Although we’re all familiar with them, animal characters are a pretty strange idea really. Animals who dress up, eat, speak and generally behave just like humans…? Paddington is a great example, and there are so many to choose from: Mr Toad, Top Cat, Dangermouse, Roger Rabbit, the list is (almost) endless.
So during the past couple of sessions we’ve been inventing our own at Magic Carpet, and then making them into little 3D cutouts, with their own “environment”.
I’m a massive fan of both “How to Train Your Dragon” films, mainly because the characters are so well developed, entertaining and believable, and character design and development are an important element in the animation and comics workshops I run. So I found this interview with Simon Otto, head of character animation at Dreamworks, really fascinating. Have a look if you want some tips on how to create fantastic characters, and find out how Toothless was inspired by his cat and baby boy!
Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre made great arguments for keeping arts teaching in state schools in his recent Guardian opinion piece, here it is if you didn’t see it. Arts are VITAL for children’s development, improving observational skills, lateral thinking/problem solving, fine motor skills, to name only a few benefits. All private schools in the UK include the arts in their curriculum (Eton has three theatres for the use of its students), and even they have stated clearly that they do not understand the government’s attitude towards the arts in state schools. Let’s hope the new Education Secretary sees the light.
Two Small World events are coming up in February: a one-off animation workshop during half term celebrating the release of the new Aardman film “Early Man”, and an animation club kicking off at Teignmouth library after half term 🙂
To celebrate the release of “Early Man” come and create and animate your own 3D early cave person character! This fun workshop is aimed at 7-12 year-olds, but open to keen-beans either side of that age group 🙂
Running from 10am-12.30pm on Tuesday 13th February at TAAG, Northumberland Place in Teignmouth, you have the option of staying to enjoy making and creating with your child, or dropping them off and collecting them at the end of the session. Unaccompanied children must be aged 8 and over.
The session is £8 per child, with sibling reductions available. Advance booking is essential as there are limited spaces.
We’ll be inventing and creating characters, making up stories and working in all sorts of different media to make short 2D and 3D animations.
The price for all five sessions is £20 per child, payable in advance. Booking in advance is essential. The club is aimed at 7-11 year olds, but 6 year olds can join if accompanied by an adult at all the sessions. Limited number of places so early booking advised.
Get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07746326860 for inquiries or if you want to book.
Having finally emerged from a post-xmas and new year slumber, Small World projects have now started in earnest 🙂
Last week saw the start of The Alice in Wonderland Drama project for magic Carpet in Honiton. I’m helping the guys design and make animal puppets and masks to use in their performance. During the first session we concentrated on how to create an “animal character”, and how talking animals are really quite a strange idea! People were particularly inspired by the “Wind in the Willows” book I took in, with the original EH Shepard illustrations, and made some great drawings. Photos to follow.
And today is the first day back for Bishopsteignton Comics Club, which has turned out to be really popular with the kids. We’re in the process of putting together their first comic, which will be available in print and as a download. More news soon 🙂 In the meantime, here’s the lovely “Mr Toast the Detective”, and his baked-goods adversaries by seven-year old Rupert. I think they’re brilliant 🙂