Sunday, November 02, 2014

Post With The Most 02/11/2014

It's been a particularly vivid few weeks on BA (Hons) Computer Animation Arts, what with final crits, balloon-modelling, exhibitions, visiting lecturers and the appearance of a Halloween clown...

So, where to begin this October edition of the Post With The Most?  How about with some of the final concept paintings by our year one students, who were challenged to imagine the fantastical conurbations described by Italo Calvino in his magic-real oddity, Invisible Cities?  For many of our newest students this is the first time they've worked with a graphics tablet, and for all of our students this was certainly the first time they'd been asked to envision cities on stilts, subterranean cities and cities comprising scaffolding and string.  

Ryan Brand - Armilla

Jack White - Argia

Anderson Moshi - Zenobia

Ella Pinnington - Moriana

Beccy Patterson - Baucis

Tumo Mere - Argia

Vlad Yankov - Octavia

Frame Phrommet - Thekla

CAA Year 2 are meeting the challenge of collaborative working for their current Narrative project, which sees them working in small studio groups to create an original animated short.  You can follow their progress at their studio blogs:

Rosie, Scott & Ayunie @ Lunar Ink Productions

Heidi, Livi & Sam @ Voodoo

Josh, Tom & Hannah @ Hidden Studios

Ant, Ruby & Candice @ Blind Badger Studios

Rhys, Ashley & Lisa @ Blue Turtle

Megan, Will, Scarlett & Gemma @ Cogworks Studios
Adam, Danny & Sukhi @ Screw Loose Productions

Our third year students are busy with pre-production, as they begin to shape, refine and trouble-shoot their respective ideas for their final projects. What follows is a selection of design sheets, developmental thumbnails, concept sketches, storyboards and assets-under-development, encompassing everything from combative squirrels to the malign denizens of sinister folklore. We've got gaming ideas based on Joan Miro, Alexander Calder and the Fauvists and an animated short-in-the-offing about the trails and tribulations of Koi carp; we've got tales of doomed love and snake-oil salesmen! Learn more about our third years' projects by clicking through to their individual blogs.

'Big' character development sheet

'Small' character development sheet

B+S storyboard panels

B+S storyboard panels

A Moroccan market - concept painting

George Hind

Character thumbnails derived from Miro paintings 1

Character thumbnails derived from Miro paintings 2

Jake Bryant

Dr Albert Alabaster silhouette development

Honest silhouette development

Emily Clarkson

Morrigan (Hag) character development

Morrigan (as young woman) character development

Warrior character development

Vikki Kerslake

Koi carp character thumbnails 1

Koi carp character thumbnails 2

Koi carp character thumbnails 3
Crane character pose sheet

Samantha Niemczyk & Peta-Gaye Brown @ Misty Road Studio

The Erl-King's Daughters - concept painting

The Erl-King concept painting

Forest thumbnails

Storyboard panels

As is evident by this edition of the PWTM, drawing is a huge part of the course culture on Computer Animation Arts.  Wednesday's are life-drawing days, and we're always trying to ensure that our students are inspired suitably by what awaits them in the drawing studio... So far this term, we've had cubist-inspired installations of easels and string...

The 'things & strings' installation

Emma Morley

Sam Niemczyk
Anass Moudakir

... and explosive configurations of balloons and crepe streamers...

The 'balloon thing'!

Vlad Yankov
Sam Niemczyk

... and most recently, a special Halloween-inspired guest appearance by 'Bubbles' - a clown in the John Wayne Gacy tradition (i.e. completely terrifying!), who haunted the life-drawing studio and inspired some fabulous figurative drawings (and not an inconsiderable number of shudders!).

Bubbles, our Halloween clown!

Samantha Niemczyk

Chelsea Butler

Chelsea Butler
Anderson Moshi

Wednesday Oct 29th was exciting for reasons quite apart from the sinister spectacle of Bubbles haunting the drawing studio on the lower 1st.  Laurence Campbell - comic book artist for Marvel and Dark Horse - paid our baseroom an evening visit and delighted our students with his enthusiasm, candour and talent.  Highlights included Laurence handing around his original drawings - Wolverine cover art on delicate sheets of tracing paper and punchy panels of inked sequential action.   I had to make everyone promise to hand everything back!  The buzz that followed Laurence's talk was palpable, as, newly inspired, students hung back for some one-to-one advice and another chance to thumb the pages of Laurence's impressive back catalogue.   You can find and follow Laurence on Twitter at @getcampbell.

Laurence Campbell, comic book artist, CAA Baseroom 29/10/2014

At the beginning of October, my Chimera series of children's books were published as ebooks. Chimera charts the adventures of Kyp Finnegan, as he navigates an alternate world populated by anthropomorphic lost properties. With cover art by Phill Hosking, the books appeared on Amazon et al and the downloads began. There was nothing left for me to do but await the verdict of my readers...

So, the first reviews are in and I thought I'd share them with you on here 'warts and all' - the good, the bad and the ugly. Over on the The Reading Wench blog, the trilogy was described thus: "it’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland as a nightmare" and as a 'roller-coaster ride'. The reviewer goes onto say "I highly recommend these books for all ages, especially for lovers of Dark Fantasy, and those who prefer “Cosy Horror”. I can’t wait for the next book(s) in the series..."  I love the idea of 'Cosy Horror' - a sub-category that I guess encompasses the teatime shivers of Doctor Who and Coraline.  I wrote the books for the sort of child I was, and I was the sort of child who loved a good scare.  Not for me the likes of Enid Blyton or Rupert Bear.  No, I was more likely to be found with my ear to the floorboards of my bedroom, hoping to hear the blood-curdling screams from the television series Hammer House Of Horror being watched by my dad downstairs...

We talk a lot on the course about learning survival skills around criticism, so it's only fair to share some of the less glowing commentaries Chimera has received so far; how about this one star review posted on Chimera Book One's Goodreads page: 'Hard to stay interested, seems very childish' and this one too: 'I'm not saying it was awful, I'm just saying it was beyond predictable.'  Ouch!  

Fortunately for my ego, not everyone agrees: Bruce Gargoyle at Goodreads had this to say: 'This was a fun romp through a unique world that just begs for illustration... I found this story to be an appealing combination of Labyrinth and Attica, featuring more lost-things and new creatures, both benign and menacing, that you could shake an abandoned walking-stick at.  This is going to appeal most to people who enjoy discovering worlds that are new and a little bit menacing, with whole cities' worth of oddness to explore... This was a promising and engaging beginning to the series and I will certainly be looking out for the next books to continue Kyp's adventure."  Thank you, Mr Gargoyle!

I'll be sharing more of my 'adventures in publishing' as a regular feature of the PWTM and you can find and follow me at @ChimeraTrilogy.

New Designers 2014 was a great success, with another great looking stand and two awards for our graduates.  The show was part-funded by our committed community of students, staff and alumni, who raised a whopping £4,800 by participating in two prize draws over the course of the academic year.  Our all-new Computer Animation Arts Tombola Of Dreams launches this month, with another impressive haul of prizes - including original signed artwork from none other than Laurence Campbell! Watch this space for more Tombola announcements soon - and for more daily insights and updates into the lives and times of BA (Hons) Computer Animation Arts be sure to follow us on Twitter at @animation_arts.

The last word...

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Beverly Sills


  1. This was a really 'fun-to-read' PWTM, well done people :)

  2. It's Ayunie with the letter I, Phil :O Hahaha.

    Love reading this though :D

  3. Incredible work going on throughout the years. Congrats everyone, it's a pleasure to see so much variety and boldness.

  4. Some absolutely stunning work here (:]

  5. Really like the Life drawing work, as usual incredibly creative work, nice life drawing Instalations.
    Keep it coming, all the best Robin

  6. Fun imagination going on and interesting worlds