The Task
Conduct research on a topic of special interest and create an animated timeline of events within that research.
The Solution
The story of the "Golden Age of Piracy" in the early 18th century lent itself well to a narrative-based timeline. "Here Be Dragons" employs hand drawn illustrations reminiscent of 18th century lithograph prints and dramatic music to tell the story of a fascinating period of history.
Animation Stills

The entire animation takes place within a bulletin board decorated a map and other ephemera.

The title and subtitle are inside a scrollwork frame, similar to historical maps of the period.

Ships bob on the waves on the map while information appears next to them.

Key words in the captions are bolded for emphasis.

The Treaty of Utrecht was a turning point in the story, and is accompanied by a change in music in the animation.

A knife stabs into the board and a ship's sails turn black, signifying a turn of many sailors to piracy.

At the end, we can see the whole board again, as waves start to appear.

The waves wash away the objects on the board as the screen fades to blue, then black. 

Process Work

The original sketch for the motion graphic, involving a piece of string pinned to different parts of the board that the camera would then follow in chronological order.

Sketches done to define aesthetic and storyline.

More sketches to define aesthetic, particularly with lettering.

Final illustration of map, wall, and lantern.

Illustrations of various ephemera to be added to the wall.

Some of these illustrations made it into the final motion graphic, but not all of them did. 

Illustrations for the lantern and sword, among other things.

Illustration of the large ship and the frame for the title.

On the left/bottom of the page is the full text of the story. The sketch on the left has the overall image of the board with all the parts, and the rough storyboard on the right shows which parts of the board will be shown in what order.

This storyboard maps out how the camera will move through the story. Each blue box is a shot, numbered in order of how they will be shown. The green arrows show the direction the camera moves to get from one to the next.

Final Storyboard

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