I’m excited! It’s finally time to share my newest feature called How Did You Do That? This series will revolve around makers and how they create the things we love. It comes from both a curious and selfish place, because when I look at an illustration, I often wonder how it was made. Don’t you? For the first installment of How Did You Do That?, illustrator Nancy Liang shares how she creates her beautifully spooky GIFs. She also gives some great advice for aspiring animators!
So, without further ado, here’s my interview with Nancy!
Brown Paper Bag: What’s the first step of creating your GIFs? What type of drawing materials do you use, and how do get your images on the screen?
Nancy Liang: I begin with sketches first. They start rather loosely but become more defined as I use them as a guide when I collage. Sometimes my final work will not look exactly like my sketches — a few things may be missing or changed.
NL (answered continued): If it is an animated piece I have to think about what I need to animate before I start. I write a lot of notes and use a checklist. For me the animation process must be very organized and controlled. The process is very close to that of traditional animation. The background is usually a static handmade and/or hand drawn piece and what I choose to move is separated into layers and placed over the background. I will then scan all my layers into my computer, arrange them in Photoshop and then start to animate.
I use lots of kraft paper and discarded card. If I ever use color I make my own textures by painting, using markers, pastels etc. I use a range of graphite pencils ranging from 9H to 9B.