Initial Ideas & Themes

I thought the best place to begin would be to start listing lots of film genres and themes which I could potentially base my animation around.

  • Action and adventure
  • Animation
  • Biopics
  • Bollywood
  • Comedy
  • Crime
  • Documentary
  • Drama
  • Family
  • Horror
  • Music documentary
  • Musicals
  • Period and historical
  • Romance
  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Short films
  • Sport
  • Thriller
  • War films
  • Westerns
  • World cinema


  • Birth
  • Death
  • Heroism
  • Escape
  • Love
  • Journey
  • Peace and war
  • Hope
  • Hopelessness
  • Bullying
  • Adventure
  • Betrayal
  • Power
  • Isolation
  • Fortune
  • Family
  • Sense of self
  • Stereotypes
  • Good and evil
  • Duty
  • Survival
  • Conformity
  • Individualism
  • Deception
  • Race relations
  • Suffering
  • Alienation
  • Loss
  • Discovery


Sci – fi – space, exploration, aliens, loneliness

One of my initial ideas was to explore a space themed cartoon genre to see whether I would enjoy animating sci-fi themed films like Wall-E. So the best place to start would be to research some primary research of some already existing work.

Astronaut-EVA 1893081r et outer-space wall_e_mac-1366x768 wall-e-wallpaper-wall-e-6412244-1280-10241

Just this small collection of images will help me a lot throughout my initial drawing stage of exploring the sci-fi theme. Looking at already existing work will also help me start thinking about some sort of narrative as well which will be crucial for a successful final animation.

I started by drawing various different types of astronauts in different styles to broaden my options and ideas.

spaceman concept

I then took elements of specific drawings which I preferred and then combined a handful of the elements to end with two separate ideas. This is an effective designing technique because it ensures the final character will have as many likeable qualities as possible.

spaceman concept 2

I then proceeded to explore different types of aliens in different styles. This will most likely be introduced late into the animation and provide the ‘problem’ in the plot for the protagonist to overcome or resolve.

alien concept

Then, just like the astronaut, I combined my favourite elements to create two separate aliens for me to chose from. If i do decide to continue in this theme one of these aliens probably represent what the final character will look like. Stereotypically the alien will most likely play the villain like ‘Alien vs. Predator’ but I could try an interesting twist to the plot my making the alien the unlikely hero (like ‘E.T.’) alien concept 2

Although I enjoyed exploring this theme I didn’t feel like this genre had much potential. I didn’t feel connected or excited about my drawings or where they could go. The sci-fi theme has been done a lot and it just felt exhausted and repetitive. I feel like a gained some better drawing techniques which will aid me later on in the project, apart from that I don’t think I’ll explore this genre further unless I suddenly feel inspired by something similar.

I thought I could further explore this theme in depth my painting some backgrounds in Photoshop. I thought this would be useful because I would start thinking about what the animation would look like if it had a realistic background.

Space - first try space 2

I downloaded some space themed Photoshop paintbrushes from the internet to quicken up production time and to make it look as realistic as possible. I thought these two pieces were successful because they’re both very immersive and atmospheric, they both have a real sense of the size and emptiness of space. However, as I’m too keen on this theme these backgrounds will probably never come to use. Nonetheless, I feel like I have learnt some new important technical skills which will undoubtedly come into use later on in the project.

Also created this small gif. of a spaceman flying past the camera to get a feel of what I could do with the genre. I have used Flash before but I definitely don’t know its full potential get as an animating program. I’ll have to brush up on my knowledge before I start tackling this final film.


War – generation gap, growth, journey.

I have a feeling that this genre has a lot a potential an would produce a really engaging end result. However, I have doubts about going through with this genre for the final design because I know this genre will be unquestionably difficult to animate and draw. The thought of animating (realistically) an entire battlefield with explosions and multiple moving characters would be an unrealistic challenge to put myself through. Taking into account my current animating abilities and my previous work I don’t think this would be a suitable task to set myself. However, I believe that I could explore some simpler possibilities within this genre which I could manage.

1-soldier 300_spartan 350px-Warrior_02_concept_art download future_soldier-wide image_tom_clancy_s_ghost_recon_future_soldier-18106-1982_0008

The smaller the amount of armour the easier designing and animating a character will be. So I have decided the best kind of warrior for me to animate would be a Spartan due to the fact they only carry a helmet, spear and shield.

Spartan growing up

I produced this work as a representation of what my final animation might look like if I decided to follow working with the genre. I used Photoshop to draw it and used various visual references as guides to make it as accurate as possible. As you can see it documents a spartan warrior growing up by focusing on key stages of his life. I also represented the stages by changing the materials his armour and weapons are made of. The reason why I decided to focus on the stages of a spartans life as opposed to the spartan simply on the battlefield is because animating a full on battlefield would take way to long for the time that I have. Instead I would focus on the emotional and physical changes the warrior would go through.

Adventure  – Woodland, forest, creatures.

My third idea would be to produce an animation which is set inside the woods or a forest. I want to personify some creatures that live inside the woods and tell the story of just one protagonist. I decided to look at images which would aid my imagination which is when I came across ‘The Wind in The Willows’. I felt like studying the book and the films would be a perfect place to start. I really think my final animation will be something set inside this theme. I feel inspired by the thought of following the narrative of a woodland creature and I’m looking forward to coming up with possibilities for my final film.

203080-Woodland_Sanctuary_Puzzle il_340x270.515659272_cy91 Morton_Arboretum_woodland sunny-woodland

I’d think about digitally painting a background as atmospheric as these photos. I feel that painting a beautiful background for my characters is crucial for making the animation as realistic and immersive as possible.

wind in the willows wiw

If I study the illustrations for Wind in the Willows I might begin to feel inspired for my own animation. I think if I follow a similar calming sort of narrative then I could shock the audience by throwing in some shocking twist at the end. This would have potential for humour and will make my animation more interesting.

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