Friday, 26 June 2009

The King is Dead

I got into pop music way too late to have caught the Michael Jackson wave but he was a legend and touched so many lives. The world's reaction is a testament to his greatness.

For the first time I spent some time watching his videos on Youtube. I was watching a song called Beat It when it struck me how expressive and full of gesture his dancing style is.
We may exaggerate people's gestures to create more lively and expressive poses (which they often do in animation), but in Jackson 's case he is that exaggeration. His dancing is constantly pushing the limits... bending, stretching, twisting and turning.

I did a Google image search for "Michael Jackson gesture", and found Alex Woo, who has worked as a story artist on Wall-E. He taught a life drawing class back in 2008 where he used Jackson as an example for gesture drawing and camera awareness (link). He makes the point that Jackson is a master at positioning himself as to create the most striking and readable silhouette against the camera, and that artists shouldn't be afraid of manipulating poses to clarify the action.

Beat It on Youtube - (link)
Alex Woo - link
Michael Jackson gives some insight into gesture drawing - link

Sunday, 21 June 2009

First post from Visby

There's quite a lot I want to talk about. Meeting with the wonderful Yosh and Soya of the Swedish manga collective Yokaj Studio for one, my courses in life drawing and concept art at Gotland University are others, but in the midst of settling in, starting a part time job and keeping up with coursework my time management has proved insufficient so for now I'll update with tonight's view of Visby.

I spent the day working at the university since their computers can handle a lot more than my little laptop. The university is right by the sea and as I started heading back the sun was just setting. Couldn't recall when I saw a sunset last, so I sat down on the wharf, watched the sun go down and sketched a family with two kids sitting on the pebble beach below me. It was very relaxing... just wish the sun hadn't sunk so fast. :)

It's very beautiful here. I feel like there's a new and wonderful scenery to discover every other day. Visby is a great vacation spot especially around early/mid June, before the bulk of the tourists invade. I hear there's quite some night life to be had here as well, although I've yet to experience that. :)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Summer on Gotland

At the moment of writing I'm in Stockholm, sitting in the home of an old acquaintance of the family which is where I've been sleeping for the last two nights. Stockholm is just a intermediate stop. Tomorrow I'm off to Visby and the University of Gotland, where I'll be taking a 10-week course in Life drawing with Pernilla Persson. At the same time, I'll also be doing the long-distance course Concept Art II, led by Leo Sandberg. Looking forward to both!

I didn't use to think that Sweden had much to offer in terms of education for entertainment art, but you never know what a little digging can yield. The great thing about Swedish education is that it's free, and I don't think you need to be a Swedish citizen to benefit from it. Compared to the complicated UK UCAS system, it was so easy for me to register for these courses - a few clicks for the mouse and that was it. Although, that might be because I do in fact have Swedish social security number.

University of Gotland (HGO) - link
Life Drawing at HGO - link
Concept Art II at HGO - link
Pernilla Persson - link
Leo Sandberg - link