Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back into the Groove

Got away from posting for the last month. The cough and crud has been going through the Richner household (no energy for a month). Back in the saddle. Had this image in my head of a sickly old man tied to his oxygen tank and still smoking. Thinking of my Uncle Tata I guess.

Testing posting from my phone. Guess its working.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Just learned you can add a facebook 'like' button to your posts. Got that code into the html and it appears to work! Pretty cool!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Seems like everyone is doing zombies these days. Gotta do my part. I did watch 'The Walking Dead' the other day (the first episode of new season), and I think I'm hooked for this season. I caught up with last season's episodes this a few weeks ago, so I think I'm ready to go!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Robot Dancing Concept

Thinking about taking a short break from my film to animate something. I have this dancing robot in my head. Picturing him walking out onto stage VERY mechanically then going into this really fun dance. Then, when its over, he stiffly walks off screen like a robot again. Got the urge to move away from key poses for a while and get something animating! Would be fun!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Simpsonized Once Again

I forget who I did this one for (was a number of years back... a friend of a friend).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

IGC Animatic for Simpsons Video Game

This piece was produced as reference for the other IGC's that would be created later on. It did not appear in the game. My job on this was go to through the original piece that had been produced at EA and to both revise and 'Simpsonize' it. Interesting side note... the voices for these initial animatics were done by EA employees in-house, and they did a great job!  The password to view this animatic is 'animatic'. 

Meet The Guineas Animated Piece

This was an animated piece that went along with a pitch for a series called 'Meet the Guineas' (written by Dan Ewen and Eric Garcia). The characters were done in a cut-out style animation in Anime Studio Pro, a nice inexpensive little software package that allows you to add bones to your drawings. The background image was drawn by Chris Oatley.

UFC Animatic Intro: Dream Sequence

This is the intro of the animatic for the film I am currently working on. The film opens up with a dream sequence that sets the stage for the main character's mental state at the start of the film (he has big ambitions, but feels trapped and unable to move out from underneath the shadows of some other giraffes- we will learn who they are when he comes out of the dream in the next sequence). This is the second version of the animatic (began working on this sequence in early June of 2011 and spent about 120+ hours to produce it). The entire film will be about ten minutes long and will probably take me a few years to animate. Want to make sure the story is working before I move into animation (excited to be animating soon though... hopefully in the beginning of 2012).

More Sketches for Simpson Game

Did a lot of these. Really enjoyed the process.

Animated Piece

This was a piece I did for fun along with my Animation I class a few years back in Toonboom (back when it was Opus). The giraffe character is now the lead in the short film I am working on. Really liked that character and had wanted to do something with him for a while. He was part of a project I was developing with a friend, and so I used him in this exercise. This was kind of a goof on old silent films (maybe an old swiss film or something where its really dated and we really don't get the humor). I love a good vomit on screen! The projectile vomiting on SNL is always priceless.

More Simpsons Artwork for Friends

Recognize these guys? If you haven't guessed, they're pretty big Simpson's fans.

More Characters from Pitch Piece

Characters from another pitch piece. Brainstorming about animals living at a lab testing facility.

Go Buckeyes!

Have wanted to do something with OSU football for a while now. Someday. Go Bucks!

Simpsons Layout Scene Set-Up

A scene set-up from an episode of The Simpsons. Don't remember which episode, but basically the aunts were babysitting Maggie but really not watching her at all, and she had to change her own diaper and redress herself. She did a pretty good job of it, but put her dress back on backwards and one of her aunt exclaims, 'so helpless'.

Characters from Pitch Piece

This was one of the characters from a project some friends of mine and I pitched at Disney not too long ago. Fun project (they liked it, but very similar to a few things they already had in development at the time).

Christopher Pop-In-Kins Commercial

Finished this piece in December of 2009. Won two bronze Telly Awards. Quick production, but everyone was happy with the results.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Looking for a Job

A number of my portfolio students at CCAD are in the process of getting their work together for their demo reels and preparing for life after school. We're going to be going through this exercise this week and wanted to share it with any other students who might check out this blog. First of all, be honest about your work and its quality. Look for projects where your own work looks like it could be dropped seamlessly into that production. Find a number of these examples then begin doing some detective work. Find out who made each one of those projects. Once you've figured out where they came from, I would recommend either buying the Hollywood Creative Directory ( or registering here on the site ( so that you can get one week free access to all their directories. At that point, its your job to contact those studios where you feel your work is the best fit. With the directories, you'll have a list of all the people there who you would need to get in touch with and you can begin working your way down that list. In my experience, the people who really want work generally find it (the key word there is 'really'... some people say they want it, but they really don't or they are afraid to try for it for whatever reason). You obviously have to have some level of ability; however, there is a lot of work to be done out there and styles vary widely from production to production. That's why I think its a good idea to do a bunch of research up front and to strategically target places that give you the best chance for success (because your work looks like it 'fits' there) rather than sending portfolios out randomly or to places where your work really isn't go good match with the company. Good luck!

Dancin' Man

Would like to animate this guy. Maybe tonight. Was listening to 'Pumped-up Kicks' while drawing this guy. Picturing a double bounce walk while doing a wave motion with front arm. Would be a fun walk cycle.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quick Sketch

Probably want to start a new category called 'sketches'. What I have up now for character designs are often quick/ rough concepts or sketches. This was a quick one. Just working on drawing and posting. Something I haven't done enough of recently is drawing from a model. The hardest life drawing class I ever had was at the Animation Union in Burbank with a life drawing instructor from Disney who was ALL about telling a story with EACH pose. I think I got one or two from that whole class that I was happy with. Very challenging when you don't have a script and a voice track.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Forcing myself to build a habit of REGULARLY posting my work (drawing something each evening, or most evenings, that I can show). Here is a ROUGH drawing of a robot I sketched up tonight. Kind of retro. Impractical, over-engineered and bulky. I like the paratroopers jumping from its crotch and ships flying out of its chest.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Another prop from my film. It might actually do some dancing, so kind of a character too I guess. Fancy 8-track model!

Some Other Characters From Film Project

The women made the cut into the film. Unfortunately, the band got the axe. They evolved into another group. Like these guys though. Would have been fun to animate them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Santa the Barbarian?

Alternate Covers for The Taking Tree

The Taking Tree (the WHOLE book)

For your reading pleasure, here is the entire book that Dan Ewen and I created entitled The Taking Tree (a spoof of The Giving Tree). Dan Ewen wrote what I thought was a really funny and twisted take on the original book, and I enjoyed working in a style reminiscent of the original in order to visually illustrate the story. The book can be purchased in a paperback version through the link on the store page of this blog. I would definitely enjoy working on another book sometime in future. It was very rewarding, and I only had to do about 100 drawings as opposed to thousands of drawings for an animated film. I hope you enjoy it!

The Taking Tree

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Prop Design... The Bucket

I really like this bucket. Though it will have a minor role in my film, I expect it will be a scene stealer! 'Best Supporting Actor' nod come Oscar time? Maybe. 'Best Performance By a Bucket' in the Scranton, PA International Film Festival in 2015 (hopefully doesn't take that long to finish the film)? Hands down favorite!

Browns Fan

This is how I often feel most Sundays in the winter... scruffy, somewhat overweight and down that the Browns just lost another game that they could have/ should have won.

Embedding Movies into Your Blog

I wanted to pass along some thoughts on posting your movies online and embedding them into your blog sites. This morning, we had a critique in one of my classes. The student had his movie that he created for class posted online at When he clicked on the movie to play it, a commercial started to play for detergent, NOT his assignment. The assignment eventually played but not until we had been subjected to a minute of a man wearing a detergent costume.

When hosting your movies on different sites, be aware of what other films you have in that account and also if the site plays commercials before your films. You might want to have a separate account for just your professional work when creating a blog that might be viewed by potential employers. It seems like Vimeo will give your viewers the cleanest, most professional viewing experience. After your movie clip plays, Vimeo will only show other films that you have uploaded to your account as options to 'play next'. Youtube isn't a terrible option, but after your movie plays, there might be other movies that you didn't create mixed in with your own to 'play next' because Youtube 'thinks' you might want to watch them.

To protect against the unknown and unwanted ads, I would suggest Vimeo as the best option for posting your movies.

Superhero Concept

A lot of these character design/ concept design sketches are done pretty fast. They are rough, but I try to get them down whenever an idea pops into my head. I think this concept was about a superhero who would morph into a form that matched whatever state of mind he was in at the moment. If he was feeling confident, he could look like a typical superhero. If he was scared, he might turn into an infant.

Simpsons Family Layout Pose

This was a shot where the family was carolling during one of the Christmas episodes (I forget which one).

Idle Poses for The Simpsons Video Game

As a consultant on the Simpsons Video Game for EA a few years back, I worked on a number of animatics for the in-game cinematics and also did a series of sketches like the ones below. These were thumbnails where I was brainstorming about different idles that the characters could perform while they were motionless on the screen and not being controlled. The last image below was a possible combo attack for Homer.

The studio had a number of Simpsons artists contributing to the production of the game. I enjoyed spending one week at the Redwood City EA campus during production where I got to meet and work with many of the EA artists who were creating the game. I was VERY impressed with the scale of the project and their handling of it. They really tried to understand what made the show tick and to bring that into the game environment. Their attention to detail was to a level I hadn't anticipated going into the project. I learned a lot during the process and think they did a great job!

Gladiator Concepts

Finding a lot of these types of character line ups for shorts I have in mind as I am going through my files. This is a concept about a kid who attends a gladiator event at the coliseum. He is so excited and cheering so hard that he falls into the arena. In the middle of the action and loving it, he watches and mimickes his favorite gladiators as they killed each other around him. A few would turn to strike him down but hesitate when they noticed he was a kid and get impaled themselves. In the end, the kid is the last man standing and is carried out of the arena on everyone's shoulders as a hero (his dream come true).

Artwork for Friends

I've done a few of these over the years for friends. Always fun (still like drawing the characters).

Battalion Photo from Animated Pitch Piece

This is a photo/ drawing of a fictional Battalion stationed on Bouganville in the South Pacific during WWII. The concept centered around the large fellow in the photo (find the hero quadrant or golden section in the shot... he has the biggest moustache and the barrel chest) getting killed on the island and 'waking up' in the 1970's... in his garage... back at home... as a ghost. This is one of many stories that I go back to every so often, dust off and kick around a bit. Below is the color image and the black and white, beat up version as well.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some Professional Work from The Simpsons

Below is a highlight reel of some of the scenes that I worked on while I was a layout artist and timer on The Simpsons. I worked on the show from season 10 thru season 15.

The First Scene from My Animatic

Below is the first scene from my animatic for my short animated film that I am producing. You'll notice some of the redcoats from my recent character design post. As I get further into the animatic (hoping to have this next version done by the late fall), I may post larger chunks of it. At this point, however, I am getting my feet wet with sharing work online. As an artist who did not grow up sharing my artwork online, that notion is a bit scary to me. So, I need to start slowly. I love feedback and welcome it. I understand that not seeing how this scene relates to any other shot in the film makes it hard to comment on things like story, but any thoughts and comments are appeciated. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Scene From My Animatic

This is scene-11 from the most recent version of my animatic... one of approximately one hundred and fifty scenes in the whole film. Yeah, I will be working on this for many years to come! In this scene, we are in the center of town (based on the site of George Washington's first inauguration at Federal Hall in New York) and our hero is being presented with an award.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Character Concepts

Here are some other characters (extras) from the opening of my film. Last summer, I watched the HBO series John Adams, which was fantastic (really made those historic figures, the founding fathers, feel like real people). I have always had a fascination with history, but after reading the David McCullough book and watching that series, I really wanted to incorporate that time period somehow into my film (done in a fun and random way I think). I love spending time there in my mind (wondering what life was like back then) and it has been a lot of fun drawing that world and working with these characters.

Character Concepts from Untitled Film

The film that I am currently working on has MANY characters in it. The beginning of the film consists of a dream sequence that takes place during the American Revolution. These are some of the redcoat soldiers who will be depicted in the battle sequence. Since it is a dream, I took some liberties with their designs (did a little research to make sure that I was close, but I intentionally left their look somewhat generic and didn't obsess about the details). Since the dream takes place in the main character's mind, it is really his vision of what these individuals might look like (based on whatever limited knowledge he has of history). Therefore, I decided they needed to look like redcoats, but they didn't need to necessarily be historically accurate.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Just did a three day training session on the latest version of Toonboom's software Harmony and very excited about the new functionality. Hoping to rig some cut-out animation characters this year.

Work in Progress

Just starting to get this blog off the ground. I've never been very good at maintaining a site, but going to get serious today! Got a header up, now I just need to start getting some material up here. Looking forward to populating the site with lots of work. Will probably take some time, but up for the challenge. The characters in the header are extras from a film I have been working on for the past year and a half. Will probably take a while to finish it, but excited about.