Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Something kinda cool to check out is the new trailer for "The Act". It's actually a video game by a company called Cercropia, Inc. Our company, Funnypages Productions, animated on this awhile back and they are starting to wrap up the project this summer. I don't know how it is going to go over, but it IS interesting. There's really nothing out there like it. It's a "film game" meaning that it should feel like you are playing-and controlling- a Disney style animated film. It is 100% traditional, hand drawn animation created with alot of the same animators and artists that animated LILO AND STITCH, MULAN, ETC. (Cecropia ended up hiring a bunch of the Disney artists that were layed off when they closed down the Florida studio.) All there is is a "PONG" style knob controller and you move it slightly to the left of right. What you are trying to do is control the character's emotions and actions with the controller. SO, if Edgar, the main character, is trying to flirt with this girl at a bar (I'm not sure this is an actual scene, but it was an early test scene) then if you move the knob to the right a little, he turns toward her and smiles. She then reacts to this by turning slightly toward him (the computer controls her actions randomly, I believe) or turns away from him slightly. If she reacts positively, based solely on body language and acting, then you move it to the right a bit more and Edgar winks at her. She may turn away, or touch his knee you just don't know. If she turns away, you go to the left and he backs off. If you turn it WAY to the right too soon, he starts laughing uncontrollably or tries to hug her or something obnoxious like that. That makes her turn off completely and throw a drink in his face or something. I know I'm making this sound kinda racy, but it's not really. They have (at least for as long as we were on it) kept it pretty G or PG. Anyway, check it out here: http://www.cecropia.com/
PS. Rob and I animated some of the shots in the trailer.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
This is another kinda obscure project I did awhile back. This was for the retired baseball player Eddie Taubensee (spelling could be wrong here). For those of you that are baseball fans, you may have heard of him. He was a shortstop in the 80s-90s for the (blank, man, he told me so many times and I just can't remember- somebody help me here) and was, judging by the posters and baseball cards in his house, really well liked in (blank place he played). I just knew him and his wife as a couple that was in our bible study group when we lived in Florida. Great guy, very nice wife and family. His wife asked me to do this custom cover of him as a superhero for his birthday. This was right after I left Disney after animating on "Brother Bear". I remember it being refreshing drawing a human rather than moose. I like comics, but any comic book artist that looks at this won't be impressed by my superhero abilities, but he sure liked it. Because she was giving him a framed original, I had to do everything by hand including the lettering! I think I did the color after this in markers. It sure was scary adding color to this knowing that one false move and the drawing, inks, everything was ruined! I don't know where the scan of the color version is, but I remember Eddie loved it. Thankfully, he didn't tell all his friends, I'm not sure I really wanted to do this again......
BTW, the image of him in the corner doing the "Psst!" was a game we played one night (and he ruled at) that was a huge crack up but you really had to be there.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Comic book legend John Byrne has become something of a guilty pleasure for me. Everyone says (and I agree) that he doesn't draw like he used to in his hey-day of the mid 80s to beginning 90s and theX-men and Fantastic Four. Agreed. Still, he was one of my first artistic "idols" in comics and drawing in general. He was the first artist that I couldn't WAIT to see his next issue. In the 8os, I would by anything John Byrne drew. If he did one issue of ROM the spaceknight, I bought it! It was that bad. In my humble opinion the day he started writing comics as well as drawing them was the moment his art started to take a backseat. I think he would say that too. I think. It seems obvious he discovered a new love in writing and the art became just one element in conjunction of that to tell a story. I can understand that. Us artists missed the attention he put into the art though. He also got FAST. He could write two books, and draw two others in the time most artist could barely get through one. Again, it didn't make for his best work, but I gotta say even at his WORST Byrne's work is head and shoulders above a GOOD amount of comic book artist's' BEST work. Not everyone would agree with me on that I'm sure, but he still can tell a story in a clear way with EXPRESSIONS on characters and strong poses that make sense. So what if you've seen that hand or that face or that panel again and again from him, it's still better than something that doesn't work, I say.
Enough rant. I'm a little passionate when it comes to BYRNE, can you tell? Anyway, I met him at one of those Disney/ Megacon lunchtime lectures that I spoke of in a past post. There were alot of really strong artists that year (I think that was the year Alex Ross, Humberto Ramos, and J. Scott Campbell were in the group.) . Most were the "new, young artists" that normally I would have really wanted to meet. BUT John Byrne was in the house! He was the first guy I introduced myself to and threw my sketchbook in front of. The hard thing-and what I hadn't thought about- was which character did I want him to draw. When he asked I almost went blank and then, thankfully, blurted out "Captain America". I know he doesn't get that request as often as an Xmen or FF character so I really wanted to see what he did. Also, his run on Captain American is one of my all time favorite comic runs- maybe THE favorite. I don't know why, but that character ever since then has been "my character" (which makes sense to say when you are a kid, no so much now). My favorite, no real reason why. I haven't bought a CA comic since then really. But he (and the writer, was it Roger Stern?) made the character come to life.
Anyway, this is probably my favorite "Celeb sketchbook" illos for the kid and the fanboy in me.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Nothing too new about this one. This is an older 'sketchbook' sketch of Harleyquinn and Poison Ivy. I think this was the first and last time I drew them. I'm sure I had just gotten all tanked up on some Bruce Timm drawings when I drew this. I still like the Ivy, but we all know I just stuck that Harley in there at the last minute to "complete" the picture! Sad stuff there. It breaks a rule of mine to have a reason why a character is in a pose. She's just bent over with her bottom out! I make me sick!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Here's the third installment of the Celeb sketchbook, this time it's the great Glen Keane! Here's the story that goes with it:
If you have worked in the animation industry (2D or 3D) or just are a fan of animation, then you have no doubt heard of Glen Keane. He's been a Disney Supervising animator for many years going back to about "Black cauldron" or so. He is on most animator's short list of to 3 best animators in the world. He would be number one on mine. Some animators can create great acting performances with good drawings, others can create great drawings with good acting, but Glen can create GREAT acting with GREAT drawings- like no one else! No doubt you've seen him interviewed on almost any Disney "making of" trailer. He exudes a passion for drawing and the art of animation that is riveting and a call to become better for anyone that is working with him. He's also equally as inspirational in his personal life. He's a kind person, a strong Christian, and a giving mentor.
So, all that said, I was honored to be chosen to work with him on his animation unit for the character of "Pocahontas" for the movie of the same name. I had been at Disney for maybe 8 to 10 years at that point, but all of the animators that wanted to be on that unit had to submit a life drawing portfolio for Glen to review! That never happens. Glen wanted to make sure everyone on that unit could draw the human figure at least to the level he felt he could work with or mold. Very intimidating. Some how, I passed on got on the unit. The actual film was REALLY not very fun (as is watching it for me), BUT working with Glen was a great and challenging experience. Even when it was long distance. After all, I was in the Florida studio and he was in the California one. He would go over drawings that I would mail him (for every scene!) and I would watch video lectures he would tape for everyone on the Pochy unit. And occasionally he would come out to Florida.
All that is just set up for how I got this drawing. See, all through Pocahontas I really wanted a nice (framable) drawing of Pochy from Glen as a memento. I never got the chance. It's intimidating to ask. So, a couple years later, Glen was visiting Florida to do a press junket for the upcoming "Tarzan" for which he had designed and supervised the main character. He had been living in France working with the French Disney studio for a couple years. No one had seen him at Disney Calif or Fl for about that long. This was a great opportunity to say "hey" and finally get that sketch, I thought. Well, I went down to the office he was staying in while he was there and sheepishly knocked on the door. He saw me and said come on in and I small talked with him for a second. He saw the sketchbook in my hand and asked if he could see it knowing I wanted him to. It didn't don on me that he didn't know I was just about to ask for a sketch. He opened it up and started flipping through the pages and saw all these sketches by other artists to me. His face kinda fell and he said, "Oh, it's THAT kind of sketchbook...." I'll tell you, I will never forget how he said that. I felt like I was letting him down in some way. I wasn't the artist he was hoping I was in some way. I hadn't been working on life drawings and wanted him to see my progress since last we had worked together. All of that was in the way he said "THAT kind of sketchbook..". So, he was nice enough to do a Tarzan for me. He did a great job, but every time I look at it, it's kind of a bitter sweet reaction for me. It still makes me want to do better though.....