Creative Translations 3, Pakistan ‘What Happened to my Airplane?’

Line and animation experiments
  • Sketchbook explorations
  • iPad animation experiments
  • TVpaint refinements
  • Storyboard ideas
  • Contextual research
  • Visual inspiration
Lines Talking
  • What Happened to my Airplane

For my analysis of community drawings and context from Pakistan see:
Community Voices 3: Pakistan

What happened to my airplane?’ story line ideas

In terms of storyline, the most poignant is the image of the woman lying dead in a cemetery with her children crying around her – so many women identified with that. Compared to the vision of flying in an aeroplane and the happy couple.

The animation could actually be quite simple. It could focus only on women, or more interestingly/accurately/less stereotypically include the visions and situation of men also expressed in Taraqee Foundation:

  • Scene 1 Visions: A foreground drawing of a woman with (probably unkempt hair) with a series of flashed up dream bubbles of aeroplanes and happy family etc. This could also include men’s visions.
  • Scene 2 Reality: A sequence of what actually occurred : violence, too many children etc. These could just be sequential still images. Or a series of very short 3-5 frame looped animations. This could also include men’s frustrations and the reasons for their descent into violence.
  • Scene 3 Tragic Result: The final shot of the cemetery with the children animated then replicated to show the numbers of women in that situation. There could also be an image of a man distraught at what he had done.

Line and animation experiments

Sketchbook explorations

I started by printing out large A4 versions of the main diagrams and pasting in my A3 sketchbook. Then annotating them referring to the documentation on meaning. The I started to look at and replicate some of the different line styles.

iPad animation experiments

The wide variety of very expressive drawing styles provide a rich set of possibilities for line animation, with different types of abstraction of the figure, clothing, expression etc. I tried out some very short test animations in Procreate 5.

Visual approaches

TVpaint refinements

Developing Narratives

Storyboard ideas’

Some questions
  • should I use the existing community drawings, or do my own versions? for example a simple black on white animation in Islamic calligraphy line, something like the black square animation above?
  • should the drawings all be in similar style? or use different line thickness and style to eg represent different degree of power?
  • should the story be sequential or eg try reversing the order to start with the cemetery as a shock and possibly repeated at the end, with the middle part explanatory?
  • is it possible to incorporate some black humour? eg in the way I portray the hectoring man, and maybe mother-in-law? if so does the whole animation need to be humorous, or just part of it? do I create humour through the images, or contrast image and sound?
  • what sounds to use?

The most useful software would be:

  • Draw a storyboard and experiment with alternative scenes and framing – planning different alternative narrative ‘translations’
  • Experiment first with MovieMaker for some simple black and white Flipbook visual and narrative exploration and output each scene to:
  • Procreate for more evocative artwork on background (eg manipulation of gouache backgrounds), line (eg stippling, calligraphic) etc and output to:
  • Rough Animator to add sound and improve animation flow.
  • Possibly finally output to After Effects.

I could also try to do the whole thing in Flipaclip, which is good for storyboard, add sound and timeline manipulation, but there is not so much artistic potential. But I could import background images from Procreate.

Visual inspiration

  1. One or more evocative black and white versions, varying white on black and black on white. Using film noir techniques from Eastern European Stop Motion and Hitchcock.
  2. A version in colour in an ‘Islamicised’ version of Jonathan Hodgson and Gasparovich
  3. Trying to produce a version with some black humour in simple line and colour like Nuggets and Pencilmation.

My animation of Shadow

Black and white styles
Clear and simple story in diagrammatic white line on chalky background. The background is key to creating the atmosphere.
Artistic imaginative story. Flowing thin slightly stippled white line on textured black background.
Sand painting – uses tonal background. Effect could be replicated with sequential monoprint backgrounds.
Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis. Uses dramatic black shapes and line.
William Kentridge: sequential frames of additive and subtractive charcoal drawing.
Film technique
Jiri Trnka
Rein Ramat Estonia
Priit Parn First part stylisation
Brothers Quay use of light and music in Absentia

Hitchcock: Psycho Shower Scene

Selective use of colour
Andreas Hekade’s apparently very simple animation about addiction tells the story through progressive changes in tempo and colour – just white-grey-black and shades of yellow.
Jonathon Hodgson’s psychological narrative has voice overlay. But the drawing style and many of the animation techniques using lines and symbols could be used without words.
Jonathon Hodgson’s simple duotone drawing style uses sequential scenes, some of which have minimal movement apart from lopped ‘boiling’ with the main action being carried by the music. But each drawing is very powerful.
Ian Gouldstone’s Dog Piano uses a simple mask blended over the image to focus the area of interest on the action and give colour.
David Shrigley’s very bold use of a single coloured background is effective in focusing on the action of the black and white line. The background colour and content need to be very carefully chosen to fit the narrative.

Possible use of humour

There might be ways of using black humour, replicating some of the sound techniques and exaggeration in these rather stereotyped Pencilmation animations (don’t think they are tongue in cheek – how do I tell??)

Mixed technique
Zdenko Gasparovic Satiemania 1978.