I have some juicy stuff waiting in the wings that i’m just waiting a while longer before I post, but itll be worth the wait. In the meantime, I thought I’d post one of the exercises I do which is always super fun even if it’s not exactly ‘portfolio material’
I attend Animex festival like, religiously – there arent many weeks where you get to hear amazing talks from videogame *and* movie heroes and idols. I could listen to animation talks *forever*.
I can’t remember the exact talk where the ‘power core’ thing was mentioned, but it’s something I’ve heard a couple of times from people who work at Pixar. The essence of it was like, there’s a ball that holds you up, or drags you down, or forwards or back – so a guy who is a bit cocksure, his power centre is gonna be near his junk, his walk is going to lead that way like he is being dragged along by his bits. Someone who is feeling the weight of the world would have their core on the floor somewhere, everything would just be dragged down, they would slouch and all of their motion and emotion would be tied to this burden, while someone who is happy might be held up afloat by a core way above their head etc etc.
This talk was way before Inside Out was in theatres,not sure if they were working on it at the time, perhaps! But from what i’ve gathered it’s something that’s frequently taught to animation students.
All of that is super cool, but mostly about how a single character holds themselves. I took this and kinda turned it around to be a tool to help me come up with fast story/pose scenarios. I’ve been doing it for years now, and the ones here arent even my best examples ( It’s been a while ) – but the basic gist is, instead of drawing a mannequin in a pose and then trying to figure out the story, I draw a ball in a place and try to figure out the reaction to it. If it’s low on the ground, is it a rock? A flower? If its high is it a lightbulb? Is it a cobweb that needs dusting? Is it something scary? Is it something desirable?
The figures exploring the ball may not necessarily show much character yet, but that’s ok, it’s more of a speedy imagination exercise – once you have the core of the idea down it’s easier to expand on it.
I rarely post big illustrations or like, push exercises like these forwards into something final. I think about things a little too much and having a day job shifts my priorities- I put so much more effort into ‘behind the scenes’ stuff when I’m not doing freelance work or art tests – exercises to keep my creativity up, pouring over the fundamentals and trying to improve my theoretical eye.
My practical output isn’t as much as I’d like it to be, and I’m not going to go into what stalled me – just, there were some things a while back that were so big that they kicked me off my center pretty hard, and dragged my confidence way down with it. Yay imposter syndrome! I’m not trying to make excuses – I actually think I’m past a lot of the things which were blocking me – some really supportive side project collaboration did me a world of good there . I just have to like, reconnect these kinds of seeds – these kinds of lovely little quick studies – with the part of me that pushes personal work beyond ‘study’ – because for some reason when it comes to doing this for myself I still fold like a deck of cards, even if I plan out my approach beforehand…and man, sometimes I dont want to plan, sometimes I just want to play and see where I can go.
Time to form new habits!