Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Art and Design | Illustration
Through my thesis, I sought to make a stop-motion animation and do the pre-animation processes of character designing and storyboarding. Inspired by Nick Park’s Creature Comforts, I interviewed a series of people on their childhood fears and used the interviews as basis for my project. My animation is less than one minute long, and, in addition to the short, I have compiled a book of the art, sketches, storyboards and other preliminary work. Along with this, I have also included footage of my work at the K-6 private New School, where I taught children the same process.
From the start, I sought to complete several goals in my Capstone. The overall aspect was to integrate both claymation and illustration into the same assignment and experience the entire animation process from start to finish. After interviewing fifty strangers, family members, neighbors, teachers, and students about childhood fears, I began sketching ideas for my work. I made character designs based on the interviews using inks, watercolors, digital media, and cut-paper. By completing a series of loose pencil sketches, I was able to gauge how I wanted each character to look. Listening to the voice of the interviewee and watching footage on the way they looked and talked, I developed quirky characters that paralleled each story.
After solidifying six characters and stories I liked the best, I created a series of storyboards. Starting with tiny thumbnails of ideas sketched out on tracing paper, I fleshed out stories for each character. Each board was drawn into a 3 by 5 inch box, and each story had at the very least 30 storyboards.
Once I developed storyboards, I made characters and sets. In building the characters, I first made wire or foil armatures to put inside each of them. Armatures help keep the form of the clay character. Because of the tedious process, I only made 3 characters and sets. After building everything, I animated with a stop-motion program called iStopMotion. With this software, my laptop, and a digital camera, I was able animate frame by frame.
During this time, I was also teaching the same process to students at the New School. Paralleling my own experience, I taught a group of 24 elementary children how to draw their own monster characters in colored pencil and crayon. We thought of stories and environments for each character, constructed them, and animated in iStopMotion. I spent months in the New School, devoting my Wednesday and Friday afternoons to teaching.
I finished my thesis by making DVDs, designing DVD covers, and laying out booklets for both the New School Work and my own project. I made copies for all of my students, as well as the teachers at the school. All of the layouts were compiled in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
Through this thesis I was able to flesh out a story concept for myself, as well as directly impact a group of students with the same process. I have made, literally, two projects in the last year- one for myself and one with the New School. Both are equally important. Through these projects, I have grown as an animator, illustrator, and teacher.
Rebar, Sarah, "Interviews in Monsterland "What are you Afraid of?"" (2008). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 510.
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