Rational Technology for August 28, 2005
On a lark, I took the qualifying exam for Foundation University-Entheos animation program last Saturday. I'm a pretty decent hand with a pen and pencil, or so I like to think. However, I don't think I'm cut out for a job as an animator simply because I lack the patience. Nevertheless, I took the exam to just to see what it was all about.
The Nobleman, one of the characters you'll meet in the exam
I must say it was by far the most enjoyable exam I took. I didn't have to study for it at all and it left a lot of room for creativity both in what I was drawing and in how I drew it. At the same time, I learned a couple of things about the art techniques of animators. Now don't knock it and say that it's only drawing and therefore it's easy. It requires a good eye, a steady hand, and a healty imagination.
By the time this story gets published, the last batch of hopefuls would have taken the final exam prior to the start of the program. However, in case Entheos changes its mind and decides to hold some more tryouts, here are some tips:
1) Practice, practice, practice. There's nothing like getting a feel of the pencil in your hand and the paper underneath to get you acclimated with task. Copy the simple cartoons that you see in comics. Witch and Monster Allergy are good sources of material.
2) Learn to trace well. The exam gives you model sheets, essentially a character as seen from four different angles. You will be asked to draw one of these profiles. Though the instructions did not specifically ask to trace the pictures, it didn't explicitly forbid it either. So...why make life difficult? But really, it's not just about tracing lines; it's also about knowing how to create variations in line thickness to give the figures more character.
3) Learn to draw figures in action poses. You will be asked to draw the characters from the model sheets in various poses: running, dancing, jumping, playing, etc. Ah, not as simple as tracing anymore, is it? This goes back to the first point about practice.
4) Learn to draw in perspective. You will be asked to draw indoor and outdoor scenes with perspective. It's good to know some of the basic principles such as one-point perspective, two-point perspective, and three-point perspective. You can pick these from any introductory book on architecture.
5) Bring your own drawing tools. Pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, and sharpeners. Whatever you're most comfortable with. The proctor will provide wood pencils, but really, that's about it. Furthermore, the standard red eraser on the opposite tip is messy and does not erase very well.
Above all, bring a sense of fun. As I said, this is one exam you don't really have to study for. Encourage your imagination, and let the lines flow.