Monday, 23 April 2012

Commission: Initial Ideas

Stylistic Choices
When working in a trance-like state to churn out every frame of my animation, I had time to conjure up some ideas of how I would tackle my Commission task. A particular style stuck with me constantly throughout this period, with every thought leading back to it no matter where my ideas travelled to.
I became fixated on the style of incredibly charming 1950's animation. This being a fairly broad area, I began to investigate specific styles within the style, using the absolutely brilliant book, Cartoon Modern compiled by Amid Amidi. This book has practically been my Bible for the past two weeks, as I've been spending every free moment perusing the plethora of brilliantly dynamic and characteristic artwork it consists of. Studios that have become particular favourites of mine include (apologies in advance for the copious amount of scrolling you're going to have to endure!),

Creative Arts Studios

Stop Driving Us Crazy! (1959) Directed by Mel Emde

Fine Arts Films

Petroushka  (1956) Directed by John Wilson

John Sutherland Productions

Rhapsody of Steel (1959) Directed by Carl Urbano


Symphony in Slang (1951) Directed by Tex Avery

As well as the work of Kietz and Herndon, Playhouse Pictures, Shamus Culhane and United Productions of America, who's work is considerably more difficult to find examples of online.

Although this is a style that clearly is more suited to two-dimensional applications, I feel that through strategic modelling and faithful texturing I can achieve a similar style that encapsulates the charm and appeal of these examples. In the coming days, I will develop some concept artwork and Maya tests in order to decide how I will achieve this.
Another point I feel I need to make is whilst these examples are very strongly character based, this does not mean I intend to throw myself in at the deep end, crafting complicated character models that I'm completely inexperienced in developing. It is more the overall aesthetic of the animations and the era they represent I wish to take inspiration from.

Subject Matter
Initially, I had decided I was going to investigate the biological processes of cancerous cells and the various ways in which these cells can affect the human body, although after investigating the above stylistic option, I felt I may be worth changing the subject matter. Whilst a lot of these cartoons are not aimed at children, the aesthetic lends itself to a younger audience. Also, I feel if I was to approach such a strong and serious topic in this manner, I'd be at risk of glamourising a humorous side of a disease that is anything but, and that is the last thing I want to be doing.
Because of these issues, it is likely I will be investigating the Cell Cycle. It is a fairly neutral topic that is widely taught to children and teenagers in A Level and GCSE science lessons, as well as in earlier Key Stages of education. The audience for my animation will most likely be a younger one for these reasons, although I don't feel I need to specify whether it will be for teenagers or younger, as the stylistic appeal should hopefully translate through various ages.


  1. I LOVE this art style - and you might also want to check out Charley Harper (a big fave of mine...).

    Somehow, this style choice is so 'you' and so promising, I say 'go for it'!

  2. Aww those illustrations are super cute. I think its a very good idea, good luck! (: