3: Lines Talking 4: Transforming Tales In Process Narrative inspiration Visual Inspiration

Contemporary Western animation

NOTE: To be further analysed and added to and linked to in-depth discussion of selected animators and styles most relevant to development of my own short animations in 4: Transforming Tales. At that point there will be a detailed discussion of narrative techniques, use of humour vs use of shock/emotive/disturbing techniques.

· – for animation inspiration (eastern)

· – for animation inspiration (western)

Documentary narrative

Jonathan Hodgson

Commentary on life and narratives about mental illness, sexuality, cruelty and politics. Some of the animations are driven by voice-over narrative. But his very simple evocative style is carefully adapted to subject matter and uses drawing styles and animation techniques that I could experiment with in my own work.

See more on vimeo:

Dogs (1981) A man takes his dog for a walk in the park where they encounter other dogs and their owners. The film explores the relationship between a man and his dog highlighting their contrasting approaches to life. Worldess animation, originally 6mm film.
Menagerie (1984) is a wordless animation about the experience of the animals in living in captivity in London Zoo. The film was used by the charity Zoocheck to help promote their campaign for the protection of wild animals. The film was animated with pencil on paper and frosted cel and shot on 16mm film.
An example of his psychological narratives. The animation is driven by the voice narrative. But the evocative painterly style is something I could experiment with. A gang of kids find a strange house with an overgrown garden where they play. Only once do they meet the man who lives there, a dead-beat alcoholic with a free and easy spirit who welcomes them. The children see him as a romantic character in stark contrast to their neurotically house proud parents.
End of the Death Penalty 2012 spearheading Amnesty International’s campaign. Simple monochrome style with voiceover narrative about one Iranian lawyer’s fight to save juveniles from execution. Uses a combination of still backgrounds and moving figures, ending in photographs of actual people and events.
William Kentridge

South African artist who produces very evocative animations, often on political themes, from filming manipulated charcoal drawings. His additive and subtractive process could be replicated digitally in Procreate and other iPad painting apps.

Surreal narrative

Peter Millard

See movies on:

Produces short surreal animations in a child-like style with simple line and crayon/wash. Many of his animations depend on use of sound effects and have no words.

David Shrigley

British illustrator who has some of his comic narratives converted into animation. Although he relies a lot on voice narrative, his very direct and simplified cartoon style could be replicated in iPad animation.

Steve Cutts

Humorous animation about the history of ‘Man’ in the world. Complex Flash animation.

Amusing animation about tyranny and conformity. Quite complex Flash animation.

3D animation but basic idea could be translated into simple 2D style.


Baker Mark
Ross Bollinger

Pencilmation simple humorous Flash animation.

See You Tube channel:


From Google search on 2D and/or Flash animation

Visual abstraction

Oskar Fishinger

Oskar Wilhelm Fischinger (22 June 1900 – 31 January 1967) was a German-American abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter, notable for creating abstract musical animation many decades before the appearance of computer graphics and music videos. He created special effects for Fritz Lang’s 1929 Woman in the Moon, one of the first sci-fi rocket movies, and influenced Disney’s Fantasia. He made over 50 short films and painted around 800 canvases, many of which are in museums, galleries, and collections worldwide. Among his film works is Motion Painting No. 1 (1947).

Ian Gouldstone

Experimental conceptual animations using a range of techniques.

Two forms, a red ball and a yellow stick, rest in the silent darkness, then hover and morph with sound effects. Can I replicate this through a blended foreground in procreate to give atmosphere? Certainly later in Adobe Animate.
Use of front mask to contain and emphasise the motion. This could be done as a foreground in Procreate or added later in Adobe Animate.
Experimental film


See also scratch video
  • Death Valley Days: Secret Love by Gorilla Tapes 1984
  • Absence of Satan, George Barber, 1985 Comply, Emergency Broadcast Network, 1993 UygGnN0
  • Martin Arnold Passage à l’acte (1993) kill_a_mockingbird
  • A diary/travelogue film shot on super 16mm with differing frame rate transfers overlaid upon one another. –
Parada, Jerzy Kucia, 1986

A very evocative Polish black and white film animation about Harvest.

Uses variations in abstract framing, focus and timing to evoke memories and reflections.

Film grain, light and shadow plays evokes the time that has passed. Subtle monochrome colour shifts and selective colouring eg shirts of harvesters as the main things remembered.

Dreamlike reflections are produced through eg drawn/overlaid animation of birds.

Music and sound effects re-inforce the feelings of dreamy nostalgia, noise or threat.

Con Leche, Jordan Wolson, 2009

Animated cartoon of Diet Coke bottles filled up with milk. Shot on video in Detroit Michigan, the characters walk through the desolate streets in real video sometimes in groups and sometimes alone. The image wobbles, flips and turns inside of the video frame. 

A commercial voice over actress speaks from texts collected from the internet referencing identity, technology, memory and mortality most of which are personal accounts spoken in first person. Every few minutes Jordan Wolfson interrupts her giving basic formal instructions and adjustments distorting her tone, volume, and “sex”.

Wimshurst selection
Confusion Through Sand
Kairos Trailer by Studio La Cache
Film de Cube – Ecole la Poudrière
Good Books Metamorphosis
Delta Sleep – Afterimage music Video
Wednesday with Goddard
ROXY x Masanobu
Zed: Death Mark by Ryan Woodward

Snowman wordless.


Google images

Pig of Happiness

Love Monkey

The Lady and the Chocolate

Work with the Samaritans

Cloud of Loveliness

Beautiful thoughts

The Coffee of Joy

Let Us Be Lovely

Sheep of Destiny

3: Lines Talking In Process Visual Inspiration

African animation styles

Puppetlike stylised 2D animation. Some beautiful colourful, flat cut-out illustration, with characteristically African use of angular tapered line and geometric shapes and shading. Very little realistic character movement apart, mostly stiff limb movements and head turns. Much of the animation is produced by camera zooming and panning on still illustrations, sometimes multicamera, that may have some minor looped movement like hair or breathing. Some Strong gender stereotyped differentiation between women and men. Heavily dependent on crudely lip-synced dialogue. Seems to be done in Flash?

Cartoons for childrens education

African heritage and history

Storytelling through pages of a book from Guinea. These illusrations are beautiful though.
Kwame. Kenyan animation of Beauty and the Beast style animation. Bright brilliant colours. Most of the animation is like 2D puppet cutouts. Angular sex-stereotyped figures – big angular brawny men and small coy curvy women that flutter their eyelids and flirt. Uses light colour angular taper brush line art on dark skin shapes. A lot of camera moves. Comments from You Tube Kenya men and women viewers are very positive as authentically Kenyan.
Cosmic Xo from Ghana. Very short really funny – if it did not have a lot of truth – satire on the education system. Very simple direct animation style that is very dynamic, expressive and effective with just outline and shapes with sound effects and dialogue.
Ajebo toons from Nigeria. Cartoons for children. Has really stylised amusing characters – including girls and women who are strong and non-stereotyped.
By Home Team History an (unnamed) group of US? animators working on African history. The story of the woman founder of Burkina Faso. Disney style with stiff cut-out flat animation and US voiceover. Big hunky men and over-sexualised female heroine. A lot of camera work and still images. But many positive comments about African cartoon better than Disney and African women’s empowerment before colonialism.
By Home Team History. Similar Disney style, with huge chunky soldiers but less sexualised Queen.
A much too long drawn out story with sexist stereotyped characters. The animation is very crude and unconvincing dialogue – even the walk cycles look like figures sliding across the screen. But the childlike figure cutouts and stiltedness has a certain charm, and points to what can be achieved with very flat scenes, lots of looped animation and camera panning moves. Looks like it was done in Flash.
August House US. animation of traditional folk tales. Very colourful black line illustrations with interesting framing and square format. Character movement is used sparingly but quite fluid.
Raymond Okai, Nigerian animator.
Raymond Okai animation of Anansi story. Mostly a series of well composed, coloured stills with limited figure animation.
Martyna Majewska, a Polish animator.
3: Lines Talking In Process Visual Inspiration

Pakistani animation styles

styles and expression without noses

A cartoon In Urdu by SharoomkiSketchbook about the importance of having passion for one’s work. Has a lot of different character styles and ways of abstracting th3 figure.
3: Lines Talking In Process Visual Inspiration

Indian women’s empowerment cartoons

Animation in Hindi about the behefits of womem gettingva loan to buy a cow. Hanna Barbara productions.nwholecseries of Meena stories. Meena’s oarehts are un debt and her father says she will havevto be taken outbif school. They gobtobthe jarket to get a loan from a shopkeeper. Meena notices thaf thecshopkeeoer has put the loan for 18 years and not 8 years – cheating her father outbif a lot of money. Hecsays he wants her to carrybon a5 school. Her teachers suggesr they get a loan and buy a cow. And everything ends happily. Meena gets a bike.
An8mation witg English text about eatly marriage,
Animatuon in English about benefits of wonen getting loans and tra8n’bg gor handicrafts.
1: Research Assignments 3: Lines Talking In Process Visual Inspiration

Development agency concept illustrations and animations

Women’s empowerment


See Google searches on:

From agriprofocus


You Tube and Google searches on ‘women’s empowerment animations’ and ‘gender equality animations. Some of the You Tube viewer comments are also quite revealing – and shocking.

Amusing short textless animation for Social Europe about the inequalities in recognition of skills between women and men.
An overview for Trocaire of meanings and patterns of women’s participation and empowerment in DRC, Nicaragua and India. Shows variety between cultures. Argues we must address underlying inequalities between all women and all men, and between citizens and states. Voiceover and text are both in English, and seems to be aimed more at promotion to donor publics, rather than women in communities on the ground.
A comparison of the lives of two girls: Maritas who is the daughter of a teacher and gets secondary education and sex education and trains as a doctor. She is able to plan family and contribute to family and community. Cristina is from a poor family, her mother dies in childbirth, her father remarries and she is married off at 13 to a man three times her age. She contracts HIV and has a series of unplanned children. Argues Cristina should have had the chance to decide. Voiceover and text with supporting statistics and arguments in English.
Video for Pacific Community on causes of domestic violence in sex differences and stereotypes that are internalised by girls and boys from being very young, then translated into low pay and work opportunities reinforcing men’s feeling of power, leading then to violence. This is reinforced by the attitudes of church and police. Voiceover and simple text in English.
A Sketchnote cartoon by USAID. Apart from You Tube and USAID, it is not clear who the audience is.
Thinking Beyond Borders: India and US published May 2012
Through questions and stories from around the world, Thinking Beyond Borders gap year students examine the meaning of empowerment and it’s potential to create social impact.
About UN commitment to increasing women’s agency to control her life. Argues that the way to address global poverty is to empowerment women. All in English with lots of text. Promotion of a Christian training programme called ‘Imagine’, Empowerment Workshop.
Cartoon with animated English text, about global gender stereotypes in education and professions. By PowToons.
More artistic treatments for video competitions etc.
Artistic Sand Art on women’s empowerment.
Artistic cartoon about gender discrimination. Lots of simple animated English text and English voice over but interesting art style. For an Indian movie competition.
This has nice very simple white on black drawing. More arty than detailed concept. By Arcsoft Animation, India?
Artistic cartoon about gender and caste discrimination, with critique of Mahatma Gandhi’s attitudes to caste at the end. Driven by lots of paragraphs of animated English text and English voice over, symbols just illustrating this text. Created with PowToon for an Indian movie competition.
Cartoon of apparently random drawings of different aspects of women’s position as a card for International Women’s Day.

Violence Against Women