Norman McLaren (1914-1987) continues to intrigue me. I saw this video for the first time the other day and found it inspiring in terms of thinking about sound in relation to animation. This video very directly brings visuals and audio together by depicting a musical canon.

The structure of the film made me think again of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet. Probably just because it is in three parts but I like the way both films have been organised. The ballet is in three parts which is based on the idea of the trinity and each section has a very thought out colour scheme and feeling to it. Schlemmer was trying to push the human form as far as possible into becoming a marionette and the people in Mclaren’s video in the final section have a similar quality. Although they have more individuality than the Bauhaus human Marionette’s, they are all dressed the same and it is more about the shapes they are making and the overall choreography and representation of the canon that they are depicting. The abstraction of the human form allows us to engage in a different way and see the people as a part of the whole composition of the video, with the background and colour etc, not the main focus/protagonist.

Schlemmer was thinking about this idea of placing the human form in space. This is something Maryclare has helped us think about during our drawing trips to the British museum and waterloo station. I found in really helpful to have the challenge of drawing large spaces with one object or character in mind so you situate them in an environment. Here some of my drawings from those trips:

At Waterloo station, my object that i drew from various perspectives was the clock.

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I tried some straight ahead animation the other day:

Our deadline for Uni 1 was today. Here are some drawings of my dog for the creature research.

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animals + characters

There are various artists who have been helpful references and inspirations whilst studying animals. Hokusai is one of them. I find his simplicity in depicting forms very satisfying. I have been trying to simplify the form of my dog when studying him in the last few months. It is useful to break down what is necessary to depict as a way of understanding the animal and it’s movements better and also aesthetically, it is pleasing. Here are some of Hokusai’s animals:

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I was lucky enough to be in Paris this weekend and see a Disney animation exhibition and a Picasso x Giacometti exhibition which featured some brilliant paintings and sculptures of animals.

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They were both inspiring in different ways. The Disney exhibition, for obvious reasons, was exciting for an animation student, particularly character animation as it lead you through many of Disney’s well known characters. There was a great mixture of old video footage, pencil tests, sketches and a text. The exhibition talks a lot about the importance of life drawing and starting from real life when bringing anything to life through drawing. There was a great video of some of the Disney animators observing and drawing bubbling liquid so they could understand how to animate it. They also had a lion and deer other animals into the studio so they could observe them before animating Bambi and to help with the Lion King. It was great to see the whole process from storyboarding and concept art to line tests and just sketches. It was all chronological and was interesting to see the stylistic influences from different eras and also notice the clear technological advancements that affected animation aesthetically and as a technique.

The animals in the Picasso x Giacometti exhibition stood out for me, perhaps as they are on my radar for our current projects. In particular, Gicometti’s sculptures were helpful to look at as he creates quite strange creatures but still with very lifelike forms based on animals we recognise. The tactile nature and elongated bodies give them strong character. Here are a few examples:

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This week I downloaded a new stop motion app and decided to experiment with some clay figures I made a while ago and a new figure. I really enjoyed the spontaneity of animating straight ahead and made it up as I went along. Here is a photo my dolls house and the video itself:


Thinking about animal characteristics in people has helped a lot with building characters. Here are some sketches applying this technique which we explored in some of our drama lessons with Lydia. It will definitely be a useful technique to use when you are struggling with ideas to imagine an animal and its movements and then apply small aspects of this to creature or human movement. The counter culture character I designed last term was with a flamingo in mind. Here are some sketches from the lessons on animals/preparatory drawings for my character:

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And here are the final character designs:

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