Fundamentals of Graphic Communication





Character and Story Design

Evelyn Lee Barney


Basic concept for "Fred the Sub-Standard Poodle and Squirrel Nemesis"



Main Character:

Fred is a cream-colored standard poodle. He wears a bright red jacket. He is charming, friendly, and adores people. He has an almost, though not quite, feminine look. Fred tries very hard to be good - and is sad and ashamed when he fails. However, Fred has a problem. He has a serious squirrel addiction! Whenever Fred sees a squirrel, all his training leaves his fluffy head - and he's off like a rocket after the fuzzy-tailed thing.

Story Line:

Fred , who is 18 months old and therefore has a grownup body run by a puppy brain, is being put through his paces by his owner. You can't see her, except perhaps for the hand and the tip of her shoe. You can, however, hear her voice. Fred has been doing well today, and so the voice you hear is cheerful as it give commands such as "sit," "stand." "lie down." and "say hello." Fred is intent on obeying, until a squirrel comes into view. Fred turns his head, opens his eyes wide and readies for the chase. We hear his owner (less cheerful now) saying "NO! Fred! Watch ME!" Then, with a sudden move, Fred is off after the squirrel. The leash is pulled from his owner's hand, and her feet rise into the air as she is knocked off balance and falls. She shrieks. The Squirrel beats feet, with Fred after him. Both animals fun off the screen, and all that is left are the feet of the trainer, the background and a stream of vocal sounds that suggest very angry language.


Concept Sketches:

This was my first "concept" sketch for Fred the Sub-Standard Poodle. Drawing has not been my strong point. I've promised myself to learn to do simple cartooning.
Second sketch, somewhat simplified but still much too detailed for beginner animation.

A colored version of the same sketch, with the addition of some background and Nemesis the Squirrel.

Note to self: Don't use water-color on velum.


Body Model Sheets:

On the left is the body sheet for Fred. They are very rough sketches, still not actual cartoons, of Fred as he is around the house - or as close as I could come. On the right is the body concept sheet for Nemesis. You can see that I have started practicing basic cartoon style here.

Trying the heads and a body turn:
The honest-to-goodness real-life Fred!

First drawings of Fred done in Flash. He is almost four heads tall.




Fred on background.

I knew it was much too busy for a beginner's animation sequence (with a number of things that should move but were not built for animation). However, all I had in mind for this was a camera pan. What I didn't know was that taking it from Photoshop to Flash was going to get messy. Still, it was fun to do, and I will simplify the idea for Flash.

Fish and birds taken from ~ used according to license.