Monday, February 22, 2010

Waking Sleeping Beauty Trailer

I saw Waking Sleeping Beauty when Don Hahn and Peter Schneider came to The Toronto International Film Fest this past September to promote it. Don came to Sheridan College that week as well to give a lecture which was so inspiring. Even got him to sign my copy of Drawn to Life Vol. 1! Geeking out here. The film is a must see. It's very inspiring and emotional. It's a look behind the public face of Disney during 1984-1994 and all the footage in the film is from that time. No new footage was shot to put together this documentary.

Watch the trailor HERE.

Go see it and make good films!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

another test

My most up to date work in progress on Pooh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Acting in Slow Motion is frustration

This little part of my animation has been the most difficult part for me. It's not actually done yet, (you can see that the third last drawing is unfinished and doesn't follow the arcs properly). On my first pass I was finding this bit of action technically difficult. Then after thinking about it some more and retiming, it was more emotionally difficult. I don't have a director to ask 'what would Pooh do'. I was going to animate Pooh following the (invisible right now) butterfly going over his head and side-stepping while doing that, but I thought that might look ugly and clumsy. So I decided that a quick step and arcing his head down into the turn would be aesthetically appealing and natural physically. I've shown the test to Stephen and he was the one encouraging me to have Pooh follow the butterfly overhead while stepping because he thinks it's what Pooh might do. So... arugh! I don't know. I think I'll just keep this action and finish the shot and see what it looks like and what people say afterwards. It can always be corrected later... Or just learned from for the next time.

I find acting out 4 seconds in slow motion over a month in my spare time so frustrating. If I was a live action actor, I would just get into character and step. Right? Or in everyday life, you just step, you just 'do it' and you aren't analyzing yourself. You wouldn't be thinking about it and redoing it and fracturing it for days. That's why I can really appreciate art that is made in a short period of time. You create something emotional and don't obsess over it until it's flat.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

where do ideas come from?

Ideas can come from anywhere... A storyteller or idea person must have their radar on and be open minded at all times. Having a notepad or sketchbook on your person is such a good idea. (I have a sketchbook and a notepad at work, a mini sketchpad in my bag at all times in case the opportunity to do some gesture drawing arises or an idea pops up and sketchbooks and oodles of paper at home.) I have recently regimented the practice of having available paper at all times in my daily life and I'm trying to keep my mind open.

Something that I don't always remember to do but when I remember I do - is not only write down my ideas - but how I thought of the idea! It's interesting once your mind starts churning and the train of though can bring out more and enrich existing ideas futher. I am sometimes confused at myself when I come up with an idea that I think is compelling but for the life of me I can't remember how I thought of it!

Ideas can come from life experiences, daily life, observation, listening to people or podcasts, the radio, reading the paper, reading a book, poetry, from looking at magazines, photos, fashion shows, art shows, museums, websites, blogs, from memories, hearing a single word, while sketching, from nature, food and objects, watching animals and children, while watching TV or a movie... It's not good to copy ideas but to be inspired and let events/people/places/etc. fuel your train of thought.

Write those ideas down! I like to take a bit of paper to my bedroom at night if my brain has been going, oftentimes a lot of ideas and visions come to me as I'm falling asleep and my mind is on fire. I also write down every single idea. I remember in elementry school being taught the idea of 'tree brainstorming' and to write down everything. It gets information out of your mind and can jog ideas later. A 'tree brainstorming chart' is where you are writing ideas down and other ideas 'stem' from that.

It's also a good idea to be organised. Sometimes I write down a thousand things, all crammed quickly and messily onto a single sheet, that way when I glance over it later it's hard to focus on any one thing or even read my own writing. Organisation and clarity are very good for the artist.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Dinner

Vday this year for the hubby and me was very relaxingly spent at home. We made a meal together, a puff pastry crust 'pizza-tart' topped with salmon, anchovies, olive paste, black olives, thyme and sautéed onions. We got the recipe from a great cookbook, One Pot French by Jean-Pierre Challet, given to me by the delicious chef that is chez catherine.

After dinner we snacked on strawberries and pineapple for dessert and played flow, (a cool game for the ps3). There aren't a lot of games I like to play, but I really like this one. Oftentimes I am happy to watch when Steve plays something like Metal Gear or Assasin's Creed.

Pictures of the chow:
black olive paste - replaced the traditional cheese n' sauce
yum! anchovy fillets! I picked out all the bones.
there are the fillets... bones plucked. I am studying the recipe...

Monday, February 08, 2010


another one - the jump

I've been doing a lot of reading, will have to review some animation books soon.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Drawing Emotionally

I scrapped the beginning I had before... Pooh was already in the shot and in mid action - but to get that to read I was holding on this 'mid action' pose for a good amount of time and it was bad/unclear. Now I've got him walking into that first bit of action and it is much better. It's important to think about where your character is coming from and going to... How does the character enter the shot? How does he exit? How do you cut between shots and why?
You'll notice that there is a lot of anatomy in there already... My initial pencil test was all about staging and timing and feeling... But very loose and general. Pooh is a trickier guy to draw than one might think... Technically and emotionally. Since he is 'stuffed with fluff' and has only buttons for eyes, he must be animated in a certain doll-like way. He can't form an S curve with his body and can't really bend over forward or squash or stretch much. To get a look of squash in anticipation, one must take advantage of his soft legs and get him down really low. There was one pose I was working on (not included in the above test) that worked ok in a really ruf test but when I got to tying it down, I just couldn't get it to look right. It was a pose of Pooh being a little mischievous in his happy way and crouching down just slightly, bringing his paws to his face and bending over slightly with his legs close together. How un-Pooh like! His actions are usually very simple and innocent. I changed the pose entirely and was able to get the same feeling that I needed, but I had to think like Pooh to get there. He is a lot more belly than butt and his belly is generally what leads him, he will stick it out often with happy expressions of how he is feeling.
His emotions and attitude make him difficult to get into emotionally as a character as well... Getting into a character's head is tough when they are described outright as having 'very little brain'. Pooh's range of emotions are pretty much happy, confused, thoughtful, hungry. He always tries to look on the bright side of a situation.

I found a post awhile back on an animation blog about 'drawing holistically'. I can't find this post again right now and I'm not sure if I know exactly that drawing/animating holistically are but I've been thinking a lot recently about what I think drawing emotionally is and how to do it. I think the idea is to draw from the gut, and with emotional source and intent. In the case of animation, forget about anatomy and the rules for a time and draw the essence of what you are trying to communicate. Kevin Koch has a great post about animating from the gut and Eric Goldberg talks about drawing the essence of a pose first and adding the anatomy afterwards. See page 55 of his book Character Animation Crash Course or listen to his podcast interview with Clay Kaytis at Animation Podcast.