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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with illustrator Alice Loveday Dupre about making the video for Farmer and His Gun by Charlie Simpson

Illustrator Alice Loveday Dupre was commissioned to direct and create the video which accompanies Charlie Simpson's new single. She explains the process of animation in this fascinating interview.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Alice Loveday dupre Charlie Simpson Promo Still 01
Charlie Simpson – he of the chiselled jaw and big eyebrows – put his futuristic ‘triple breasted womenBusted days behind him long ago. He left in 2005 to be precise, now don’t that make you feel old?! Having moved through several musical incarnations since then, he has lately settled on a tuneful country folk inflected style that is best summed up in his latest single Farmer & His Gun. I absolutely adore the animation that accompanies this lilting ditty, so I got in touch with illustrator Alice Loveday Dupre to find out how she made it.

Charlie Simpson farmer and his gun single

Your lovely new video for Charlie Simpson was inspired by Watership Down – what was the full treatment idea, and why did you decide to look at this classic novel for inspiration? 
I really felt that the song lent itself to a story based piece so I looked at a lot of old style storybooks, such as Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh, because I was keen to use elements of these old layouts in the video. I really wanted to get the feeling that you are inside a book, so I played around with the framing and type as part of the animation: this was where the idea came about to incorporate the pages of the book into the story using stop motion. I always love mixing techniques in my work, so it was a natural process for me. Watership Down seemed like the perfect inspiration for the story of the lonely rabbit on his journey to find a better life.
 
Alice Loveday dupre Charlie Simpson Promo Still 02
What was it like working with Charlie?
Charlie was great and really involved throughout the whole process. We got introduced through a friend who I had worked with on another video.
 
Alice Loveday dupre Charlie Simpson Promo Still 03
How are the lyrics and sentiments of the music transferred into animation? Is it hard to time everything as you plan it initially? 
The lyrics were a big part of building the story. While I used Watership Down as inspiration for the overall structure and feel of the video, I adapted it to better suit the lyrics. The song speaks specifically about ‘being far away from you‘ and ‘my heart is empty‘, so I really wanted to turn it into a story about the rabbit on his quest for love. ‘Run rabbit run, from the farmer and his gun‘ was the other factor in the story, which inspired the bullet holes, and the series of mishaps that the rabbit comes across on his journey. The structure of the song really helps with planning all the timings out. I wanted each chorus to be when the rabbit is in trouble, because of the change of pace as well as the lyrics. In animation you have to do an animatic, which is basically a storyboard to the music, in order to know exactly where and when everything will happen. This is a really vital part of the process.
 
Alice Loveday dupre Charlie Simpson Promo Still 04
What inspires the medium that you chose to work with in illustration? What are your key tools when you start designing something?
I really enjoy exploring different mediums in my work, and playing around with bringing different elements together. I never want to do the same thing twice – I don’t really see the point. I always try to take each brief for what it is and create a style specifically to suit, but without losing my recognisable traits. I like surprising people, and just having fun with my work. 

Alice Loveday dupre Charlie Simpson Promo Still 05
Do you often work with musicians and if so who else have you worked with, or would like to work with in the future?
I’ve worked a lot with a great Aussie duo called Big Scary, and I did a promo for Iggy Pop and Ida Maria when I first started out in the industry. I love the creative freedom you get with music videos, and musicians themselves are creative people which I find really helps with the process.

Alice Loveday dupre Charlie Simpson Promo Still 06
As well as animation you also do illustration for print. How do you manage these two aspects of your working life and how do they complement and perhaps conflict with each other?
I find illustration and animation go hand in hand. I like to design my animations as if they are illustrations. I want to be able to pick out a frame of animation, and it be able to stand alone as an illustration.
 
What will you be working on next, do you have any exciting projects that you would like to share?
I am just finishing an advert for the charity Age UK. The piece is a stop motion animation made entirely from cake, in which we move through a series of scenarios to show how Age UK might be able to help you. It has been a really fun project so far and I have really enjoyed building each of the cake scenes. It will be aired on TV on Saturday (10th March) so look out!

See more of Alice Loveday Dupre‘s lovely work on her website here. The Farmer & His Gun EP will be released on 25th March 2012.

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