Floppy Hands and Arms
Upon finally seeing the test with all the drawings in, I was not happy with the arm and hand movement. I had tried a very loose and gangly style, which I could now see was more appropriate for Art Babbitt's Goofy than for this old man. I could have just tried damping down the floppiness of the hands, but I thought that he might look good with an entirely different style, sort of gliding his hands back and forth with half-closed fists and with an elliptical pattern to the movement.
Here is how that came out.
Pencil Test, Version 4
Again I was disappointed, as the elliptical cycle was too pronounced. It gave off an impression of self-consciousness that was wrong. That is, the Old Man appeared to be aware of his own hands, which is not the effect I wanted. But I still liked the concept, so I simply flattened the ellipse, lowering the hands as they came forward.
Here is the pencil test with that correction.
Pencil Test, Version 5
I feel that this works well now. At the end of the scene, I also show his left elbow backing up; this makes a nice anticipation for the forward movement of his left hand onto the trunk.
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Pencil tests are so easy and fast to do, there is no reason not to do them. Nor is there any shame in it. Traditional animators are in the business of making something look alive out of a series of closely related images that are not alive. Much can be learned by experience, but the experience and the received knowledge from books and instruction are only aids that will help you to get close to what you want. For anything truly original, pencil testing your work and studying the result is the best way to get your animation to closely match the vision in your mind.