Struggling [to be] a[n] artist

So I’m lost again about what I want to do in life. I’m torn between saying fuck it and just getting a service job, but at the same time, they are not the new “factory jobs” that people who lack higher ambition or talent or whatever, can have for 50 years and feed and support a family, or even their selves at this point. I won’t survive making 7.25 or w/e the minimum is at a job I can barely stand to not even cover bills. Going to college and getting a degree doesn’t really mean anything anymore, you still need to be so much more. The degree just kinda prepares you for something. There’s a lot you have to do on your own to even begin to have it be useful.

ANYWAY He said he would help me out, so first task I was given was to get a list of Careers I would like to do or look at, and what sort of medium it is, where they are, what the do, etc etc and start setting goals for it. Just a list of industries I might be interested in and doing some research.

So here is that brain dump I guess:

  • Web design – graphics or html/CSS/???
  • Marketing Design – Packaging and billboards??? Ads??????
  • Animation – Film/TV:
  • Animation – Games:
  • Environment games: maybe more level designer?? putting the levels and stuff together more or so than making the assets
  • clothing design: design and make clothes that I would want to wear, but It might be too weird for other people…
  • QA/Tech support: kind of going down this path as it is?????
  • Illustrator: hahahahahhhahahahahahha maybe If I had a clue on how to do watercolor or something it wouldnt be super far fetched but I just can’t wrap my head around it
  • pastry/baking:  I do enjoy baking stuff…

Im just really worried I don’t honestly have the gumption and drive to do these things. Like I feel like that’s what I’ve struggled so much with trying to do animation and art stuff. Why compete and try so fucking goddamn hard when you aren’t even worth a second glance (maybe to snicker at in disbelief) how awful and soul-crushing is that. I see my friends who work and try hard at things and end up failing and like ugghhhhhhh

From Animator Island, 51 Great Animation Exercises to Master

Level 1 Exercises

(Do not discount their simplicity! Here you have the principals of animation, which all other animation is built on. They are worth your time and effort.)

  1. Ball Bouncing in place, no decay (loop)
  2. Ball Bouncing across the screen
  3. Brick falling from a shelf onto the ground
  4. Simple character head turn
  5. Character head turn with anticipation
  6. Character blinking
  7. Character thinking [tougher than it sounds!]
  8. Flour Sack waving (loop)
  9. Flour Sack jumping
  10. Flour Sack falling (loop or hitting the ground)
  11. Flour Sack kicking a ball
Level 2 Exercises
  1. Change in Character emotion (happy to sad, sad to angry, etc.)
  2. Character jumping over a gap
  3. Standing up (from a chair)
  4. Walk Cycle [oldie but goodie!]
  5. Character on a pogo stick (loop)
  6. Laughing
  7. Sneezing
  8. Reaching for an object on a shelf overhead
  9. Quick motion smear/blur
  10. Taking a deep breath [also tougher than it sounds!]
  11. A tree falling
  12. Character being hit by something simple (ball, brick, book)
  13. Run Cycle
Level 3 Exercises
  1. Close up of open hand closing into fist
  2. Close up of hand picking up a small object
  3. Character lifting a heavy object (with purpose!)
  4. Overlapping action (puffy hair, floppy ears, tail)
  5. Character painting
  6. Hammering a nail
  7. Stirring a soup pot and tasting from a spoon
  8. Character blowing up a balloon
  9. Character juggling (loop)
  10. Scared character peering around a corner
  11. Starting to say something but unsure of how
  12. Zipping up a jacket
  13. Licking and sealing an envelope
  14. Standing up (from the ground)
  15. Pressing an elevator button and waiting for it
Level 4 Exercises
  1. Character eating a cupcake
  2. Object falling into a body of water
  3. Two characters playing tug-of-war
  4. Character dealing a deck of cards out
  5. The full process of brushing one’s teeth
  6. A single piece of paper dropping through the air
  7. Run across screen with change in direction
  8. Sleeping character startled by alarm then returning to sleepy state
  9. Opening a cupboard and removing something inside
  10. Putting on a pair of pants
  11. Opening the “world’s best gift” and reacting
  12. Any of the above exercises using a very heavy character/object next to a very light character/object. Enhance the differences the weight change makes!

and it gives some nice advice at the end:

Things to keep in mind:
  • Reading these exercises will do as much for you as reading about push-ups would do for your physical muscles: NOTHING. If you want the benefit, you must animate them. Take a deep breath and just do it.
  • Do not forget the famous words of Ollie Johnston: “You’re not supposed to animate drawings [3D models]. You’re supposed to animate feelings.” If a character isn’t thinking, they aren’t alive, and the animation has failed.
  • Keep it simple! There is no reason to over complicate any of these exercises. Going back to push-ups, would push-ups be harder if while doing them you also recited the Gettysburg Address? Yes. Would they be any more beneficial? No. Keep things nice and simple and clear.
  • Do your best. There is no reason to do these exercises poorly. Give it your all. You don’t have to show anyone, these are for you. You owe it to yourself to try your very best. Something not quite right? Take the time to fix it.
  • As always, have fun. Push ups are not fun. Animation is supposed to be. Be joyful in your work!

{3 April 2014}   UI Artist

This is something that’s been struggled with through out the games, the interfaces and menus.

This is just a gathering of initial research about the discipline I’ve found.

Forum post on Game Artist – Quick Impressions and notes 

  • A UI artist works through the flow of the game menus. Not just the HUD. Websites are a common UI that we’re familiar with.
  • A working knowledge of basic graphic design method and theory is applicable (specifically typesetting, wireframing and layout/composition knowledge), as well as being able to use tools like PS, Illustrator and Flash. A good grasp on coding and animation will help, too.
  •  Go to Speak Up Archive: Top 10 Design Questions: Student Edition and search for Gary R Boodhoo’s comment. He’s a UI designer for games. Here’s his site: CLADINBLACK4 | Gary R Boodhoo : art + design + interaction
  • Programming languages maybe: XML, LUA, SPLGTDP, ActionScript etc or whatever in-house item they may use.
  • Be a constant student of Iconography. Develop your sense of communicating without words through icons.


A Polycount Thread 

Visual hierarchy – Organizing data visually, so the user catches all the important elements at first glance. A good UI has to be Informative, but that doesn’t mean slapping help text and popup hints all over the place. Clear, simple phrasing and visual metaphors can get the job done more effectively with less clutter.
Usability – How does it feel to use the UI? On-screen, and with the input devices the game will have. The best way about this is to test often, and have other people test your designs often. Prototype, and try to design for people picking up the game for the first time. Resist the temptation to make your UI complex or obscure. This is the possibly the trickiest area of UI design, since everyone thinks their own taste is best.
Graphic design – This is the de facto skillset, but I would say the least important of the three. The graphic design helps to brand the game and set the tone just as much as the in-game art direction does, but can easily be tasked out once the skeleton UI has been built.

Be an Avid gamer. Play a multitude of games and observe their interaction, inventory management, online presence options, finding games to play with friends, communicating with friends, how information is displayed to the user in game & out, etc etc.

Be a planner and organizer. The idea may start small and balloon quickly.

Here’s an article from Get In Media about the job and the duties, education/skills, and what to expect.

And an Interview with an  UI/UX artist, Tamara Knoss

This is more about web design, but UI is UI.

{26 June 2013}   Don’t go to Art School

Blog post from Noah Bradley

Don’t go to Art School is a great small rant about how to avoid getting in a lot of debt for almost no return. I think it’s worth reading the whole thing since it’s really short and people on well thought out informational rants are always fun to read. But the thing I want to just copy and paste here is The $10k Ultimate Art Education section.

  • $500 – Buy an annual subscription to The Gnomon Workshop and watch every single video they have.
  • $404.95 – Buy Glenn Vilppu’s Anatomy Lectures and watch all of them.
  • $190 – Buy all of these books and read them cover to cover.
  • $1040 ($20/week x 52 weeks) – Weekly figure drawing sessions. Look up nearby colleges and art groups and find a weekly session to attend.
  • $2500 – Sign up for a SmART School Mentorship when you feel ready to get one-on-one guidance to push your abilities.
  • $2400 – Sign up for four classes from CGMA. Get taught by professionals in the industry on exactly the skills you want to learn.
  • Free – Watch all of these keynotes.
  • Free – Study other things for free. Suggested topics: business, history, philosophy, English, literature, marketing, and anything else you might be interested in.
  • $500 – Throughout the year, use at least this much money to visit museums in your area. And not just art museums. All museums.
  • Free – Create accountability. One of the great advantages to attending a school is the comradery. So use the internet to create your own. Go join a forum where you can give and receive critique on the work you’re developing. There are many different ones out there that can suit whatever flavor you prefer.
  • The rest – Materials. Buy yourself some good art materials to create with. Whether digital or traditional. Don’t skimp.

That all right there, is the most useful part of the post. While it all is  expensive for someone without a lot of money, I tink it starts you thinking in the idea of how to look for more reasonable and accessible ways to learn art.

{21 May 2013}   Taken from : h…

Taken from :

A.K.A. “Pato is autistic and shows off his massive collection of saved links”

Have a seat, get a cup of coffee and sit through this. Hopefully you won’t regret it. This is mostly about illustration, by the way.



Get the cheapest shit available. If you’re in America/Europe a Wacom Bamboowhatever apparently does the trick. If you’re anywhere else get the cheaper-end Genius ones because Wacom tablets are expensive in every place that’s not the first world. Getting a $600 tablet will not make you magically improve and it’s a goddamn waste of money. Too poor for tablets? Start with a damn pencil.


This is the Internet, pirate the shit out of them! Here’s a list of freeware programs you could use, because pirating is bad, mkay.

For general illustration:

  • GIMP – Non-shitty, open-source Photoshop Clone.
  • Paint.NET – If you are somehow too dumb for Photoshop clones here’s something easy to use.
  • Flowpaint – Even simpler.
  • Inkscape – Apparently good for things like vector art.
  • Artweaver – Get the free version which kind of sucks but otherwise decent.
  • Chibipaint – Sounds weeaboo as fuck The best thing out there for oekaki, or so they say.
  • Will add more as I find them.

For 3D modelling and such:

More links coming SOON! (Soon: Duke Nukem Forever).


Spoilers: Improvement will take a long time, specially more if you’re self-taught. Improvement requires dedication and consistenct in your learning. Don’t expect to get great if you’ve just started, and don’t expect greatness in the first year or so either. Save the shit you draw so in the future you can notice that progress has indeed been made.

If you still think you’ll never improve just look at this and realize how wrong you are. Now, if you think you’ll instantly be as cool as that guy, look at this and realize that you still have a long way to go.


Artist’s Block is a very complicated thing but the underlying reason is either lack of creativity, acedia or just a towering pile of bullshit. The best way to treat it is to take up theoretical drawing (anatomy studies, for example) and treat it as a chore. If you need ideas look for the Ideas Generators section below.


All links taken without permission but I’m sure nobody minds a bit of publicity.


This is actually more than enough to get you started when it comes to getting books. Saying that the amount of books here is FUCKING MASSIVE would be an understatement.


Simple practice method for the aimless artfagOpen any of the first two links, and choose a distinct category (For example, faces). Tell it to switch every 10 minutes if possible; else, get a timer. Fire it up and start drawing what you see. The idea is that you should stop after 10 minutes and move onto the next one, no matter how incomplete it is. Repeat until your art gets showcased in the Louvre.






  • /ic/ Thread 1 – Collection of tutorial images.
  • /ic/ Thread 2 – Humongous thread with a crapload of links. A must-see.
  • Manga to Realistic (dA) – A Twelve-Part walkthrough that dips your toes into realistic illustrations aimed at people with a weeaboo background.




  • CG Textures – Massive collection of free textures. Also tutorials.



  • – These guys are fucking sweet.
  • DeviantArt – Well, think about it. It is an art community after all.

If you want me to add something, please notify me through my /ask. Be sure to check back often as I’ll be adding more things.

{8 February 2013}   And the winner is…

Program line up:


It seems really light and simple, and everything is in the open. There aren’t a lot of features for it; this last update they put bones in I think. I’m looking forward to see what they do with it, but the lack of documentation   and uncertainty of it’s stability concerns me for this project. It seemed to do everything fine, but the tight deadline isn’t something where we can deal with some unknown issue pop up and wait for replies on the forum for a maybe fix.


I found this one a bit more troublesome to work with. Granted it was just the demo. The timeline was hidden, and very easily could be toggled while working on it. The thing that nixed it, was exporting the images produced blank files. It stated the unity export wouldn’t work, but the PNG export did not produce any images.  Not really sure why that happened, and didn’t look much into it. I expect at least a partially functioning demo, where I can see a final product of some sort. A water mark or limit on what it will produce, fine. But I still need a final sampling. While it did have slightly more documentation than Spriter, it was still scarce and thin.

I won’t give any sort of review on flash. It’s well known enough for anyone looking into animation to find information. It has the most official documentation, plug-ins, and tutorials around. The boning feature won over my co-worker for using flash. She’s more than happy to rig the things up for me to animate. I do want to work on rigging them. Maybe I can do a monster or something.

My next concern is do we do Raster or Vector art for it….

{8 February 2013}   2D animation

The next project Sic’em Studios is working on is a prototype for pitching. Our previous attempt to make this was thwarted by hardware more or less. Anyway, the team has gotten larger since then, and another person will be working with me to make the art. She’s not an animator in any capacity, and was a bit hesitant to help out, but working together I think we can do it.

Anyway, the first thing we need to figure out is what software to use. We did a bit of research and decided to check three out: Spriter (still in alpha), Umotion2D and Flash. We’re both more familiar with flash, but neither of us are certain it can do what we need it to. The game will be built in Unity, so all we need is something to animate and make the sprite sheet with.

I was playing with all three of them with a really bad test character thing. The first thing I learned; you need to cut down all the piecemeal images to as big as they need to be; not the full size of the character, as how I do them when I’m making sheets by hand. All three of them bring the dimensions in and don’t cut them down, nor have an easy way to do so.

The test we need to do on them is to see if we can even use the program, if it animates to our desire/ how difficult it is to animate, and how the tweens/animation/everything is exported out, and how it does so. Umotion can export to Unity, so there’s a plus for it. Documentation for Spriter and Umotion is pretty lacking, even more so with the former. I hope Flash will win out, since working that will have more “industry” application for larger jobs, but what bit I’ve seen with the three of them, I don’t see whatever we learn/relearn not being applicable to Flash.

This will be good and interesting. I need to work on more animation things.

{13 August 2012}   An Ask to Milk Chiltin

From tumblr An Ask to Milk Chiltin:

I found your tumblr just a few days ago but I already love your art to bits! So every time I see it pop up on my dash I wonder if I will ever be as good as you – without drawing classes – and if you had such. I’d like to know if I should think about attending them or can I learn to draw like you even without?

Ah thanks! I hope you don’t mind if I pub this ;u;

The ‘art classes’ I’ve had are your average high school art 1, art 2, blah blah, and my teachers were very great and helped me improve a lot, but I’m mostly self taught! i can’t afford college with my economical status right now and I know financial aid blah bLAH but i’m too broke to sink myself in student loans before i even get a job out there yknow? :/

it’s a hard situation, but I’m workin my way through it. If you can get classes, get them! But make sure you listen to what your teachers are telling you to do even though that might be boring as fuck, otherwise your money will be wasted! As for teaching yourself, there’s a couple things

  1. Is it going to be harder?

Yes, it’s going to be wayy harder, you don’t have anyone to instruct you and you’re gonna feel very lost most of the time. Your biggest help is going to be to learn how to listen to criticism. It’s very hard to hear at first, but just keep in mind that all they’re trying to do is make you a better artist!

  1. Am I gonna want to give up?

Yes. A lot, even I still feel like giving up every now and then, but don’t let yourself get down, it’s true that you’re at a disadvantage, but that doesn’t mean that artists with teachers and instructors don’t feel like giving up all the time either, it’s just something that comes with being an artist and everyone has to learn how to deal with.

  1. Is it going to be faster?

All people learn differently, for me it was slower to progress when I didn’t have a teacher (hs teacher), than when I was trying to do stuff on my own, for some people it might be different so this is really depending on how you absorb information. But remember that there’s never a fast way around art and it will take you a lifetime to get better, something that helps is understanding that art isn’t something you’re gonna get good at one day, but something you’re gonna keep bettering yourself at forever.

You can learn how to draw, with or without classes! It’s all about determination, patience and practice! So it’s up to you, sorry for the rant!

{31 July 2012}   http://gamasutr…

I plan at some point pulling out bits of info I found super encouraging/informal. Anyway, the link before I lose it.

I was in the beginning of a “What do I really want to do and Can I actually do it” phase, and then I realized, I work at a game company. I can go ask one of the animators about what they do, what they are expected to do, etc. I’ve removed names of people and companies for NDA reasons. This seems like it’s all pretty standard, but does not reflect every company in the industry, and where you land may change drastically. I just happen to work for a really awesome company. So here is the transcript, including me being a dork. (PS this was done over a chat messenger)

Me: What does your job actually involve? All animation all the time, types of animations (game specific vs cut-scene)

Me: Pretty newbie question, but I realized the other day, a lot of game companies may not have all their animations done in house

Animator: most of the time, yeah it’s all animation all the time, and all game specific anims for real-time creature and player movement

Me: okay

Animator: we also did the 4 intro movies here, *coworker1* and I animated and did camera work, *coworker2* did the lighting, and *coworker3* did the VFX

Animator: but the CG intro movie was done out of house

Me: did the number of animators fluctuate with the project or was it pretty much the same through it all

Animator: it grew over the course of the project

Animator: I’d say for the entire last year or so we had our max number of animators

Me: Is that a common thing (in house animators doing it all) or a sometimes type thing?

Animator: last year before ship, that is

Animator: for most big games, I don’t think that’s common

Animator: there is usually a professional cinematic company doing any sort of video movies

Animator: but the in-game rendered cut-scenes are usually done in the same house

Animator: due to the extremely technical nature

Me: yeah videos, I meant the game animations

Animator: whereas a pre-rendered movie can be done anywhere for the right $$

Animator: yeah, usually for games this size, all animations are done in house

Me: okay

Me: So besides just animation, you need cinematography as well, right?

Animator: hmm, it helps to have some knowledge of camera angles, shot composition, and lenses if you’re making in game cutscenes

Animator: but if you’re doing animation for characters in a game where the player has control over the camera, then I’d focus more on making the animation read well from all angles… which is purely a good grasp on character motion and timing

Animator: the timing thing gets hard when it all has to play based on the user input… things like an anticipation before a big jump are just not possible when the player wants to be able to jump instantly with the space bar

 Animator: so it helps to be a fan of many types of games to see what different styles look and feel like

Me: right, I felt some of that doing some other animations

Me: do you ever do any type of modeling? Or do you know of other places (besides tiny teams) where animators are also modelers or texture artists?

 Animator: hmm

 Animator: I knew of them

Me: do you think it’s a common thing?

 Animator: but I can’t think of many big houses which have the modeler/texture/animator all in one roles anymore

Me: okay

 Animator: with big teams, the specializing is more common I’d say

 Animator: a lot more like an assembly line, now more than ever

 Animator: are you interested in getting into animation?

Me: yeah

 Animator: right on 🙂

Me: I’ve done some, but haven’t been practicing lately, so I’m trying to sit myself right

Me: (wow that sentence made no sense)

 Animator: hehe

Me: I’m on the boarder of an “OH GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ” for a career panic

Me: and thinking “I have no idea what/how things are done in a game company more than 3 people”

Me: then I realized I could just ASK someone since I have that access much easier now

 Animator: haha

 Animator: yeah, so I’m just speaking from what I know, and that’s from 4 years at [rival company 2] prior to [company], and some other buddies I have on teams at some [Rival company 3] companies and [rival company 1]

Me: right

Animator: [rival company 1] used to do the whole model/texture/animate thing back in the days of [big product 1] and [big product 2]

Me: it’s still better than me wondering and not knowing

Animator: cool, let me know if I can help answer anything else

Me: I will, but so far, I think I can do this. I was going to panic if I had to do modeling or something

Me: my topology and unwrapping are terrible

 Animator: that’s a tough thing, yeah.  Mine isn’t all that great either

 Animator: I haven’t really done that stuff since I went to school, heh

Me: oh rigging! Do you do rigging?

Me: how often do animators end up doing the rigging~

Me: omg

 Animator: I know a bit of rigging.  Here at [company], hardly any animators rig.  I’ve skinned some props like walls of bricks crumbling… all rigged bodies, no soft skinning

 Animator: and I haven’t made any rigs other than parenting bones to nodes I can key

Me: is that a common thing?

 Animator: so, hardly any rigging is done by non-TDs

Me: TD?

 Animator: yeah, the TDs usually handle all the complex rigging at most every company I know of

 Animator: Technical Director

Me: ahh

Animator: or technical artist

Me: okay

Me: soo good to know

 Animator: they typically know some scripting/coding

Me: shoulders are so hard

Animator: all our rigs on *game* are built with some fairly complex scripts

et cetera