Friday, August 11, 2017

Overview of the class & teacher.   
This is a drawing class. It is based on old school, 2D animation and the principles that are its foundation. This is NOT a 3D, cgi class. We will not be animating with computers, but we will USE computers to record our drawings as motion pictures or "movies". It is also not a "masterclass" taught by a "master animator". I studied Walt Disney's lectures and movies as a child that were on Disney's TV show, "Walt Disney Presents". I grew up watching TV cartoons after school, enjoying Loony Tunes, Hanna/Barbera, & U.P.A. My Bachelor Of Arts degree in Animated Cinema was earned at San Francisco State University in the 1970s. I then won a Fulbright Award to do work/study at the Zagreb-Film Animation Studio in former Yugoslavia, with Oscar-nominated directors like Dragic, Grgic, Vukotic (Oscar winner),  & Gasparovic.
 I am a very experienced professional animator who has worked in Hollywood,  at the Zagreb Film Studio in Europe, and all over the San Francisco Bay Area as a freelance animator-for-hire. My birthplace and background is the San Francisco Bay Area in California. I have traveled all over Europe, to Japan, Mexico, & Canada, and now live in Oakland with my wife and our 5 cats. 
This animation class teaches how to draw for animation at the beginning levels. We start at the beginning, with the basics of the line, the 4 basic forms, and the line of action, and work our way up from there. Exercises have clear visual guidelines and references for students to follow to learn exactly how to animate by drawing. The principles of animation as taught by Disney greats Frank & Ollie are behind all the movement. We also study and use the Laws of Physics, especially regarding weight, gravity, and momentum. Exercises include moving objects, such as bowling balls and soap bubbles, natural phenomena such as rain, wind, and smoke, plus the movements of human beings.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

NEW class: Animation Drawing: 1st semester.
Saturdays,  9 am-1 pm Room A153 
Graphic Arts Department,  Laney College.
No prerequisite. An interest in drawing art, comics, graphics, film, or cartoons is all you need.
Bring an open, curious mind and prepare to enjoy learning all about the exciting world of animation!

NEW animated drawing class in August 2017 !

Animator Tony Claar, with 35 years of professional  experience, will offer lessons
 in drawing and digital animation at Laney College in Oakland this Fall starting August 26, Saturday.
The class will cover fundamentals and techniques
of drawing, timing, and animating. The software is Digicel Flipbook
If you are interested & want to know more about my class, contact me:

or text me:  510-604-3088. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Animation School Syllabus - The Course Outline

Animation School by ClaarToons -- Syllabus

 Beginning level revised  August 2017.  Originally written 10/14/15.                                                                 Teacher: Tony Claar,

Here is the class, in syllabus form. A more detailed explanation of the week-by-week schedule can be found under the tab "Week-by-Week Schedule: an approximate calendar" tab near the top of the page.

Drawing exercises will apply the 12 fundamental traditional animation principles from the Walt Disney Studio. Students will also learn professional animation software, Digicel Flipbook.  These timeless principles were discovered by the animators at Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s & apply to any kind of animation today: clay, drawing, cut-outs, pixels, or "pixelation"; humans frame-by-frame

Definition: Animation is:motion pictures created frame-by-frame over time & through space .
Guideline: Technology changes constantly, the principles of art & animation never change.(Tom Sito)

Drawing Animation: Beginning Materials:
1. Pencils designed for animation: Col-erase blue or red.  HB or no. 2 black pencil.
2. Punched animation paper: 8.5 x 11", 500 sheets, Professional  grade: at Cartoon Colour: $18.
    Professional punched animation paper: 10.5 x  12.5", 500 sheets, $75.
3. Animation software: Digicel Flipbook:
4. Plastic peg bar for animation paper registration;
5. Light table with plastic or glass & light bulb, area to tape down peg bar.
6. OR Wacom electronic tablet & pen.
7. Scanner for recording animated drawings into software.
8. OR  webcam or video camera.

After this class you will be able to animate on paper, or inside a 2D software app like Flipbook.

30 Exercises Total (Students can do at least 20 exercises (2 per week), depending on time and progress:
1. Timing in daily life: How much time does it take for you to do something?
--1. creating x-sheets; chopstick or straw (light) For a pipe (heavy object)
--2.  How do characters, objects, things move?
--3. Introduction to Flipbook
2. Working with Lines, straight & curved:
--1. Animate a light object falling (pencil, straw, or chopstick) (light)
--2. A cannon ball falling (heavy, with impact V.E.)
--3. A tennis ball bounces (medium, flexible)
3. Working with Shapes, the 4 basic forms:
--1. Sphere, cube, cylinder and cone; draw each keeping volume consistent
--2. Create an animation in which one shape bounces off another
--3. Create an animation in which one shape crushes or breaks another
4. The Wave Principle: These are cycles that repeat drawings in loops.
--1. Animate seaweed
--2. A balloon (or bubble) floats then pops!
--3. A cat or dog waves tail
--4. A flag waves in the wind.
5. Eyes & Emotions:
--1. Make a set of eyes express an emotion
--2. Another emotion, add eyebrows, experiment with timing
--3. Two sets of eyes react with each other
6. Heads & Expressions:
--1. Create a character head, animate all elements of the face
--2. Another version, with different attitude, tone, nose, other variables
7. Mouths & Dialogue:
--1. Make or find a short recording of 1 person talking.(about 2-5 seconds)
--2. Animate a mouth speaking it
--3. Change your animation drawings to change the emotion (but not the track)
8.  Hands & Arms: Motion
--1. A character waves
--2. Waving with their entire arm.
9. The Body & Poses
--1. Use the entire body, striking different postures (from one point to the other)
--2. Your character sits down and relaxes.
--3. Your character sits and crosses his/her legs
10. The Walk Cycle. Design a simple stick figure.
--1. Draw simple legs walking in (2) drawings (simplest).
--2. Draw simple legs walking in (4) drawings (medium)
--3. Draw simple legs walking in (8) drawings (advanced)
--4. Add a body on top of stick figure on a higher level.

Homework (while not required, I may ask to see your work outside the exercises from time to time. Practice and constant thinking about animation will make you a better animator!)
1. Timing exercises from your daily life: Time:
--1. estimate
--2. Actual
--3. Difference.
2. Drawing practices for professional animators:
--1. rough
--2. clean up and
3. Drawing practice
--1. straight
--2. curved
--3. wavy lines
4. Drawing the four basic forms of art in motion while maintaining the volume.
5. Character design of your choice. It must be simple in design, not complicated.
6. “Eye Story” storyboard of your original story about two pairs of eyes interacting.
7. Film study: Chuck Jones: “Extremes and In-betweens”.”The Dot and the Line”.

Grading is optional for this On Line Course. Most "classroom" interactions will be over email and occasional phone calls and screen-share sessions as needed. Your enthusiasm, timely submission of exercises, and curiosity about the process and your progress counts more than anything!

If you want grades, I will give them.
Roughly, I'm judging your participation by the following: Attendance/timeliness in responses: 25%; "Classroom" participation/engagement: 25%; Homework (or evidence of having done homework): 25%; Submitted exercises: 50%. Yes, that adds up to more than 100%. I'm not a mathematician.

Totals: Appropriate progress or percentage near the top=A, less enthusiastic progress or participation=a lower grade. We will be talking throughout the class and know where we stand at all times.

Books you should be familiar with: 
Strongly recommended:
1. Animation 1 by Preston Blair. This is a famous book for students of animation drawing.
2. Timing For Animation by John Halas. Focal Press, 2nd edition.

* Supplies are available at Cartoon Colour (Culver City, Ca)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

for Lesson 1: The 4 Basic Forms; Demonstrating Their Use in a Landscape

The 4 Basic Forms are the building blocks for all design. Cezanne, the father of modern art, stated," "With these 4 basic forms I can design anything". Here are some examples of objects I drew which are designed with each of the 4 forms:

Notice how a landscape can be build with these shapes. Which shapes form which objects ? :

Monday, June 27, 2016

for Lesson 2: Timing Charts for a Pencil Falling: Map the Force of Gravity

This first page shows how different objects fall; the only real difference is how long it takes and the space the object covers when it falls (is it a tall redwood tree (100s of feet) or a chopstick (6 inches)?):

This next chart is non-specific; just a general chart to show the process. Each line indicates the exact place where an image (in this case a pencil) will be drawn. Draw one pencil on one piece of paper. 7 pages, 7 pencils. Each pencil is drawn in a  new location, so that the sequence of images will then create "animation". This is a trick of the eye, known as the "persistence of vision". They are actually single images which together form a "motion picture". That is, pictures in motion, also called a "movie"!
This is a chart for a pencil falling. Draw only the straight line first, NOT a pencil or straw. Test the drawings in Flipbook to see the "movie" , that is, the movement. This is called a "pencil test". After you see that the motion works, you can draw a pencil or straw ON TOP of the line you drew, then scan those drawings into Flipbook. I will give you a demo of Flipbook when you are ready.
It can vary from 7 to 10 drawings. The pencil is a light object. Maybe leave out  #2 also: not so much "ease in" is needed. Maybe leave out #9 for a heavier impact to the ground.
The straw below is super light, so 5 or 6 drawings, at the most, will work. Follow the chart.