One of the assignments we had to deliver yesterday was to develop a character and present it/him/her in a character sheet. Since we are doing a counter culture walk cycle animation for the Royal Albert Hall, we were suggested to develop and present that character.
I have to admit this was probably the brief I’ve felt less comfortable working for since we’ve started the MA. The major reason is I am still not comfortable with my drawing skills (or lack of them)/drawing style. And also, because I have been feeling that I’m unconsciously being dragged into a very digital cartoony aesthetic. Which by no means I think it’s wrong, it’s just something that I am not yet ready to commit to (omg, soppy! I’ve definitely been watching too many first dates episodes).
The truth is I’ve enrolled in this masters hoping to find my ‘voice’ aesthetically speaking, but time seems to just seep through my fingers and it’s hard to think about aesthetics and movement simultaneously.
This is something I’ve talked about with my amazing mentor when we met, and she advised me to separate the animation and my journey finding ‘my style’ at least in this first year. To just explore as much as I could aesthetically on quicker projects, illustrations and drawings; and to focus on getting things moving right when it comes to the animation assignments.
I could go on forever talking about her and how lucky I am to have her as a mentor (this would quickly escalate to a very cheesy and probably very boring post!), but she did give me great advice and I feel like it had a big influence in this project.
On Margaux’s (my mentor) advice, I went (and managed to drag Helena) to V&A to get inspiration. There’s an exhibition about the 60’s counter culture/revolution happening and it was just great for immersing myself in that period. The range of subjects that were affected during the 60s/70s was vast. The exhibition savvily finished with John Lennon’s Imagine, leaving Helena and I longing for a similar movement to happen right now.
Oh world, what’s happening to us?
Still! It was both inspiring and mind-opening to see the exhibition, and just when we were leaving, at the V&A shop, I saw this amazing cover for Joni Mitchell’s big yellow taxi 7inch single (read with holly sound):
I mean, it was a sign for me! Everything clicked! You might remember, I had already researched Joni Mitchell, and was pending to develop a character homaging her because she sings about the environment on this specific song! I was so attracted to the simplicity of the line drawing I immediately felt the urge to explore this kind of aesthetic.
Another advice Margaux gave me – so I could have time to experiment with different materials – was to use this walking cycle as an experiment. Get the movement working right on TVPaint, then print the frames and trace them with different materials. I had a mind explosion when she said that! I could imagine how mental/interesting the final result would be, so it was a no-brainer deciding to go for that!
Because I had that intention even before I decided on how my character would look, it just felt right to use a simple line drawing and somehow add colour/texture. So it all came together, and JONI was born (I couldn’t think of any other name, and I mean it’s Joni so..!).
I am well excited to make her move!
Along with a couple more projects for uni.. I think I’ll be pretty busy these holidays..
(oh.. so many mixed feelings about this)