The other initial step, once the script is locked, is to find the overall style. When making the application to the Irish film Board I submitted various visual references. These were probably a bit too diverse, so part of making the film into a cohesive piece, is to focus in on which of these references would really inform the short and what specific elements of each apply.
When we started off I kept thinking of the Pixar mantra "Story is king". I wanted to find a style that would perfectly match and enhance the story - easier said then done! So I started looking at art work that dealt with death, Grim Reapers or skeletons in a humorous way such as the two examples below.
In many ways these initially images have gone on to inform the design of the piece. I really like the way the white skull "pops" out from the background in the Simberg painting and his skull design has fed into ours. Both have a nicely limited palette which we're pushing for on Deadly too. They both capture a macabre playfulness that I think is present in the script and that I wanted to feed through into the look.
|Frolicking Skeletons by Kawanabe Kyosai|
|The Garden of Death by Hugo Simberg|
Dance is another important element of the film, so we looked at various famous dance images, and then focused mostly the work of Toulouse Lautrec and Degas.
|Dancers by Mary Brennan|
|Ballet Dance by Degas|
|Seated Dancer in Pink by Toulouse Lautrec|
Finally I looked at how we would treat line. For this I looked to some of my personal favourite linesmiths - Daumier, the late great Ronald Searle as well as Disney concept artist Ken Anderson.
|A Clown and a Drummer by Daumier|
|Drawing by Ronald Searle|
|Concept for 101 Dalmations by Ken Anderson|
Here again we find a looseness and personality in the line. This feeling is very important to me and is something (through the production processes were setting up for the short) that I very much hope to feature prominently in Deadly. I like scribbles, hatching and cross-hatching in drawing and we hope to be able to add in some of those as well.
Thanks for stopping by and see for the next post in a week or two. Cheers!