Friday, 10 July 2015

Dreamy Cartoons

Last time I went to the Art Science Museum in Singapore I was slightly underwhelmed by an exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci. This time, however, I was truly overwhelmed. The DreamWorks Animation exhibition does just that - makes dreams work. 

As a writer and sketcher (a newbie sketcher too) I was sure I'd be interested. And an hour and a half later the only thing that made me leave was the extremely cold aircon. 

I could have spent over an hour just in the first section, Character, learning how initial sketches are drawn, what they used (graphite, pencil, marker, etc), the advice they give, and how well they capture the character even in the earliest stages. 

I will let you see for yourself, and do please read the instructions on the lion, from Madagascar, my favourite being "Even though these characters are 3-D, try to exploit the graphic quality in the design, to keep shapes simple and crisp".

 Christophe Lautrette, Pointing Crane, Color pencil, Kung Fu Panda
 Craig Kellman, Alex Crouching, Graphite, Marker, Madagascar

I came to the Aardman Productions display and grinned even more.
Nick Park's original sketches were there, along with other artists' work. 
Of course, Chicken Run wasn't Aardman's first film by a long way ... or even 'by a just tiny amount' (for fans of The Fast Show!)

If the exhibition had stopped there, I would have gone home a happy bunny .. or panda, or dog, or whatever.

But it didn't.  Story came next. And a mock-up meeting table covered with papers and pens and cups of coffee - yes, we get the picture, there's a lot of brainstorming that goes on! 
For lovers of script, there was a piece from Mr Peabody and Sherman. And two walls of videos, intriguing young and old alike!

Noble Prize in Physics?

This video showed an actor (I think it was an actor) reading through the storyboards of Shrek - the Gingerbread man, using all the voices, fascinating. There were mock-ups of piles of storyboards, to show how many are used per film. It was a lot, believe me!

And then we came to World.  And hands-on stuff, like models.
A model of Shrek's Swamp House (above). 

Wallace's kitchen garden (actually that was earlier, but, well...)

and sketches of backgrounds, including these two lovelies for Kungfu Panda (gorgeous trees!) 

and How to Train your Dragon (Pencil, Marker by Emil Mitev)

Finally, we were allowed to get our mitts on the actual Animation Desk. Though all I managed was peering over someone's shoulder.

Oh well, an excuse to go back again at a less busy time! And I'll arm myself with warmer clothing too. 

Thank you,  DreamWorks.  


  1. That is wonderful! Thanks so much for writing about it! I hope it comes to the UK.

  2. That is wonderful! Thanks so much for writing about it! I hope it comes to the UK.