Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Coming Soon...

This is the poster I did for the Moshi Monsters Movie that's coming out in December. I also worked on the production for the better part of a year. It was really awesome to work on an animation, and I'm really excited to see it coming into UK cinemas soon! I'll probably write another post with some production art once the film is out. :)

Here's the press release.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Schoolism LIVE London Workshop

This past weekend I attended the Schoolism LIVE London workshop with a couple of friends from work. This is the second time Bobby Chiu has brought the live version of his online classes to London. Last year I was lucky enough to catch workshops with caricature artist Jason Seiler, Bobby, the man himself, and the inimitable Alex Woo. They were some of the most informative and helpful workshops I'd attended to date so there was no question about jumping at the chance to come back for another round.

The instructors this year were creature designer Terryl Whitlatch and colour and light guru Nathan Fowkes. Terryl designed the creatures for the reboot of Star Wars and has worked for many feature films. Nathan Fowkes hardly needs any introduction. I've been a fan of his blog for a long time and when his Colour and Light course appeared on Schoolism a while back my excitement was quickly replaced by disappointment when the spots for his class vanished within minutes.

As always with Schoolism workshops, everything was tightly run and the contents of both workshops were both inspiring and rich on information.
Terryl ran through some basic animal anatomy, showing how to go from skeleton to gestural sketch, to muscular drawing and finally surface finish. She covered a range of different animal types, from fish to bird, to four-legged mammals, and went through some of the distinctive characteristics of each. She the intorduced us to the idea of combining different animal characteristics to form imaginary creatures that feel like they could exist.
I really enjoyed Terryl's course but I haven't done much animal drawing before so what I took away from her workshop was mostly a basic introduction to animal drawing. It might sound obvious but I realised that there are no shortcuts to drawing animals. You can't simply extend what you know about drawing humans to animals. Just as with drawing people you need to study and observe to get anywhere. Terryl's love and fascination with animals has meant that she's been a lifelong student of animal anatomy, evolution and behaviour, which shows in her drawings.

I was very excited about Nathan's course on the Sunday. My relationship with colour is a difficult one. There was a stretch of time when I didn't do any colour work at all, which made me even more scared of colour.
Nathan broke down the concepts of light and colour into properties that were simple to understand (albeit difficult to master), and my fear of colour has started to recede. Apart from the main bulk of the talk on properties of light and colour, Nathan told a series of anecdotes about his long career in the industry as well which were both entertaining and insightful.

These are a couple of notes that stuck most firmly to my mind.
  • The entertainment today industry is saturated, but if you learn principles instead of follow trends you will always be able to find meaningful work.
  • The One-two punch. The best pictures have a clear purpose. Keep the purpose front and centre in your mind.
  • Do everything you can to create a sense of depth in the picture.
  • Think of colour in terms of value and temperature. 
  • Emotional associations with colour. Can think of it in terms of verbal descriptions like "feeling blue", "seeing red" etc... Can think of temperature in terms of associations with the colour, like, "sunny yellow" "mouldy yellow" or "sandy yellow".

Again, Schoolism delivers! Huge thanks to Bobby Chiu and Schoolism for bringing these amazing teachers to London!

Thanks to Pooneh Heydarian for the picture!