Mo-Graph Mentor

{Student Work} Class 01 : Lance Schmittling : Design for a Theme

In Class 1 : Introduction to Design & Animation we kick off the course with a design project. We call this first assignment, “Designing for a theme.”

The challenge is to start from a broad theme, and go develop 6 compositions plus 1 title frame.

Students have only 4 weeks to go from concept to completion. It’s an aggressive timeline, and we ask the students for a lot of development.

Lance Schmittling, Class 1, took this challenge head on and knocked it out of the park.

Lance’s mentor for Class 1 is Lucas Brooking of Buck, Sydney.


Lance’s concept is fun and tells a story. He brings us into¬†the world of a fish tank that sits in a Hawaiian diner.

His style is graphical and includes lots of subtle detail and use of textures.

He began, as we ask students to do, with some comprehensive pre-production and sketching to flesh out concepts before jumping into design software.

Lance worked hard in creating original characters and a world that was playful and detailed.

See his progression below.

Quote from the artist

“I chose a theme of 1960s Hawaiian airline posters for their geometric simplicity and color schemes. I wanted to illustrate an underwater scene of a fish happily swimming by other sea creatures and scenery. Once he got to the edge, he came face-to-face with a little boy and realized he’s not in the ocean rather in an aquarium, in a diner, on a Hawaiian beach.

I pushed my color palette and creature designs a little too far early on and ultimately reeled them back in. I didn’t feel like they fit my concept which is why I decided on a toned down color scheme and very geometric, simple shapes for foliage, creatures and scenery.

I’m very happy with how my frames turned out. I hadn’t used Photoshop to paint on top of my illustrations, and I think that added so much to my frames. You really get a sense of light coming into the water through simple brush strokes and texture. That technique that Lucas suggested was spot on and makes the frames pop.”

-Lance Schmittling (twitter : @lanceschmance)


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