A Long Overdue Update

Friday, September 2, 2011

 Yes, I am still alive!  And I'm still drawing!  As usual, things have been pretty busy over here.  If I'm not doing freelance work, I'm MAKING work for myself to do, because my brain just can't abide being idle (to quote Monk, "It's a gift... and a curse.")

I've taken another rather lengthy hiatus from my graphic novel project (sigh), but have been getting back into the swing of things recently.  Here are the thumbnails for scene 03 of Overtures, for which I generated the final pages months ago:

And here are the thumbnails for scene 04, which I am currently working on.

A few of the pages are still need some help with the compositions and what not.  I'll be sure to work on the problematic page thumbnails before I move on to creating the final pages for them.

Here are some random odds and ends: sketches, in-progress personal projects, tidbits from contract work. 

Below is an assignment for my Web Animation class that I had a lot of fun with!  Everyone had to find a clip from an animated (2D) TV show or film and replicate it in Toonboom Animate Pro using tradigital techniques.  This was my first project in the program and I absolutely LOVE it!  It has its quirks, like any other program on the planet, but man it's great to work with.

The paintbrush in Animate Pro alone brings tears of joy to my eyes.  If I can figure out a way to export the vector information of a single frame as a .esp or other universal vector file format, I am totally going to start using Animate Pro to ink Overtures.

I also have a group project in the aforementioned class, and we're creating an animated short.  Our short is about a unfortunate snake who finds himself dealing with an amateur snake charmer playing a kazoo.  Myself and m'colleague, Kevin O'Flaherty, have been working on storyboards and such.  Here are some thumbnail storyboards I did, followed by some refined boards for the second half of the short.  We're still tweaking the timing and shots, but at this point it's down to the details.

And I'd say that does it for this update!  Maybe next time I'll have those explanations of what I learned while doing the Ed Edd n Eddy master copies, hur hur hur.

The Struggle Continues

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here are a few more Ed Edd n Eddy master copies I did today.  I know last post I said I'd post about some of the things I've learned, and I will; I just have to find the time to illustrate and explain the concepts.

Reference images:


You can actually see some of the under-drawing now, yay!

Funny enough, I had to redraw the bottom pose 3-4 times because I kept over-exaggerating (even this version ended up over-stretched!).  I have a tendency to make Double-D longer/taller than he actually is, so that didn't help.  I really should have considered studying the characters and their proportions before starting the master copies, haha.  Ah, well.

I'm slowly picking things up, but I've still got a while to go before I'll be able to whip these out without a reference.  Perseverance!

"Ed, Edd n Eddy" Kicks My Butt

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Over the past couple of months, I've been getting reacquainted with a show that - for some unknown reason - I stopped watching YEARS ago: Ed, Edd n Eddy. I gotta be honest, I have no idea why I stopped watching it, because it is an excellent show. It has all the sorts of things I love to see in animation... like... you know... the characters actually being ANIMATED! None of that poopy stuff you see so much of today that looks like paper dolls being moved around, no sir!

Anyway, I've been trying to make it a regular habit of doing "master copies" from screen captures of old cartoons, to try to learn the ways of an awesome animator/cartoonist. I usually copy old Warner Bros cartoons, but decided I'd try something a bit more challenging this time.

Now, I'm definitely not saying that EEnE is superior to old WB, but I've found that its style is MUCH more difficult to replicate.  The heads in EEnE don't always follow the basic sphere and pear volumes that dominate much of WB's character design - not in a way obvious to me, anyhow. So, it's a bit of a challenge, trying to figure out what makes the style tick, and what the logic is behind the drawings.

By and large, EEnE seems to be pure gesture, which I dig, though sometimes it means the volume drops out of the drawings (not so cool).

My selection of reference images comes from "Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show."

Annnnd... Here are the master copies I did.

They're far from perfect copies; I've noticed that Edd's hands aren't pushed back enough in the last picture, and I completely goofed up the third image, for example.  But to be honest, I toned down things a lot less than I thought I was going to, so... yay?

The real struggle here was to avoid my subconsciousness' desire to just start copying the lines rather than deconstruct the foundations of the drawings.  I started each one trying to figure out the under-drawing for the character(s), then putting it down before starting on final lines.  Unfortunately, my scanner tends to eat lighter lines, so you can't really see my roughs here (note to self: adjust Levels on scanner) - but I swear I had under-drawings for all of these, haha.  I still haven't quite figured out a system/technique for the... rawness of EEnE, but I'll get there eventually.  In the meantime, I'm learning some cartooning-related things that I've somehow missed up until now.  I'll share some of those things in my next post.

'Til then, ciao!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So, a few days back, I created quick sketch/paint on a whim:

The concept actually came to me a few months ago, when I had the foresight to draw a quick thumbnail of it:

Written around this thumbnail were a couple of hand-written notes about how to improve the composition and such.  Even so, the composition of the paint-sketch I did a few days ago also needs improvements before I can continue on to the final painting.

Welcome to Tangent Central Station!  

Untangling this mess is going to be a bit of an effort.  The zombie slug in the foreground is something I felt needed to be there in order to create some depth, but it causes a number of problems, namely: overlapping Mr. & Ms. Slug is likely to result in a tangent no matter where I put it, but that overlap helps to create the depth I was looking for; I worry that overlapping Mr. & Ms. Slug too much will cut them off from the bottom of the canvas, causing them to appear to be "floating" in the composition, rather than anchored to an unseen ground plane.  Some other places of concern are the top edge of the middle-ground zombie slug's body as it passes behind Mr. & Ms. Slug, and Ms. Slug's elbow protruding in front of Mr. Slug's armpit.  Both of these can be solved by some repositioning; heck, maybe changing those will alleviate the problems coming from the foreground slug.

Currently, the middle-ground zombie slug is pulling too much attention in the composition.  I think this may be due to two things: one, I inadvertently gave him more detail than the other zombie slugs; two, he has more "levels" of lighting than the other zombie slugs.  Together, this gives him more visual information than the other slugs, drawing the attention away from the high-contrast areas I had originally intended as areas of focus.  I think toning down the lights on him alone will help significantly.

Mr. & Ms. Slug's heads are possibly too simplified.  Their heads just don't say "slug" to me.  They need more fat to them, more mass.  I think having a bit of a bulge at the necklines would be a plus.  The "lip" also needs to be better defined:

This area is too cramped.  There needs to be more space between the end of the gun and the attacking zombie slug

Mr. Slug's arm is seriously awkward.  It has a terrible silhouette.  I plan to have some friends pose for me so I can get the anatomy and clothing folds right in the final version; with any luck, the reference will also give me better ideas on what to do with Mr. Slug's arm.

The folds on this sleeve way too evenly spaced.  Having photo/life reference will help here.

Probably wouldn't hurt to have more space between the U and the G for readability purposes.

Some final small notes... I need to bounce around the red that's on the zombie slugs' antennae.  I'm thinking maybe a bit of blood on Mr. or Ms. Slug.  There will be some faint red coloration on the background zombie slugs in the final, though, so that might be enough -- something to test before starting the final.  The other small note would be to improve the grouping on the background zombie slugs.  They serve the composition fairly well as they are, but the grouping could definitely be better.

This probably won't be the last people-with-bug-heads piece I do.  Sitting next to the Attack of the Zombie Slugs thumbnail is...

Mantis and Slug Miss Take-Off

Any additional critiques are, of course, very welcome.

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Well, hello there, 2011.  I hope you're settling in well.  I have to admit, my relationship with your elder sibling was not the greatest.  Here's to hoping you'll provide me with less illness, and more art production!

Here are some tidbits from last quarter of 2010.

To start with, here are the thumbnails from Scene 02 of "Overtures."

And here's the thumbnails for the pages of Scene 03 that I've completed thus far.  I'll post the others later, once the final pages are posted on www.altairuniverse.com 

At the Universe of Altair, the site where "Overtures" is displayed, we have a Map Room which is slowly but surely being filled up with maps from the fictional setting "Overtures" takes place in.  To help spruce up the world map, I made some sea monsters to put on it.

And here's the map.  I made this a while ago... Wanna say a little over a year ago, but at the time it didn't have any of the names on there.  Tom took the time to put all the names in place himself, which is pretty awesome!  I added the sea monsters and compass rose a few days ago.

You can see a larger version of the map by visiting www.altairuniverse.com and going to the Map Room section of the website (it's in the Compendium menu).

Here are some sketches I did for a creature design idea.  I was trying to combine a Long-Tailed Pangolin and a European Bee-Eater.  I haven't uploaded all my sketches because my sketching gets pretty nasty; since this is my exploration phase, I don't give two toots about making my drawings pretty.  Or having them make sense to anyone other than myself.  One of these days, I'll get around to doing an illustration of the final designs I came up with.

My first sketches are always littered with reference drawings.  I'm very particular about wing and tail anatomy on birds, and make a point to refresh my memory every time I need to draw them.


And this is the little fellah I decided would be my final design for the chick form of this combi-species.  The adult will be based on the small thumbnail with "adult" written below it in the image above.

I revisited Ugly Vamp one afternoon, and started rethinking UV's appearance.  I also developed Mum's design a bit more.  Hunch-backed, Igor-esque women are CRAZY fun to draw.

Here's a random painting I did in pchat, a java-based painting program that allows multiple people to work on a canvas at the same time.  While others were drawing pretty ladies and majestic dragons, I was in my own little corner, creating this little guy:

I had a photo for reference, but unfortunately the lighting and focus on it wasn't very good.  I've since researched mantis anatomy and learned that the mandibles I painted here are incorrect.  Mantis' mouths are quite complex, but very cool!  I'll have to post my reference drawings sometime for anyone who might be curious.

And lastly, I finally got around to picking at my slimy meatball painting again.  I adjusted the lighting, as suggested by a friend, who rightly pointed out that my highlights were too large and too "hot" on my previous attempt.  The same friend has already given me further suggestions on my newest version; hopefully it won't take me another four months to get around to using them ;)

Toodles, everybody!  Maybe I'll post more frequently in 2011, hur hur hur!