9th November 2012
Ryan Woodward is an animator and a storyboard artist who has worked on live and animated films such as Space Jam, Spider-Man, Where the Wild Things Are, Ironman 2, and Cowboys and Aliens. He is currently working as a storyboard artist for the new Captain America 2 movie with is set to be release in 2014. Woodward also teaches storyboarding, figure drawing, visual development and animation at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, United States.
Since I was young I have always wanted to work with animated film and create animations, and this aspiration is similar to what Ryan Woodward once had. Though not many people know of him they will recognise the names of the films that he helped animate and storyboard. His animations and the style of his illustrations is the drive that will hopefully make me a better artist, and one day an animator. The style of this artwork inspires me, the raw sketch-like quality that his animation has that shows the early stages of what animators want their animations to show, making those imaginative ideas come to life of paper. It makes me want to create something similar that will amaze and inspire future artists.
I first discovered Ryan Woodward’s work in 2011 when he commission an animation for Google celebrating what would have been the 117th birthday of dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. At that point in time I didn’t realise who made the animation, just that I was astonished at how fluid and dramatic it was. It wasn’t until this year that I came upon another well-known piece of animation by Ryan Woodward during my animation rotation that I final found out who he was and what he was involve with.
There are two pieces of animation that I favour the most. The first one is a short trial animation called Dark Fairies. The animation show mythical figures rising up from the ground, moving and fighting. It has been created using monochrome colours and has no sound to it. I believe that, after looking at what movies Woodward has taken part in, that this animation is a tester for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman showing how the Dark Fairies would move. The reason that I enjoy watching this animation is that it is a simple, raw hand drawn animation that shows the skill and effort that the artist has put in. Even without sound I can imagine it within my head, the ‘swoosh’ sound whenever the figures move and the rustling of what I presume are leaves as they rise and fall.
The other is more well-known called Thoughts of You. The animation is part of Ryan Woodward’s personal project Conte Animation. The animation consists of two figures, one male and the other female dancing to the song World spins madly on by The Weepies. There are no cinematic movements, and the people in the animation are figure based, there is on facial expressions to convey emotion. It is done through the contemporary dance that the silhouettes perform. The short piece of film is 2 minutes long, has 24 frames per second and over 2 000 different drawings. The idea behind it was to show the emotions that come with an internal struggle; of miss and love, wanting to be somewhere but also somewhere else, being overwhelmed. Woodward had a professional choreographer choreograph the dance sequence with no input from him. He watched them dance and from that created the emotion and the fluid movement of the dance in his animation. Within in it Woodward placed personal symbols that had meaning to him but allows the audience to relate to it and take what they want from the piece. I find it interesting how he portrays emotion without the use of facial expressions and close-up that would be normality use within an animated film. I find that the music adds to that piece, the hopeful but also regretful feel add to what the artist was trying to do. I feel that music and the animation combined draws me into the piece, immersing you in the pure emotion that it portrays.
Ryan Woodward informs my work by simple showing me that an animation doesn’t have to have ‘fancy’ cinematic transitions, or be overly detailed, that a short simple one can be just as effective if not more. His work has awaken my passion for hand drawn animation that I had since childhood, rekindling the desire to create and draw animation and to explore its possibilities. The raw sketchiness gives the feeling of care and worth into the work that makes you sit there and marvel at the animation.