51 – Character Design 04


We designed the little girl in a similar design of Zoe’s younger version because we want the silhouette of little girl can remind Zoe on her dream and her passion when she was young.




The mother design comes with more straight and angular body shape than Zoe, because she like other mother or parents in society, who want their children could work in a safer environment like them, or maybe in a better life.




Teacher’s design is more bigger and taller than Zoe, because we want a physical image to show that she is pressured by the society, which in this case teacher is an image represents “Society”.




Designed the boss with more angular shape and bigger body size, also another image of pressure that given by the society and big silhouette could made the big shadow impact on Zoe in animation.

50 – Character Design 03

At first, our bird doesn’t exist, when we discussed about the story, we want to hint audiences when we show the paintings that might be something that she wants to do.

So we chose a bird as a symbol and put into our paintings, because bird represents FREEDOM, our protagonist draws a lot birds in her painting because she wants freedom and she wants to draw so bad. So at least something in paintings are her dream and what she wants to do.





From treatments above, we mentioned that “BLUE BIRD” means a sign of happiness and lucky, it also means that something good is going to happen, that’s why we interpret into our paintings in animations.




48 – Character Design 01



Name: Zoe

Gender: Female

Species: Human

Likes: Drawing, painting, art materials, bright colours, dresses, dreaming

Dislikes: Being restricted, books, dark colours

A girl with a dream to be a successful painter when she grows up. From young, she has always loved drawing, painting, and creating. Her world was bright, seeing everything as her canvas. Unfortunately, her parents do not agree. They think that studying hard gives her a better future, hence forcing her to focus on her studies instead. Throughout the years, she struggles to find time to draw and pursue her dreams.


We named her as Zoe because Zoe is a girl’s name of Greek origin meaning “life”. As our narrative is going to show her life and her journey to pursue her dream, that’s why we choose to name her Zoe, and we hope that in the end of the film, she could go pursue the life that she wants to.



In the film, we won’t be putting any colours on her as she will be sketchy style anyways…


As she grows up, her clothes in wardrobe are getting desaturated and colourless, and in the end, her clothing colours will be more monotone, represents her colours already killed and lost along the way she grow up as an adult.

The choices of suit in her adult form is more monotone and contrast to her previous dresses, but maybe in the end of the film, she will take off her black suit, and return to her pure white dress, like the beginning of herself to pursue her dream again.



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Too much colour schemes, most of them having similar colour palettes but I just apply on different stage of Zoe, some colours seems work on her baby stage but some doesn’t work on her adult stage etc.

47 – Character Exploration 03

As DRESS is one of our main element to put into our short film, Lene them explored more on the variations of dresses and the flow of skirts as well.


We chose a more plain and straight designs as when she grows up, protagonist won’t be active as much as her child form, and she will be wearing long dress to her work or maybe for the rest of her life etc.

So we decided go towards design 1 as we still can play the movement of the dress while she is running or wind blowing to her dress.





The child form’s dresses will tend to be more colourful and saturated colours, because we want to show her cheerish and playful side of her, brighter colour also represent her innoccent child side that adult lost when they grow up.

At first we want to go to design the patterns on her dress, but we reject the idea because too much effort to render the skirt with complicated patterns on it. SC thinks the colour and the flow of dress is enough to show her innocent side.

46 – Character Exploration 02

Lene then proceed to explore more on variations of our protagonist, like hairstyles and faces or different face designs.


At first we chose the tiny little eyes design, because smaller eyes designs will be safer in showing expressions and emotions, but SC still preferred bigger eyes like how Glen Keane did. So we explore both faces in character’s poses.



In the end we proceed to the Disney-ish styles as it actually works better and well in showing the girl’s growth and her emotion changes along the narrative timelines.



Same goes to the elder ver which is protagonist’s teen version.

We still explore again and again to define which style works better in storytelling and animation.




Lastly we explore on the baby’s version, which is only on screen about 30 seconds *laughs



THIS WAS HILARIOUS but we still put into our treatment as a part of our exploration. 


As Lene explored more, I realised her style is ok but the proportions and anatomy is a bit too stiff for the character and the style we are going to. So I will be take care on her proportion later when she starts with the final character designs etc.

45 – Character Exploration 01


Messy sketches and exploration drawing below.


Lene, as our character designer, had a roughly idea on how’s the main protagonist gonna be, like the figures above shown.

but SC and me preferred her to explore more on the character variations and silhouettes. So, she explored tons of sketches, by draw them out with her non-dominant hand and blindfolded.


The sketches are totally fine and they are amazing *laugh hard

But SC preferred a more stable and stylized design to emphasis the realistic story line and log line in our film.

We chose a base and explore on different variations and colour palettes. We played with the colour stains on her dress as well, but since our story had no more colour stains elements to play again, so we just left these explorations as a part of pre-production.




All these exploration were done without any references, then Lene proceed to find more references to explore on more designs again.


We tried out different styles such as heavy line arts, light lines, lineless, sketchy styles, and exaggerated proportions. In the end, we still chose the design with Glen Keane style, Lene done a good job that she inputted her style into Glen Keane style, and it looks really well when both her style and Disney style mixed together.


SC then proceed used these few designs and tried out different lighting render. If we could apply these effects into our animation, it would looks high quality and visually interesting.


44 – Concept Sketches 02

Mostly concept sketches are done digitally, I tried to play with compositions and concepts as well.



From the picture above, I want to emphasis the mood when she passes by the drawing studio, and the happy and excitement that comes our from her eyes. I want to show that she is exciting and she wants to join the drawing class so much, mood are much brighter and warmer colours in this scene, to show the positive and passionate from protagonist.



But, as she grows up and now she becomes a working adult, even she want to join the art class but she doesn’t have much energy and motivation to proceed it anymore since she is exhausted and tired after the whole working day. The colour here are more cooler than the previous scene to show the contrast of her when she is young and present.



Scene where she is studying in the library, after school.


Scene where she is studying alone in classroom, while everyone else had got home or go somewhere, to show the solitude and quietness.


I proceed to draw out the picture below where a scene that she will be returning the paper drawing to the little girl that accidentally fell to protagonist. A night scene with cool colour, but lighting from the drawing studio (back lighting) will be warm and bright, as later when she goes into the drawing studio, we could bring out the meaning where she is walking towards her hope and continue pursue her dream as a painter.


Sketched ver.


Colour rendered version.

43 – Concept and Animation References


Our major references are from these few short films, especially “Duet” that done and animated by Glen Keane. We wants to show the fluid of life of our protagonist in our film, the animation and the sketchy style are our major influences and references as well.


“Cannon’s murder” also a very good film that portrayed the idea of soulless working life, as our serious theme references, the compositions and the morphing animation are our references that could put into our film as well.



“One Small Step”  compositions and colours are one of our references to apply on our film mood as well.


The two MVs above are more like the concept ideas and the painting dream idea, growth and painting frames also could be part of our animation too.


These few animated shorts are major inspirations and references to be used in our film, we hope that we could successfully apply the sequences and transitions not perfectly, but at least a smoother and nicer looking in our film.

42 – Concept Sketches 01

Before we proceed to the final storyboard (which is working in progress), I sketched out some concepts when we still discussing about our idea and transitions in the story, like the elements that we could put into the story, or about our main character herself.



Since we stick to the idea who she has a dream to become a painter / artist in her future, I sketched some pencil or art materials to show that she likes to draw, and that’s her motivation and represents as part of her dream.


Concepts from our original idea, that she will be lost in the forest etc. Wardrobe idea was sketched by me and coloured by SC in the previous post.

Along the way we designed and did sketches, we also figured out that we could input the young generation’s dream are killed by the adult and society, so we pointed up the idea with the salary man that walking with all the money flies out from his pocket, to emphasis the idea of being rich but stay with soulless life.


We also discussed on the idea that she can’t follow her dream and forced to be follow the “best dream” that defined by her parents. She only can study to please the parents, that made her can’t have extra time to do what she wants to do, and she only could study just to guarantee get a stable and good earning job in the future.

Right top panels are my personal favourite, where she can’t even choose on what she wear to school or go out, she needs to fulfill her parents’ mindset of being a good girl, from inside or outside the house.



The sketches here show how she struggles with all the expectations that given by the society and her family, she wants to escape (top left panel) but she couldn’t due to her capability, she can’t do anything but followed what’s the expectations to lead her to “better future”.



Sketches here are quite funny and interesting, if we could have more time to show on how the soulless and lifeless the society is, as she grows up to be a salary woman / office lady to work for money.

Top left and right panels are my personal favourite too, I inputted some Japanese culture as she will be eating cup noodle or she will go to drink alone in the Japanese bar after a long working day.


As the figure shown, we do not want our protagonist have physical health or disability, because that will change our theme and the meaning of the film. Having cancer or lost a hand, will make her draw more and yes, this will lead audiences to a more positive feels and motivations but that’s not what we wanted to achieve in our film .



Still some sketches that might use in the office scenes, she will be having lots of paper jobs to finish, scolded by her boss as she is late and slow in doing paper works, or some stuffs that might happen to put on her table, stationary or tons of folders etc.