Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Captain of My Soul

After many long hours and several heart attacks, it is finally done.

Meet Capt. Elliot Bragg, the hero of / inspiration for Project Skybound.

Lion Portrait Final
This painting is fairly important to me. It feels like the first major step after years and years of just dreaming about making art. I'm slowly waking up to the hope that - perhaps, possibly, maybe - there's still enough room in this world to create, and I could spend my life doing it.
'...I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.'
- Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Film Study - #1

Film freeze framing was recommended to me as another main way to improve. Here are my first attempts at in-depth studies.

The original images are all from Hayao Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away'.
I decided to focus mainly on value composition and look for the major design elements. This was relatively simple. It's like a word search puzzle. You have a list of what you're looking for, and it's not difficult to find them if you have some time.

The hard part was trying to understand the point of the composition - the abstract ideas that made it work, and how the design elements interacted to produce a certain reaction. Or continuing with the metaphor, how to make a sentence out of those words you find.

Again I tried to make my own based off what I thought was right. This time Jose told me to abstract even more, keeping the same composition, but changing subject, theme, and figures. Not going to lie, this made my brain hurt like a motherfucker.


For this one, I thought the major idea was how to add unease to a calm setting . The scene is when Chihiro senses something weird about the town. The imbalance of the dark shadow shapes on the right and the empty openness of the street gives you an eerie vibe. My version was a fortress wall facing some kind of oncoming darkness - a growing forest perhaps.


This one was mainly the variety in the shapes and placement of light sources, giving the whole thing sense of busyness and life. My take was a man looking up at the skyscrapers of the city around him, with windows  and flying cars providing variety.

Studies_03This last one was the use of framing, with all elements pinpointing the exact place you're supposed to look. My take was of a priest approaching the inner sanctum of a temple, where a relic or person awaits him.

I really don't know if I'm doing this right and if I'm learning what I'm supposed to be learning. Regardless, I'll keep chipping away at it.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Master Study - #1

My first attempt at a master study.
The original Image is Frank Frazetta's Silver Warrior.

For each study, I broke it down into individual components.

Gesture + Perspective

ff-silverwarrior study -_0006_Gesture
Design + Composition
ff-silverwarrior study -_0005_Gesture
Value Study
ff-silverwarrior study -_0003_Layer 4
Reverse Construction
ff-silverwarrior study -_0002_Layer 5And then a personal attempt based on the major elements of the original. Some kind of undead rider of beasts on a moonlit night.
ff-silverwarrior study -_0000_Layer 7I must confess that I have no bloody idea what I'm doing yet. Studying master artists is one of the pillars of mastery however.
More to come.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OVAD #30

All Hands! All hands to sail and line!
Thunderous might against our cabin roars
Swift rage yearns to unravel all we've wrought
No sooner than we saw the shores of home

Hold steadfast your ground against the beast
Let it break our backs but not our hearts
When the storm has ceased its empty threat
New winds will come to bid us journey on

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Disaster Strikes!

This morning a painting that I had been working on was damaged during a save. I had invested significant hours and effort into it at this point.

Naturally - I was a bit heated.

Being the neurotic person that I am, little things have a tendency to go FULL TILT into the shit zone. So for the next 12 hours I proceeded to tear apart the internet looking for a fix. This proved fruitless and lead to what we like to call a 'Mini Brain Melt', in which existential questions are raised and thoughts of the end are entertained.

Calm has thankfully arrived, and I recall a story that Bobby Chiu talks about in his book The Perfect Bait. When just starting out in the business he lost not just one painting, but all of his portfolio to a hard drive crash.

Then what did he do?


What. A. Boss. If he can do that, then I can get over one damn painting. This time it'll be even better.

Come to think, it's probably a good thing to get this little stumbling block out of the way. Not much was lost and it taught me a great lesson: ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR FILES!  Double, triple, quadruple save them if you have to! Put them on CD's, then put those CD's on VHS Tapes! Back up your shit!

But more importantly:
Things are going to come out of left field no matter what. It's up to you to take a step back and realize that it isn't the end of the world. You can recover, get up, and do it again. Don't let one little bump bring your whole world down. You're made of tougher stuff than that.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Project SkyBound

So since the only way to learn is by doing the damn deed, I thought I'd tie all the areas of animation into a personal project to keep it fun. Doing individual exercises is great, but if you can link them up into something that makes it meaningful to you then all the better.

I present Project SkyBound: A story about sky-ships, pirates, and adventure!

The premise is after a great war, peace comes to the world. Technological breakthroughs during wartime have birthed airships and a new age begins. An ex-military man sets of to the skies to explore the new world.

It will be a mix between anthropomorphic characters and fantasy, two of my favorite things. It hearkens back to my childhood memories of reading Brian Jacques' Redwall series.

God I loved those books.

Character Designs

Starting with just the generic story roles; Villain, Love Interest, Hero, and Comedic Relief.

The Villian, known only as 'The Bull' for now, was a product of the losing side of the war. Born into rough times, he eventually becomes a feared pirate. Brash, violent, ruthless.

The Love Interest started off as a sheltered young noblewoman who wants adventure, and sneaks aboard the Hero's ship. After playing around with the character however, I decided to make her much younger and change the love interest from a regular match-up to a father-daughter relationship. The story could be that she teaches this ex-military man something about the value of real relationships or something along those lines.

Here the rough turnarounds. Just playing around with the shapes and figuring out the personalities.

Bull Pirate

Panther Girl

To follow are the Hero and the Comedic Relief.
Perhaps when those are done, some supporting cast will join the ranks.

Transit Sketching - July 2013


[gallery ids="534,535,536,537,540,541,542,543,544,545,546,547,548" orderby="rand"]

Art Journey Update - Solo trek

So, it's been quite a strange year.
The hell am I talking about, every year is a strange year.
And they just keep getting stranger and stranger...
Exponential strange-ocity.

But hey that's life. DEAL WIF IT

Anyways just wanted to put an update 'out there'.
Major decision for this year, I've decided to hold off on going to animation school.
The reasons being:

  1. To see how far I can push on my own

  2. To explore and begin making art that I can show

  3. To prepare for school

  4. To work and save up money

Over the next year I will document my progress weekly. Posting up art I've been working on, reflections on the journey, and resources that I find along they way. Maybe someone else can learn from my solo trek up the art mountain.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Transit Sketching - April/May

Terribly inconsistent of me. Just terrible. Let's fix that with pictures!

[gallery ids="484,485,486,487,488,489,490,491,492,493,494,495,496,497,498,499,500,501,502,503,504,505,506,507,508,509,510,511,512,513,514,515,516,518,520,521,522,523,524" orderby="rand"]

OVAD #29

For solace' sake we seek a simple space
The sun, the earth, and mother sky above

For sanity we seek a place called home
Forgetting home is where the heart resides

OVAD #28

Under open skies
they held their lives
for a time, suspended.

Then seeing what
had come and gone,
Came back to their senses.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

OVAD Image Challenge - Day 2

[caption id="attachment_468" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Words are weapons that can deafenBe careful when you talkSpoken thoughts with ill intentAre like a gun that's cocked Words are weapons that can deafen
Be careful when you talk
Spoken thoughts with ill intent
Are like a gun that's cocked[/caption]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

OVAD Image Challenge - Day 1

[caption id="attachment_455" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Just sitting in the dark here waiting for a spark Just sitting in the dark here waiting for a spark[/caption]


Moons of Neptune

Feel the pulse as it begins
Pull the stars across your skin
Slowly let these visions in
To show you what you know.

When the edge - you can perceive
Just be calm and don't retreat
Listen to the voices speak
When they tell to let you go.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

OVAD #27

Our choices have voices,
They speak loud and clear.

Clearer than bells on mountains ringing,
Clearer than a chorus singing.

They say what is left unspoken,
Revealing the true timbre of our lives.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Transit Sketching - March Wk 2

Here are some more skizetches. I actually asked one lady to sign her picture for me, hope she wasn't too wierded out. Sorry Ms. Whatever-your-name-is![gallery ids="419,420,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,430" orderby="rand"]


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Transit Sketching - March Wk 1

Sketch dump for the first week of March. More to come![gallery ids="394,393,392,391,390,389,388,387,386,385" orderby="rand"]

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Animation Schoolage - Week 1: Basics

First week of Animation Schooling, I started with the basics: Timing & Spacing.
Watching Richard Williams and reading his book has really helped. Here are some of the results:

Spacing Experiments

StaticBallBounce - SpacingPendulum

Pendulum RefinedDifferent Types of Balls


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Animation Program Primer - Part 4


  1. Uphill Road

  • Draw a road going uphill, with buildings and houses following it into the distance

  • The perspective should be a bit higher than the rooftops

  1. Downhill Road

  • Draw a road going downhill, with buildings and houses following it into the distance

  • The perspective should be at ground level looking down the hill

  1. Stairs

  2. Spiral Staircase

  3. Forced Perspective

  • Draw a forced perspective scene similar to the ones used in the action sequences of comics

  1. Analyze/Reproduce Layouts

  • Study the backgrounds and layouts in films

  • Try to reproduce them, looking at composition and colour

  1. Analyze/Reproduce Paintings

  • Study Landscape or scene paintings

  • Try to reproduce them, looking at composition and colour

Major Resources:

-          Framed Ink; Marcos Mateu-Mestre
-          Art analysis books

Animation Program Primer - Part 3


  1. Read Shot by Shot

  2. Movie Freeze Frame

  • Pick a 5-10 minute scene of any movie you enjoy or want to analyze

  • Board out every major action, shot change, composition change, or other indicators according to Shot by Shot

  • Spend only 1-5 minutes on each board

  1. Movie Scripts

  • Find the movie scripts for films you enjoy or want to analyze

  • Read the script then board out one scene however you want

  • Watch the scene in the movie then compare your shots with the director’s

Major Resources:

-          Shot by Shot; Steven Douglas Katz
-          Hitchcock/Truffaut Interview
-          Framed Ink; Marcos Mateu-Mestre

Animation Program Primer - Part 2

Character Design

  1. Design 3 Characters - Do an expression sheet, rotation, and action poses for each

  2. Design an Anthropomorphic Character

  3. Animate this character in sequence - One scene, fixed camera. The character enters, has a conflict, resolves the conflict, and leaves

  4. Create different age versions of the same or different characters - Baby, Teenage, Young Adult, Adult, Old

Major Resources:

-          Creating Characters with Personality; Tom Bancroft
-          Pixar Art Of books
-          Analyse Characters wherever you can

Additional Exercises:

-          10 minutes each day; Draw a random shape or gesture and create a quick character off of that

Animation Program Primer - Part 1

Here is list of exercises for those of you who want to get a head start on learning the basics of animation, character design, layout, and story-boarding. Cheers!


Try to complete one assignment a week:

  1. Ball Bounce

  2. Bowling Ball Bounce

  3. Different Types of Balls

  4. Balloon & String

-          All the basic principles of animation can be learned with these: Squash and Stretch, Timing, Spacing, Primary and Secondary Action

  1. Seaweed/Book Page Turn

  2. Marine Animal

  3. Ball & tail

-          These focus on overlap, action, s-curve and c-curve
-          Study the tails of animals and look for student work online

  1. Walk Cycle - Do 3 different walks with the same character, each with different personality, weight, or movements in them

  2. Animal Walk Cycle

  3. Head turn

  4. Expressions

  5. Dialogue

-          This is where you can really begin to play with personality. Choose one character of your own design or from
-          Study the walk cycles in animated movies, and how personality is shown in the movement

  • Josh suggests: 101 Dalmatians, and the Intro of Robin Hood

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Seneca Portfolio Pieces

Yesterday I handed in my portfolio for the Seneca Animation Program.

9 months of work it took to get here, but I can finally use my hands the way they were meant to be used.

This is just the start. A lifetime more of exploration awaits.

Animal Optional Object 2 Object 1 Life Main 2 Feet Sheet Hand Sheet Life Optional 2 Life Optional 1 Life Main 1