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Posted on Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Dave!For as long as I can remember, I've been in love with animation. When done well, it's an art-form that's in a class all its own. The problem is that creating good animation is incredibly difficult. Every second of the project takes anywhere from 8 to 24 drawings, and each of those drawing "frames" has to transition perfectly from one to the next in order to look smooth and natural.

Sure there are computer programs that can help with some of that, but there are certain kinds of movement which look best when hand-animated, and there are no shortcuts that will give you good results. When I decided to create a monthly animated cartoon program called "Dave's Bad-Ass Blogography Show," I did not know this. I thought I could create a few simple images, shove them into the computer, and have perfect animation pop out. Sadly, this was not at all the case, and it will be a while before I have time to devote to a show like that.

In the meanwhile, I still have an overwhelming desire to create a cartoon of my own.

So I decided to animate a short music video. Nothing fancy, just a simple exercise to find out what it takes to have Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey running around doing crazy stuff for 3-1/2 minutes. As of today, I have been putting in two hours every night for over a week and have completed a total of 10 seconds. It would appear that even a simple music video is exceedingly time consuming and difficult.

I don't plan on posting any footage I've created until the project is done, but I do have a couple test shots I worked on a few months ago while I was story-boarding. The very first thing I animated was a jumping monkey (which I used here). After that, I wanted to do something more complicated and created a disco monkey...


He's not bad, but his left arm has some freaky jumps going on and his right hand needs to be doing something. A month after that, I was tired of monkeys and had moved on to something a bit trickier (which is here).

About a week after that, I worked on a "raise the roof" move for Lil' Dave...


This was the first piece of footage that I was fairly happy with, and the first bit to actually end up in the video (all two seconds of it). It's only eight frames, but took three hours to finish.

Tonight I plan to take a break from the tedium of animating characters and work on backgrounds. The video has eighteen locations (so far) and every one of theme needs to be drawn. I have no idea how long that's going to take.

Why couldn't I be obsessed with something easy?

Categories: DaveToons 2006, TooncastingClick To It: Permalink


  1. jodi says:

    you could try World of Warcraft…

    but your obsession is far more artistic and creative. stick with it i say!

  2. Rick says:

    There was a time when I wanted to be a Disney animator. That was before I found out I’d have to move to Korea.

  3. The Chad says:

    you have way more patience (and talent for that matter) than I ever could. I think I need to get off photoshop and start learning illustrator.

  4. Laurence says:

    It is a very great piece of work. I like very much the TravoltaMonkey! I like animation too and it is a real pleasure of discovering what you did. (My bee is ridiculous compared with your TravoltaMonkey…)

    Oh… and why you’re not obsessed with something easy? The answer is in the question… You would not have started a project if there were no challenge to take up!

  5. yellojkt says:

    What a glutton for punishment. Now you know why the credits for a cartoon are longer than the show itself.

  6. diane says:

    I’m (not surprisingly) with Laurence–if it were easy, you would not be interested! It’s a wonderful thing to seek to conquer the maddest challenge.
    And TravoltaMonkey cracked me up, even more than my initial uncontrollable giggling over Lil’ Dave Raising the Roof.
    Kapgar, I think we should take Dave to Berlin (for the non-Chicagoans, crazy dance club where many drunken adventures have ended in both fun and disaster) here in Chicago so that he can show off his REAL dance moves. 😉

  7. kilax says:

    I think that most of the things we become obssessed with in life are difficult until we have been doing them for awhile. Right now, I am trying to learn Flash, and I really like it, but I feel like it is so difficult.

    Soon, you will have your great music video and we will all be applauding it!

  8. telly says:

    all the best dave! i work as a TVC producer and although animation is not exactly one of my favorite projects to work on (zzzzzz..), i have just as much excitement seeing the finished material just as i do with live action stuff 🙂

  9. sandra says:

    I love the “raising the roof” Dave. The closest I’ve ever gotten to animating anything involved one of those little flip books I made when I was a kid. So, you’re kicking my animation ass.

  10. kazza says:

    Can’t wait to see the finished product 🙂 hang in there 🙂

  11. I love your animations. I don’t know where you get the patience, but I’m glad you do. 😀

  12. Jenny says:

    I totally loved the gnats! And dance party blogography style is rockin’!

  13. Jill says:

    Lil’ Dave and Disco Monkey are great! I know the pain you are going through… I was toying with stop animation with my camera for a little bit, until I just didn’t have the time to put into it anymore.

    It *is* amazing when you actually see how much goes into only a few seconds of footage. I hope that you do stick with it – I would love to see your final product… I just know it’s going to be Dave-o-licious 🙂

  14. nancycle says:

    I think what you’ve done is great work Dave, you ought to be proud. I’m kinda jealous that you’re knowledgeable enough to have such a fun obsession. Can’t wait to see the backgrounds!

    My father worked for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for over thirty years. In the beginning he worked as a camera man and for fun once he created a short film shot frame by frame of a bird pulling a worm out of the ground. He described it as very tedious but the end result was great.

  15. Hilly says:

    Yes Dave, what she said… World of Warcraft so you can support my shoe habit ;). Hey, move here and work for Blizzard, LOL.

    Anyway, I love lil Dave raising the roof, yo!

  16. Kapha says:

    Great stuff! Keep it up! 😀

    TravoltaMonkey! I love it, Laurence! 😀

    Perhaps you’ll just have to rent that movie again… 😉

  17. diane says:

    Ha!! I was listening to Moby’s “Lift Me Up” while popping back over here, and the dancing goes PERFECTLY. Oh man, that alone was worth coming back for.
    I also just noticed how we can see Lil’ Dave’s tummy because his arms are raised. Too cute. 🙂

  18. Jeff says:

    The very first computer program I ever wrote was a dancing daisy (in BASIC) when I was young. I thought for sure I was going to be a world famous animation programmer. Somehow my career took a turn toward business applications instead and here I sit today still writing RPG code 20 years later. *sigh*

  19. rae says:

    haha! i was just listening to that song that goes “everybody dance now!” when i read this and bad monkey and lil dave are dancing!

  20. Dann says:

    Hey Dave. well, i was looking at a L.A. TV schedule from 1950, and noticed it said “The Betty White Show.” so i did a search on Betty White, and found out she was gorgeous when she was young, a model in fact. then, the search eventually took me to good ol’ blogography –
    (you can thank betty white for your boost in 36,000 unique visitors this month).

    anyways, i, too, love animation. if you ever want some help or do a cartoon together or just bounce ideas off, let me know. you have some really good characterizations of Lil’ Dave.

    this drawing was one i did for my site.

    anyways, you have a good site going.
    plenty of success to you 🙂


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