Bre Smith: Finding Artistic Inspiration in Music and D&D

My name is Bre Smith and I am a senior going for my BA in Studio Art. I have always wanted to be an animator, but through my schooling, I discovered my greatest joy is visual storytelling. The creation of characters, worlds, and the interactions and emotions explored through them is what I strive to do. It is what led me to create my project: a Picture Music Video (PMV).

A PMV is a mix between animation and comics, usually involving a song that best allows the plot of a story to progress. Over the summer, I am going to storyboard, paint, and edit together a music video to the song, “Father’s Lament” by Poor Man’s Poison. It is a song about a father who has gone through a rough time but despite it all, he wants his two sons to know he loves them both.

Bre Smith, Studio Art major
Phi Eta Sigma Undergraduate Research Award winner

Using the song, I would like to tell the story of three characters: a father who is a preacher, a son who left home young to become a knight, and a daughter who has developed magical powers. Over the course of the PMV, it will show through the father’s lens as his children grow away from him and the struggles he faces as they do over time. The conclusion will be a reunion of the family to the final line, “Just so you know, I love you both just the same.” The video will be 3 minutes and 50 seconds (the length of the full song) and arranged so that there are at least 27 digitally drawn images that correspond
to the 27 lines of the song. On each of the images, the lyrics of the song will be displayed but made to fit in the image more naturally, so it appears more in harmony with the image rather than appearing as overlaid lyrics. The overall aesthetic is medieval fantasy, and the texture will have a watercolor effect. The focus of an image will maintain clear black outlines as the backgrounds will lose a bit of focus. I plan to keep most of the colors in a warm color mid-tone range to give off an aged effect.

I plan to spend the first three weeks planning the full story and the corresponding storyboards for the and the next five drawing the individual scenes for the video in Clip Studio Paint. The final two weeks will be used to edit together the images to the lyrics of the song in Pinnacle Studio 25.

This PMV is inspired by characters that I created while playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). D&D is a role-playing tabletop game where you can create characters and give them their own backstories, names, and personalities. As the name implies, there are a lot of mythical elements to the story, such as magic, monsters, and celestial entities. The game allows a way to naturally develop and explore different stories. The father of the PMV is the father of a character I played. When I heard “Father’s Lament,” I could not help but wonder how her father saw the world through his eyes as his two children left to face danger and save the world. The PMV itself is an exploration of his character.

By the completion of the PMV, I hope to gain experience not only in developing stories and expressing them to an audience with mostly visual clues, but also in organizing and maintaining my own schedule to complete a work. Although I hope to work in animation, I also can see myself in comics, storyboards, and illustrations. No matter which avenue I take, this project will lead me to any of these careers.

The photos featured here are a few storyboards for the PMV with the corresponding lyrics that the images go with. Although they are laid out side by side, in the video they are more likely to appear as individual images in sequence.

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