Sketchbook Sundays: The Olympics feat. “Paranorman”

I have decided to start a new series of posts called, “Sketchbook Sundays.” Every Sunday, or for as many Sundays as possible since my hands are pretty busy animating these days, I will post a few pages from my sketchbook and share what I’ve been thinking about this week. I figure it’s good for me to take a break from working to process what I’ve been thinking of creatively in-between shooting frames and painting puppets, so flipping through the pages of my sketchbook will be a great way for me to show people what my creative process is looking like. For this Sunday’s post, I’m tying in my sketches with this weekend’s release of the new stop-motion film, ParaNorman, which was created by Laika Studios. Here we go!

Okay, before I begin this week’s Sketchbook Sundays post, can we just get this out of the way first: “PARANORMAN IS NOW IN THEATERS! I SAW IT, AND IT WAS AWESOME!” Cool? Okay, great. Thank-you for indulging me for a brief moment and sorry for the caps-lock.

Moving on, yeah, I saw ParaNorman this weekend and holy smokes, it was amazing. I’m not really much of a film critic so I’ll spare you a review peppered with thumbs going up and stars shooting through the roof. Let’s get to what I really know a lot about, competitive gymnastics.

I’m only kidding, though. I’m no expert on competitive gymnastics, but I’ve seen it on TV during the Olympics and wow, does it look like a challenge. While watching the competitions, a TV spot for ParaNorman played and I was so inspired by it:

As you can see, the movements made by the zombie puppet are just as perfect (save for the arm that fell off before the dismount) as the moves the gymnasts made in real life. I’ve actually tried animating a character moving on a pommel horse using traditional animation methods once, and it was nearly impossible. I can’t even imagine how precise the animators had to be, and it’s just incredible to me that people compete in this event during the Olympics.

After watching the tv spot, I was inspired to draw some quick gestures of the Olympians I saw while watching the Olympics on my TV. Here are some of my quick sketches from that night:

Quick gesture drawing of an Olympian performing on the parallel bars.

Some gestures of Olympians on the pommel horse during the men’s gymnastics competition telecast.

A gesture drawing of an Olympian performing a backflip.

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