Learning a skill can be hard. Really small projects can make it easier.


Do you just pickup your Wacom tablet, open up some program and just go make a masterpiece? Or do you spend a bit of time planing your project out?


It doesn’t matter if the project is an epic 2 hour movie or a 3 seconds animation: you need a plan.  It can be very complex and detailed or just a quick sketch, but you need a place to start.


Here’s how a recent project of mine went:

A client wanted a cartoon for pre-school children, and I thought a monkey would be perfect. (I like to think monkeys are in the top 5 of funny animals. Chickens are in the top 3!)

So I decided to animate a very small sample for him. I wanted this sample to be as simple as possible: simple background, simple design, and limited animation.


Finding Inspiration

I went through my old illustrations for inspiration. I chose one with a kid in the rain, and another one with some plant designs. For a reference, I found a cute monkey picture on the web.

My first idea was two gray clouds going out of the screen, uncovering the sun, then a monkey would jump out of some bushes.


Refining the Plan

It wasn’t simple enough, so I dropped the idea of the clouds. A smiley sun, some plants, and a monkey were enough. After playing around a bit, I realized it was missing something. I added two trees behind the monkey to balance the composition.

I wanted this sample to take no more than 2-3 hours, so I used limited animation for everything: the monkey’s head coming out, plants moving a little, and the sun’s rays moving a little.
This is what it looked like in Adobe Animate’s timeline.

Again, super simple with only a few keyframes and some tweening.

Picking Colors

For the colors, I made a quick search on this website http://www.colourlovers.com/palettes. I wanted soft greens and some orange for the color palette. I love colors. Used well, colors are a very powerful language.

I hate the saturated primary colors we see in many cartoons and books for children. It’s the artistic equivalent of eating sugar straight from the bag. :/

I used the smallest of music samples as he’s popping out of the bushes. With no narration or dialogue, I figured it would be a nice touch.





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

PS: If you can’t think of how to simplify a project or aren’t sure exactly how to plan one, leave a comment below and I’ll help you out!

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