The story of a creative’s ups and downs is wholly universal. It’s something that all kinds of creative people, from typographers to ceramicists have experienced in some form, it is also a vast journey explored in Wacom’s new film, aptly titled The Creative Journey. Directed by Bat, a London-based studio founded by Bali Engel and Mat Landour, the one-and-a-half-minute animation charts an artist’s creative endeavour from its humble beginnings to eventual success with, of course, a few pitfalls along the way.
Created in collaboration with illustrators Rune Fisker, Jose Luis Agreda, Juan Barabani, not to mention Shan Jiang who made the final illustration, the recent animation was produced by Not To Scale. “We were lucky to be included quite early on alongside Dan O’Rourke and the agency,” Engel tells It’s Nice That, “and we built a rough storyline of a single shot sequence, a visual metaphor for one’s career.”
Visualising the creative career in six stages, the directors split the general creative trajectory as follows: getting your work out there, rejection, starting over, achieving the first successes, and finally, mastering the craft. At first, Engel and Landour thought to tackle the project through the point of view of an artist, but quickly decided against it. “We changed it to something more metaphorical, with an artist chasing his own creation,” says Landour, “an eagle changing shape with each chapter.”
Driving the narrative forward with graceful momentum, while keeping the viewer’s engagement close on its tail, the directors set out to keep the journey as relatable as possible. “We created abstract symbols, the biggest one is the eagle, flying freely, who later gets reborn like a phoenix.” Other symbols include a city signifying the creative industry, which appears distant and hard to reach at first, but as the eagle edges closer to it, the eagle manages to soar above it in the end.
Surprisingly, the animation was built backwards from Shan Jiang’s illustration shown at the end. “The illustration was very complex, so we worked backwards and stripped down elements more and more until we arrived at the first chapter,” says Engel. In turn, the directors had a short turnover for the project, seeking the help of a CG animator to help with the overall rhythm of the film before jumping into animating. “It was important for the animations to be seamless so the change of style wouldn’t be too jarring,” adds Landour, “neither too quick nor too slow.”
Honoured to be showcasing the graphic potential of Wacom, a staple piece of equipment in the creative community, Engel, Landour and all the other collaborators involved wholeheartedly demonstrate the versatility of the tool. Accommodating to a wide range of artists, it’s a product that has followed many creatives on their pursuit for excellence, whatever the discipline.
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.