Cleaning House & Not Cleaning Animation

My fascination with hoarders is limitless. I could watch the TV show all day, just to see the cleaned up version at the end. I am quite an organized artist, and often need to clean my whole studio before I paint or start a project. Because of this, I sometimes have difficulty starting projects, because I will have to do a clean up first, depending on the state of my art studio, and who wants to do that, amirite? BLAH!

Guess who’s Mrs. Johansen. It’s me. Hahaha

So it is with the studio, so it is with life. Sometimes you have physical clutter, and sometimes you have mental clutter, and you need to CLEAN HOUSE! Yeah I’m going back to talking about FOCUS here! FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS! When you sent your mind on the prize there will be all sorts of obstacles that will pop up. And these have NOTHING to do with art! They are things that happen in your life that are out of your control, relationships with people, and the tasks we take on. As an over achiever, I tend to relish in taking on more and more, without cessation, no matter what the cost, I feel like I’m constantly having to prove that I CAN.

Yeah yeah, who cares, what does all this have to do with your film? OK, I’m getting to that-calm down! (See! I gotta get some of these out of my brain). Well, when I’m thinking about all this other crap, it takes away the focus! What is important? Here’s a picture of some trees and a fox walking to tide you over:

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As I was working on this BG, when I took away the ground it looked really drippy, and surreal.
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Owl flying down from Bird’s eye view perspective. I thought it looked cool showing all the frames at once to see the spiral, as the spiral is a repeated shape in my film.
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I took a screen cap of this walk cycle as well with all the frames, FOXX following a path

Is this important? or not important? sometimes hard questions to answer. I have felt the need to declutter. So what is not important must go! That doesn’t mean I am becoming single minded in animating, just that there were a bunch of little things that I was giving more of my time than they deserved.  I am finally starting to feel like I am leveling out in the balance. Life is a precarious balancing act, and sometimes the balance is way off and you need to shift things or get rid of them all together if they are going to make you fall! It is OK to let things go. I have found that even some of the things I was clutching tightly to, can be let go, and the consequences were not as bad as I imagined. Just like those hoarders who want to keep cat shit covered newspapers to read for later, so were some of the things in my life. Put it all outside, and see what you want to let back in. Hopefully it’s not shit covered. But let’s be real, most of it is shit. Leave it outside.

MY BRAIN-So many colors, I want to keep them all!!!! Where is my film? WAAAAAAYYYYY over there in the corner by the cat shit.

So I’ve been animating away, and cleaning house, and NOT CLEaNING animation! I am going full rough with my short and even going back and adding more rough lines. Now, I am still following a process. to show really rough animation would probably be unreadable, especially the way I do it! very messy. So I am doing a second pass to add details and tighten up lines, but I do not want to have a refined commercial line. So then there is another pass to re-rough it up-I know-What is wrong with me? I am cleaning up a mess only to fancifully mess it up again? YES. It’s what I want to do, and it’s cool! I wanna do what I want to do!!! hahaha I am spoiled. but, this to me, is actually easier and not as hard on my brain as thinking about this idea of a cleaned up line, and having to make sure it’s perfect a million times over for each frame. No thanks.

So there. I just want to do what I want to do. I don’t want to answer to anyone. I want to give my time to the things that are important to me and the people who are important to me, and I just have to say NO to the rest. So here’s some animation:


Opportunity. It is in the most extreme of times that we can find inspiration in our lives. One of the things that led me to writing my short film idea, was a very low period in my life. I kept thinking about these sad things that had happened, until I started thinking about them in metaphors and changing the story in my head. That idea of changing the story helped me to step back from something I was very close to and to be able to express it in a different way. Now as I make this film inspired by my own sadness, I am also learning to give into sadness, to see where it takes me for a while.

This probably sounds very weird, and psychotic, and no, I am not wallowing in sadness, truly. What I have done though, is try to think about my feelings when I am feeling them and how I could express them in a different way later. I write things down or just think. (Right now, it is usually still about foxes, but that may change, for now it is working). From this, I have the beginnings of 2 shorts and another full script.  If I hadn’t been at a weird sad point in my live, nothing would have changed. But it did change, and it changed really truly for the better. There was a lot of risk involved and still is I guess, there is no opportunity without risk, and so sometimes you just have to leap.

Follow my production blog or like me on FB for more production stuff about my animated short and my steady decline into the abyss of creativity.


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