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.