Do Good Animators Sketch?

I see genga from great artists like Imai Irafumi and wonder, if he did it all on paper, how did he block it all out before adding in all that detail?

Do good animators just know in their minds the exact spot a drawing needs to go and are they just experts at detail?

I get that Genga is kirst key and Daichii Genga is second key, but even before the first “Genga pass”, is there ever another pass before that? Is it okay to be super sketchy just so you can block out the motion?
This shot by Bahi JD looks pretty rough, but this workflow doesn’t seem very commonplace, at least not going what I could find on Sakurabooru.

I’m not sure what you’re getting at, but to satisfy your curiosity, those animators have been drawing for years now. Before having all those mileage, they absolutely needed block out all major forms and line up perspective, like us babies.

The reason why people like Kim Jung Gi draws the way he does is not because he is a genius who was just blessed with remarkable visual memory. It was because he studied all those fundamentals, perspective, proportion, line quality, etc. He drew so many times from reference that he doesn’t need it anymore. Same thing with those pro animators, they’ve drawn so many scenes, observed and studied so many references that they don’t need them anymore.

If you look at Bahi JD’s tumblr, you’ll notice that he does box out his characters in some of his rough animations’ posts. Who knows how much practice he’s done behind the scenes, even if someone frequently uploads their art, the ones published in social media must be the pretty ones, no matter how transparent they try to be.

Again, I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve with this question, but to give advice for anyone that is reading is to lower your ego and study those fundamentals. Draw cubes, cylinders, spheres that will become the cornerstone of dynamic poses in perspective. Eventually, you will get there. I promise. There’s more good news, all of you have access to what those old japs animators don’t have, the ability to browse through the internet and access all of the limitless references. Imagine if Leonardo Da Vinci had an iPad.

I agree with @busylettuce. They’ve been doing it for decades, so they can visualize perspective lines and where things are supposed to go, but even then they make mistakes sometimes. Of course, when they were starting out I don’t know if not blocking in shapes is possible. Except you can see astral lines in your head, you only get this after drawing hundreds of thousands of drawings. See Ethan Becker’s video on Kim Jung Gi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxoTwEdbbgQ (ignore the title, that’s his way of joking lol)

I cannot speak for all 2D animators but from a good number of those I watch and from my experience, creating some form of a layout that helps demonstrate the motion you want to convey is important before getting into the weeds of the character and environment details. If you spend time drawing a lot of details on a character but then the animation looks bad, you are adding more work onto yourself to make corrections. It is easier to spend time ironing out and tinkering with the animation THEN going back to add in the details (or rendering) imo.

You are already acquainted with sakugabooru and found BahiJD’s work but explore the “production_materials” or “layout” tab with order:score in the search box to help order everything starting from the best rated works in that category.

(Replace the “+” with a space between materials and order in the search box)

Two examples i found are below: Norio Matsumoto and Guzzu.


Hope it helps.