30 June 2011

Costume Portrait Day Drawings

Um, a bit belated...basically, I sold 3 drawings, then promptly lost the money by buying three drawings of myself. I regret nothing.

So, here are my own drawings, the ones that didn't get sold:

And here are the portraits of me by other amazing people:

A very fun and productive day! I'd urge you guys to all come to the next session, which hopefully will be sometime in the first term of next year. Gosh, can you believe we're all third years now?

20 June 2011

Prapim's Inspirations: "The Prince of Egypt"

Today's Inspiration: The Prince of Egypt (1998)

Sorry if this post is a bit long and overly gushing. I simply love this movie to bits.

My brother and I had a fad with this movie as children. We had the whole behind-the-scenes book and soundtrack and everything. In fact, I could sing 'When You Believe' (including the Hebrew bit, haha) word-for-word.

In fact, I may have even nursed a prepubescent crush on Moses. Can you blame me? He was drawn very handsomely indeed. I remember thinking: Man! Moses and his voice are so handsome!
Years later, when I found out he was voiced by Val Kilmer, I felt a bit...I wouldn't say let-down, but...cheated, I guess? To me, Val Kilmer will always be a passable Batman and of course the Ice-Man in the totally-not-homoerotic Top Gun...uh...

This was one of the few animated features that I remember distinctly being awed and emotionally moved by, even and especially as a child. (Does it have something to do with the fact Hans Zimmer just so happened to do the soundtrack too? Probably!)

The movie enthralled and frightened me; looking back now, the movie was much darker and more mature than one would generally expect from an animated feature (still, in the minds of many, a medium firmly associated with children). I mean - Moses turning the lake into blood, the plagues montage, the death of the first-born...
Yep, totally not dark.

Still, I'm glad they went with this treatment. Even as an 8-year-old, I still was moved by the basic emotions and development of the story. I think that children have the capacity to watch things that are upsetting or mature - certainly I didn't understand everything about The Prince of Egypt, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment as a child - so long as it's handled well. And The Prince of Egypt certainly does that. Even though the movie's more than 10 years old (gosh, that makes me feel old), to see this treatment again is very refreshing.

I put this movie as an inspiration not only because of its ability to evoke a sense of wonder and hope in me, but because of its aesthetics. I really wish I knew who the main animator is - the style is beautiful (you can probably see some influences in my character design). There's a deliberate difference between the way Egyptians and Hebrews are drawn as well, which is subtle yet clever; the former with high cheekbones, sharper face structure, jet black hair, lighter skin colour, and fuller lips; the latter with thicker, dark brown curls of hair, darker skin, and rounded, softer features.

The Prince of Egypt really utilizes its medium to the best of its ability - there are some scenes which just take your breath away. We get a lot of sweeping pans, interesting perspectives, stunning backgrounds, fluid animation...oh, I could go on and on...

Oh, did I also mention I absolutely love the colours of the movie? The movie generally uses a very warm, yellowish palette (obviously to get with the whole 'desert' feel), and uses a lot of vibrant colours in the clothes and sets, which are simply beautiful.

One scene that has stayed with me until this day is when Moses parts the Red Sea. Stunningly beautiful animation (I still remember the specific bit in that scene where the sea is illuminated for a second, silhouetting a whale - scary, yet so awe-inspiring) accompanied by epic music. I remember some behind-the-scenes talk about this scene - apparently a lot of love and labour went into animating this sequence, and it really shows.

I'd say the only real letdown to the movie is the addition of the two magicians, two extremely incongruous comic relief figures that feel like a cringe-worthy effort at injecting a bit of kid-friendly humour into the movie. They're also drawn very differently from the rest of the characters - round, comical proportions and extremely exaggerated features which feel very jarring in comparison.

Although I did like the 'You're Playing with the Big Boys Now' sequence.

I'm quite sad that this movie seems to have slipped into relative obscurity nowadays. Although it did well financially when it came out, it didn't do near as well as it deserved to, and certainly didn't do well enough for DreamWorks studio to consider serious 2D animation a very viable venture. Which is a shame, because the 'let's-rip-off-Pixar-but-insert-pop-culture-references-and-hip-stuff' angle they do nowadays is rather...sad to see. Hopefully, I've managed to capture and revitalize a bit of renewed interest in my fellow bloggers to give this movie a watch!

19 June 2011

A scene from 'The Norwood Builder', Sherlock Holmes

I did this months and months ago, and I was looking through my folders, and realized I'd never finish it, so I may as well put it up now. There's a lot of things I'm really unhappy with (character proportions, expressions, anatomy etc. etc.) (Holmes has bendy limbs for example) thus my hesitancy to continue it.

Oh well. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Basically, I'm really obsessed with the BBC Sherlock Holmes radio plays (yup, I know, super-geek), and I thought it'd be fun to do a little visual accompaniment to a scene just for practice with angles, character expressions, gestures and whatnot. Pfft.

One of my favourite stories is the Norwood Builder. It's the absolute adorableness of the jittery, naive John Hector McFarlane (whose voice actor in the radio play just makes you want to hug him tight), the snarky dynamic between Holmes and Lestrade, Holmes' contagiously deliriously happy mood after he finds evidence to prove his theory, the brilliant denouement (with Holmes' usual dramatic flair), among other things.

(Also, I've just realized that Holmes offers a cigarette to a poor, asthmatic McFarlane. Holmes, you devil!)

15 June 2011


Done for the very short 'Desire' project. And NO, before you jump to conclusions, while the project asked us to draw on the themes of desire, that does not necessarily mean 'draw something you desire'. 

I was thinking of how complex and fickle the nature of human desire can be. Some combinations of our desires together exponentially increase its desirability - for example, chocolate is desirable, a hot person is desirable, a hot person lathered in chocolate even more so (heehee) - and some combinations only have the effect of turning one off entirely.

Case in point: I love kittens. I love hot men. A hot kitten-man is just plain freaky. 

I remember at the crit, after explaining my concept, James tilted his head, scrunched his brow, and asked: "Would anyone consider that attractive?"

Long pause.

"No, no it isn't."

I was more disturbed by the fact that it actually took him a moment to consider it. Whatever floats your boat, I guess...

Anyway, my idea was largely inspired by a quote from a self-help book, How NOT to Write a Novel: "Giving a reader a sex scene that is only half right is like giving her half of a kitten. It is not half as cute as a whole kitten; it is a bloody, godawful mess."