Row Row Row Your Boat - Beautiful music and animation

Row Row Row Your Boat – Adapting a Classic Nursery Rhyme

Sometimes, adapting an existing song can be harder than writing a whole new song yourself. You want to highlight the beauty of the song, yet put your own stamp on it. Nursery rhymes are simple, catchy, and timeless, and unless you want to turn them into something completely different (such as a modern techno version), it can be challenging to find the right balance between ‘too bland’ and ‘too grand’.

When we decided to create our own version of Row Row Row Your Boat, we knew we wanted to make it dreamy, whimsical, and ‘organic’. Our music is meant to express the movement of the boat on the river, and the vocals and visuals give the song a relaxed, natural feel.


Row your Boat Storyboard page 1 Row your Boat Storyboard page 2

Rough pencil strokes and textured background

To make the illustrations look more hand-drawn, we chose a rough pencil, or rather, the digital imitation of it. Since our animation program does not offer such a natural stroke, we illustrated every single object in Sketchbook Pro and imported them into our animation program (Anime Pro). We also inserted a textured background that was made from crumpled paper! It really creates the impression as if someone just slowly doodled everything on an old sketchpad.

Transparent Watercolour and Whimsical Transitions

We only coloured the most important objects and chose soft, transparent watercolours – also created in Sketchbook Pro and imported one my one (it was quite a lot of files to handle!). Like in a dream, things appear out of nowhere and transform into something else, for example the forest that turns into a fish! By giving the forest, fish, and trees the same circular pattern, we wanted to connect the objects with each other. This also helped us create creative and fluid transitions between scenes 😀

Here is the country landscape before and after the colours appear. The trees look like fish because of their patterns.

Country landscape black and white

Country landscape black and white

Country landscape in colour

Country landscape in colour

 Colourful Fish and Magical Water Drops

Fish are amazing creatures, and, of course, perfect for our dreamy underwater world. Again, we used a fish to lead us into the next scene by making it fly up above the water and creating magical water drops!

By the way, here is a scene that we could not use in our video (so sad):

Row screenshots 3 - Frame 237


 Last Scene: Taking Off into the Night Sky

In the last scene, we slowly turned the water of the river into the sky, simply by first showing some of the fish go by, and then making clouds, the sun, and a little house pass underneath the character’s boats. As suddenly an old-fashioned clock appears, the sky turns dark, and our characters fly way into the night sky. This is where the vocal part is over, and there is only instrumental music left to end the song.

We hope you like our version of Row Row Row Your Boat, both musically and visually! Feel free to leave a comment, either here, on Facebook, or on our Youtube channel 😀

Check out more songs and video on our Songs and Videos page or visit our Youtube channel!


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