For the past two years, I’ve been working on this character with more stops than starts. While creating this character for an animation, I was missing two major parts, a name and a plot. The only thing I had was the look. She didn’t have an identity but her presence was persistent. She lingered in the back of my mind like a ghost who I couldn’t place. The more I tried to force an identity the more her vision became distant.
All Things Synfig
She started as a scribble on paper while I was watching TV one day. I wanted to create a new character in a program that I started teaching myself. Synfig is a wonderful animation program that I’ve been watching for years as it has grown into a feasible software option for animation. The thought of having an open-source solution for 2-D animation is a dream come true. Over the years, I’ve tried not to rely on large software companies like Adobe for all my needs. Their software can do amazing feats, but many times artists are left out of the equation during development. Solutions like Inkscape have come along and surpassed Adobe Illustrator’s technology in many ways. By the looks of it, Synfig was also on the verge of the same. I wanted to be a part. First, I needed a character to animate and a system configured for Synfig. I decided to make the latter easy on myself and buy a cheap but effective laptop that I could use Synfig with the Linux OS. If I was going open source, I may as well go all the way. This experience has made me fall in love with Linux and no longer makes me feel completely trapped in an endless Apple cycle.
During the time I was doing this, I was directing a higher education program. It demanded a lot of my time and personal projects like my animation got sidelined. When I did have to time to sit down and create, I was too creatively exhausted. I decided that if I wanted to further my art, I would need to make a decision and break out on my own again. Over the past months since I left, it’s been a struggle to reinvest my energy. Giving myself some time to “play” helped me heal creatively.
As a result from my playtime, I was able to come up with an identity and plot for my character. Her name (drum roll please) is Misty Nikkers. She is a has-been/never-was cabaret singer in her 50s still trying to break out and be a star. Working as a graphic designer and having to reinvent myself with technology and technique, made me able to relate to this type of character. The graphic design field is young and you kind of top out by your late 30s unless you rise to the top or constantly evolve with the new technologies. Also, it’s a profession where a “fresh approach” is revered over experience. I watched my father deal with the same struggles in the 80s working as a engineer in the steel industry. The feelings of being past one’s prime are universal and I wanted to make something silly that would connect with people on a personal level.
The series of shorts that I’m creating are going to be called “The Undeniable Twilight of Misty Nikkers.” I’ll be posting my weekly progress on this site.