Spotlight: Jade Evans and Catherine Prowse Winner’s Story

Over the next few months we will be sharing stories behind some of the winning projects from the 2017 Creative Conscience Awards. Up next are Jade Evans and Catherine Prowse, awarded bronze in the illustration & animation category.

Jade Evans and Catherine Prowse have just graduated from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Illustration Animation. Their project fuses an element of flair and craft with a topic they passionately care about, it impressed the judges and deservedly so won a bronze award. They have given us an insight into their creative process, talking us through their stop motion papercut animated documentary about the life of a Big Issue seller named Nicolas Lacatus. The project aims to give a voice to Big Issue sellers like Nicolas and others who are frequently ignored by the general public

“At University we were given a brief that asked us to discover an issue currently overlooked by the public, and shed light on it. After some initial researching, we were reminded of Nicolas, a Big Issue seller that Catherine saw every day at Baker Street. With the rise of poverty and homelessness in the UK, Big Issue sellers are being quite literally, overlooked by the British public as they avert their gaze from vendors like Nicolas.

Our ideas could only beginto developafter we conducted our interview with him right on Baker Street. He told us about the struggles of homelessness and trying to make an honest living, he also described to us an unprovoked assault from a complete stranger. What surprised us most however, was Nicolas’ enduring positive outlook on life. After everything that had happened to him in London, he still called it a “beautiful city”. He still loved talking to people, he still loved his job.

The original interview was about ten minutes long, which we cut down to around one minute and a half. With less than two weeks on this brief, from start to finish, we had to be resourceful with our concept. One part of this was its design. As both designers as well as animators, we knew how lengthy the process of designing could be. We had been considering the emotive effect of using the pages of Big Issue magazines that Nicolas sold, which is why we chose stop motion papercut animation. We also realised that this would save us a lot of time with the design. We had to relinquish our control over most of the design and allow the process to guide us. We had no real idea as to what the final animation would look like until we had finished cutting and filming. We were fortunate that the Big Issue contains very bold, colourful spreads that created sharp, striking images.

The process of creating stop motion papercut is quite time consuming. Once the storyboards have been fully developed, Jade would be filmed performing the action that we needed for a scene. This would be converted into single frames on Photoshop which would then be individually printed for rotoscoping. As we were using pages of the Big Issue magazine which are very saturated and opaque, we had to trace and cut out everything on tracing paper first and then use the transparent cut outs to cut from the magazine pages.

The response that we received from Nicolas was incredibly positive, with Big Issue featuring it in their magazine and of course, being given a Bronze award at the Creative Conscience awards. We hope that we were able to put a face and a story to a person that hundreds of people would avoid every single day and encourage people to support vendors like Nicolas who are able to remain so positive even through bleak circumstances.”