Why Sinéad… you have such a happy smile on your face…could it be because you are running model making workshops with the second years at UCA?
…yes…yes it could be!
Yep that’s right today I started my first model making workshop with three stop motion students in the afternoon. I started today by prepping a lot of materials so that we could launch straight into the model making workshop after lunch…
Before my session could start however, the students looked into 4 part comic strips like Peanuts:
What we don’t realise is how simple these comic strips can be, and this 3 or 4 part story can easily build up into something bigger – like a short film, an animation, a children’s narrative. But it can be rather tasking trying to come up with an idea on the spot suddenly, which is why it is useful for the students to think about their chosen narrative and try to simplify it into 4 key character poses or motivations.
After Lunch the Model Making Begins!
This is truly my bread and butter moment of the job. 3 Students had signed up for my model making course and I decided to change things up a little bit and head straight for the animatable armatures since all three students seemed super keen and knew a little about the area beforehand. I adapted my workshop from last year to focus using foam board to create lightweight character bones as appose to using mod rock and papier-mâché which we use last year and created heavier puppets – although in hindsight we did have to resort back to the mod rock as the foam board was too thin to achieve the definition we wanted on the limbs, later the students will carve into these bones to create the sculpture of their character.
I feel that if we had the whole day to work on these puppets, the students would have achieved a better understanding of the materials. I have sent John a breakdown of how to make an armature to refresh the students minds as I’ve asked them to take this technique forward and in their own time begin working on new armatures for their character narrative. By working on one puppet in class and one in their own time, I hope that they pick up the techniques quicker and do their own research into independent learning on character making. Next week we plan to work on padding of these characters with foam, sponge and latex.
An Added Bonus!
It’s nice to be nice is a term I really like as it is true, if you are nice to people they will be nice back. During our Model Making Session I was talking to one eager student and he was talking about how he’d love to create puppets like Ray Harryhausen. Admittedly I cannot make latex puppets like that, as much as I would love to, I understand the technique but I’ve not quite succeeded in creating a puppet this way that I am happy with. However Richard Mirosevic-Sorgo – who is an amazing model maker and stop motion animator I went to university with (and who’s name has appeared once or twice in my previous blog entries!) – can and I went on to explain some of his works and characters Richard has made in the past. This student then asked if it was possible for the university to get in touch with Richard and arrange a workshop so that they too could learn from him. I didn’t think I’d have that much weight in terms of asking the university to bring in a freelancers like myself for extra workshop – as this would obviously eat into the courses budget and schedule and a number of other things.
…and the highlight of my week is that Richard has got the green light to run a workshop! I felt so elated that I was able to get a friend some work at the university as a freelancer, it was thrilling to know that my recommendation was considered and accepted – how cool is that!