Ree Treweek – The Blackheart Gang

African artist and illustrator Ree Treweek, is part of The Blackheart Gang and production company Shy the Sun, a group of artists and animators working as a team. Together they have created countless characters set within intriguing stories, illustrations, videos, including the famous ‘The Beatles Rock Band’, and a United Airlines animation.

For this exercise I have chosen the story, ‘The Tale of How’, telling the tale a giant octopus named Otto, the ocean tyrant that hungrily devours dodos that live in the trees on his head. Nobody hears their desperate cries for help until they are close to extinction. In comes the hero of the story, a little mouse who saves the day. Well, instead of choosing the obvious hero as my character, I would like to pick the dodos. In a desperate attempt to save the last of the birds, it was a dodo’s clever idea to use whatever resources were available and risk using Otto’s ink to write notes and send them floating on their way in the treacherous ocean. Treweek and her team have created an entire community of dodos that appear frequently throughout their work.  The story also originated from a series of dodo characters that Ree drew.

Perhaps the success of this narrative, as well as it being an extraordinary production, be attributed to the characters in this story offering a sense of hope and new possibilities to many in this world that appear powerless in the face of tyranny.

In response to discussing this in terms of the design elements including line, shape, colour, texture, tone, scale, contrast and pattern, not only are the dodo superbly and intricately illustrated, they are clad with flowers and use leaves to fly and as disguises from the enormous Otto. They also have teeth in the singing beaks. I recommend watching the video to see for yourself. It is truly fantastic.

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