Friday, 12 October 2012

development in character design

Today's date: 12 October 2010

At the beginning of my specialist in these I 1st had to choose what I was going to face my work around. For this I began a poll on what to choose for my specialist it is one, from this I received a lot of support in finding the right methods to do my work on. most people suggest that I would do a story from a book  so I went out looking for a story to use in my specialist Studies are planned to do was to work off short stories create character designs for them do a small storyboard reviews and turn into an  animatic and if possible into animation. The main thing I hope to achieve is to make sure that I make this suitable for my target audience as well

From the books that I had chosen one of them being about multiple folktales from a Zimbabwean tribe and the other book filled with different mythos stories about gods and heroes from the past the one that interests me the most to make and work on my character designs and concept art was the stories from the Zimbabwean story-teller with this I can start on my research on to this culture is artwork to base my art design off as well as plan out my work.

From this idea I will plan out my weeks so that I don't spend too much time on one piece of the project, my 1st is to choose the stories I will work from, then do some research on the art style and body design to make my work look more authentic to the book I am basing my character design off. While I have not been able to do my full research and concept art I have been drawing some character designs in my own style to get an idea of what I'm planning to do for the character designs themselves.

15th of October 2012 to 28th of October

research and case studies

for this week and the next i'll be doing research on the art style of south afrca art and artist/ animators to reference my work off while trying to develop my skills in body forms in humans.

To help with my research and references on the African arts style I've plan to use within my character development I wanted to look at a animator who uses this type of style of art in their animation. To help me out with this someone had gave me the name Erica Russell, an animator he uses African music and dance within her animation. In the early 1970s she moved to London and joined Richard Williams animation studio as a paint and tracer she worked on numerous amount of animations through the 80s and gain experience by assisting a Disney animator Art Babbitt after that then establishing her own studio and making a solar animation debut called "feet of songs" (1998) 

For the animation itself she used the rotor scoping on people to get this simple movement of the dance but it I use of colour and shapes that truly define the animation itself. The body design of the dancers are very shape based giving only the  baseline of the body in lines and triangles alone letting the colours and atmosphere takeover of the animation itself. This style of art like most art of the African traditional and modern emphasise body parts giving at least some indication is to weather the character may be male or female in certain emphasis of the body like chest and hips, but the most about Erica Russell animation is the flow and colour within the animation itself the body designed our simple yet effective allowing the music to speak for itself this and traditional African art is something I wish to place within my own character design for this module.

Unlike European art African art varies in all the different parts of Africa most backward symbolise  worship or the embodiment of man to some as is meant to tell story within the artwork itself. Out of what I've researched so far I've come to realise that most African art is found within sculpture this will prove interesting in my work process as it allows me to think in a three-dimensional environment. From the artwork that is paint based I have gathered that the style of art includes a lot of pattern-based this giving the artwork bright colours as well as different shapes and textures for the eye to capture, the patterns and colours are something I definitely wish to add to my characters  development as it will show my work basing around the art patterns and designs of African art.

(mask and sculptures that i may use as a reference for my work) 
 the shape on the faces of the masks are oval shape with distinct facial figures making them very interesting. Most of the mass's eyes are closed this said by the artist to make them was to represent a "woman not to fall in love with a man desire And keep their eyes half closed". quote from the book African art

After further research into African art it was clear to see how it influenced a large amount of artistic back in the 20th century and to this very day with its own unrealistic shapes and simple designs of characters and sharp pattern. The well-known of all of these artists was pesao who uses Cubism in most of his work. Back in the 1900s the European artists became very interested in collecting African art most of the artists who collected African art believed the art to be primitive unlike the European art which was known for it's realism and smooth design. As time went on African arts history became somewhat confused as to what the art truly meant, mostly are being sculptures and masks were used in Africa for tribal ceremonies and sometimes performances in dance and plays. 

As most African art was built from sculptures and masks I have to go through not just their art work but also their design in clothing to get a sense of colour and pattern designed to use in my artwork for the final character designs. I will also be starting on the character designs themselves to see what I can make of them in my own style as well as  design around the inspiration of African art.

In 1962 a Conceptual artist called Yinka Shonibare born in the United Kingdom who moved to Nigeria in West Africa and then returned to the United Kingdom again was an artist who loved the design and colour of African clothing and wanted to ask a question that he himself wanted to answer within a art piece. Before making the picture Yinka Shonibare asked himself what people imagine when they think of Africa, he remembered the traditional African fabrics from sale in the local market in london in which he wore, these fabrics were traditionally made of cotton mix with other materials then dyed and waxed to create outstanding design and pattern. All of these designs came in different styles some very detailed to others very flashy outstanding. To him he believed it to be what true traditional African clothes were, but too much of a surprise the art pattern style of the West African clothes came from another place entirely.

Before West Africa had this pattern of clothing these designs were originally made in Indonesia and when Holland still owned the local area they created a trade in which they sold their road design and pattern to other parts of the world. Not only Holland but the United Kingdom also sold these ideas to West Africa and in time they themselves design their own version from the original and sold their work on. For all of this Yinka Shonibare created his art piece which not only showed the Art of Africa but different parts of the world that brought it all together this is said to why the art piece is called the "line painting".

This will give me a little more of an idea of where the designs and what I can use in my own character design. I believe using the patent design mainly on the characters clothing as used for most this will give the characters as sharp and bright look while using a different type of paint style file the background objects and so on. For this I will be testing out what materials to use for the character designs themselves to make sure that they will blend well with what I plan to use this means creating a background to base the character design making sure that the characters do not blend into the background themselves.

(this will be updated with work and my rewrite)

References and research

“The village storyteller Zimbabwean folktales" written by Sarudzayi Elizabeth Chifamba-Barnes and published by the lion press

“mythology" written by Philip Wilkinson and Neil Philip published by DK

"African art" written by stefan eisenhofer published by Taschen

"african design" written by rebecca jewell published by The British Museum press

"contemporary african art" written by sidney littlefield kasfir published by thames & hudson

"your painting episode 2" TV show on BBC talking about artist Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare artwork "line painting" link

bio on Erica russell: link

some art Descriptions on African art: link

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Case Study

for this case study i had to choose a character artist that inspired me into doing character designs, I had many people to choose from. All of these character artists are very unique and different to one another for example Nicolas marlet character designs are very sketched out and even suit the style of which movie it would be portrayed an example like for how to train your Dragon the way he drew his character designs for the Dragon themselves looked like the style that the author would have used in her books.

When it came to choosing someone to do a case study on I went with someone who has influenced me through my years, this character artist is Andy Bialk. the first time i saw his work was on a show called dexter's laboratory, this show started in 1996 and along with other cartoons that came out in the 90s the art styles were very unique to the shows themselves all of which used a strong, sharp, dark outline to there characters as well as a "line of action" which gave all the characters a feel of motion. its from this art style that Andy Bialk work shows the most.

(picture of Andy Bialk) 

Thought out Andy Bialk work you see his sharp lines and lines of motion, in the character sheet below (from Madagascar 2) you can see how he shows the character reacting, never showing a picture with the character not in a feel of motion. this is something I have always enjoyed about his characters, as the character is not just showing motion but give a sense of what kind of person the character may be (in this sheet I see a kind yet strong character).

    (madagascar 2)   

but not all of his work is strong outlines he also works with other materials like painting. in the paintings below you see his rough sketch of the character. As seen in the sketch there are lines of motion which like his character sheet give the character a sense of motion but in the painting to the side he shows a very detailed, tonal and bright design to his character designs. the paintings just give the characters live and leave the eye to look at all the parts of the character to the hat in his paw to the pads on his feet. 

(madagascar 3)   

But like most all character designers Andy Bialk also does character development and from his development sheets you really see his creativity. From his work you really get a sense of how his ideas work from the picture below you can see just how many designs he comes up with for one character alone, as he designs a news reporter. There are many alternative designs some that look like caricatures to others, which look closer to comic book style of the character, but all trying to betray a strong, smart character that looks to me like a character willing to do whatever it takes to get her story. Although his character development sheets are different to his character sheets themselves you can still see his style within his rough work while still working on the main focus which is trying to make the character have the stereotypes that most people would think to see in the character.


From all this what I like the most about Andy Bialk work is the design of his characters, most of his characters have unique shape to them whether the character has sharp angles to the face or more softer rounder lines all the characters are uniquely distinct from one another even though they're all drawn in the same style. Another part of why I like his work is his characters are not all in proportion, I always liked characters who take on a different look to the real proportions that we see in our day-to-day lives and to me making the characters look more like characters gives a sense of the fantasy and un-realism that makes me like watching the characters react on TV.

pictures and research

Andy Bialk blog

Andy Bialk on IMDb

info of Andy Bialk