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Mar 02

Motion Comic Magic – Animating children’s drawings “evolution”

A post on re-purposing comics and illustration into animation

(via tweet) My posts here at are all about re-purposing art created for different purposes into animation. For example: Motion Comics take the art from comic books and repurpose it into animated. Well, this cool example that I am sharing with you today is the same idea, but taking the art of children and animating it to help tell a tale of Evolution. Animator Tyler Rhodes did this with some young artist to great effect.


How do you make an authentic evolution animation? Quite simply: you allow it to evolve. Tyler Rhodes, a student in the animation program at Virginia Commonwealth University, wanted to create an animation that wasn’t simply linear, but instead represented the true ‘tree-like’ process of evolution. So he enlisted the help of elementary school students from William Fox Elementary School and the Patrick Henry School of Science & Art, and involved them in a type of game.

“Much like the whispered game “telephone” where one person whispers a message down the line until it’s very different by the end due to small “mutations” along the way, I would create a game of telephone using visual imagery.”

He then had various groups of students make copies of this sketch, knowing that the copies would contain subtle differences. The natural variation in the ‘progeny’ created from the first salamander sketch was used to determine the survival of the fittest. Tyler would ‘kill off’ 98% of the organisms and start the process again…

The video below is the final result which is lively and very fresh. The animation is the kids drawings brought into after effects and animated with the puppet tool to great effect. It’s a great example of the animator repurposing the kids art into animation. You can see the kids drawings on the official blog HERE.

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