Saturday, 5 May 2012

Design Book Review: Drawing for Animation

I'm going to keep tweaking this post until the 8th, as that is my deadline for my blog for this year.

We've been asked to write a review about a design book of our choice. I decided to read 'Drawing for Animation' by Paul Wells, Joanna Quinna and Les Mills.

('Drawing for Animation' Book)

As a whole, the book is visually appealing and informative. It details a lot of historical animation pieces and has the odd quote placed here and there. As well as stills from animations, there are a lot of sketches, rough drafts, character designs, paintings and so on.
The layout has a graphic design feel to it, sleek and clean. Yet some of it's images are placed like they're a story board or part of a film reel.
The book speaks to the reader using the three author's' different perspectives and gained knowledge through animation and it's many linked subject areas.

Below the following information are aspects I picked out of the book purely out of interest and curiosity:

Animal Farm:

One of the things I learned from this book was 'Animal Farm'. I found out it was the first British animation ever made. I was curious as to what it was about so I decided to watch it (I watched it on youtube on the 5th of May.).
It was made by 'Halas & Batchelor Studio' in 1954 and it was 'Britain's first full-length feature animation'.


Lasting just over an hour, it tells a compelling story of the struggle of farm animals trying to live a 'Utopian' life, free of unjustified actions handed out by the farmer. The animals drive their' tyrant farmer away out of a joined rebellion and begin their' dream of piece and independence.
Unfortunately, some of the pigs on the farm crave power over the animals. So they develop their' own political agendas and distort the once understanding laws of the farm. Life on the farm resembles that of a prison. The animals, aside the pigs, once again endure the harsh reality of working under a corrupt social order. In the end, the egotistical, power crazed pigs get their just deserts by forcing the hand of the working animals to create another rebellious fight for freedom.

It has a slight 'Disney' feel when you watch the animation itself, but I found it to be tolerable as I was engulfed in the story. It's a horrific and yet sweet tale. It made me wonder if it was a reflection on the Nazi Camps or if it were animal social order gone wrong.
It was in a way like seeing a dark side of Disney animations.

Quinn Quote: 

Joanna Quinn, an animator has a quote in the book, pg 43, that caught my attention. 
It says: 'Experimental drawing encourages personal research and investigation in the development of a particular style and mode of expression.'
'Experimentation is the freest aspect of drawing: in having no rules, conventions or subjects, the artist is free to discover them, technically, aesthetically and thematically.'

That quote speaks to me as a drawer. 
I've felt a little pressured when I've done drawings because I used to do a lot of manga during my high school years (I still do when I get some free time). I would draw manga a lot not just because I liked it. Because there were aspects of it that I was really weak with and felt I had to improve on in my experimentations. 
But I remember feeling pressured by others when they'd say 'you should do something other than manga' and other similar artistic persuasions. They weren't being mean, and they had a point too.
I now adapted my drawings, sketches around the constraints of our college briefs. But I've found it's not that big a factor as everyone had pressured me into thinking.
Also, I felt like people were trying to mold my drawing style, rather than let me disover for myself what it is. And anyway, is there really 'your own style' when we replicate what we see visually inspiring us everyday?
I have no intention of forgetting manga all together, that's for sure. The style just speaks to me as art deco (for example) would speak to another designer.

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