Figurative Modelling: Victoria & Albert museum visit

During this weeks trip to London I visited the Victoria and Albert museum. The priority was to explore the top floor of the museum where all the ceramic work was displayed. It was interesting to look at the history of ceramics and how different people in different ways. I also found looking at the different ways ceramic objects are made very informative.

Coming from an animation perspective I was drawn to the small porcelain figures of people, they reminded me of small puppets but in such detail. Considering that these figures were made from clay, I found that the level of detail within the clothing was to a very high standard. As I was looking at these pieces I couldn’t help but imagine how they could have been made. I was fascinated by the amount of detail that was achieved within the pieces on such a small scale.

Some of the more abstract vessels were also very interesting to look at. This piece in particular was extremely eye catching. The black colour of the piece really made the texture more apparent. The texture was very striking, at first it reminded me of an off-road tyre of a car but at a closer look it was clear that the texture was from the clay breaking or the aftermath of what strain had been put on the clay before it was fired.

Figurative Modelling: slab building

This week I had my first go at slab building. The process was fairly simple, it involved rolling out a piece of terracotta clay thick enough for it to potentially stand up. I then glasses the clay, and proceeded to make marks into the clay with a sculpting tool.

My first design was a portrait of the person sitting opposite me that I drew without looking at the paper. This drawing was very suggestive and odd looking. I then re-created this drawing on the the clay slab. Here is a photo of the end result.

All the slabs from the group were placed beside one another in an arrangement. In relation to my practice,from a distance all the unique portraits reminded me of a piece of animation. The individual slabs resemble different characters within the group.

Working with Plaster

After sewing my pieces of fabric together I then went down to the plaster room where I would make a plaster cast of my hand. This process was also fairly simple. It involved measuring out and mixing the plaster, then pouring it into the mould. If I was to do this again, the only thing that I would do differently is that I would draw out a bigger limb onto the fabric because when the shape becomes 3D it gets a lot smaller in size. Here is a photo of the plaster when it it setting into the fabric.

Figurative Modelling: building a head

This session entailed using clay to build a small head. The process was fairly simple but proved challenging at first. My first attempt failed when the form began to collapse. The reason for this was because I focused on building the shape of the head rather that the basic shape. I started again using small bits of clay roughly pinched together and the results were very successful. Here is the basic shape of the head.

From this rough form I then refined and with extra clay, built up the facial features. Here is the finished result where I started to draw into the clay objects that I though would be relevant to the head itself.

Figurative Modelling: drawing and Modelling from the figure

Following on from last weeks session of life drawing, this week started off with a similar exercise. This week however some of the later poses lasted around 3-10 minutes which allowed me to draw the model and the try to capture characteristics of the body such as flesh.

After this I then went on to sculpting from the model using clay. Personally I found sculpting easier than drawing because I was able to able to be more suggestive with the clay and then I could use the remaining time to refine the clay according to what I can see. Here are two examples of the work I produced.

I found this 3 dimensional aspect very interesting in comparison to traditional life drawing in 2D. I found that I could better represent the physicality of the body using the clay.

I then made a drawing from this sculpture to look how it differed from drawing from a life model.

Field: Figurative Modelling

The first week of the Figurative Modelling field project was very interesting. I began with an afternoon session of life drawing, which involved quickly drawing the model in various poses. Firstly the poses were held for 10 seconds which gave me little time to draw, however this short time limit pushed me to obtain as much information as I could and to mark it on the paper. The poses gradually lasted longer giving me more time to capture aspects such as; flesh and skin, balance point and towards the end, a characterisation of the model herself.

Here are some of the drawings I produced using charcoal on newsprint.

It is evident here that the drawings captured the model better as they went on. I believe this may be because I have learnt from some of my mistakes from the previous drawing as well as becoming more confident with the marks I make.

I feel this has shown me new ways of looking at a figure for example, when looking at the model I tried to visualise or find the balance point where by then I could base my drawing around. This exercise has greatly improved my observational drawing skills.

Animated Documentary Reflective Writing

For the summative assessment the brief was to plan and create a short film in the form of an Animated Documentary. To begin this project I first gathered information, collected photographs and video recordings. This provided me with a good starting point to explore a place that has some form of importance to me, in this case I chose Cyfarthfa Park in my home town of Merthyr Tydfil. Through the course of this project I also came across articles and papers that explore the animated documentary genre itself.

At first I found this brief quite challenging because it stated that the film had to be a documentary. Documentary implies that I had to document something or show some kind of reality or truth about something. I knew what I wanted to say about my chosen place but it was difficult to find what angle in which I wanted to my film to be told through. My initial idea was to create a documentary through my memories of being at school in the castle but after speaking to my mother about the castle when gathering information I found that her stories and experiences of the castle were much more interesting. Although this proved quite challenging I found that through research and making a start I was able to find the perfect angle in which I wanted to create my documentary. From this, I am able to say that in the future I will start producing work relevant to my project and then from these new ideas will arise.

For me, the most meaningful aspect of this was learning that animation can be used as a tool in documentary film making to have greater impact on the viewer. This meant that within my own film I could break away from the usual documentary style and incorporate animation in an interesting way. I learnt this through reading papers such as ‘Against Animated Documentary’ from Annabelle Honess Roe. I was then able to take what I had learnt from this paper and integrate this into my film.

I believe that through the course of this project I have significantly improved my skills when using industry standard computer programmes to animate my work. The brief specifically stated that a range of animation techniques were to be used, this pushed me to use new techniques that are not usually my strongest. When producing work I feel that my knowledge of animation and video editing software has greatly improved, specifically Adobe After Effects. I learnt sophisticated techniques such as motion tracking which turned out to be very effecting in my film. As a next, I need to keep making work using these programmes to become more confident as well as developing my skills.