Archive for the 'Animation' Category

Asian Carp

Two summers ago, I tried out fly fishing for the first time. Up until then, I had viewed fly fishing as some sort of lazy, privileged sport that old men do in retirement. I blame Freedom 55 commercials for that.

But, after a day-long introduction, guided by my friend Rob Cesta of Drift Outfitters, I saw the sport in a completely different light. Fly fishing wasn’t the same as simple bait and hook fishing: it was an art. And to acquire such an art and be successful at it, one had to possess a deep understanding of the complex ecosystems they were stepping their feet into.

flies

I learned that those Dr. Seuss-looking lures are actually handcrafted to mimic very season-specific prey, and like a puppet on a string, the fly fisher must maneuver it convincingly. It’s a dance that celebrates one’s awareness with their environment.

flyfishing2

Okay, so I got a little philosophical there, but it leads me to my next topic: The Asian Carp Invason.

“What is the Asian Carp invasion?” you might ask. Well, that was my same question when Art Director Steven Balaban of Evermaven contacted me concerning a public awareness video they were making on the topic. (The clients were the ROM and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada.)

After a simple YouTube search, I was horrified. There I saw the amount of damage this particular species of fish can have on entire lakes and waterways: nothing but carp and more carp, jumping every which way as boats motor through them.

It’s been a growing problem along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and sadly, those rivers eventually lead up to the Great Lakes. The only way we can help stop the invasion is to recognize the four species of invasive carp and report if we see them.

carp_paperfish

Here’s a process shot of the five species of carp I made for the video. Starting at the top and going down are the following: Bighead Carp, Common Carp (not a threat), Grass Carp, Black Carp and Silver Carp.

Below are some of the scenes I illustrated for the video. Thanks to animator Alan Osborne, these scenes were brought to life!

Here’s the video link: http://evermaven.com/portfolio/asian-carp/

evermaven_carpvideo

moose, marsh, heron

fishing, boat, asian carp

So, perhaps we should be a little more like my friend Rob, the fly fishing guide. Opening our eyes and being aware of the native species that share our environment just might help save them.

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How to make Kyle!

I’ve cut out a lot of sloths this past year. The one I created for this video was by far the most memorable, thanks to the mechanics involved in shooting a time-lapse.

Although a little hard to see, the photo below shows where the camera was situated above my desk. What is just outside of the frame, to the top right, is the large strobe we used for lighting. (Kevin is pictured setting up the laptop to receive the files as we shoot. Our two cats, Toy and Nori, are passing through, clearly unaware of the movie-making masterpiece we are about to create.)

Kyle Goes Alone, studio shot, video shoot, time-lapse, sloth video, how to make a sloth

The camera was programmed to shoot every 5 seconds and so coinciding with each shot came a blast of light from the strobe. That awareness of time passing in the form of strobes makes for a very interesting art-making experience. The pressure felt kind of similar to writing a high school exam with minutes ticking away.

Kyle Goes Alone, Owlkids, sloth, paper cut illustration, children's book illustration, Ashley Barron

People often ask me how long it takes to produce my art, and I never have a clear answer. Thanks to the mathematics of this shoot, I can confirm that this particular Kyle piece took just under two hours. (I had initially typed “half an hour” into this post before asking Kevin to confirm…that just demonstrates how flawed my memory is when it comes to this stuff!)

So thank you, Kevin, for making this time-lapse possible and for reminding me how long my art actually takes. And thank you to Allison MacLachlan and the rest of the Owlkids team for putting this video together to help promote Kyle Goes Alone.

If you want to see more videos like this, I suggest checking out Owlkid’s new hub for behind the book features called The Inside Track. It’s an especially great resource for teachers and librarians.
IT NEW

Year of the Otter

Last year around this time, I was finishing up the final artwork for Sizing Up Winter. The cover features a river otter slipping down a snowy slope into an icy pond, which is meant to be a close up of one of the inside spreads (pictured below).

sizing up winter otters in pond sliding swimming childrens book owlkids

It was a struggle to recreate the river otter’s likeness. Their colouring and proportions have to be just so, or else they end up looking more like seals or bears or groundhogs, even. After a handful of revisions and tweaks to the cover otter’s face and body, I was finally satisfied and all was completed and sent to the publisher.

I was far from done illustrating otters as you’ll see.

otter face closeup paper collage

Soon after, I found myself working on a third otter piece. This time it was a gift for my boyfriend, Kevin. Inspired by one of his otter drawings, I set out to recreate a similarly lush seaweed setting by recycling some paper greenery from a past project involving two goldfish (you can view it here).

It was pretty clear by now that I secretly enjoyed the trial and error process of recreating  this puzzle of an animal.

framed otter art succulent dragonfly paper collage illustration

The drawing I was referring to (pictured below) is titled Twists & Turns, and is one of many beautifully detailed napkin and coffee sleeve drawings that Kevin posts and writes about on his blog: http://kevindrawingonnapkins.com/

kevindrawingonnapkins_otter

otter process drawing sketchesA couple months later, and I was back on the otter track. I began working with Crush on another animation project, this time for Seattle’s Woodland Zoo.

My job was to stylize each of the featured zoo animals, giving them a simplified, geometrical, Charley Harper sort of look. Among the long list of animals to be drawn was the Asian Otter.

“Oh goody”, I remember thinking, as I was quite confident in the otter department by then. It was the quickest turn-around drawing I had ever made, and for good reason I guess. The lion cubs were another story!

Crush designer, Jullian Ablaza, would later transform each of my drawings into beautifully rendered vectorized art. (You can see an example of our process to the right.) Jullian did an amazing job with palette and pattern, and inspired me to consider using a little adobe illustrator in my future art projects (a skill I hadn’t quite mastered yet).

As well as designing some of the animals, animator Yoho Hang Yue, really brought everything to life! You can see for yourself in the final Woodland Zoo piece below.

So if 2013 was the year of the otter, I wonder what’s in store for 2014?

Emily’s Story

A couple months back I was given a rare opportunity to try my hand at set design and prop making, all with paper! Working alongside Crush’s talented animators: Julia Deakin, Yoho Yue, and Jullian Ablaza, and illustrator Flavia Lopez, I was introduced to the intricate world of stop-motion animation. The project was for Children’s Wish Foundation, and we were delighted to hear that the real Emily happily approved it.

So here I present you the final cut of “Emily’s Story”:

And here is “the making of”:

And on another happy note, the paper pineapple I made for the Hawaiian scene has found a new home in my fruit basket. He’s since made friends with the apple and doesn’t mind being sliced whenever I want to show him off.

paper sculpture pineapple


Hello

My name is Ashley Barron and I'm a Toronto based illustrator. This is my online show & tell of new artwork and anything else I find inspiring. Thanks for taking a look :)

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Grade fours, standing at the edge of their paper collaged pond. There’s a swamp monster sporting sunglasses somewhere in there. 😎 October’s been flying by and so has my IBBY residency at the @torontolibrary . There are still two workshops left, so feel free to join me! Location: Northern District Library (Yonge & Eglinton) ps it’s free! ✨ My little adventure cat. @adventurecatsorg Moth landing. 🛬 I met some super creative grade 6 and 7 students today. Together, we cut and pasted and created these technicolor collaged landscapes.✂️🌈☀️ I was searching through boxes of old stuff in preparation for last week’s “Unlocking Your Artistic Voice” workshop and came across this page I had doodled back in high school. Going to keep it on my bulletin board from now on. #anaisnin #anaisninquote Getting his greens. 🌱#catgrass My #motherofmillions is dropping her “babies” off left and right. Does anyone want some?