* by illustration I mean a clean drawing with fancy details
Animation! This is the vehicle you have chosen to express yourself in. A whole list of "tools" are required: drawing, timing, phrasing, action, acting, pantomime, staging, imagination, observation, interpretation, logic, caricature, creativity, clarity, empathy, and so on – a mind boggling array of prerequisites.
Rest at ease. You were born with all of them. Some of them may need a little sharpening, others may need to be awakened as from a deep sleep, but they are as much a part of you as arms, legs, eyes, kidneys, hemoglobin, and speech. Reading and observing are two emancipators of the dormant areas of the mind. Read the classics, biographies, humor, mysteries and comic books.
Observe, observe, observe. Be like a sponge – suck up everything you can lay your eyes on. Look for the unusual, the common, characters, situations, compositions, attitudes. Study shapes, features, personalities, activities, details, etc. Draw ideas, not things; action, not poses; gestures, not anatomical structures.
--- Walt Stanchfield (life drawing teach at Disney) ---
MAKE YOUR TEACHERS EARN THEIR MONEY
If I was your teacher, I wouldn't even let you design your own characters in animation class. I would make you animate characters that already work-simple, well constructed characters like Elmer Fudd, Donald Duck or Tom and Jerry. Students shouldn't even be trying to design their own characters. You need to learn to animate in 3 dimensions first. If you are struggling to animate an amateurish awkward design, your progress will be hugely handicapped. I would put your tuition to the most efficient use and give you the tools you need to be functional when you get out of school.
You should run and beg your teachers to show you fundamentals and to criticize your work if it's awkward, flat or clumsy. Otherwise you are throwing away a lot of money.
If you just want to be "creative" and an "individual", you don't need to go to school for that. Save your money and be a hippie at home! Schools should teach you decades of experience and fundamental knowledge.
--- John Kricfalusi (creator of Ren and Stimpy) ---
He always worked harder than anyone else in the company. But he would never complain about how tired he was or how he was shouldering too much. Never. He would always find something positive about it. He loved his work.
--- Frank Oz --
ALL OF THEM ARE HARD WORKERS!
It's really a shame, for one that students don't demand story, design and drawing classes and also that schools don't find them important to the curriculum of computer animation.
- Spline Doctors - check out the cool quote from Milt Kahl
- Gesture Drawing for Animation by Walt Stanchfield - This is a whole book on gesture drawing for animation that's FREE in PDF format, written by an industry great.
- John K on Students
- The Art of Glen Keane - some inspirational life drawings here.