Dear Ursula

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Melissa May’s Dear Ursula explores the issue of industries (specifically Disney in argument) slimming down and maintaining this “thin agenda” when it comes to the bodies of female characters. Melissa really hits home on this point that as larger girls / women there was only really, Ursula to look up to and relate to. She, unlike the Red Queen was a larger woman who was happy and confident in her body. She was not mocked for it and for the bigger girls (myself included) Ursula made you feel happy about your figure. Although the point was to ostracise her for being fat it always felt like Ursula was in control. And Disney, when creating the “designer villain dolls” took away that sense of control and body confidence when they slimmed her out. It was as if they where almost saying, “You can’t be fat and beautiful.”

What Melissa did was call them out on this, she as a feminist called them out on their nonsense and sexism of trying to make every female character, whether good or bad thin and “attractive”. Her words are the modern day equivalent of cutting someone down with a sword. She is speaking for the women who say the image of the “new” Ursula and felt bad about themselves. She isn’t standing for this misogynistic rubbish and it’s this kind of no-nonsense woman speaking her mind that emulates modern day feminism.

Emma Gray hits on this point of them slimming down Ursula to make her aspirational for younger women.  And honestly it disgusting, this trend of slimming down children’s toys so that young girls are continuously bombarded with the idea that they have to be thin, they must aspire to thinness at all cost. As Bella sugar said “Ursula forced to go on a crash diet so she could model for beauty products? Because that’s bullsh*t.”

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/15/lego-friends-girls-gender-toy-marketing_n_1206293.html#s608443&title=Rainbow_Brite_Now

http://jezebel.com/5922092/ursula-the-sea-witch-forced-to-get-liposuction-for-disney-villains-beauty-line

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-gray/disney-villains-little-mermaid-ursula-slimmed-down-designer-collection_b_1638895.html

Everything I Can See From Here

This work came to be through the collaboration of multiple designers on no budget. It’s easy to see that this animation was made with themselves in mind, with the use of saying things like “head looks like a penis” within the concept art.  Though the piece has none of the traditional plot lines and has no resolution, it does set the scene of a dystopian future instantly with the use of a multiple greys within the colour plate, the lack of life within the first few scene changes and the use of sound effects, such as the wind which on its own, without any other noises sets an ominous atmospheres at the start of the animation.

Barry_model1 dog_model1 Big_guy_head kid_turnaround241111 Image018-colour Modelsheet_02_1024 Modelsheet_01_1024

The way the Alien ha been designed is one of my favourite (and least) parts of this animation. The creature is not designed into the stereotypical alien persona, it has very little human qualities that it is unable for the viewer to find any qualities to relate themselves to it, making the creature and the viewer unable to be emotionally connected and by doing this the creature becomes more terrifying. It’s actions unpredictable, there are not facial expressions or sound emitted from the creature to even indicate what it is going to do, which is unnerving, especially ad someone who fears the unknown; such as myself. The thing that was really neat that did was to give the illusion that the creature was slightly out of proportion to the rest  of it’s body (by our standard) but the BAM! the side view hows an incredibly disproportionate being and was so effective in causing a sense of unnerving shock that I had to stop the video and wander around my room to collect myself afterwards.

alien_sketch line_up_with_alien

The latter use of colour change within the creatures hair to indicate a change in mood, when it is attacked was a clever move as the illusion of unknowingness was not shattered by the opening of a orifice or the contortion of the face to show emotions. Along with the fact that the end shows the creature showing little remorse for it’s actions and just played with the ball afterwards gives off the idea that the creature is quite simple and has a limited range of emotions, so violence is a natural reaction when something alters a simple process, such as the dog stealing the ball and the man attacking him. This is honestly terrifying as it show that the creature is not some intelligent being but rather a simple creature with a gun.

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Sources:

http://www.thelineanimation.com/work/

http://blog.drawn.ca/

Animation
Sam Taylor samtayloranimation.blogspot.co.uk
Bjorn-Erik Aschim bjornsportfolio.com
Adam Hodgson AdamTheNog.Tumblr.com
Alexander Petreski vimeo.com/user1621759
Dante Zaballa podoboo.com.ar
Geoff King vimeo.com/user423106
Hozen Britto hozenbritto.blogspot.co.uk
James Duveen jamesduveen.com
Jim Round jimround.tumblr.com
Kristian Antonelli kristianantonelli.blogspot.co.uk
Tim McCourt messytimbo.blogspot.co.uk
Wesley Louis librabear.blogspot.co.uk

3D Modelling and Rigging
David Hunt slowgolde.com

3D Modelling
Max Taylor maxtaylordesign.com

3D animation
Max James van der Merwe  vimeo.com/jamesvdm

Backgrounds
Bjorn-Erik Aschim bjornsportfolio.com

Compositing
Bjorn-Erik Aschim bjornsportfolio.com
Sam Taylor samtayloranimation.blogspot.co.uk

Cleanup
Adam Hodgson AdamTheNog.Tumblr.com
Beth Witchalls pufflingsplace.blogspot.co.uk
Caspar Rock
Clarice Elliott vimeo.com/user885076
Denise Dean denise.dd-designs.co.uk
Freya Hotson vimeo.com/user2647473
Hozen Britto hozenbritto.blogspot.co.uk
Hugh La Terriere hughlaterriere.com
Isobel Stenhouse isobelstenhouse.blogspot.co.uk
Jessica Toth jesscato.com
Jose Saturno
Stewart Wagstaff stewwaggie.blogspot.co.uk
Tom Loughlin tomloughlin.co.uk

Making of
Luke James lukejames.co.uk
Owen Philips breadcollective.co.uk

Website
Tom Loughlin tomloughlin.co.uk

Special Thanks
Our Ma’s and pa’s
Jerry Fleming
Chris King videocircuits.blogspot.co.uk
Andrew Lim Clarkson facebook.com/andrew.l.clarkson
June Frangue junefrangue.com
and Winnie facebook.com/winnie.wadelim

The Line Studio
thelineanimation.com

Steven Universe

Though set for a younger audience, Steven universe is a universal show. It’s creator Rebecca Sugar knew what she was doing when she created Steven Universe. As one of the very few women to ever have their own original animated show, Rebecca Sugar alongside her conceptual artists like Kevin Dart, Have really created something wonderful with this show. The fact that the show contains three strong female protagonist with the main protagonist being a non-white little boy shows how using women for main characters is not a bad thing and that more than one person of a non white ethnic background in a cartoon does not feel “forced”.

 

Steven Universe, though made to sell to a universal audience has a strong effect on one particular target, demographic, minorities. There are characters within Steven universe that represent specific races and gender archetypes which are usually non-existent in other TV shows and cartoons. For example the three main female characters are all-powerful women, and they are never questioned or undermined by others for it. They are never demeaned as less feminine for being strong, Garnet; seen as the one with the strongest physical prowess, is never referred to as butch or ‘too masculine’ but rather praised for her all round badassness. Which to young girls who have a physically strong prowess, is an amazing role model to have because she explore the idea that they don’t have to be weak to be feminine.

This leads me onto my second point. The archetypes Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet represent and why they are important when it comes to what female ideals young children are exposed to within their lives. Let’s start with the leader, Garnet. As previously stated Garnet has great physical strength and as a result of this she is drawn with a more muscular body, something which is very important to depict because there is this idea within children’s media that if you draw a female character as muscular she immediately becomes masculine and therefore is no longer feminine meaning the character is evil. It is a very disgusting and archaic troupe that goes masculine female = bad feminine female =good.

 

Another troupe/ stereotype Steven universe obliterates with this character is a suggestively black character who is not the angry/sassy black women troupe. This character personality default is a damaging stereotype black women everywhere, this idea that black women have to be aggressive and sassy has become expected in both the fictional and real world causing any real world claims of unfairness or oppression to be laughed at as just black women being ‘black women’. However Garnet portrays none of these stereotypical characteristics, she is calm, calculative and has the demeanour and manner of a leader.

Pearl transparent

The next female character I want to look at is Pearl. Pearl represents the more classic feminine ideals, slender proportions and graceful poise, what’s good about her is that it in no way inhibits her abilities as a warrior, she uses her grace as a way of becoming more precise in her attacks, turning her fights into a dance. What can be seen as on e of Pearl largest flaws is that she panics too much, frets over Steven and everything that happens to him, this is in no way a negative thing but makes her more relatable to viewers who find themselves trying to control everything an panics over things she cannot control (ie. Steven).

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Last but not least, the final female character I want to pay tribute to is Amethyst. Amethyst is almost the polar opposite of Pearl, brash and not well-mannered she has the personality more befitting of a male archetype for a character instead of a female one.  With this in mind, you would think that the developers would fall into the trap of making her overtly boyish, rejecting all female customs and characteristic in the view that they are lesser than men. However she doesn’t do this. Instead Amethyst only sees herself as Amethyst, she doesn’t fall into lazy stereotypes and, like any of us grows and learns from her mistakes (sometimes). This refreshing perspective on the tired out ‘tomboy’ troupe gives faith and comfort to girls who are very ‘boy – like’ in there behaviour and feel that being feminine is a disadvantage.

The colour schemes, environment settings and character development Steven Universe has blows many modern-day cartoons out of the water. You can tell how working within adventure time has helped Rebecca Sugar develop a vault of knowledge when it comes to creating her own hit TV show.

Sources:

http://rebeccasugar.tumblr.com/

http://www.indiewire.com/article

/television/adventure-time-writer-rebecca-sugar-on-steven-universe

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/steven-universe-creator-rebecca-sugar-is-an-idealistic-trailblazer/2013/11/01/fe622da2-4338-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html

http://steven-universe.wikia.com/wiki/Steven_Universe_Wiki

http://kevindart.tumblr.com

Taylor Smith

Taylor looks at hot topic fads that emphasise the misogyny within western culture and combats it with satirical comebacks, emphasising the ridiculousness of the sexist argument with out appearing like an “angry feminist”. Her use of hyperbolising the issues, like the stereotyped man’s idea of a feminist or creating this propitious solutions to trends men make is a way of getting across how idiotic this opinions are without the fear of not listening to her because they just feels like she’s ranting, Taylor has used humour as a way of getting the message across, some times unnoticed by the masses.

Sources:

http://www.youtube.com/user/tadelesmith?feature=watch

Graham Annable

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Graham Annable’s work is a mixture of sweet illustrative tales about kings who shaves his beard so that his guards aren’t cold as well as some suspenseful animations that, although not as well crafted as other animations,are able to enrapture you into them.

Sources:
http://www.youtube.com/user/grickle
http://gricklethings.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-max=2012-06-15T15:25:00-07:00
http://grickle.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30473764@N05/