Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Return of the Fish-Headed Boy

Sometime last year I did something I think most people would advise against, I revisited old work. Above are the results of my digital rejigging, below are the original 10 year old seeds of the idea (I mean they were done ten years ago -not when I was ten, though it might look that way).

The original fish headed boy was an idea I came up with in my final year of Uni. It was a segment of a short animated film based in a travelling freakshow.

Each sequence or act was introduced by a carnival style poster -

The film was all done in ye olde worlde style with rostrum cameras, pencils, paint and about a million trees worth of paper. Here's just one of the gazillion frames I forced my friends to help colour. It shows poor little Orco the Fish-headed boy sitting in his tank all alone save for some fishy friends.

The film was all about visual trickery. I was taking the kind of thing seen in 17th century 'upside down face' illustrations (see horse face below) and applying it to the medium of animation where you not only the option of viewing things either 'up' or 'down' but could also rotate an object and view it from a multitude of angles to create different illusions.

What I wanted to do with the fish headed boy then was create a character who was an animated illusion - so from certain angles he would look like a boy (well a cartoon boy at least) and from other angles he would look like a fish (ok, a cartoony looking fat shark!). I can never explain this concept very well so I'll just let my original story boards do the talking (click for close-ups)...

Got it? Good. So hopefully you can tell that I also wanted the duality of the design to have some bearing on the personality of the character. He's a dual personality in many ways, an aquatic Jekyll and Hyde. While his boy self wants to go play with other kids, or sit in his tank and do his homework, his fish side wants to break free and swim around eating other fish.

The real point here is that the original execution of the idea was pretty bad but I still think the idea itself was interesting and worth going back to. So here endeth the apologia, I'll be posting some more recent visual explorations of the wet little freak soon.

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