How To Make A Mythical Monday

I designed and animated 52 unique, mythical creature GIFs in one year. Here’s a quick, step-by-step walkthrough of how I did it.
Loose thumbnail sketch of a satyr character holding a glass of wine and touching his nipple
By Greg Gunn
February 25, 2015
January 28, 2024
4 min read

I’m starting to really examine my process—especially in terms of making a Mythical Monday gif every week—and wanted to share a bit of it.

Usually, I start the ideation process with a sense of panic: WHAT DO I DO. Once that subsides (and it always does) I just start drawing. And while I’m sketching I’m thinking “does this make sense, will someone understand what’s going on?” It looks a lot like this:

Photo of a page from a ringed sketchbook of rough drawings of a satyr
Rough sketch

I’ll continue to draw out ideas, poses, and notes to myself until something sticks. Sometimes it doesn’t – so I’ll pause and try again later. But most of the time I’ll fill up a page in my sketchbook and find something that makes me laugh that I think would work. In this case it was seeing the Satyr in a sultry pose.

From there, I take a photo with my phone—quicker than scanning—and get it into Photoshop. I know I have to clean it up, but I want to capture the essence of the original sketch as closely as possible. Once I figure out the basic shapes I begin to explore animation ideas and things I can loop that will activate the character.

For this one, I thought he had to rub his nipple and swoosh a glass of wine. Here’s the rough animation from Photoshop—

Rough animated line sketch of a satyr laying down rubbing his nipple and holding a glass of wine
Rough animation

And here’s the finished animation—

Animated gif of a red-bearded satyr laying down rubbing his nipple and holding a glass of wine