Proposal Paper: Chris Picks Up a Camera

Growing up in the 1990’s I was fascinated with drawing and when I watched cartoons as a child I always wondered how these characters moved on screen. When I would draw on paper, I wondered how I make my drawings move like that. The 1990’s were flooded with cartoons and animation; I was always exposed to it at my house with Nickelodeon with Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Hey Arnold, Rugrats. And of course the Disney films, Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Lion King. I grew up with these shows and movies and they inspired me to major in Animation when I was done with high school. In fact, I did not want to go to college or a major university. I wanted to go to an art school and get better at my drawings, learn how to animate and get a job at an animation studio; this was my focus coming out of high school. Though times got tough financially with art school and I could never finish my studies of animation. I eventually went to a community college as a fine arts major.

As time has gone by, technology has improved dramatically, especially in the past ten years. I was inspired by 2D animation, drawing with a pencil, and being able to replicate movement with that pencil, it was fascinating to me. Though in 1999 with the introduction of Toy Story, the animation industry quickly changed because everyone loved the 3D aspect of the film, it was revolutionary. The days of seeing an animation film in 2D seemed to fade away real quick, audiences wanted 3D animation all of the time. Now, do not get me wrong, I love 3D animation as well, but there is something special about animating with a pencil and seeing your characters come to life. Animation studios are no longer putting out 2D animation in film, not even for Saturday morning cartoons, actually, they are using digital software using a stylus to create an animation but the pencil has been lost in the digital age. The golden age of animation now just lives in the past, yet I am still fascinated by seeing these drawings come to life, even now that I am older.

The camera and animation are well connected and I have never thought of being a photographer myself. However, an interesting fact is that my grandfather was a black and white landscape photographer. I only met him once when I was nineteen years old when he did show me his work. And, at this time I was studying animation and was talking to him about my work and what I aspire to. Just never really got into photography, I did not understand it. I thought that anyone can take a photo these days, it felt too easy and pointless to become a photographer. Now that I am taking photography, I have quickly changed my mind about the subject and now my grandfather (who died in 2009) lives inside me.

My proposal will connect the two genres together by connecting illustration and photography. I want to connect myself with my grandfather in an illustration but when I was a child and creating an alternate history. Since I only met my grandfather once, I will illustrate my grandfather and I as a child and he is introducing the camera to me for the first time. I would love to see this story unfold as an animation but it would take a long time to animate. An illustration or storybook will do just fine. In essence, my grandfather will teach me how to see through the camera and teach the basic functions and how to capture the world around me.

The best and fastest way to go about this project is to create thumbnails of how I want the story to go. This is really important and should be the first step based on my past experiences. Getting a clear vision before I start doing the heavy lifting is always the best way to go, after that, it should be smooth sailing. I will probably use Photoshop to color my illustrations for this project, because of the speed and blending techniques offered with the software. This would be my first attempt at creating an illustration book with Photoshop and possibly, I could pitch it to an illustration publication company in the future.

More preparations include me looking at other illustrators out there to see how they created children’s illustration books. Some artists have already inspired me such as Eric Carle with The Very Hungary Caterpillar, where the caterpillar learns and grows to a beautiful butterfly. The book is simple but very effective in communicating its message. I would like to use the same style and having an image a page and a short description and quotes expressing what I am doing with my camera.

This book should be an easy process because of an experience working with Indesign where I created a five-page book where I included my typography. I should just be fine with this process because Blurb.com will help me put the book together, I can just focus on my drawings. And of course a short description of how I want the story to progress so I have a clear vision of how the story is going to go, so the process goes fast.

Combining the two art forms of illustration and photography is an ambitious one and one I want to take on. I have gained knowledge of photography now and have an appreciation of what photographers do, and I understand it is not just about hitting a button. I feel this process is going to one of the best experiences because I can relate to my grandfather, with whom I just met once at nineteen and combine my experience of drawing and blend it into a story. This is going to be a creative outlet and sort of therapeutic because I love to draw and create characters. It will be interesting to see if I represent my grandfather in an illustration and wonder what he would think of it if he saw it today if he were still alive.

I feel like my inspirations are there from my days of creating characters as a child and now experiencing art in college I can bring my passion for illustration into a book and see I can challenge myself in creating something that combines my knowledge of two subjects. This should be really fun. I hope I can make my grandfather proud.

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