Any reptiles lovers here? If so, you’ll enjoy Masha’s animation, Gecko Party. Masha has always been fond of drawing. She started when she was 10 years old and working to become a professional animator. In this interview, Masha shares her experience learning animation and some fun facts about her contest submission.
Hello Masha, can you start by telling us more about yourself? Such as your hobbies and interests.
My name is Masha and I am 17 years old. I’m in 11th grade and expect to be a professional animator in the future. I like animals because they have so many expressions and various looks. Of course, I love to draw. I have loved drawing since I was a little kid. Animation as an art form excited me because it means many possibilities and stories.
Geckos are not common creatures we see every day, so why do you pick it as the character for your animation, Gecko Party?
First of all – I liked reptiles and I find geckos especially funny and adorable. I also wanted to challenge myself at character design. I wanted my characters to be expressive yet still recognized as reptiles.
Moreover, I have a leopard gecko as a pet. His name is Zahar and he has been living with us for more than two years now. The yellow gecko in my animation was inspired by Zahar, and I am very thankful to him!
The judges liked the storyline and the character designs. Can you share how you planned the storyline with the readers? Did you do any survey for your characters?
The idea came to me suddenly. It was actually a common story setting about what animals were up to while humans were not around. However, I usually see this kind of stories about cats, dogs, or birds, because they are more common pets. I decided to illustrate reptiles instead of these common pets.
Reptiles are such shy and quiet creatures. They usually hide in their tanks. I wondered what would happen if they were left alone and had the freedom to do whatever they want. Also, I added a chameleon. Its emotionless face contracted to the party geckos, the contract made the animation more fun.
What’s the most challenging part of creating the Gecko Party? How did you overcome this challenge?
One of the most challenging parts was drawing running reptiles because they don’t run like that in real life. To be more comfortable with this, I did a lot of sketches based on the reference. I also spent a lot of time doing background and lining. These are not my favorite parts of animating, but they are necessary and a helpful practice. I would say patience and helped me to overcome the challenges when making this animation.
Tell us about your first experience animating. How did you get started? Are there any tools or tips you want to share with the readers?
I made my first animation when I was about 10 years old. It was a stop motion. My dad helped me set the camera and I moved pieces of plasticine and took pictures. My parents gave me a graphics tablet later, so I started drawing animations on the computer.
If you want to try to make your own animations, you don’t need an expensive camera or computer programs. You can use just your phone, tablet, or graphics tablet instead. In my opinion, references (photos, videos, animation sheets) help me improve my animation.
Watch different types of animations and choose what you like. Remember the 12 principles of animation, plan your project, and most of all, find something that inspires you.
While using the Animation Desk, did you find any features particularly useful? If you have any suggestions for the app, please let us know.
Animation Desk has a lot of advantages. The most useful features for me are the friendly interface and the flexibility to set up any FPS. When I start an animation, I prefer using low FPS. It’s easier for me to control the timing and set up keyframes.
Can you recommend some of your favorite animations?
If you like to watch animation series, I would recommend Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Over the garden wall. The web series, like Bee and PuppyCat might be interesting to some of you. If you prefer animated films, I think The Fox and the Hound, The Land Before Time, Spirited away and WALL-E are good animations.
Pets are the muses for many artists, and this reminds us imagination can start anywhere. We also agree with Masha, and believe getting started with animation should be easy and affordable. Download Animation Desk (iOS, Android, Windows) and start with the free plan. Create amazing stories and unleash your creativity!
Also published on Medium.