Tuesday, 4 December 2012

November Part 2

Onto the second half of the month, which involved less travelling but was no less busy, and I had to do quite a bit of plate-spinning (not literally).

3: November 20th & 27th: a feast of illustration

Over the past 10 weeks I've been travelling to Cambridge every Tuesday, to teach the Illustration for Picture Books course at Hills Road Sixth form college. Our final session for the term was last week; it has been great fun. 

A few examples of the students' work
Everyone said a bit about their work, and I was bowled over by the quality and range of what they had made, from hand-made books, to CD sleeves and artwork, to finished stories and experimental pop-up cards. A seriously industrious and creative bunch of people. I'm looking forward to running the next one (if you are in the Cambridge area and interested in joining the course, details can be found here).

Custom-made bunting by the students on the Illustration for Picture Books course!

4. November 20 - 29th: Pigs flying and fluttering paper

I was asked by JaneJaney and the Drama Centre London to create a series of short animations for their production of Bertolt Brecht's 'The Good Soul of Szechuan'. Here's one of them - a troupe of flying pigs, to accompany one of the songs;

It was played out in a disused library, so the set was deliberately ramshackle, built up from heaps of old discarded books and scaffolding, and the animations were projected onto a slipshod screen at the back of the stage.

I'd never heard of this play before, so other than what had been conveyed to me in the brief, I had little idea of what to expect when I went to see it. It was a real melting pot, with comedy, music, dancing and projection; and had a very contemporary feel, particularly in the library set, partly a reference to current funding cuts to the arts. It was all done in an original, funny and beautiful way.

The lead character, the 'Good Soul', Shen Teh, receives a tobacco shop as a reward from the gods. But people quickly start to take advantage of her, so she disguises herself as a man, Shui Ta, in order to keep her business  alive. I had to create a short animation of her transformation. 

November is always cold and dark, but this seems to have been an especially cold month to me. In a way, that makes it the perfect time to be creative. It has been good to work at my desk by the window, daydreaming, drawing and moving bits of paper around under the rostrum camera, watching the rain hammer down on the other side of the glass. Now we're in December, the sun's a bit brighter but I'm happy to say there's no sign of things slowing down.

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