Sunday, 8 April 2012

How to Draw Cats and Dragons: 2 New Films!

I have been working poor John really hard over the past couple of months (I bought a new whip...). He's the one who's had to deal with all the emails and calls getting things sorted for the 30 (!!) different school and festival visits I've done recently, as well as booking all my trains, writing all the invoices, doing all the other admin mounting up at the studio... What a hero. 

And the boy done good: I always ended up in the right place on the right day (phew) and everything has gone pretty much like clockwork. I don't think I could have managed such an unusually busy season without his help, so a big THANK YOU to John (cue applause...).

Anyway, I've let him off boring-duties for a while and he has been trying something a bit more fun: he's been making films! After last year's meeting with Shoo Rayner, the avid YouTube film-maker, John has been keen to have a go himself.

He decided to concentrate on how-to-draw films, as we already have plenty of interview-style ones on the website. Since I've been doing a fair bit of dragon-drawing during my recent school workshops, that seemed an easy place to start, as no real planning would be needed.

It took a while to get everything set up right. We don't have any fancy kit - we just used John's camera and mine at the same time set up on a couple of tripods (to get 2 different views, to cut between later). Then we just went for it. I'm so used to talking about my work now, I just decided to say what came naturally and hope for the best!

Making the dragon film was such fun, we immediately started work on a 2nd one, this time about drawing cats. We chose a cat next because I've noticed that an old blog post of mine, Drawing a Cat, has had nearly 13,000 views in under 2 years: 4 times more than any other.

Since there is a very cute cat in Baby Goes Baaaaa!, it made most sense to promote the new book by focussing on her. She's not to tricky to draw, as her position is reasonably simple and works without a background or other characters to interact with. 

Take a look at both films for me and let me know what you think. Any feedback would be very useful as John's already planning the next one!

As we create new films, we will upload them to my YouTube channel. I am also in the process of redesigning my main website to add new learning resources for kids and grown-ups, including more 'how-to' films, as well as direct links to the specific 'hot-tips' articles I have written here in the past. Watch this space..!


Caroline said...

Wonderful little films! Congrats to both artist and film maker. No wonder you are such a hit with the children at school, Lynn - your process is fascinating, you're a natural in front of the camera and you do make it seem so darned easy! My findings on the films: I thought the first film 'How to draw a Dragon' was spot on - it captivated my interest throughout! With the second, I enjoyed your chat about the reference you used and would have loved to have seen a close up of that book of cats, perhaps followed by another zoom of your own rendering . The first stage outline of the kitten is a little faint and I did struggle a bit to make out what you were drawing (unlike the dragon film where the stages are easily followed). Well, hope my input is in some way helfpful - I really love what you do Lynn and find your step by step articles so very helpful! Keep up the good work - I look forward to seeing more films in the future!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thank you so much for such helpful feedback Caroline. I agree about needing close-ups here and there. Unfortunately at the moment we are using quite crude editing software and John is struggling to re-sync the sound if he 'cuts in' with stills. We're gradually learning though, and will try and remember to zoom in on the camera next time. Cheers!

Sarah Anderson said...

These are fab! You are so good to listen too as well as watch. The dragon film is great (although I'm a bit biased as I love dragon illustrations and prefer them to cats any day!) -easy to see the light sketches, fab sound effects, clearly able to see how the image builds up. Can see this being used in school! That cat book is great. Loved the intro about cats but this film was a bit long for me, and I coiuldn't see the light sketches. But wow, John did good!