The Goblins Battle is a short story in the style of an illustrated audio drama. It follows a young Goblin as he fights to defend his home from invading ogres.
Written, Illustrated and animated by me, voiced by my dear friend Laura Sophie Helbig. She also helped me with the translation into English. Thank you again, Sophie!
This project was released in February of 2018, but I thought it would be a nice topic for a new post. Especially since I plan on making more projects like this in the coming year.
Evolution of an idea
There was no idea or plan to create an illustrated audio drama initially. At first I drew the original drawings during my daily drawing challenge in 2017. I had no story at that point, since it evolved together with each new piece in the series. You can still find the original versions on my Instagram account.
I had those drawings around for almost a year. Back then I did not have much time for personal projects aside from the dailies, due to a long commute. But I had time to read while on the train and I found an interest in self-publishing (another creative construction sight.. (sigh) and thought, that this short story could be nice practice material on how to edit art for E-Books.
Over the course of 2017 I got to work, spending my rare free time on rewriting the story to make it more coherent and experimenting with layouts for Kindle fire. I decided against adding more drawings. They would have helped with the pacing of the story, but by this point I had no intention of publishing the edited story.
Once I had the images I asked myself, why not use these finished, formatted images as training material for After Effects?! I Love 2.5D animation, like Blizzard did for World of Warcraft and wanted to learn how to do that for years now. So I embarked on the next step for this idea, and animated the images in various forms.
In the end, I had a video closely resembling the final version you can watch above. Happy with the result, I send a private version of said video to family and friends.
One of those was Sophie. She liked the story and art and asked, if she could record herself voice acting the story. Her question planted the seed for the next, and final evolution for this idea into my head.
I thought“ yes… why not? Since it is already a video, having the story read to you sounds like a nice thing.!“ And since she’s a professional Actress and Voice Actress, I gladly said yes.
After the first version she had good feedback on the writing and together we improved on the script.
While editing the final version of the video, I had to change some timings to match her talking and change some transitions, the idea grew one last time. I added a few sound effects in some key points and an atmospheric sound in the background. First just for fun to see how this would feel. And it felt great! I spend a few more days searching for more fitting sounds through open source sound platforms, learned basics in Adobe audition in order to mix a few sound bites to create what I needed. And then, it was done.
The idea evolved several times over 2017 and by 19th February of 2017, I released it on you tube.
It’s crazy to look back on this and see how this idea evolved from quick, daily drawings that loosely build a story, to a project like I had never done before.
What would I do different?
Planing. A lot more planning. Since this project evolved naturally bit by bit, there are a lot of things that increased the work time or made animation harder. For future projects, should plan my shots and illustrations, so I can set them up layered. That way, I can create more complex animations in less time.
Starting with a storyboard. Since the base illustrations where done not with animation in mind, the pacing and flow of the story has its problems. That can easily fixed by starting with a storyboard and building the pacing of the story before starting the first, final illustration.
That’s about it I think. I guess I will learn more from future projects!
Rebirth of a passion:
Aside from having (finally) finished a project in years, the creation process of “ The Goblins Battle“, I made an important realisation. See. I’ve been struggling with myself and my creativity over the past couple of years. I had lost my drive, my interest in drawing almost completely. I was unhappy with professional life in gaming and did not now why I do this. Fun while drawing and working went away. Id did have ideas, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t follow them for other reasons I might go into in the future. The only thing keeping me going for a long time was, that I did not know what else to do with myself
While looking back on this project, it hit me. I had spent hours upon hours working without distracting thoughts. For the first time in years. I was „in the zone“ again. I had fun. Not only drawing, but writing, learning the software, directing the VO together with my friend, building the sound scape.
What was missing, was storytelling.
I remembered what initially made me draw as a child. I used to draw picture books and comics, where I could spend the whole day without moving, absorbed into the world I was creating. I could an can do this in my head, or with writing alone. That was, what was missing in the past years.
Alongside other things, this project help me make important decisions for both my personal and creative live. If these decisions have been good remains to be seen. But at least, I’m going in a directions finally content with.
A single, patchwork project has given me back, what I had lost. Since then, I’ve been writing a lot of short stories and ideas for picture books and of cause, more visual audio dramas! I’ve spent a lot of time learning more about writing, and the tools I need to create more, and better projects like The Goblins Battle.
Soon, I’ll be able to show you the next experiment!