Kaitlyn McCoy

2D Artist & Animator

New Blog/Website

This is likely the last post I will make at this blog as I have made a new website: kaitlynpolansky.com.

I may continue to use this blog in the future to post tutorials and my thoughts, but I don’t see that happening in the near future, if at all.

Thursday Afternoon Life Drawing

This past life drawing session was a good workout for me. It had been a while, but I still managed to turn out a few good ones.

Happy New Year!

2011 has been a very busy and very rewarding year. Since I don’t really have any new drawings ready to post, I will instead provide a photograph I took while vacationing in Florida.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

This is a piece I did a couple years ago for a calendar printed by the SIGGRAPH Club as part of a fundraiser. I had to make something for May. I used Illustrator to make certain it would look really clean, as if it was cut out of paper.

Friday Night Life Drawing

Yesterday, I attended another Open Life Drawing session at The Art Institute of Phoenix. This session I focused on forced perspective and more sitting poses. Since I usually do gestures, I forced myself to do 10-15 minute drawings this time (though one gesture still managed to sneak in). As usual I used graphite on plain ol’ sketch paper. I’m satisfied with the results, and I am looking forward to the next one!

Illustrator Live Trace

Please contact me for permission to use or duplicate.

This is a quick sketch I did not too long ago. I just decided to play around a little bit in Illustrator, and then I remembered this handy thing called Live Trace.

Take any reasonably clean drawing, scan it in (take it into Photoshop or another program to adjust the contrast to bring out your linework if necessary), then open it in Illustrator. I usually save my scans as a .png file that I can drag and drop into Illustrator. Once your drawing is in Illustrator, select it, go to Object>Live Trace>Tracing Options…

A window will open with a bunch of different number scrolls. From there it’s pretty easy to figure out what each one does, especially if you have the Preview box selected (although as a warning, it will take a long time to load if the file is highly detailed or of a large size). Then confirm your changes and enjoy your speedy clean artwork!

In the past, I have used Live Trace to clean up a run cycle animation, but given the inconsistencies in the line quality, I would suggest sticking to individual drawings/pieces of art that are small and not too detailed or at the very least fairly clean already.

You can continue to manipulate/color the image in Illustrator or you can save your sparkling clean outline as a .pdf and open it in Photoshop for further coloring and editng (granted it will no longer be vector-based, but it will definitely save time).

Anyway, I hope you found this post useful; even though I’m partly writing this just to have a new post on my blog and to show off my drawing. 🙂

Just a Little Something…


This image was taken from Posemaniacs.com

I just wanted to share a website called posemaniacs.com. This is an adequate substitute for life drawing.

One of the especially nice features of this website is the ability to practice drawing from randomized pictures using the 30 Second Drawing setting.

While I have sometimes found the muscle textures to be distracting, they can be useful, especially when trying to identify how the muscle structures work together.

So, if you don’t have access to life drawing classes and you want to hone your drawing skills, be sure to check it out.

Waking Sleeping Beauty

This Saturday I went to MadCap Theaters to go see a new movie called Waking Sleeping Beauty. It was a documentary about the animation department of the Disney company during the 1980’s. It spanned from the creation, release, and boxoffice failure of The Black Cauldron and ended with the monumental success of Beauty and the Beast. It was highly enjoyable as well as educational. I strongly recommend it to anyone that wants to know more about the history of animation.

Here is the trailer I found on youtube:

Status Update

I don’t really have anything significant to talk about today, just that I’m happily drawing again. It has been almost two weeks since I last felt at all motivated to put pencil to paper. I will refrain from delving any deeper into my personal life or my day-to-day experiences, as I assume they are of little interest to those who do not know me (and even to some who do).

Reading Exploring Drawing for Animation is going fairly well, by the end of today I hope to have reached Chapter 3. So far I have found that one thing that is unique to this drawing book is that it emphasizes technique and method as well as perspective, line quality and form. Exploring Drawing for Animation presents some helpful generalities such as using wrist and shoulder movements to produce curves, ovals, and ellipses (pg. 17). For this reason and many others, I highly recommend it.

I have also begun reading Acting for Animators. One interesting point it makes is that acting for animators is NOT the same as stage or film acting. This is a misconception I’ve had for some time. As a result, I’m looking forward to learning more about what animators should focus on when finding how convey emotion and thought through an animated character.

That’s all I have to discuss for now. Please leave a comment if you found this post interesting or helpful. Thanks.

Enriching Experience

One week after deciding to read The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams, I have finished it. It was a very informative and enjoyable undertaking. I only wish I had done it sooner.

The most interesting part was being able to draw connections between what Williams discusses in his book and his work on The Thief and the Cobbler. One thing in particular that Richard Williams says is “we should keep words to a bare minimum and make everything as clear as we can through pantomime” (Survival Kit, 324). The vast majority of The Thief and the Cobbler is pantomime. Williams also discusses Vincent Price‘s incredibly articulate voice and the fact you could over-animate to it and still have it look natural (Survival Kit, 306). Vincent Price voiced the evil Zig Zag, the main antagonist of The Thief and the Cobbler, who does have some incredible dialogue animation. All-in-all, the best part was reading about animation principles and techniques and seeing them put into action.

So, to anyone wanting to learn more about animation, I suggest a week-long study of The Animator’s Survival Kit, coupled with viewings of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Thief and the Cobbler. You should also watch Disney’s The Jungle Book, Bambi, and Tex Avery and Chuck Jones cartoons (basically, whatever is mentioned in the text). I also recommend looking into The Animator’s Survival Kit Animated which I do not own, but there is an amazing animated logo for this DVD series.

Right now, I’m debating about what I should read next. Probably, Exploring Drawing for Animation by Kevin Hedgpeth and Stephen Missal. I’ve started it a couple times and looked through it, but I think now is time to study it.