Spirit Character Pencil Sketch
My personal project work has not progressed as far as it should since its conception. I thought writing about it in a blog post will help me to develop the story and generate some ideas on how I can improve on it as well.
The story for the animation centres around a cat and a little house spirit. When I was a child I was told to always keep ‘something with eyes’ to look after my wallet, my bike or my home. ‘Something with eyes’ is quite a vague term but I took it to mean things like stuffed animals on the bedroom shelves, small clay statues by the window or even a photograph of my mother in my wallet to protect to it from would-be pickpockets. I used to believe that if a person treasured an object it would ‘grow’ a soul. I found out years later that there is an actual believe system based around that thought. Animism is the concept that non-human entities such as animals, plants, rocks and other inanimate objects possess a spirit. The spirits are not ghosts; they are thought to be the consciousness of things that most people don’t consider to be ‘alive’. As far as anthropological theories go this one truly fascinates me and I am really excited about making a short animation piece based on my little childhood fantasy.
I also knew from the start that I wanted to do an animation that featured a cat. Most specifically a cat character that looked and acted like a combination of each of my cats. I have a pair of twin Scottish Folds named Gabriel and Angelo and they have been in my life for over seven years. I’ve taken care of them both from the moment they were born so I’m extremely attached to them. Each cat has their own distinct personality and are both equally selfish, greedy and rude but there are also truly precious moments in between where they show themselves to be loving creatures. Without the risk of starting another dog vs. cat debate, I would just like to say that I believe that cats are capable of feeling loyalty and love for their person as I have experienced this myself. At the beginning of this project assignment I knew without doubt that I wanted to tell a story about a cat’s love for his human. As cats are selfish creatures, it’s naturally also a selfish sort of love. I didn’t want to pit a cat against a dog or a rodent as those narrative tropes have been done before. Thankfully, I won’t have to as cats have the tendency to make an enemy out of anyone.
Angelo (Front) & Gabriel (Back)
Gabriel & Angelo
Cat Character Pencil Sketches
I’ve also created a Pinterest board for my project where I’ve pinned a lot of interesting illustrations and artwork as well as animation that I could take some story or visual reference from. Most of my inspiration for the visual style for the project is from Tonko House’s The Dam Keeper animation and Cartoon Saloon’s Song Of The Sea. I really like the use of colour and light in the Dam Keeper that supported the film’s narrative so crucially. Song Of The Sea has a visual style that I am inspired by as well but I think the main challenge for me at this point is first pin down my films story and script. Visually, I have many references at my disposal and quite pretty confident that I can create my own visual style that will work and that is hopefully unique to me as well.
Little Guardian Project Pinterest Board
And speaking of Song Of The Sea, when I first watched a film there was a scene in particular that will always be seared into my brain. Not for the usual reasons unfortunately. There was serious shot in the film that featured a group of seals looking up at the main character in awe. The seals moved as one and were all animated with the same derpy expression that look exactly like my cat Angelo. The laughing fit that I had then pretty much ruined that scene for me. To cope with my feelings, I then proceeded to make this gif.