Dance, prance and get a little goofy to Sheetal Thankey’s animated music video for Anjana Vasan
Inspired by the confidence and insecurities of her protagonist, Sheetal’s latest 2D animation is both fun and accessible for all.
- 11 January 2022
- Ayla Angelos
In the opening sequence of Anjana Vasan’s new music video, Talk To You, a blue-haired character jives across the screen to the sound of brassy trumpets. She starts moving and grooving, lunching and twisting to the unavoidably joyful melody. Anjana’s vocals are introduced, and the character begins responding to the lyrics – running her finger down a knife, licking it clean and putting a bit of lipstick on, for example. Animated and directed by Sheetal Thankey, the song takes us through an evening as the character dresses up for the night ahead, musing over a crush who’s supposedly out of her league.
“She was immediately drawn to my use of colour and thought I’d be ideal for Talk To You, as it’s an upbeat, playful song,” explains Sheetal, noting how Anjana first contacted her via email after stumbling across her work on Instagram. “After some email exchanges, we settled on the idea of a central character, named Tina, taking us on a journey of her getting ready for a night out with a lot of dancing and prancing about in her underwear.” Coupled with the fun scenes of a character moving instinctually to the music are the more anxious moments, where flashes of insecurities and nerves seem to get the better of her momentarily. However, these snippets are short lived, and are then “brushed or shaken off by sultry dancing which represents the sort of hairbrush dancing I did in my bedroom growing up, as I’m sure many others did too,” reveals Sheetal.
Drawn in 2D, the animation is synonymous with Sheetal’s wider body of work. She typically employs bashful palettes and light-hearted character design, all of which are seen doing their thing – like weight lifting, running or dancing – in front of a colourful backdrop. Talk To You is a perfect addition to the Birmingham-born and London-based illustrator’s rapidly expanding portfolio of playful drawings. It’s a style she’s refined over the years, having graduated from a BA in graphic design before realising her passion for her current field and taking to a post-grad course at Central Saint Martins.
In 2006, Sheetal plunged into the world of freelancing as a 2D animator, and ever since she’s worked across commercial, corporate and charity projects including a handful of children’s TV shows, the most notable being Cartoon Network’s The Amazing Work of Gumball and CBeebies Hey Duggee. In more recent years, Sheetal has mostly been working as a senior or lead animator on often fast-faced jobs with rapid turnarounds. “Since the pandemic, I’ve had more time to work and develop my own style,” she explains, consequently resulting in the animation for Anjana’s new video, Talk To You.
While devising the look and feel of the film, Sheetal wanted to emphasise the emotions of the protagonist; “about how one can feel unseen and invisible in life”. As such, the character was the focal point of the animation, which follows a woman who’s both “confident and bold” but also hides “her insecurities behind the boldness”, i.e. by sporting blue hair. “Humour was definitely key,” adds Sheetal, “and I wanted her to feel relatable, sexy and goofy.” By doing so, Sheetal decided to draw a more natural chest for her character, “with a slight droop (possibility wearing the wrong bra size, like many women do) and a sudden bounce when in motion, as that’s how I feel boobs move.” While briefing the cohort of animators who helped out on the project, Sheetal also asked them to offset the boobs to give the film a natural lag – not least a normal depiction of a body that the audience can relate to.
All in all, Talk To You is both engaging and accessible, and those who view it will be hard-pressed to find something – a scene or movement – they haven’t experienced themselves. “I want the audience to feel joy and have some bold colour in their lives,” says Sheetal. “If the video invokes goofy dancing or prancing around in your underwear, then even better; their Friday nights just got better!” So we challenge you, dear reader, to see if you can resist getting a little goofy which watching Talk To You. It’s near impossible.
GallerySheetal Thankey: Talk To You by Anjana Vasan (Copyright © Sheetal Thankey, 2022)
Sheetal Thankey: Talk To You by Anjana Vasan (Copyright © Sheetal Thankey, 2022)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.