Well, here we are. This fifth post in a series about how to establish a journal habit and regime that sticks.
At its inception, My Neighbor Totoro, (1985), directed by Hayao Miyazaki, was just a little pencil sketch, perhaps similar to the one below. How did it gained traction as an animated film concept?
The beginning story line thread for My Neighbor Totoro grew from the proportional relationship between the large, plumpish Totoro against the small leaf shape on its head. Furthermore, there is the contrasting relationship of the small figure holding an umbrella next to the over-sized Totoro.
These characters, staged against the drizzly evening, make for an intriguing, dream-like image that poses many possible directions for a set of surrounding circumstances, social interaction, and dramatic tension.
The entire story was born out of that first sketch. I can only speculate how Miyazaki came to put these shapes together in such a way. It is such an interesting juxtaposition of shapes and ideas.
What are the ways to bring to the pages of our journal unusual graphic relationships to tease our mind and trigger new story ideas?
Each one of your journal pages has qualities from a particular space and time when you were working on it. Those pages you worked on this Winter… try putting together a few elements from those pages with a few page elements from last Summer. It can be a magical way to stimulate your thinking about a completely new story direction.
Secret #5: Spread Good Ideas Around
Migrate favorite designs from one page to other pages. In other words, redraw one of your favorite designs or doodles from one page and incorporate it somewhere into another journal page. Spread your good ideas around. Why are we doing this, exactly? We are recombining elements from different journal pages in new side-by-side relationships. It’s the new proximity between them that often alludes to completely new and different story themes and ideas.
But you have to be open to seeing and imagining new stories.
The general strategy: Make it easy to get started and sustain momentum in journal keeping.
A Throw Together Worth $100 million (so far).
My Neighbor Totoro, (1985), directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is still popular and sales are strong. It is interesting to note that this animated film was not adapted from a book. There was no written story. It’s a story that emerged on the drawing board. Some industry writers referred to it as a ‘throw together’.
Great stories can be crafted either way - verbally or non-verbally - but neither can achieve mastery if the fundamentals (such as proportion and juxtaposition) are not put to good use.
Hi, Chris here. I’m the author of the Artist's Kayak blog.
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