The other day during my drive to work, I was listening to an Every Little Thing (ELT) podcast about earworms – you can listen to it here, it’s a great show for anyone who’s looking for something new to listen to! Now, one of my absolute greatest fears are parasites. I would much rather have something large and attacking me from the outside then something small and attacking me from the inside. Thank goodness this episode had nothing to do with worms whatsoever! Apparently the term “earworm” is used to describe a song or melody that gets stuck in your head. I don’t know why it’s called that, maybe because it’s something little that hangs out in your head and you can’t get rid of like parasite, but the term gives me the creeps. Besides, if earworms were actual parasites, I shudder to think that I would be absolutely full of them. My earworms don’t even need to have a melody to them! At one point during the episode, the Earworm Expert mentioned something about an earworm having a melody which made me wonder, what it’s called when you get a word or line stuck in your head? For example lately, my earworm has simply been the name “Rogelio” which is a character from the show I’m currently binging called Jane the Virgin (terrible name but the show’s worth a watch) and the name just plays in my head
kind of like it’s a song, but it’s just a word. I’d argue it’s even more annoying than having a song stuck in your head.
Anyway, according to the ELT episode, there’s a test you can take to find out how susceptible you are to contracting earworms.
I looked it up I got a 128 out of 164, and since the average is 113.5 I’m more susceptible than average, but not as susceptible than I thought I would be!
The question that had me most interested was, “I sometimes see vivid images in my head when I listen to music”. If you’re ever sitting across the table from me with neither of us speaking (or I’m not listening), there’s your answer. In my head there’s a musical of earworms dancing away! If you play any song for me and I’ve heard it at least once before, I can rattle off to you the entire choreography of the song – maybe it’s a music video, maybe it’s a tap dance, maybe it’s ballet, who knows! Every song’s different.
So for the longest time, my earworm in residence was You Broke Up with Me by Walker Hayes… and now I have it stuck in my head again. Here, I’ll share the love!
I don’t know if it was the happy beats or the whistling or what it was but when listening to that song, what popped into my head was a series of peanut people all dancing the silliest little dances! These mini concerts come to me in varying levels of clarity. Sometimes I could absolutely draw for you what’s going on in my head, other times it’s a little more vague, but for this song I had one little character, one little peanut, that stood out to me that I just HAD to put on paper.
~Full disclosure: in my head, for some absolutely unknown reason, the character was actually my high school friend Amanda (who I talked about here) but when I put pen to paper I decided that the grandma look would be more hilarious. So here you go: grandma booty
This is the first time I’d ever attempted to animate a drawing of mine so I had to learn as I went. I did a quick ballpoint pen sketch and took it to my cintiq to trace it. I ADORE my cintiq, drawing would terrify me without one. This is the one I have and I swear by it! For anyone looking, two things to note:
- Touch screens are more expensive and more annoying. How can you draw when your hands can move things too? Could you imagine trying to draw with pencils also attached to the tips of your fingers?
- Many of the tablets are phasing out tactile buttons (one you actually push) in favor of touchscreen buttons, but if you have the option for tactile buttons, do it! Sure, it doesn’t look as fancy, but you can just brush your fingers along the side of the tablet to hit the button you need without ever having to peel your eyes away from your drawing.
I only drew one picture of the peanut dancer on paper before going to my cintiq, using that to draw the moving limbs. Let me tell you, this small animation experiment gave me even more crazy respect for the old-fashioned animators than I had before – I seriously don’t know how they did it! When it came time to actually start animating, I learned that you can do that on Photoshop. There’s a tool called “timeline” and it allows you to hide and unhide layers based on, well, a timeline! You can export it as a gif and voila!
They say when you dream, every single person that you see is somebody you’ve actually seen in real life – that your brain can’t make up a new face. It makes me wonder if I’ve seen these people in real life before… I will never not share these peanut people, they’re one of the absolute silliest things I’ve ever made and I love them.