Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Watercoloury Pictures

Well I hope everyone had a nice holiday. I'm still practicing with my watercolours so here's a few more of my 'attempts' for you to squint at and try to see what they were meant to be, and I've thrown in a pencil sketch to boot just to show that I've not given up on the pencils! (the truth is, out of about 10 pages of sketches over Christmas these are the only ones I'm halfway pleased with).

Anyways, next week I begin my Animation Direction course at the NFTS so I'm just getting ready. I hope this blog will become a report of my time there and if I can share any of the knowledge they give me then this will be the place I'll do it.

Until that time then, Have a Happy New Year!

Friday, 19 December 2008

North Face

Yesterday we got to go to a preview screening of a new German film called 'Nordwand' (North Face). It's all about two German mountaineers and their attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger Mountain in the 1930s. I had no knowledge of the history of this event beforehand so I didn't know if it was a successful attempt or not so I don't want to give away anything of the story if you haven't seen it.
I would like to talk a little about the other aspects of the film making though because I thought it was beautifully shot and the performances really drew me in.
The cinematography of the Eiger was both beautiful and grim. At moments it would appear peaceful and serene and then it could completely change and become unforgiving and uncaring. For me it was almost another character on screen.
The two main performances of the German climbers were also totally engaging. You really felt how difficult it must have been to scale every metre of the mountain and their endurance and skill as mountain climbers were both stretched to the limits during their ascent. There were a few white knuckle moments for me particularly when they had to 'traverse' round a difficult section of the mountain.
The sound effects and make-up were also excellent and only helped to build an extra layer of reality into the story. The howling of the wind and the creaking of snow against rock really built an atmosphere of isolation and the effects of the freezing weather on the men and how quickly it took it's toll on them was frightening.
If you get a chance to see it then I totally recommend it.Here's a quick sketch I did afterwards..

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Ray Harryhausen

I got to see another of my animation heroes this week. Ray Harryhausen was in London giving a talk about his new book 'A Century of Model Animation'. He started off with a small retrospective of all his most famous 'creatures' and then he talked about how he got started in the business and how he made his way into feature films.

He also brought along some of his fantastic creations. First he showed one of the original Jason and the Argonauts Skeleton Warriors and an early armature for Pegasus which was never used and then he brought out one of my favourite animated characters ever, Medusa from Clash of the Titans! She was so amazing and so wonderfully designed, she terrified me as a kid so it was great to be able to get up close and see her.

I only managed a few quick sketches of the models as there were so many people there but I'll try to clean them up a bit and post them soon. My time working at the NFTS is now in it's final week so this time next month I'll begin studying as an Animation Director... I can't wait!