Thursday, 29 November 2012

@Phil Postmodernism: Draft Introduction and Basic Essay Structure

This essay will be investigating the relationship between Postmodern theories of Hyperreality in relation to Sigmund Frued's theory of 'The Uncanny', in order to determine whether The Uncanny can be considered an element of Postmodernism. Making reference to the works of Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco and Sigmund Freud, the essay will begin by investigating and determining the common traits of both Hyperreality and The Uncanny, with the aim of developing a general definition and overview of each term. Using the information gathered, the investigation will continue by analysing and examining various examples of visual culture, including the work of artist Duane Hanson and Anatomist Gunther Von Hagens. The examples will be disected and their structure deconstructed in order to discover which of their elements make them fall into either categories of Hyperreality or The Uncanny. The essay will  conclude by summarising any similarities found between the theories within these examples, and ultimately, determine whether the Uncanny can be considered a viable element of Postmodern thinking.

Main Body Structure

Paragraph One
  • Introduce the two theories of Hyperreality and the Uncanny
Paragraphs Two/Three
  • Begin by looking at generally accepted definitions of the terms
  • Explain that, by general definition, the two are connected by a single common trait
  • Hyperreality "distorts the reality it purports to depict, but which nonetheless comes to constitute reality"
  • Uncanny "beyond the ordinary or normal"
  • Common trait More Real than Real
Paragraphs Four/Five
  • Elaborate on these basic general definitions by investigating the specific structure behind these theories (Refer to Freud's The Uncanny, Baudrillard's Simulation and Simulacra, Eco's Faith in Fakes)
  • Use newly discovered information to reinforce the connection between these points
Paragraphs Six/Seven
  • Begin to analyse examples of hyperreal art, explaining the ways in which they are hyperreal and display the connection between these traits and the Uncanny (using information found in the previous paragraphs)
  • Duane Hanson Uncanny Realities. Hyperreal perception of human existence, Uncanny because they are distinctly unreal (a fairly general example of the Uncanny in visual culture)
Paragraphs Eight/Nine
  • Gunther Von Hagen's Bodyworlds
  • Visually Hyperreal, presenting a depiction of the human form that is uncomfortably real, much like a mannequin, ("Even in the current century the elaborate displays of plastinated corpses by Gunther Von Hagens play on this tradition, with the alchemy of plastination (injecting corpses with a polymer resin to transform flesh into wax) enhancing the aura of lifelikeness in the figures.") Mayhew: 2006
  • Explain that, unlike depicting a false world as if it were real (Hyperreal), they depict a real world as fake (mannequin/statue), going against the conventions of Hyperreality and thus making it Uncanny
  • A reversal of Hyperreal conventions

Monday, 19 November 2012

Character Design: Further Influence

Further Influence
As of late, I've been struggling to develop anything fresh in terms of character design. Everything appears the same as the last and its all looking pretty dull and stale. In an effort to spark some inspiration, and in response to my updated concept, I've put together a series of influence maps, each targeted to a specific area that I was having difficulty with.

Rogue-Like Character Influence for The Hero

Existing Snake/Serpent Villains

Updated Setting/Theme Influence

Genre-Specific Clothing Influence

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Character Design: Concept Updates

In a Character Design lesson a couple of weeks ago, Justin and I discussed some major changes to overall style of the world that my characters inhabit. Here is a quick summary of the changes that have been made.


  • Instead of it being set in a typical Western town, and in an effort to make the characters more fitting to the environment, it will now be set in a place similar to Louisiana, New Orleans, the Mississippi River etc. Humid riversides of the Louisiana bayou that are still very typical of the Western genre.
  • This opens things up for some alternative interiors, which lead us onto props.
  • Previously, one of my stronger prop ideas was the Villain's mode of transportation, a Stagecoach, of sorts, suited for the Villain's every need. With the change of setting bringing lots of water to the table, this prop had to change. It has changed in favour of a Paddle Steamer, which is considerably more interesting to begin with.
  • The Villain hides in plain sight, appearing as the pet of the Henchman, whilst ultimately being the one in control. This needed to be reflected in a prop somehow, which led to the idea of keeping the Villain in a cage. This will need to be carried by the Henchman at times, and reflect both the impression of wealth that the Villain aims to give and the devious nature of the character.
  • Whilst the setting has been tailored to fit the Snake and Alligator characters, the Mongoose as the hero will be retained. The character will be treated as less of a Sheriff and more of a Roguish Outsider (think Han Solo), visiting the home of the Snake and Alligator, instead of the other way round, as it was previously.
  • The Alligator is going to have this 'Louisiana Oil Baron' aura about him. He is popular, well known and very powerful. Incredibly laid back, but dangerous when provoked, reflecting the nature of the Alligator quite nicely.
  • As previously mentioned, the Snake is the true mastermind of the operation, but this isn't immediately noticeable. The Snake hides in plain sight, appearing to be the Alligator's quirky little pet when they are in public, but behind closed doors, the roles reverse. The Alligator becomes unbelievably nervous and intimidated by the tiny Snake, whilst the Snake becomes fierce, maniacal and incredibly intimidating. He has a real Napoleon complex.
  • The audience has stayed the same, targeted mainly towards children between the ages of eight to around fourteen.
  • A similar audience to that of Transformers and ThunderCats
Revised Story Premise
  • On the Mississippi River there is a grand Paddle Steamer that is populated by hundreds of wealthy passengers each and every day. What the passengers do not realise is that they are being manipulated by the Paddle Steamer's ruthless and greedy Captain. He plans to take all of their money and sell them into slavery, using an experimental serum of an unknown source. Although. the Captain's plan is under threat from a new passenger on board. This Outsider discovers that the Captain is not all that he seems, and he is going to get to the bottom of this mystery, and this unusual new beverage they're serving on board, using any means necessary.

Postmodernism: Developing Ideas

Postmodernism: Developing Ideas

In preparation for Wednesday's seminar, I've compiled some basic mind maps in an attempt to decide which topic I'm going to tackle for the essay. I've had various ideas over the last few weeks, but many lacked substance or simply weren't very interesting ideas. Below are three of my more developed ideas.

Idea One: Gunther von Hagens/Bodyworlds

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Idea Two: The Scott Pilgrim Series

Idea Three: Art Spiegelman's Maus

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Character Design: This Week's Lesson and Development Update

This Week's Lesson
In this week's lesson, we focused mainly on developing visual appeal within our characters, in order to make them iconic when presented as simple silhouettes.
We were tasked to create a series of monsters that could be uniquely identified from their silhouettes alone. Below are my attempts.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

(The same guy as above, but we decided that he ought to be dressed like a Bugsy Malone cast member that had spontaneously turned into some sludge monster)

Development Update
Not a huge amount to scream and shout about in regards to development, just a couple more images of figuring out how their head's will be structured and a very (very) rough size comparison chart.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Character Design: This Week's Lesson, Delayed Project Update and Developing Expressions

This Week's Lesson
In this week's lesson, we focused on gesture drawing, determining how the line of action lied during a pose. We split off into groups and randomly selected poses that featured two models, with the third person sketching the poses as accurately and rapidly as they could. Below are my attempts.

Delayed Project Update
In the midst of preparing for last week's interim crit presentation, I completely forgot to post a project update for that week, so here is a delayed update of last week's work.

I spent the week working predominantly on the Sidekick character, trying to get his shape right, as well as drafting up some basic prop ideas.

This was the general design I developed. I'm pretty happy with how it is appearing so far, not too bulky and large, but also not too comedic.

The basic shape from the side, depicting loose weight distribution.

A bit more of an 'action' shot.

As for the prop ideas, I drafted up a series of Venom Bottles, in which the Villain will store the Venom to be distributed to the public.

And a basic Stagecoach concept (although this concept has been altered, the reasons why are to be explained in detail in an upcoming post.)

I also created some loose designs for the Hero character, although these designs are considerably less refined than the Sidekick designs. They were more for figuring out proportions than anything.

Developing Expressions
Since our last Character Design session, I've been focusing on developing the facial structure and basic expressions of my characters. Below are the images that I have developed so far.

And a final, tiny addition,
A slightly more resolved Hero design