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Eva Akesson brings the Black Shuck myth to 21st century

16 June 2017

Part of the Degree Show series

To celebrate the Degree Show, we're sharing the stories, inspirations and experiences of some of the 1000 students exhibiting the show. 

In this installment Eva Akesson shares her stop motion processes and undergraduate behind her dark comedy film 'Black Shuck'. 

If you visit the Illustration and Animation section of the Degree Show, you’ll be likely to spot Eva’s stop motion film ‘Black Shuck’ playing above her character models.

‘I’d previously done a stop motion project and has fallen in love with the method,’ commented Eva, ‘so I really wanted to explore the process of making a stop motion film in greater depth using the Stop Motion Suite Facilities in the School.

I wanted to craft characters that were humorous, that the audience would like and a narrative that was different, but contemporary in ways.

“Black Shuck” is intended to be a  black comedy, the name comes from the British folk legend of the demonic black dog that reigned terror across the Isles, but I bought the story into the modern day and instead he’s a black dog that likes to dress as a woman.’

Eva also discussed the lengthy stop motion process that has been popularised by studios such as Aardman: ‘it took a really long time film to film and it was really difficult doing it on my own, but I tried to make the best use of the methods I had observed from other stop motion animators and put them into practice. Such as, green screen, compositing and rigging the character with make-shift rigs made up of paint brushes, and post-edit effects…a lot goes into film making.’

Eva, like many students at the School took part in the cross-disciplinary module Unit X, which provided inspiration for her animation work.

‘In Unit X in second year, we worked with Manchester Museum’s insect archive and that promoted my interest in folk tales around animals,’ she explained.

‘It was also the project where I began crafting little puppets for stop motion after been inspired by Native American crafts.’

As well as working with Manchester Museum, Eva also gained further contacts and industry during her time at Manchester School of Art when she visited Peter Saunders from Mackinnon and Saunders (Puppet Makers for TV and film).

‘We discussed the love of puppet making and he showed me around the studios and talked about some of the methods they use to make their stop motion puppets for the industry. Methods that I intend to learn once I have more time. It was definitely worth getting an insight into the commercial industry that you don’t really get to see until it is at its final stage like a movie or advert’.

Eva’s advice for future students of creative students is to not ‘be afraid to cross over disciplines and test the boundaries, if you can access the different workshops then do so. A course full of people churning out the same thing is dull, so be different and set yourself a challenge.’

You can see Eva's work in our Degree Show until 21 June. To find out more about Eva's work, you can visit her website: