Sunday, 30 November 2014

Alphabet Patch Pitch

We had the opportunity to do a pitch presentation of our ideas to writer James Henry.
Below is my pitch of Alphabet Patch:

My idea is called 'Alphabet Patch'. It's an educational tv series for pre-school children, teaching the alphabet and encouraging kids to explore the natural world. It follows a garden gnome and his animal friends as they play in their garden home.
I'm proposing 24 x 15 minute [James Henry commented that 5 minute episodes would be more appropriate] episodes.

Here are two of the main characters - Dotty a curious lady bug and Mrs Beanie, a curious but silly chicken who provides lots of comedy.

Now here is the main character Paddy, he's a garden gnome and 'the voice of reason' and leader within the garden - similar to Shaun from 'Shaun the Sheep'.
Norman the cat is one of the many characters in the show who doesn't speak, instead just meowing in a way kids will love to mimic.

Here's a turn around of Paddy showing how the characters work in a 2D cutout style.

There will be 24 episodes in the first series with each episode based on a letter of the alphabet (XYZ in one final episode together). 
The bee here is a special character for the second episode 'B'. As you can see it is shaped like the letter B and it also makes a "BBBBBBBBB" sound when it flies. 
Sound is very important for this series, with lots of fun sounds for kids to mimic and learn through repetition.

Topics for the episodes include berries as above...

... plants and insects; weather; outdoor activities...

... types of trees and so on.

This design for the episode 'T' shows how all the trees are shaped as 'T's.

There are also 'baddies'! Naughty characters that are fun for kids to watch. These will be garden pests that eat, steal, play tricks and leave slime everywhere...

For example, Cecil the snail. He doesn't mean to be naughty but he just can't help eating! 

Viola the squirrel has fun playing tricks on the other animals.

A concept piece for episode 'T', in which Paddy and Dotty learn about trees. Quirky things such as Paddy flying using a sycamore helicopter and Viola throwing acorns at other animals mean kids have a fun way to learn.

11 Second Club

This month I worked on an animation for the 11 Second Club competition. I learnt a lot from this project, especially as we had animator Billy Allison as a guest at the university for 3 days. Asides from giving us lectures on how to use TV Paint he also gave great animation advice during studio time. A particularly useful tip he explained was easing in and out by arranging inbetweens so that they are not necessarily midway between keys.

As this animation was very much about learning for me I don't feel it looks wonderful but I had a chance to apply some of the techniques I was learning. I'm really looking forward to receiving feedback on the 11 Second Club website.

The 11 Second Club competition involves animating a performance piece to an 11 second sound clip. The main focus is on performance - hence the rough finish. I tried to create strong key poses although I think the characters move around too much and perhaps I should employ stronger pauses in future. My timing still needs work as this something I have always struggled with.

More life drawing

Here are some pieces I did from 2 life drawing sessions.

Exercises in ink, capturing quick poses. Recently I am drawing inspiration from Bill Plympton's work and I would love to try to animate something using exaggerated bodies. I saw his film 'Cheatin'' at the Annecy Festival in June and thought it was beautiful.

Some good rendering in this piece but overall I need to work on placing the figure within a 3d space that works realistically.

An ink portrait. Didn't turn out how I envisioned but I like how it is reminiscent of Vrubel's paintings and so I am happy with this piece although in future I should try different styles (more measured).

The proportions went out the window with this drawing but I like the technique. I added the background just to make the piece clearer. I really like the arm closest to the viewer and the shoulders and neck. I have been trying to practice more how the head connects to the body and I feel like I learnt something from this piece in that area.

Blocked out figure (apologies for the bad photo). I am getting awful at proportions, next time I should apply myself to getting the proportions right.

Classic pose. As I said, I am trying to spend more time on heads and necks.

I like this piece, the rear looks almost 3D, I think this technique of lighting is pretty effective - using extreme dark and then white highlights and areas of rendered colour.

Some more quick poses. I think I'm getting better at these, I am really drawing a lot of inspiration from Bill Plympton and worrying less about creating measured pieces but rather emotional and communicative pieces.