Perdido Street Station, thumbnails and a storyboard

Perdido Street station is a book by “weird fiction” writer China Mieville. We were given and excerpt and tasked with creating a story board to go along with it.
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First of all, I needed to get images in my head onto paper so I know what to put in the storyboard. Some research as required to confirm things like what an Aerostat is. I couldn’t find anything on Wyremen, but with phrases like “Wyremen clawed their way above the clouds leaving streams of profanity” I could only assume they are multi-engined jet craft leaving vapor trails.
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The excerpt mentioned slums far away out of the city that the “Milita Pods” would travel to.
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Finally, because I love a bit of character development, I couldn’t resist drawing in “Rudgutter”. That kind of fat cat politician that lives in his ivory tower funded by greed.
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In the initial story board, your eye is meant to flow from one scene to the next, guided by the object of focus. Starting with bugs, then onto birds, then aerostats then wyremen and so on. Finally settling on Rudgutter himself. I made a mistake here, I’ve not followed the story path, as the excerpt ends with focus on Perdido Street Station rather than Rudgutter. My reluctance to focus on environments has been my downfall but I can remedy this by placing greater emphasis on buildings in my life drawings.

Perdido Street Station, thumbnails and a storyboard

Portraits, Perspective and anatomy.

Swl

Swl

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A couple of Self-Portraits done over the weeks. I still have a problem drawing eyes way to big. But as the drawings go on, it seems the facial proportions seem to equal out.

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A couple of anatomy drawings done from Burne Hogarth’s, Dynamic Anatomy. Mid sections in bodies are a weak point of mine, as they’re often clothed, I wasn’t actually too sure what the interior of the muscles and bones looked like.

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A couple of faces in places drawn from a hairstyle magazine.

Portraits, Perspective and anatomy.

Fictional Story tweaked.

I kept coming to dead ends with my current Medusa story. Every plot and motivation I came up with for “Grinning Jack” just seemed kind of shallow or farfetched. I used some old tropes to make it more simpler. Now it’s a tale of hero on a quest to save a person (love interest, family member. Keeping it ambiguous and leaving it to the viewer at this point). Jack is a bounty hunter of the extradinary and mythical, he’s no stranger to Gorgon’s and their ilk. He needs a part of Medusa, in this case one of her snakes would do in order to alchemise a cure for petrification, so that he can save his person of interest (Working title: The Gorgan Gunman). I typed in Medusa youtube and watched some videos to see how she has been interpreted in moving image.

Unlike a lot of fiction, this video show’s Medusa as a victim. I learned that Medusa was once a priestess of Athena who had promised to remain pure, but when she was raped in Athena’s temple, the angered Goddess cursed her and turned her into a Gorgon as a result. Greek Gods are fickle. I really like the stone tear drop in this video, when it shatters it’s open to interpretation to whole load of visual symbolism. Does the tear respresent her heart? Has her heart turned to stone? She has a broken heart? Good be all of these things.

Battle sequence from the Original Clash of the Titans. It was interesting to see Medusa has the lower body of a snake, I’ve yet to actaully depict her in animation so this was open to possible redraws of her. I’ll try it, but I’m concerned it will make her appearance more monstrous than human, making her seem a little less accessable/relatable as a person.


Have to ignore the dubbed over music, I’m primarily watching these for inspiration on how the fight between Jack and the Medusa, it’s interesting to note that she uses a bow and doesn’t rely entirely on her petrifying abilities to hunt more difficult prey. I also like how monstrous her face becomes whenever she tries to turn someone to stone. This does leave me questioning whether it’s a passive ability that occurs whenever you simply make eye contact with her, or if she can actively control it and choose -not- to turn someone to stone?

I considered perhaps leaving Grinning Jack’s gender unknown, just so it’s not a complete throwback to man rescuing the woman. That’s still a possibility with the big coat, the big hat and the mask, you assume it’s a man… also with a name like ‘Jack’ but that’s a psuedonym.

Another thing to note in these battle scenes, is there always seems to be an example of Medusa’s power, a hapless faceless grunt that falls victim to her petrifying gaze, to assert herself to the audience so we all know that she is to be feared. Grinning Jack works alone so I’ll have to somehow demonstrate this power, without having a victim to turn to stone.

Fictional Story tweaked.

Audience and Aesthetics part 3

In this part of the brief, I am to rework my current animation (Working title: Children’s Tale, so far only visible as an animatic.) Researching from a list of styles and narrowing done to one. Initial research.

An Indie Animation in the style of Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis, 2007.

The black and white style brings greater focus on objects of interest in Persepolis, specifically on a jacket that says “Punk is not ded”, it also highlights the burkha’s the muslim women have to wear and how it doesn’t give them any individuality.

A stylised animated folk tale version of your story in the style of Karel Zeman

Almost a cut out styled animation, it’s washed out colours and period clothing designs give it an antiquated edge.

A show styled after The Powerpuff Girls (inspired by Maragaret Keane’s art)

Her work feature’s oversized eyes, possibly to exagerate the innocence of youth, but it is clearly seen in the Powerpuff girls also. Professor Utonium, their creator appears to have a more “normal” appearance with eyes that are in line with his head shape.

A found object animation in the style of Kayla Parker or Jan Svankmejer

Jan Svankmejer looks as if he’s done a lot of surreal claymation pieces that are surreal in nature. This one is definately out of my comfort zone, I’m not unused to surreal, but claymation is an area I’m quite weak in.

A folded Paper animation in the style of Garry Bardin.

Looking like a combination of cut out and claymation with cultural references to Russia.

An animated Music video version of your story with some of the punk rock/retro styling of Matthieu Bessudo (aka McBess)

The animation hails to the old steam boat willy era of animation, with the big black eyes.

A anthropomorphosised character animation in the style of Adrien Merigeau (Fangs)

Stylised with empathises on pointy ears and long snouts.

A kids animated show using a similar style to the Murikami/Tim Teen Titans show, the characters for which were desinged by Jon Suzuki.

A show in the style of Klasky Csupo (and Peter Chung’s) show, Rugrats

A cut-out animation in the style of Terry Gilliam’s early animation work.

Noad
Noad

I looked up Mcbess’ (Mathieu Bessudo) website. He certainly comes across as an eccentric individual. Refering to himself as an “Expensive Illustrator/Director“. He’s taken a direct influence from Max Fleichers work but has added his own unique vulgar twist to it, often depicting himself in a surreal world surrounded by meat, music and tattooed friends.

I drew upon a great deal of Fleicher and Mcbess’ work to accomplish the concept designs of the images.
Bess
Bess
Bess

A worrying aspect to encounter was that a lot of Mcbess’ work tends to sexualise the female figure, despite it very obviously remaining a Merry Melody cartoon shape. Full busts, narrow waists and wide hips tend to accentuate the female figure. This was somewhat problematic for my child character, as it is a young girl, it wouldn’t be right to portray her in that sense, especially with tattoos and provocative clothing. Instead it simply says “Generic Vulgarity” or “Something Vulgar” on her hoodie. The father figure has “Roks” with a skull on his hoodie, a nod to Dead Pirates “Wood”.

Audience and Aesthetics part 3

Creative Futures – My work is out there

I received an email a few days ago:

Hello Daryl,
Sorry for the massive delay but we’ve had issues getting power into the display case where we needed it.  However, I’m pleased to say your animated film is now on display at Streetlife on a digital photo frame, within the Amy Johnson case in the ground floor Street scene area.
I will get a simple label done for this as part of a batch for an up and coming exhibition.  Could you confirm how you’d like the film described and what your course and college/dept is called?
Thanks for your patience.
Robin
I went to the Street Life museum. It’s not like I didn’t believe him. I just had to see it for myself;
Creative Futures – My work is out there

Creative Futures – Sordid Lies T-shirt design

A while ago, I designed a mascot for the band Sordid Lies. Initially the intention was to get the mascot animated and to star in either another music video or have it projected during stage events. While none of these came to fruition, I did have a character ready to go when we wanted to get a T-shirt design across.

At a band meeting, I scribbled down the design… You’ll have to ignore the solo face and Solid Snake.
Soridid

Tshirt

After the initial drawing, we decided we wanted a far more thicker line so it wouldn’t get lost in the black. I copied the font and tried some different positions.

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I wanted to have the leg a little higher, I believe it shows off the mascot’s curvy physique and makes for something a little more seductive.

Tshirt back edit

I didn’t want to have a winged skull because Avenged Sevenfold already did that… but the Nazgul-esque design doesn’t add much to it either. We decided to have the font above the mascot and bigger for better focus. I wanted to have the wings almost draped over Sordid Lies but was out voted. To keep the background from looking completely empty though I put some big speaker stacks in instead.

Tshirt clean edit

I hand drew the Devil’s Daughter (song name) tagline. We considered having Sleaze Rock Sinners (song name) and Vanity Project (EP name). However, Devil’s Daughter fit the theme of the T-shirt, the words themselves can be related directly to the character. It could be considered that she is the Devil’s Daughter. I played it safe with the type, copying the Sordid Lies font from other sources we’ve had, and hand drawing the Devil’s Daughter so I didn’t have to rely on any one or other type design, whilst simultaneously keeping it ambiguous. Not mimicking any type face from the 80’s, this was a conscious choice as I wanted to build our own unique style from the bands visual themes.

Tshirt
Tshirt

Now available and on sale at £7.50.

Creative Futures – Sordid Lies T-shirt design

Hull’s Heros – Clive Sullivan

A project I’m doing outside of Uni involves creating A2 compositions in any medium of a famous person from Hull redone as a super hero. Though Clive Sullivan was born in Edinborough, he was the first black man to become Captain of an England team. He was known for his impressive speed despite his stature on the Rugby field. He also had multiple leg operations and was briefly a para-trooper in the army. I thought to reflect this, his super hero self has bionic limbs that give him increased strength and speed, he also wears a beret with a paratrooper badge and an over-shirt that sports the same colour as the Hull Kingston Rovers at his time of service (1973/74).
Csully
C sully

I started with some thumbnail sketches to get my pose and positioning, using pictures of Clive to capture his apearance.
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I added the cross hatching to reflect the golden age comic book covers I took inspiration from.

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I revised the font to have it more in keeping with the 1950’s comic theme I was going for.

Hull’s Heros – Clive Sullivan