Firstly a sickeningly self-congratulatory pat on the back for the Pixel Crush on reaching 20,000 views in total. Something a big internet site might do in less than a day, but still feels like an accomplishment for me.


Pre-production is the stage of a creative project where everything is iterative, fluid, and conceptual. It involves a lot of drawing, quick ideations of every aspect of the project. The props, the environments, the characters, the overall art style/direction, all need designs. Because without drawn designs modelling tends to get sucked into the quicksand of moribundity. The result of all this is that I've had to do a lot more drawing than I'm qualified for. In order to maintain some kind of consistency I made basic style guide that covers mostly form with only a brief mention of colour.

Style Guide

So I present to you a sample of my scribbles, reluctantly contorted from my mind and onto the digital page. Very reluctantly...

This is a cross section of Leonard's greenhouse and shed.

Here is the top down, I have drawn all the different levels going down into the ground too but there's no way of showing that without posting each layer as an individual image.

The symbolic Act plant that ties the structure of the story to nature's growth.

Here we have the Cathexis tree being fed:

Leonard looking like he's in a graphic novel...

...whilst he has a moment of vertigo.

The troubled intellectual. Now you know it's a student film.

Wrinkly and ponderous

Leonard writing in his journal, getting ready to document his legacy and store it in the Cathexis tree.
Today we presented the animatics in front of all the 3rd years and I got a whole 60 minutes or more of feedback and discussion, on the one hand this is worrying as there was a lot of confusion over even some of the basic plot elements. Luckily 75% of this will be cleared up when the whole thing manifests itself in three dimensions, replacing my vague and dodgy drawings. But the rest needs some tweaks and slight re-structuring.

The last bulb, Leonard's bulb. I keep calling them bulbs though now they are technically fruit as they hang from the tree instead of growing in the ground.

The fact I was up there for so long actually was really heartening that people had so much to say about how they interpreted the world of Kernel and that there was something of worth there that needed to be clarified for the audience. I actually went up there feeling terrified as my work attempted to communicate an idea for 4 minutes and as always you get the feeling that 'this is a direct reflection of me and therefore every criticism is of me as a person'.

As Leonard reaches the point of no return he discards the key to his shed.

But in the end it was very reassuring that people are trying to work it out, and care enough to do so. Some got it of the bat, some got the gist, some missed little details which they saw on the second (or third) play through, and I'm sure some missed the point altogether but hopefully still enjoyed the atmosphere and visuals. Even telling the basics of a story is so easy to get wrong. But I'm getting there, and the experience of chopping the idea and story up publicly has even spurred me to get back on the storyboarding to perfect what will (hopefully) be the final animatic. Dear god it better be the final animatic.
The remains of his existence as he sets out on a new adventure.
In case you were worried where the shinies were he is Leonard looking more gorgeous that ever:
Here is Leonard looking as wrinkly as a tortoise

I've just realised I have no Pixel Propaganda this time. How did that happen? I haven't been reading any less game analysis. Alas, I shall attempt to compensate for it soon, there are podcasts and collaborations to discuss after all...