Pavel Mishkin’s wobbly characters have made an appearance on a fair few occasions here at It’s Nice That. Lured in by his sepia-infused colour palette and charming figures, we were instantly drawn in by his painterly aesthetic and sweet narratives.
This year, Pavel has continued to impress us. Testing the boundaries of his artistic capabilities, the illustrator decided to venture into the realms of animation. “This is what I wanted to do,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It’s cool when your character starts to move and make some sounds.” As an organic extension of his illustrative work, within each video you will find his usual characters and wonderful accounts of daily life.
So far he has produced an animated ballet, a couple of models dancing under a bed sheet, a burglar with a “stolen windowpane” and a male figurine launching red balls from his mouth. Quaint and artful, each piece beckons with skill, perseverance and the craft of model-making. Well surprisingly, the process derives completely from the digital. “First of all, I make the sketch of the character, then I start to model it in 3D and make it move. And after that, the animation begins,” explains Pavel. “Here’s the important part: you should animate all the stuff like you are making the stop motion in the real world. It means you should make every frame, and in every frame you should put your doll (character) in the right pose. You don’t let the computer calculate the poses of your character in the frames, because it would look like a computer animation – without a natural and smooth movement, and so on.”
An interesting and impressive means of animating, to say the least. Although fooled by the absence of any actual stop motion or physical technique, the outcome is still fantastical and a method that amounts to full illusory effect. After deciphering the characters – or ‘dolls’ – and working on their movements, in comes the rendering. “When you have the animation it’s time to make a render,” says Pavel. “The capability of a render is incredible; it’s really hard to understand whether it’s a render or a photo. I’m trying very hard to make the render look like the real world.” Then, the final step is to “stick together” all of the rendering frames, add the sound, some effects and the animation is complete.
Thematically, it seems that dance plays an imperative roll throughout Pavel’s animation work. Whether it’s in form of a woman leaping on and off her sofa or the replication of ballet, movement is something that this animator grapples with in great succession. As for The Ballet, Pavel explains how he thought it “would be cool” to make a short film where the character can’t do anything other than dance – “we’ll see where that takes the character”. The result is an exquisite performance of a lady dancing her way into the night (quite literally).
While taking the plunge into animation, Pavel tells us how he was looking for someone who teaches classical animation “for a long time”. He found Richard Williams, a teacher and animator who directed Who Framed Roger Rabbit and wrote The Animator’s Survival Kit – “I highly recommend it for people who want to learn animation, it’s brilliant.”
Learning from a master and thus finding his niche in the industry, it’s clear that this was the right move for Pavel. Future plans behold a combination of illustrations and animations, “but I think my focus should be on the animation,” he says, “because in this format, you can introduce a lot of different things.”