I have a step by step tutorial available to show the basics of how how I draw, ink and colour an image from start to finish. You can check that out on my deviantart page here! :Part one:  :Part two:

RESOURCE LINKS (recommended for artists and enthusiasts)

The following is a compilation of websites I've found inspiring and helpful in my on-going journey to become the artist I want to be. New links will be added as I find them!:

http://pinterest.com/characterdesigh/ Tons of reference for character design for humans and animals.

http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/ "Learn to create and monetize your creator owned comics" great tips from comic artist Lora Innes and comic artist/Disney illustrator Chris Oatley.

ChrisOatley.com  Disney character designer answers your questions about Concept Art and Illustration. Helpful how-to tips and artist interviews.

http://www.schoolism.com/interviews.php Interviews with animators, comic artists, and illustrators (oh my!)

http://cinemosaic.blogspot.com/ Film stills from visually striking movies.

http://sevencamels.blogspot.com/ Informative blog by Disney story artist Mark Kennedy.

http://livlily.blogspot.com/ Production art, pencil tests and documentaries from feature films and television series.

http://guyswithpencils.tumblr.com/ Adam and Andrew are recent Sheridan grads who interview professional animators, comic artists and video game creators. They also talk about their own experiences in school and daily life in the animation industry. Great stuff!

http://www.workmadeforhire.net/ Katie Lane gives good creative business advice for creative people.

(more to come!)

The following is a compilation of questions I am often asked. All answers are strictly my own opinion based on my own experience... hope it helps!


Do you draw digitally or on paper?
I tend to draw 90% digitally (I doodle in my sketchbook when out and about but most of my comics/art is sketched digitally). See my drawing tutorial for a detailed breakdown of my process.

What program do you draw with?

Any advice to someone learning to draw?
Draw often, draw lots. Draw from life, study the masters, copy the masters to learn (not steal!) from their techniques. I used to fill sketchbooks as a kid copying art I liked from books and freeze-framing videos. Check out the above links.


Where did you go to school? 
Sheridan College; I attended the last of the 3 year classical-animation diploma program (before it became a degree). I met some incredible people there, whose dandy art blogs and websites you can check out in my blog links.

Aw, cool! I’m interested in getting into animation. Can you give me advice on where I should go to college?
Eeeeeeeh... I’m really not qualified to give anyone life-altering guidance-councilor advice, but I’ll try to give you some pointers. Sheridan worked for me; I had a lot of fun and learned a whole bunch, and the teachers and facilities were awesome. One of the major factors in applying there was because it was pretty close to where I lived at the time (I didn’t really want to leave home for college/university) so it was the only animation school I had my sites set on. That being said, I can only speak from experience of the classical-diploma program, I don’t really know much about the new classical/computer degree program. I have heard good things though!

A great site to check out is the Animation World Networks school data base. It has detailed listings of over 900 schools in 54 countries, and what animation courses they offer. Super cool beans!

You’d be best to go to a school that teaches computer software (keeps on top of what the industry is using) as the majority of the television industry doesn’t do much classical these days and opts for flash/harmony/toon-boom animation (it’s cheaper for the studios and keeps work in-house rather than going over seas). Keep in mind I’m speaking from an Ontario, Canada experience.

Is animation a good major/career and is it worth it? Is it only for people who can draw well? And should I go into computer animation since it is currently in high demand, or should I stick with going into traditional two-dimensional animation?

I'd say... if you want to make a living working in the commercial side of animation (not specifically making commercials, but like regular kids animated tv shows) having the ability to work digitally is huge advantage. In Canada (Ontario especially as that's my area of experience) there's a big need for 2d flash animators and 3d computer animators, and only one or two studios do classical animation and that is for small specific projects like a commercial and not for full series work. 

I'd say, if you love classical animation, do that on the side by making independent films, like the film maker Nick Cross (he works full time as a board artist for tv shows, and during his free time on his own films).

Do you need to draw well? Well, it definitely helps, but it isn't necessary for Flash animation or 3D animation. If you were interested in storyboarding I'd say "definitely" but digital animation is alot more forgiving as long as you have a good sense of acting, posing and appeal.

I'm applying to an animation college right now! Can you give me some tips on how to do my portfolio?
Um... don't leave it to the last minute like I did? Other than "do your best!" there isn't much advice I can give. Requirements change year to year and what they're looking for now in a portfolio isn't necessarily the same things they were looking for when I was applying. Here are two pieces I submitted in my portfolio: This one was for a storyboard requirement with the theme "What will you do after graduation?" and this  was submitted for the "include 2 of your own pieces" part of the portfolio.

I just graduated from animation college and am looking for work. Any tips on how to get into a studio?
I suggest applying to as many places as possible, so that even if you have to turn down a few they'll still have your information on file. Figure out what kind of work you'd be best at (are you a good character designer? Awesome at storyboards? Better at animating effects than characters?) and tailor your portfolio/demo reel to showcase those talents. OH and keep your demo reel to no more than 2 minutes and put the absolute best stuff first. You've got to expect that the person watching it has seen hundreds of reels and is tired and busy and wants any excuse to turn your reel off SO give them a reason to keep watching for just a little longer! Same goes for a paper portfolio, though with that I've heard you should keep your best stuff first, and your 2nd best last so that the client feels you have a consistent skill level and not that you wobble off in quality towards the end. 3rd best goes... in the middle! So you have a tasty portfolio sandwich.

The Animation World Network site has a forum for job searching, just enter what your looking for and where you live and it should bring up a list of possible studios and positions you can apply for. 
ALSO! Don't turn your nose up at a position in an animation studio or on a project you might not love. What you need to do now is get your foot in the door, better jobs will come later as you prove yourself capable of them.

Where have you worked? What are you doing now? 
I'm currently employed full time as a freelance storyboard artist on "Wild Kratts" season 3.
My full list of tv animation credits include:

Wild Kratts (seasons 1, 2 and 3) Jhonny Test (seasons 4, 5 and 6), Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, GrojBand, Mia and Me, Super Why, Iggy Arbuckle, The Secret World of Benjamin Bear (season 3), Carl Squared (season 1), Caillou (season 3)

I see... that’s cool. But I don’t really want to work in television, I want to work on animated feature films. Any advice? 
Nope! But when you get in could you maybe drop a nice word in for me with your director? I’d love to storyboard on a feature film some day! :)

What do you use to draw with? 
Recently I've really taken to using brush and ink on bristol for my work. I've got a tutorial outlining my step by step process for how I create an illustration over on my deviantart. Computer wise, I use Photoshop CS and a Cintiq. Before that I used a wacom tablet, I personally recommend intuos over graphire, as intuous is a sturdier professional grade device, and my old graphires kept getting weird and gittery which I suspect was due to radio waves or something equally invisible and annoying. 

What programs do you storyboard with?
I've worked in photoshop, sketchbook pro and toonboom storyboard. Each has its pros and cons but for ease of organisation ToonBoom Storyboard is currently my favourite.

Can I interview you? 
Sure can! I can be reached at shanahan.katie(at)gmail(dot)com

Can I interview you for my school assignment? 
If it's for your own curiosity or for a school-interview assignment please carefully read my FAQ here FIRST so that you don't ask anything I've already covered, and please give me plenty of time to respond. I'm happy to answer questions just not when it's "OMG, I need to interview you for a project that's due in one hour, please fill this out right now!!!!"

Can you critiq my gallery for me PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?
I honestly do not have any time to do this. Your best bet is to ask your art teacher if you have one, set your comments on DA to critiq-requested OR if you go to a comic convention usually there are portfolio critiques where you show your work to a pro and get honest feedback.

Can you draw (insert thing) for me? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?
Mmmm no. Come on now, I'm a pretty busy gal and if I'm going to draw for fun then I'm going to draw something I want to draw. Also, drawing is my livelihood, so asking me to draw something for free is like going up to a carpenter and saying "Hmm, I like what you do here. Can you make me a chair for free PLZPLZPLZ!??1" It's just kind of... not going to happen.

Well then, can I commission you to draw (insert thing) for me?
At the moment I'm pretty swamped with work and cannot take on personal commissions.

When are you updating Shrub Monkeys again? 
I really miss drawing them, but while I'm working full time in animation I haven't found much free time to work on them. Once I'm able to get faster at work-work I do want to go back and make more, so they're not finished for good! Just on hiatus.

... Potterific? 
It was fun while it lasted but I won't be making any more, lots of new projects to draw!

Say, are you the same Kt Shy that drew that Shigure fanart in the Fruits Basket manga? 
Yup! That's me. It's kinda funny because the editors write that I've "Disney-fied" him, where as most american-style animators who look at my style (at least at the time) classified me as doing "that japanese anime stuff." Guess I'm stuck somewhere inbetween.
p.s. It's in book #6 with Momiji on the cover for those who want specifics!

Why didn’t you respond to me??? 
I’m sorry! I’m so very grateful to all of you for stopping by and checking out my work. If I could freeze time and respond to everyone of you I would (actually if I could freeze time I’d probably do a lot of things...) but I spend 46+ hours a week staring at a monitor so I can’t really bring myself to do so too often in my free time (brain would surely explode). If you email me directly I will get back to you. If I haven’t please let me know and I’ll check back through the emails, sometimes I miss a few, I’m really lucky to get so many from you guys. Again, thank you so much!

Any advice? Drawing tips? 
Flip your drawings or hold them up to a mirror so you can better see any strange proportions or skewing that needs to be fixed. A major tip is that you should do your best to carry a sketchbook around with you all the time. Use it to draw buildings, people, interesting clothes, faces, ideas, whatever you like, but keep practicing and keep drawing. Also, don't be discouraged by failure, learn from it! Don't be afraid to try something different!

Also, while drawing and animating is awesome, be sure to be happy and do some other things too, don't immerse yourself too heavily in work as you might burn out and feel a bit like you're missing out on life. All things in balance, folks!