Monday, 31 October 2016

Character Project: Retirement Home for Gods

My new idea is set in a retirement home for gods that are no longer worshiped. 
Various gods are sat around the retirement home (e.g. Anubis, Hades, Poseidon). There's a trickster god (Pan) and a goddess (Minerva/Athena) sat looking over a map, anything that happens to the map is reflected in the real world. The trickster releases a scorpion onto the map that knocks over various miniature monuments, to the joy of the trickster and dismay of the goddess.

The main characters will be Minerva and Pan, with background characters such as Anubis, Isis, Hades and Poseidon.

Influence map for the retirement home.
Influence map for Minerva, the goddess.
Influence map for Pan, the trickster.
Influence map for Anubis.
Influence map for other background characters.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Life Drawing

Five minute poses.
1 minute poses.
Final pose.
Had extra time, did a few sketches of people around the room.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Character Design: Steampunk

In Tuesday's character design class, we were each given a genre and told to come up with three characters with different roles that could fit within it. I was given the genre Steampunk, and my three characters are an inventor/mechanic, a robot ruler, and a young boy who scavenges parts for the mechanic.
Rough ideas for the mechanic/inventor.
The mechanic - An older woman who builds and repairs robots, as well as making and mending prosthetic limbs for people from robot scraps.
Robot ruler - Wears clothing to seem more human, but leaves large parts exposed. Has spiderwebs and dust on them from spending long periods of time not moving.
Scavenger boy - One way for the poorer community in this world to make a living is to find and sell old metal parts to mechanics/inventors. 

Film Review: Pacific Rim (2013) - The Hero's Journey

Image result for pacific rim poster
Fig. 1: Pacific Rim poster.
Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim (2013) follows the story of two heroes; Raleigh Becket and Mako Mori. The film's subject matter is simple; "In a terrified futureworld, spindly-limbed, whale-sized beasts emerge from a Hellmouth on the ocean floor and duke it out with immense robots (Jaegers)." (Seitz, 2013). Though the films premise may seem laughable, the beasts, known as Kaiju, can be seen as a metaphor for global warming and climate change. The film even talks about this literally, with character Dr. Newton Geiszler saying "And now, you know, with ozone depletion and carbon monoxide polluted waters... Well, we practically terraformed it for them." The film is packed with incredible fights between the Kaiju and Jaegers, as well as the incredibly detailed and beautiful sets that are always present in del Toro's films. In this review, I'll be talking about Pacific Rim in relation to The Hero's Journey, a narrative pattern identified by scholar Joseph Campbell that is commonly used in most forms of storytelling. 

We begin with 'The Call to Adventure'. The call comes from Stacker Pentecost asking Raleigh to return to the Jaeger program; "There's an old Jaeger. Mark 3. You may know it, it needs a pilot.". This follows into 'The Refusal of the Call', as Raleigh at first refuses to go back, as he's still recovering from the trauma of losing his brother when they were piloting one of the gigantic robots together five years earlier. Pentecost is not deterred, knowing Raleigh won't want to remain on the wall; "Where would you rather die? Here? Or in a Jaeger?" (fig. 2). These words are what drive Raleigh to return, leaving the wall he's building to go to the Hong Kong base. 

Stacker and Mako act as the 'Supernatural Aid', providing Raleigh both with his Jaeger and a fellow pilot. The two of them have been working to get iypsy Danger, Raleigh's old Mark 3 Jaeger, back in working order since it was damaged 5 years earlier. Mako has also been reviewing potential pilots to join Raleigh, though she ends up being his fellow pilot in the end. Though what they provide is not 'supernatural', but instead advanced technology, their presence in the film advances the hero towards success.
Fig. 2: "Where would you rather die? Here? Or in a Jaeger?"
As Raleigh descends the lift into the base, he is 'Crossing the Threshold'. During this time we are introduced to two new characters, Dr. Newton Geiszler and Hermann Gottlieb, two men studying the Kaiju and the breach. As is often the case, crossing this threshold takes Raleigh directly into 'The Belly of the Whale'; the Hong Kong base. Here, Raleigh and the audience are introduced to other Jaeger pilots, some of which appear hostile towards Raleigh. At this point, the film goes from having one hero to two, as the audience meets Mako Mori, who will later pilot Gipsy Danger with Raleigh. Both 'Crossing the Threshold' and 'The Belly of the Whale' are often used to introduce many characters quickly, and establish how they interact with the hero and what their role will be in the hero's story later on.

Mako and Raleigh face a 'Road of Trials' together, from attempting to find Raleigh a new pilot to join him, to trying to convince Stacker to allow Mako to be that pilot. Once Stacker appears to be won over, they must test their drift compatibility, a trial that goes well at first, but begins to go wrong when Raleigh chases the memory of his brother dying, triggering Mako to latch onto a memory of the day she lost her family; "The pilots don't just share physical responsibilities, they have unfettered access to one another's memories, and must struggle not just to control their thoughts during combat, but to avoid being thrown off when their co-pilot lets a distracting or traumatic image slip through." (Seitz, 2013). While she is lost in the memory, Mako raises her hands to protect herself from the Kaiju she is encountering in her mind, initiating Gipsy Danger's plasma canon, forcing people to try to disconnect and power down the Jaeger before it destroys part of base, killing people in the process. This sets Raleigh and Mako back after they've put so much effort into trying to prove their capability. When they finally get another opportunity to prove themselves, their next trial becomes defeating two Kaiju on their own, as the three other Jaegers deployed to deal with them are out of action.
Image result for mako mori umbrella
Fig. 3: Mako Mori.
Raleigh's first meeting with future Jaeger pilot Mako comes under 'Meeting the Goddess'. Though the nature of their relationship is left ambiguous, the two form a strong bond quickly, and push each other forward as the film progresses; "“The deeper the bond, the better you fight,” explains ace pilot Raleigh Becket . That’s a mantra more blockbusters would do well to bear in mind. Fizzled-out chemistry between Pacific Rim’s human cast was never an option: without it, the robot show would simply shudder to a halt." (Collin, 2013). Unlike other films, where the 'goddess' character mainly supports the hero, Mako and Raleigh support each other, with Raleigh pushing Stacker to allow Mako to be his partner, and Mako pushing Raleigh to let go of the past, albeit without noticing. During their first few conversations, it is clear the two are drawn to each other; Raleigh is impressed with Mako's simulator score, "51 drops, 51 kills", and Mako admires Raleigh's position as a pilot. However, there is suggestion of jealousy, as Mako tells Raleigh she doesn't think he's the right man for the mission, that he takes unnecessary risks and endangers people in the process. This, added to Mako's clear desire to be a pilot, shows she thinks it should be her in Raleigh's position.

For the 'Atonement with Father', we see this happen between Mako and Stacker, who raised Mako after rescuing her from a Kaiju as a child. We know from her conversations with Raleigh that Mako dreams of being a Jaeger pilot, but is being held back by Stacker who is trying to protect her. Seeing as the Jaeger Program is coming to an end, Mako will soon miss an opportunity to achieve her goals. Though at first she states Stacker "has his reasons", Mako still begs him to let her try out to see if she's drift compatible with Raleigh, and argues with Stacker over not being chosen as his fellow pilot. Stacker tells her he will not discuss the matter further, proving this is something they've argued about several times before. Mako seems ready to accept she will never be a pilot, and Raleigh tells her she doesn't have to obey Stacker, to which she responds: "It's not obedience, Mr Becket. It's respect.". Stacker holds power over Mako, as both her boss and as a father figure. If he were only her boss, there is no doubt that she would already be a pilot, as she is equally as skilled, if not more skilled than Raleigh. But Stacker wishes to protect her, as he has raised her and watched her grow; "You rescued her, you raised her, but you’re not protecting her now. You are holding her back.". Knowing Raleigh can be reckless, it's no wonder Stacker is hesitant to place her with him, and even more hesitant as the chances of them successfully stopping the Kaiju is slim. 
Fig. 4: Mako and Raleigh return.
After successfully killing two Kaiju, Mako and Raleigh achieve 'Apotheosis' (God-Like Status). They return to base, surrounded by people cheering and congratulating them. However, it can be argued that simply being in a Jaeger makes the characters God-like. During the beginning of the film, narration from Raleigh explains "There are things you can't fight, acts of God. You see a hurricane coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you're in a Jaeger, suddenly, you can fight the hurricane. You can win.". He also talks about Jaeger pilots becoming celebrities, and toys and merchandise being made based on Kaijus and Jaegers. Though during the film Jaegers are being decommissioned, the pilots still feel powerful within the machines.

'The Ultimate Boon' for Raleigh, Mako, and indeed everyone else, is closing the breach to stop the Kaiju from coming through. To do this, they destroy the pathway that gives Kaiju access to the human world, known as the "throat". Though at first they plan to strap a large bomb to another Jaeger, Striker Eureka, and detonate it inside the "throat", this doesn't go to plan, and Striker's bomb is instead used to killed two of three Kaiju that are protecting the breach. Gipsy Danger, however, is nuclear powered, so Raleigh sets the nuclear reactor to self destruct before leaving in his own escape pod. Gipsy Danger detonates, and the "throat" is destroyed. The Kaiju near the explosion are killed, and their link to the human world is blocked off for good.

The 'Refusal of Return' could include two situations in the film. The first being the same as 'The Refusal to the Call', where Raleigh at first declines Stacker's offer to go back to being a Jaeger pilot; he is refusing to return to his old life. The second is after Raleigh and Mako have crossed the breach, and Raleigh makes sure Mako leaves the Jaeger in her escape pod before working on detonating Gipsy Danger and destroying the pathway between the Kaiju and the breach. Raleigh has limited time to both detonate the Jaeger and escape, but seems prepared to die for the cause, as many had already done. Any time Raleigh and Mako enter a Jaeger could be considered the 'Magic Flight', however, the very last 'Magic Flight' after 'The Ultimate Boon' is Raleigh and Mako's ascent back through the "throat" in their escape pods. Mako leaves first, floating up from the blue and purple abyss where the Kaiju are created, to the ocean surface. Unlike other parts of the film, the water and calm, and the sky is clear and blue, a stark contrast to the stormy ocean from the beginning of the film, when Raleigh lost his brother. When Raleigh's pod finally surfaces, there are no life signs detected, and at first Mako believes he hasn't made it due to lack of oxygen. Raleigh, however, does wake, and the two of them sit together on his escape pod as they wait for the helicopters to arrive to pick them up.
Image result for sword pacific rim
Fig. 5: Otachi is defeated.

Many times throughout the film, characters are rescued from being killed by a Kaiju when a Jaeger appears on the scene. Mako, Newt, and Chuck and Herc Hansen all find themselves in situations where a Kaiju could easily kill them, but are saved when a Jaeger appears, and the Kaiju's instinct is to take out the far larger threat first. This is known as 'Rescue from Without', where the hero or heroes are saved by a usually unexpected outside source. The best example of this in the film, is when the Kaiju Otachi grabs hold of Gipsy Danger and begins to fly upwards. Raleigh is panicked, unsure of how to deal with the beast as Gipsy Danger's systems begin to struggle with the altitude. It is at this point Mako claims they have one more weapon they can use, and to Raleigh's surprise, Gipsy Danger has been fitted with a sword. Otachi is cut in half with one quick slice, and their only struggle thereafter is landing back on solid ground.

When Raleigh and Mako ascend back through the "throat", they are 'Crossing the Return Threshold'. The threshold is both literal and metaphorical, as they are not only leaving the "throat", but also returning to a world where Kaiju are no longer a threat to humanity, a world where people can rebuild and recover. Though Raleigh and Mako aren't quite the 'Master(s) of Two Worlds', they have defeated the Kaiju on their home turf, and closed the breach. They are also two of very few remaining Jaeger pilots, and their efforts will no doubt be held in high regard. They are now given 'Freedom to Live', the fight is over, and they can live as they choose. 

Overall, Pacific Rim received positive reviews; "watching Pacific Rim feels like rediscovering a favourite childhood cartoon – but del Toro has flooded the project with such affection and artistry that, rather than smiling nostalgically, you find yourself enchanted all over again." (Collin, 2013). The film was not shy about its inspirations and featured several tropes that are sometimes considered overused, but was put together in such a way that the film felt fresh and new. Guillermo del Toro pulled out all the stops, and the film looks and feels like it was built on the passion he puts into all his films. "In most ways, this paradoxically derivative yet imaginative sci-fi epic is everything every monster movie since the beginning of time might have wished it could be". (McCarthy, 2013).

Figure 1. Pacific Rim poster. (2013) [poster] At: (Accessed on: 01.10.2016)

Figure 2. "Where would you rather die? Here? Or in a Jaeger?" (2013) From: Pacific Rim. Directed by: Guillermo del Toro [Film still] United States: Legendary Entertainment. At: (Accessed on: 03.10.2016)

Figure 3. Mako Mori. (2013) From: Pacific Rim. Directed by: Guillermo del Toro [Film still] United States: Legendary Entertainment. At: (Accessed on: 03.10.2016)

Figure 4. Mako and Raleigh return. (2013) From: Pacific Rim. Directed by: Guillermo del Toro [Film still] United States: Legendary Entertainment. At: (Accessed on: 03.10.2016)

Figure 5. Otachi is defeated. (2013) From: Pacific Rim. Directed by: Guillermo del Toro [Film still] United States: Legendary Entertainment. At: (Accessed on: 12.10.2016)


Seitz, M. (2013) 'Pacific Rim' In: 12.07.2013 [online] At: (Accessed on: 05.10.2016)

Collin, R. (2013) 'Pacific Rim, review' In: The Telegraph 08.07.2013 [online] At: (Accessed on: 05.10.2016)

MacCarthy, T. (2013) 'Pacific Rim: Film Review'. In: The Hollywood Reporter 07.07.2013 [online] At: (Accessed on: 13.10.2016)

Friday, 7 October 2016

Character Design: Morticia Addams/Clown

My challenge for this character design class was to draw a clown with the personality of Morticia Addams. First I narrowed down traits I associate with Morticia Addams; gothic, sensual and elegant. I then imagined these traits in the form of a clown.
After talking to Justin, we discussed how to make the design more elegant and feel more like Morticia.
I tried to replicate Morticia's iconic dress using big, baggy trousers and pointed shoes, and Justin suggested having her hair swept back as above, so it was both over the top and clown-like, while still being elegant.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Character Project: Initial Ideas + Changes After Discussion With Alan

Scrapped wildcards: Fantasy World, circus.

Initial ideas:

Retirement home: 
  • 2 old people -- friends or a couple.
Old man in wheelchair with broken leg (his own fault), wearing clothing one would expect on a much younger man. The wheelchair and leg cast are decorated wildly with stickers, badges and paint. The friend/wife of the man now spends her time wheeling him around in the wheelchair, somewhat thankful for it, as his lack of mobility surely means he will get up to less mischief (it doesn't).

  • Business - A group of ferrets is called a business -- ferrets having a meeting? It could happen.
  • Older space traveller with apprentice.
  • Old astronaut with trainee.
Older astronaut/traveller is disillusioned and unimpressed with space, has a space suit covered in badges saying things like "Gravity is a myth. The earth sucks" and "I have personal space issues". He's working with an apprentice/trainee, who is in awe of space and finds the old man's attitude annoying. The old man is in it for the money, while the apprentice/trainee is in it to make new discoveries.