So I’ve got Google Analytics monitoring my blog, and one of my favorite pastimes is going to the search engine analysis and seeing what Google searches are leading to Foxes and Grapes. The most popular search, not surprisingly, is my name (and variants of it). Then there are keywords and phrases looking for specific information that my blog happens to hold.
Then there are the searches that are so completely random that I wonder 1) why in the world are you even searching for that and 2) why did my site come up??
But overall, people reach this site looking for answers to their questions, and gosh darnit, I feel kinda guilty when they arrive here and reach a dead end in the discovery of knowledge. So, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to take some of my favorite searches and provide information to help those poor lost souls on their way.
1. i don’t understand fishing metaphors
This is the third most popular Google search… and probably higher than that because there are other variants of the same phrase that rank lower.
In case you missed the memo, this is an awesome quote from the Sony Pictures Animation feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Its nation-wide theatrical release was September, 2009. It is a computer-animated film and was released both in 2D and stereoscopic 3D. It was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have written for How I Met Your Mother and directed an amazingly funny TV cartoon called Clone High. To date, Cloudy has grossed over $239 million.
2. character design prompt
Where you want to go is Character Design Bi-Weekly hosted by the talented Betsy Bauer. It’s not active right now because Betsy and many of the other participants are hard at work at school, but you can browse through previous prompts and try them on your own. If you’re looking for design inspiration, check out the Character Design blog.
3. is animation hard
…Yes, friend. Yes it is.
I actually address this in a previous blog entry. My thought on the matter is actually that no, animation is not hard. Animation is very easy to accomplish. What’s hard, however, is bringing life to your animation. Making it believable (not necessarily realistic; there’s a difference).
4. hardly working lip sync
And this proves my previous point. Here is a hardly working lip sync. Though in Nasonex’s defense, this clip is at least five years old.
…Just for the record guys, I’m up to the 60 mark in over 200 searches and I’ve encountered the fishing metaphor search at least three more times.
5. how are we going to afford ringling college of art and design
Gosh, I don’t know. Ringling’s pretty darn expensive.
Well, you can do one of three things. 1) You or your parents can have loooots of money. In which case, affording Ringling is pretty easy. 2) You can apply for a lot of scholarships. If you’re considering going to Ringling in the next two years or so, you want to get started on this right now. Or 3) you can take out a bunch of student loans. The latter is not ideal, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
A combination of any two or all three could work. But more importantly, you should really do your research. Ringling’s a great school, but there are cheaper options.
6. i went to ringling art college and im working
…That’s great, buddy. Are you hiring? Can I send you my résumé?
7. how to draw foxes
But seriously. You want to know how to draw foxes… I’ll show you how to draw foxes.
I have a pretty good idea of what foxes look like off the top of my head – we have a small fox family living near my house, plus I draw them a lot anyway – but I want to be sure. So first I Google some image reference. I grab a nice enough photo of a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes!) from this site.
As a kid, I learned to draw from these Draw 50 books I’d check out from the library. My method over the years, particularly for drawing animals, hasn’t changed all that much.
First, I start with a Cuban cigar.
That’s the torso, actually. I’m going to start by drawing a basic gesture of the fox – a sketch that represents the whole body. So to start, I’m looking for the most basic shapes in the animal. The torso – from chest to butt – is one big cylinder. I move on and add the head as a circle – for a fox head, a square would also work.
Note that I’ve left out the muzzle. I’m focusing solely on the main shape of the head. We’ll get to the muzzle later.
Okay, now to add on the legs.
I could’ve done what I did with the torso and head and made the legs shapes as well – maybe cylinders or rectangles – but more important to me was communicating how the fox is supporting itself. Its front legs are straight and centered under the ribcage. Its back legs are also centered under the pelvis, splayed out a bit. When drawing animals, and people for that matter, it’s very important to pay attention to balance. I didn’t want to distract myself from that by focusing on capturing the shape of the legs. I can do that later.
So now we start refining the form, starting with the head. We add the ears and the muzzle with new shapes: triangles for the ears, a cylinder or box for the muzzle. I also mark in the eyeline (the middle of the head) for later.
Next are the legs. Now that I’m set on their position, I’m adding shape to the forms, along with the feet and tail.
And we give it one more pass, defining the torso a bit, and adding the eyes, nose and mouth on the face. Now, our fox is ready for the last stage: refinement.
I use this opportunity to solidify all the choices I’ve made. For the most part the drawing stays the same; I’m just adding definition and detail to everything. Hatch marks to indicate fur help to round out certain areas like the neck and torso, so our fox looks less flat and a little more volumetric. This is where all those shapes from earlier help. I also reference the photo a bit to determine how the fur flows. If I like, I can color this bad boy in, or just leave the line art as is.
Mission: Draw a Fox, accomplished.
8. i am awesome brett wharton
…I can’t tell if this is a keyword string or a statement. In any case, my friend Brett Wharton is pretty awesome. Go check out his blog.
9. is it hard to get accepted into ringling ca program
Meh. Not so so hard. Staying in once you’re enrolled is harder.
10. life drawing washington dc
If you’re looking for life drawing sessions in the DC/Baltimore metro area, check out the Figure Models Guild website. They have a handy Open Sessions page with a weekly schedule of open (to the public) drawing sessions around the DC metro area. They keep it updated pretty well, but always call the locations you’re considering to be sure.
11. my cupcakes bring all the boys
…Whoa. This sounds like something I would say. o_o Who ARE you? Anyway, my cupcakes DO bring all the boys to the yard! Well, they bring all the fairies, anyway. And only in my senior thesis.
12. Picture of mad grapes
13. nilah mcgruder/macgruder/etc.
Let me help you out, guys. It’s M-A-G-R-U-D-E-R. No “C” The service agent at my car dealer wrote my name down wrong and has been calling me MacGruber. *sigh* I wish I was MacGruber.
14. random story boards
…Why they gotta be random? Well… okay…
15. ringling school animation- old guy dragging stuffed dog
I’m actually shocked I found this one, because I’d never heard of this thesis before. But the film you were searching for is Mickey’s Buddy by Pete Paquette. He graduated from Ringling College (then Ringling School of Art and Design) in 2003. Back when they were using Maya 4.5 and Photoshop 7 holy crap.
16. where in mass did boy find spider in grapes
Let’s see… apparently it happened at a Whole Foods Market in Boston. A man and his son found at least two black widow spiders in a bag of grapes. o__o Refund please?
Yes, I even answer questions in other languages!
According to Babelfish, this guy wants to know animal anatomy. I’m a nature gal; I love animals, and I love drawing them even more. Uhhh, but “animal anatomy” is pretty loaded. What animals, specifically?
For animators, personally I think studying animal anatomy is equally important as studying human anatomy. And through the study of both, you’ll discover just how similar human anatomy is to bird, mammal, and amphibian anatomy (reptiles and fish are another story). If you’re confused about how to approach drawing animals, well, the mystery is easily solved if you think of an animal’s body in terms of your own body.
To understand how animals move, you must study them. Go to zoos, or farms, or dog parks, or even just study your own pets. Don’t draw them at first. Watch them. Observe. Animal Planet’s great for seeing a whole range of movement you probably won’t get at a zoo. Think about how they walk, how they run, how they sit and clean themselves, how they relax and sleep, how they move when they play, or get scared, or fight (haha, cats are great for the fighting part).
I could go on about this topic. It might make for a fun blog post, with visuals, later.
Well, that’s it! I think we’ve all learned a lot – well, I did, anyway. So, good luck and God speed in your Internet journeys.