Show Reel August 2016

[Coursework]DJ52026AdvancedProduction(DegreeShow)Posters(A1)01Ragnarök Poster For DJCad Masters Degree Show

[Coursework]DJ52026AdvancedProduction(DegreeShow)Posters(A1)02(DevelopmentProject Development Poster For DJCad Masters Degree Show

I’ve completed my course work and am now on Job Hunt 2016. My feelings are extremely muddled to be honest and I don’t know what to say and how much to say. This is my first show reel and one that I edited for my Msc Animation & VFX degree show. The quality of the work I did in it is not to the standard that I want. That said, I am quite happy with how the demo reel turned out. I have a base format that I can refer to when I polish up on an updated version of my reel. Or reels, because I think I would need more than one to cater to different job positions and applications.

Show Reel August 2016

I Have Been Working…Really.


Ragnarök & Pickachu Go Pokemon Hunting

I have a lot of things to reflect about and to write. But by the time I would have the time to put all of my scramble thoughts on paper in a concise and intelligent manner, my final assessment would probably be over. I am working to complete my projects in time but I think my blog is a good place (and excuse) for me to at least organise what I have done in a way that will be useful when my presentation comes and I am at a lost as to what to say to the row of intimidating (not really, but also yes) looking tutors.

As an introduction image I present Ragnarök running with Pikachu because I cannot fathom Pokemon-Go and the craze surrounding it.

Going Live (Guess Who Face: Bertha)

I did some completed facial painting expressions for a Guess Who face whom I gifted with a severely shaped bob haircut suffering from bang trauma and named Bertha. I think I am going to have a lot of fun painting different characters and naming them. Considering how the Guess Who board will be in the background of the project and hardly ever in the main focus of the animation, I think it would be interesting to paint portraits of myself and the others in the class. I just hope they don’t mind that I’d have to plump their faces up in keeping with the chubby visual style.


Guess Who Face: Bertha (Neutral, Oooh, Ahhh and Judgemental Booo Expressions)

Bertha Animation Test

“A Boy’s Best Friend Is His Mother.”

Last night I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho for the very first time. I’m not sure why it took me so long, I certainly don’t have ignorance to pin on. The reasons might have been plain disinterest as well as a spoiled sort of prejudice against black and white films. I don’t regret it however because the person I am today is able to take a lot more from the experience of watching Psycho than the thrill of the suspense it provides. I found myself studying and dissecting each scene’s framing, lighting, character movement, music and storytelling choices. I understand better now and agree with the sentiment that Hitchcock is indeed the Master of Suspense.

I was not aware of the movie’s plot although thanks to pop culture I knew that there would be a scene in a bathroom where a woman is violently (obviously) stabbed to death in the shower. The Simpson’s, Pee Wee Herman, That 70’s Show, Police Academy, Looney Toons: Back In Action are just a few examples that I can name off the top of my head that have parodied or referenced Psycho. It’s theme music and that scene in which Marion Crane meets her unfortunate demise being the film’s most recognised and popular elements.


South Park Episode: City Sushi & Psycho Visual Comparison

In season 15 of the animated satire series South Park, a long established Asian character Tuong Lu Kim is discovered to be in fact a Caucasian man who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. Dr Janus is a child psychiatrist who also has several alternate personas with the most dominant persona being Mr Kim, the apparent owner of the local Chinese restaurant. For years Janus has effectively convinced the people of South Park that he is indeed the Chinese “Tuong Lu Kim” by squinting his eyes and speaking in a stereotypical Chinese accent. The end of the episode visually and narratively echoes the same scene in Psycho almost entirely, even up to the point where the faces of Mr Kim and Norman Bates are overlaid with the ghostly images of Dr Janus and Mrs Bates. In both stories this is to signify to the viewer that the alternate personality has completely taken over and dominated the original persona.

Psycho (1960) Original Ending Scene

As mentioned earlier, this was my first viewing of Psycho and tried hard to keep an open mind about what will or might happen in the film. As most other human beings I often seek out to guess the plot of a mystery film before I have seen it thoroughly. But this time I followed Marion Crane’s journey all the way up to her shocking death in the first half hour of the film. Stephen King said, “People remember the first time they experienced Janet Leigh, and no remake or sequel can top that moment when the curtain is pulled back and the knife starts to do its work.” On that I agree with him wholeheartedly, Janet Leigh’s character death was as unexpected as it was abrupt. Even prior knowledge of what would happen didn’t prepare me for the experience of watching the film itself. All parts of me were imploring Marion to move and to just ‘not’ be dead even as I continued to watch Norman calmly and methodically dispose of her lifeless body. Now that the character that I’ve attached myself to as protagonist has become a victim I reverted back to my habit of over analysing and second guessing the rest of the film.

By the end of the film I was quite buzzed about all the different narrative and psychological tropes that I recognised like the abusive mother and child relationship which led to Norman developing a split personality disorder. His fear, love and hatred of his mother that led the memory of her to take up permanent residence in his psyche. I was never bought over as a child by Disney movies that seem to give the message to children that no matter how much abuse or trauma they may encounter as a child they must remain a happy and hopeful symbol in a film where only a villain is allowed to experienced an emotional hangup. People are terribly fragile, their minds even more so. And what happens to them while growing up will definitely have consequences in their future. Some will become adults who are driven to kill by some terrible urge within them and there are those who simply want to bring suffering to another. There is a theory written about the differences between a sociopath and a psychopath. The general consensus is that psychopaths are born and sociopaths are products of their environment. Parental absence or abuse being the main reason for sociopathic behaviour. When engaging in criminal activity psychopaths tend to be more calculated and careful not to implicate themselves, sociopaths on the other hand are impulsive. Their behaviour rising into an uncontrollable onset of rage with little regard for the risks or consequences of their actions.

In accordance with this theory, Norman Bates in Psycho could be assumed to be exhibiting more sociopathic behaviours rather than psychopathic but the lines between them are blurred. As an only child raised in a stifled environment by a controlling, cruel and overbearing mother his dependency and attachment to her grew to the point that when she finally decided to get married and get a life of her own he killed her and her husband in rage. Unable to deal with what he had done and her absence, he created a persona of his mother in his mind to the point that it become separate entity that could take him over for certain periods of time.

Slavoj Zizek On Norman Bate’s House

Slavoj Zizek gave a brief but interesting analysis of Psycho, he focused on how the visual representation of Norman’s subjective mind the film is presented through the three levels of his mother’s house. The ground floor being his ego; the normal, rational and earnest Norman Bates who runs the motel. Up the stairs to the first floor where his mother’s bedroom is the super ego; the judgemental and overbearing part of his mind that projects itself as the image and voice of his mother. And down into the cellar in which he carries her body from the first floor represents the id. The id is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. His act of keeping Mother in the cellar can be seen as a metaphor for his attempt to hide super ego into his id; attempting to use the representation of the over controlling and judgemental part of himself to control his wild, violent and impulsive nature. From what I understand from Zizek’s statement he states that the super ego and the id are tied close together and that when the super ego feels threatened (when ‘Mother’ see’s Normal becoming attracted to another woman) the id will consume and take control over Norman. He is driven to kill the threat to his super ego.

Wow, ok this is becoming a very long entry. I feel that I should point out that I’m merely summarising and reflecting about these theories and I do not know enough of criminal psychology to express myself accurately and succinctly. I have a bit of an interest in researching crime murder, criminal psychology and forensic science. I would not call it a passion as I think my interest stems from a need to understand and accept the fact that people with violent mental disturbances and homicidal tendencies exist which is what this reflection is based around.

Going Live (He-Man On Rollerskates & Guess Who Concept Art)


He-Man On Roller-Skates (Concept Sketch)

So I completed a concept sketch of He-Man wearing roller-skates. I really had to hold myself back and sketch as true to the toy as possible even when I was sorely tempted to make him go full roller derby girl. I might be rather cruel to the memory of He-Man because every time I draw this character I want to make him exaggerate his masculine body shaper but still give him overly feminine features and gestures similar to how Arnold Schwarzenegger looked in Conan the Barbarian. I think I can take it further with this sketch later as a personal illustration and draw him with stripe knee socks along with elbow, knee and wrist protection pads. At the moment I can’t think of an appropriate derby name that will not offend transvestites or transexual people. Humour and political correctness is getting harder to balance nowadays.


Guess Who Board Face Concept Art

I also did more design sketches for the faces for the Guess Who Board. This is my first attempt but I stopped midway when I realised that I was going completely off tangent. As fun as it was to paint this, the angled tilt of the head as well as the addition of the neck and the shoulder just doesn’t make it a Guess Who face. So I am setting this aside for now and moving on to another style that would be more suitable.

Going Live: Room Concept Art


Going Live: Room Concept

The room concept is finally finished after quite a lot of frustration and false starts. I tried with drawing line art and painting over. But the visual direction I wanted to pursue was more in live with the work that Dice Tsutsumi did for Toy Story 3 and Monster’s University. His painting style favours strong lighting direction and realistic colours composition. I just do not have his level of skill and understanding at this time but I am please that I had at least tried. Tutorials, practice and practice. That is the only way to go forward.


Room Concept (The Do I Continue Or Throw In The Towel Bit)


Room Concept First Attempt

Oh! The organisers for Parallax Art Fair released a video from the exhibition that I took part in a fortnight ago. It’s quite well made (ok it’s a wee cheesy) I think and I’m so thankful that I was in the ladies room when the videographer came to film my work. It’s a little unreal because everything looks incredible on screen and it doesn’t seem that me and my paintings had really been there.

Parallax Art Fair Promotional Video (February 2016)

Little Guardian (Possible-Pighead-Statue In Z-Brush)

I spent a few hours playing in Z-Brush today. I thought that I could play it loose and create a concept of the statue design for the spirit character in my (tentatively titled) Little Guardian animation. It was fun to spontaneously go back into Z-Brush, I was limited by my computer’s processing speed today for some reason unfortunately. After a few misses (the program kept stalling or crashing) I did manage to complete a concept sculpt of the head of the statue. The statue is meant to represent the spirit’s ‘anchor’ and connection to the physical realm as well as it’s home so I wanted the design  to have more weight (literally). I thought a heavier look for the statue would give a bigger visual contrast when compared to the design of the character’s spirit form. I think I succeeded in sculpting a heavy design but I ended up with something more vague and pig-like than what I was aiming for.

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Spirit Statue Concept Head (Profile)

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Spirit Statue Concept Head (Front)

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Spirit Statue Concept Head (Three Quarter View)

I had the urge today to zone out and sketch something that didn’t require me to think too much about what I am doing or why. So I settled on spending an hour sketching quick life drawing/anatomy poses from artist training videos on Youtube. I enjoy working with a purpose but I think I also need regular sessions where I just draw from observation as well.


Life Drawing Sketches

Going Live (He-Man Head Turnaround)


He-Man Head Turnaround

I have been struggling with painting a concept art image for our Going Live project. I know it should not be taking so long and I am trying to get passed the parts I am having difficulty with. Since Aimi needed a head turnaround for our He-Man/Jeremy Kyle character I took a step away from the concept art painting that is infuriating me to do it. Aimi said that it is fine but I’m worried now that its a little too feminine. Like many other people who like to draw I’m fascinated with capturing the female form. I hadn’t really been interested in drawing men although I understand the male figure enough to sculpt my Primordial character. That male figure was slender however and not hyper masculine like He-Man is. I think even with figure drawing practice I will need to come out of my comfort zone. Rather ironically I began this blog post with the intention of also showing the sketches I did last night of figure drawing class I took part in. As evident in the image below, the model was nubile and female. I think I will look online for other figure drawing sources that I can use to practice drawing more muscular male figures.


More Female Figure Drawing Sketches

Parallax Art Fair


Parallax Art Fair!

It happened! The big weekend came and went, it was incredible fun and quite a success. Daniel and I travelled to London on the night bus on Thursday and arrived early Friday in plenty of time for my hanging slot at 5pm. With all the other artists scrambling to put up their work it was hectic, crowded and stiflingly hot. We did manage to get the frames, name card holders and stickers up before the opening ceremony and I had a few minutes to explore and admire the rest of exhibition before the crowds arrived. I have to admit I was felt nervous about how my work would be received, not only by the visitors but by the other artists at the fair. However, I still felt pride in my work and of my space which looked well put together and presented. No regrets at all.


Constellation Owl & Cheeky Fox

Since the space that I had was about 150cm in width I decided to feature only the best of my smoke paintings; The Fox & The Crane, Red Stag, Qilin, Chinese Dragon, Constellation Owl and Cheeky Fox Face (everybody seems to adore the painted fox’s sweet face as much as I do). All of the paintings are Gicleé prints on Awagami’s Washi paper that I bought online from Japan. I wanted the prints to appear as if they were printed traditionally and the combination of Gicleé and washi paper worked.


Qilin & Chinese Dragon

I spent most of the next two days standing by my work, greeting and talking to anyone who stopped by. Everyone who came forward to chat with me were very kind and seemed genuinely interested to know about me and what I did. I had lost count of the number of people who asked how I painted them and to be honest, this is a question that I do not like to answer. Most of the illustrations are at least finished digitally and most people still have this notion that digital work is considered a ‘cheat’ when compared to traditional paintings. My opinions about people who assume this are not exactly positive but I always try to explain that for me digital work requires as much consideration as traditional does and that each artist will find their own work pattern when utilising either medium. I can’t say that I enjoyed having to defend how I paint to practically every person I spoke to But I understand that if I want to continue showing and selling my smoke paintings publicly that I will have to. For the time being I can accept this.


Looking Awkward & Terrified In Front Of My Work


My Assistant For The Weekend

I am very happy to have gotten through this weekend in one piece. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would not have been able to get through this weekend without help from Daniel. For one thing, I wasn’t tall enough to attach the top picture frames and the organisers did not provide chairs nor ladders. Or tools. I knew that it will take a lot of effort and heavy lifting to get everything from Dundee to London, set everything up and haul it back to Dundee but first hand experience is the best teacher as usual. I do not know if I will take part in Parallax Art Fair again as it is quite an expensive endeavour but I am not ruling it out entirely as they have another show in July and one in New York as well. At the tail end of my adventure I can state with confidence that it has been a very rewarding weekend in all aspects. I always enjoy visiting London because it makes me feel so grateful that my home is Dundee. Whether I stay in Dundee is up to fate (and a lot of handwork on my part) but I wouldn’t trade the first fresh breath of Scottish air I get when I come back from this journey for anything.


I Managed To Sell Something!

Constellation Owl


Constellation Owl

This week has been very busy as in a few days I will be heading off to London for the Parallax Art Fair (!!). Exciting times and I still have plenty more to do. During the weekend I completed another smoke illustration of Zeus the owl. Zeus is a wee screech owl living at the Wildlife Learning Center in California. They’re not sure how he became blind and theorised that it was through an attack from a larger bird. In any case, a combination of blood clots and cataracts have now made his eyes look as if they are windows into the galactic universe. I can’t remember where it was that I first saw a picture of Zeus, but I was so smitten with his sweet face and incredible eyes that I got to work immediately.

I have to admit I did have another incentive for painting Zeus. Actually two incentives. The first was that I need to complete one more original illustration to feature at Parallax Art Fair London. I was also motivated by my own project Little Guardian which has hit a temporary creative rut. I am still sketching and researching different designs for the spirit character so this illustration is in part also a concept experiment. Since the spirit character is supernatural, it would be interesting to design it with constellation eyes that are similar to Zeus’s.


Zeus The Owl (Wildlife Learning Center)

I’ve also been running around getting prepared for Parallax Art Fair this weekend as I’ll be leaving Thursday night. Thanks to the guys at DJCad Make I had a vinyl sticker of my name logo made and ready to go in an hour. I think it will give my exhibition space a clean, professional look and I’m pretty chuffed about it!


Logo Vector Art For The Vinyl


The Finished Vinyl

I had trouble finding good name card holders in store or online and rather than spend more time searching for one it occurred to me that I had plenty of MDF wood left over from when I made the Chinese Zodiac Lantern Lamp. I used Adobe Illustrator to prepare the name card holder design and the laser cut file was ready in time for my booking hour with the laser cutter machine. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working with the machines at DJCad make and the guys there are incredibly helpful and accommodating. I couldn’t complete all of my work within the first hour because I ran into other problems with the picture frames that I ordered and I had to improvise a quick solution for them. I do have a time slot with the laser cutter booked tomorrow so I’m confident everything that needs to be cut will be completed by then. The name card holders will need to be glued and painted after wards.


Lasercut MDF Pieces For My Namecard Holders


Incomplete Namecard Holder

The frames that I ordered for the large prints had inside mounts that were for the original size of the paper which was 483mm by 329mm. As the paper is imported from Japan their size of A3+ didn’t match UK standards which is 350mm by 320mm (in case you were wondering, yes I am putting the exact measurements on this post as a permanent way to make sure I don’t forget or lose them). So the first attempt the printer made with the original paper this morning ended in a sad crumpled print. He offered to cut the remaining paper to SRA3 size and print again. This time the prints came out perfectly but now I had a gap between the mount and the frame in the print. The best solution I could think of involved buying black mount board and using the laser cutter to cut it to size so it can fill in that gap.


Printed Qilin Image On Washi Paper (Paper Was Crumpled By The Printer)


First Dragon Print (Success!)

When I went back to printers at the end of the day to collect the rest of the prints I just had to try out the inner black mount that I had just cut. The part of me that wants perfection is a little bothered that the black edge at the top and bottom is thicker than the sides but I’m happy with how the entire frame looks with everything put together. The difference between the black and cream mount gave the overall look of the frame an interesting presentation so I’m not disappointed. Oh, I have not yet removed the safety cover for the frame yet which is why it is still tinted blue in the image. In summation, I was productive today!


Framed Qilin Painting