Productive Procrastination/ My First Attempt at Animation

sometimes when i’m stuck on a project, tinkering around helps me loosen up ideas and often feeds energy and inspiration back into the project i’m stuck on. i have the same common curses as a lot of my friends who are artists: i’m spacey, have trouble sleeping, and am a bad procrastinator.

these 3 traits combined are pretty disastrous and annoying to others, and have led to way too many late nights where i’m spending time doing the last thing on earth i should be doing. if a painting needs to be shipped in the next few days, i might convince myself i need to make a new zine or maybe a tree out of broken pencils at 3 in the morning. whenever important deadlines are hovering over me, somehow the pressure makes my brain flip and i get a burst of creative energy in the wrong direction.

things i make when i can’t sleep

after years of having a love/hate relationship with deadlines and structure, reading books on procrastination and productivity, and coming up with new gimmicks and tricks to get myself organized and on a schedule, i’ve learned there are some things you can change about yourself and some things you can’t.  for the ones you can’t, you just have to learn to work around them or else embrace them and make them work for you.

my trusty copy of “getting things done” by david allen

i remember something i read a few years ago about the concept of “productive procrastination”, or “structured procrastination.” the idea is that, if you’re going to procrastinate anyways, you might as well be getting some other useful things done. (i realize that the usefulness of making a tree out of broken pencils is up for debate, but let’s say for the sake of argument that it counts as getting work done… at least, it makes me happier to believe it does).

for the alejandro installation that we just shipped out, many of the elements were actually created when i was supposed to be working on other things. after a while, there were enough little bits and pieces that when it came time to build something larger, many of the details were already figured out. the funny thing is, once the installation became the thing i was supposed to be working on, i found myself up in the middle of the night tinkering with other things instead. one of them was a little flipbook-style app that i bought on my iphone for 99 cents, called Animation Creator.

i’ve worked on a few projects where other people created animations out of my artwork, but i’ve never created any myself. it’s something i’ve always wanted to do, but it’s one of those things that seems intimidating and i have no idea where to start. i liked messing around with this program, because it’s like one step above doodling a flipbook into the margins of a paperback, which is about the extent of my experience. it’s pretty basic and limited, especially having to draw the whole thing with my finger on a phone, but it was still magical and exciting to see the little drawings move in the wee hours of the morning.

so anyways, here is my first attempt…made in the spare moments between working on the installation and trying to fall asleep.

i didn’t really plan anything out and you can see my progress towards the end as i figured out how to use the program a little better, by zooming in and getting more detailed, etc…i only wish i thought to draw it horizontally instead of vertically so it wouldn’t be so small on YouTube.



  1. what a great post .. thanks
    curious did you make a tree out of broken pencils – cause if you did i’d love to see it

  2. Luster

    Haha, I love the end where the words crawl away

  3. Brilliant! This animation has surpassed anything I ever made at film school!

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