500 Sheets

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By Deepti Menon, Art Prof Teaching Assistant

During my junior year as a Film/Animation/Video student, I took a year-long animation course. Prior to this, I had taken the required introductory animation class, but this intermediate course was when I really discovered a new way to think.

Coming into this major, I had no prior experience animating, but knew it was a magical thing that I wanted to do. My prior artistic experiences and processes always involved a lot of meticulous planning and reworking of a single image until I saw it done. Additionally, my exposure to animation was pretty basic – character-based work with clean lines and seamlessly fluid movement. Therefore, this is how I approached my animations. I placed a lot of thought into creating the characters and story line and spent a ton of time on the details of each frame.

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However, this all changed during one day of this intermediate animation course. My professor gave us each 500 sheets of printer paper and set a timer for an hour. We weren’t given any light boxes or ways to see our progress, just the paper and our pens. Our only instruction was to finish animating the 500 pages before the timer was up. To me, this was absurd. I would usually complete five frames in an hour, maybe six. Realizing my usual methods were not going to cut it, I was forced to rethink what it meant to animate. By the end of the hour, I had create a frenzy of shapes and scribbles dancing across the white page. Watching the animation, I could see the points where panic set in and the decision-making unfold.

The animation wasn’t anything like I had made before. I was amazed. Primarily, I was amazed that I completed the task. However, I was also so drawn to how the animation embodied the pace and panic of the task itself. I found that watching my classmates also taught me a lot. One student penetrated the whole ream of paper with a sharp object, creating a hole in each piece of paper that varied slightly with each page. The variety in rips created a subtle yet stunning animation that reminded me a lot of an organism breathing. Another student allowed a marker to bleed through the entire ream of paper, creating a stunning transition of ink blots transitioning and fading. I was drawn to the simplicity of these ideas and how they can create connotations with such minimal imagery.

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Although my final product wasn’t something I was going to submit to film festivals, it changed the way I approached my ideas and the process of animation, paying more attention to how an artistic process can inform the content behind it. I also began to see how beneficial it was to challenge yourself with something like a time restraint. This led me to create another animation, “Shell”, where I had a time restraint and had to create movement from a static object.

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to art education for people of all ages and means.

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Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.


Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.

Make Your Art a Necessity

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by Deepti Menon

One of my greatest struggles as an artist has been staying motivated to create my own artwork while balancing all my other responsibilities. I’d always hoped that chunks of free time would be an opportunity to just create anything and everything.

However, jobs, internships, or just day-to-day activities were exhausting. Working on personal projects would just frustrate me more. My mind was in so many different places, so I would end up just staring at the paper or craving something less stressful. This became cycle of continuous frustration.

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During my time in art school, I had a professor who always emphasized the importance of working on bits of our projects everyday, rather than all at once. She emphasized the importance of working daily, making it a routine we cannot avoid. Recently, I was reminded of this important lesson through Art Prof itself!

Having recently graduated, “real-life” responsibilities started to consume my time and my art was left behind. That is until I saw Art Prof teaching assistant Lauryn Welch’s Art Hack video in which she explains how one should treat their art like hygiene – a daily necessity. If I can allot time each day to brush my teeth, shower, etc., I should do so with my art. After seeing Lauryn’s video, I started forcing myself to do something creative for at least 15 minutes a day. No rules, just create.

I started doing a rapid-fire doodle marathon right before bed, or I would take reference photographs on my walk to work. Waiting for bread to toast or pasta to boil became a creative opportunity. I brought my sketchbook everywhere and started finding inspiration in everything. Working daily in small amounts was so much easier to do, and there was no pressure.

The best thing about these quick spurts of creation is that I would forget about it afterwards. I’d place these creative moments between two tasks, or during a longer activity. By doing this, I wouldn’t have that much time to spend on each creation and, afterwards, I couldn’t dwell on what I wasn’t happy with. However, when I wanted to sit down and spend most of the day working on my artwork, I had an arsenal of ideas I could revisit. This process really validated my ideas as well; when I revisited my sketchbook, I saw what I was capable of doing in such a short amount of time, creating excitement, confidence, and inspiration to move forward.

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I realized that just making work and exploring ideas was more important than worrying about the end-product. I was able to just play around and put anything in my head onto paper, which was so informative when tackling larger projects.

Integrating the creative process into my daily life, making it a part of my daily routine, took off the pressure of making something “good”, it just forced me to create.

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to high quality art education for people of all ages and means. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter hit its $30k goal on July 19, 2016.  Get info on our early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

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Crit Quad #2: Watercolor Figure Painting

Crit Quad of a watercolor figure painting by Nitya. Art critiques by Prof Clara Lieu and Art Prof Teaching Assistants Alex Rowe, Deepti Menon, and Yves-Olivier Mandereau.


Related Videos
Youtube Playlist: Video Critiques on Art School Admissions Portfolios
Youtube Playlist:  Crit Quickies, 1 min. critiques on artworks
Crit Quad #2: Acrylic Portrait Painting


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to high quality art education for people of all ages and means. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter hit its $30k goal on July 19, 2016.  Get info on our early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB  Youtube   tumblr   Pinterest   LinkedIn   Instagram   Twitter   snap_chat  email  etsy

Crit Quickies are Back!

Crit Quickies was on temporary hiatus while we ran our Kickstarter campaign.  Now that the campaign is over, Crit Quickies are back!  Crit Quickies are 1 min. audio critiques on the Art Prof Instagram. Submit! Post your art on Instagram w/ @art.prof, & #critquickie. Watch more Crit Quickies in this playlist on our Youtube channel.

We accept submissions from artists in 8th grade and up. If you’re an art teacher, you’re welcome to submit on behalf of your students!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

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