Monday, February 18, 2019

Rainbow over Burbank


I was at our old building this Sunday afternoon loading up for another haul to my school's new location when I saw this from the upstairs office patio. So I ran to the roof and captured the moment. I've seen lots of amazing sights from the vantage of the roof over the years. Happy that I got one last chance to capture a rainbow.

I'm happy to say the move is winding down friends. Just a little more to go and it'll be over. Looks like it'll be wrapped up this week.

It was a tough and grueling experience but it sure got me in shape! And although we won't have quite the dramatic views as our old location we will have a much more functional space for the school and for creative productivity.

Anxious to get the relocation behind me and dive into some art again! Maybe the rainbow over Burbank is a sign of the good things to come.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Update on what's happening

Hello there friends! I hope you're doing great. Can't believe we're well into February already! I want to give you some news as to what's going on in my world and how it's affecting things.

The building I've been conducting my school from for the past 14 years was sold this past December. The new owners are a large company that purchases properties in the Hollywood / LA area and converts them to post-production facilities. They've expanded into Burbank with the acquisition of our building and as such all of the tenants were given a 30 day notice to vacate the day after Christmas. So since Dec 26 I've been on top of the situation hunting down a new location for the school and negotiating the terms of the lease and then moving everything over to the new place.

It's been a brutal experience folks let me tell you. Very physically taxing and all the while dealing with a nasty cold that had me down for the count and then returning again as I kept at the transition to the school's new location. 

It looks like we're coming to the end of it all and I think in a few more days the move will be complete. Once it's done I'll be able to operate much more efficiently and perhaps notch my creative time up a bit. If you'd like to see what the new place looks like follow this link to The Animation Academy's blog. I have some pictures posted there. It's pretty nice and a definite improvement over where I was before.

So that's what's up all you great people! A little while longer and we'll be back to having fun. As always thanks for checking in and thanks for your attention. I appreciate you visiting my humble little blog!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Creature Woman

Well that's three days in a row where I had the chance to come up with something. This time drawing while having a discussion with a friend. Working off of a theme similar to the assignments my students would do.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Another Creature Man

Having fun with students and my second class demo of the year this evening. Looking to make 2019 creatively productive.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Lizard Man Creature - First demo of 2019

Hello friend and welcome to the New Year !Our classes started this week at my school The Animation Academy in Burbank and as such I had the opportunity to begin working with students through class demonstrations. Here's what I came up with for the Visual Development group this evening. They gave me a suggestion as to what to do and I went with it. So we're on our way for 2019. Hope you have a terrific next 12 months!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Child's Christmas In Wales - Never Before Seen Art from 1987

A belated Merry Christmas and a very very Happy 2019! I want to thank you all for being such a great community all this time. You're something special folks and I hope that the New Year brings you happiness and joy and all good things.

Here's something special for a special group. I'd like to share with you some art I discovered from a long time ago that has never been seen before. It's not Crash or Spyro (sorry guys) but it's very noteworthy none the less.

The backstory: 

It was April of 1987. I had been an art director (first time) on an animated series for about 7 or 8 months. I was working for a studio that was pretty screwed up but we were the highest paid crew in all of the animation industry in Hollywood so at least we were being well compensated for our efforts. I had put together an all star cast of artists. Joe Pearson was there. So was Philip J Felix and Steven Olds and Gary Montalbano and Donn Greer and many other artists who became superstars in their own right. 

Among the most impressive was Bruce Timm. We worked on He-Man together a few years before. He was an extraordinary talent who went on to become best known for designing and producing the Batman series for Warner Bros in the 90's along with Superman and Batman Beyond and Justice League etc. 

At this studio the producer we had was pretty darn vicious. Never worked for anyone as demanding as her in all my career. She was impossible and she created an impossible mission for me hoping that I would fail and she could use that as an excuse to fire me. That was her pattern. When she was through with you she looked to get rid of you. I knew what she was up to and took it as a challenge to shove it right back at her. It was a matter of personal pride not to be broken by an unscrupulous person.

We had just moved from one floor to the other over the weekend in the office building we were in. My table was disassembled and all of my supplies were in boxes when I came to work on Monday morning. She was sick and out for the day but well enough to call me and instruct me to prepare presentation art for a major meeting she was going to have on Wednesday with executives at CBS.

She was going to pitch an animated special to the network based on the classic "A Child's Christmas In Wales" by Dylan Thomas. And she wanted it by tomorrow (Tuesday). An absolutely impossible deadline. She knew it too.

I explained that the entire art crew for the series had just moved and all of our offices were in disarray. She didn't care she wanted it done and threatened me with my job if I wasn't up to the task. I said I'd do it but I wanted an extra day (Wednesday deadline) and I wanted Bruce Timm to back me up. I wanted him to freelance the work so his schedule on the show wouldn't be affected. She agreed and off I went to figure out how I was going to do this.

Monday was spent putting my office and my drafting table together and explaining to Bruce what I had in mind for the presentation piece. He went home that evening and by the next day (Tuesday) Bruce had done the impossible. He created 6 fantastically beautiful vignettes for the layout I had planned. With his work at hand I got down to doing my part. As everyone went home that evening I told the producer's assistant I would have the art on his desk when he came in to work in the morning.

At 8:30 am on Wednesday as he was walking in I was walking out. He thought I was going to get breakfast to start my day. I told him I was going home to sleep. This is what he found on his desk when he came in.


I painted the central composition overnight in acrylics. I cut a mat to frame the painting. Then I secured Bruce's art around the painting and added the title at the bottom. I have no idea what happened to the original. This was a photo that was taken and given to me later. The only existing image of the work.

The producer was dumbfounded and at a loss to try and position herself. She had been out maneuvered so she did the only thing she could to save face. She bought a dozen roses and had them on my desk when I came in on Thursday whereupon I instructed my assistant to type out my letter of resignation. I had enough. I got a crew together, got the series going, got the presentation art ready and now I wanted to go on to other things which I did. It was a lesson learned.

By the way that important meeting for Wednesday with the CBS network executives? It was cancelled until the following week. She never bothered to inform me while I was in the middle of this. Which is okay cuz it makes the victory that much sweeter!

Take a look at this folks! A close up view of never before seen art by the only and only Bruce Timm! These are the color marker comps he did overnight! Scenes from the story...







This is a close up view of the painting I did...


And this is something else I found. The original sketch for my part of the piece. It appears that I drew each character individually and taped the drawings together and transferred the image to the illustration board with graphite paper. Photoshop / digital painting technology was not available back then. This was the old  / analog way of doing things.


That's the tale of my own impossible mission working in the animation biz. Hope you enjoyed it and hope you enjoyed the art. You're the first to see this. My present to you great people! 

Thank you and have a fine New Year!

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Playing with Cleopatra

Hello there beautiful people! I'm still kickin' it here on this blog. At my school I encourage students to commit to a concept and develop it as if we were going into production. I like to get in on the fun as well when the opportunity presents itself. So this time I chose Cleopatra as the subject of design exploration and had a chance to come up with a few variations in blue pencil. These were done a few days ago. Hope you enjoy the designs.




Thursday, October 11, 2018

Dracula - the original

Did you know that in the original story of Dracula written by Bram Stoker in the 1880's the infamous vampire had a mustache? He had one to cover his fangs and he also loathed shaving. I was explaining this to my students the other night in class and thought I'd have some fun coming up with some stylized versions of the character as a demo so here they are. Ball point pen over blue line.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Spyro portrait

This week I had an online session where I worked with a student who was having some issues with digitally coloring their work. His work was coming out a little too light and muted on the pastel side of things. I recommended going straight to a vibrant color for a base and following up with transparent layers of gray to knock back the intensity and also create shadows. I used Spyro as an example and had fun coming up with this quick demo.