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I am a storyboard artist and animator currently based in Scotland. At the moment I’m looking for more work.

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A couple of weeks ago I watched Jaws for the first time. I’m not a fan of horror, which is one of the reasons I avoided the film for so long, but I found it to be much more of a thriller (with a couple of bloodthirsty scenes). One of the things I really liked was the development of Chief Brody, especially in relation to the Mayor, Larry Vaughn, so I’ve gone back to study the cinematography and acting in some of the scenes where they’re together.

There will be mild spoilers below, so if you’re like I was and haven’t yet watched this classic from 1975 you may want to avoid this post!

The first scene I sketched from is when Brody is cornered on a ferry by Vaughn and various others. Brody has just reported a young woman’s death as by shark attack, but Vaughn and the medical examiner try to convince him that her death was caused by a boat’s propellor. He’s unconvinced, but he’s overruled.

From the beginning of the scene Brody is trapped in the corner of the screen. He’s trapped on the ferry, too. He’s surrounded by the car and by Vaughn and by a whole crowd of Vaughn’s cronies. Though he’s the taller man, Brody’s always leaning on something or leaning out of the way. Vaughn even grabs at him at the very start. The Mayor is completely in control, and Brody is unable – and unwilling – to do anything about it.

 

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After the second attack there’s a meeting. The islanders are angry, mainly because they don’t want the beach closed. Vaughn doesn’t want it closed either. Brody has the whole island against him – even the sign in the hallway at the beginning of the scene, which he walks into. Like the previous scene, he’s constantly surrounded by people and pushed to the side. Even when he’s in a position of authority when he stands to speak Brody is a small figure squeezed in a corner, dwarfed by those he’s speaking to, and in one shot even trapped between a door and a window.

At the very end of the scene, after Quint the shark hunter offers to track down the man-eating shark (for a fee), Brody’s finally given a ‘hero’ shot. The camera looks up, slightly, and he’s no longer stuck between the door and the window. It’s Quint, or his experiences with Quint, that will help turn Brody into the hero.

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After Brody and Matt Hooper, the oceanographer, go out to search for the shark they confront the Mayor, telling him that he must close the beach. Throughout the scene – mainly one, long shot – the three characters move around each other as the power dynamic shifts. Vaughn ultimately remains in control of the situation – he usually has the most space on screen – and Brody, as ever, is powerless – ending up squashed to the side and dwarfed. The beach remains open.

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A dramatic shift occurs after the third attack when Brody’s child ends up in hospital. Chief Brody forces Vaughn to hire Quint, using all the body language that Vaughn previously employed against him. It’s now Brody who dominates the screen and has all the space. He even reaches into Vaughn’s pocket for a pen, echoing their first scene where Vaughn grabbed at Brody’s arm. Near the end of the scene, Vaughn’s crushed into the corner of the screen. At the very end, Brody walks directly into camera, filling the screen as he enters the second half of the movie and joins Quint to hunt for the shark.

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If you’ve enjoyed this you may also like to see the studies I drew from The Sound of Music.

While my sister and brother-in-law were visiting, a neighbour told us where we could watch badgers. I’d always been under the impression they only ventured out at the dead of night, but he assured us that from around 7pm was a good time to see them. After one false start (we misunderstood his instructions and ended up in the wrong wood) and a wait of about half an hour my sister and I saw a family of four badgers running about, scratching, and playing. I didn’t take my sketchbook – next time I will – but I took my camera, and though my pictures weren’t great the footage I filmed worked pretty well. The sketches below are studies from the videos I recorded.

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While boarding the Pigeon Crumbs animatic I posted a few weeks ago I drew these reference sketches and character models to help me figure out how the character would look, feel and act.

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My dog is notoriously difficult to photograph, let alone draw. This afternoon I managed to capture her in the garden as she munched on a very old tennis ball and an offcut from someone’s fence.

I led more high school-age animation workshops this year, expanding on the morphing workshop from last year. This time everyone who took part was in complete control of their own piece of animation between their character and the next person’s. Whether the character melts, explodes, shatters, or morphs, this was planned out in thumbnails before it was animated. I also asked those taking part to begin with simple shapes – this encouraged them to animate the movement before animating the details.

The results are fantastic!

 

Recently I’ve been working on an storyboard about a pigeon who finds the mother of all crumbs, but discovers eating it isn’t all that simple. Here’s the result!

Based on a true story …

Sound effects copyright BBC

David modelled on Tuesday, holding some incredible poses that were often incredibly challenging to draw! It was a good session.

I’m currently boarding a short idea featuring a pigeon, so I thought I’d put in some bird gesture practice! These are a mix of 30- and 60-second drawings. I want to practice wings more, and really get to grips with how they work.

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I went back to conte pastel for last week’s session – I think shaking up the medium every so often helps to keep things fresh! First-time model Silvi held some great poses.

I’ve made some lovely vinyl stickers of my Sea Girl and I’m running giveaways on Twitter and Facebook! Head over there to have a chance at winning a sticker for yourself plus one for a friend. Four sets are available in total, two from Facebook and two from Twitter, and you can enter on both social media sites. The competition ends at 8am BST on Monday the 11th of June 2018.

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Annie modelled at this week’s session. There were some really wonderful poses, and lots of interesting hands and feet!

I like to follow #MerMay on Twitter, which is a yearly drawing event where artist draw mermaids all month long. This is my first time taking part, though I’ve not been drawing every day! My mermaid is inspired by the Sea Girl from ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’, who Lucy sees as the ship passes by.

“Suddenly she saw a little Sea Girl of about her own age in the middle of them – a quiet, lonely-looking girl with a sort of crook in her hand. Lucy felt sure that this girl must be a shepherdess – or perhaps a fish-herdess – and that the shoal was really a flock at pasture.”

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Bren modelled at life drawing on Tuesday. I enjoyed the variety of poses, and even drew part of the room using the mirror in the final drawing.

Recently I animated a couple of elements for the new Skoog advert, which you can watch below.

I animated the girl’s moustache, plus several ‘flourishes’ throughout the video. I’ve added a couple of examples as gifs below.

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Mireille modelled at life drawing last night, holding some great twisting and leaning poses. I also enjoyed drawing her hair!

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