Friday, 4 November 2011

Spirit of the Oak Tree Development

Here are some more sketches of my Spirit Design as my 'ghost-like' image is not serving the character well. I'm trying to break through it by applying animal characteristics and leaf/acorn insignia so that it is 'of' the tree... some of these are still looking a tad on the Pokémon side of things, but I'll be refining these in a later post.

At the moment I'm experimenting with a small 'floaty' design, or a four-legged creature. Looking at other Spirit designs, especially tree spirits, artists/photographers tend to look for faces in tree trunks or branches that appears to take human form. This is something I'd like to avoid, like Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas (1995), for example (see below). It's much too obvious and I think a physical embodiment of the tree's spirit will be best for interaction between the characters.

On the other hand, this illustration for the Totoro Forest Project by Scott Campbell has such life and personality in this wonderfully simple design. I like the size of the creature, it looks like it could actually be a part of the forest, however I need something more 'travel size' for my film to be more easily concealed and less cumbersome.

Tree Spirit with Bike by Scott Campbell
I like the smaller creatures surrounding him too, but they are far too much like Totoro's friends in My Neighbour Totoro, so I will have to look elsewhere.

I'm having difficulty picking one of my sketches to push forward with as I need something that is cute enough to relate to, simple enough to animate and unique enough to stand on its' own as a design... I like having it as an squirrel or owl to relate to the tree so I'll develop that next.

To end, I've done another take of my character designs, this time to include one of my favourite versions of the Spirit, however it's still too 'ghost-like' and boring, and the colours are not unlike a carrot! So it's by no means final!

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