Elsinore - Wooden Houses - Animated Music Video

Friday, October 9, 2009


I have been doing some sketches for the video. For our six-month anniversary my wonderful girlfriend Kinzie gave me a storyboard notebook made by Moleskine which I have been using for these sketches.

So, the video will be based on "The Three Little Pigs" but will veer quite a ways from the story and use it as sort of a frame. The video will center on the third pig and the wolf. At the beginning of the video, the pig leaves an apartment it has shared with the wolf and builds a wooden house. THe wolf discovers the pig has left and sets out in search of its companion, stopping at two houses inhabited by other pigs before finding the right one. They are reunited at the end of video. Also, to not drift to far from the intentions of the song, the characters' appearances will not be definitely animal or definitely human but be somewhere in between, human with animalistic features.  My first step is striking that balance and settling on character designs.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not very good at drawing. Lines tend not to go where I want them to. When I'm working in Adobe Illustrator I have the opportunity to adjust and tweak that which I have drawn by hand or to start with geometric shapes  and curves and use them as building blocks in order to get the end result I am looking for. So, these drawings may look bad in many cases but their purpose is to help me get concepts down and to hopefully improve my drawing ability.  In the end though the crappiness of my drawings should not end up in the finished product.

That said, I started with some sketches of the pig:

Here's the pig looking like Mr. Rogers.

The pig in profile looking evil. 

... and the pig looking like a turtle.

I wasn't thrilled with how these are going but I thought I'd try doing some storyboard type sketches. Here are the first two shots of the video:


The pig leaving his apartment with its suitcase. I'm going to try to include objects in the scenes that will make it look like the pig character has a curly tail without giving it a curly tail. In this scene for instance there is something sticking out of the suitcase. As the pig is building its house perhaps there will be something on its tool belt. In this opening scene the pig exits its apartment and onto an elevator.

Here we have the pig getting into a taxi in front of the apartment building which will take it to an empty lot where it will start building its house.

I decided to get more specific and draw a bunch of eyes. These are for the pig. these are all fairly similar but I found something I liked and worked on iterations of that.

While I was at it I figured I ought to do some Eye sketches for the wolf as well. I'm still not too happy with any of these.

Back to the pig:

I like this last one the best, though I expect I'll end up with some lesser amount of detail. I'm not crazy about how the head on sketch turned out. I may have all of the characters appear in profile all the times.

I'm also considering using a masking technique for the characters' clothing. The idea would be that the shapes of the clothing would reveal a stationary patter underneath. To illustrate this concept I put this very simple video together:

I can see how this could get to be too much very quickly but I've wanted to do something like this for a long time and I'm going to see how it looks.

I'm going to work on the wolf design next. I'm less sure of what I want to do with the wolf. Stay tuned.


  1. Ooh, I'm super crazy about the mini-animation. I think that could serve the video really well. And I agree -- the pig-man just doesn't look quite right from the full front view.

    My favorite drawings are actually the more simple ones. I think it would be interesting to explore an even more simplified version of the pig, only including what is absolutely necessary to convey the emotion of the time but little else.

    Nice work. Also, that notebook is pretty fancy. Kudos to your girlfriend...

  2. I decided to check in today on your are so creative and smart in your thinking. Not only is it a clever concept with the three little pig story but the textures and variations of your sketches are fabulous. I love that's what you are doing with your moleskin Kinz gave you. You both rock quite a lot...