CLAUS

BLOG

'Honda' Case Study


Howdy! I come to you again this fine Tuesday bearing a couple of new images from a recent booking at Brand New School in lovely Santa Monica, CA. I am able to bike to their studio when I work with them so I enjoy working with them very much. I'd enjoy it without the convenient bike to work, but it sure does help me enjoy it more.

Honda went to an agency in need of a couple new commercials for the Holidays. The agency then brainstormed a bit and went to BNS with the following concept: make a commercial like 'It's a Small World', the overly redundant and fantastically addictive/annoying ride in Disneyland.

This was right up my alley. I've been in love with most everything Disney since I began dreaming and drawing, which it turns out, was around a couple years old. My childhood/teen/young adult dream was to get my name into the credits of a Disney animated feature film. I've seen them all, can recite them all, and as I found out the other night as I waited in line at a particularly crowded spot out here in LALA land, I still remember every word to all the songs, as well. And am unafraid to entertain large groups of girls with that knowledge. Ahem.

But this dream of drawing for Disney, it turned into my parents' dream for me, too. They supported me as I went into art and then in art college, and even after college and that first year when I was jobless and wondering what the hell I did to myself, they were there.

And so still was the dream. 

I got a full-time gig back in Dallas in 2004 and through that studio, my dream came true in 2007, when I concepted on the beginning sequence of the Disney Film 'The Wild'. 

Name in the credits, parents cried, pictures were taken. We did it.

So, that's done, and now I work for myself and sometimes that work entails working on car commercials. Haha. They can't all be big screen jobs, I suppose. Smiley face. 

But this gig needed to look like the ride 'It's a Small World.' The creative director at BNS pulled some killer reference shots of the ride. 

Mary Blair, whom I've mentioned on here before, her art IS 'It's a Small World.' The shapes, colors, style. I took cues from her work, knowing that we had to toss in a realistic car and that the world still had to feel 'handmade.' Not 'handmade' as in animated, but 'handmade' as in the set-pieces needed to have a thickness to them, the people to have hinges in their joints and to be on tracks. The set had to feel constructed. 

I struggled with color on this one. I was all over the place. Moreso than usual. But I finally started to hone it in towards the end of a few days and what you see below is the resulting image.


I wanted to tell a little bit of a story, to show the client that as the journey progressed that we would see recurring characters, just like in my favorite Disneyland rides. So on the far left of the image we see a penguin helping another penguin out of the snow, a couple of deer, and a rabbit chasing a carrot. Then as our ride continues to the right we see the same rabbit still chasing the carrot and the two penguins now snowboarding. There are also three Honda employees dancing around a Honda as the Pandora radio installed in the car is pumping out some tunes. Again we see the deer, this time dark, blurry and in the FG.

Achieving depth was key. This is done by having larger, FG images blurred out and darker than the action they're in front of. Just like a short camera lens has a range of focus, so should this image's area of interest. We lose focus on items as they drop off and go back into space. We only want the main areas of interest to be in focus and for all color and shape to support your eye's movement around the frame.

Overall, I'm not the happiest with it. I think it communicates the idea and that's all I can hope to do with a style frame, but something is still missing for me. I doubt I'll ever know what that something is, but I'm done with it, and that's all that matters. 

After having done that one over the span of a couple days, I busted out the following image in a couple of hours. 


I didn't think about it when I was making it. I installed a technique I learned from an old baseball coach in T-Ball at Orwall in my hometown of The Woodlands, TX. That technique is 'GRIP IT AND RIP IT.' I am obsessed with that philosophy and carry it over to everything I do, especially the short videos I write, act in, and edit. Nothing will ever be perfect. It's best just to do it, get it done, then go back and tweak from there.

And that's that! I don't know if these won the gig for BNS, but I suppose I'll find out in a couple months if I turn on the TV and see the spot either in this style or not.

That's all for now. Bye!
Justin Claus HarderComment