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.

My sketch from Noah Klocek’s workshop, researching Akitas
Thumbnail sketches for a Greyfriars Bobby/Hachiko-inspired story

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.

Exploring basic shapes
Refining …
… and refining further – hopefully to be finished one day

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!

Bree (or Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah, to give his full name) is the titular horse of The Horse and His Boy. Shasta is the boy. I had wondered about drawing Aravis and Hwin, the other main characters, but there are so many other characters I want to draw I initially decided against it. Now I’m two weeks through the list I made I’m starting to wonder about some of the characters I initially scheduled, so Aravis may appear later in the month …

Like yesterday, I’m looking at The Secret of Kells for design inspiration. Several of the animals like wolves and deer have legs that come to a point. Though it’s quite elegant I think, if I were designing for a real film, I would rework Bree to have hooves.

10_Bree10_ ShastaBree

Inktober is an annual drawing challenge which I’ve taken part in before, but this year I’ve decided to do it a little differently. As the name suggests the drawings are supposed to be in ink, but this year I’m going to cheat and draw digitally. My aim with this challenge is to develop my character design skills, so I want to focus on that and not on my inking skills. I will also be taking the weekends off as I think it’s important to have a couple of days to rest or catch up, depending! To that end I’ve created a list of 23 characters (some mine and some from favourite books), many of which I’ve been meaning to draw for a long time.

Elsa is the first – not wholly a character, but certainly caricatured for my Selkie storyboard.01_Elsa

I was in Edinburgh yesterday for an animation event, so I spent some time drawing in the museum on Chambers Street. I sketched a sperm whale skull and a haughty-looking llama as well as some of the visitors. The sketches are pen on paper, but the tone was added digitally.01b

01a

I’ve been busy with work and a family wedding, so it’s taken me a while to post anything new! Here’s a group of studies from one of Muybridge‘s wonderful sequences.

Horse_01

While my sister and brother-in-law were visiting, a neighbour told us where we could watch badgers. I’d always been under the impression they only ventured out at the dead of night, but he assured us that from around 7pm was a good time to see them. After one false start (we misunderstood his instructions and ended up in the wrong wood) and a wait of about half an hour my sister and I saw a family of four badgers running about, scratching, and playing. I didn’t take my sketchbook – next time I will – but I took my camera, and though my pictures weren’t great the footage I filmed worked pretty well. The sketches below are studies from the videos I recorded.

Badgers

While boarding the Pigeon Crumbs animatic I posted a few weeks ago I drew these reference sketches and character models to help me figure out how the character would look, feel and act.

PigeonSketches02

ModelSheet

My dog is notoriously difficult to photograph, let alone draw. This afternoon I managed to capture her in the garden as she munched on a very old tennis ball and an offcut from someone’s fence.

Recently I’ve been working on an storyboard about a pigeon who finds the mother of all crumbs, but discovers eating it isn’t all that simple. Here’s the result!

Based on a true story …

Sound effects copyright BBC

I’m currently boarding a short idea featuring a pigeon, so I thought I’d put in some bird gesture practice! These are a mix of 30- and 60-second drawings. I want to practice wings more, and really get to grips with how they work.

Birds01Birds02Birds03Birds04

This is a little ink illustration I drew for a friend’s birthday card. I coloured it in Photoshop, but I think I prefer it in black and white.

 

Janey was the life model at this Tuesday’s session, and she brought her dog along! It was fun to do quick gestures of the dog while also capturing her lovely poses.

I keep mentioning on this blog that I want to do more drawing from life, so when the stable I’ve begun riding at advertised an informal show jumping event I went along to sketch the participants. At the beginning it was hard to put more than a couple of lines down, but after a while I relaxed and sped up and managed to capture more detail.

One thing that was great fun to draw (though not so good for those riding) were the refusals and run outs. I felt I was able to create drawings covering a huge range of personalities and action.

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Yesterday I sketched Elsa as she chewed on a toy. Occasionally she’d bring it over to me and dump it at my feet before retreating across the room to stare at me. She usually wore an accusing look at this point – “What, you haven’t thrown it yet?”

I’m a bit unsure about my painting below; it’s quite wonky but it was fun to play with colour. Usually I stick to sketches, but the Sketch app on the iPad Pro is amazingly versatile and I’m looking forward to trying more painting on the go.

Elsa_04Elsa_01Elsa_02Elsa_03

I’ve been referencing horses for a project, so I’ve spent some time drawing them in order to figure out how they work. Using Line of Action I did some quick gestures, and then I searched for various images through Google to sketch in more detail.

The hooves are particularly hard to draw, especially when they’re hidden in long grass as was the case in most of the photographs …Horse_05Horse_04Horse_01Horse_02Horse_03

There’s been idea in my head that I’ve wanted to storyboard for a while. I’ve begun drawing thumbnails, but before going any further today I decided to get down some rough character designs. A dog features in this story, specifically a Border Collie, so I did some very loose drawings inspired by my own dog Elsa. She has the most wonderful ears.ElsaCollie_02

Today I attempted some gesture drawing from an episode of The Life of Birds. As I reached the end of Planet Earth II last year I realised I really should have had my sketchbook out. It’s good training for cafe gesture drawing, which I’m normally pretty hopeless at. As soon as people or animals are actually moving my drawing speed seems to slow down.

birdgesturessmall

I stuck my headphones in and ended up listening to the episode too, which was perhaps a mistake – I was definitely distracted at points. But it was fascinating learning more about the birds, particularly the New Zealand birds. I liked drawing the Kiwi but it was the flightless parrot, the Kakapo, which was my favourite. I especially like how the males inflate like a balloon in order to make their calls travel further.

After the episode had finished I looked up a few images online and did a slightly more detailed study of a Kakapo.

I had great fun but I think I need to work at drawing birds in flight, and practice colour more – I’ve been drawing in black and white so much I’m a bit rusty.

kakaposmall

Haven’t drawn much in the last few days, so I spent some of my morning doing timed sketches from artists.pixelovely.com – a great site for gesture practice. These were 30 second drawings.

30sec

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