Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Life drawing 2 - Charcoal

Finally my internet at home is starting to work again after a painful transistion to SKY Broadband (dont do it people!) and finally I can get on my blog a bit more again. Heres a quick catch up of a life drawing class a few weeks ago where we used charcoal to create the images of the model. The paper was smeared in black charcoal so that we could erase parts to allow for light and dark areas of the picture, then using the usual methods of measuring and shapes I continued to draw how I draw!

Do excuse the watermark on my images, I cant seem to shake them!


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Character design: Victorian clothing

The clothing style of the Victorian era is most distinct and is set apart vastly by social hierarchy. The overall observation is that it is quite varied, however it was a time when colour schemes seemed most bland and pastel based. In many respects the larger side of the community who were poorer distinctively wore dirtier, less extravagant garments where brighter, rainbow like colours would have been expensive and for the upper class citizen.

I have come across a website which is perfect for referencing the imagery of fashion within the Victorian era, it shows a lot about styles over a specific time period and for different classes of people.

The Mid Victorian Silhouette 1860-1880

Factors Affecting the Fashion Silhouette after 1860

We arrive at 1860 with four significant facts that were to seriously affect fashion of the future. Firstly the sewing machine had been invented, secondly clothes would in future become couture design led, thirdly synthetic dyes would make available intense colours. Fashion history painting showing full crinoline of 1865.Fourthly in 1860 the crinoline domed skirt silhouette had a flattened front and began to show a dramatic leaning toward the garment back.

Charles Worth thought the crinoline skirt unattractive.  However, he is associated with it, as he did manipulate the style, as a result the shape soon changed to a new trained, softer bustled version, which only the really rich found practical.

Right - Dress designed by Charles F. Worth for Empress Elizabeth of Austria and painted by Winterhalter in 1865.

In 1864 Worth designed an overskirt which could be lifted and buttoned up by tabs. This top skirt gave a lot of scope for added ornamentation and by 1868 it was being drawn and looped right up at the back creating drapery and fullness.

The New Princess Line 1866

In 1866 the new Princess gown also changed the line of fashionable dress. The Princess gown was cut in one piece and consisted of a number of joined panels fitted and gored from shoulder to hem that gave the figure shape through seaming.

The Gabriel Princess gown with a small neat white collar was mainly made in grey silk and followed the fuller skirt lines of the era. This is the dress style often used to depict the constrained buttoned up repressed governess character of Jane Eyre in films. Later Princess styles were slimmer and much more form fitting. Sleeves in day dresses were often of a banana shape.

The Soft Bustle Fashion Silhouette 1867-1875

Painting showing crinolines moving to garment back c1866 - Fashion history.
By 1867 with the fullness bunched up to the back of the skirt creating a polonaise style, crinolines and cages suddenly disappeared evolving into tournures or bustles. The bustles supported accentuated drapes on the hips.

Image - Women in the Garden by Claude Monet 1866-7.   The Louvre Paris.
Costume history picture of tiered frill bustle dress fashion.

After 1868 Worth's overskirt really caught on in England and contrasting underskirts and gown linings were all revealed as the over top skirt was divided or turned back. Other top skirts were called aprons and they were also draped making the wearer look like a piece of elaborate upholstery. Rounder waistlines were fashionable and waistlines even began to rise very slightly.

Above on the left a tiered soft bustle ball gown of 1872.   

From 1870, ball gowns always had a train. Soon by 1873 the train was seen in day dress.
By 1875 soft polonaise bustle styles were becoming so extreme that the soft fullness began to drop down the back of the garment and form itself into a tiered, draped and frilled train. Trains were very heavily ornamented with frills, pleats, ruffles, braids and fringing. The sewing machine instead of simplifying sewing, just became a tool to add more ostentation.

The Late Victorian Silhouette 1878 - 1901

By 1878, women of the late Victorian era have a very different look about them compared to earlier Victorian women.

The Princess Line and the Cuirasse Bodice

Picture of trained cuiasse bodice dress Fashion history .

The soft polonaise style bustle styles were replaced by Princess sheath garments without a waist seam with bodice and skirt cut in one. The Princess line sheath had a bodice line similar to the very tight fitting cuirasse bodices which had been getting longer and longer.

Right - Slim fitting trained dress with cuirasse bodice 1876.   By 1878 the cuirasse bodice reached the thighs.

By 1878 the cuirasse bodices had reached the thighs. The cuirasse bodice was corset like and dipped even deeper both front and back extending well down the hips creating the look of a body encased in armour.

Picture of slimline trained dress costume history.
By 1880 the two ideas merged and the whole of the dress was in Princess line style with shoulder to hem panels. The silhouette was slim and elongated even more by the train. No bustle was needed for the cuirasse bodice or Princess sheath dress, but a small pad would have helped any trained fabric to fall well. 

Left - The cuirasse bodice of 1880 reached the hem actually becoming the princess panel dress.  It made an exceptionally form fitting draped sheath dress which was elongated even further by the train.

The slimline style needed good dressmaking skills to get a flattering fit. When done well it was attractive, but all too often swathes of fabric were wrapped and arranged across the garment in an effort to disguise poor dressmaking skills. It was not a very practical garment and only really suited to the very slim and those who did not have to work. As a fashion it barely lasted 3 years.

The New Hard Bustle of 1883

Costume history picture of hard bustle dress.

Suddenly out of nowhere in 1883 a new jutting out shelf like style of bustle appeared. It had been shown in Paris in 1880, but as a fashion took off later outside of Paris. It reappeared even larger than ever as a hard shape that gave women a silhouette like the hind legs of a horse as shown in the page heading.

Right - The second hard bustle style 1883.

The new bustle dress had a different look. It had minimal drapery compared to the former and a slimmer more fitted severely tailored princess bodice, with a much flatter front. What drapery there was, was tidily arranged at the front of the dress as a small apron. Soon even that disappeared. For support the spring pivoted metal band Langtry bustle gave the correct foundation for the wider skirts. 
Painting of hard bustle dresses - costume history.This later bustle fashion was very moulded to the body and the heavy corsetry gave an armour like rigidity to the silhouette. The pointed bodice began to look quite tailored.
Tailored garments had been introduced in 1874 and their influence on design was subtle, but led eventually to the tailor made suit so fashionable in the 1890s.

Picture of dress after bustle declined. Fashion history
In 1887 the sleeves were still slimmer, plain and close fitting. The sleeves look like quite a different style than on the bustle dress of the 1870s which had sleeves that would not have looked out of place on dresses of 1860.
By 1889 silhouette changes now couturier led were changing more rapidly and the sleeve developed a very slight leg of mutton outline which soon needed support.

Right - Dress of 1889 showing signs of elevation at the sleeve head. 

Victorian Fashion History - Power Dressing



Picture of tailored full sleeved suit. Fashion historyIt's interesting to note how late Victorian women embraced the sharper tailored jacket fashion which gave them a different posture with a more confident air reflecting the ideals of early female emancipation. Other military and more tailor made styles of jacket were also popular. Some dresses also had a more severe air about them.

Left - Tailor made suit of 1895.

There are similarities in the period 1885 with 1985 when women also showed their strength in the corporate workplace with Power Dressing through more masculine tailored, shoulder padded clothes. A similar broad shoulder trend occurred in the Utility Clothing era of the 1940s when women did work usually thought of as men's work.

Bright Aniline Dyed Colours



The gowns of the 1880s were almost always made in two colours of material. Vivid colours such as deep red, peacock blue, bright apple green, royal blue, purple, mandarin, sea green were used alone, in combination, or in tartan fabrics. Some colour combinations were very strange.
At night ladies evening dresses were in softer hues and although they were extravagantly trimmed in contrast fabrics and very décolleté, they followed the general line of fashion.


Gradually the skirt widened and flared as the fullness of the bustle began to fall into pleats down the garment back eventually disappearing to nothing.
As before the bustle foundation softened until only a small pad was left by 1893. The armour like hour glass figure soon developed into the S-Bend shape corset which set the Edwardian Corsetry silhouette until 1907-8. 

Left - Evening gown with train 1890. 

Leg of Mutton Sleeves



The leg of mutton sleeves continued to develop and sprouted high above the shoulders, By 1895 the sleeves swelled into enormous puffs similar to those of 1833. As happened in 1830 to balance the huge shoulders the skirt widened and flared, whilst keeping the waist tight and handspan narrow.
Queen Victoria's influence over fashion was long gone. people who were in mourning still followed court guidelines on mourning dress. The real royal influence in fashion was the wife of the Prince of Wales, Princess Alexandra. Together they set the tone for society and fashion in the last decade of the century in the 1890s and into their own reign of the Edwardian era from 1901 to 1910.

Pauline Weston Thomas . (Year Unknown). Mid-Late Victorian Fashion and Costume History. Available: http://www.fashion-era.com/mid-late_victorian_fashion.htm. Last accessed 12/10/2011.


Group project research: Telekinetic powers

"Most of what we term psychic phenomenon or mystical happenings happen in the "off" phases of consciousness. Consciousness is always in the on/off phasing, blinking off and on, as it were. Off/On phasing phenomenon is photon related manifestation of energy and light.

Telekinesis is essentially the ability to move an object on the physical plane using only psychic power. While some people think that it is an occult practice, this is not strictly so.

A common theory is that TK works by energy fields (magnetic or electric) or by "waves" of psychic energy, which are actually dense enough to push/repel an object."

Unknown. (Year Unknown). Telekinesis. Available: http://www.wingmakers.co.nz/Telekinesis.html. Last accessed 12/10/2011.

The Human Brain has been wrongly claimed in the past to only use 10% of its potential capability. While this is a laughable statement to many of the Scientific world, it is also true that we don't use its full potential at once. This is an excuse to claim an explanation into the unknown world of the paranormal acts that connect to the human mind.

The different types of phsycic powers that use the power of the mind to manipulate their surroundings involve the following:

• Telepathy – his ability to read people’s mind.
• Bending, breaking and softening metal and other solids such as spoons and keys, and more rarely plastic and glass.
• Fixing watches and clocks that had not been working for years.
• Moving compasses with his psychic powers – the power of thought.
• Erasing tapes from the computers.
• Dowsing – locating precious metals by the power of the mind.

Unknown. (Year Unknown). Some famous phsycics. Available: http://www.moonwhisper.com/famous-psychics/958-some-famous-psychics. Last accessed 12/10/2011.

Group project: Dark, telekinetic girl

I have started drawing up sketches of what a teenage school girl with dark abilities might look like. I have used some references to assist my drawings, to get further ideas for what works for this sort of characters visual appearance and what could create the uncanny effect of a corrupt innocence.

Until we gather together a full complete story the job of designing properly is hard. Fortunately a full Synopsis is due to be posted up the evening of this post, gathering together the different group ideas to make one collaborated story merging the different key ideas that work.

I originally had been told by my team mates that the characters shall have exaggerated features and the stylisation will be almost sketchy in appearance. My first impressions was to create the girl to be small and cute, then after a while refraining from the supremely cartoony depiction.

Whilst still not of the world of realism, I had tried to gather together an image of a girl who appeared a bit sterner, colder, harder to approach yet still somewhat a victim to her own inverted emotions. 

After a brief talk with Justin the Character Design tutor, he told me to simplify the Character once again back down into its basic roots and by the power of simple shapes design the exaggerations with obvious intent. This is where the best Character so far actually has emerged, to my opinion.

After observing the Synopsis and finalising the script I will have now got myself into the mindset to work hard at conceptual drawings and the animations theme.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Rough Influence map for girls

Heres a few rough pictures from the net I have taken to help me mold a physical image of the School Girl in my group project. I have a strong image in my head which still seems to blurr and not depict itself properly when I put pen to paper, so therefore I just needed this to gather a better idea for the shapes that would represent the character at its best.


Character design: Using Circles to construct character's

In this class the focus was using circle shapes to structure the key parts of a characters body. Here are the character's I used to do this task with.


Monday, 10 October 2011

Film Reviews: Mulholland Drive

This film was made in 2001, and stars Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring and Justin Theroux. It is somewhat of a strange film, typical of David Lynch's repertoire. This film is no exception, with its story focused on using phsycological tricks to thrill the audience. This is regarded as one of Linches best projects and gives a perspective into how the intelligence of social analysis has become a big part of modern life since the turn of the millenia.

This film invokes a feeling of hazzy understanding into its plot, yet makes the audience feel a sense of fulfillment after viewing. It is based around a crash, of which a supposed victim went missing without a trace. It indulges into strange twists in the plot, enviroments causing a questionable confusion to the viewing audience, characters popping up in random situations and locations.
I found a good quote from a philosopher named John Searle which helps explain this films impact:

"The thesis that there is a reality independent of our representations identifies not how things are in fact, but rather identifies a space of possibilities... External realism articulates a space of possibilities for a very large number of statements."

After a car accident in Los Angeles, California, Rita is the only survivor, however suffers mass amnesia. She meets with the character Betty Elms, of which her story merges into. Betty is a young actress in search of Stardom yet takes a samarital interest into Rita to help her understand the mystery surrounding her. Unknown the reasons as to why Rita came to be in this situation, they pursue to gain knowledge about the conspiracy around Ritas attempted murder. Betty and Rita soon come to realise nothing is what it seems.
This film has a complex storyline to indulge in, its definitely worth checking out to gain a better understanding or a personal interpritation. Definintely interesting to watch and whether you get anything from it or not will help show Lynches success at playing mind games with his audience.

Group project: Synopsis/ Pre Script idea

Group Project: Freemind Animations
Animation title: High School Revenge

This story is based around the issues of a troubled child who in her adolescent years displays paranormal side effects in reaction to her unstable condition. The film starts when a Detective is called into a School in response to reports of a serious number of accounts relating to students being bullied, however it is the teachers themselves who are really seeking the help, as they fail to mention the strange incidents happening to them.
This somewhat film noir setting shows the Detective witnessing himself caught into a distressing ordeal involving a teacher, leading him to sceptically approach the situation but with a sense of the uncanny at play.
The Detective questions the troubled teachers who openly admit to the fact something demonic seems to be at the heart of these issues. He then explains about an incident a few months prior to the Detectives arrival when the problems began, which spawns the investigation in a different light.
A Priest is called in to find the cause of the issue, who comes to find no trace of demonic entities within the School, yet while informing Professor Smart of this embarrassing ordeal he finds a young girl sitting with him crying. Her name is Melanie; she is tormented by her life at School as the other children victimize her on a daily basis. She fears going to School, not only for herself but for the people she has come to hate. She can’t have friends anymore; whatever she tries to get close to always seems to go wrong in some way or another. It is here they find the sinister twist that has become out of Melanie’s control, leading to her eventual last tantrum while being held in Detention.
The Detective is harmed as it is him who has ordered her restraint, so the only person who can get to Melanie now with the knowledge of her issue is the Priest and Professor Smart who together overcome the unstable projections of Melanie’s subconscious emotive ability.
Melanie is moved to a peaceful place to live and be taught by those who can relax her, with the addition of physiological drugs to help her maintain her stability.
Script (To be wrote in after group acknowledges my Synopsis)

Group project: The link between phsycic phenomena and adolescents

There has always been a strong link between the wild energy of a child to the unknown forces of the paranormal world. This is because it is said that the child's innocence actually reflects the lack of social interruption to the purity of a persons soul, therefore the individual is still more tuned to the spirit world. It is also to note that Children are relatively more imaginative than that of an adult, they see the world in a different way, perceive things to be magical or intriguing which as an adult the mind will find easy to comprehend. This leaves room for a perception on the world that most adults find difficult to grasp, thus making reality closer to that of a dream world, which is linked as a closeness to the spirit world itself. Meditative states are said to bring one close to ones own id, their guardian angel, or their spirit guide. This being said, when a Child is immersed in the tense hold of adolescence at the start of their path to adulthood they will still have the general mindset of a child, therefore being theoretically still connected to their own sixth sense and potentially able to unwillingly seduce the energy around them to create certain paranormal happenings.

  • Poltergeist's

"The word Poltergeist is German for 'Noisy Spirit' and this particular phenomenon has been recorded for many years. This is probably the most destructive and terrifying of all paranormal activity. British paranormal investigator, Harry Price didn't hold back his objectives. Price stated that poltergeist can be cruel and spiteful. He also stated ghosts seem to haunt where poltergeists infest. There is a possibility that the haunting phenomenon and the poltergeist phenomenon may not be related, however, there does not seem to be enough scientific evidence for such a theory. Some scientific establishments refer to poltergeist activity as being caused by a suppression of sexual energy which is often found in

unknown. (Unknown). Poltergeist:Strange and Paranormal activity. Available: http://strangegr.tripod.com/strangeandparanormalactivities/id32.html. Last accessed 02/10/2011.

Image found at this link: http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=poltergeist&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1680&bih=864&tbm=isch&tbnid=qhG6HkDDvZjsVM:&imgrefurl=http://www.zurichmansion.org/ghosts/video1.html&docid=3VSNlZQGWkWfgM&w=642&h=469&ei=I_OSTtO1JdDKsgbVt5H9Dw&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=312&page=1&tbnh=140&tbnw=187&start=0&ndsp=32&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0&tx=135&ty=78

There is of course a film we all know based on this subject entitled "Poltergeist". In the film, we see a young Girl becoming possessed by the spirit of a demonic force which takes hostage to the house and inhabitants of the building it dwells within.

Movies Poltergeist

(Pictured above, the tragic child actor Heather Michele O'Rourke, who plays the character of the possessed innocent little blonde girl Carol Anne Freeling.) Link: http://free-extras.com/images/movies_poltergeist-11257.htm

Usually it is often found that little girls are the more likely to be more sensitive to the paranormal than boys of the same age. Therefore it is usually found that young girls are more uncanny, their intact innocence and uncompetitive, pre-social self destruction is yet to come of reality. Perhaps this is because males tend to be more corrupt to social pressures and more sensitive to upholding their real world surroundings even at a young age.

"The book set out to claim that witches did exist, and that they were usually women, who were weaker and easier for the devil to tempt."
Rachel Bellerby. (Jun 15, 2009). Witchcraft in the middle ages. Available: http://rachel-bellerby.suite101.com/witchcraft-in-the-middle-ages-a125228. Last accessed Jun 15, 2009.
Of course the other well known story of a child "possession", or demonic ability that the child isn't initially able to realise would be "The Omen". In this film, however, we see the character as a Male child. This however could be due to the fact that Damien, the apparent child of Satan, is of a more direct power to the paranormal itself. It ties into the subject of sexism, where Damien is the "son" from the start, born into the world as an entity of evil and isn't of his nature due to a weakness to the power of the paranormal as he is his own power. This is basically suggesting that the Male phsycic, paranormal figure is more dangerous or dominant to the original context of the power source, that the female is merely seduced by it due to her own weakness as a Woman.

Damien from the film "The Omen".

  •  Adolescence
Boys and Girls change physically and mentally at seperate ages, but most prominently during the teenage years. In this period the Human being would undergo changes in strength, size, personality and sexual awareness. It is due to this transitionary stage that many beleive the weakness of a persons physical and personal well being can become supseptible to paranormal effects.

Carole Sutton (2000). Child and adolescent behaviour problems: a multidisciplinary approach to assessment and intervention. Leicester: British Psychological Society. pg9-320.

This chart gives some indication to the difference between Male and Female changes within the intense period of puberty. You could imagine how this behavioural pattern could be linked to something dark and distinctively unhomely, as the child's innocent apperance is undergoing real changes and new neurotic brain wave patterns that are most likely disturbed.

This can easily be assosiated with the apperance of some form of possession, or phsycological angst brought on to the child's behavioural patterns unwillingly. Over time of course these changes develop and settle, maturing the child into the adult and taking them away from the displeasant journey of adolsecence.


Group project: Evil School Girl rough ideas

To help envision the story of a School girl with a prominent, evil undertone I have drawn up a few sketches off the top of my head, which also relate to references I have found via other Cartoon characters and relevant imagery to the subject.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Film reviews: The Best Worst Movie

The Documentry "The Best Worst Movie" is based on the laughably bad 1990 film Troll 2. It follows the star of the film Michael Stephenson stepping behind the camera to talk about the low rated, low budget, dodgy horror movie itself. This Documentary proves that a perceived bad movie doesn't necessarily mean it wont find an audience. The original film was created by a group of cinematically uneducated Actors who joined forces with an Italian-speaking production crew to start filming the sequel to the 1986 film "Troll".

It is interesting how onwards into the future the film "Troll" has been taken under a different perspective. You will come to find that the general film related society will now look at it as a historical treasure, reflecting the perfect way to do something conventionally bad. From the awful acting, to the terribly unresolved script making the most random confusions and almost seemingly self conscious, humiliating camera work, this is exactly how a film should be put together to form a mesh of negative criticism.

This is an amusing, light hearted look into the work of something that was once rated so low that someone has become proud of it for that very reason. The soul of this film is in the right place at the right time, ready to accept Troll 2 for what it really is. In a sense it has become a comedy based on the art of film making itself. Interestingly, this movie got quite a high rating compared to the extremely low rating of the film it indulges itself within.

Rating out of 1 to 10? For amusment... 10... Oh.... my... God!!!


Film reviews: Inception

Inception is a phsycological action thriller Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo Di Caprio as the main star. It was made in 2010 and delivers a strong, yet complex story about the power of the human mind.

Inception is one of them films that demand’s you to watch it more than once; it seems content in hiding pieces of its puzzle that on each viewing spawns a different realization. This film is difficult. It is based inside the dream worlds of the characters that Leonardo Di Caprio’s character “Dom Cobb” infiltrates in attempts to regain high profile information for corporate reasons with his extractory art of putting himself into another's dreams. By sneaking into the psyches of his targets, Dom enters the world of the dreamer, taking any vital information with him swiftly and without the dreamer’s knowledge.

When the film initiates, and it does so quickly, you have to keep hold of the plot tightly to not loose your placing. Just like a real dream world, things can become a mush sooner than they happen, uncertainty is somewhat a key. This very notion drives the film towards a postmodern perspective, the film is set in its world that continuously moves forwards and changes in relation to the external effects.

Being one of the most effective at his art, Dom Cobb has found that this talent is also his burden. He looses everything that he loves and that is close to him as a result of his lifestyle. It is this part of his humanity which he craves to grasp hold of, in which is also presumably his weakness and strength. He is given a chance at redemption by one last job that has the potential to give him his normal life back to one catch - it is the almost impossible of mind inceptions that he has had to pursue.

In retrospect to Cobb's usual goal of retracting something from someones subconscious mind, he is given the task to plant an idea directly into the mind of their target. This targets name is Cillian Murphy, a wealthy business man who Cobb's influence could be enough to help Murphy hire specific individuals with vital skills of importance.

In some ways this film reminds me of the Matrix on a basic level, by the way in which the character "plugs himself" into the mind which becomes an alternate reality in which the laws of phsyics can be bent. The Matrix has many holes and strange twists which take a fair few viewings to really comprehend, in many respects being an outwardly thought out depiction of mankind's perception on reality and his own effect on the world. This shares a familiar concept to Inception, where the ongoing changes to our static reality are blurred and painted in a surrealist approach.


As you can imagine, the way in which each shot is composed isnt neccesarily in the most conventional of ways, with a lot of use of such techniques as the dolly zoom effect to create a warped, disorientating effect.

Here is an example of the "dolly zoom" from the popular, hit horror classic "Poltergiest".

The Camera work in this film is edgy, clever and almost flows along in the streams of the contrasting dream world. The scenes are built to somewhat make the space of each set feel larger, introverted and yet claustrophobic at the same time. As the films events become more intense, this warping between scenes and sense of hyper reality becomes more prominent, yet strange due to its bending of real world rules.

Overall this is a strong, interesting story about regaining ones own identity over an occupation that has almost erased someones individual existance. It shows many levels of the Human mindset and how its concious efforts to survive can take us to the very edge of our seats.