I began drawing to help narrow my focus of what exactly I want to achieve with the Jabberwock project.
I thumbnailed out a few basic ideas for a monster. There was a lot to consider. Did I want something that was traditionally scary? Something whacky and shocking? Something out of this world? Through this I came to the conclusion that whatever I wanted, it had to be clever. I liked the idea of the monster looking strangely harmless in appearance, perhaps even able to mimick the appearance of a human.
My tutor recommended Mauris Sendak for a lot background reference, as a great deal of the scene’s would take place in an external environment. Though this initial concept was described as “too central park” and could stand to be more verdant.
I used googled the word “Verdant” and used the images that came up as a reference point for future drawings. Though another point to consider, in the humpty dumpty translations of the Jabberwocky, it’s identified that;
“…’the wabe‘ is the grass plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?” said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.
“Of course it is. It’s called ‘wabe‘, you know, because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it–“
Despite the verdancy, the beginning of the poem establishes the scene at a “wabe” a clearing where a sundial sits at the centre.
It also mentions a Tove is something like a badger/lizard/corkscrew. So it’s worth keeping that in mind when I’m populating the Wabe.
Background design is a weak area for me, so I took one of the more action oriented phrases and drew something to go with it. I wanted to identify the protagonist as young and inexperienced and I feel I didn’t translate that well enough here with how sure he seems to be able to wield his Vorpal blade.
With my weaknesses in mind, I composed a few more background images using google images. My mistake here, is that there is a perfectly good park outside, and I could’ve used some of the live reference there to draw on. Even if I took pictures rather than stood out there and drew what I saw. I will definitely fix this in future endevours.
The top and far right images both use Mignola inspiration. His use of extreme contrasts really gives a grittier feel to a scene and I thought to adapt that into the animation.
My tutor gave me another idea, that the protagonist; (The Boy) has been raised to fear the Jabberwock all his life. In his mind it is a near-mythic beast that haunts the wood and still he has been tasked to hunt it and kill it for the greater good. This childhood fear is going to be manifested through his paranoia, I was experimenting with making scary silhouettes of mundane objects that would be found in the wild.
Finally, I was experimenting with pencil colours to add a different layer of depth to a scene. The plague bishop doesn’t really have anything to do with this project, I was just inspired by a lot of Darkest Dungeon art which I’ll be going into detail in a different post.
With a few fresh ideas, it was time to begin thumbnailing a storyboard.
In the last few panels, we can see the boy clearly slays a great beast and it’s quite the achievement. Which undermines his remorse at the end, using his paranoia to create beasts where there are none, the final creature is something far less intimidating.
I put together an animatic and narrated the poem, syncing them together to get a rough idea of timing.