Thursday, March 6, 2014

Moving Images

I have wanted to create an animation at least since I first saw Kevin Cross's Monkey Mod trailer, but really I think much much earlier.  I always felt attracted to simpler animations.  I was a big fan of the Batman cartoon from the mid nineties and the Powerpuff Girls.  I also was really into Dexter's Laboratory.  When I was a kid, I was obviously into Transformers and G.I. Joe, but even more than the main stream cartoons I was into Hanna Barbara cartoons.  The drawing in Hanna Barbara cartoons was so simple.  I took a lot from watching Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.  Simple shapes translate easier than more complex drawings.  A professor in undergrad once told me that the most successful drawings were the drawings that children would try to copy.  The simple shapes were easier for young people to process and so they were more likely to draw from them.  I was not aware at this time how difficult it actually is to simplify things.  Cartooning, on one front is easy, but providing simple characters with expression and movement can be immensely difficult.  I have spent the past ten years attempting to perfect this quality in my drawing.  I am sure that I could very easily spend another ten years attempting to perfect that quality in my drawing.

Last summer I was talking with a friend concerning the segmented paintings that I was putting together utilizing power lines and pipes.  We determined that we could set up some of those paintings with a qr code which would then allow an animation to play on the viewers' phone screen.  I never completed the animation because of lack of confidence.

Since that failure, I have had some major boosts to my confidence and I have gotten a good deal more rest than I was getting.  Last Saturday while teaching class, I began to lay out thumbnails for an animation.  I have long had a loose plan for an animation but have as of yet not been able to create anything concrete story wise.  However, as I have become more comfortable with the changing events in my life I have grown more tolerant of chance.  I have also been reading James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young man which has had me contemplating stream of consciousness.  The thumbnails started to look like a completed animation to me.  Another undergraduate professor had assigned a project which involved scanning in a tiny drawing and blowing it up to life size.  The drawings all looked pixelated and rough, but I thought to myself that perhaps that was a bit of the look that I am going for now.  The thumbnails needed to be their own piece.

Here are a couple pages from my sketchbook as I worked through the process.

I love the second page of thumbs.  It seems like the weirdest graphic novel that I have ever seen.  The first set surrounds a sketch of a cowboy robot much like a robot that I drew back in 2007 for a show in Santa Fe.  The following is seven seconds worth of stop motion animation created from 37 thumbnail drawings.

I'm overwhelmingly pleased with how this has turned out so far.  I have already started the second page of drawings.  I think that I should be able to get about a minute worth of animation in a week.



Adam Robertson said...

Love the piece so far!

Adam Robertson said...

I love the work so far!