Friday, January 27, 2006


What a week! Remember last week everyone? The whole Disney/Pixar thing? If this isn't monumental I don't know what is. An animation artist running feature animation. I still can't get over it. I've read a lot of blogs where people say they can't sleep because of the news. They're just too excited. I have to admit...I'm in the same sleepless category. My mind is just freakin' out. I mean just look at these drawings below.

It just speaks volumes to me. So much character, so much appeal, so much attitude. So much life! With the new happenings at Disney, there are constant rumors about bringing back hand drawn animation. Most people in the industry are pessimists. "Ahhh, but 2d is so hard, I'm happy doing 3d." " I worked so hard just to turn the model around, in 3d you don't have to think about it."" My hand doesn't hurt anymore." " I get to go home earlier than I did in the past." I mean these are all valid points...but I guess I'm the only optimist. I love 3d and love working in the medium... but there are limitations sometimes. 2D will return, believe me. It has to. Just look at Timothy the Mouse again. If you're an animator you know what I'm talking about. When you see drawings like that, you just want to make them breathe and come to life! Now, I never worked on a feature 2d film, so I don't have much history there, but I did make four 2d films at school, and I know the struggle it is just to get that drawing right. But the feeling boys and girls! The feeling of creating something out of nothing! It's amazing! You're the modeler, the designer, (well, in some cases), the hair, cloth, simulator, and animator. You don't have to rely on Joe Shmoe upstairs to F up your blurred in-between or smear pose that you worked so hard on. And you don't have to worry about breaking the model. Maybe I just don't have all the freedom and resources that Pixar folks do. I don't know, I just know that every time I push a character really far, I have to make a number of calls to someone who says "That's the way the system's mathematical formula figures it out. There is nothing we can do. You don't want an ugly blur in that frame? Um, well, it's not that easy to just fix one frame. You see, the code that we're writing for that scene is blah blah blahditty blah..and it will take a week to render and ...duh duh blah doo doo blah" What!?? One frame can make all the difference! Just remove the ugliness from my shot please! Can you do that??! Ok ok ok woah...going on another rant. Just breathe....hooooo....hahhhhh.

One more time, just look at timothy the mouse again. Too much fun is waiting to begin and if we don't make a fuss about it I don't know who will.

Onto the posts!

So here are some Oldies but Goodie drawings. Oh, and one new one I did a few weeks ago. I found these in my old portfolio bag....basically just a bag of doodles and shmoodles that I thought would get me a job in the industry sooner or later. Since I haven't posted in awhile, I decided to just rummage through it and see what goodies to put up.

So this is Bailey Brent My friend, old Cal Arts roomate and current invader of Los Angeles. He's been working at EA up North by the bay and now he's returning to smog central. Welcome back Bailey, can't wait for you to make me your famous breakfast burritos. I'm telling you, start your day with a Bailey Burrito and you'll fall back asleep till 3 p.m. Yes, they are that good.

Here's a sketch I did for a painting. I did this while working towards that pirate painting I posted a few weeks back.

This is creepy green guy.
He really likes your liver.
If you pass right by him.
His smell will give you shivers.

I drew a lot in my Maya classes. Just couldn't sit still I guess. These drawings look very claustrophobic to me. Maybe it's because the 3d computer lab at cal arts is in the dungeon and has no windows and is painted a hideous grey color. I did learn how to pose characters in that class though, so I did get something out of it. Jeremy Cantor was my teacher. He's an awesome animator. Check him out here if you will. Jeremy Cantor.

Oh look! There's Bailey again! (wearing the earing.) And Michael Scroggins too! ( Man with goatee) And at the bottom we have Paul Linsley and Marina Valentina. Two exceptional artists. Check out Marina's children's book on her website. It's amazing.

Some Calartians in a favorite tool of mine. A black caligraphy marker.

These thumbnails were for my 3rd yr. film at Cal Arts. It was a film I half finished because it was the year I tried to make the "epic" film. Every student goes through this. You make a couple small films your first 2 years and here comes 3rd year and you're like, holy crap, I'm ready for a feature! So you start writing your feature with tons of locations, characters, and props, did I mention vehicles too? And you start boarding this epic , which takes longer than you think, because you're trying to make this enormous story work on all levels. Well, by the time you think you're ready to animate, the deadline approaches like a huge steam engine.

It says " Toot toot!"(Wait, that sounds like a tiny train, just imagine a really loud whistle and bell..) The train says "Times up! Gimme the film" And there you have it, an unfinished Epic film.

So a word of advice to all you student film makers out there who have just a few months to finish. Don't forget about that train, it approaches fast and steady and will knock you down. Keep things simple and clear and try to finish your story reel as early as possible. The audience is waiting for you...and that includes me.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What a Hoot

I had to work on Saturday. Working on Saturday's sucks..but not so much when you work in animation. C'mon man it's animation...cartoons! As you can tell I've been happy with my shots lately. I've got some pretty decent acting shots with Verne (the turtle) in Over the Hedge. COMING TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU IN MAY! Just had to add a plug in there.

Allright, time for a rant. You know what bugs me? Open hand gestures in dialogue scenes. The one's where a character is talking and both hands come out and their palms are facing the sky. You know what I'm talking about...t.v. animation does it constantly ( because it's easy to do and cheap). And there's sure a lot of it in a feature film coming out soon....I won't say which...but I think you know which one. I'm not saying humans don't do it...and sometimes it's even necessary for the point of the scene. But not 2 or 3 times in one scene! And evenly timed too! Ugh! Feh! Gross! When I see it I just cringe. Bad acting!It just screams to me..LAZY! Coming up with a good gesture takes time and planning and patience. You need to listen to that dialogue about 1000 times,act it out, and become that character. I don't care if the deadline for the scene is tomorrow. I'm going to try and make that scene top notch! For God's sake! It's gonna be seen all over the world! Not to mention being translated into 50 different languages. There are millions of more interesting things a character can do with his hands: Nervous gestures, playing with props, touching or scratching their face, even NOT moving their hands is more interesting! I guess I should post some examples to prove my point. The open hand gesture is just too easy....there's just too many possibilities out there. I watched Rescuers this weekend. Remember that little disney film from the 1970's? Bernard's acting is beautiful to watch. Now that's good acting.

I drew these owls awhile back and then played with them in Photoshop today. They were drawn with blue col-erase.

Here's a close-up.

While in Park City, Utah, I met an owl on my birthday. He's a star and his name is Hoot. He stars in the Harry Potter movies. No I did not get his autograph. Yes, I guess I'm owl crazy...and yes the owner of the owl looks like David Crosby from Crosby Stills and Nash.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to work. Now whistle.

I drew this in an animation meeting here at work. I guess my subconscious was taking over. Is this truly how I feel at meetings? Perhaps Jeremy ...perhaps.

These are from an old skethbook from cal arts. Just exploring faces and having a blast.

The airport is the greatest place to draw for facial studies. Millions of people just waiting around to be drawn.