Wednesday, 27 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Mid-Challenge Hiatus

I'm temporarily postponing the 30 Day Drawing Challenge-y stuff until next week due to time constraints. Should be back on the ball by monday.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Summer Project 2012: Sketchy Beginnings...

After a fairly generous month-long hiatus, I think its about time I got stuck in on the summer project. The project has been tumbling around my mind since the semester ended, and yet I've still not stumbled upon a complete idea that I want to work with, although I have got tons of little idea snippets. So I guess thats as good a place to start as any! I'll begin this post by breaking down my thought process when listening to my allocated soundscape.

Step One: Listen! 
Well, the track has been rattling around my iPod for a while now, and I've found that the time period of the track is the most immediately noticeable aspect, with all of my ideas stemming from my perceived ideas of the late 1940's and early 1950's.

Step Two: Analyse!
I've broken down the soundscape further in an attempt to derive a specific tone. Initial impressions include:

  • Fast-Paced
  • Chaotic
  • Quirky
  • Playful
  • Mischievous
  • Upbeat
The setting has been pretty constant in all of my ideas, centered predominantly around 1940's/50's America, although the presentation varies. Potential settings include:
  • A Bustling Cityscape, New York, Chicago, etc
  • A Seedy, Gritty Downtown Jazz Club
  • A Slightly More Tropical Americana, Louisiana, New Orleans etc
  • A Rooftop Skyline, Much Like The Opening of Vertigo
Although I'm not limited to one location, especially if I decide to create a short animation. I can easily pass from Jazz Club to Rooftop, for example. The only problem with this is that it will create more work for me. 

Step Three: Think!
With these impressions in mind, I've generated a number of rough ideas. Although they'll need a considerable amount of fleshing out before they can become anything more than a basis for a mediocre skit. 

Number One: Jazz-Inspired Car Chase
The very first idea that cropped up in my mind (during the briefing, in fact) was that of a fast-paced, comedic car chase. The soundscape lends itself well to a short animation where the actions on screen are synchronized in time with the various impromptu beats of the music. I can just picture a car in pursuit of another, with heavier beats being visualised in relation to the car slamming into trash cans and other vehicles, and smaller, more rapid beats being interpreted as small debris ricocheting off of the windscreen.

Number Two: Rooftop Pursuit
Another fast-pace chase sequence, but this time playing out as an on-foot pursuit across the rooftops of a crooked city. I pictured this to be much like the opening sequence in Vertigo, where a singular character is being pursued by a number of others on a single, flat plane (a 2.5D world in which the elements are three dimensional, but the camera is fixed along a single axis, simply panning to track the action). Once again, this would be comedic, as the music lends itself to this approach, and the actions on-screen would be in response to the beat of the music, as before. I imagine the character hopping from rooftop to rooftop, as more and more police officers (or whoever turns out to be the antagonist) pile into the scene, staging futile attempts to slow down and stop the character (think of the Agents from The Matrix). It ultimately turns out that the character's 'crime' is fairly comedic in itself, something incredibly minuscule that would never merit the chaotic methods the antagonist employed to stop them (something along the lines of, he stole one of the officer's hats, or something stupid like that).

Number Three: Gangster Pranksters
This idea is structured more around a story idea than the previous two, which are more just eye-catching sequences with no real plot. The story goes that in the seedy underbelly of *insert gritty city here*, organised crime is at its highest. Murder, theft and racketeering are the norm, every day of the year. Well, every day except one. April 1st. On April Fools Day, crime families from all over put down their tommy guns and pick up a water balloon, settling their differences in a strictly childish fashion. Cars are riddled with custard pies, mob bosses have their spaghetti swapped out for fuse wire and snitches will literally sleep with the fishes, waking up in a bed full of whatever the local fishmonger decided to throw out that day. Its pretty much what would happen if Fat Sam and Don Corleone swapped places for a day. This concept would work well as an animation, but I'm finding myself more drawn to presenting each 'prank' as an individual still rendered image, ultimately resulting in a gallery of gangster pranksters. Although there is no reason why I can't create a montage of clips, with each 'prank' being displayed as a short, ten second segment of something bigger. I could put the same amount of care and attention into each clip as I would with each rendered still, with the addition of some basic character animation (Ha! Look at me, making it sound as if this is going to be a breeze!).

As always, feedback is greatly appreciated, and I'll be updating my blog as and when stuff happens, be it new ideas, concept artwork or anything else project related. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Days 17 and 18

 Days 17 and 18: Something Orange and Something You Want
So, I drew a Clownfish.
(Although, seeing as this combination of topics was a little lazy, I've added a snippet of the gesture drawings I was doing whilst creating my aquatic masterpiece, just to show I am still keeping myself drawing! See!? I'm not completely lazy!)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Days 13, 14 and 15

Internet difficulties at home prevented me for posting on here over the last couple of days, so here are drawings 13, 14 and 15.
 Day 13: Your Favourite Fairytale- Rumpelstiltskin 

Day 14: Insipiration- Reading 

Day 15: Your Favourite Plant- The Sunflower from Plants Vs. Zombies (It's a singing plant that helps protect your garden from a zombie invasion. How is that not cool?)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 12- Your Favourite Comic

Day 12: Your Favourite Comic- Art Spiegelman's Maus
Maus is a illustrated autobiography of Spiegelman's father, who was a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The various races are depicted as different species of animal, with the German's depicted as cats and Jews depicted as mice, as well as many other animals.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Days 10 and 11

Another combined drawing, because I didn't have the time to draw number 10 yesterday, and also they're pretty much the same thing for me.
Day 10: Turning Point in Your Life
Day 11: Your Most Recent Accomplishment
Both of Which are My Struggle to Finally be Admitted into University.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Days 7 and 8

I missed yesterdays drawing, as my day was taken up by rearranging rooms and constructing flat pack furniture, so I've combined days seven and eight into a single drawing.
Day Seven: Your Favourite Animated Character- The Pizza Planet Aliens from Toy Story
Day Eight: Your Favourite Television Programme- Doctor Who (of course!)

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 2- Your Favourite Animal

I'm not really an animal person, but I still think penguins are pretty darn cool. Plus, they look like they're wearing tuxedos, and any animal that looks like its dressed to impress at all times is cool in my books. Although, I'm still confused as to why in Pingu, the dad is always ironing when none of the family actually wear clothes...

It makes no sense!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 1- Draw Yourself

Starting off the 30 Day Drawing Challenge with a self portrait. Its pretty botched in a lot of places, wafty proportions for a start, and its incredibly scratchy and raw (not to mention I've been incredibly flattering with the thin face!), but hey, its day one, I've got thirty days to get better!

Summer, Summer, Summer-Time!!!

I found it incredibly difficult not to title this post through way of a Will Smith tribute, so... thats what I did. Anyway, this is my way of marking the start of my summer sabbatical, in which I plan to use my time in order to complete both the Summer Project and build upon my areas of weakness so that I don't come into the second year feeling as if I've landed on another planet.

The Summer Project
For my Summer Project, I randomly selected Soundscape 28 from the Mysterious Blue Box (unfortunately, not the TARDIS...). To my immediate delight, it was a fast-paced, playful, Jazz piece, reminiscent of the work of Glenn Miller and Dave Brubeck.
Now, I say immediate delight, as I have reached a point where my brain is struggling to conjure anything that isn't strikingly cliche or expectant of the music, making things a little more difficult. When I hit these walls, I tend to draw up a mindmap of various initial options and ideas and go from there, and that is exactly what I have done.

Whilst I have many smaller ideas, I am yet to land on anything that I want to go ahead with, but given the time we have to complete this project, I'm not in a mad panic to come up with anything concrete just yet. I'll expose my brain to a plethora of culture over the coming weeks and see if anything comes from that.

Other Plans for the Summer
Coinciding with the project, I also want to use this time to improve upon my fairly lackluster illustrative and painting skills. I practice often, but because I don't specifically know what I want to be better at, I tend to lose focus of my actual goal. Because of this, I have decided to literally start from scratch, practicing all the little exercises that anyone completely new drawing and painting would (especially painting, as my abilities just aren't there at all). I also found a nice little 30 Day Drawing Challenge that I intend to stick to, which is a slightly more entertaining method of keeping me practicing.

Hopefully, following these minor exercises daily for the next few months will ultimately lead me to improving my skills in the long term (which will make the second year go a lot smoother, as I won't be constantly battling my lacking skill set).
In terms of Maya, I intend to dabble a fair bit with some Digital Tutors tutorials, once I have Alan's tutorials out of the way, as well as having a go at learning the basics of Houdini, at the recommendation of Pete Wallace.

Overall, it looks to be a busy summer (if I stick to it!), but I would hate for it to be a slow one, so bring on the work!!!

Sunday, 3 June 2012