This past week, I spent much of my time focusing on my characters for a children's book project. I had a stack of drawings and paintings in my bedroom, as well as various digital attempts on my computer, but I still could not "find" my characters.
Then I remembered my new mantra: When in doubt, cut it out.
I immediately grabbed a stack of my texture paintings that had already been scanned and filed on my computer, and I began cutting shapes. Within a few minutes, I'd assembled this little owl, and I played with his eyes and wings. I gave him different expressions, imagining things he might say, and I had a little photoshoot session with him.
Although I went on to make my character with a completely different style, it was this cutting process, and puppet-making process, that cleared my mind and helped me to animate my character.