figures to some really impressive drawings.
I’ll keep discussing the progress on this website.