I’ve been drawing lots of hands. Filling a sketchbook of hand drawings and exploring ideas around hands. I’ve always found them tricky to draw, especially for animation, so giving them some focus and practice, and getting complicated with them so it feels easy to simplify them, feels useful. Mostly these are observations of my own left hand, but sometimes I’ve gone in more imaginative directions. Hands are also the subject of some of the story writing I’ve been doing, so reflecting on them has been helpful for that too. I’ve been finding that leaving a sketchbook open means I’m much more likely to pick it back up and draw in it. An open book, an open invitation to keep drawing.
I’ve been delving into the dark world of cut-out style animation this year and that’s resulted in experimenting with some different digital 2d puppet methods. For a recent lyric video for the band Dirty Honkers I’ve been using deformers to rig characters in Toon Boom Harmony, in addition to a workflow that starts in Photoshop and ends in After Effects. And exporting PNG sequences from Toon Boom to edit in either Photoshop or After Effects has been working really well.
I completed three picture book projects this year, so my head has been full of some fun imagery. Hopefully I’ll be sharing some more of those pictures in the coming months. Obviously 2020 was a strange and disruptive year. But at least I got to draw elephants…
(Spread from ‘Tssssh, Splussshh, Crraashhh – What Makes The Waves on the Beach Come and Go’ by Tony Deyes)
So I’ve finally set up an Instagram. Which is exciting because that’s what the cool kids have been using for years now… I mean I guess they’ve grown out of being cool kids by now. But what it means for me is another outlet to share artwork and I will try to be less precious and more frequent in sharing images and ideas on there. I’ve started with just a couple of quick sketches like this…
Find me here – https://www.instagram.com/quirkyjoe_art/
I had a lot of fun creating this animated lyric video for the song ‘Hometown Girl’ by Shay D. We set quite a tight deadline so I had to think about ways to simplify the animation without compromising too much on the character-based cartoon style. There is lots of repetition and use of walk cycles which works well for the concept. I enjoyed creating animation loops of the band playing, the car moving and the tumbleweed rolling. I’m interested in the idea of a story told through a series of animation loops and that’s something I’d like to explore further in future projects.
My Drawing Stories Course starts again tonight. It’s a short course exploring sequential art and different ways to tell stories with pictures. Each session consists of a series of exercises that explore drawing and storytelling and it’s a fun introduction to techniques involved in creating picture books, comics and storyboards – providing inspiration for your own story ideas. More information on the course here – http://www.evolutionarts.org.uk/drawing-stories-course-brighton-hove
I created this ‘ideas taking flight’ image to promote the course. I’ve included the rough thumbnails/designs for the image too.
I took part in Brighton Film School’s 3 week summer course this year and really enjoyed it. The highlight for me was devising and making a short film called Sack Head. It’s a kind of comedy of manners about the horrors of dating. Production involved designing and creating a movie monster in the mould of 80s slasher horror films. It was a great challenge and lots of fun.
I wasn’t expecting to have the opportunity to see my own ideas come to life like that. It was a great experience. We were only a small group and had to pull together to make it work but we’ve produced something we’re proud of. Now we’re submitting Sack Head to short film festivals and hoping other people will enjoy it too.
I decided to take some of my drawings from my character doodle sketchbook and see what happens when I bring them into Adobe Illustrator. I started with these faces that seemed to lend themselves to geometric shapes and vector-based drawing. These characters reminded me of plasticine or claymation characters and that seemed to inform the colour palette – which was fun to use.
This is an animated music video combining rotoscoped elements with hand-drawn metamorphosis, photographed textures and digital effects. We wanted it to feel like an animated performance video – with the movement and energy that comes with that and with Flowdan performing to camera and to an audience in animated form. I was also interested in taking visual cues from Flowdan’s previous videos and other grime videos – which included an urban setting, tower blocks, dogs, cars, dance, fire – and seeing how these might be transformed by animation. It turned out like this.
Below – the concept image I sent with my initial proposal for the project and some other sketches and designs.
In October I completed a lyric video for the song ‘Escape’ by Jamie Berry featuring Jemio for Flak Records. I’ve produced some motion graphics and text animation work in the past but this was my first full lyric video and I really enjoyed the process. We started by trying to work out a storyboard that featured story elements that related to the song and could accommodate the lyrics and then the imagery grew out of those ideas. Although the text is always prominent when it appears, we also wanted to feature animation with characters and setting which could maintain interest for the sections without lyrics. We’re quite happy with how it turned out.
See the video here…
I was also asked to create the record cover for the single which turned out like this…