A genius way to learn fast for great art

Do you get ideas, start planning, then keep planning some more to the point where you create a project that would take you a year and a full crew to finish? Or you overthink things a lot and all you end up doing is staring at a blank page?

I have binders full of ideas that are mostly unfinished because I let them become monster projects that seem impossible to do.

Now, I’m creating very short projects that (should) take less than a week to finish.



I made a 5 second short animation. I saw this “Top 20 5 Second Films” on YouTube. It’s genius. Watch them, they’re awesome and crazy.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u4kwkWXrAU

My goal is to create a series of animations, using the same steps as any longer movies, but only 5 seconds in length. They are short enough so they can be done in a few days. I get to animate, design, and edit fully finished pieces of animation.



When I was working in studios, I was hired to do one task at a time. I was either a clean-up artist, or an animator. I didn’t go through the whole process of creation, from the idea to the finished cartoon. Now, I want to go through the complete workflow from pre-production, production and post-production.


Some rules

Another sets of rules I gave myself for this project, are what the animator Bill Plympton calls “Plymton’s Dogma”:




His dogma is about the business side of films, not the creative side. From his experience, short films can get featured in more channels (festivals, DVD compilations, etc) than a 20 minute film. A low budget film has better chances at being profitable. Funny films are easier to sell than more serious ones. For the purpose of this blog, it’s a perfect set of rules.


The idea

I was doing my laundry and started sketching some storyboards. The first two ideas that came to mind were a bear eating popcorn at the movies and Dracula. Go figure 🙂

At this stage, I’m trying really hard not to complicate things, not to overthink, and to just do it!


DOWNLOAD the free guide “Is my drawing OK?” to find where to focus your next drawing practice.


Simple is not easy

I tried to stay as simple as I could, but things just had a tendency to add up. Five seconds of time can only hold so many camera angles, or locations.

The very first day, I made a storyboard, the character designs and an animatic with some audio tracks. I was happy with the result and what I had accomplished.

Once, I started to create my files, I stumbled upon a few things. My sketches were too vague. I was trying to fix composition, and drawings that should have been figured out already. The character placements were wrong.

This project took me way too long to finish.  I did exactly what I was trying to avoid: to change ideas a hundred times, and letting the project get bigger. Eventually, I thought I would never finish it. I wanted to polish it, and tweak it, making more complex animation, etc. These 5 sec cartoons are supposed to be done fast. I just said fuck it, I’m not trying to create a masterpiece.

I did have fun though. I like designing the characters using references, searching for music and sound effects. I find the editing process to be really fun.

What type of short projects do you create?  Let me know in the comments.


Here’s the finished movie! 😀



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