WHY I DRAW WITH A MOUSE
People ask me what programs or tablets I use to do animation. My answer is always very simple. I animate in Flash with a mouse. Oh sure, I do actual physical drawings with various pens and paper and cardboard, but when drawing digitally the mouse has always been my device of choice.
"That is completely insane" they say. "How can you draw with a mouse!"
I learned. I learned very early on.
I always knew I wanted to make animation. More than comics, more than painting, I wanted to make art that MOVED. The main obstacle there was that I came from a poor family. Getting an expensive video camera was out of the question. I didn’t even have a computer! The first computer I got was a Commodore 64, well into the 90s when better computers were already out (but that’s another story.)
What I did have was a Super Nintendo. I got very lucky and the very second game I had was Mario Paint.
Mario Paint was an important tool for me. I learned how to make the most of my limitations. It taught me how to draw digitally with a mouse. I hooked the Super Nintendo to two VCRs and filled tapes with silly animation loops. I would use what little money I saved to buy a RadioShack audio/video mixer for 60 bucks and added music and voices to the short animations. These cartoons looked and sounded terrible, but I still pushed on. In high school I did science and book report presentations on VHS tapes using these tools. I knew I’d have to retire Mario Paint eventually though. I pushed every ounce of possibility out of that cartridge.
In the early 2000s I got Flash (from a generous donor) and I’m still learning many things from it. I use it to make nearly all my animations and I’m still drawing with a mouse. I’ve been mouse drawing since I was a teenager. It’s a craft I’ve perfected and only gotten speedier at. At this point a tablet feels like it would just slow me down. Even if I were to get a Cintiq, which I could quite possibly afford now, I know I’d still go back to the mouse for little things now and then.
I love the mouse. It’s so bad.
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