How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art: “When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked.”
by Patch O'Furr
I’m in love with this exclusive animation that Jib Kodi made for a B&A (Bark & Awoo) with me! It was so cool of him to put the appeal and personality of his art on display with his words. He caught my eye, as I’m sure he did for many others, with his outrageously cool short .gif animations on Twitter. In a very short time (months) he’s built a massive 14K following based on how infectiously shareable they are. It’s a winning strategy for an artist, and as far as he’s told me, it just happened accidentally out of love for what he’s into. Kind of like furry fandom grew itself. – Patch
Hi Jib, can you talk about how you got into furry, and what do you think about it?
Welp, here goes nuthin’.
I was interested in the fandom since I was little, but obviously back then I wasn’t aware of fandom’s existence. And finally when I did get to learn what it was all about… well, people around me had negative views on it. That was my first impression from the public. So I naturally I suppressed my interest, hoping it would eventually fade away. During that period I’d hear more about the community, all the cons, and events. And oh boy, it sounded really really fun. Finally after 10 years, around March of 2017, I finally decided to make my own character, do little drawings and animated clips, and get myself involved. Basically all the stuff I wanted to do back in the day. To be able to open up, gosh, what a liberating feeling that was. As I look into the community more, there are many aspects and interests that I could relate to. With in less than a year, I was able to meet peeps from all over the world, with various careers, and interesting stories. When I look back, it makes me regret not joining the community earlier.
How did you get into animation, and what do you like about it?
Story telling was something I always enjoyed doing since I was little. Happy stories, sad stories, funny stories, you name it. Hehe I was one of those kid that spread silly rumours like how the school bathroom was haunted, and got myself into all sorts of troubles. But the point is, if I can get the person to react in some sort of ways, then I was all in. Drawin’ is one of my other big hobby, so it was inevitable that I drew pictures that tell some sort of stories. Those two interest eventually snowballed and I came upon animation. This opened whole new components to story-telling! From timing, to adding music, how to reveal punchline, and all that jazz. One of the first thing I animated was an alligator waggin’ its tail. When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked. Since then, animation has been one of my favourite medium to tell stories or show a little slice of life that the viewers can relate to.
What have you done with animation before?
I’ve made bunch of personal animated shorts. I love making them, but to be honest they can be really exhausting. In a way, it’s a marathon; you will be drawing thousands of same thing over and over again! And when you do get it done, and lets say right before you post it on the internet or submitting it to a film festival, theres so many emotions that goes thru your head. But its really worth it cause, due to longer runtime, you get to tell longer stories, and develop characters much more in depth. It really feels like a long journey that you go on when you make these shorts. Other then that, I’ve freelanced and worked for animation studios. For the bigger studios, I’m a story board artist. It’s a process where you draw the film almost like a comic book. But in a movie format. It helps the director and the rest of the crew visualize what the story of the movie is going to look like.
What inspires you, and who do you work with? (Are there other furry animators?)
Fandom has inspired me big time. Especially coming from someone who loves to draw animals. I know thats been a HUGE motivation for me to crank out all these animation in a short amount of time. I honesty thought I would’ve burnt out within a month or so. But that fire is still burning and even after I come back from work which is drawing all day, I get really excited to work on these animations! As far as collaboration goes, there are some artists who I’ve discussed about working together on something which I’m excited for! Though I’m still somewhat new kid on the block, and I don’t know a lot of artists in the community. But I really hope I get to meet more em in the future.
What do you plan to do with the animation you’re working on – is it for fun or do you have specific ambitions?
A lot of these animations I’ve been doin’ lately were mostly just for fun. My initial purpose joinin’ the fandom was to have a good time, and I’m having so much fun working on these little animated clips. I’m really excited to see what other stuff I can get involved in other than working on these animations. When I learned about how big charity events are in the community, that alone makes me really happy!
Within these several months, I think I’ve made handful of animated clips with similar topics that I think I can compile em all together with music and make little shorts out of them. At the moment I’m not thinkin’ too much into making longer contents. They often require a lot of planning and I’m bit aloof those might drain the motivation out of me. However, some of these animation unintentionally became more like a little short/ daily episodes. For instance, I animated a Shiba Inu gettin ready for business. At first, I just wanted to show how he wears a tie. But the moment I posted the gif, all these ideas popped in my head. So I started building a story based on the first gif. I certainly enjoy all these spontaneous encounters. And I’ll embrace em with open arms. Despite a lot of intense work, they force you to improvise and I personally think thats a real good exercise for animation and story telling.
Let me throw a bunch of stuff at you about your work process. When you get an idea, how do you sit down and prepare for it? What are your steps for making it? Do you use a lot of reference? What are you using to animate? How productive are you, and does it help your flow to use twitter to post small chunks?
My animation process is kinda all over the place. But they all start with something I want to show or express. Or characters I simply just want to animate. I’ll quickly brainstorm and start elaborating on what I want to show. And how I want to execute the content. Then I would quickly thumbnail the visuals just to check if its worthy of spending 10-20 hrs on it. If I’m happy with it, Ill go to town. Starting off with some main poses of the character and then timing out the overall animation. I work really rough. In my animation style, the roughness shows even in the final look of the footage. I just don’t have the patience to spend days making everything pristine and clean. If that was the case, my work flow would be a lot more slower and each piece would probably tag on twice the amount of production time. For others who are interested in story telling or animation, I highly recommend researching and gathering reference for your content. whether its the idea, or movements, research makes everything more solid. No matter how cartoony your animation may look, you can still add the realistic quality that helps the viewer relate to the content. And thats a great way to let the viewers engage and become invested in the characters you’ve created. These days, research is a whole lot easier than ever. Yup, thanks to Internet. Though, if you can somehow experience it in real life, I recommend that cause theres no other better way to gain experiences other than living it.
Anyway, the clean up process for the animation takes a good chunk of time. It can be a bit of a brain dead activity as well since you are most likely colouring something hundreds of times. I generally watch movies as I work on this process to keep myself somewhat entertained. But when you get it all done, its such a rewarding feeling. Oh and yes, for those digital animators. don’t forget to save!!! And save multiple versions of files. Last weekend, my file got corrupted and I lost 17 hrs of work. Don’t do what I do! XD
Your small animated gifs are getting tons of views and look like a really smart way to use twitter to build up for a bigger project. Can you say anything about using Twitter that way – is it intentional or did it succeed by surprise? And can you say anything else about promoting your work?
I had zero intentions for anything with twitter. I still can’t believe I have twitter now, I was never too crazy about having one. I’m quite wary that whatever I post may expose to the wrong group of crowd. Heh I guess thats just me being paranoid. Anyway, I finally opened an account. From there on its been about 5 crazy months for me, and I’m very thrilled and overwhelmed with the attention I’ve received. The community has been really inspiring and friendly. But really, in all seriousness, I’m still quite unexperienced in social media. So there’s a lot of new stuff I’m learning. It just started out with posting contents Ive been working on. The only thing Ive really caught on are the fact that timing for posting your stuff is really important. I do have to say, internet is one big massive mysterious beast. There’s level of randomness when it comes to putting your work out there. Good content, that goes without saying, but the right timing, good amount of luck, and something that catches the viewers eye are all the elements that comes into play when getting your stuff out there. Keep creating, keep posting, and eventually viewers will notice your work more.
What thoughts do you have about “furry animation” for the future – do you think it’s growing, and could there be a scene for it?
I have high hopes that animation will have a bigger spotlight in the fandom. Especially for a fandom that’s so heavily inspired by animation, there’s big potential. I hope there are more artists out there who are inspired to try animation. It is a lot of work, but the sky is the limit in animation. Whatever you imagine, you can animate. After all it’s just bunch of drawings seen at a high speed. But you can add so much life this medium! That charm alone is the reason why I chose animation to tell stories, it’s the reason why many other artists animate, and why we enjoy watching them so much.
Is there anything else you want to talk about?
As an artist, always try to find ways to improve, and don’t be afraid to try new gigs! Be open to critiques. Some feedbacks may sting, but it’ll overall help you grow a tougher skin. Along the way you will make mistakes which means you’re on the right track, cause you will learn from those mistakes! Don’t get too precious with what you make. In the long term, this may work against you as you stop looking for ways to improve. If what your working on gets really frustrating. Take a breather. Don’t hack at it. You can work on something else and then once you’ve cooled off you can return to what you were struggling on. And remember to give your eyes a break, load up on fresh air, h2o and exercise. Your health comes first before everything else!
Thanks!! I hope it all makes sense and thank you for the opportunity!
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