I was drawn to “The Tempest” for the Royal Shakespeare Company Micro-short because of its fantasy genre. Upon reading the Tempest, the two characters that stood out to me most were Caliban and Ariel. In my animation, which will have a Scottish Celtic culture, I want to focus on their relationship that is hinted at in the book. From the dialogue between Prospero and Ariel in Act 1 we learn that Ariel was trapped in a tree by the witch Sycorax for a dozen years, during this time the witch died and left behind a deformed son named Caliban. Once freed by Prospero Ariel holds a grudge against Caliban for the horrible things his mother did to him.
I aim to portray this relationship in a playful manner. Set around the tree to pay homage to Ariel’s past, Caliban is resting on the job of carrying wood to Prospero, however is disturbed by a mischievous Ariel who plays tricks on him. The animation will end with Caliban finally catching the tiny spirit, there will be a moment of stillness when the two characters exchange meaningful looks, Ariel realising that Caliban is a gentle creature who means him no harm. Then they both go their separate ways.
With this idea I started my research at Richmond Park. I found lots of amazing trees there that were a perfect source of inspiration for the tree that Ariel was trapped in for years.
I like the textures of the bark of the old trees and may try drawing Caliban’s skin like this.
I also found some logs that inspired me to give Caliban horns.
This is my first sketch of Caliban and Ariel. I wanted to really play with the idea of Caliban’s deformity, giving him one huge powerful arm and the other arm being small and useless. I liked the look of him having just one horn on his head the opposite side of his larger arm, balancing him out a bit. Ariel will be tiny compared to him and the two characters will be complete opposites in attitude as well as size. Caliban will be slow and quite dumb, but gentle and Ariel will be really energetic and cheeky.