Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Are these the final shots??

Soooo... I think these are the final shots which I will be working up tonight and tomorrow. What do you think?
 Exterior establishing shot

Exterior low angle shot

Interior establishing shot

Life Drawing Week 2 - balloon installation

Had lots of fun in our drawing class again this week. With the pressure and concentration of the impending doom that is Crit day on Friday, it felt really nice and relaxing to work big and free. Really made me feel better and more chilled out! Phil set up an installation with balloons, trestles and crepe ribbons and, as the class was quite small, we were left to our own devices a bit more today. I wanted to experiment with colour and Vicky had prepared some textile dyes for us to use in our work. Along with the dyes, I also used charcoal, chalk, pastels and masking tape.
First drawing of the day. I started off by mapping out the larger, more dominant lines on the paper and then added the balloon shapes afterwards. I like the contrast between the straight lines of the ribbons and curves of the balloons. Just added a touch of colour with pastels to this charcoal and chalk sketch.

This again began with bold, straight lines with the flow and movement of the balloons. I went with the shapes and the colour added a sense of fun and freedom to this picture. I received some great feedback from my classmates who also noticed the suggestion of flags or kites in the drawing, with the hint of maybe a celebration or carnival. Quite an illustrative one apparently!

I wanted to experiment more with the textile dyes in this one and decided to use masking tape to define the straight lines in a different way. I worked over in pastels at different stages of removing the tape once the dye had mostly dried. However some of the patches where the dye was still damp added to the effect of the pastels and gave a much stronger look. Once I'd removed all the masking tape I worked over the piece again, sometimes with pastel, sometimes with more dye. The most effective results came from working dye on top of the pastel on the paper. Really pleased with this one and I might carry on and develop it even further.

I couldn't really have colourful balloons in front of me and not try out this version - coloured pastels and chalk on black paper. Didn't quite achieve the result I was hoping for, mainly because of the smudging but it was fun to give it a go. This was just a quick sketch while I was waiting for the dye to dry in the painting above.

Last but not least, here are some photos from the installation. Vicky said that photos can be part of our sketchbook/portfolio too and I'd like to use some of these to work on again in the future. Who'd have thought there was so much more to modelling balloons than making giraffes and flowers!



Anastasia exterior shots

A few exterior establishing shots which I put together in Jordan's lesson on Monday. I wasn't completely happy with the view I put up a few posts ago and so Jordan helped me to tackle it in a different way. Unfortunately I can't count the first two paintings on this set of thumbnails, as they are Jordan's, but I'm thinking of something a bit like number 5 as an establishing shot to work on for my final piece. Any suggestions?

These are a few closer shots, showing more detail of the grounds of Anastasia. The flooring I want to use is inspired by Klimt and shows off the precious stones which are mined in Anastasia. You can see glimpses of the statues and also the 'concentric canals' which Calvino describes.

Film Review - Alien (1979)

Alien theatrical poster (fig.1)

Directed by Ridley Scott, the science-fiction horror Alien was released in 1979 with the strap-line "In space no one can hear you scream". Undoubtedly the design of Alien is what makes it stand out from other sci-fi or horror films of its time and this was down to the artist H.G. Giger. The alien itself was inspired by Giger's 'Necronom IV' artwork from 1976 (fig 2). As Andrew Collins says "There are thrills of the highest order - but the beauty of Alien remains... its beauty." Ridley Scott was said to be influenced by three films when making Alien - Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

H.R.Giger's Necronom IV (fig.2)

The film begins when Nostromo, a commercial vessel is returning to Earth and picks up a transmission from a nearby planetoid. On investigation, three of the crew members, Dallas, Kane and Lambert discover a disused alien spacecraft. Inside they discover a gigantic, long-decayed body which appears to have had something explode from its chest. Kane also comes across a large amount of eggs, seemingly protected by a blue mist. When he looks into one of the eggs, it opens up and something bursts from it, melts his space helmet and attaches itself to his face. Against the wishes of Acting Senior Officer Ripley, the Science Officer, Ash opens the airlock and allows the crew back aboard, with the injured Kane. Eventually the 'facehugger' detaches itself from Kane's face and dies, though the crew discover the alien has a highly corrosive acid for blood. Kane awakens and seems to be in normal health, until he sits down to eat. He chokes and then a small creatures bursts from his chest, killing him (fig.3). The creature scurries away and the mood of the film instantly changes.

Chest-burster explodes from Kane's chest (fig.3)

One by one the crew are picked off by the alien, which has now grown considerably in size (fig.4). The ship’s Engineer, Brett is the first to encounter the seven-foot monstrosity, followed by Captain Dallas who tries to hunt down the alien using the ship's air shafts. Ripley and the remaining members of the crew, Parker, Lambert and Ash plan to corner the alien and release it into space. The shuttle will not carry four people so this is the only option they have. It is soon discovered that Ripley’s suspicions of Ash are proven right when she tries to access the ship’s computer, 'Mother'. Science Officer Ash has denied anyone else access to the computer and has programmed the ship to return the Alien to the owners of Nostromo, regardless of the safety of the crew. Ash tries to kill Ripley and when Parker and Lambert help to fight him off, they discover that he is actually an android. Ash’s final words are to tell his fellow crew members that they will not defeat the alien.

At 7' 2" tall, Bolaji Bedajo played the alien (fig.4)

Now there are only three remaining survivors, the plan changes. Ripley prepares the shuttle while Parker and Lambert gather supplies. Ripley is side-tracked when she remembers the ship’s cat, Jones is missing. She hunts for the cat and in the meantime Parker and Lambert are found and killed by the Alien (fig.5). Ripley hears the ordeal over the transmitter and so heads off to set the ship’s self-destruct sequence. On returning to the shuttle, Ripley comes across the alien. She quickly attempts to abort the self-destruct programme but is unsuccessful. She returns again to the shuttle and closes the door behind her, confident that she has escaped the alien. She flies the shuttle away just in time to see the Nostromo explode in front of her. She puts the cat into a statis pod and just begins to relax and prepare for the journey home which she discovers the alien has tucked itself into the shuttle. While it is sleeping, Ripley puts on a spacesuit, straps herself into the ship and opens the airlock, sucking the alien out. The alien grips onto the door and tries to climb back in, but Ripley shoots it with a grappling hook before shutting the door and firing the shuttle engines to blast the alien into space. Ripley is now safe and she records the ship's log before settling into statis for the 6 week journey back home.
Lambert encounters the alien (fig.5)

Alien is the first of many films to be made about the extra-terrestrial race that is discovered by the crew of the Nostromo. The more recent 'Prometheus' released in 2012 takes us back to before the 1979 film and explains where the aliens originated from. Alien has lots of moments of suspense, but one of the most effective is the way the creature is hidden or in darkness for much of the time. Because of the design of the ship, we are never sure whether we are looking at part of the ship’s interior in the background or the alien itself as the chains, pipes and smooth surfaces of the environment are all similar to the look of the alien. Also the organic interior of the alien ship on the planetoid makes us feel very uneasy as it resembles alien body parts and bones. The film Alien has a much dirtier and edgier look and feel than that of other films of the genre, such as 2001: a Space Odyssey or Star Trek.

Camera angles are used very effectively in this film. From the very beginning we feel that we are on board the Nostromo with the camera exploring the ship and settling on the crew in stasis. We feel every moment of fear when the camera is following Ripley around on her fight for survival and at times of panic, we feel we are there when the camera is so close to the actors’ faces. Sound is used to evoke fear and anticipation, such as the rhythmic beating of the fans; the steam jets and the screeching sound of the air shaft hatches opening and closing. The audience is on the edge of its seat through the majority of the movie. Critic Tim Dirks explains "It introduced both somber horror elements and gore to its traditional science-fiction tale." 

What stands out as one of the most refreshing points in this film, in comparison to other films of its time, is the part of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver (fig.6). Even today, it is rare to have a female as the main heroic lead in a film. We can see that she is scared, but she is also tough and determined and strong enough to stand up to this huge, menacing and unfamiliar creature which has killed all of her (mainly male) colleagues. She also stands up for what she believes is right throughout the film, as we can see from the scene where she wants to keep Kane in quarantine. Ripley’s relationship with the aliens grows throughout the series of films as she begins to learn more about them.
Sigourney Weaver as heroine Ripley (fig.6)

The film itself stands the test of time and has inspired many other films of the science-fiction genre. Even now, over thirty years later, Alien films and games are still being made. Future Movies reviewer, Adrian Mackinder says "At the risk of sounding like an old man, they really don't make 'em like this anymore..."`

Illustration List:

Alien Theatrical poster (fig 1) (Accessed 22/10/14)
H.R.Giger's Necronom IV (fig.2) (Accessed 22/10/14)
Chest-burster movie still (fig.3) (Accessed 22/10/14)
Bolaji Bedajo (fig.4) (Accessed 22/10/14)
Movie still (fig.5) (Accessed 22/10/14)
Ripley movie still (fig.6) (Accessed 22/10/14)

Andrew Collins - (Accessed 22/10/14)
Tim Dirks - (Accessed 22/10/14)
Adrian Mackinder - (Accessed 22/10/14)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Some interior shots of Anastasia

Trying to decide on a good view for the interior of Anastasia. Any favourites?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Anastasia thumbnails and interior pictures

Just a few quick thumbnails to get warmed up before I carry on with my paintings. Still not 100% happy with the building (see previous post too). I'm wondering whether it might look better more opened up with archways to invite the eye in. My original idea was to have the entire interior as the darker, more 'boudoir' and 'opium den', but I'm thinking now it might be better with a grand central area with smaller curtained off areas branching off from it - almost like booths!?
Below are some of the images I'm using as inspiration for the interior. I'm going for rich, sumptuous colours with layers of fabrics and elaborate detailing. Phil suggested looking at 'fin de si├Ęcle' and Art Nouveau, including Gustav Klimt. I'm using the 'jewelled' look as flooring most probably, which will also show off the use of precious stones which are mined in Anastasia.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

More Anastasia exterior and interior sketches

So I've been sketching up a few exterior views of Anastasia to try and get all my ideas in one place. (again, sorry for the rubbish quality photos)
I had a rough idea of what I wanted the buildings to look like but have since found even more images I like from researching in the library, like the one below.  This is by no means the final look, just an accumulation of parts of architecture that I think portrays my image of Anastasia. Still more to do...
The Palace of Electricity, Paris 1900
In order to get my own head around my plan for Anastasia, I had to map it out to work out where everything was going to go and how the buildings, statues, fountains etc would go and how they would sit in comparison to everything else. I also needed to get a sense of scale into what I was trying to achieve.

Once I'd sorted the rough plan, I began to sketch out the rough exterior establishing shot I had in mind. Not sure if I need to zoom out a bit more to show surrounding buildings etc. Anastasia is a beautiful and welcoming city which draws the visitor in. Once inside, however, it is a darker, more seductive place but this is only discovered once you had gone inside and 'succumbed' to the desires of the city. Therefore, I feel like I want to keep the interior and back of the city from view. My establishing shot will show the exterior grounds and main 'gateway' to the inner city which is the building you see in the drawing above. I think I'll also show some dwellings which are surrounding the main gates of the city where the more sceptical people live - the ones who are tempted, but are not brave enough to venture in just yet.

This is a very quick sketch of the back of the city. This is where all the indulgence and seediness occurs! Not too much detail really here and just ideas, but I felt I needed to sketch the outside, in order to determine what the inside would look like. The interior shot below is a rough idea of the inside of the building above. Lots more work to be done here, but I know exactly what I want to do!

I've started to draw up both the rough establishing exterior shot and thumbnails which are working towards the interior shot on Photoshop, using the graphic tablet, but I'm not really getting the results I want at the moment. It just means more practise and more experimenting with the different brushes. Time is ticking though, so this weekend will be spent painting, painting, painting!! Here they are so far...

Any feedback gratefully received!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Anastasia thumbnails

So I've been working on a few more thumbnails of the city of Anastasia following the feedback from Phil and my mentor Chrissie. I'm exploring more of the Art Nouveau and Fin de Siecle style and finding that they fit really well with the ideas and shapes I already had in my head. I'm bursting with ideas and just trying to get everything out now. I've spent the last few days collecting images and now I'm beginning to use those to design my city. I'm trying to cover everything - furniture, graphic design, clothing, statues, gardens, buildings, jewellery. The picture quality of these thumbnails isn't great as I took photos on my phone from my sketchbook, but you get the idea. Am hoping to get a bit closer with finalising the exterior look of the city, both from afar and close-up, before I work on the sketches in Photoshop. I find I work much quicker in a sketchbook so am doing it the old-fashioned way for the time being so I can maximise my time.
Quick sketch of Park Guell in Barcelona (now I wish I was going on the trip even more! Sob!)

Ceiling detail, Art Nouveau stool and screens 

Chaise Longue and quick interior sketch from Moulin Rouge, Paris 

Art Nouveau lamp and vases 

sketches of statues, some of which will welcome visitors to Anastasia! 

A couple of amazing Art Nouveau buildings which I love. A combination of these and the Bellas Artes Palace in Mexico will give you an idea of what I'm looking at for the gateway to Anastasia.
Random sketch of Jabba's Palace which I feel fits in somewhere, but not quite sure where yet. Plus some doors, benches etc

 Another Anastasian goddess and some swirly details!
Some garden details and ideas
Think I need to concentrate on getting the exterior views planned out and then I will start detailing the seedy and dark interior of Anastasia! Watch this space...