Animated watercolour

After a group crit and finalizing everything for the Unit 1 assessment I decided to try what I have always wanted – animate watercolour drawing. I knew it was going to take a lot of work, so I thought that I will leave character animation in a pencil and can try animate simple object using watercolour. Nothing popped to my mind and I just looked at what I have done and decided to animate something from ‘Innocent pee’, because it was a simple movement  and possibly can have a shocking effect.

Also, it was still an experiment, a simple test and I just wanted to see how long does it take, and how hard is to control watercolour in the same manner/style.






Firstly, I drew everything in pencil and used a lightpad for that. It was the same process as what I do regularly, the only difference was a thick watercolour paper, which only allowed me to see no more than two drawings underneath.

After I was done with 10 drawings I spread them over a table and started applying layers of watercolour. All at the same time.


I wasn’t sure what I was aiming for, I just kept adding until I was satisfied with a colour balance and contrast. I didn’t want to overwork, but some things needed to be more highlighted; made a hair red and illustrative, so its movement would be more visible in animation. I had quite a hard disagreement with skin tone as well… I was allowing myself to leave some unfinished lines in a drawing, but watercolour was different. Because, usually I use watercolour for more detailed work and I just don’t have such easiness in it.

Anyway, after few hours of playing with colours I had 10 drawings ready:


After scanning the drawings the watercolour was more washed out, which I thought was perfect enough. Although, I overworked with a skin colouring… Maybe next time I should go for more an even tone?! I felt that it was too much of ‘light and shadow’, when none of this matters or that it might seem misleading where the light source is coming from.

In the end, I edited every image in Photoshop by removing the background from them; I wanted to put them in a black circle (I used Photoshop eclipse object). I cleaned it roughly, because it is already ‘sketchy’ and I needed to create this traditional media effect too.

I used After Effects for animation and this is what it came out:

Inga Lineviciute - Innocence, GIF, Hand-drawn, 2017.gif


After adding all this together I felt relieved and satisfied with a result too. I think it has a nice flow and the way it is roughly cleaned – makes it look like hand-drawn animation. The frame rate could have more frames in between or I just need to continue from where I left off. Also, I noticed that the coat (which was only one layer of watercolour) looked the best animated, so I will definitely will need work on applying watercolour in the future. My favourite part of this short animation is the skirt – it looks so innocent and has such a great movement. It actually look like it is being lifted by a thigh and then sliding off again.


I really liked this experiment and overall it didn’t take that much time. It also helps me to cut some scenes in pieces and concentrate on only 1-2 s movement. The way watercolour is applied creates glitch effect and the moving black circle somehow hypnotizes and draws you in. I might be continuing working on this, but I need to ‘loosen up’ my watercolour technique as it feels a bit tight…


Anyway, decided to send this work for a group show ‘Hybrid’ at 2 Girls Gallery opening this Friday. Also, I decided to exhibit the drawings too!