One player in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been sharing her incredibly detailed and impressive bulletin board art with the goal of spreading happiness.
Lexie, who goes by TigerDoodle on Reddit and Touch of Geekery on social media, has been posting some of her many illustrations on Reddit. The first drawings she posted, which were of the popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons villagers Raymond, Goldie, Genji, and Julian, were posted two months ago.
As time has passed, her drawings have only become more intricate and popular, with her most famous post of bulletin board art exceeding 16,000 upvotes. She draws anything, from Star Wars to Pokemon to Disney movies and other video game series like The Legend of Zelda.
“Most of my drawings are requested, for instance, someone will ask for a drawing of Winnie the Pooh, so I create something for them based on that request,” Lexie tells me. “Other times, I get inspired and have an idea in my head of something I want to draw, like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I was really curious to see if I could create the background behind her.”
While she struggles a bit with more human characters like Belle from Beauty and the Beast or Geralt from The Witcher, an average drawing takes her around 45 minutes. She starts by finding one to three picture references for each drawing. “Once I’m inspired and have my references, I then outline the main characters or everything I definitely want in my drawing,” she says.
“Shading comes next. I usually focus on one character at a time. Whatever ink is left over after I finish the characters gets used for the backgrounds. Sometimes I have a lot of ink left, so some pictures get a pretty detailed background, whereas other times the character’s detailing takes up all of the ink, and the background is much less fleshed out.”
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When drawing on a bulletin board in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you have a limited amount of ink to work with. As you continue to draw, the ink meter on the right will go down to reflect how much you’ve got left. Such constraints don’t typically exist on other platforms where one can draw, but Lexie says this is part of why she enjoys the process so much.
“I would definitely love to be able to add more detail, but the fact that I have to really think about what I want to use the ink for, and whether what I’m trying to draw will look good in the limited color options, oddly enough pushes me to be a better artist,” she says. “It’s actually been great practice for me. It’s nice to not have to worry about it being exactly perfect, and knowing I have an undo/erase button is awesome!”
Even though her drawings are so elaborate and charming, Lexie isn’t a professional artist. She’s never done digital art, so this is actually all new territory for her. However, she has done plenty of traditional drawing and painting. These days, as a result of how obsessed she is with the game, all her projects involve Animal Crossing.
So if you want to try drawing like Lexie, you don’t need extensive experience with digital art to make some fantastic creations. “For anyone who wants to try their hand at drawing on bulletin boards, use a pro controller—or, if you want to use a stylus, you’ll need a capacitive one.”
When it comes to managing ink levels, Lexie says, “the most important thing to remember is that you actually have enough ink to cover your entire board. Whenever you overlap your lines though, it wastes ink. So be careful not to layer your ink on top of each other, because it will save you in the end.”
It doesn’t come as a surprise that, as a response to her constantly wonderful art, she’s gotten flooded with requests. When I asked about her waitlist, she replied, “If I took on every request I got, I would probably be busy for the entire year! Haha. I have switched to only doing giveaways for them now because the requests never stop.”
But drawing allows her to connect with people from all over the world despite being under lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. While she has plenty of memorable stories of times that she left a drawing on someone’s bulletin board, the most memorable one is related to her Baymax drawing. “A woman commented on one of my posts asking for a drawing of Baymax to surprise her family (who share the island) because they were having a really tough week,” shares Lexie.
“To make matters worse, her son and husband had birthdays that week that they couldn’t really celebrate, as well, due to their circumstances. She told me that [Big Hero 6] meant a lot to them. She was so thankful and sweet, she said she teared up looking at it, and her husband got choked up as well. She told me they were trying to find a way to print it out and frame it on their wall. It just really touched me.”
While the attention her drawings have garnered her has been admittedly quite overwhelming, she loves, “bringing some small joy to people’s lives.” It’s experiences like the family’s reception to her Baymax art that motivate Lexie to keep making bulletin board drawings. At the end of the day, she doesn’t seem to plan on stopping anytime soon.
“I started doing them out of boredom, and I liked the challenge of trying to get better at something so difficult. Then I started to see how much these small doodles meant to some players. Just a small bit of kindness can really brighten someone’s day. That’s why I still do it and will continue to do so until I can’t stand to look at a bulletin board any longer.”