In the process of conducting my research, I got into a conversation with a student, Richard Bond, a third year student from the animation department. While brainstorming on various subjects, it then came to light that he was in need of a character concept designer and a storyboard artist for a stop-motion animation project. I was more than willing to be engaged with as I saw this as an avenue to explore and execute my research process in order to achieve a befitting result. After about two meetings, conclusions were reached as to the storyline/theme the intended animation story would go in. Also, a breakdown of the character I was to create was then forwarded to me, with this basic information being the spine on which my intended sketches would be developed into the finished character. Since the idea behind the story pointed at abstract representations of the theme of alienation, I then proceeded to draft these ideas using my intuos wacom tablet. Over the last few months I have gone through a transition process from traditional media to the digital, and while I must mention that the transition has mde work much quicker, nothing steals away from the process of getting hands dirty and the creation of art in the most organc of ways. I will be combining both at various points in my progression towards the intended final outcome.
FILM – The Girl Who Could See Colour (working title. Subject to change))
Camera moves up from slowly from the floor similar to the start of Chris Cunningham’s Bjork All is Full of Love music video https://vimeo.com/43444347
The camera arrivals to a girl in an illuminated 180 angle cocooned position. She is struggling, and in stop motion we see spider webbing rotating around her. She is gazing into a mirror and from its reflection we see an insect or mythical creature starting back at her.
Cut to the camera moving towards the girl.
We notice the creature which is lurking is a spider. Cutting through the black and white of the screen the spider is slightly in colour. The spider eyes are blood diamond red which beams out of the black and white films darkness. Two key visual references are Sin City and Pleasantville.
Pleasantville – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSDm62Hmbf4
Spider creeps out of the shadows. We sort of see this as well in the mirror’s reflection, the spider is analysing the pain it’s caused to the girl caught in its magically webbing.
Cut to the camera gliding over the girls back as she notice’s the spider’s red eyes .
Soviet Montage – Based on the theories of soviet montage Sergei Elsenstein, in a nutshell a series of unrelated shots that make sense at the end.
Panels – 7 – 10
Close up of webbing
Close up of Spider
Close up of Girl
Architecture of the darkness
The spider is running out of the shadows towards her. She starts to fight back against the webbing.
The girl start’s to fight back against the stop motion webbing; she looks back behind her towards the edge of the screens frame thinking and pondering. From this we see flashes of colour’s; blues, greens, pinks, yellows and reds which she draws a sort of strength from.
This lighthouse of colours piece’s the room’s darkness, illuminating her from behind and employed by her to fight back against the spider.
The light behind engulfs the girl. She directs it to hit the mirror to repel the red eyed spider.
With the aid of the light she breaks free from the webbing. The spider disappears stop motion style back into the darkness. The lighthouse of colours engulfs and totally illuminates the girl and room.
Upon reading through the script, certain changes were made.
The intended character I was tasked to create was to draw from a spider ( and particularly the mexican red knee spider) from which I was to add my own elements/ features, giving it a very unique visual aesthetic that would match the requirements of the artistic director. The attached sketches were created at the early stages of the project. Since I had prior to this project, never drawn spiders in any project, creating the character from imagination was a hard task. Studying and documenting its movements was very important. The reliance on photographic reference was key to getting the basic shape/anatomy of the intended character to be created.
I did these as basic studies to be informed as to the movement of the spider. I then proceeded to make more detailed sketches. Introducing a bit of distinct characteristics as progression was made.
As progress was being made, I began to achieve a well defined character, abstracting from the spider while maintaining its main features. The choice to create a character that marries both organic and mechanical/inorganic elements, was borne out of the idea that alienation is mechanical state occuring within an organic being/object (the human).