Sunday, 17 November 2013

Inspiring Deadly

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.

Frolicking Skeletons by Kawanabe Kyosai

The Garden of Death by Hugo Simberg
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.

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

These dancer images (including the watercolour 'Dancers' by Mary Brennan) all have a looseness that I love. I also really like Parisian Impressionist drawings - often oil or oil pastels on cardboard.  The cardboard texture adds nice detail without an overwhelming palette and again we see the whites standing out against the background.

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!