One of the artists I’m studying is Japanese animator Masaaki Yuasa (湯浅 政明). Famous for his experimental approach, Yuasa’s animation is often characterized by heavy bodily distortion and dynamic camera motion. Last year, I bought his sketchbook—it’s fantastic!
Sketchbook for Animated Projects, Masaaki Yuasa
I was lucky enough to get a verbal interpretation of Yuasa’s comments about his creative process. Instead of going straight from script to storyboard, Yuasa first creates “image boards.” These seek to convey the strongest images Yuasa has in his head when he envisions the film he’s making, rather than tell a cohesive story.
Image Board for animated series Kaiba, Masaaki Yuasa
So, this month I adapted Yuasa’s process to make some image boards of my own, based on imagery that I associate with my own early anxieties about growing up.
This process led me my own childhood memories of digging up cicada pupae in the back yard, and the cicada nymph shells scattered around my childhood neighborhood. Riffing on this helped me to arrive at some images relevant to my protagonists’ anxieties.
I’m currently trying the cicada as a central metaphor, since it is much closer to my own associative images of teenage anxiety, and also has implications for bodily metamorphosis, chaos, and limbo.
PS. If you’re interested in buying the Yuasa sketchbook, there’s a great review of the book on HalcyonRealms.com, along with instructions on how to order from Amazon.jp.