Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Symbolism in Adaptation Design to promote Story.

This character design came form an idea which passed through my head about a month ago. I was recommended a short animation named "The Reward" by some fine people at The Animation Workshop. It's a wonderful piece, and I strongly urge you to go and watch it if you've not yet seen it. 

The animation follows an "Odyssey"-esque tale of two, initially, reluctant companions. The animation follows the two characters across a vast array of locations and situations, which goes to support the underlying message of the animation. (hint in the title). And ultimately it creates this wonderful idea of the world these characters live in, in the viewers imagination. 

When I was mulling over the animation, it occurred to me how well the animation conveys the longevity of the duo's plight through it's locations. 

This started this whole branch of thinking about how the changing of an environment or a character could symbolise the scale of an adventure or story, or even the changing of a character literally. 

And I started to wonder how this could be applied to story adaptation. Could an adaptation benefit from something like this?

In "Tangled" Disney took the original idea of the girl in the tower etc. and manipulated the story so that the wonder of the story derived from the journey and reward of the characters Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. 

If you wanted to take this story in a similar manner, so that the journey is still the focus, but adapt it to be this wonderful visual experience of time passing and the character becoming wiser and conveying the changing of the character through their appearance. 

Basically, I had this idea in my head of a main character travelling for months, and as they travelled from point to point, their appearance echoed the changing of seasons. The seasons could also mirror the mood. (summer - happy, etc).

Seasons as a symbol of mood or emotion are very often used in literature. However, I struggle to find an adaptation which harnesses this through visuals. 

A sort of similar symbolism I believe is used in Tangled. Rapunzel longs to return home (to the stars). Which glow like her hair does (symbolic that she belongs where the stars are: She resonates with the horizon). It sort of reminds me of the symbolic Green Light in "The Great Gatsby" (I enjoyed Higher English). A similar example would be Disney's "Hercules" with the Lighting Bolt medal.  

I'm sure this must have been done before, but anyway, the journey could be something like as follows -

 -with the character unsure of the journey, but full of life and promise anyway. bright colours, a spring and in their step - (Spring)
 - finds their footing, the "pinnacle" of life. more certain of their actions, (Summer) perhaps over-confident - which leads to...
- (Autumn) This would be the climax or result of conflict within the chosen tail. 

...You get the idea. 

Anyway the one I felt drawn to explore first was Autumn. I'm not sure why, but I created the following art. The character is pretty irrelevant; It was more the colour and mood I wanted to investigate. 

I really like the way the hair turned out, it almost reminds me of an acorn or something. Either way, I think the hair is very reminiscent of autumn leaves and the colour of the hair and skin work well that way. 

I feel the face should be more aged, and the expression could be improved. Instead of looking lost or hopeless, the character just looks indifferent. 

I'm still working on the other seasons, But I think I'll continue to use the same character and just manipulate each design for the season. 

Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks. 

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