This is exciting – my friend Nick Power (of iseetigers) has just made a video for “You’re Dead”, the first track from The Wedding Present’s new album, and I got the chance to contribute a short animation to it! I was really chuffed when Nick asked me because I knew it would be an opportunity to stretch myself and see if I could rise to a big challenge. I’ve never done anything like this before, so it’s pretty cool to see my drawings animated and in an awesome music video.
My bit is at 4.14, but watch the whole thing because it’s great – if you’re a fan of the band see if you can spot the 29 references to songs by The Wedding Present.
Nick originally asked me for 35 frames, to cover 7 seconds of animation. I had two days to get it done, and in fact I ended up sending him just 26 frames. But we had all the content he had asked for to illustrate the song title Don’t Talk, Just Kiss, so it was good enough! I had to draw a girl putting her fingers to her partner’s lips and then kissing him or her (I went for him, for the non-visionary reason that I find men easier to draw).
When I started working on the initial image of the couple, I struggled a bit with how to draw them. I was conscious of how little time I had to get everything done, so I wanted to draw the characters in quite a simple, easy to recreate way – but still have them be expressive.
I went through my bookshelf to see if I could find inspiration in any of my comics and graphic novels, and came across the wonderful Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. What I had previously observed about this book was the angular style Mazzucchelli uses for Asterios’ face, the fact that he uses a different face shape for Asterios and his wife Hana, and the fact that he always draws Asterios in profile and Hana almost always from the front. I applied those three principles to my characters, and came up with something that seemed to work.
My technique for getting the drawings to look consistent throughout was to draw one frame, scan it, erase the parts I needed to change (using Paint!), and print the edited picture several times so I could do lots of different versions of it. For example, gradually moving the woman’s hand up to the man’s face. I have no idea how other people do it, or if there is a cleverer way than that. I will make it my aim to find out! Anyway, one weekend, lots of paper and even more rubbing out later and I had the finished drawings.
So there you go, I’ve drawn my way into a Wedding Present video. And I’m a step closer to achieving my new year’s resolutions too.