The initial character design was simple and geometrised, but it did not work with the focus on mood and atmosphere –the character’s design was so limited, it could barely offer the audience to feel empathy. I needed to go back to studying children’s faces and then simplifying them.
Final Character Designs. I was inspired by a young boy with a long fringe - a nice way to use it as a curtain for the character to hide behind...
The film focuses on the boy’s feelings of fear and loneliness and the creation of a world in which the audience can share what the boy sees and feels, mirroring the boy’s vivid imagination. I therefore enjoyed concentrating not so much on the storyline, but on attaining an empathetic and fearful mood and atmosphere through visual language. Chattering crows with staring eyes represent the expectant crowd of people around the boy, a barking dog represents the father’s anger forcing the boy to sing, the father being represented through blue colours.
Inspired by German Expressionists, instead of presenting a realistic situation, I focused on a strong but limited colour palette with complementary colour contrasts. These are the first concept drawings, although the character design changed later on.
The whole world around the child, animation and backgrounds, is created traditionally with watercolour pencils, with harsh lines and a limited colour palette. The boiling backgrounds express the fearful mood of the boy, and the dark backgrounds turn into a brighter green when the boy runs away from the ordeal. I focused on a strong but limited colour palette, contrasting sound effects and representative images.