Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peter Pan Complex

You may or may not notice that I talk about silly little animation sketches that I make while taking a break from my serious animations. Well, you should know that what I mean by "serious" is that I have put a lot of time into planning everything out and making artistic choices and designing sets and lighting it well and editing it in programs like After Effects. (As opposed to animating on a whim, making things up as I go along, and editing in iMovie.)

One of my serious animations lately had been for my documentary class. All semester I've been working on what will eventually be a 3 minute long documentary on Peter Pan complexes. Now, this isn't your everyday Ken Burns documentary or photo essay. Not that there's anything wrong with those. My work just tends to be more whimsical than pans and zooms. So why should a documentary be any different? I did, after all, pick a whimsical topic.

So all of this time I have been working on this serious animation this week, here's what I've really been doing:

Serious, huh? Haha, I find it mildly funny that I go to college to play with toys. But there's something I find super relaxing about it. Usually, I open frame by frame or set up a tripod to do an animation sketch to get me "in the zone." After doing a small pixilation, it's a lot easier for me to think about movement one frame at a time. So then I turn on the lights and get to work!

Sometimes, I wonder what I would have said if someone told me when I was three years old that I would grow up to be an animator making things just like my favorite Sesame Street segments. I think 3 year old me would be ok with that!

So do I have a Peter Pan complex?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My favorite little artist.

I called home yesterday to talk to Mia about some ideas.

Me: Hi Beautiful!
Mia: Hi Michaela. What are you doing?
Me: I'm making an animation with the toys you let me borrow.
Mia: Oh! Michaela, guess what!
Me: What?
Mia: I'm an ARTIST!
Me: You are?
Mia: Yeah, Joey drew a picture, and then I drew a picture!
Me: Do you want to draw me a picture?
Mia: Yeah! Oh, and Michaela?
Me: Yeah?
Mia: What do you want to do when you come home?
Me: Um, we can make an animation.
Mia: Yeah, that sounds good.
Me: What do you want to do.
Mia: Um, make an animation and play castle.
Me: I'm good at playing castle.

What would I do without her?


1. My kindergarten drawing of Ariel;      2. Mia's 3 year old drawing of Ariel.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Daydream with Unicorn

Yes, I like this lighting much better than in the original photos. I think I'll try to do "warm up" animations like this for the next few days when I work on my documentary stop motion. Which I'm also pretty excited about.

I also like that the first song that popped into my head as a possibility lined up like a dream. Thank you, Ravel. You're rather wonderful.

And in case you were wondering, I am wearing four different floral patterns today. There are three different ones in my dress and another on my boots. The weather was rainy. I needed to wear something cheerful.

I plan on sewing more dresses like this one this summer. No, I didn't sew this one. (Do you really think I have time for sewing!? Well, next semester I will...more about that later.) Anyway, I love picking out fabric and making up patterns. And I more or less collect JoAnn coupons. And if Cleveland would let me, I would wear a dress with pockets every day of the week. (Yes, it has pockets, too! Didn't know that until I instinctively went to put my phone away this morning!)

Alright, now it's time for some "serious" stop motion animating. And by serious, I mean moving around Polly Pockets and Lincoln Logs and My Little Ponies and Legos.

Stuck in a daydream.

Sometimes I get in trouble in my English class for giggling about something I thought of. My thoughts wander rather frequently to worlds between cardboard forests and neverlands and somewhere over the rainbow. People aren't always so serious there.

I found that I had to wait on a few things before going back to work on animations for my documentary. So I took a breather and made an animation sketch. Mainly, I wanted to test out my remote and how it works for animations. Not bad, not bad at all.

I have to meet with a wonderful dancer about an animation collaboration right now. And afterwards, I will be working on my documentary. But somewhere between there, I believe I will put this animation on YouTube. It's all edited, but I took these stills into Photoshop and found that I like this look better than the natural light. So I think I may do some batch processing first. And then I will share it with you.

What do you daydream about?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Last night, I kept wondering why so many unlucky things happen to me lately, especially when I don't have time to deal with them. Besides my massive workload, I have to find summer jobs and internships. I have to find a new apartment. I don't think I'll have time to go home for Easter. My animation is taking forever to edit. And a semester's worth of work on my website is gone. But then I realized that sulking isn't going to get me anywhere. And I'm really rather fortunate in so many ways. So I restarted my website and worked into the wee hours of the morning. I slept a little, woke up, and started Holy Week with a few extra desperate prayers at mass. So now I'll continue working non-stop, as I always do. It's all I can do.

I also worked on animations for my documentary on Peter Pan complexes for about 7 hours today. I find it so relaxing to move things one frame at a time. It distracts me for a little while.

I stumbled upon the work of Charmaine Olivia today. I love her dreamy imagery. I love her use of boats and birds and delicate daisies.

Back to work? Of course. I'll start tomorrow off with cup of coffee and working a shift in the library. In the afternoon, I'm giving a stop motion demo in Sarah Paul's class. Then work, work, work for me.


As it turns out, I didn't have a copy of my website on my external harddrive. All of my work from all semester is gone. Except for everything I made in Photoshop. But all of my Flash work...gone. So I have been watching (well, listening to) Enchanted while starting over. It's not so bad. It's going faster this time.

I think my absolute favorite part of Enchanted, by the way, is the end credits. I wouldn't mind getting paid to do work like that. Especially if it involved animated princesses and unicorns and mermaids and castles. And working with music by Alan Menken.

Back to work. I'm stilling wearing my rainboots. They make me a little happier.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I worked on my website from 8am on. And I probably would have finished everything except the sketchbook pages by 10pm, so that I could move on to finishing editing my animations.


Flash had other plans. And around 8pm, decided to corrupt my file. I've tried everything. My back up copy on my external harddrive was last saved Thursday night (well, around 5am Friday morning).

It's ok. I took a shower and calmed down. I think I'll put on The Little Mermaid and start redoing everything. And I think I'll wear comfy sweatpants and my cute new rainboots. And I'll stay up until I'm done.

I've had awful luck lately. Hopefully that will turn around when we find out about scholarship results.

Here's something pretty. The music video for "I Sing I Swim" by Seabear.

I hope your luck has been better than mine lately.

Character Study

My foundation color teacher, Barbara Chira, just posted a link to this on Facebook and I had to share it right away. It made me giggle.

In case you were wondering about the anatomy of cartoon characters, Michael Paulus has done the work for you in his Character Study. I think my favorites are Dexter and the Bubbles. So silly!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Lately I've been feeling really overwhelmed with all of my projects. As it turns out, 18 credit hours is a lot when 4 out of the 6 classes are studio classes. I've been doing alright all semester. It's just crunch time right now. I'm working on final projects, applying for scholarships and internships, and looking for more ways to make money to pay the rent. It's a little exhausting, especially when you don't have time to stop and eat, or, say, when you're up til 5:30 in the  morning, take a nap, then get up at 7:15am to start again.

This morning was CIA's Honorary Scholarship Competition. We had to set up all of our pieces to be judged, leave, then pick them up later. So I spent all of last night worrying that my hard work wouldn't show through. But after setting everything up in my studio (and even Febreezing it!), I felt a lot better. Last year, I competed as well, and felt I had no chance when I saw the work of my peers all laid out, but I ended up winning one! I won't find out about this year until April 30, so until then, I wait, pray, and appreciate the fact that I had one for this year.

So after running errands (and grocery shopping!), I am taking it easy so I don't overwork (too late) myself too terribly. I'll be working on my website tonight, hopefully finishing it by Thursday. Then tomorrow I'll hopefully finish editing my 2 animation shoots I did so far, so that I can pass them off to the musician.

And I have a feeling this week will be a million times better & less stressful. Partly because it shouldn't snow anymore (really, Cleveland?). And party because I am prepared for the rain. While in Target today I finally replaced my rainboots with these lovelies by Liberty of London! All of my boots got a little too beat up this winter, so my 2 pairs of snow boots, and my old rain boots were all cracked so I would have wet feet for 17 hours a day. So now I don't have to worry about that!

By the way, I am in love with everything by Liberty of London at Target. They just make me wish CIA was offering a repeat pattern design class again.

If only they made umbrellas!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Behind the Scenes Photos!

In case you were curious what went into creating images like these for my animation, I have the answer for you! Now you can see the wonderful yellow ladder that left my legs feeling like Jello.

I have been incredibly busy lately and am drowning in work. Between trying to edit my little butt of and pass off the .mov files to a musician, oh, and getting portfolio pieces together and designing dvd covers and menus for scholarship competitions, I haven't had too much time to eat! But yesterday I had a wonderful dinner, and hopefully I will be caught up (sort of) by tomorrow afternoon.

I have been so dependent on this lovely little planner and realized that I can't carry on conversations about work without a death grip on it. Maybe I'll post one of my overwhelming To Do lists. And yes, there are more than one. All organized. Into categories. Because I have that many.

Ps. Photos were taken by Jeff Mancinetti, the same guy who duct taped & tied and otherwise secured my camera for shooting and made sure everything worked.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Starving Artist.

I think I'm about to have a nervous breakdown. I have to finish my big animation (see pictures here!). I have to shoot about 3 minutes of stop motion for my documentary. I have to finish my website. I have to start 3 minutes of animation (including some hand drawn rotoscoping) for a collaboration with a dancer. And I have an 8 page paper due in less than 4 weeks that I need to start doing research for.

I'm going to go get some food now. My first real meal in days. I don't have time to eat lately.

Here are some pretties that cheer me up.
This photo.

This birdcage.

This bicycle.

This dress.

This picnic.

& this collage.

Breath, Michaela. In. Out.