Saturday, 28 May 2011

Alices bad hair day

As the information from the book was limited I decided to conduct some research into the character Alice. From my research I found some important information regarding her age. I felt this was important as it would affect how I designed Alice.

The character has been said to be based on Alice Liddell, a child friend of Dodgson's. Dodgson said several times that his "little heroine" was not based on any real child, but was entirely fictional.[1] Alice is portrayed as a quaintly logical girl, sometimes even pedantic, especially with Humpty Dumpty in the second book. According to Through the Looking-Glass she is seven and a half years old, but seems to conduct herself like a somewhat older child. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland takes place on 4 May, Alice Liddell's birthday. Through the Looking-Glass takes place on 4 November, her half-birthday (and Alice states that she is "seven and a half exactly.")

I found out that alice was 7 years old in the part of the book I am basing my animation on. I think that if I make a very young character it may not be suitable for my target audience so I thought it was appropriate to make her appear a little older but keep her youthful appearence when designing the character.

Alice is popularly depicted with long blonde hair. Before I decided on this colour and style I decided I was going to make a moodboard on different girls hairstylesto help with my character design. I wanted the hairstyle to be suitable for an older alice but maintain the youthful appearence that was associated with the alice character so that it would still communicate the idea of "Alice" and still be suitable for my target audience (teenagers and adults).

After looking at these hairstyles it inspired me to sketch some ideas in pencil of different hairstyles.

I drew several styles including long, plaits, pigtails,short, bob ponytails, buns.

I thought that the most appropriate hairstyle for my alice character was the pig tails (above) as they looked youthful but they could also be worn by an older girl.

I decided to make a moodboard based on pigtails as I felt these the most appropriate style for my character, to help refine the design.

After looking at different styles of pigtail, I think some short pigtails would be most appropriate for my character.

These bigtails were more subtle than the big bushy ones from my last design and less comical looking which i feel would suit my character more as I want her to look realistic as this will appeal to my target audience.

now I had decided on the style it was time to decide on a colour most of the hairstyles in my moodboards were blonde, and the alice character in general is also depicted as a blonde, before i make any decisions for the colour i am going to experiment to see which colour is the most appropriate for my character based on what i think my target audience would appreciate.

I felt that the red colours were too firey for alices personality and the bright yellows and pinks were so bright, almost to a point were they looked fake. This kind of unnatural hair colour is commonly used for characters in animations with a very young target audience because it grabs there attention.

I thought that the blondes worked best as blonde is a youthful colour.


Before I make my decision about the hair colour I have decided to look at the hair colour of female characters from professional stop motion animations such as coaraline, wallace and gromit and the nightmare before christmas that all have a similar target audience to my own animation in progress. This way I can see if the professionals have made the hair fit the needs of the audience, if this is the case. Then I can decide how light or bright my characters hair should be to make sure that my character met the audience needs.

Primary research

Part of my research included me watching stop motion animations with a similar target audience to mine. I watched them to find examples of visual language that had been used in those films to help me find out what was suitable for my target audience. The visual language I was looking for in the examples where what colours where used and if there was any relation between use of colour and target audience. I researched this to help me solve a problem I had deciding on what colour hair my Alice character should have.

I looked at the hair colour of female characters from these stop motion animation films.
  • Coraline from the film Coraline
  • Sally from the film The nightmare before Christmas
  • Lady Tottington from the film Wallace and Gromit, the curse of the were rabbit.

Here are the original screen shots from all the films

Responding to the primary research

After I looked at examples of the hair of female characters from stop motion animations I put the pictures to together and made notes to see what comparisons they had, if any.

In response to this I discovered that the tone of the hair for female characters from stop motion animations with a similar target audience to mine was never a bright in your face colour it was always a subtle tone. Even lady tottintons hair which is the brightest of the 3 is not overly bright.
I used this information to help solve the problem I had with choosing a colour for Alices hair that would be appropriate for my target audience.
I used a subtle tone for alices hair based on what I learnt from this research.

In the stop motion animation coralline which would appeal to my target audience, her hair was blue but it was not in your face and bright but the shade was very subtle, it was almost a blue black.

In the stop motion animation the nightmare before christmas the character sally has red hair but this shade is also very subtle. I dont think this example is good to go by because half of the film had an overall dark feel to it.

The last example I found is of lady tottington from the stop motion animation Wallace and gromit the curse of the were rabbit. this characters hair is also red but its not overly bright, its brighter than the hair colours in the previous examples but i believe this is because this film has a wider audience although it could be appreciated by the target audience I am trying to appeal to.

This research has led me to the conclusion that a subtle colour would be more suitable for my target audience so I decided on a blonde colour that wasnt too bright or dark,

I am going to use a similar colour to this light blonde as it will suit the target audience as it is not to attention seeking like brighter colours it is more natural and real which is what i want from my character.

first of all for the hair I rolled out small quantitys of model magic and put them onto her head so that it resembled hair, I then painted it with accrylic paint when it had dried.

when i had finished the hair reminded me of the static hair or wendy out of bob the builder.

Although I thought the hair looked good I felt it didnt really meet the needs of the target audiance because the hair looked a little child like, It would have been ok like this but I was not happy.

I decided to look in a book about making stop-motion animation characters to see how
to make proper hair for the chracters.
I found an extract from the book. The complete animation guide.

This part of the book gave a detailed explanantion into how to make a wool wig for an animated character. I used the same technique except i used yellow wool to make the hair.

Here is the hair on my final model.

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