Coming Up with Some Initial Ideas and Shortlisting Three
Like I did for the Scale Project, in order to start to come up with some initial ideas for this project I decided to do a Brainstorm in my Sketchbook (all Sketchbook work to the right). I also had a look at the presentation for this project and so some of the work on there by different artists did inspire some of these ideas as well. I already had a couple of ideas, however I wanted to get as much of a range as possible and come up with a few so that I had lots of good ideas to choose from. The initial ideas I came up with were to maybe make Sock Puppets, to make animal shapes with my hands (Shadow Puppets), to make cut-outs of different animals, to start writing part of one of the narratives I've come up with for my Part 3 Project and cut it out, make a pile of toys or something and have it cast the shadow of an animal, and to make a mobile with different animals on it so it will cast shadows around the room. These ideas are all very much based around using animals as the primary motif and creating something that I can either see a child doing, is related to the theme of childhood and children or is something that a child would enjoy. I ensured that all of these ideas were related to my Part 3 Project, Little Stories, and I believe they all are.
I then had to shortlist three ideas that I thought were the best in order to start to visualise what they would look like so I could choose a final idea that I was going to produce. These three ideas were the Shadow Puppets idea-so making animal shapes with my hands so they make shadows on the wall that look like animals, the idea where I make cut-outs of animals out of paper and also the animal mobile idea. I decided that the sock puppets idea was more visual and wasn't really suited to a project about shadows, and although starting to write one of the narratives and cutting it out of paper was an interesting take on the project, I felt it would be more appropriate for me to do something that visually represented animals as this would be more appealing to a child. In addition, the pile of toys creating the shadow of an animal idea, although really cool and dynamic, I didn't think it would be possible as I would have absolutely no idea where to start with this or how to achieve that. I felt the other three were slightly more achievable and there was a good range of ideas there. I also felt that they were the most appropriate for my project in particular and would appeal to a child more.
Choosing My Final Idea, Thinking About the Type of Outcome I Will Create and the Narrative
I then weighed up the Pros and Cons of each idea that I was left with, and also started to visualise each one in order to see which was the very best idea/the one that I preferred. For the Shadow Puppets/Making Animal Shapes with My Hand idea, I felt that it was interesting and different because it hadn't been a suggested method on the presentation or anything, it was simple yet effective and got the job done well. But, I didn't know whether it might come across as being quite lazy or with the final outcome would be a video or pictures and what the logistic of it would be. I thought that the Animal Cut-Outs idea was, again, quite simple but would work well, however it isn't very original at all and I wanted to do something a bit more unexpected with this project. There was also still the dilemma of whether the final outcome would be a short film or photos or something else and also what animals I would want to use. Therefore, at this point I was definitely leaning more towards the Hand Shadow Puppets idea. However, I still had the Pros and Cons of the Animals Mobile to contemplate, and I decided that this was probably the most adventurous of all three ideas, it was fun and interesting but I'd also need a metal ring of some kind to hang the animals off of. I would also need an empty room so you could easily see the shadows of the animals on the walls which I don't have. It would need more planning than the other ideas and I also had a thought that maybe it would look as if it was aimed at a slightly younger audience than I wanted, as mobiles are very much an item associated with babies and my Project is aimed at young children. I therefore decided after this that the Making Animal Shapes with My Hands idea was still the best idea and my favourite.
I still wanted to draw some visualisations however, if not just to cement that the Hand Shadow Puppets idea is the best. For this idea though, I decided it was probably best to get some pictures off the internet and not to draw it myself in order to illustrate what I mean as I don't think the written description is particularly clear for everyone. I also didn't think I would be able to draw it to a level where it would be clear what I meant and a picture would be much clearer. I only did quick little drawings for the other two ideas, just drawing a paper bunny on a stick with its shadow casted on the wall to show the type of thing I would do and the shadow it would create. For the mobile idea (the drawing isn't particularly great but just ignore that because that's not the point), I drew a very quick mobile with different paper animals hanging from it and I showed the shadows from them being cast on the wall around it.
The visualisations confirmed that the Making Animal Shapes with My Hands (Shadow Puppets) idea was definitely still my favourite as it seemed the easiest but also the most effective and it was an idea that I came up with out of my own head. I also remember doing this with my mum and my sister when I was little (my mum showed me how to make a duck-it was the only one she knew how to do) so, similar to the last Project, it adds a nostalgic element to the project and I can see other little kids doing this too. I also already have all the materials I will need and I feel I will be able to do this well.
The next step was to confirm what form my actual final outcome would take, and therefore whether I would need to think about what narrative to use/if I needed to create a new one. I also needed to confirm what animals I would be using for it. I knew I could already make a duck and a butterfly which is very simple, so they were definite ones that I would do, and when doing some research into what animals you can create and how to create them I saw quite a few more complex ones that need two hands. Therefore, I wanted to include a few of those too in order to challenge myself a bit and make more dynamic and interesting shadows. I saw that you could make an elephant and animals like that and I really wanted to learn how to make an elephant in particular because it's my favourite animal!
I knew however, that making these animals that require two hands might make forming a narrative quite difficult because I wouldn't be able to have two animals in the same frame unless I asked for help or something. I could do a series of photos instead but again, how would I take the pictures? I might have to just video me making the animals with my hands and screenshotting the videos. Also, would just a series of photos be a bit boring and look like I haven't done much work for the project? I could arrange the pictures into a narrative, or leave them for there people to arrange into a narrative and make the Shadows Project more interactive. I did decide that I couldn't really use any of the narratives I have already come up with for Little Stories as I had a look and lots of them were based around sea creatures and like more wildlife-based animals and the narratives are kind of at an early stage still. I couldn't really see any of the same animals in the stories as the ones that could be made with your hands from the research I did, so I came up with my own narrative using some of the animals I knew were possible. I wanted it to be really simple still because I knew it would be kind of difficult to create a short film by myself (I only have two hands), so I thought I'd just do something where a duck, a butterfly and a goose go on an adventure and meet an elephant, a rabbit and possible a lion? Or something else. There would be no words and no actual spoken story as that wasn't really the point of this task and I didn't want to spend ages writing out an actual story. The aim was for it to be a short video or maybe a series of photos I would figure out what works best.
Therefore, I had a pretty clear plan of what I was going to be doing and how I was going to be executing this tomorrow.
Experimentation and Making the Final Thing
To begin with, I just wanted to experiment a bit and to fully work out how to create these animal shadows with my hand as for most of them I had never actually done them before and needed a minute to figure it out before doing the final thing. I needed to set everything up before that though, so I chose the plainest wall in my room to have as the background and I took my lamp off my desk and put it on the sofa opposite this wall and pointed it right at the wall (so forward). I tried just using the flash on my phone as the light source but this didn't work, but I still needed my phone to record the video so I put an old pencil case on my bed which is in front (horizontally) of the wall and leaned my phone against it. I made sure to put my blind down too so the room was completely dark apart from the one light I was using, et voila, I had my set up and I was ready to experiment and then make the final thing.
I then started to experiment with making all the animals I had planned to make which were, as aforementioned, I had planned to have a duck, a butterfly and a goose go on an adventure in a little short video, and I was able to make the duck and the butterfly fine as I already knew how to make a duck because of my mum and a butterfly is really easy to do. However, I wasn't really able to make a goose in the way that was being shown in the pictures I had found when doing research, and I felt that it was too similar to a duck anyway so I decided not to do a goose and instead I chose to do a llama. This was because it looked easy to do and you also only needed to use one hand and I knew this would mean the narrative would be easier to create as I could then do the duck and the llama at the same time and they would be in the same frame and not just all appear one at a time. I did kind of struggle with making the llama at first but I persevered and although it didn't look exactly like the picture I had seen it did still look like a llama! I actually think the picture was labelled as a different animal but I thought it looked like a llama when I made it so I'm going to say it is a llama.
Once I had figured out how to make all of these animals (for the first part anyway) and I was confident in how to do them I decided to film the first part where the duck and the llama meet up and then the butterfly decides to join and catches up with them. I did a few takes as I had some issues where I was too close to the light and the shadows were therefore too big, but the final one I think turned out well. Then, I attempted trying to make the elephant, a rabbit and some other animals which were much more difficult than I anticipated. These were the ones that required two hands, and they did kind of hurt my hands a bit and I couldn't really get them right initially. I then started to get very frustrated as I wasn't able to make any of them and so couldn't finish the narrative I had started. However, I persevered again and I was actually able to make quite an array of animals in the end.
I decided however, that I wouldn't be able to finish the narrative I had started with the duck, llama and butterfly the way I had initially planned because I wasn't that confident in making the other animals and it would've looked strange with them only appearing one at a time anyway as the narrative would've been disjointed and it wouldn't have made sense. I was happy with the first half of the narrative that I had already recorded though and I still wanted to include it as a part of my final outcome as in and of itself it was its own narrative still. I didn't feel this was enough for the final thing though, so I decided to record a video of me making a lot of the different animal shapes that I had learnt how to do so I could then screenshot the video and have separate pictures of all these animal shadows. I ended up doing a moose, an elephant (kind of), a dog, a snail, a parrot (sort of) and a spider along with the duck, llama and butterfly which I feel is a pretty good range and I'm happy that I was able to make these even after I felt like giving up with this project.
To make the outcome more final and complete, I made the narrative into an iMovie and edited it so it was more professional and flowed together better. I also added a song in the background to make it more interesting. I also edited all the videos of me making the different animal shapes together to make one long video of all of them so you can see how I make them move and come to life etc. because they are not a part of a story. I also added captions for what animal they were to make it explicitly clear and a song again in the background (the same one as before) to make the video less painful to watch as it is quite long. I did also make a video with all the still photos and screenshots of each animal, again with captions telling you what animal they are, just so there is a moving video version and a still collection of photos too so I can put these in my sketchbook.
Overall, I am happy with what I've been able to create for this project, even if there were some bumps along the way. I am especially pleased that I didn't give up when I was finding making some of the animals with my hands quite hard. Is the outcome the best thing I've ever created? No, but I am happy with it regardless because I could have given up and ended up with nothing. It was much harder than I had anticipated and i'm glad i was even able to make some of the animals because others i just really couldn't do. I think the short narrative is really cute and works well just as half of the original story I planned and I'm glad I decided to make a video of all the animals together because it is more of a live performance in a way and you can see how I move my hands in order to make the animals move. I think that if I had done the animal cut outs idea then I would maybe have ended up with a better and longer narrative, however I felt that this idea was more original and I liked it more for that reason. Also, the same problem with me only having two hands would still have remained. I am happy with what I have produced and I think it fits well with my Project because it is something simple and quick that children would really enjoy.
Sketchbook Work-Shadows Ideas Brainstorm
Sketchbook Work-Development of My Shadows Ideas
Sketchbook Work-Further Development of My Shadows Idea
Some Research I Did Into How to Make the Animals
Here is a YouTube video I watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6oUqb94txc