Computer Arts: Tell us about the project ...
Jonathan Mckee: The Walt Disney Company, in association with D&AD, asked young designers to 'create a lead character, with heart and optimism’ that could speak to 21st-century children – something fresh but also a workable concept for TV. The design needed to be infused with plenty of personality and enough depth to be a star. My response was Baku, a dreamcatcher who spends each night catching and eating a mischievous group of nightmares. Disney awarded the character design and animation first prize.
CA: How did you put the piece together?
JM: For this particular project, the creative process was very much: brief analysis, ideas generation, testing and animating. As this was a student brief, the entire project, from reading the brief to sending it off to Disney, was a total of about 15 days. That's five days planning, five painting the hundreds of set-pieces and five animating and mixing. The biggest challenge was the one minute time limit on the piece. That meant establishing the character, the concept, providing an interesting story, ending it in a satisfactory way and leavING the judges wanting more. It was a fine balance to strike but it really paid off.
CA: How did you get into animation?
JM: I got into design because my I used to watch a lot of animation as a child and then naturally gravitated to art in school. When I discovered people got paid to draw, it was a no-brainer. Plus my dad claimed he knew a designer with his own boat – to a bright-eyed ten-year-old, that sounded pretty good.
CA: How would you describe you style?
JM: I'd describe my style as that of a storyteller. In any of my animations or illustrations there's always a narrative going on, no matter how small it might be. My biggest source of inspiration is travelling. I've come up with more ideas from the people I've met and the places I've visited than from any blog or design talk. It has something to do with the vast array of characters you meet and the stories they tell. My winning idea for Disney was born in China, so there's the proof.
Check out more from Jonathan Mckee on his website, and see the full animation below.