Pre-Production project Specification

Pre-Production : Cartoons, Humour and Narrative

In the pre-production module I will undertake research in preparation for a final project where I will be creating concept art for characters and environment for a comic/web comic that is used as a vehicle to convey humour.

For this module I will look into the different Art styles used in the above media and how they differently convey humour, for example slapstick humour versus Gothic Humour. I will research animated films, comic books and web comics to see how they tackle different humour.

One of the big research inspirations for this module will be ‘Penny Arcade’, a popular web-comic, as they produce three or four, three panel comic each week. These tackle a current topic in computer games with humour or parody. Other cartoon style reference includes Stephen Silver the artist responsible for Kids cartoons like ‘Kim Possible‘ and the more adult ‘Clerks. Cartoon‘.

Image: Penny Arcade

For a different art style I will research comic book artists like Ashley Wood and Ben Templesmith. These artists differ greatly from Mike Krahulik (of Penny Arcade) and Stephen Silver. Templesmith and Wood present a different visual style while still tackling a humorous narrative.

Image: Ashley Wood's Robots vs Zombies vs Amazons

Ashley Woods brand of humour revolves around the obscene with comic books about Robots fighting zombies in ‘Robots vs. Zombies’ and the even more deprived sequel ‘Robots vs. Zombies vs. Amazons’. His comic book art style is a more painterly one with more than a few of his panels painted on full acrylic canvas.

Ben Templesmith is again more of a painterly comic book artist but his typical brand of humour of revolves around a more gothic style. For example ‘Wormwood: Gentlemen Corpse’ tells the story of a worm controlling a human body who accidentally becomes a supernatural detective.

Image: Ben Templesmith's Wormwood: Gentlemen Corpse

For film and TV show references I will be watching ‘Clone high’ an adult take on a kids cartoon series revolving around clones of historical figures dealing with being angst ridden teenagers in high school. As previously mentioned I will be watching ‘Clerks. The Animated Series’ and for films I will watch the Studio Ghibli films along with any other films I discover along the way.

Image: The cast of Clone High

As well as researching the different art styles I will as well try to emulate them, this in turn will help me understand how differently these comics/web-comics are made. This means that when I come to my Final Project I will have a new set of tools with which to produce my own comic/web-comic.

For the physical work I will alongside the research produce sketches where I directly copy the artist’s styles/techniques as well as sketches of my own ideas done in the artist’s styles. These sketches may be done in different media to suit the style of the artist; this will also give me the opportunity to discover new skills. All of these sketches will be presented in a blog format alongside the relevant research.

For the final submission I will produce a series of images to a finished standard each one demonstrating a new style or technique I have discovered during the completion of this module. These will be compiled into an art-book alongside the inspirations and sketches and will demonstrate the full development of styles over the period of the project.

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