Last year I had the pleasure of designing the wedding invite for friends of mine. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share a little bit of the process of making it.
To start with I was given the theme of succulents and hexagons. It was fun trying out different compositions, some more traditional and some less so.
I also quickly realised that a sketchy succulent (in this case a Mexican Gem) can look very similar to a sketchy rose.
I started with quick sketches exploring the theme
Once the preferred designs were chosen I painted some quick mockups using digital watercolours to give a feel of how the final image would look.
Rough studies of the selected designs
At this stage preferred fonts were selected, and I began painting the final design. I discovered that painting a pale succulent onto a dark background gave a kind of ghostly image which didn’t work very well. The design was reworked to feature a single plant.
In the final stages I created mockups with a kraft paper background to match how it would be printed.
Mockup and final design
It was a lovely project to work on. Plus, I got to see my work in real life when I received one of the invites through the post!
It’s been about two and a half years since I last updated my drawing portfolio (!) so I thought it was time to give it a refresh. What’s been exciting about putting this one together is that it’s all new – nothing from the last portfolio is still in it.
Way back in August, after finishing on Klaus (I’m hoping to post more about my work on that soon), I took a day to visit Edinburgh Zoo. Thankfully the weather was pretty good and I was able to see, and draw, a lot of animals.
And now for something completely different … I don’t think I’ve ever posted any of my photographs on this site, but I’m pleased with some of the ones I’ve been taking recently so I thought I’d give it a go.
In early October I visited Spain for the first time. During my trip I spent a day in Segovia, the old city centre of which is a World Heritage Site.
For the last month and a half on my job in Edinburgh (I should be able to reveal what I was working on soon) I stayed in a flat near Arthur’s Seat. One evening I took advantage of the sunshine and spent a while drawing in the park. Here are a couple of my sketches!
For the third year running I’ve taught animation workshops at a creative arts holiday (ages 12-18) over the summer. The last two years I’ve focused on morphing workshops, but I decided to try something a little different this time. I introduced the idea of emotions in characters and how to translate that clearly to an audience. To to this, everyone animated a character changing from one emotion to another.
The children grasped the concept and ran with it, creating funny and inventive pieces.
I also ran a specialism, which gave participants free rein to do whatever they liked. After going into a bit more detail about weight, timing, and movement (I even introduce charting!) the children storyboard an idea. Over about five hours they then draw their entire animation. With my help it’s photographed and edited, ready to play to the rest of the group that evening.
You can see more videos from workshops I’ve run on my Workshops page.
I’m back in Edinburgh for a few months, working as a Clean Up Artist (if you don’t know what that is, here’s an example) on a feature film I can’t talk about yet. It’s a really exciting project and I’m looking forward to sharing more about that, hopefully soon. One of the tricky things with working in animation is that a lot of what I do can’t be shown for one reason or another, so this is a glimpse at some of my personal drawings!
This afternoon I spent some time in one of my favourite places, the National Museum of Scotland. I went down into the early Scottish history section and sketches a few objects that caught my interest. Here are a couple of them.
Elaborate Viking sword hilt, Eigg
Pony cap and horns (which were added at a later date), Torrs
Sketches of Bea from last week. Even after a relatively short break from life drawing I struggled to get back into it! There are an awful lot of drawings that won’t see the light of day again. However here are a few sketches I am happy with. I particularly enjoyed drawing the study of Bea’s back – the lighting was just right to see all the details.
I spent some time today drawing quick sketches using the Bodies in Motion site. The Muybridge images are especially good for quick studies, and after exploring a variety of sequences I settled on this one.
Move Summit is an industry-focused animation conference in Edinburgh now in its third year. In 2017 and 2018 I was a volunteer, but this time I was able to attend. This year it was a three day event jam-packed with speakers from Pixar, Axis, Aardman Animations, Blue Zoo, and many many more. The first day, Wednesday, was geared to students and those new to the industry, though they could also attend the other days.
Noah Klocek, Art Director at Pixar, spoke on Thursday about ‘The Importance of Authenticity in Animation’. Noah spoke in depth about considering the story when designing, but much of what he said could be applied to other areas of filmmaking. I found this talk particularly inspiring.
That afternoon Noah ran a workshop which recapped and further explored the idea of authenticity. Especially emphasised was research – he said it’s better to have great research and a bad drawing than a beautiful drawing without research. It was thought-provoking, and has challenged me to think about and change how I go about my projects.
Mike Sharpe, of Found Studio, spoke about how he split work into three categories: Base work, Investment, and Unique. The first is the general day-to-day work which pays the bills, the second work that’s more exciting but doesn’t necessarily have the budget, and the third the space to play and try out new things as part of personal projects. Other speakers, including Jon Yeo and Noah Klocek, spoke about this work/play balance. It’s something else I need to rethink, and challenge myself to do.
On Friday I attended the character design talk and workshop led by Kenneth Anderson. It was great to learn about his journey into character design, and pick up several of his tips. In the workshop we worked through a character design for an evil and eccentric hunter child zombie. Beginning with really simple shapes, everyone developed their own version of the monster. I enjoyed watching his process, and seeing how much was very loose and undefined. I think with character design I tend to rush ahead, and get stuck, when I need to spend more time at the basic stages to set a good foundation.
The other part of Move Summit is the networking! There are plenty of opportunities throughout the days to catch up with or get to know other artists and professionals, but there are also evening socials. At Drink and Draw, I took the time to sketch some of the others there as well as have fun doodling.
I had an incredible time, and came away full of inspiration! It’s a fantastic event for those studying or working in animation. Be sure to put it in your diaries for next year!