Much to our delight, Dan Kelly draws a dog every Tuesday on Twitter
Description: The animator talks on how to let the pressure go and lean in to the fun of creating under deadline.
Author: ideasss

       If you’re having a bad day, just turn to the work of Dan Kelly – you’ll find your serotonin boost soon enough. The Seattle-based animator and motion designer has recently lit up our Twitter feeds with his fantastic draw a dog tuesday series, which is a concept as good as it sounds. Every Tuesday, Dan takes to the Twitter account to draw a different variation of a dog, which is then animated and posted online for masses to enjoy. “I started the series in January of 2013 after lurking on Twitter and saw Anthony Clark and Brian Lee contributing every Tuesday,” Dan tells It’s Nice That. “It started way back in 2010 on the Something Awful forums, and it seemed like a fun prompt to make sure that I would draw at least once a week in a short deadline.” But, what makes Dan’s series so great for us, is his lo-fi idiosyncratic style to the series. It’s endlessly charming, strangely heartwarming, and very satisfying. It’s a style he tells us is inspired by “Bob Sabiston’s Inchworm Animation app for the Nintendo DSi/3DS in the spring of 2013,” and what led him to animate the dogs in a 100x100px canvas with an aliased 1px brush. The rest is history.

       “When it comes to personal projects, I’m just trying to figure out how to make things fast enough that I don’t get too self-conscious or precious about whatever I’m making and just get it out,” Dan explains to us. It doesn’t just stop there, however. Dan’s style bleeds seamlessly into his technical approach to the craft, both of which align with his own hilarious disposition. “Maybe my visual language is akin to an elementary school diorama project that was put together over 48 hours, but the teacher assigned the project a month ago and the project was really about time management,” he adds. “But the diorama got done, and it still looks good, right?” He asks it rhetorically, but we can’t help to agree with the aptness of his summary. On the dogs specifically, there is a little more method to the madness it seems. “I’d say maybe the dogs have a more specific look due to the visual guidelines I set for them,” Dan explains.

       “As far as ideas for the dogs go, in the past I’ve kept a short list in my phone, and I still go to that for prompts from time to time,” the animator tells us. “Many of the dogs will either be some form of diary animation related to my day or some “dog-gif-ied” version of whatever client work I was animating earlier that day.” Dan also likes to incorporate ‘weaving loops’ and ‘maximum cycle’ style animations, which often produce his favourite gifs even despite their longer production time. “In a lot of cases though, I just scribble a shape and hope it sparks something in my brain that says, ‘yeah that’s a dog’, at which point I cobble it into a sloppy walk cycle.”

       As for what keeps him going, Dan points to community and general art collective as motivators. “I graduated when the first Late Night Work Club released, and that really felt like a snapshot of what the future of independent animation could be,” he adds. “I didn’t really start making short films post college until I stumbled onto Hellavision Television that emphasised making choices without judgment.” It’s a philosophy that’s stuck with Dan until this very day. Deadlines and rules are also inspirational. If it’s Tuesday, he will draw a dog. As he so aptly says: “some dogs are better than others, and that’s OK because there’s always next Tuesday to draw a dog again.”

GalleryDan Anthony Kelly: draw a dog tuesday series (Copyright © Dan Anthony Kelly, 2022)

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