Invisible Cities - Thumbnails + Influence Maps

3 more sets of thumbnails drawn in my sketchbook! A lot easier to do and I feel like I can get more detail this way. (Or atleast communicate something else than just a blob) Feeling like I need to "double up" on a scanner. Using an A4 scanner to scan these was "too close for comfort" on the edges of the paper.

 2 influence maps + 1 more for Artists. The one including Artists is more for use in terms of what has already and still continues to inspire me. Colour, light etc rather than design purpose.

Oh! I also wanted to link the inspiration blog I use for reblogging cool things:

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails 6 - 8

A dull and deserted city, with houses built into rock. Tiny and cramped.

 A city with two faces dived into two social classes, Camels roam free everywhere! Yay, camels!

Derelict refuge with a sparse amount of people trying to fight the Sun. For an unexplained reason all instances where the Sun shines in needs to be covered with red rags. Fighting for night to stay.

Three more sets of thumbnails. I find it a lot easier to create thumbnails when I have a narrative but I struggled a lot with the first and last environments. I'm going to stop using the template from now on and also use traditional sketches to get ideas down faster. 1 minute (ish) per each one. I feel like they don't have enough detail for communication purpose rather than aesthetic. A little too vague. Gotta keep going till the key of effective thumbnails clicks!

Film Review - The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Insanity driven set design, with alienation at every corner, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is a silent film released in 1920 with an ending leaving you unheedingly going back and compiling just what the film was trying to tell you.

We are guided through a film of simple yet effective colour choice (i.e yellow for day and blue for night. see fig.2 + 3) and vivid imagery described as “one of the first horror films with one of the first twist endings.” - (KAUFMAN, 2014) Whilst it is not a typical horror film like we would normally see today such as SAW 5(2008) or Hostel (2005), The Cabinet of Dr Caligari invokes a lot of psychological uncertainty, whether than be from the characters existing at “at right angles to reality” - (Ebert, 2009) or that we have to focus to look down the eye-squinting corridors of the mad world being told to us.


Whilst The Cabinet of Dr Caligari tells us that this is a second-hand experience, in other words not real time, means we know from the very beginning that the teller of the account had not been harmed. – Completely. It removes some aspect of “fear” and apprehension that the film steadily builds such as when Cesare is leading up to stabbing the trope-fated unsuspecting damsel.  (see fig.3) 

Again, the use of strong symbolic imagery to direct the plot of the story. The all-black villain contrasted with the all-white innocent one. In The Cabinet of Dr Caligari  Jane Olsen’s hair had been carefully constructed to resemble what looked like wings. (see fig. 4) Though whilst some fear and tension is lost, as the film progresses it becomes unclear just who’s perspective we’re seeing the event play out. The lack of narration and sound only further add to the confusion or rather untrusting relationship that starts to build as an insane world spirals further down into suspicion. “it is a mad world, but its denizens are not aware of it.” - (Bennett, 1999)

(fig .4)
Close to the end of the film, it throws out a large chunk of a secondary source of the somnambulist and the events involving him from Dr. Caligari himself. Having Francis’ account by word of mouth, a diary extract from Dr. Caligari and finally the viewer’s perspective throws the story into its final stages of turmoil. The sudden format change from overly-expressive acting to flat text, though is not confusing, adds another layer onto the ever-changing perspective of Dr. Caligari’s scheming…. Or does it perhaps work in his favour?

“the unspeakable, the terrifying, the merciless” -(Ebert, 2009) Or rather, the impersonal. If looking at the film you believe the somnambulist has been controlled by Dr. Caligari, you can perhaps feel sorry for him however because of what he has done, and our emulated clouded vision that similar to someone who might be insane, we feel no remorse for the man who sleepwalks. Throughout the film we relate to nobody and given no time to reflect on what has happened. Fast paced and hectic acts happen one after another and simultaneously. Because of this we are left feeling removed from the story yet still gripping on hoping to make sense of why the Somnambulist is so easily swayed in his actions, yet cannot bring himself to stab Jane Olsen to death. Or why one world seems to be inhabited with several dimensions of warped believability.  True ‘pataphysical instances existing within one another.
(fig. 5)
In Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands” (fig.5), a much more personal interpretation of the Somnambulist is created, becoming Edward Scissorhands. Furthermore, you can relate to Edward on the account of him being the victim compared to the first glance of the Somnambulist being the bully. “Edward is denounced as a freak, a fake, a demon.” - (Travers, 1990) There is a sense of sympathy attached to Edward from the start which makes for a more moving experience rather than that of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’s skewed perception of what is real. But both films are created for a different purpose and thus it makes sense that there would be no relatability to any of the characters in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. You are constantly left feeling removed, right up to the end. A massive advantage to the film leaving you stumped and pondering what you just sat through.

       Whilst this could be considered a negative point about the film, it is also the intention of the director to end it like this.

Bibliography Reference list:

Bennett, C. (1999). Silent Era : Home Video : The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Review. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

Ebert, R. (2009). The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Movie Review (1920) | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

KAUFMAN, S. (2014). The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari review | Little White Lies. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

Travers, P. (1990). Edward Scissorhands. [online] Rolling Stone. Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

Illustration List:

(Figure 1) Wiene, R. (1990). The Cabinet of Dr Caligari Movie Poster. [image] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

(Figure 2.) Wiene, R. (1920). The Cabinet of Dr Caligari Film Still (1). [image] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

(Figure 3.) Wiene, R. (1920). The Cabinet of Dr Caligari Film Still (2). [image] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

(Figure 4.) Wiene, R. (1920). The Cabinet of Dr Caligari Film Still (3). [image] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

(Figure 5.) Burton, T. (1990). Edward Scissorhands Film Still (1). [image] Available at: [Accessed 25 Sep. 2014].

Further reading (FYI):
Concept of ‘Pataphysics:'Pataphysics
Edward Scissorhands (1990):

Film Review - Le Voyage dans la Lune

(see fig.1)

“Le Voyage dans la Lune”

(see fig.2)
Holding a plethora of innate charm in such a small frame of time, Le Voyage dans la Lune - A Trip to the Moon - swings you back into a child’s imagination where an event can happen without anybody questioning or wondering, why?  In crude; yet completely the opposite fashion, a group of seemingly overly excited people fly to the moon in a capsule.
Whether it be from the unsuspecting men sleeping on the moon as anthropomorphic stars (Is that Gemini, perhaps?) drift by or that umbrellas can turn into mushrooms simply by placing them on the ground, you are left feeling a certain joy.

However I cannot help but wonder if there was a more satirical undertone to this fast paced and chirpy film. “–a whimsical portrait of science as wizardry by way of the industrial revolution” (Axmaker, 2012) I found it odd that what looked like a group of Scholars were the ones going to the moon. Comparatively, it is notion to believe that rich academics would rather get somebody else to do the dirty work for them yet here they are giving aliens a whack on the head.
The playful nature of this film, if on purpose by Méliès almost makes a mockery out of any scientific values at the time and even now. Rather, Méliès does not try to make concepts out of thin air, instead taking inspiration from what has already been created and using it to its advantage. Because of this it makes great satire in a coy way.

Being a silent film you have to ask the question, would it be better with sound? To that I would say no.  The overly exaggerated actions and stylized nature of the film (The former being conform to the time) perfectly communicate what is going on and emote that innate charm I had mentioned previously. It leaves the comedy to the viewer to pick up yet if missed by some still holds masses of spontaneous imagery and amusement.

Similarly to sound you have to wonder if A Trip to the Moon was recreated with CG would the same level of delight still be apparent throughout it? A fight scene with close range motions, explosions and flashy time lapses turning a simple brawl into a long-drawn out war with blood and gore; personally there is only so far you can go with throwing Michael Bay into the mix without ruining the tone and personality in a film. Sometimes one line can be more pleasing than 50 multi-coloured seizure-inducing ones.

There is no doubt that this film has become an inspiration for many, many people, and what is even more interesting is that across many languages and cultures as well. “Méliès gave film a new fictional function” (Parkinson, n.d.) – and whilst it certainly doesn’t boast an elaborate ‘pataphysical existence, (More on this in the next review) doing so could perhaps alienate what should instead be seen as comparative values to what is considered Meta. As mentioned previously, the use of no sound or rather lack of opens the door to interpretation and more importantly, viewership, on a much wider scale. 

(see fig.3)
(see fig.4)

After seeing the famous image of the moon with a face I had immediately started to see references from many other films and animations. The first notable one being the Moon from Soul Eater. – Soul Eater being Japanese. Seemingly unrelated, an early 1902 film of French decent to a 2004 Japanese anime series. If A Trip to the Moon had been much more vocal based with its narrative, could inspiration like this have been coined? After all, being written in one language would have to be translated and thus not always 100% accurate. The story becomes much more important. But with no voices or narration you tend to narrate it yourself as it goes along making it a lot more personal. Your experience is your own, not that of the narrator’s.

Similarly, from Kamen Rider, the typical “throw away” enemy organisation known as “Shocker” (ショッカー) resembles the aliens from A Trip to the Moon.  They are based around being goofy and twitchy in movement rather than sly masterminds.  
(see fig.5)
(see fig.6)
Le Voyage dans la Lune; joy and wonder at the forefront of experimentation with what was available at the time of making this short film; coupled with implied social commentary turned satirical making it interesting to say the least no matter what way you decide to watch it.

 “Each image just another piece of magic that you can’t figure out.” (The Film Reel, 2011)

Axmaker, S. (2012). » Cinema Landmark: ‘A Trip to the Moon’ Restored. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Parkinson, D. (n.d.). Empireonline Reviews | Reviews | Empire. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

The Film Reel, (2011). A Trip To The Moon (1902) - Film Reel Reviews - The Film Reel. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Illustration References:
Figure 1. Méliès, G. (1902). Le voyage dans la lune poster. [image] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Figure 2. Méliès, G. (1902). Le Voyage dans la Lune - Film Still (1). [image] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Figure 3. Méliès, G. (1902). A Trip to the Moon, Moon. [image] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Figure 4. Square Enix, (2004). Soul Eater, Moon. [image] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Figure 5. Toei Company, (1973). [image] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

Figure 6. Méliès, G. (1902). Aliens. [image] Available at: [Accessed 24 Sep. 2014].

PSWS - Brush Experimentation

I tried to make a brush myself. I played around with dual brushes to get texture onto it as well as just fixing some of the shape dynamics and transfer settings. Nothing too fancy. Breaking the "stamp" up at the ends into small dots is great when blending. Not too smooth but not too blocked either.

A quick doodle with the brush I had made inbetween thumbnails. I'll edit this post later with the brush uploaded!

Invisible Cities - Thumbnails 1 - 5

Lines, no colour. I couldn't decide if I was creating thumbnails for a cinematic purpose or for design a lot at the beginning. Having to do both simultaneously in a minute was a challenge most definitely. All I could think of when doing this first city was the idea of massive mountains that you had to do a lot to get through, clustered with a distracting environment then to come out the other side at an almost empty area except for the grouping of a city. Large empty spaces with sudden clusters of close-knit towns have been on my mind a lot recently.

Lasso tool mostly. My old friend. I don't usually use it entirely for things, though. It tends to get a bit too Matisse for my liking. (It's useful for paintings when you want to lose some of the softness.) I first thought of Venice when I read the description, but it soon turned into a community of nautical exploration. I wonder why I didn't add colour, at the time. 

"My colours" slowly started creeping into the concepts. I feel like I responded to this one better but I still didn't have a purposeful narrative in my head completely. Cloud creatures that get around using elaborate piping systems. 

This is the one that really stood out for me, suddenly I had a narrative and found it much easier to produce thumbnails in the time.  I imagine a clustered city sitting ontop of a cloud, but it is so silent and still it seems dead. Underneath it, life, plants and living activity. People on the cloud live in the houses and constantly fight the cloud deteriorating. When a hole is created in the cloud a mysterious force shoots beams of light downwards to "cover" the hole but ironically will deteriorate anything else it touches. Number 15 and 16 are what I deem the most successful because they show a sense of scale so removed from normality it makes me think "Just how many people are living there and are they okay?"

This page of thumbnails was a matchup of previous ones I had done, and combing a few concepts together. I painted over, added and erased elements.

Overall the thumbnail exercise was useful and definitely made me focus more on the concept rather than how it would look, however, a minute per thumbnail.. I see it like trying to say a sentence in an extremely short time frame. Half your worded construct will be there, and the rest will be sloppy because you're rushing to get it all out. All particles and no verbs or nouns! Perhaps the trick is to accomplish vise-versa. (Okay, enough with the metaphors)
The next set of thumbnails I do I'll probably spend longer than a minute per one, (Even 2 or 3 would be better) as I think it's important to at least resemble what you are trying to achieve regardless of skill for the purpose of communicating design. Especially when you don't have a design to begin with! If you don't have enough time to draw a circle how will they know you wanted to achieve that? 
Maybe I'm looking at it wrong! 

Gauging current skill level - Housing Exterior

I've done nothing but figures recently so I thought I'd do a house. Tried a very subtle three point perspective. Buildings and structures are definitely my weak point so I'd love to try whole environments some more once I'm at least a little better at standalone building designs. At the moment I tend to hit a block if I go straight into a landscape piece with several buildings.

Ah, and too much texture makes things look "fuzzy" and not in a good way. I prefer scratchy.

Gauging current skill level - Figurative


Been working on this for a few days off and on in my free time. I wanted to see where my art currently is so I know what I need to start focusing on anyway! For a few months I've become a lot more interested in making my art textured rather than super smooth. Leaving behind the anime, I guess. Although I'm getting to that stage of "secondary thinking" where what I'm doing is becoming automatic. Aka I'm not pushing myself as hard as I should. So it'll be time to try something new.

Now, this fellow is Pin. He wears odd diving boots because he's got poor balance! He's the character "PINBUNS" is named after. Did you expect him to be in the image of me? That'd be too straight forward!
  I couldn't stop thinking of Moebius' whilst I did this, weirdly. Maybe it's the horizon line.

All criticism wonderfully welcomed!!

Summer Project - Beauty Shots

Extra (beauty?) shots.

Combining all three!

When first receiving the project I wanted the final three designs to somehow have some harmony between them so that they'd work together or look like they came from the same place. Hopefully I achieved that. Although, that being said, the thought process to make them "match" didn't come in till after the thumbnails. I'm sure if I'd had thought about it whilst doing all the thumbnails they would end up all looking the same.

I gravitated towards the idea of vents, air and flying with makeshift objects. 

Summer Project - T-t-t-turn Arounds

T-t-t-turn arounds.

Three turnarounds and their respective thumbnails I based them off! I definitely have a weakness with structures/buildings. 

Summer Project - Thumbnails

Thumbnails, thumbnails. 

After doing all of these in Photoshop I came to the conclusion this would have been a lot faster with a pencil and some paper. Darn it. Though, the photo-bashing wouldn't have been possible. I've also somehow ended up being two short when compiling them all together.. (Speaking of which, that terrible layout is something I definitely need to work on.)
NOW TO PICK 3 FAVORITES the fun fun fun part