The Great 2014 Christmas Project • December 31, 2014

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Hey Everybody –

 

Christmas is over, and it’s time to get back into my studio routine. Between now and late spring I hope to manage quite a few new pictures of Paterson, NJ. It will be a push, with plenty of show & tell along the way. First though, I can at last tell you about the Great Logan 2014 Christmas Project! As with past projects, it was meant as a gift to my Sweetie from my sis (Kay) and me. In typical Logan fashion, our task became much more involved than we imagined.

 

Our plan was to animate segments of a wonderful poem Kay wrote for Reidun, in which a Norwegian hedgehog (named Amelia Hedgehart) is determined to learn how to fly. Though she has a very un-Nordic name, she’s as resolute as any viking critter ever. It’s a good thing too because she faces all sorts of drama and quite a bit of soul searching. She must accept that being different means that sometimes you’re a loner. There are moments of wonderous beauty, as well as the daring rescue of a wounded friend who would otherwise perish in the fierce arctic night. Need it be said that no hedgehog had ever ventured out thus before? Of course, no tale of this sort would be complete without a few trolls and hags, but there is also a cozy hibernaculum to come home to, with crazy quilts, comfy pillows, and a plenty of tasty grubs. What can I say, it’s an epic saga . . . and that should have been our first clue that we were taking on too much. Oh dear, you simply can’t make an animated, short-subject Oscar contender in a month. In fact, you can’t even get all the prep work done, let alone make sense of the software.

 

Our most exciting moment was when we managed to make Amelia blink. Yep, we did it – she takes about 3 steps, makes a little hop, waves her paw slowly and BLINKS THREE TIMES! Bliss.

 

Sadly, we don’t yet know how to get even that into a form we can show you. We hope to soon. Meanwhile, you and I can have some fun with still shots from the grand scheme!

 

Happy New Year one and all!

 

Your Buddy Bill —————————-

 

Amelia Hedgehart – Our Heroine.

She is really cute, and designed in layers to articulate very like a puppet. She can look up and down, straighten up or bend over, and all of her limbs move. She also has about 20 different eyes, which means she can throw us all sorts of looks! In an act of graphic daring, I decided to keep her in black & white, while the backgrounds she inhabits (you’ll see ’em in a sec) are in stunning color.

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Here is a chart that explains the alignment of Amelia’s different parts. I did it for my sis, to help her understand how everything fits together, pivots and moves.

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And this is Amelia’s selection of eyes. I actually stole them from a bunch of my owl drawings. Because they can be infinitely reshaped and fiddled with in Photoshop, I can give our little friend any expression she needs.

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Meet Torvald Haematopus Ostralegus, a Eurasian Oystercatcher.

Amelia hears him crying in the frigid night; a sound encompassing the very essence of sorrow and ill-fate. She finds him with a broken wing, which she sets. Obviously he can’t migrate, so Amelia leads him back to her hibernaculum (Norwegian hedgehogs always have very inviting ones). They pass the winter quite comfortably, sharing a deep appreciation for grubs and a passion for flying. Sadly, my Thorvald still needs legs and his wing, broken or otherwise. I must attend to it.

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Amelia’s World

I put together a very, very long panorama, made up almost entirely from 5 of my wife’s childhood drawings. One in particular, repeats over and over again, each time altered and colored differently. I’ve become so good at doing this (again in Photoshop) that it’s a sunshiny day where Amelia enters at the very left. As she (and we) progress towards the right, the world moves into sunset, dusk, night and finally moonlight at the far end, where the view opens up and Amelia has left the light on in her hibernaculum – which is unfurnished as of yet.

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These next pictures are snippets taken from left to right, so you get a good look at Amelia’s wonderful world, from her viewpoint. In Norway, hedgehogs are called pinnsvin (pronounced pins-veen). Isn’t that a great name?

AMELIA_B1AMELIA_B2AMELIA_B3AMELIA_B4AMELIA_B5

 

Meanwhile, Kay worked on this:

After hearing the soul-wrenching cry, Amelia sets out into the night, and eventually meets Thorvald. The Aurora Borealis (made of colorized, digitally altered versions of some of my drawings) puts on a breathtaking show. There is also a passing comet, but unfortunately, it looks too much like a crashing starship Enterprise, so I’m not gonna show it to you. Amelia struggles on, through the forest carnivorous, where at one point she encounters a very frightening night predator (one of my owls, turned wraith-like).

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Geez, we have so much to do if we want to finish even the segments we’ve begun. Perhaps we’ll find a little spare time amidst next year’s big projects. I kinda hope so.