The Art of Take On Me – A Ha.

In 1981 Michael Patterson created a short animated film called Commuter, this was the genesis for the music video for the song “Take On Me” by A-Ha first released in 1984. The music video combined pencil sketching & live video and has been critically acclaimed for its ground breaking  results.

Patterson’s short was created using pencil sketches & created the impression of the movement of a character through a days travels.

The music video was made using a technique called Rotoscoping, first invented by Max Fleischer, which involved live tracing of an image to create animation. (Some of his works include Out of the Inkwell , Koko the Clown, & Betty Boop)



The drawing I have done is based on a scene in the music video of the 2 characters, separated by a mirror which I believe represents the barrier between their 2 worlds, and at a moment when, at the height of your fears, a single step forward can gain you everything.

I the facial areas difficult on both images, and found it hard to make them look natural.





I do like the technique of shading in the area behind the subject to isolate them. As I found in my earlier sketching tasks the shading can really bring something forward. Also, as this is meant to be from an animated live image I tried to add some motion using strokes on the outer edge of the image. I think it adds a little on the left but didn’t work out as well on the right.

Sketch taken from the music video to Take On Me, A-Ha.


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