Krampus kontinues...

All set up for the first part of my last scene, essentially the only lengthy scene in the Krampus PSA.  The majority of the short is quick cuts, like a commercial, leading up to this moment.  "Lets see what happens to this naughty girl on Christmas morning..."  Coal bounces out of fireplace to girl (rubbing her eyes with sleep).  Girl picks up coal which begins to heat up.  Drops coal which bursts into flame.  Xmas lights flicker and go out. Black.  Fireplace ignites highlighting the form of Krampus now huddled where the coal once was...

Its hard to see in the pic, but there is a bit of clay coal suspended on fishing line over the fireplace.  The fishing line is wrapped and tied to the thread spool which is mounted on a wooden dowel which is hot glued to my gauges.  Ive never used this method before, normally I would use wire to animate the coal, but the practical lighting on the Xmas tree created so many shadows of the wire that it was virtually impossible to photoshop out.  Hence the (hopefully invisible) fishing line.


Unearthing Jenny Greenteeth

Poor poor Jenny G....so neglected....I never did finish the sculpt, she sat under a plastic bag for years until one day the oil in the clay broke down the wood blocks in her feet and she just fell over.  And shame on me, I left her like that.  Thankfully the feet are whats left to do, so no major damage to fix, except to somehow rig her up while I finish the sculpt.  Also.....she's filthy....gonna pop her in the fridge to harden her and then give her an alcohol wipe sponge bath...


Ten Years Later....

Last week saw the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the impetus for my stop mo adventures.  This is what I posted on Facebook:

" Ten years ago, a storm rocked my world. My queen and I watched from a distance as our city drowned and burned, and in the back of my brain, a story began to brew. In the months following Katrina, I poured all of my angst and anger and hurt into a monster in my mind, and Jenny Greenteeth was born. I began to research stop motion, and along the way made some wonderful online friends who became essential to my recovery, while my city recovered. I started blogging. Discovered StopMoShorts visual haikus. Realized I had a lot of stories to tell, and that I could do it from a dark little corner of my kitchen.
So much of my Jenny G story is a morbid fairy tale version of Katrina. The monster, Ms.Greenteeth, the hurricane personified, with her single eye, the eye of the storm. A doomed little girl named Nola, caught in her destructive path.
Now a decade later, now that I know how to make a puppet, how to shoot frames, import and edit, now that I have a handful of short films under my belt, I think its finally time to let the monster out. Time to focus on the film that has been swimming 'round my brain all along. I hope you will join me on this journey. Just don't get too close to the water......."

So....I have been slowly and periodically hammering away at my tiny stop mo Krampus PSA.  My studio is a hoarders dream of a mess right now and I cant even get to my animation table (the little filler shots that Ive done for Krampus have been squeezed into whatever tiny spaces I could find....one shot was even balanced on my painters easel lol).  So Ive got some cleaning to do, some organizing, one or two hefty shots left on Krampus, and then I am putting Unearthed on hold to officially begin work on Jenny G!  Its been a long time coming and I cannot put it off any longer...


Streetcar Gremlins in Watercolor

Watercolor has become my medium of choice when depicting my lil gremlins.  Here are three of my most recent paintings.  I'm torn when it comes to the Nola children's book, about whether to watercolor the whole shebang or incorporate my puppets.  When I began conceptualizing the story, I intended to use as many "real" elements as possible (even considered constructing a miniature streetcar interior), but I've been loving the watercolors so.
I suspect I will probably end up with some mix, somewhere in the middle....wont find that balance until I start actually creating pages in Photoshop, I suppose...


Nutria Bat Bodied

Started building up the nutria bat's body with upholstery foam and styrofoam.  Next, painting the head, feet, and wings before beginning to add fur...


"Nola & the Streetcar Gremlins" - The Nutria Bat

The original Nutria Bat, from Monster Month 2007

In my previous post on the book dummy, the left hand page shows Nola being carried away by Nutria Bats.  The bats will be puppets created for the book, and I've been working on them here and there, this weekend I sculpted the first head.  The wings were made months ago by laying out the armature and painting a couple of thin layers of latex for the membrane, a tip I got long ago from the great Nick Hilligoss.  The head is sculpey around a foil core.  After baking the head, I removed some of the foil, enough to fit the epoxy "head" of the armature, and Gorilla-glued the sculpted clay head onto the armature.  Body will be buildup of upholstery foam covered in brown fake fur.


Book Dummy

When I decided to begin working on "Nola & the Streetcar Gremlins" about a year ago, one of the first steps for me was to create a book dummy.  After doing some research, I settled on a landscape format, 32 pages, and crafted a mini version of my book using sketchbook paper that I can haul around with me.  It is about 4"x6", stapled binding.  Inside, I can plan compositions of individual pages, sketch illustrations, layout and edit text, all in pencil.  When I have lived with a page for awhile and have settled on it, I redraw in pen.  I will use this dummy as a guide when laying out final pages in photoshop.  These "storyboards" will also help me in the fabrication phase, as I intend to use my Nola puppet for the Nola character, posed, photographed, and composited into watercolor and digital backgrounds.  Some set pieces, props, and supporting characters will also be fabricated, so I will have a "preproduction" phase similar to a stop motion film.