Hopping Mouse Studies for Animation

Manamations Animation Studio | Melbourne - Australia

Spinifex Hopping Mouse study. I am absolutley fascinated by this tiny Australian creature. So I have decided to animate this animal in an animated short I have planned out. To get to a good character design, I needed to study this animal from life. For the last few weeks I have done extensive research and watched tons of video footage of how the character moves. This helps me to get a good understanding of the mouse. Once I get to know the basic forms and shapes of the animal, I can then caricature it to suit my needs.

Study from life – Spinifex Hopping Mouse

Pictured below, was my very first few sketches of the animal using reference images. I did not want to spend a lot of time on it. All I needed to do is to quickly capture the animal gesture and quickly get a good feel of the animal. Each one took about 1-2 minutes to do. I added the quick shading afterwards, just to pretty it up.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse Sketch - By Manamations

Some more reference study

After a few weeks of study and drawing from memory, I felt I did not understand the hopping mouse enough and my sketches were lacking something. I needed to revert back to some more reference. In the image below, I tried to capture these as quickly as I can, but with more precision, taking my time and really trying to understand the anatomy and forms. These took approximately 5 minutes each to complete, including the simple shading.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse Sketch - By Manamations

Character Design

Finally, after all that sketching, I believe I am ready to design the character for animation. During the last few weeks while doing the mouse studies I also did some character designs in between. I probably spent more time designing the character than the initial study period. I would go back and study the hopping mouse if my character design wasn’t working. Below, is the final character design that I am finally happy with and in a few different poses and actions. I say final, but not refined. These are still in rough form and in the next few weeks I will refine it and create a character model sheet.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse Character Design - By Manamations

Quick posing

Here I am just playing around with some quick poses. I needed to test the character and be able to pose it very quickly, since I need to draw it hundreds, or even thousands of times for animation.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse Character Design - By Manamations

Thumbnail sketches

In the image below are some quick thumbnail sketches for a possible shot in my short film. Animators use thumbnail sketches to plan out their animation before they start animation. It can save heaps of time. Thumbnails can be considered a blue print for the animation. In this shot, I want the hopping mouse to pop his head out the hole, look around a few times until he sees something catching his eye. Finally he jumps out.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse Thumbnails - By Manamations

Awkard angles

While trying to do some animation tests, I found it quite difficult drawing the hopping mouse from certain angles. I had to go back and do some more research yet again. This is what happens when you don’t have a character model sheet to follow. Here are few sketches of the mouse from a few different angles. A model sheet will definately be on the way soon.

Spinifex Hopping Mouse Sketch - By Manamations
Keep up to date and follow the progress of this project.
Go to Project Page

Tools used

These sketches are done using Sketch Book Pro. A really great software from Autodesk which makes sketching fun and easy and a Wacom Cintiq.

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