Scenography on paper

After I had a tutorial with Jonathan I started developing ideas for backgrounds. I have no idea why I wanted to keep it realistic, although, visually it wasn’t just it. The idea of creating a stage was interesting and I started thinking of theatre.

I looked at William Kentridge’s work, watched some interviews about his work, processes, theatre, performance… He is certainly one of the most inspiring artists today, but his processes and visual language are more than inspirational; exciting and breathtaking.

Process of thinking – this is how he explained animation.

Animated films can be a demonstration of how it makes into the world, rather than extraction of what world means.

There is a lot of uncertainty in his work, but using humour and self irony helps to understand the world.




So, I started thinking of scenery. I saw that using theatrical elements can help to gain more meaning, feelings, motion and drama. I want to use some sort of symbolism by using objects that could define place and create a certain mood. What objects can create drama, temptation, flirt, irony? Jonathan mentioned that if my characters would do some random repetitive action on a stage that would create a different mood, would create questions than just using real surroundings. So I gave it a go.




But before that, I had to take a look at Nathalie Djurberg’s work and remembered that I have a book full of screen shots of her animations. That gave me an understating of how to create a set, how to create a place.



I realized that it doesn’t have to be complicated or clear. But some details can be intriguing! Also, the idea of using a stage reminded me of theatre and it hit me; all stories can be based on the stage. Making three level stage or might be using the same on, just changing some objects.

Made these rough sketches:



I was drawing randomly from my head. A hot dog’s phallic shape adds more juiciness and might work better to define streetwalker.


sketch 3.jpg


I was thinking how many details I should leave to make it look like it is a public space, a cafe?


I decided to go palm plants in pots as it was a low budget play, but they needed to represent liveliness as it would be trees or so. Also, I thought of them, because they are becoming very popular and often seen at interior design magazines, blogs, social media and so on. It has become a fashion symbol. And I really enjoyed painting them. Would like to animate those plant later in the future.

However, I wasn’t sure about the cafe sign and awning. Is it relevant? And all objects looked a bit dull. I am not sure if black floor is necessary either.


sketch 5.jpg



And when I decided to remove awning, but leave a sign and a wall black with some scribbles all over. It reminded me of blackboard. I saw that it can be very beneficial for animation, as I can write some text or draw. Instead of awning I use an umbrella sticking from the back stage and the sign of the pavement can ask questions, which would change.


I made quick video collages to see how it works:






I enjoy how it looks, I feel that I’m getting closer. I still need to work on it, but this experiment opened my eyes and I see more possibilities what I can do.