Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turning My Crow to Stone!

Two weeks into the completion of my school year, I got working on turning my film's protagonist, the crow, into a maquette. I'd never sculpted anything before, so I wanted to give myself something new to learn - a break from the pencil and paper. I thought I'd suck at my first attempt at clay but I was wrong - I can sculpt pretty good for a beginner.. Aaawright!

Wrapping my mind around the 3D-crafting-with-your-hands-thing was initially tough. As a character designer, I'd made several accurate turnarounds at work (always off the top of my head and at short notice), so I wasn't about to let this attempt at sculpting a character stump me. Took less than 2 days to craft, bake and paint this guy. Worked with beginner's Sculpey, acrylics and semi-glossy varnish. Here's my precious, 3" tall, 'feathered' baby, showing off with a classic turnaround... Ok, so I'm shamelessly beaming at my creation, and sounding over-the-top-mushy.. Hehe, deal with it..

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Degas Storyboard

My final storyboarding assignment was a very good one: pick an Impressionist artist and produce exactly 24 color storyboard panels on him, in his trademark medium. It had to resemble the artist's work which was interesting and challenging - and a lot of fun really. Either something about his life, an aspect of his personality or simply an interpretation of him and his art. A thorough research was needed. The boards didn't have to be a lengthy story with a beginning and an end, just something brief and to the point (24 panels aren't much). I picked my personal favorite - the extremely versatile French Impressionist and perfectionist, Edgar Degas, "the painter of dancers"...

After having sufficiently read on the temperamental artist, I chose to illustrate a confrontational scene involving him and a few curious young ballerinas. Decided to work with color pencils on colored textured paper for speed and convenience (semester was drawing to an end). Had to mount my panels (each 3"x4" in dimension) a certain way for class presentation, so I realized chalk pastels were a 'no'. Took approx. 4 days to do all 24 illustrations...

Copied 2 of the artist's well known pieces (see below) and included them in my boards.. Couldn't help myself :)

I also decided to make my illustrations much more detailed and not work with a lot of white - the opposite of what Monsieur Degas would do. I'm pleased with how my storyboard turned out. Currently, I'm working on taking the 24 panels a step further by turning them in to an animatic, complete with sound...

Copyright 2009 Kaukab Basheer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

AMNH Session 1

I was at the American Museum of Natural History yesterday with a veteran animator friend for a casual drawing session. The place was packed, loud, and full of distractions - families, school kids, cameras, and people always peering over our shoulders as we tried to draw. It was fun though. A good day for meeting a friend but a slow day for sketching. To tell you the truth, it's been ages since I stepped out to do any kind of drawing.. Alright, I admit I can be such a slacker.. Not good at all..!!

So, here's what I scribbled in my Moleskine sketchbook - mostly skeletal observations done in ink-pen. Not happy with these but you gotta start somewhere, right!

copyright 2009 Kaukab Basheer

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SVA Faculty, Illustrated

Meet the instructors and gifted animation / art professionals who taught me during my first year at SVA - fall '08 / spring '09. Think I'll do this with every new instructor. Did these from memory, 'checking' the likeness during classes. Scanned and colored in Photoshop CS3.

Howard Beckerman
History of Animation (Aggravation, according to Howard)

and Storyboarding

Don Poynter Perspective Drawing

Eric Eiser Digital Compositing

Everett Aison Storytelling
Ruth Josimovich Literature and Writing
Celia Bullwinkel Animation Workshop

Robert Dress Character Designing

During spring break, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting the awesome Dan Haskett at SVA! Dan's Disney character designs were a huge influence on me growing up. As an 8 year old, I'd study Dan's appealing characters frequently, spending hours every day trying to draw them. As a teen, his work and designs continued to influence me. Meeting him was a dream come true, alright. Did these sketches of Dan as he spoke to the class on character designing...

Later, he even drew in my book.. *sigh*

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My First Film

Love Your Feathers! 'premiered' on April 28th.. Screened on May 6th at the SVA theatre, NY...

My animator friend and fellow SVA student, Andy Scherman, gave the incredible flute track. This strictly independent film took about 5 months, from start to finish.. Learnt A LOT from it, lol.. If I'd had a little more time for planning and perfecting the timing, it would've turned out much better.

For the curious non-animators out there, this film consists of 560 hand-drawn, traditional drawings - not counting the backgrounds.

Enjoy :)

Copyright 2009 by Kaukab Basheer

Now that I'm done sweating over my film, I've given myself a few projects to work on. One of them, turning this film into a children's story book...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Production Stills

My film is about a wishful crow who learns the hard way to be happy with his plain feathers rather than look ridiculous with someone else's pretty feathers. A folktale native to South Asia, but I changed the story in certain places: got rid of the dialogue, added a confrontation scene, changed the ending, and threw in a pretty mate for my protagonist. Haven't uploaded any pre-production work 'coz I really didn't have the time to do any.. Cheating? Yeah, I guess!

I'd unwittingly given myself a lot to do. Well into production, I realized the quality of my film was practically feature film-ish, and to maintain it, I was going to have to 'break my back' till the very end. Sure, I'd worked on cartoons for television but I'd never made A FILM BY MYSELF! I was new to aspects such as storyboarding, direction, background coloring, certain techniques of animation, post production - not to mention, sound recording, and directing a musician! Thank God for the friends at SVA! Best of all, during production, my husband gifted me a Wacom Tablet! My progress was faster and the coloring, a breeze. Thanks, Junaid, my love! You saved my hand from Hell!

So, I completed and turned my film in on time. I'm pleased with how I tackled production in addition to assignments from other classes this crazy first year of school. My film definitely benefited from my work experience. I'm glad the madness is over - for now..

The Candy Witch

Had to redesign an established children's fairytale character for a class assignment. Chose the child-devouring, 'sugar-coated' hag from the Brothers Grimm's, Hansel and Gretel. Love designing villains. Decided to make her a witch of German descent.. A blend of the crazy Mad Hatter and Disney's Madam Mim..

Copyright 2009 by Kaukab Basheer