Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Conan the Barbarian - another version

I was drawing with my students this evening and had a hankering for doing a picture of Conan the Barbarian. So I did. There are certain subjects that I like to explore on occasion and Conan is one of them. He was one of my favorite comic book characters in my growing up years. This is blue pencil and ball point pen which I've been using a lot lately. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

The Animation Academy on Patreon

Hello to all and I hope this finds you doing great! The community on my blog is a special one as I've enjoyed very much featuring my art here and interacting with a terrific group of individuals. I want to let you know about something I launched a few days ago. It's a perfect system for us. Something special that I have high hopes for. I launched a Patreon page for my school in Burbank California. 

I haven't gotten into broad [promotion with it yet but so far we have 5 members lined up and I'm looking to see if I can interest any of you fanstastic and lovely folks here to consider either entering the program or supporting it in a small way.

The idea is to build an educational community on Patreon that uses the monthly based crowdfunding site as an alternation or an optional resource for artists out there who are looking to improve upon their work. Especially character designers and artists who'd like to develop and improve their skills as they apply to animation and related fields.

This is something new on Patreon and new for me. I've been conducting classes online for going on 2 years now and I've gotten very experience at it. I'm looking to migrate to Patreon and develop something that will give everyone an opportunity at affordable education at varying levels. And if you're not an artist a resource that will inspire you to create and also to support The Animation Academy in Burbank which has done great things for many people. I've had the school for 20 years this January and I'm excited about taking it in a new direction. I think Patreon is the perfect way to go.

Looking to expand our core group for new and amazing things with exciting prospects and potential.  

Consider signing up by clicking on the graphics above or the text links to the Academy's Patreon site. And if you know of others who'd benefit from something like this please pass the word along. I sincerely thank you! 

Keep Creating !!

Charles Zembillas
Director and Founder
The Animation Academy
Burbank California

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Three Little Piggies

Another assignment from my students. Boy they're tough! Last time it was the Big Bad Wolf. This time it's the Three Little Pigs. From class this evening...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lady Liberty

I had an idea and spent the evening drawing it out with my students in class. A new concept for Lady Liberty which is an iconic symbol in the US. I thought I'd make her look like an angelic African American lady draped in the flag. A former slave whose chains morphed into flowers which she used to bless the land with forgiveness and love. A different take on a classic American theme. Maybe in this time of turmoil in our country and the world this can help with a positive message as modest as it is.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Big Bad Wolf too - line

Got out a ball point black line pen and put a finishing touch on BBW2. See previous post for the blue line rough.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Big Bad Wolf too

Something fun. Here's another version of the BBW in a different direction. The blue pencil demo from class this week. Will add black line.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

ArtShark sez have a "Happy Autumn!"

It's the first day of Fall in the northern hemisphere and I thought I'd celebrate by posting a picture of my school's mascot enjoying the time of year. This is something I did a couple years ago and never got around to using it so I dug up ArtShark and placed him in an autumn setting. Used the image to say hello to the Academy's followers on Facebook. Why not post it here for the wonderful people that visit my blog. Hope you have a very pleasant season.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Big Bad Wolf

Yippee! Finally got a chance to draw a character! I've been caught up in many distractions and issues and what have you. I'm happy to say that at least for now I'm able to do something creative. Last couple of evenings at my school my students gave me an assignment. I was directed to design my version of the Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Pigs story. These sketches are my first pass on the character. Normally in a professional situation I'd come up with lots of different variations. In class I used the opportunity to provide a demonstration for my fantastic students. Blue pencil and ball point pen. Hope everyone is doing well and as always thanks for checking in.

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Burbank Fire - September 1 - 3 2017

Hello there friends and followers and all you great people! It's been a while since I posted. Not because my blog has been out of mind but for the same reasons I've stated before only even more so. Very busy with my school and just trying to deal with all the incoming stuff every day. At times it's relentless. Doing my best to balance it all out. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of my personal creativity. But I have been doing some things and will follow up in the near future with what I've been up to. 

This was the Labor Day weekend in the US which is our last holiday of the summer season. This past week we've had a heat wave in Burbank that culminated in a massive fire in the foothills. It started in a canyon beyond the ridge on Friday Sept 1. At around 4 pm I saw it as and breached the ridge and headed towards the town. Went to the roof of the building where my school is at and took some pictures.  Here's what it looked like at that time...

Here's a tighter picture. It was an aggressive raging inferno that would soon be threatening homes...

Around midnight I went to the rooftop again to see how bad it was. The fire became very widespread. Way beyond what you're seeing here. This was the area that was directly threatening Burbank. At this point is was bearing down on the hillside homes. 

Sorry about the poor image quality of the picture below. My phone camera wasn't made for zooming in on wildfires at night. At this point the fire line was approaching houses. I thought there was no chance of saving them. The spots of lights you see at the bottom right and along the lower parts of the picture are neighborhoods. 

Check out this amazing and dramatic photo. I don't know who took it. A friend sent it to me that night. They got it from someone else. This is downtown Burbank California in the area of Cartoon Network.

As it turned out the firefighters did an outstanding job. Helicopters dumping water and flame retardant all weekend saved just about all the homes and property and there was no loss of life. A big thanks also to Providence for keeping the winds low and for the rain that fell in our area on Sunday Sept 3 which helped to kill the blaze. In all my years living in this area I can't remember a time when we got rain in early September. But we did! Miracles never cease. Burbank is a very special place and God protects this wonderful city. At least that's how I feel about. Anyway here's what the smoldering fires looked like late Sunday afternoon Sept 3 around 48 hours after they started.

I shot some video too which I'll add to this post later on. Even when disaster strikes remember that life is good and precious and it's beautiful. Count our blessings every day. Peace love and happiness to you!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fox Character - Sketch - tone - color

Here's something from a couple of online sessions starting in character design and moving to vizdev. 
A simple and academic method for developing one's digital color skills and techniques. Drew this concept in Photoshop on a Cintiq and placed a light source on the image to create a shadow layer and enhance the dimensional illusion. 

Next I established the tonal relationships of the composition using tint layers...

Followed that up with a series of color tints and built up my highlights using a semi-opaque brush setting. The color I used is highlighted.

For those who enjoy viewing things horizontally...

We learned something and had a good time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Afros - Doing the bump

Continuing with my theme as of late I was working with an online student last week helping her with an assignment in Character Design 2. In this segment of the class we work on getting a couple of characters interacting together within a single composition. To assist my student I created a series of sketches whereby the characters I was exploring moved together in a dance from the early days of disco in the 1970's. It was called the bump and it was very popular for a while.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Having fun creating demos through online sessions. Here's something I did this week while working with a student in Greece. I'm exploring afro hairstyles as my personal theme for the visual development class. This brother would be into the black national movement of the late 1960's / early 70's. Painted in Photoshop very spontaneously.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Catching up again

Howdy there lovely people and thanks for checking in. Man it's been going strong at my school as we're at full capacity both in class and online. Time has been demanding the past few weeks but I've accomplished a lot and things are stabilizing nicely. I'm getting a few moments where I can whip up a demo usually online. So here's a few that I've created lately as part of the lesson. 

Thank you kindly for checking in and following my blog in light of my absence.  You're marvelous and special. Good luck to everything you do. Have fun with your art and all things creative!.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Buddha Lady

This is a class demo in progress. I plan on finishing it in black line soon. We were discussing Buddhism and I got the idea of a female Buddha type character so I came up with this image while drawing with students.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Demos from online character design

Hello there friends! It's been so busy I fell behind on everything once again including sharing some art with you. I had to travel and attend to various responsibilities and free time was at a premium. I was able to get back on track recently with some demonstrations I created for a couple of my online students. Here's a sample of the lessons I was parsing out.

This student was having problems getting started with their concepts utilizing the construction method I was teaching. So I went through the process to illustrate how to go about it.

Start with a foundation ...

Use the foundation to build out your design ...

Once your have your design established you can eliminate the foundation sketch. It did its job ...

Add some shadows from an overhead light source to help describe form ...

Another demo involved getting my student to break out creatively and really push the concept and the design. This is what they had to start ...

By creating a construction based foundation you can set up your approach ...

Push the foundation sketch and let the character emerge ...

Now that you've got the anatomy established it's time to explore clothing ...

Add a shadow level to enhance the dimensional form and you're in business ...

Thank you for your patience and for continuing to check in! It's always a pleasure coming here and posting art.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Color tint and line

I drew these concept sketches in black line a few years ago when I was developing a project for a friend's newly formed game company. The project unfortunately never materialized. Recently I used some images for a lesson in tonally tinting hand drawn content with digital color during an online session.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Different kind of wizard

Hello there and I hope everything's great with you! It's nice to post some recent stuff. Going through a very busy period as of late but made some time to create mostly as a result of demos. One of my students came up with a suggestion that I draw a wizard pig character so I created this rotation during a session in character design.

Later on in subsequent sessions I took the idea a step further with straight ahead drawings in ball point pen to have fun with concept design and to keep my skills sharp. Drawing with a non-erasable medium is great practice.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

View from my office studio

One of the things I'm most thankful for in life is a very simple pleasure that brightens my heart whenever I come into work. No matter what may be going on all I have do do is look straight ahead out the window I'm facing and enjoy this view...

What makes this special is what I'm looking out at on any given day. Here's a zoomed in shot with a description...

Every time I gaze upon this vista I'm humbly reminded as to how fortunate I am.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Clouds of El Nino 2017 - Burbank

Every 15 to 20 years a weather pattern emerges in the Pacific Ocean that brings heavy rainstorms to California. In the old days the Spanish called it "El Nino" because it was noticed around Christmas time when the rainy season gets in gear. Following many years of drought conditions we got hit with quite a few hefty storms one after the other the past few months. The building I'm in is the highest point in central Burbank and after the storms passed through sometimes I'd go to the roof and get a few shots of the cloud formations. Now that El Nino season is wrapping up here's a few photos to remember it by,,.

Looking to the west...

Looking to the northwest...

Views to the north...

Looking to the east...

March sunset through the church steeple...

Thankful for the rain!