Character Design Workshop || Environment and Context (Week 3)

This week we were tasked with combining several story elements together to create a contextual landscape that reflected this. My selected elements were the Renaissance in Venice (1450-1600), Mine, and eerie/strange.

I was initially taken by the idea of a classic gondola traversing a flooded mine, since dramatic structures that are found in real life that are often flaunted as tourist spots much the same way as the floating city is, in combination with the grandeur of Venice however, it still felt too western or rudimentary to suit purpose. 

So to exaggerate this idea I had presented, it was suggested that I could include numerous romantic sculptures like grotesques to the interior of the mine, which state of operation had been decided as exhausted as to fit with the idea of a secret underground society. This decision exaggerated the context to the point of strangeness which was missing in first iterations.

I feel as if this exercise has helped me understand the importance of reading into a picture beyond the ties of composition or skill, it is applicable to the sense that attempts to locate a relationship to the viewer in the same vein as a compelling force. 


Film || 5 Reasons Moulin Rouge! (2001) is Postmodern

fig 1.

  • The body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic anduniversally binding in a field of study or art.
  • A term applied to products off industry that are considered and accepted as superior.
Dead White European male (DWEM)
  • William Shakespeare, Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, Karl Marx,
  • A man whose historical talents and achievement may have been taken out of proportion due to the value of his heritage and culture.
  • Focused on or based on the form of the male penis.
  • A tendency to to see the world from a European or anglicized perspective.
  • Any dealing with the historical effects of colonialism.
  • India, Africa, The Middle East
  • Ideologically, supposed common dialog between cultures through use of a shared platform.
  • Common case studies include London, Stockholm,Toronto, 'The Melting Pot'
  • May intersect with post-colonialism.
  • Advocates of equality between sexes.
  • Initially for woman's legal rights in the first wave, moving more towards social perceptions and intensifying in the third wave in the 21st century.
fig 2.

5 Reasons Moulin Rouge (2001) is Postmodernist
  1. It re-purposes popular music within its story line, several examples being written by Toulouse, Fat Boy Slim and Madonna amongst numerous others. Music plays the key part of propulsion behind screenwriting, almost replacing most sound design. 
  2. The concept for the film is based on the real Moulin Rouge, a cabaret in France which is best known as the birthplace of the 'can-can' dance.
  3. Plot has a generic love story that is similar to that of the classic Shakespeare tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.
  4. Somewhat, it has a denial of fixed meanings or truths, as if to recognise the dreamlike traits that make up the body by featuring over the top sequences such as the absinthe fairy, reminscient of David Lynch films in a way. 
  5. Re-purposing the classic noir and then popular active trends like the music of early 2000s in order to merge styles. They fit harmoniously with the happy atmosphere, whilst also exaggerating it's pessimistic side in tandem. 
fig 1. Luhrmann, B. (2001). Moulin Rouge!. [poster]
fig 2. Luhrmann, B. (2001). Moulin Rouge!. [film still]


Character Design Workshop || 'Party on! Kaiju' Monster (Week 1-2)

Week 1
My task was based around several requisites; Kaiju (Friendly and Chibi), modern day Tokyo, and the context was a 'big roar' 'Party On! Kaiju'. To begin this worskhop, I organised folders for images from the internet for reference, and drawings, plus some for foreseeable concepts in the future.

Next, I drew monsters, randomly at first but then more focused as I used my previously mentioned research pool to my advantage. The main focus was a massive, but cute dinosaur, it was decided.

Week 2
The next week, I was more focused on the design of the monster so it fit more with the chibi/cartoon theme, in example big eyes or flat nontextured surfaces. To do this I researched the four guardians of a city named Kyoto, which was the former capital of Japan.

I like the idea of a giant turtle as a Kaiju because the animal could be considered cute in real life when it falls on its back and can't get back up by itself. In Japanese, and chinese mythology there is a beast called the 'black tortoise', or 'black warrior' that is the defender of Kyoto in the north. It is depicted as a turtle entwined with a snake, representing the stomach and intestine of Xuanwu, a deity in Taoism. 

In popular culture, 'Genbu' is a saturated product based off the same legend. For this reason I think it is a recognisable design that could be well utilised in a project like this; in the future I want to create a full, complete design for this creature.


Film || Archetypes in 'The Princess Bride'

fig 1.

A perfect fantasy world would naturally need immaculate character designs. To explain archetypes in a most simple way it would be easily done through study of these individuals in the movie universe. Archetypes are applicable traits that appear across cultures in which they have almost universal application because they are recognisable by the collective, and they can appear under many different symbols. Several big examples include the Hero, the Damsel in Distress, and the Sidekick, of course these can be interpreted under different names but the application is virtually the same, for we know and sometimes expect actions performed by these specific roles. Specifically we will use the common labels found in the hero's journey structure.

During the course of The Princess Bride (1987) we are gradually introduced to some larger than life characters that carry on each stage of story, beginning with a sequence for the main tow characters, Buttercup, and her adoring farmhand Westley. They befit the roles of the Damsel and the Hero respectively, underlined in the fire swamp where Westley is fully responsible for her continued safety from the hazards of the location.

Inigo Motoya has a 'Shapeshifter' Archetype, which means his alignment lay somewhere in the grey area. His loyalty in questionable, especially since he has his own objective, but having this trait incites interesting, dynamic relationships.

Fezzik is a giant with incredible strength who finds issue with people considering him dumb. During the story he is a great asset to Westley and Inigo, protecting them from all kinds of danger, the ally archetype is there to help a hero through dramatic change.

Vizzini is a trickster archetype; he uses his somewhat short, but sharp wit to weasel himself into more favourable places. In the first half of the film Vizzini trips on this pride, until he is finally laid dead at the test of a poisoned chalice. As three, Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik act as threshold guardians, someone, or in this case, a group, who holds the hero back from their objective. 

As for the opposing forces, there are two characters; Prince Humperdinck the insecure prince, and the mysterious Count Rugen who has six fingers on one hand. They both play the part of shadows, reflections of the hero in the way they oppose his aim.