2D images of cats, dragons, rats and any other creature that can move clutter Nora Turner’s mind as she brainstorms a new animation. Turner is a self-taught artist and animator and animation is how Turner expresses her art visually.
“Animation is an art form because it’s just a bunch of drawings stacked on top of each other and then I move them fast enough so it can be animated. [To animate] I use Firealpaca. It has a great function that can show you different layers in your piece,” Turner said.
Turner has been interested in drawing animals since she was in seventh grade, and only recently has she discovered how to bring her drawings to life. After watching many videos on YouTube, and mastering the technology side of animation, Turner is now able to fully capture what she wishes through the computer program and posting her work on social media.
“I started watching a lot of artists who were much better than me and seeing them grow and get into animation. Some of those people I’ve watched now have jobs at places like Disney. After watching those transformations I realized that I wanted to try that too. I prefer 2D animation, and most animation is 3D nowadays, so it’s somewhat difficult to make animation a job,” Turner said.
For animation, keeping lines consistent is very important, but it’s very difficult to do that since moving it over just a fraction might keep moving the entire piece over.
The process is seemingly simple. To begin her animation, Turner listens to music to find inspiration, or she notices odd and interesting movements in her day to day life that could be represented in animation form. After determining what she would like to illustrate, her next task is determining how to create her piece. Sketches, test trials, and revising take up the most time as the movement must look natural and not programmed.
“I just listen to music and get into it and then I draw a couple frames from where the animation will start and where it will end and then I add in the middle. I add sketches in between to see how it will move and then I add color,” Turner said
Adding audio, vibrant colors, and interactions between animals not only pleases the eye, it teaches the artist repetition. Among the many challenging details animation presents, Turner finds that drawing and animating an animal’s hair is the most difficult.
“Hair is very difficult to draw because it’s hard to keep it consistent. For animation, keeping lines consistent is very important, but it’s very difficult to do that since moving it over just a fraction might keep moving the entire piece over. This is why you have to draw to the middle. You can’t draw from one end to the other. This is how I can see where I mess up,” Turner said.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of her animation is being able to not only look at, but to watch the final product. Unlike most forms of visual art, animation serves as a quick way for both the viewer and the artist to interpret the short clip of movement. Turner has the pleasure of watching her art look back at her.
“It feels like a lot of work. Just seeing that you’ve made something that moves, that looks great, and if you can add audio to it feels amazing. It’s like art but you’ve put so much work into it, even if it’s only an eight second clip, it’s so much work and it looks so good at the end,” Turner said.
I’d say animation is a teaching tool for me, it’s not just a form of art, it’s teaching me how to draw forms and figures.
The work, often repetitive and meticulous, relies on Turner’s consistency and attention to detail. However, it foundationally depends on Turner’s motivation to learn and continue to explore new ways to interpret everyday gestures into a work of art.
“Animation forces you to get better at drawing certain things over and over again. I’d say animation is a teaching tool for me, it’s not just a form of art, it’s teaching me how to draw forms and figures. Like anatomy, I have to keep it regular and similar when I’m animating, doing that allows me to get it in my head what it should look like when I’m making static art,” Turner.
With animation, Turner has renewed essential components of visual art composition as a way to fit her artistic needs while portraying unity, innovation, and rhythm. Turner’s unique perception of movement around her and its influence on her animation serves as a model for individualism in art. It pays forward the idea that modern technology can accompany and fully express an artist’s vision, and this technology encourages innovation with art itself.