I made a concerted effort to people watch on the tube this week. Our life drawing teacher suggested that you pick one person and try and imagine their entire world. Where they live, what they think about things, what their kitchen looks like etc.
Smart people have pointy shoes — that was the conclusion I came to. I was sitting opposite three men with pointy shoes. The impact of these three men having quite similar mannerisms and all sitting in a row was quite strong. They all held their newspaper in a certain way, upright and open wide. They never slumped and read with great intent. All their actions, in fact, were done with great intention and they never looked up and engaged with people around them. After having watched them for a while my eyes wandered down to the floor and that is when I noticed: they all had pointy shoes.
I found an inspiring piece of experimental animation this week. The use of colour and texture is great and I like how a whole new world is created. It is visually very busy but not too busy. There is often a large still background and smaller elements moving on top which is perhaps why it feels grounded enough and not frantic despite the multitude of things going on in each frame. Here it is:
We had our first animation context lecture this week. I have been thinking a lot since then about what the difference between animation and other live action film is as I struggled to properly articulate this in the lecture although it feels like it should be obvious. It was interesting to hear some people see animation as the overarching medium and live action as a sub section of that.
I was speaking to a friend of mine who is an animator and he said he thought, one of the things that is so magical about animation, is that emotions are more extreme than in live action films. He used the example of having to break limbs in some drawings in order to portray someones movement (in often exaggerated ways). He commented that, as a result of this, an animated person could be made to look happier/sadder etc than a live action character ever could. Animation has the ability to simplify and communicate complicated ideas. Perhaps this includes distilling emotions down to their simplest form. In order to portray something through animation you have to work out the fundamental movement or body language you need to get across. It seems that when we watch animations of simplified and at the same time exaggerated emotions/movements they resonate strongly with us (humans).
I was trying to keep in mind, during my drawing task this week, that animation is a form of entertainment. I got too bogged down in trying to create something serious last week and ended up failing in making it move properly although I definitely learnt something during my attempts. We had to draw something diving and I decided to set my animation on a table and have a scuba diver jumping off some cheese onto the cheese knife and landing in the milk. He swims in the milk at the end. Here is the character: