Gian De Leon

Wheel Girl

Bachelor of Design 2D animation Anime Narrative

My project is a short 2D animation called "Wheel Girl." It is an exploration of expressionism in the design of a character's visual perception of their surroundings.

The events of Wheel Girl is set in the cities of Tokyo and New York. I wanted to make an animation that shared the sense of wonder people experience while overseas, as well as the appreciation for one's own country after returning. To this end, my project focuses on the design of the protagonist's visual perception of unfamiliar landmarks, and the appeal of their reactions to them. Originally, I wanted to have the protagonist go to a few more countries with the visual style changing based on her place of visit, but I had to scale down the narrative of the project to one that I could animate in the time given. Drawing in a style that I had never used before was a challenging aspect of the project, and I learned a lot while trying to come up with an approach for the backgrounds. Works like Enchanted (Joseph, Sonnenfeld, & Lima, 2007), and The Psychology of Culture Shock (Ward, Bochner, & Furnham, 2001) have been influential to the narrative, while decisions on the visual design of the animation were made with the support of texts such as The Animator’s Survival Kit (Williams, 2001), and Towards Cross-Cultural Believability in Character Design (Maldonado, & Hayes-Roth, 2004)