'Essential Skills for the Kung Fu Master'

This is a project that I worked on during my degree in Animation at Salford University. It's probably clear from the rest of my illustration portfolio that I am a fan of Kung Fu movies, and although I mostly work on infographic or explainer type animations; I wanted to try something with a narrative.

My inspiration going into this project was Bill Plympton, and more specifically a series of character animations that he created in the 90s for the Nik Naks brand. I'd always been fascinated by cartoons and animations, but it was Bill Plympton that really inspired me when I first saw his work on Channel 4 - where I was first exposed to most of my passions.

In the Nik Naks advertisements, two men abuse each other in various painful ways that only through hand drawn animation could be playfully amusing. I wanted to create a short film based on this but in a kung fu environment, and so I came up with the idea of a student with his master. I had a number of storyboard ideas based on some of the skills that Shaolin monks have to learn, but in order for the audience to understand what was going on I decided to cut some of these out.

Initially the animation was intended to look very different, with the illustrations being drawn with a brush pen to give it the look of an old kung fu manual. However, I had spent quite a lot of time focusing on the storyboard until I felt that the story was right, and decided that it would push me past the deadline if I was to illustrate it this way. I would like to do another short some day featuring these two characters, and incorporating the original style that I had in mind for them.