• Futile-devices-01

    Futile Devices

  • Futile-devices-02

    Futile Devices

  • Futile-devices-03

    Futile Devices

  • Futile-devices-06

    Futile Devices

  • Woop-01

    Woop Woop Chop

  • Woop-02

    Woop Woop Chop

  • Woop-04

    Woop Woop Chop

  • Woop-06

    Woop Woop Chop

  • Woop-gif

    Woop Woop Chop

  • Colorimetrie-02

    Colorimetrie

  • Colorimetrie-03

    Colorimetrie

  • Colorimetrie-04

    Colorimetrie

  • Colorimetrie-06

    Colorimetrie

  • Tchaikovsky-01

    Tchaikovsky No. 1

  • Tchaikovsky-02

    Tchaikovsky No. 1

Graphic Design

Student of the Month: Nicolas Ménard

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

Our animating, screen-printing, book-making Student of the Month is Nicolas Ménard. Currently studying a graphic design BA at the Université du Québec à Montréal, we loved his reduced yet characterful animations; with simple, happy spot colours that pull aesthetically from print-processes and are confidently re-interpreted into motion graphics.

“If I can screen print a frame of my animation,” he says “it’s a good sign that I’ve schematised my idea enough.” This attitude allows him to tackle a lot of outcomes, really embracing the opportunities being at university can offer. His technical ability lends rules and ideas to his aesthetics – like a book of colorimetry algorithms or the dynamic kickers for online space for Futile Devices, his (and his buddy Oliver Chank’s) space for experiments.

At the time of making/creating these projects, who or what was your biggest influence?

I often find the ideas for my projects in the vast possibilities and characteristics of a medium. For example, the Futile Devices look and feel came by accident while experimenting with deformers in Cinema 4D. I realised that while making minimalistic stuff in 3D, the top view were as interesting as the front view. So with one animation, you get six different results depending on which side you are looking. Woop woop chop’s characters low-fi printed look came from an attempt at imitating a silk screen feel with a laser printer. Experimentation is a big part of my creative process, so I’m always trying new tools to maintain my curiosity and get different results. I love the playfulness and cleverness behind Karel Martens, Paul Rand and Paul Cox’s designs. They are a big influence and that’s probably why I’m always working with solid colours!

What is the most valuable thing you have learnt at university to date?

Sharing and working with a lot of other students is an experience exclusive to school. It’s really hard to reproduce this kind of chemistry when working in a studio. You learn a lot by seeing how the others came up with a completely different idea for the same project.

What would you be doing now if you weren’t at Art School?

Before applying to university, I had the choice to work in a motion design team for a television company or keep learning while doing more personal work by making a BA. I took the second path, but otherwise I would probably be making slates and bumpers for various television channels.

Where are you making/creating most of your work?

I spend most of my time doing my work at home. Though I enjoy screen printing a lot, so I try to do as much prints as possible while I’m still at school!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on my BA’s final project, which is a short, non-narrative, animated film featuring small cars. The whole thing is drawn using crayons. It’s a lot of fun. You can check out the first artwork here.

If you’re still in education and would like to be considered for our Student of the Month feature, check out how to apply here.

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Animation View Archive

  1. Marc-and-emma-bts-itsnicethat-list

    Clicking onto Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels’ portfolio site is something like tentatively stepping into a fantasy world inhabited by felt miniatures. Having previously concocted this magical short about woollen wrestling puppets, the Ghent-based filmmaking duo is now back with a new and equally enchanting puppet creation, and this time it’s a sweet, tiny green gorilla.

  2. Universaleverything-sydneyoperahouse-itsnicethat-list

    It may be my former life as a hack but there’s something about the word “biggest” that always piques my interest. That said, ambition only gets you so far and you can’t sacrifice skill or style in a headlong rush for scale. With Universal Everything though, you needn’t worry. On Friday the studio created its largest projection to date, lighting up the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House with hand-drawn animations from 22 of the world’s best creatives. Every year the landmark commissions an artist to work on its curves and Matt Pyke and his team jumped at the chance to take on an opportunity that “epitomises everything we strive for.”

  3. Brian-wilson-california-inspires-me-its-nice-that-list-

    We didn’t really need an animation to tell us how much California has inspired The Beach Boys. But nonetheless, when a sweet, pencil-drawn Brian Wilson is telling us exactly why through a beautifully crafted animation by James Blagden, we’re certainly not complaining. Aside from obvious cues like songs called California Girls and the less well-received California Saga: California; the band is synonymous with surfing and the US West Coast, though as many a pub bore has been swift to point out, only one member of the band, Dennis, actually surfed. However, throughout the animation’s two-and-a-half minutes we do learn a lot. “I was listening to Rubber Soul one night and I was so blown away I went straight to my piano to start writing Pet Sounds. I was like outta my mind. And it took us an hour – only about an hour to write God Only Knows.”

  4. Lie

    In Chinese animator Lei Lei’s newest piece of work the words Missing One Player hint at something devastating – a world in which an incomplete group of Mahjong players, are waiting to find the missing person needed to play their tile-based board game as the earth hurtles towards an unnamed planet.

  5. Treat-studios-adultswim-idents-its-nice-that-list

    As anyone who’s seen pretty much anything to emerge from the Adult Swim network will testify, its output is pretty darned weird. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a help-I-feel-sick way, but perhaps that’s because I never have been and never will be a teenage boy. For its no-holds-barred bonkersness and gross-out mentality, it must surely be a dream for many animators to work for the brand. So Treat Studios, which has created the latest Adult Swim trailers, were understandably chuffed to be commissioned for the project “completely out of the blue.”

  6. Unnamed-1

    GIFs are just a part of life now, like shoes or the BBC. In a world overrun with these oddly satisfying little snippets of expression, the general vibe of GIFs so far has been leaning much more on the quantity level than the quality. When you find yourself scrolling cross-eyed through the internet and you come across GIFs with such delicate majesty such as these by Rebecca Mock, it hits you like a pixelated smack in the face. Rebecca is an illustrator from New York who creates exquisite digital illustrations for the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Medium among others. Her illustrations are subtle and somewhat tender moments represented in GIF form, un-showy and delicate. Sometimes the only thing moving in the whole image is a flashing light on a laptop, or the endless sideways scroll of an iPad. How refreshing to see someone leaping on this medium, and using it to illustrate the strange new digital world we’re in.

  7. Artandgraft-thewalk-itsnicethat-list

    I sometimes feel like animators have things pretty tough. There they are, working slavishly away until the wee hours of the morning making still imagery appear to move naturally and by the end of the day what do they have to show for it? About five seconds worth of footage. Gruelling stuff!

  8. Schooloflife-love-itsnicethat-list

    The School of Life’s raison d’etre is to develop emotional intelligence in its audience, meaning they’re experienced in being confrontational with philosophical thought. But their latest short film is even more challenging than we’ve come to expect. In it we’re told repeatedly that love is an illusion and we’re all painfully and unavoidably alone. Then just as the weight of this message sinks in we’re asked to forget about the whole thing and get on with our lives as we were. Emotional rollercoaster!

  9. Montypython-itsnicethat-main

    I had forgotten the majesty of The Galaxy Song until this morning when Stephen Hawking decided to cover it in honour of Monty Python’s stage show. The rascal has recorded his version of the beautifully written song which is accompanied by an endearingly shit little video featuring him on his wheelchair whizzing off into the cosmos as he sings.

  10. Beach-bums-itsnicethat-list

    Beach Bums by The Great Nordic Sword Fights is the kind of animation that should come with some kind of a warning – and not because it contains any illicit materials, just because it feels something like Spongebob Squarepants on acid. Created by director duo Ricky Jonsson Jr and Kristel Brinshot for an episode of American cable network Adult Swim’s Off the Air, it features a motley crew of hairy psychedelic creatures surfing wildly through a tropical ocean to a digital soundtrack by Groundislava, interrupted only by the pursuit of what might be a giant poo floating through the ocean.

  11. Hands-int-7-list

    Nicolas Herenstein’s Hands animation studio specialises in bright, bold vector animations, typically used for advertising and informing. Need to tell the world to get on social media for the duration of the Tour de France? Hands’ll do it. Want to encourage people to vote in the next election? Call Hands. Or maybe you’ve got a museum dedicated to the Olympics that you’d appreciate some visitors for. Not a problem; Hands has got it covered, and they’ll probably make your customers chuckle a bit too!

  12. Animade-propz-int-list

    “Ball sack!” reads the intro to this great new video for Animade, though it’s so gorgeous it didn’t even need something that puerile to lure us in. The film showcases the results of the studio’s Propz project, which sees it create an animation based around a prop suggested by the public. As such, the topics range from the pedestrian (fridges, shoelaces) to the surreal and phallic (wizard wand) and the rude – our aforementioned Ball Sack. All ten of the Propz pieces in one animation makes for a superb piece of work; charming, baffling, hilarious and utterly compelling. Our heart goes out to the sticky-taped cats at the end. We’re sure they’ll be just fine…

  13. Beakus-philippa-perry-int-list

    It’s been an impressive fortnight at Beakus HQ with great animations coming thick and fast from their team of directors. Last week we lapped up their exploration of the origins of the Magna Carta for the British Museum, in which Gergely Wootsch’s drawings were expertly combined with Terry Jones’ distinctive voice.