Mollie Design Development
Some development sketches for Mollie's design. I was trying to find the best way of drawing Mollie's side, back and front face profile. The front profile is the most challenging. Drawing the whole chin cuts off the face shape from the rest of her body (as seen in the second on the left, top row). Drawing the chin that cuts off slightly for the front profile works much better (third from the left, bottom row). The side profile's work well, giving her a round chin and small nose shows her age and adds a "cute" aesthetic which is what I want to show.
On deviantART there is a brilliant meme that many artists have used called the "Expressions Meme" where you draw your own character depicting different moods/expressions. It's a good exercise to do when trying to build your character, making (her) more real and meaningful. For instance, I really like the "pouty" expression for Mollie. I haven't played with the idea that Mollie is a little bit moody in the film, but it is a possible character trait development idea..
More Story Development Idea Sketches
A few more sketches of Mollie's face and side profiles are featured at the top of the page. The bottom of the page shows more sketches of story/situation ideas; i.e. Mollie drawing on the ground with chalk; Mollie in a winter coat and scarf; Mollie hugging Babbit; Mollie sitting on Babbit's head, reading.
Mollie being nudged forward by Babbit was an idea featured in a previous post. It was a powerful image, one that I want to incorporate into the second storyboard for my film. I think it is important to show Babbit pushing Mollie to go play with her classmates. Mollie is shy and unconfident and Babbit is there to change that. It's hard to step forward and take a chance in life, so this is showing that in the context of a younger child and a "imaginary friend" image. I was also thinking whether the film needed a fantasy sequence, or something dream-like. The image of Babbit and Mollie beside each other with Mollie upside-down and seemingly weightless has an "Alice In Wonderland" feel to it, which could be a dream Mollie has.
Here are some more story/situation ideas with Mollie and Babbit. Mollie drawing; Mollie painting on Babbit; Mollie reading on a beanbag; Mollie looking quite worried standing next to Babbit; and Mollie riding Babbit looking happy. I am still not sure whether I want to incorporate Mollie riding on Babbit's back in the final film. It's quite a generic situation with a small child and a large "magical" friend. Babbit therefore needs to be "taken more seriously". Yes, he's a large rabbit and yes he's soft and cuddly, but he is also there to help Mollie grow in confidence.
Different uniform designs for Mollie. I need to select one that works best whilst animating and also looks good visually too. In the storyboard's, I automatically drew Mollie in a large jumper and skirt. These are some other possibilities I may want to experiment with once I have a finished walk cycle. I will need to get some colour examples done too.
Here are some bag/lunch box designs I may want to use in the final film too.
Reference Footage - Walk, Run, Skip
I was able to get some brilliant reference of my cousins walking, running and skipping. These will help me greatly with the animation tests and as reference in general. I've taken stills from these videos of the back of their heads for privacy.
(The real!) Mollie, skipping:
Ellen (older sister) and Mollie walking:
Ellen and Joe (younger brother) walking:
As I was with my cousins, I had the idea to ask them to draw "Mollie and Babbit" as they appear in my film. I drew a quick picture of the latest designs for Mollie and Babbit, and they set about drawing them!
This is what they came up with:
Ellen - Age 11: (Brilliant rabbit drawing!)
Mollie - Age 9: (Mollie and Babbit are featured here in the library in front of a bookcase!)
Joe - Age 5: (Mollie in red and white and a multi-coloured Babbit!)
On the Story Development side, I have been reading a few chapters from "Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts" by Nancy Beiman, lent to me by my friend. It's given me a good few tips and pointers on developing my story. It says in one part, that a good, solid beginning and end for your film is important. The middle section can be built upon - this was a great relief!
Next week I will be properly finishing an animation test, so I will leave then compile all my initial animation tests and present them in the next post.
Next week: Animate a walk cycle!! Re-storyboard for Monday and possibly start creating an animatic.