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Animation for NYT Op-Ed

DECEMBER 17, 2012
It's not everyday that a newspaper calls to request an animated illustration, but I have to admit that I'm hoping to do more of these.
I've been doing the odd bit of animation for quite a while now but it always seems to fall victim to the amount of hours in the day.  With the popularity of the iPad and smartphones I thought like many others that motion would become much more prevalent. I still believe that there is nothing like a poignant still image but it's nice to add the element of motion to my toolbox.
The hardest thing for me to tackle in animation is that it goes against the very sensibility I've tried to hone my entire career, which is, to distill a topic down to a single still moment.  An entirely new set of concerns and possibilities are introduced when you start having to consider motion.  All of them are still very alien to me.
The one common guide that helps me find my way through to a motion solution is to make sure that the motion is there to reveal or enhance the idea in the piece.  In this case, it was a piece about being locked-up in a seemingly endless loop of days that equal a life sentence.  Becuase the motion was not an afterthought, I was able to consider from the beginning what would make a striking still image that would be further enhanced conceptually when animated.
I owe a huge thanks to fellow drawger Richard Borge for helping me to figure out how best to technically pull it off.  Richard has embraced animation, producing a number music videos, on-air identies, and movie titles.  His new reel can be viewed here.  I owe you one, Rich.
And of course thanks go to AD Alexadra Zsigmond for her thoughtfulness to ask about and suggest doing an animation for this piece in today's paper.

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