Monday, 30 April 2012

FUN Inspiration TIME!

This is the work of an animator and character designer who I only know by his blog name:
His work is extremely playful, cute and eye-catching, I think that it always looks so appealing since he structures his characters with such simple shapes. He uses thin little legs and huge round circular bodies or heads and usually large cute eyes. I want this to inform my designs so they have more impact.

No other shows create monster designs as creative as Adventure Time do. They seem to get the perfect balance of cute and horror. The designs are really nice to look at and they are very experimental with their shapes and features on the characters. They will alter eyes and mouths and exaggerate everything to create bold imagery. Adventure Time will be one of the biggest influences on this project, especially since the two main characters always go on quests and find monsters.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The process.

I'm currently trying to find a workflow that is best for me. I usually tend to draw better on paper or in my sketchbook first which is what I have been doing with these monster creatures, then scan them in. I then take the drawing and paint it digitally in Photoshop, maybe changing a few features of the design, then try and place my design into one of my photos.

Here is a rough example of the first two steps of this process:

However this process seems to prove a bit difficult as when I come to trying to place the monster into a photo I have to then edit it to make it fit in. I think I may have to end up extending the process so that I first get a photo up in photoshop, roughly draw a sketchy monster into it in a position I want it to be in. Then print that out and draw over it in pencil on paper so that the drawing is a lot nicer, then scan that back in to be painted and placed in a photo. It is a hell of a lot lengthier but I think that will ensure the work looks its best.

The Cabin in the Woods!

I went to see 'The Cabin in the Woods' yesterday and even though it didn't live up to the hype surrounding it, it was one of the best horror films that has come out in a while considering that, in my opinion the horror genre has become so unoriginal and stale as the years have gone on.

It related really well to the project I am working on at the moment, not just because it was a horror movie but because it referenced horror and played with it. Now this has been done before, with such films as 'Scream' and 'Scary Movie' but where I think this film showed more originality was in the moments where it played with the idea of all the different monsters/mythical creatures that are in horror. The victims were being played like puppets from a control room and you found out that in this control room they have a large amount of different monsters such as zombies, werewolves, merman and many others, they even went as far as a killer unicorn! In one really memorable scene all of these monsters were accidentally let out of their cells into the control centre and started killing everyone in their own unique ways. There were zombies eating people, a clown stabbing, killer robots sawing and a small girl in a ballet costume with a face full of teeth!

The costume and design of these creatures was great and you could tell they had fun with it. This was some great inspiration!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Rainy Adventure: Gathering materials.

I have decided that regardless of whether it is pouring down, I will get my photos. I ventured out into the downpour to get some great shots in the city, whipping the camera out every time the rain decided to hold off for a few minutes. The result was some lovely moody photos in a few nice little spots that would be great to put monsters into.

I have made a little test/mock-up of what one image may look like. A troll under one of Bristol's bridges!

It will be a lot more detailed however when I map it out properly and design the characters in more detail.

On my travels I also found a great new art shop in the town centre. It was called Crafts and More and it had three floors of great supplies! I founds lots on materials that I could use to make my 3D objects with! For example I found polystyrene shapes that I could paint and turn into a monster skull, or eyeball or maybe a glowing monster tooth! I will also be painting monsters onto this small map of Bristol that I bought as if its my adventurer's map with the locations of all the monsters/objects on it!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Narrowing it down.

I have begun to narrow down the theme ideas for the exhibiton:

'They Only Come Out At Night' This was the idea that I went out in the city and surrounding residential/park areas and took photos at night. I would then place disgusting and creepy creatures within the photos with real people/models running away from them. However this could be a difficult one to work with as photography at night can be hard to do without blurriness or a drop in quality.

'Into the Woods' Was one of my first ideas for this project. It would involve going into the woodland area surrounding Bower Ashton and take photos and then place monsters/creatures amongst the trees. Maybe incorporate cardboard masks and have the creatures' heads made out of cardboard and displayed next to the photos as if they have been killed and then taken inside as a trophy. However I do feel that this does limit me a bit as the whole set of work will look too similar and just seeing lots of trees might become a bit stale after a while.

'QUEST' I have always been a huge fan of role-playing and the mythology behind monsters has a lot to do with adventure and quests. I had this idea of expanding the idea of monster hunting in the woods and making it a city wide hunt, maybe based on a map of Bristol with different locations that I had to adventure to and slay a monster. This opens up a lot more possibilities as I could make the exhibition look like a cabinet of findings from my quest and, as well as monsters heads, actually make small objects/prizes that I retrieved from each small expedition. For example, travel to one of the city's bridges, defeat the troll and bring back its skull! Then document it in photos and make a cardboard skull to display next to it in the cabinet.

These are my ideas and I'm most excited about the 'Quest' idea. I will be going out and starting to make some imagery. Time is becoming a bit tight however since the weather hasn't really been on my side with the constant rain making it impossible to go out and take pictures for long periods, let alone taking cardboard pieces out into the location which would get ruined very quickly!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Deciding on a theme.

I have been trying to come up with ideas for a theme for my project.
I made a small brainstorm and found that a lot of things I wanted to have in the project actually all link up quite well.

I wanted to use the idea of putting stylistic monsters into real photography but make it part of a bigger picture. I started brainstorming and found that there is a large sense of adventure related to monster fiction and I started to link my ideas to possible overall themes/titles.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Count!

Planning on making a set of these ink on watercolour paper illustrations of monsters to maybe enlarge and put on display. This is the Count!

David Shrigley Exhibition

I went to the David Shrigley and Jeremy Deller Exhibiton at the Southbank Centre in London. It served as great inspiration for this project as I am now going in the exhibition direction.

The Deller exhibit had some great pieces, large iconic typography and pop culture photography, along with a large interactive room which was great to walk through.

However Shrigley's display happened to resonate more with me and my own personality. He uses the gallery space in a way which is very unique. He sees it as a playground, a blank space to make into his own funhouse. He leads the audience to look out of windows to only find one small stickman standing out there on the balcony. Also it was nice to see small animated loops incorporated into the space, scattered everywhere, amongst oversized keys and funny little sculptures. I want to take some of his quirkiness and implement it into my exhibition, rethink how I will use the limited space I have so that I have something more than just prints. I want to draw attention to it and certain pieces, I don't want people to just glance and then pass on.

I have scanned a little Shrigley inspired doodle I made on the way home.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

New Direction (yet again)

After a breather from the project it seems as though it doesn't hold as much excitement for me anymore. I really like the idea of a book but the idea of the narrative and story seems as though it may limit me and my creativity. I still want to work with monsters but I feel as though keeping to one style and story throughout would become a bit stale and my development as an artist/designer would become a bit restricted.

I had an interesting chat with my tutor Julia Bracegirdle today and she propositioned me an interesting little project. I am to create an exhibition for the campus studio corridor that showcases my design work with an overall theme. I showed her my current project and she loved my creature design and suggested going in that direction.

I have found some great inspiration already for exhibition ideas;

Aaron Stewart adds little monsters digitally into retro photos.
Aaron Leighton adds little creatures into city pictures.

UK based illustrator Joe List incorporates this theme into his work.
Saul Steinberg's photos of people with cardboard masks.
I want to use my monsters to create work in a similar vein to this. Using real photography and placing surreal creatures in it. I really like the idea of making them an actual physical thing however, like the cardboard masks.

With the help of Julia I came up with an idea of photography of these creatures in the wild, in locations such as the woods near Bower Ashton Campus or places in the city such as factories and waste disposal areas but then displaying their cardboard heads on plaques next to the photos like trophies as if they had been hunted.

The deadline is the 2nd of May, and I aim to get all of the work made by the 30th so that I have about a few days sorting out what I will display and getting all the printing done.

I will now work with some styles and designs and try and come up with an overall theme.

Here is a small illustration I made that I thought could be a nice starting point for style.

Went to Lisbon


Sorry that there hasn't been a post in a while. I went to Lisbon for an animation festival! It was MONSTRA 2012 and I saw some really great films and many really bad films. Saw some great animated teasers for the festival involving monsters, which was great for my personal project theme!

I have some sketchbook pages from lisbon to show:

Then visual culture happened... which was good in a way because I got to read up about zombies and watch zombie films for a whole week while writing about them in a lot of depth. It all works as inspiration to this project I guess.

The Nickelodeon project didn't materialise since the people I wanted to work with were both too busy and it wasn't going to get done before the deadline. But it was a nice little exercise to sketch out designs and ideas anyway.

Now that is out the way I have had time to concentrate on my project again. It has been good to get away from it so I now have a fresh pair of eyes to go back over it!