Character Designs

This is where I started off. i wanted to base my character of something important, something of relevance to our society. I went onto the BBC news website and looked for an interesting story, nothing seemed to catch my interest or creativity.

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BBC World News

I remembered an article I read a while back which Conann linked on Facebook, I found it an interesting read. The idea is that the artist of the bull ‘Arturo Di Modica’  was not pleased by the marketing stunt of the fearless girl. The girl was intended to be positive, a symbol of female empowerment, the Latina girl placed in wall street, showed that no matter of gender or race women can face down any task, people recognised this and were angered at those who opposed it. The Mayor of NYC eve tweeted ‘Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.’ It’s not the point though, it’s not why it was opposed my Di Modica at least, it’s because understanding the history behind Charging bull. ‘The idea for the bull was never to represent the possible trampling death of a small child, his lawyers explained. The idea was to project optimism and strength amid adversity, which at the time of the sculpture’s creation included a market crash that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down a terrifying 22%.’ The fearless girl was placed by a company, it uses Di Modicas art to paint another picture, it has changes when his art meant, a sign of hope and strength or the American People, this isn’t fair. The Fearless girl is important, it is great that it exists, just under the circumstances I don’t think it’s fair how it does and maybe it should be moved.

‘Charging Bull’ and ‘Fearless Girl’

seriously, the guy has a point


Sculpture: Kristen Visbal – Photo: Federica Valabrega

So aside from all of this controversy I wanted to shine a light on the topic. The bull is a sign of strength and the girl fearlessness, sounds like a good team to me. I decided to design two characters, a pair who face the world together, not one that have a showdown.

Here’s some exploration of ideas and inspiration, as you can see blow I liked Spot from Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur.’


I had some more character exploration but I must have forgot to scan it, you can see it in my sketchbook.




Character Rotation: Mia


Character Rotation: Axel


Double Trouble



Mia is bold, fearless and an adventurer. Lived in a scrapyard in her younger years, took to welding and made herself a Metal Chest Plate and accessories. Mia is an Orphan, Her mum died when she was 10, her dad had left, she fended for herself and Axel. Mia has a scar on her face from when she saved Axel, she carries a satchel with some tools and essentials. Mia is Spanish.

girl colour2

Character silhouette and skeleton to show how well she reads and also who she is built.




Born with twisted horns and had them removed, Axel was due for slaughter as his expense was too great for his usefulness as he was no longer a viable bull fighter. Axel was given his horned hat by Mia, it helps him scare off unwanted attention. Axel has a flat friendly face but is very strong and would die for Mia if they came into harms way.


Character silhouette and skeleton to show how well he reads and also who he is built.



I decided to look at staging for my characters, I thought it was important I capture their relationship, an animal with a human could easily be construed as a pet but I wanted Mia and Axel to have a friendship. I’ve painted them with their armour off to show that they can be comfortable around one another, they don’t need to be tough when it’s just the two of them. I’ve painted them in a cave as I imagine they sleep wherever they can as Mia is an orphan.


Squash and Stretch

I’ve decided to show squash and stretch because I feel the characters might look a bit stiff but I think that they should be able to squash and stretch to an extent to exaggerate emotions like surprise of anger


Straight ahead animation

In this video clip I really roughly drew Axel running and sliding to a stop his volumes are definitely compromised, i was on a bit of a time crunch, I think his slide captures some of his innocence in personality.

Follow Through

I wanted to show his hat follow through when he stopped so as he stops abruptly his hate follows moments after.


seriously, the guy has a point



The Twelve Principles of Animation


  1. Squash and Stretch

A very important Principle as it lends the illusion of weight to a character. It can be used in facial expressions as a form of exaggeration. This principle is used throughout animation, it could give a human character body weight or it could show how a bouncing ball acts.


  1. Anticipation

Anticipation is the pre-action, it’s bend in the knees before the jump, the pull back of an arm before landing a punch, it prepares the audience for what is about to happens. ‘A backward action occurs before the forward motion is executed.’


  1. Staging

A pose or action should capture the tone of the piece, how it feels, the attitude in relation to the story line Camera shots are a part of staging, they can heavily influence the audiences’ interpretation of the scene such as when a camera is looking down on a character it could show them as vulnerable as opposed to a camera placed at a lower angle looking up giving the impression of power. Every shot must be staged correctly to utilize the limited time of a movie. Don’t attempt to be too fancy with camera movements or positioning, it must be relevant so it’s easy for the audience to understand the action. Sets should not be over detailed so that the main character or item of interest is overlooked.


  1. Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose

With straight ahead animation, you begin drawing the character at the start of the shot and you work drawing to drawing to the end. This method can lead to loss of proportions, size or volume but it is fresh and can really captures a character’s personality; through the movement it shows. Pose to pose is carefully planned as it helps maintain proportions, it also helps the lead animator as they draw out the main poses and they can hand it over to the animation assistant to fill in the tedious drawings between


  1. Follow through and overlapping action

Nothing stops all at once, in terms of a human like character, when they stop their body parts must catch up with the main mass, this applies their clothes or any accessories they have, nothing stops all at once. Overlapping action is when say the body starts travelling in a different direction but the likes of hair stays flowing in the same direction. ‘DRAG’ is when something doesn’t keep up with the main body movement like a dress not moving exactly when the person does but moments after.


  1. Slow-Out and Slow-In

Fewer drawings will make an action faster whereas less drawings will make an action slower, by using less drawing you can ‘slow-in’ and ‘slow-out’ which softens the action. Not using slow ins and outs can give the action more snap and a comedic effect.


  1. Arcs

Arcs give movements more realism, the arms and legs of a human use arcs as they are on pivot, arcs allow an animation to flow better. You can imagine a pendulum swinging back and forth, it doesn’t jolt it flows. Even smaller movements such as eye movements are executed using arcs.


  1. Secondary Action

Secondary action acts to reinforce the main action. An example could be s fella prancing through a meadow, the primary action his legs skipping freely, the secondary action would be his arms swinging happily by his sides, even the slight tilts of his head or facial expressions or dialogue classify as secondary action, the action id the prance, the secondary action the body movements that come along with that. These actions should support one another.


  1. Timing

Timing gives ‘meaning to movement,’ it helps translate to an audience the idea being expressed. Timing as well as squash and stretch helps define the weight of the character depending on say how long an object might take to fall. Timing is very important, it can help translate a characters’ mood or a reaction, you can imagine a sad character trailing their feet along slowly. Ones and twos are used in animation, a drawing could be photographed on two frames, this is used most of the time, ones are more likely used for camera moves or for quick dialogue.


  1. Exaggeration

Exaggeration need not be excessive, it adds to the appeal of a character or action or any sort, in facial expressions exaggeration can be used so that the action reads better. Cartoons often use a lot of exaggeration which is often extreme which works for comedic purposes or getting the emotion or action across very clearly.


  1. Solid Drawing

Solid drawing gives the illusion that a character or object is three dimensional; gives it volume. we draw the character in 2D but how the lines are shaped will allow for the character to appear 3D.


  1. Appeal

All characters must have appeal whether they are a hero or villain, a mentor or a trickster. Appeal comes from an interesting that is not over complicated but reads well, appeal is not just achieved through drawing, it is also based on character development. ‘Like all forms of storytelling, the feature has to the mind as well as the mind’




Colour Development

When reviewing my previous work I realised that even though I had learned a lot and that my art began developing I had not showcased what I have learned especially in terms of colour work which was previously very safe. I have tried to be more experimental with my work using different mediums and a wider range of contrasting colours.

Here is an example of two water colour and pencil pieces for the synapse world which was originally the world I was assigned to for colour week. I’ve tried to explore the uses of warm and cold colours and I am happy with the result.


I really wanted to do more digital paintings, I decided to compose and paint a scene for an original idea I had for the shadow world animatic of one of the little tree people looking into cavernous depths of the shadow peoples home right before an eclipse. A critique for this piece would be that it’s quite earth like and not experimental in that sense, however, my aim and purpose of this piece was to showcase my furthered understanding of colour.

Shadow world colour study .jpg


Inspired by some of my classmates I wanted to try a photo mash piece. I drew up a sketch I had done as a concept for ‘Tiki Island God’ world and began to mash photos and paint together using things like nets and metal to show how this creatures might be affected during their mutations in this world.picture smash.jpg

Project Three: Weapons

I followed a tutorial when creating this bow. I added a couple of minor alterations for the purpose of experimenting. I added my own texturing and lighting. I used the gold and chrome textures from the Solid angle material library

All of the below rendered using Arnold.



I textured and lighted this scene of this sword which I had previously created, i saved the texture values for gold and chrome which i entered on the bow to my presets and added them.

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I originally wanted to make this weapon without help from a tutorial but I was confused at how to create the blade so I got help from another one of Mike Hermes video linked below.


I textured and lighted this scene of this shotel which I had previously created, i saved the texture values for gold and chrome which i entered on the bow to my presets and added them.

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Project Two: Living Room Model

For class we were to model an object so I modeled a lamp, I accomplished this through the process of extruding for the most part. Watching maya tutorials at the time helped me a lot as I leaned a lot of shortcuts making me work faster.


After completing my lamp it only seemed fit to place it in a room, I loosely modelled my home living room. I rendered these scenes in Arnold.

I used the following tutorials for help when modelling this room. I made a few minor changes to the the objects modelled in these videos to attain a greater likeness to my own furniture.

Life Drawing Week 10

This weeks drawings weren’t great, proportions are off, I wasn’t thinking about what I was drawing. We had 15 whole minutes to do a chair study, my first attempt was abysmal, my second was a bit better but was very flat with some incorrect proportions. On a lighter note, I’ve really enjoyed the first semester of life drawing and hope I can put in a lot more work to improve throughout the course of the year.


PechaKucha Review

Today we Presented our PechaKucha, my team mates Lauren and David spoke very well. Lauren and I split up Jessica’s slides as she unfortunately could not be with us on the day. Personally I didn’t read well, I got caught up in my que cards and when the slides changed prematurely due to us being behind when reading it really threw me off. I wish i could have got the information I wanted to share out. I will have to spend more time practising for the next presentation like this so I can redeem myself.

Final PechaKucha Script on Burton

Jessica’s slides I read (amended due to time restraints) 

4th picture- ….

One of those scripts was Beetlejuice. Released in 1988 it was one of the biggest selling movies of the decade. It was intended to be darker, he changed the original murder and rape scenes resulting in the humorous movie we know today. Tim continued to try for a sequel since the original was released, even hinting this year that a script has been written…

5th picture- …

After beetle juice’s success Burton formed his own production company and went on to direct Batman in 1989. He never wanted to follow the original comic books for the movie, which annoyed a lot of people, but it resulted in a fresher look for the franchise. Batman heavily features Prince on it’s soundtrack, who created an entire album for the movie, of which only half was used.

My original five

SLIDE ONE – Inspirations

Burton’s inspiration for his work comes from many sources. Much of his work is inspired by drawings he created as a teenager. Mars attack, which he directed was based on a series of violent trading cards from the 60’s and also from personal art work which displayed elements of social commentary. His films often have settings of the Halloween season accentuating his signature gothic style.


SLIDE TWO – Inspirations

Burton has always identified himself as an outsider which has a significant influence in much of his work. This is captured in one of his most popular movies, ‘Edward scissor hands,’ with the protagonist being a total social outcast. He wanted to cast an actor who ‘got the idea, that sadness of being misperceived’, which he found in Johnny Depp.


SLIDE THREE – Collaborations

Burton is know for recasting actors in the films he directs. he seems to share an affinity with Johnny Depp who has featured in eight of his movies. His ex wife Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Lee have featured in 7 and 6 films respectively. The reasoning is that he likes actors who bring something to the table.


SLIDE FOUR – Collaborations

Danny Elfman is the composer behind the majority of Burtons films, as in Tim’s words they share a ‘similar approach’ when working. Burton has also collaborated with the likes of Vincent Price, Danny Devito and Michael Gough. He also worked with puppet manufacturers Mackinnon & Saunders three times.


SLIDE FIVE – Techniques

Burton’s attraction to stop motion lay in it’s ability to lend weight to characters, he utilised this method at disney creating ‘Vincent.’ He wrote the very successful Nightmare before Christmas  proving an old method such as stop-motion could succeed alongside new and exciting computer animation. Burton continued his stop motion work in James and the giant peach, The Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.


PechaKucha Research

Lauren, David, Jess and I split Burton’s life up to do more specific research before we started making our slides. I’m focusing on his life and work in the 1990’s

-Mars Attacks! (producer)

-1996 James and the Giant Peach (producer)

-1995 Batman Forever (producer)

-1994 A Visit with Vincent (Video documentary) (executive producer)

-1994 Ed Wood (producer)

-1994 Cabin Boy (producer)

-1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas (producer)

-1993 Family Dog (TV Series) (executive producer – 10 episodes)

-1992 Batman Returns (producer)

-1989-1991 Beetlejuice (TV Series) (executive producer – 94 episodes)

– Not So Peaceful Pines (1991) … (executive producer)

– Journey to the Centre of the Neitherworld (1991) … (executive producer)

– Catmandu Got Your Tongue (1991) … (executive producer)

– King BJ (1991) … (executive producer)

– Relatively Pesty (1991) … (executive producer)

– 1990 Edward Scissorhands (producer)

Q. That can be deeply disheartening at that age, to learn that you’re bad at something.

A. It’s the same with drawing. If you look at children’s drawings, they’re all great. And then at a certain point, even when they’re about 7 or 8 or 9, they go, “Oh, I can’t draw.” Well, yes, you can. I went through that same thing, even when I started to go to CalArts, and a couple of teachers said: “Don’t worry about it. If you like to draw, just draw.” And that just liberated me. My mother wasn’t an artist, but she made these weird owls out of pine cones, or cat needlepoint things. There’s an outlet for everyone, you know?

Q. When you worked with Johnny Depp for the first time, on “Edward Scissorhands,” what was it that connected you to him?


Johnny Depp and Kathy Baker in “Edward Scissorhands” (1990). Credit20th Century Fox/Photofest

A. Here was a guy who was perceived as this thing — this Tiger Beat teen idol. But just meeting him, I could tell, without knowing the guy, he wasn’t that as a person. Very simply, he fit the profile of the character. We were in Florida in 90-degree heat, and he couldn’t use his hands, and he was wearing a leather outfit and covered head to toe with makeup. I was impressed by his strength and stamina. I remember Jack Nicholson showed me this book about mask acting and how it unleashes something else in a person. I’ve always been impressed by anybody that was willing to do that. Because a lot of actors don’t want to cover [theatrical voice] “the instrument.”

Q. Having a life with Helena Bonham Carter, do you have to be more careful about how you use her in your films?

A. The great thing about her is that, long before I met her, she had a full career. She’s also willing to do things that aren’t necessarily glamorous or attractive [Laughs], and I admire her for that. We’ve learned how to leave things at home, make it more of a sanctuary. But I probably take a slight, extra moment to think about it. On “Sweeney Todd” it was quite rough. Nobody was a singer, so I looked at lots of people. Everybody had to audition for it; she did as well. That one was a struggle, because I felt like, jeez, there’s a lot of great singers, and it’s going to look like I gave this one to my girlfriend. She really went through an extra process.

Life Drawing Week 9

I’m happier with some of my warm up drawings this week, some of them have a more clear feeling of weight and balance and I don’t think the proportions are too off, some are rough but overall I think I’m improving. On a sour note my hat on head drawings were very poor, I really need to work on my perspective drawing and putting heads in boxes because I’m struggling to understand what is under the hat which I feel is a big issue.