Friday, June 14, 2019

Crash and Spyro sketches from school event

I was invited by a local school just down the block from my own school to participate in an event where several different organizations would set up a booth and interact with their students. Brighton Hall in Burbank is famous for nurturing up and coming acting talent. Janet Jackson attended the school at one time along with many other celebrities when they were kids.

I participated for a while on May 18 2019 and had the chance to draw a few pictures of a couple of the video game characters I'm known for. Primarily Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.

This is the first sketch I came up with. Crash is kind of asking himself what he's doing here. The line next to his ear is from the wind blowing the paper while I was drawing.


This next image I'm not too keen about as I've done better drawings of Spyro. It was my way of greeting visitors as they came by the booth.


As I was getting more comfortable I started having a little more fun with Crash.


I drew a few quick sketches of Crash for some of the kids there. This was done on May 21 to give my own students an idea as to what I was doing at the Brighton Hall event.


I started this sketch of Spyro at the May 18 event but didn't finish. I took the momentum back to class and completed the drawing as a demo for my own students.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Let It Shine ArtShark !!

I had a chance to come up with some new ArtShark art. It's been a long time since I've had fun with the character that's the official mascot for my school. So for educational purposes here's some images that show the process.

This is the original sketch...


Next I darkened the image in Photoshop to isolate the line. Looks strange but it's a necessary step... 


Afterwards I cleaned up the line so there's a pristine image to work with...


Next I added basic color to the composition...


Continuing on to the phase where I color the line to soften things up... 


Then I added a light source and shadows...


Here comes a few finishing touches...


Finally I added text and the school's brand to give the image a theme... and there we have the finished image ready to go!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fan letter from an art club

Hello folks how are you doing? Yes I'm still here! Been extremely busy as that's pretty much the way things are as of late. No complaints as it's all positive and I have been creatively active. Yet I'm afraid that the overall activity is hampering my ability to stay on top of things communication wise.

That said let's get on to some fun!

This past January while embarking upon the task of moving my school to a new location I received a very nice letter from a group of students in an art club in Richmond Virginia. Here's the letter and the context of what they wrote...

"We are an art club of students from 2 schools covering your work and respect you greatly. We have tried to collect all you have done and admire you most for your versatility and imagination. 

Could you autograph this card for inspiration and others to come? Thanks for teaching us what others have not."


Included was a stamped self addressed envelop with two 5 inch by 3 inch (12.7 x 7.7 centimeters) tabs of paper. So instead of just mailing back my autograph I decided to send a couple of little sketches of Crash and Spyro.


I hope this got to the art club while school is still in session. Thank you guys for your great letter and also for your patience with my reply. Cheers!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Still catching up

Here's a few additional demo drawings from class lectures recently. I was attempting to show my students ways of developing concepts and then prepping those ideas towards production. Primarily in the form of rotation models of the characters. The idea was to start with a cute little character and then transition it to something other than what you began with. In this case into a Frankenstein monster king of direction.



Thursday, April 11, 2019

Catching up some more...

Here's some additional images I came up with in class while conducting sessions at my school. These are from both levels of Character Design. The beginning class is Character Design 1. The advanced class is Character Design 2. If the designs are complex or feature proportions consistent with the human body it's CD2. The rest are from aspects of CD1. 

The new place is very accommodating to increased creative productivity which allows me to engage more in demonstrations than I normally would. I work with students on their own assignments first. When my students are doing well that frees me up for demos. The better my students do the freer I am in class to create examples.





Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I'm going to paint this....

It was a lousy sketch a few months ago. Drawn with pencil on a piece of punched illustration board used for painting backgrounds for animated films. Now that I'm clearing up the mess after the move to a new location I decided to rework it and I think it's okay. My intention is to color this using acrylics as a class demonstration. We'll see how it turns out.


Saturday, April 06, 2019

Catching Up

Hello there ladies and gents! I hope you're doing great. As you may know from previous posts I've had the daunting task of relocating my school earlier this year. I was finally able to complete the job in late February and the ensuing effort has been to organize. I've gotten things to the point where a semblance or normalcy is forming and as such the opportunity to get back to something of a creatively productive routine.

As such I'm happy to be posting again and would like to start with some odds and ends. My schedule has been busy but I am fining opportunities to draw during class. Almost everything I've been doing since the time of the move has been class demos. These sketches originate from sessions where I'm explaining things to my students and having fun in the process.

I'll be around with more soon. Thank you everyone for stopping by and for continuing to follow my humble little blog!




Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Back on Track

Hello there good people!! It was a daunting challenge but the move of my school to a new location in Burbank has finally been accomplished I'm happy to say. Yes indeed! You may recall from a recent post this is what I was immersed in. I do not look forward to ever doing this again but thankfully it's behind me now and everything from the p;d location that I intended to keep is at the new one now as of last week.

So in a celebration of sorts I thought I'd whip up a drawing of Crash from a class session the other night. I found a sketch of this pose from before and didn't like it so I redrew the composition and it's better. 

So we're back on track! Still have a lot of unpacking and organizing to do but I can tell from my short time at the new place this is a much better place to operate from then before.

Have a happy month of March friends and I'll be back soon with more!

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!