Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Male & Female Character designs

Different character sketch's created to explore possible concept designs for the male character of our project created by Moses

Posted by Moses

Sunday, 15 January 2012

An American In Paris & Toulouse Lautrec

There is a scene in An American In Paris, where Gene Kelly brings Toulouse Lautrec's drawing of 'Chocolat dancing in the Irish American bar' to life. The sets begin as 2D cardboard cutouts before introducing people as still lifes, posing in the background, who then become involved with the dancing.

An American In Paris - Toulouse Lautrec inspired dance scene

Initial designs of shop exterior

Kendra has been drawing up some designs for shop exteriors.

Initial plan of shop interior

Katie created a rough plan of the shop layout from the animatic, to explain where the props would be. By photographing the set from different angles, we can create a photomontage of the set to bring in those wonky angles often seen in 1950s set design.  

Research: Shop Interiors

Katie and Kendra collected photos of boutique shoe shops to analyse their layout and design. 

50s set design

These were collected from the book 'Cartoon Modern' written by Amid Amidi. We like the wonky angles - they're so wrong that it's right! - and the printed block colours which don't stay inside the lines. 

Moodboards for shop interior (set dressing)

These moodboards are ideas for the interior of the shop - pastel walls, heavily patterned furnishings and checkerboard flooring. Images taken from magazines, Cath Kidston shops and Crown & Crumpet in San Fransisco.

Confessions Of A Shopaholic

4mins 30seconds into the film, the lead character, Rebecca Bloomwood, walks into a shop and sees a green scarf on a mannequin. It is in this scene that the mannequin comes to life, draping the scarf around Rebecca and persuading her to buy it.

The Parent Trap

The original Disney 'The Parent Trap' has the most wonderful title sequence using stop motion puppets on glass. It is charming and the design is very simple.

Andy Warhol

In the 1950s Andy Warhol earned a living as an illustrator for fashion magazines, drawing and designing whimsical shoes for adverts.

Mary Suzuki tells Andy Warhol to draw shoes


Character concept designs

Moses developed the character designs in Photoshop and Jen did some rough sketches in ink. The aim is to create a more defined silhouette for the character. 

Character Moodboards

The High Street by Alice Melvin

The High Street is a childrens' book, written and illustrated by Alice Melvin. It's not quite in the 50s style we are after, but I love the traditional designs and details put into the facades of the buildings and the nifty way the pages fold out to show the interiors of the shops.  http://www.alicemelvin.com/ 

50s Style Illustration

Initial Character Designs

50s Style Character Designs

Gene Kelly

Paddington Bear Singing In The Rain

One of the initial inspirations for the set designs are the flat, illustrated-style backgrounds used in Paddington Bear. After a little bit of searching on Youtube, it turns out that Paddington Bear is also a fan of Gene Kelly.

Gene Kelly - Singing In The Rain

An American in Paris


This dance sequence in An American in Paris, starring Gene Kelly, uses different coloured backgrounds to show the different parts of the character's personality. In each dance the background is full of real props and furniture and everything is painted in shades of one colour. This makes the space look almost flat and unreal, like a stage set. I would like a similar look for our animation, referencing the very flat 50s design.


Shoes! is one of the final major projects for FDA Animation year two at London College of Communication. It will be a stop motion animation and the idea for the story is inspired by my love of anything from another era – in this case, MGM films, 1950s design and Gene Kelly!

The Shoes! team: Jen Newman is our producer, Moses Kanneh is our designer and Kendra Lee Smith is our props designer. These are our official roles, but all four of us will have a go at all aspects of the making of the film.

This blog will be a bank for all of the ideas, inspiration, design work and animation tests created by my lovely team and myself. You can follow the process of making a stop motion animation and see our progress as it takes shape over the coming months.

Firstly, here is the first draft of the animatic. It is presently in the process of being polished, but this is the initial idea for the structure of the film.

Untitled from Katie Sommers on Vimeo.

Katie Sommers