Monday, February 3, 2014

Words of Wisdom from Tristan the Disney 2d Animator

So last week I had the insane privilege of sitting down to tea and a chat with Tristan, a friend and colleague who was kind enough to share some of his wisdom with me. Tristan mentioned that he never went to school for animation , but picked up most of his know-how from working in the field, making his way from an in-betweener to a key animator at Disney in Australia . The best part is that the skills that Tristan has (2d animation) are almost impossible to acquire these days (VERY few schools teach 2d animation anymore), so this kind of ensures that demand is always greater than supply, and that his skillets are almost always in demand. If you would like to be totally humbled , Tristan's work can be seen here -

The essence of our conversation had to do with how its more important to capture the gesture , spirit, energy and life of a pose, than to get all the details. Its better to have a messy drawing that's full of energy and life, than a neat one that's very stiff and boring. That being said, aim to draw loose, fast and gestural.

What makes a good drawing?
  1. Silhouette
  2. Line of Action
  3. Asymmetry
  4. Variety of Shapes: S,M,L
  5. Decide on a focal point
  6. Avoid Parallels, instead use Straights vs Curves
  7. Keep the negative space interesting
  8. Always flip your drawing to reveal its weak spots 
Thanks so much Tristan!

With all these thought still fresh in my mind, I went off to the Art Students League for a quick sketch session...


  1. Great post! I think the address is 'kifnetic'. He seems so down to earth and so into the craft and artistry of what he does which is amazing and rare. He sounds very ego free and like a great mentor *cough cough* LOL.

  2. Right you are my dear! Thank you so much, I updated the link so now it actually works! (He showed it to me on my cell phone so I must not have remembered the address correctly..doh!)

    And yes, Tristan is all of those things! I'm going to continue to hit him up for advice, he's very humble and seemed to actually enjoy sharing his knowledge! I feel quite lucky to have him as a friend!