Taken aback and delighted that my entry was selected again for this month's 11 Second Club! Below is the HD version as it appears on my Vimeo page.
I was not originally intending to do two competitions back to back, but when I heard December's audio clip of Pete Postlethwaite from Clash of the Titans, it conjured an almost instantaneous visual in my mind of a mountain goat. Something about the sad, wavering, almost braying quality of his dribbly baritone. A spark had been lit, and I immediately began gathering reference images and videos. The one that most captured the spirit I was going for is right here:
The feeling of an elder imparting wisdom upon a naive youth was a scenario that felt ripe for interpretation. Gandalf and Frodo, Obi-Wan and Luke, Merlin and Wart, Mufasa and Simba, Mystics and Gelflings, Doc and Marty, the Stag and Bambi - the list goes on. And along that same path, I'd never done sincere acting with quadrupeds before. So many new challenges about this assignment made it worthy of the energy expenditure for me.
An early digital concept and a sketchbook drawing of my first impressions of the audio:
As with my November entry Rendezvous, I treated this endeavor as a hypothetical proof of concept / animation test for a larger idea. The character designs and poses were explored before animating to a degree that would give foundation to the thumb-nailing process. Once I blocked in my thumbnail key poses relative to the layout, I tied them down and made changes to the character designs on the fly to streamline them, increase the appeal, and make the spacing issues come together.
Big cats are hard to draw, so I watched a lot of footage of mountain lions pacing, and really tried to absorb what is different about their anatomy from a mountain goat's, and what defines their personality in their movement. I really responded to how big and thick their limbs are, and how their midsections have a weighted, sagging quality. Their default expression is some combination of apathy, pride, malice, and voracity.