Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Feature Friday: Animation Hobbyist Renato Vargas

Renato is a young economist who works as a researcher at a Guatemalan institute that focuses on the links between the economy and the environment. His job involves learning, critical thinking, calculating, writing, and convincing politicians and human beings of the benefits of using natural resources wisely. Although he enjoys his work very much, everyone in high school thought he would end up in advertising or journalism, given that he was a bit of a class clown with a dominant artistic side. Heck, he thought that himself, but he needed a career that could pay the bills, and was well aware of how poorly paid and exploited creative artists were where he lives (which is unfair and a shame). That drove him into Economics. Go figure. Of course, he found some sort of financial security in that field, which means he is now a bit uptight and somewhat snobby during work hours, but after five o’clock in the afternoon, just like Dr. Jekyl, he slowly becomes creativity Mr. Hyde. --Oh, and he stops talking and writing about himself in the third person.

Hello, I’m thrilled to share some thoughts with The Inkwell Alley’s beautiful readers and followers. After that long introductory paragraph you might still be asking yourselves why I’m here. Trust me, I am too, but our awesome hosts, Sbass and Monica were kind enough to let me share my creative side with you. Now that I’m out of college and have some time for myself, I decided to get more serious about a hobby I started three years ago. I’ve always liked drawing in different mediums, including digitally and have done it since I was a kid, but in 2006, I became absolutely fascinated with a music video animated and directed by Australian artist Bernard Derriman called Everyone else has had more s e x than me. I could not believe that the little singing bunny was beautifully drawn sequentially in Adobe’s Flash. Until that moment, I thought that software package was used only for interactive websites and lousy e-cards. A couple of Google searches later, I stumbled across Adam Phillips’ superb Brackenwood shorts. My jaw dropped and I haven’t been able to fully reattach it to my skull. I have spent the last couple of years trying to figure out how they did what they did, and now I think I’m ready to turn those stories that play constantly in my head into some nice 2D animated clips. Yes, I am an animator wannabe! Although, the proper term you would use to introduce me at fancy dinner parties is animation hobbyist, thank you.

Finding out about animation was not an easy task, though. That’s why I created my blog, “I’ll tell you a story…”. I want to share all the pitfalls of making animated clips for the first time so that others may learn from my mistakes. I would like to invite everyone to visit my blog at its new address but most of all, I want your nice comments to pressure me into animating more, since I tend to procrastinate a lot. I blame it on my day job, but who knows, I might just be lazy. Since this is a ten point, list post (say that really fast), here are the things you’ll find at my blog:
>>Software. The computer is a nice alternative to paper and pencil in the 2D animation world. It will never replace traditional techniques, but it can certainly help speed things up. I will sometimes refer to software specific issues in how to’s.
>>The creative process. Creativity will pick the most unexpected time of the day to strike and one has to be prepared to welcome it. I’ll share how I first visualize ideas and the results, which are often scanned-in napkins or pieces of paper.
>>Concept art. Sometimes you want to share your vision before it’s realized. Besides, it’s just nice to see how everything will turn out.
>>Writing your story. I’ll show you what I’ve learned about how scripts are written and where to find tools to help you improve your stories and their layout.
>>Character development. This is one of the most important parts of the animation process. I have neglected that with awful results, but that has changed. I’ll show you some of my model sheets.
>>Cut-out vrs. frame-by-frame animation. I’ll show you when I have found best to use each of them and how to go about a combined approach. How do you create the illusion of motion with static drawings? Let’s find out.
>>Background creation. Your animated characters need a place to live. I’ll show you how to create nice backgrounds using digital tools.
>>Drawing perspective. Perspective is one of the things that some people find more difficult to learn. I’ll show you some shortcuts to get it done quickly and accurately.
>>Special FX. This is what I find the most fascinating. We’ll learn how to draw water, smoke, light effects, fire and other neat things.
>>Production. We’ll familiarize ourselves with the various stages of production, including sound, ink-and-paint, editing, and many others.
My goal is to make nice animated clips that people will enjoy watching. My first project attempts to rescue a couple of spooky stories from the Guatemalan oral tradition. A year from now, I would love to publish a book about this whole process. Do you want to help me write it?

Written by Renato Vargas:
Follow him on twitter:
Monica & Sbass would like to thank Renato Vargas for taking the time to be a part of "Feature Friday" on Inkwell Alley and look forward to future updates.


  1. What a talented and creative young man. Beautiful work!

  2. Well, thank you very much. I also enjoyed your Feature Friday. Have a great day!

  3. Another great feature friday. Very talented guy he is! interesting post.

  4. Wow! its a wonderful website.. easy to download


About Us

Two cubicle neighbors with pizzazz and their own personal, but highly similar, set of of innate complexities find refuge in this alley of creative musings. So pull up a chair, join in, as we--artist and writer--share our spin on the world, art, literary pursuits and the seemingly miniscule, daily occurrences that become larger than life.

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Feature Friday--Each Friday! Inkwell Alley is a growing neighborhood and every Friday, one of our followers will be featured with a short bio about their work. We love to make our avid readers feel at home, so relax and enjoy reading about who's springin' up on Inkwell Alley. Don't miss as we continue to update our blog with many new features. Monica and Sbass hope you enjoy your walk down Inkwell Alley! >>Last Week: karilynnlove >>Previous Weeks: June, also known as Isewcute


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