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  • Writer's picturesallymorrall


During the quarantine, I delved into the realm of animation to explore the fundamentals. 

My childhood was filled with animated treasures like Hey Arnold, Rugrats, Pinky and the Brain, Animaniacs, The Simpsons, Spider-Man, and the timeless Disney classics. Unfortunately, during those formative years, I lacked the skills, tools, and patience required to craft my own animations. Nevertheless, I spent countless hours sketching my beloved characters. Fast forward to the present, and I find myself still sketching characters but armed with essential equipment, increased patience, and some basic animation skills.

Before I dive into the intricacies of ‘why and ‘how’, I’d like to draw attention to crucial information in the final section of this post. I kindly encourage you to spare a moment to explore the provided links. Thank you!



While most tutorials advise beginners to begin with simple animations like a bouncing ball, I chose a more characterful approach—a llama chewing food. Why a llama chewing food, you ask? It all began when I stumbled upon an article about a real llama delivering shopping to local residents during quarantine.

This discovery led me down a YouTube rabbit-hole of llama videos, and I emerged with a newfound understanding of the graceful movements of these majestic animals. And so, armed with insights, I embarked on my animation journey.

Alpaca chewing
Chewing Alpaca

I drew out the basic form of the llama, keeping it as simple as possible, and repeated the process for each frame.

The result is rough, but my intentions for this animation were to simply practice so, for now, I'll leave it where it is and perhaps revisit it another day. This first attempt made me realise just how much patience is required for animation, a lot more than character design, but the results (however rough) aren’t too bad.


Eye Roll

Despite admiring the llama's sketch-style movement, I soon realised there was no need to redraw the entire character for each frame, as only the jaw required movement. For my next attempt, I opted to keep the main part of the animation static and only redraw the elements with movement frame by frame.

Eye-roll embroidered t-shirt
Eye-roll Embroidery

The inspiration for the eye roll stemmed from a previous quarantine project, an embroidery craft (which has it’s own blog post if you’d like to check it out). I'd hoped it would be relatively straight forward to animate, especially

now I had the chewing llama under my belt.

Armed already with a reference image, I sketched out the eyes and eyebrows, followed by experimenting with the eyeball. Frame by frame, I mapped out the path, refining the irises a little for added detail.

Two variations of eye rolls were attempted: a full circle and a half roll. The latter, with its rocking back and forth motion, appealed more to me, as the continuous eye roll seemed to give the impression of wandering eyes.


Macbook Pro-crastination

Moving on to "MacBook Pro-crastination," I adhered to the same approach of having a fixed background image with only specific elements animated. The concept itself arose from the desire to use a pun and, admittedly, from my own tendencies to procrastinate (don’t we all sometimes?).

While sketching the MacBook was straightforward, animating the text proved challenging. I hadn't anticipated the need to retrace not just each letter but each section of each letter to maintain the fluid movement of the text across the screen. In hindsight, a punchier appearance, simulating typing, would have been more effective and saved time.

Initially content with the animated text, I couldn't resist adding another element. The static cup of tea (or coffee if you prefer) contrasted with animated steam, gradually fading as the text appears, emphasises the passage of time. As a playful nod to the procrastination concept, I incorporated a "get s#*t done" motif on the mug.


Black Lives Matter

It was some time before I had another idea for a short and simple animation/gif, but then came the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and I felt inspired.

I've researched many articles, interviews, and films pertaining to various experiences and effects of racism, as well as how the issues can be tackled. Below are links to some of the articles and various media I've engaged with so far:

Supplementary to the articles were some formidable imagery from the marches/protests happening around the world…

I gathered some key photos and started to sketch out the signs with the most recurring and poignant messages on them.


At the time we were approaching the month of June, which is notably Pride month, and I observed some signs in the protests that reflected both the BLM and Pride movements, and upon further research I found the two had close ties.

Ultimately, I wanted the message to be concise and strong. My decision to make the illustration an animation was to highlight the connection with Pride, and as such I made the changing colours that of the Pride flag.


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