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Bloodlines: character development for illustration

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Bloodlines: character development for illustration

Leo Crane

Karina Posborg was artist in residence at The Animation Workshop alongside London Animation’s Leo Crane. As part of our guest blogger series, she shares the development of Bloodlines, a collection of illustrations produced for the Academy All Star exhibition at Pictoplasma, Berlin, last month. For more about Karina, please visit her website.

When I started Bloodlines, I had three characters and a topic: “The leap between daughterhood and motherhood”. I wanted to develop this transition from being an independent, individual woman crossing over to the deep connection with someone she has created who depends on her for survival, who then goes on to search for her own independence.

At the Pictoplasma Academy last October, I was encouraged to create a character and figure out what the character is about. This is the opposite of what I had learned for animation production, where you have a story and then figure out the characters you need to communicate it. At first the Pictoplasma approach was confusing to me, but I decided to embrace it and continue my project in this way.

I had just travelled through Japan and was influenced by the adventures I had experienced in this mind-blowing country. One of the first things that happened was that I got caught in a typhoon and this inspired the way the characters in the project are practically blown to pieces and these girls hover above ground in a world where gravity is unimportant.

The skinny ink lines were also something I started to work out when I was drawing in my sketchbooks on the trip, looking at Japanese artwork and approach to characters. When I returned to my residency at The Animation Workshop, it bothered me that I wasn't using the colour palettes I love, but I accepted that these characters work best with only two colour values and realised that I had discovered a new direction for my work.

I started to express the stages of the transition with morphing, entanglement and dissolving. This included mirroring the characters to suggest the way we try to keep descendants from repeating our flaws. I also explored how to show the hair and blood dripping with genetic material passed on by generations and many other details.

After the Pictoplasma exhibition the Austrian magazine FRANK invited me to create a collection of illustrations of the topic Freedom. I created a manifestation of freedom, the flobby cat-like creatures, who interact with my girl character, resembling different choices of freedom. I am still discovering the world of these characters and plan to unfold it further with more collections to come.