Monday, May 19, 2014
Month 8 Tree Lesson WIP + Godzilla's Origins in Classical Theater
I thought I'd take a few days to try and catch up a bit in Magic Box before leaping into Painting Drama. (Both very excellent classes offered by the Oatley Academy of Concept Art and Illustration) Don't worry, I'm still chugging along on that OniSan puppet and hope to have another update soonish!!
There's been a massive amount of content added to the lessons since I was last able to spend time in the Secret Lab, so I picked a month more or less at random to resume. I will go back and complete all the lessons eventually. So much learning!
The WIP is for month 8 – on various ways of handling trees as part of the Environment Set.
The idea is to tell a story where the tree(s) features prominently – no skirting around them in this exercise. If I have time I might render it in the three different styles we've been looking at as well, but that greatly depends on the master time table for this year. It's crazy to think it's already almost half gone.
My tree piece was inspired by a comment Chris made about the tree as a Sun Worshiper. The last time I was in a church I observed many people raising up their hands and crying out. This startled me at first because I has been raised in a different denomination (And even then a seldom participant...I don't even remember why I was at this particular church in the first place) and thus unused to anything other than quiet kneeling and sitting in contemplation, the occasional reserved hymn-ing. But I certainly see nothing wrong in expressing such joy and devotion in this more open way. I had been doing sketches of Japanese Maple trees (I love their vibrant colors) and I imagined my maple as a radiant follower of Amaterasu – Shinto goddess of the Sun.
Originally my composition was larger and I explored secondary elements like a fairy village and a maiden – in accordance with the Kwaidan story of the girl with a tree's soul – and other such yokai, but I felt that took the emphasis too far from the tree itself. If I'm going to focus on the tree might as well cut the filler and just do it. So then I sought to balance my tree's gesture between what a maple looked like (Some of them are pretty gnarly) and how a dancer moved (Aiming for a sprightly sort of grace). I'm really excited to jump into value and color studies. A little nervous about the rendering bit, but much more confident with the first 3-4 months worth of lessons under my belt.
As a parting note, and not to spoil things, I was okay with the new Godzilla movie. I wish there had been more Godzilla in it, but I was not quite so bothered by the design as some where. I liked that he still moved like a man in a suit. There was in fact an interesting documentary on Youtube that Raul had me watch beforehand, on the suit actors themselves. Many of them were Kabuki actors, so it was a fortunate overlap in interests for the two of us as he watched to assist in designing a kaiju for a contest and I watched to see the poses, movement, and storytelling. I had already been looking closely at Kabuki demon masks when designing OniSan, so it was great seeing them in action. And I can totally understand why they would enlist Kabuki actors to play the monsters...some of those traditional costumes were absolutely nuts.
If you've got time and love seeing crazy cool stuff:
Godzilla Suit Actors Part I
Godzilla Suit Actors Part II