Inspiration: Hannah Jacobs
Source: (Jacobs, 2017)
The London-born artist manages to visualise tough subjects with softness and understanding, translating brutal honesty through an affectionate lens. Her minimalist illustrations and pale palette create worlds that are intimate yet full of space, allowing the viewer to get lost in her creations. (Todd, 2015)
One of my key objectives in my MA research is to examine how traditional hands-on techniques can inform my practice. Coming from a graphic design background, my work to date has been predominantly digital and quite structured and graphic in style. I would like to use this opportunity to look at the work of practitioners who work in a more natural, ‘loose’ style and determine if there are elements that I can incorporate into my own work. As I intend to produce a short film as an outcome to my final project I also intend on examining different animation styles and techniques in the hope of honing my eye for motion.
When I came across the work of RCA graduate Hannah Jacobs recently I was immediately taken by its distinctive character and decided to examine it in further detail. I chose to look at her most recent film, a music video for the artist Roseau, documenting the experiences of a lonely spaceman.
Jacobs has an instinctive approach to the concept generation process, preferring to simply start drawing while reflecting on a specific feeling or emotion instead of the more traditional method of storyboarding a linear narrative first. (Munday, 2014)
It’s kind of like solving a massive puzzle, you’re trying to think of interesting and playful ways to link scenes and ideas. How can I get from this sausage dog to this bicycle in an interesting way? (Munday, 2014)
Watching the film myself I had guessed that Jacobs had created the individual elements in Photoshop using brushes and then exported and manipulated these frames in After Effects. On further research I learned that this was a wrong assumption and that she actually hand draws everything using a lightbox and materials such as pencils and crayons before following up with some light post-production in the programmes I had suggested. (Munday, 2014) This seems like a massive amount of avoidable work considering Jacobs knows how to use the Adobe programs but I am curious to try this process myself and find out if there are advantages of working in this traditional way.
In an effort to understand the structure of the film better I documented it frame by frame in my animation journal, identifying key scenes and transitions which I thought were particularly effective. From these I have picked out the following 6 animation sequences which I will recreate in order to better understand each movement.
6 Ideas To Explore Further
- In the opening sequence the hand drawn text mimics its meaning by literally disintegrating into a line fragments before fading away into the backdrop.
2. As the spaceman walks behind a swaying foreground plant the colours in his legs invert. The effect draws the eye in a pleasing way and adds an added layer of interest to the walking cycle which is looped several times during the film.
3. The clouds morph together and take on the form of a fir tree.
4. A stylised flower blooms.
5. Spaceman blows on the planet, breaking it up into linear shapes, then circles, then squares, then clouds.
6. The cuff of his fore arm pans towards the screen and the divide between the hand and arm acts as a transition state.
Jacobs, H.(2017) Roseau: Disintegrate [Online Video] 27th March 2017. Available from – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dsCy7VDXg0 [Accessed on 27th March 2017]
Hughes, L (2017) Hannah Jacobs Research [Photograph]
Monday, R. (2014) Hannah Jacobs on Capturing the Beauty & Magic of Tom Rosenthal’s Music in Animated Promo ‘It’s OK’ [Online] Available at – http://directorsnotes.com/2014/12/04/hannah-jacobs-tom-rosenthal/. [Accessed: 26th March 2017]
Todd, M. (2015) LIAF: Animators to watch 2015 [Online] Available from – http://about.zealous.co/articles/featured/liaf-animators-to-watch-2015/ [Accessed 27th March 2017]
Cartwright, J. (2015) Great animation suggests “love is an illusion, we’re all alone” [Online] 20th April 2015. Available from – http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/school-of-life-love [Accessed 27th March 2017]
Donaldson, J.(2015) A tour of Hannah Jacobs’ work [Online] 24th November 2015. Available from – http://motionographer.com/2015/11/24/a-tour-of-hannah-jacobs-work/ [Accessed 27th March 2017]