Saturday, August 25, 2007

Moth-er of Invention

Meet Yanu in his first character sketch. There'll be more soon...
Gah, haven't been here in ages due to book work. I stayed up late tonight to sketch the ol'mothera up. I had been worried about the Yanu character's bits (you know, his "hooha") since the beginning, some 14 years ago. How could I make an original, folktale animation that will likely be appealing on some level to child-type persons and have nude (sort-of) bodies I wondered to myself in a quandary. How could things like having exposed Yanu peenie possibly fit into a genre that normally attracts kids? Halfland would be un-classifiable, a real dilemma.

I knew I wasn't interested in altering what the film is in order to make it more palatable so I figured I tap dance when the time came and declare it, "A fabulous tale for the child in all of us---NO ONE ADMITTED UNDER 18". I also worried because I wasn't that keen to animate a regular, human willy, no offense to those so equipped. I had seen a very famous stop motionist's nude male puppet in action and found the whole enchilada a distraction. I kept saying, oh, that's an anatomically correct puppet! Ew?

The Halfland solution came to me the other day, as these things will. Yanu, the Mothman character, would have a very male genital-like feature (down there) via the body of an exotic moth. Green, smooth, wriggly caterpillars were a better visual match (surprisingly so) but the softly fuzzed moth tail seemed to embody the spirit of the thing and better reinforce the moth-as-man portrayal. The species chosen for Yanu sports extra appendage danglers to colorful effect.

There is persimmon colored pollen on his thighs and hair from his mothness getting mussed as he hunts through the forest with bow and arrow.


  1. Shelley!!!
    The Yanu and Tarn sketches are breathtaking!!!
    Can I order a print? or maybe when you sketch some more characters this way, I'll order a postcard set???
    ME LOVE!!!
    ME WANT!!!


    Back to Halfland, Maybe he should wear a leaf or idylicly placed plants on the set so as not to show his "Parts"!

    Animating this would be ... Gross i agree!!!

  3. WOW! Hila! These words from you are incredibly chuffing! (YES! I'll come up with something really nice for Halfland fans, painting print posters, something, in the right time.)

    Great idea, Ben, I'll use a leaf over Yanu's privates when I'm feeling the need for Halfland modesty!

  4. Hey, Hills, when you gonna tell everyone about your new shop with the gorgeous Maniera in a Box figurines you've been working on!? Post post post!

  5. Thanks Ben :D
    Shel, I just did. YaY!

  6. Wow Shelley, I was a bit stunned today when I cicked on your link!!! Wasn't expecting to see Fabio standing there nekkid!!!

    But seriously - hey, you're not making this for television broadcast, are you? Or trying to get it approved by bible belt PTA societies? Or the Moral Majority?

    So why on earth should you censor anything at all????

    Do exactly what feels right to YOU. I know censorship is so deeply culturally ingrained in all of us that we accept it as the way thing should be, but it's just not true. Fig leaves were never sculpted or painted on nudes.... they were added later by nervous church officials. So unless you plkan to submit Halfland to the networks for mass distribution - DON'T censor your vision.

    Ok, some of us might be a little uncomfpotable with swinging willies and such, but we can deal with it. It all depends on how it's handled (hey, quiet there in the back!) - I mean a dangler can be crude and rude, or it can be placid and non-distracting - it's all in how you handle it (Ok, I SAID quiet!!!!). So only do the Mothman thing if it really feels right to you. You don't need to have it wobbling about - THAT would make it distracting and imp[ossible to not laugh - just go with the Greek ideal, something almost child-sized and discreetly curled to the side.

  7. Hi Mikeeee, thanks for writing. It's good to get your take.

    I *was* worried--until I came up with this new moth body solution, now I'm very comfortable and happy with the willy outcome for this.

    As far as telle or other modes of placement for Halfland, you're right, my sole goals are independent worldwide digital distribution and art-related physical environments, such as like-minded galleries. So, what I make is literally no problem.

    I do want to consider the audience in this. I am making it entirely for myself period, end of story. It's just that after the work involved in making it I wouldn't mind sharing it with those that might also enjoy it.

  8. I had the same question with Adam and Eve, since nudity and embarrassment were essential to the story. For the carved puppet look I just didn't worry, but for the fleshy transformation it could have been an issue, they had to be adult... I didn't want to go too coy with always cropping the frame, and settled on a fairly wide shot for the full-frontal Adam. He's all there, but it's not confronting. (In reduced internet resolution it's about 2 pixels, but in HD there's more detail.) Mixed audiences for PAL resolution projection, including kids and their parents, didn't seem to be worried by it - no sniggering down the back or grim looks were apparent.

    Impressive illustration! But, I do find the character just a touch too photoreal or too human in the way you've painted him, compared to other characters so far. The Fabio element bothers me more than wobbling willies. (Though to be fair, possibly my reaction to a realistic good looking female would be quite different? Might be biassed against hunky blond blokes.)
    That look may change as he morphs into a puppet.
    Or maybe it's just me, and everyone can hurl wriggly caterpillars in my general direction.

  9. Mr. H, I can't thank you enough for talking about your thoughts when you made L'Animateur, such a brilliant piece--I just watched it yet again!

    Your comments on the illio are 100% right--nothing squishy coming your way!


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