Friday, 2 February 2018

Major project

So after months and month of reading, writing, eating, sleeping and dreaming fairy tales for my extended dissertation I am now back in the land of drawing and painting and imagining. Feeling very motivated after the briefing and now knuckling down to get this project chugging along.

For my major project I’m using audio recorded over the past year or so of my three children, now 10, 7 and 5 years of age. They are discussing farts, rainbows, unicorns, rabbits, bunnies, Star Wars and The Blob, among other things. And I am still recording now as they never stop creasing me up. Here they are…

I’m going for a bit of a Charlie & Lola type feel. Maya is not my strong point and so I need to produce the best work that I can without being over-ambitious and failing to finish. So, the idea is to create my characters in Maya, but with 2D animated facial features. I’ll be doing a lot of lip-syncing and I think the best way for me to achieve this is with almost ‘cut-out’ eyes and mouth. So, very similar to the back of the Monster Munch crisp packets I used to get as a kid…

Being a kid of the 80s, I have a bit of a thing for retro children’s TV and I am sure my project will have some kind of 70s/80s feel about it without me even trying. There is also a programme that the kids used to watch called ‘Get Squiggling’ and I’ve drawn some inspiration from this. It teaches children to draw by using simple shapes, such as lines and curves. As you can see from the example below it also helps them form their letters. Good stuff.

The aim of my project is to create a series of shorts which would be shown in between longer children’s TV programmes, a bit like Creature Comforts. It’s a little bit of light relief and I’d like them to inspire children to be more artistic and creative. I think there is so much pressure on young children to achieve academically that creative subjects often get forgotten about and unless their parents/carers take the initiative to ‘do art’ with their kids they sometimes miss out and do not realise half of what they could create given the chance. I love seeing children’s faces light up when they see a box full of card, glitter and paint.

So, the idea is to build and animate my characters, lip-sync them talking about whatever it is they are talking about and in the background have animated crayon drawings of their chosen subject. For example, I have audio of Alice, the youngest, discussing how lions and cows are friends and love each other. I will try and capture all the amazing facial expressions that she has and in the background will animate simple child-like drawings of a lion and a cow with hearts around them etc etc. I will try to make it as comical as possible.

Not only will the children be helping me with the audio of this project, but also the style of the characters and animation. I’ve taken some of their drawings and will be using them to create characters of themselves. I will then pass these back to them for their comments and tweaks and further refine until I am happy. I will do the same for the animated drawings. I’d like the animation to almost be like a craft book. Sometimes I may use a checked background, like graph paper and cut-out shapes or include fabric textures to give the feel that it could be picked up, very similar to Charlie and Lola. I’d like the characters themselves to almost be like toys with the idea that their costumes and facials features could be changeable – a bit like fuzzy felt perhaps. 

So in the words of Lola......