Narratives of the Unconscious


This project was different to the others as the concept was handed to us on a platter. This was so uplifting to me it meant that I could get stuck in with a concept given to me (by myself of course). This was done through the mediation session, which was eye opening and I think I might use for other projects.

Molly drew my impressions of the unconscious and it was really interesting seeing how she interpreted what I was describing. I imagined a vast, desert scape with little in it but a cactus and sun lounger with a book – there was no feeling of heat just calm. During the meditation I went on a journey which mimicked a children’s fable. I chose the first section of it for my film. A little creature summons me to the cave, it is cool and dark there. The creature seems bothered by something and sits in a corner sobbing. However next he is offering me food and place to sit. We eat together and leave, he waves me good bye.


To understand a desert scape I went back to one of my favourite films PRISCILLA: QUEEN OF THE  DESERT. This film has great cinematography especially of deserts, I took screenshots while watching it. I wanted to create a similar contrast between character and the vast desert. The landscape itself lends itself to have a very bold and colourful character which I utilised.

I also watched the Documentary: The Sahara  while drawing and writing down notes to get in the zone. (these are in my sketchbook for the project)


I also looked into folktales as I felt like I was imagining a story that I had seen before. I found the story of the Kolobok or Little Round Bun. This mischievous Russian folktale tells the story of a little bun running away from its creator. I felt the face of the bun man was very similar to the face I was looking to create (See below).

I used this cheerful character to inspire my own plate face character.


I also found a really interesting story on The Djinn, a genie character who lives in desert sands and causes mayhem. They can be seen by humans but only when they choose to be, its said that they sing in the desert. The echoes against the sands travel for miles. This character seemed very similar to my own – he presented himself to me, not the other way round and while wanting me to follow him he was obviously a trickster.

This page from my sketchbook looks into The Dijnn trickster nature and how to avoid or lure them.


I have been obsessed with Paul Klee’s puppets for a while – I like the creepy mood they create, they seem ominous and all knowing. I believe that a lot of this is built on them being stock characters like Death. Furthermore, this is why I was keen on having a stock character behind my own character, this being the Dijjn.

As a quick turnaround from Paul Klee’s puppets I couldn’t forget to take a second look at The Moomins. They are a constant love of mine and I come back to them time and time again. I think it all surrounds their character design, their soft circular forms are wholesome and angelic even. I wanted to create a puppet with half of this feeling and half atmosphere.PUPPET EXHIBITION

My love of puppets doesn’t just stem from this project, I love the traditional storytelling feel surrounding them. So I wanted to do some more first hand research and visited Hove Museum for it’s puppet exhibition. The exhibition was everything I wanted it gave an up close and personal look at the workings and mechanics of the puppets. They were almost all by different artists so it gave you the opportunity to see a wide variety of puppetry. I loved this experience! and took a lot of inspiration from it. It made me consider using textiles as part of the puppet.


I wanted the set design to directly mimic the creature so used wool to create a blanket and lounger. To present the fact that I felt no heat will imagining despite being in a desert I used unconventional materials and you wouldn’t want to be wearing wool in a desert. I  think these worked really well. For a while I worried over what I could use for sand after a few trials and errors with using dirt (bad idea) I decided on cous cous it meant that you could see the individual grains and it also made a really good noise when walked on.

Below are two of my favourite pieces of set design. The stove was fully functional (and got very hot!) again it was an unconventional piece of furniture to have in a desert (although it does get extremely cold at night). I made it out of a lemonade can, I like the fact it’s recycled as I feel like that is something my character would do.

I also made some cactus’, I was going to use real cactus’ but I though this might cross the line from handmade to reality too much. So, I made some very abstract cactus’ which I was really proud of out of egg boxes and pins. These broke up from having too much of a crafty feel and gave really visually pleasing initial shots.

On my memory stick you can see the making of my characters head.

(without pupils my character looks extra creepy)


I wanted the character to be speechless apart from animal-like noises. (which I really enjoyed making) however during the imagination process I really felt like it was talking to me.  I wanted this to resonate also with the viewer – so thought of a non-direct way that the character could communicate.

I used the below screencaps as inspiration, although they were a very small thing I think they changed the feel of the video. It reminded me of a adventure game where you choose consequences.


As I began filming I considered what I was actually trying to get from this story. I hadn’t planned for an immediate effect. What was the punchline? It had an end and beginning but no fleshy parts in between. So I began storyboarding (see in portfolio case) and came up with the popcorn popping idea. I considered this through looking into Edgar Allen Poe’s interpretation of a short story. 

After reading this it became clear that to make this video work I had to condense the beginning, middle and end of a story into 2-3 minutes. To do this I made the popcorn popping scene very dramatic and used sounds and atmosphere to compliment this.



For my final outcomes I made three GIFS out of my stopmotion sections of the film. (You can view all three on my memory stick in folder Narratives of the Unconscious. I did this to sum up some of the atmosphere created in the film using just lighting and colour. I think the split between desert and cave is very interesting as the colours represent the heat and overall feel of the room.



During the crit for this project I discussed how I was displeased that I couldn’t show the vastness of the desert as my set was so small, this was my own mistake. Also despite all my research I consider form over function when it came to my puppet and didn’t really give it any ability to move apart  from flop (which I worked with). All of this aside I think the video turned out really well and this is mostly from my own enjoyment for it. I was eager to start this project and I think it shows as I moved quickly. I’m also from this project came another deeper look into character design and informed my children’s illustration style.

I feel like the character is the best part about the video. He is very fully formed,I think the mischievous nature comes through combined with the trickster in him. I think this was helped by his face and utilising sound.

I feel like it narrates the story well as it’s fully sequential to how I saw it. This was formed by my research into short stories and my background studying during A-Level media on stock characters and the theory of a story.


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