you might have seen glimpses of this assignment on my instagram. I had one particularly awesome class this semester that focused purely on art & technology. the entire course was project based, and tied together art and techy skills that can be used in a high school lesson plan. one of our larger assignments was an animation project. we could use any method we wanted: rotoscoping, hand drawn, claymation, or stop motion. knowing that I wanted to use my sort of illustrated style with hand drawn components, I decided to use a stop motion technique.
I knew from right at the start that I wanted to do something a bit more personal, or a topic I connected to. in the midst of planning, I stumbled into the story of brittany maynard. her heartbreaking situation hit home for me. here was a woman close to my age (and a teacher), who was diagnosed with an aggressive and terminal brain cancer.
she made the decision to pack up and move her entire family from california to oregon, so that she could have access to a death with dignity law. legal in only three states, this law allows mentally competent and terminally-ill adults voluntarily request and receive a prescription to hasten their death. brittany went public with her story, which brought new attention to the debate and a push for more death with dignity legislation in the u.s. on november 1st, 2014, brittany maynard ended her life in the privacy of her home, surrounded by family and loved ones.
watch the full animation below:
while the topic itself could be considered dark, I decided to take a lighter approach to it – as I find maynard’s story both courageous and educational. in the end it’s about having a choice, and for brittany it was a positive one – which is why I decided on a storybook feel for the drawings, colors, and music. every single element in the animation is hand drawn and hand painted. each scene is staged on painted backgrounds, and still photographs are taken while every piece is slightly moved. when all was said and done, I had nearly 700 still photographs that were then edited together to create the animation.
I absolutely love the completed video, as it is exactly how I envisioned it from my initial brainstorm. in class, we had a ‘film festival’ with award ballots and artist commentary. I’m stoked to report that ‘ascent’ took home best picture (along with most creative and best story) at our faux festival.
more importantly, for me the animation is warm, detailed, endearing, invokes emotion, and ultimately tells a story that I feel, should be told…
+ concept & artwork by roxanne coble
+ animation music by yesway ‘carried away’
+ special thank-you to J.R.S. who helped edit and brainstorm this project with me…
+ for more information on brittany’s story, and the compassion & choices campaign, visit the brittany fund website