Thursday, September 13, 2018

Spyro 20th Anniversary compilation animated tribute

Hello there you fantastic people! Thank you again for frequenting my blog. I'd like to share something very special with you as this week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Spyro the Dragon game on PlayStation way way back in 1997. 

This has been featured on YouTube on September 9 in honor of the occasion. It's a compilation of fan created animation for Spyro created specifically for the 20th anniversary event. It's really amazing to see the variety of work and all the interpretations of the character.  Wow! I'm at a loss for words as to how terrific it is!

Anyway enjoy the video and here's to the next 20 years of Spyro!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I'll be at Power-Con in LA Aug 26 2018

Hey there everyone how are you? Hope you're doing well. It's been a while since I posted. I haven't had the blog or you great people out of mind. Just been super busy with my school and life in general. I'm at capacity with my onsite classes in Burbank and have had to turn away students because of seating limitations. Probably going to have to add a new session during the week to absorb the demand. Also my online classes are maxed out. Don't know why I'm getting all this extra activity. Sure is keeping me on my toes. 

In any case I'd like to let you know that I'll be at the Power-Con in Los Angeles this coming Sunday August 26. I'm participating in a panel in the morning. It's called "Creating the Design and Animation of Filmation He-Man". It'll run from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

 Power-Con 2018 LA

The Power-Con will be taking place at the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach Hotel. The event is the annual gathering of the communities involved with the He-Man and She-Ra and Thundercats and BraveStarr animated cartoons from the 1980's. It's been going on for many years and keeps getting bigger.

I have a large collection of never before seen art I did from He-Man and She-Ra and BraveStarr. I'll be bringing in some of this work to show along with sharing my experiences and recollections of the time I was at Filmation working on these productions. I'm the last living artist who was on the original He-Man design development team. Looking forward to participating and meeting new people and seeing long time friends.

I have a lot going on that I'll be following up with soon once I get a window to post stuff. Shouldn't be too long as things tend to wind down once summer is over. 

Wishing you happiness and joy and all that fun stuff. And as always thanks for checking in!  

Friday, July 06, 2018

Butch Hartman talks about Crash Bandicoot

Hello there everyone! It's been a while since I've posted. Been working around the clock literally for the past 3 months. Finally wrapped up what I was aiming for. Will bring you up to date soon. Meanwhile I'd like to share a video I discovered. It was posted on YouTube only a few days ago. You can hear Butch Hartman of Nickelodeon fame (Fairly Odd Parents - Danny Phantom etc) talk about his work on Crash Bandicoot early on in the days of Willy the Wombat. Interesting info that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

I'll be back soon and we'll get caught up! Looking forward to it. Hope you're doing great!

Monday, May 07, 2018

Crash Bandicoot - original BG concept paintings - 1995

Recently I received a copy of the Dark Horse Comics publication "The Crash Bandicoot Files" which is a printing of the production bible from the Willy the Wombat days. My art is all over this book. So is Joe Pearson's and also David Siller. Joe's writing is in it as well. I figure the 3 of us comprised more than 90 % of the content. I'd be surprised if it was any less than that. 


I got mine because Joe contacted Dark Horse and explained who we are and it's our stuff that's in their book. So they sent some complimentary books for us which was nice of them. Joe stopped by last week and dropped off my copy. This gave me a chance to connect with him and find out how much of his writing was in this which really helped clear things up for me. Comparing notes / memories and recollections was helpful plus we had a good time being together again.

In the middle of the book there's some double page full color spreads of the original color concept keys created for the game. The layouts were all Joe's and three of the color key paintings were mine.

Alas there was no notification giving creative credit as you would normally see with art books of this type. As I was studying these works I saw something that brought a smile to my face. At the time I was painting these background concepts I had very inconspicuously signed them!

Here they are along with blowups showing my name very tiny towards the bottom right hand corner of each composition. The originals were painted in acrylics. These are scans of color xerox copies that were made at the time they were created in 1995. They were in a folder within my copy of the original Crash bible which I suppose is a very rare thing.






Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Golden Girl - Class demo

This evening I made it a point to create a demonstration in class with acrylic paints. I sketched out a composition quickly in graphite on illustration board and used a very direct impasto like technique to apply pigment as I didn't have much time. Later I used Photoshop to touch it up in a few places and here's the result. Another example of making the best of both mediums. Also the follow up digital work helped me to figure out how to complete the acrylic painting if I wanted to bring it to completion. Not the greatest thing I've ever done but it was fun and good practice and we all learned something.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Animating Crash Bandicoot

Hello there one and all hope everything is excellent with you! I've been trying an animation app called Rough Animator. It's pretty good in spite of the many bugs. I've learned to work around them and am having fun while using the software to teach some basics.

Here's something I just finished. It's the very first time I've ever animated Crash Bandicoot. Not just pose him but actually get the character to move through sequential images. An 8 pose cycle animated on 4's.

I've been doing a lot of cycled animation lately thanks to this very easy to use program. It's inexpensive and the tools are limited. There's no tech support but it can do simple things and it's enjoyable and great for practice.

Anyway there ya go! Maybe we'll see more of him moving about and doing things.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Alien Angel - Traditional and Digital

You've heard of an earth angel. Well what about a non-earth angel? I had fun with this as it started out as a demo in acrylics on illustration board but time being what it is and the nature of the class session I used an alternative method to complete it. Here's the result in Photoshop.


Following the process backwards this is the third pass on coloring the composition. You can see more of the original painting showing through.


The second pass is where I starting the digital coloring.


And it began here with an under painting upon the graphite pencil line drawing.


Big difference! An analog method followed by a digital medium. The best of both!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Spyro Reignited Trilogy !! - Coming Sept 2018

When it rains it pours! A fan from Australia brought this to my attention as the trailer for the remastered original Spyro trilogy for PS4 and XBox One was released today. Toys For Bob is the developer and Activision will be publishing the series this coming September a full 20 years after the debut of the first game way back in 1998. Very impressive!


Saturday, March 31, 2018

New book - The Crash Bandicoot Files - Dark Horse Comics

Hey there folks. Heard about this a few weeks ago and wanted to let you know that a new book was published this past Tuesday on March 27 from Dark Horse Comics. It's called "The Crash Bandicoot Files: How Willy the Wombat Sparked Marsupial Mania". The publisher is Dark Horse Comics. 

Well for those of you wondering what the original Crash production bible contained this looks to be it. You can purchase it at the Dark Horse Comics site or on Amazon. The front cover features some of my early sketches of Crash back when he was still called Willy. If I new back then that they'd be using these drawings and others for the cover of a book 23 years later I'd of done a better job. These images were just preliminary doodles. I didn't think in terms of a public presentation. Ya never know what can happen in time! 

Here's the cover. Authored by Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin of Naughty Dog. Has a lot of Joe Pearson's art and also David Siller's work. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Character concept demo backwards

Hello there! Hope you're doing great and thank you for continuing to follow my blog. It's been pretty darn intense lately as my school and life in general keeps me very busy. When I'm in these phases I just hold on tight and ride the bucking bronco waiting for a window where things slow down a little and I can catch the wind and go on to smoother sailing.

Earlier in the month I created a demo for my students in Character Design 2 which involves creating images with more complexity especially in the area of human anatomy. This is what I ended up with.


Before that the drawing was taken to a black line level on top of the blue pencil sketch.


And before that this is what the blue pencil image looked like.


And in the beginning we started with establishing the basic anatomy of the character.


If you take this approach with your own work you'll likely wind up with a stronger composition and solid characters. It's all about fundamentals!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Character concept color sketch

I have a project in mind and thought I'd do a quick doodle in color to explore one of the characters. Primarily in terms of costume and general appearance. Not necessarily in personality or attitude just appearance. Something simple and fun to do using the open source software I mentioned before called Krita. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Testing new software - Krita for digital painting

One of my online students told me about a digital painting program he's using that is similar to Photshop. It's called Krita and the good news is that it's fee to download on your computer. So I did and this evening I took some time to doodle a color sketch and test the tools especially the brushes. 

Works great! This is what I came up with. 

A used a whole bunch of brushes to see what the effects would be. It may be reflected in the hodgepodge of shapes of color within the composition. Also I used an old Bamboo graphics tablet from Wacom to do the art. It's a very crude input device but it worked out okay plus it's excellent practice to use technology this challenging. If you can do it with a Bamboo you can do it with just about anything. If you're interested in Krita follow this link to the company website and try it out for yourself. An excellent alternative to the more expensive programs.

Monday, February 05, 2018

High school art - Delacroix's "The Lion Hunt"

I was going through my old art and found something I did in high school. I think I was 16 years old and a sophomore. This was an assignment in art class. We were told to copy a work of a great master so I chose one of the hardest ones I could find which was "The Lion Hunt" by Eugene Delacroix in 1861. He was a great French artist. This is what I did.


It measures 18" x 23". I used Crap-pas which is something of a cross between crayons and pastels. I remember I started at the left and worked across the paper towards the right. I don't think I created a preliminary sketch. I went straight ahead. I was very proud of it. Here's a picture of the actual work by Delacroix.


Here's a comparison between the two. I had a limited palette as there weren't that many colors. I recall I had to do a lot of blending to get a color that was something in line with the original.


And what do you think I did with that teenage mind of mine? I used the back of the art to take notes in my driver's ed class! What was I thinking?


 And I folded the work in thirds! Man I just wasn't using my head.


The good news is that in spite of the way I handled the art it held up after all that time!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sharing the Joy - My School is 20 Years Old

Just wanted to take a moment and let all you great people know that my school The Animation Academy in Burbank California is celebrating its 20th anniversary as of last Friday. Started in the back room of a local restaurant in 1998. Went on to make a dramatic difference in the lives of many artists and also made a positive impact on the industry. It wasn't easy. There were good times and bad times, difficult struggles and happy accomplishments. Through it all it's been a fun adventure. Thanks to all of our students both past and present and to all the fantastic people that helped us to reach this noteworthy milestone.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Grave sites of great Hollywood actors and celebrities

Every year on December 5 which is Walt Disney's birthday I visit his grave site. On my latest visit last month I took some time to take photos of the grave sites of several of the famous people who are also interred at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale California. Perhaps the most beautiful cemetery in the world. It's a who's who of some of the great stars who ever lived. They left a lasting legacy in Hollywood and in other areas of entertainment and American culture that endures to this day.

Let's start with this shot which is a view of downtown Los Angeles from the area around Disney's grave. Notice the city skyline in the center of the photo way off in the distance above the tree line.


This is Alan Ladd. He's best known for his lead role in the all time classic western "Shane" from 1950. A great movie actor.


Here's Casey Stengel. He was the manager of the champion New York Yankees in the 1950's and the first manager of the New York Mets. He was quite a character. At the bottom of his bronze plate is this memorable epitaph of his... "There Comes A Time In Every Man's Life And I've Had Plenty Of Them".


Next up is the immortal Clara Bow. She's known as the "IT" girl because she had "it" which was also the title of her best known film in 1927. She was the biggest female star in Hollywood during that phase of the silent movie era. The first on film to embody the spirit of the contemporary 20th century woman.


The one and only Errol Flynn. The greatest of the Hollywood swashbucklers. He was the movie's biggest actor in the late 1930's. The little red flower is my homage to him. He was one of my favorite movie stars growing up as a kid. I was captivated and heavily influenced by his action films.


This is one of Hollywood's most famous couples. The husband and wife team of George Burns and Gracie Allen. They were popular radio stars and they also had a long running TV series in the 1950's.


Another couple from the golden age of Hollywood. Gene Raymond and Jeanette McDonald were husband and wife. They were very popular movie stars in the 1930's.


Did you ever see the 1939 movie "Heidi" with Shirley Temple? If you did then you'll recognize this actor. This is the grave of Jean Hersholt who played the memorable role of Heidi's grandfather.


This entertainer needs no introduction. Michael Jackson is entombed in this building. There's 24 hour security here and no way anyone can enter unless you're family or you have special permission. I chose to feature Michael as a youngster in his early days when he burst onto the scene with his brothers as The Jackson 5. He's a native son of Gary Indiana.


This is what the view of Forest Lawn looks like from Michael Jackson's grave site. It's a huge cemetery with at least 250,000 graves I'm told.


The great Nat King Cole. A voice as smooth as satin and silk. He was one of the finest singers in the history of American popular music.


Here's the final resting place of Spencer Tracy. Another of Hollywood's most talented actors. The photo at the lower right is a close up of his name at the grave site. 


Last but certainly not least among the pantheon of Hollywood's best is this building where some of the greatest of all time are resting. Photos aren't allowed inside so I took a picture of the structure and am featuring 4 of the many individuals whose earthly remains are contained therein. Starting with Elizabeth Taylor at the upper left and Red Skelton just beneath her. He was a hugely popular comedian who had a weekly TV variety show that lasted for many years. At the upper right is Carol Lombard who died tragically in a plane crash in the early 1940's. She was a movie star and married to Clark Gable who's pictured below her. They're buried next to each other.


There are many more stars and memorable individuals buried at Forest Lawn. This is a look at a few of them. If you're ever in the LA area make it a point to visit Forest Lawn. It's a fascinating place. Hope you enjoyed this presentation.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A few demos from last year

Here's some class demos from late last year that I'm filing away for posterity. The first is a facial expression study with a notation on how an overhead light source can help enhance the dimensionality of the subject.


Next we extend the head design into a full body concept.


Turn that head!


Rotations are a staple of character design and an essential skill for professionals.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

I found Marilyn Monroe's House in Burbank from 1948

Hello there! Hope everything is going great with you. I have an interesting photo essay to feature and which I'm excited to share. Here's the tale...

....................

For decades in Burbank California we had the story that Marilyn Monroe lived here. We even had a photo dating to around 1948 that included an address. But nobody could figure out where that address was, whether the house was actually in Burbank, or whether it even existed anymore.

All of that has changed. The location of the house has been discovered and I can prove this was the place where the photo was taken. Click on the shots below and follow along as I tell you about Marilyn Monroe's house in Burbank. The 70 year mystery has finally been solved!

..................

It's 1948 and Norma Jean (Mortenson) Dougherty is a 21 or 22 year old in Burbank California. She'd been working at a plane factory at the north end of town and is gradually picking up modeling work. Things are changing as she gets ready for a new career in show biz. She's signed a short term contract with Columbia Pictures and is frequently appearing as an extra and in bit parts in the movies. She's working as Marilyn Monroe for the first time. 

And she's living at 4215 Rowland Avenue.


Fast forward to Burbank in 2017 and the question becomes... Where's Rowland Avenue?


There's no such street in Burbank. If the street doesn't exist then what about the house? 

The great mystery surrounding the iconic photo of Marilyn Monroe in Burbank was solved this past summer by Wes Clark, a local historian who published the info on July 6 2017 and gave credit to Harry A. Marnell for disclosing that Rowland Avenue's name had been changed years ago. We now know what the current street name is and where to look.

Armed with the info I set out towards that part of town on Dec 28 2017. It was a neighborhood I lived at in 1995. In fact the house was across the street and only a few doors down from my old residence. As I approached I made a personal commitment. To take one shot as I walked by and make the best of it. Here it is...


It was built in 1937. A blow up of the photo shows the entrance. I lightened the image slightly for clarity. The front door is now painted white. The dark object in the center is a holiday wreath with a red bow.


By overlaying a transparent version of the photo we can see exactly where Marilyn Monroe was standing 70 years ago in 1948.


To further confirm the location of the 4215 photograph I used the street view from Google Maps dated 2015.


This is an image of the front door zoomed in from the street view on Google Maps.


This is an overlay of the original Marilyn Monroe photo at the exact spot where the image was taken.


Thanks to Google Maps technology we can see what Marilyn Monroe was looking at from the perspective of her front door. The panorama still has some of that small town country charm to it. Beyond the hill on the left is Hollywood. Towards the base of the hill is Warner Bros Studio. To the right of the hill and directly in the center of the image would be the area of Universal Studios.

Marilyn Monroe was facing Hollywood!


Another piece of the puzzle in the life of one of America's greatest and most iconic entertainment talents. 

Norma Jeane we have found you !!