Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Foolin with Photoshop

Here's another example of something I doodled in Photoshop as I continued to explore it a few years ago in 2008. I used one brush and started with one color. I used colors I came up with during the painting process as my palette. The more I painted the more colors I had to choose from and modify. Before I knew it I had this unusual composition all the while sticking with that one brush. Fun exercise to work in color with no distinct visual goal in mind and then see what happens.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Elegance is in the eyes

A few years ago when I was finally getting around to picking up Photoshop I created this composition in the early days. I was taken back by how easy the software was to use on a basic level and started to draw directly in the program. This is something I created in those early days. I think it was the period where I was influenced by Nat King Cole's song "Mona Lisa". I was looking to emulate the face of a high style lady and designed the composition using isolated graphic elements on a simple white background through a close up. Eye contact was important in that I wanted viewers to connect with the character so she could communicate as a living being with a feel of classic elegance and something else that perhaps the individual can best ascertain.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Coco - Part 4

I'm at the very end of the massive amount of work I've been prepping for publication of my next major project. Just about finished with the first big batch of art. A few more days and I'll be free to move forward on it. Meanwhile I've fallen a little behind in maintaining entries on my daily blog. Things will get back to normal soon. 

Let's catch up with more images from the origin of Crash's little sister Coco Bandicoot. These drawings are from April 8, 1997. After my initial pass on the character I began to refine her final design with a model rotation.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Creatures from class

I had the opportunity yesterday to draw with my students. No particular direction of I thought I'd sketch odd but thoughtful creatures. Something like ogres or trolls of some kind but contemplative in nature. I used Col-erase blue pencil on 12 field animation paper. Always a good time when I can create with everyone in class. This happens more often when the group improves to the point where my input isn't needed as much. Plus I'm inspired by the great work my students come up with. This week they did exceptionally well so thanks guys for the push forward!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Class demo - Painting from mud

Hi there folks! It's been a couple of days since I've posted an entry. Been very preoccupied mostly with completing art for my next major project. It's like the end of a marathon or more like a triathlon. There's a large amount of work to complete but I'm getting very close to the finish line with what I have to do in order to launch it. 

Meanwhile here's a look back at something I created in 1997 as a class demonstration. I was teaching at a school called Associates In Art which is no longer around but was really happening at the time in the middle of the animation boom of the 1990s. I painted this in acrylics for Visual Development. I used an unusual method in my approach. I mixed all the colors on my palette together to get a primordial mud which at first seemed impossible to work with. As I started to paint I began to extract more and more the colors that I needed until I wound up with what you see here. Surprised my students with the result. A successful demo in understanding color relationships.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Original Crash Bandicoot Color Chart - 1995

For a while I thought I lost this. Looked around for some time and then double checked the Crash archives very thoroughly. Just before I panicked... Sure 'nuff... It was there!

By request here's the very first original color chart for Crash from his days as Willy the Wombat. You can clearly see the primitive limited polygon modeling on the character. There was a tab of paper clipped to the top with notations I made. It read...

Fur - oranger
Pants - bluer - brighter
Shoes browner - darker
Back "flame"
Gloves - brown like shoes, darker tone than printout
 Mouth area - nice & pink

I think this was provided for me when I was prepping some concepts for the cover of the first game or maybe ND needed help with color. Not quite certain but in any case here it is. I know that Crash fans everywhere will appreciate the historic and artistic significance. Good thing I held on to this stuff. So here ya go guys! Clicking on the image will give you a better view.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Animation Academy Celebrates 15 Years

Why is ArtShark so happy today? 

If you answered that he's pretty much always happy you'd be correct of course. 
But today he is exceptionally upbeat and exuberant. 
That's because today is...

January 19 is a key day each year for ArtShark but this year it's especially signifcant...

That's because today marks the 15th Anniversary of The Animation Academy in Burbank !!!

That's right folks! It was 15 years ago today on the evening of Monday, January 19, 1998 in the back room of the Coral Cafe in Burbank that we held our very first class. Speaking of 15 that's how much money it took for me to start the business. I spent $15 on stamps and envelopes to mail flyers I printed from a little 486 PC and sent out to 35 former students and friends on a Christmas card list. I sold all 20 available seats and from then on it was history in the making as they say.

The Academy has been a hugely influential school since that time and continues to affect the animation industry to this day. It's had a big impact in the lives of a great many people who've gone on to significant achievements with their art and careers. I'm very proud of what's been accomplished since January 19, 1998. 

Now that we're at our 15th anniversary if you amortize what I spent getting the school started it comes out to $1 a year!

So here's to the future of the Academy as we celebrate its past and heads into the future! I hope it continues to be a positive influence for all!

Thanks to our students past and present, instructors, associates and friends as we celebrate the milestone of our 15th anniversary!


Charles Zembillas
President / Founder / Director
The Animation Academy
Burbank California

Okay folks that's what I'm gonna use as I prepare to get the word out. I'm posting it here first to share with the followers and visitors to my blog. Man it's been a wild wild ride since this date in 1998! Happy to have reached this important milestone.

For educational purposes I'd like to share the development drawings I came up with for ArtShark in this announcement. Here's the original sketch for the idea along with the first pass blue line rough...

Thanks very much everyone for checking in and I hope you have a great January 19 !!! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

J&K - The Road to Daxter - Part 3

Following up on a previous entry from January 3 here's a look at a couple of the more appealing versions of Daxter from Sony's "Jak and Daxter" while he was going through more of a monkey look. I generated a high volume of development work for Daxter. These two drawings are an abbreviation of  this phase.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

First drawing of She-Ra Princess of Power

A few days ago on January 11 my blog entry was an early concept drawing I created from the development of the original He-Man animated TV series in the early 1980s. I was also on the development team for the follow up series "She-Ra Princess of Power" in 1984. I have a lot of artwork from She-Ra that's never been seen before. 

Both of the franchises have a big worldwide following and there's an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the shows called the The Power and the Honor Foundation. Few people realize this but Filmation Studios which was the production company that created the cartoons would routinely discard the original artwork that was created by their artists once it served its purpose. I made it a point to save as much of what I did as possible. Thus the collection I have today preserving at least my creative contributions to what was happening at Filmation in the 1980s.

The Power and the Honor Foundation has been collecting art from that time as well. They surprised me last year in 2012 when they sent a copy of this drawing  to me that I forgot I did. It's the very first drawing of She-Ra from when we were developing the series in 1984. You can see how worn it is along the edges from years of handling. I thought it would be fun to feature it here and share it. I'll be following up with more art from She-Ra in days ahead.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Coco - Part 3

Last week on January 6 and 8 my blog entries showcased never before seen art from the original development of Coco Bandicoot. The concept designs for Crash's little sister didn't end there. These three sketches were also created at my first pass for the character on March 18, 1997. There are more drawings of Coco from later sittings. I'm pretty sure this rounds out the first phase of her initial design from that date.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Alien portrait

I like using traditional mediums such as water based paints when creating demonstrations in color when teaching visual development. This was done at the Academy around 2004 but it could have been earlier. Notice how the first layers are applied transparently and then followed up with heavier applications of opaque pigment. Makes for a nice effect. This is a very simple and fundamental approach which can be utilized in essence when painting digitally.

Now imagine how effective your art can be when you take it to the next level through story. Thinking in a narrative context and including a story aspect to your work will help define and further communicate your concept while building intrigue and enthusiasm.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fun with monsters

The night before in Visual Development at the Academy I gave myself a theme to create while students worked on their assignments. Monsters is a good one that you can't go wrong with. I sketched these concepts for head designs in black line pen. At first I wasn't happy with some of these but now that the drawings are digitized I feel better about them. This technique is called free form sketching and is a good exercise in developing your confidence and imagination.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Early He-Man - Dragon Concepts

The other day a friend suggested that I start a new blog dedicated to showcasing the art I created for the original He-Man series of the early 1980s. Got me thinking about prepping artwork for it. In the meantime I can feature some of the images here.

This is one of the very first production drawings from He-Man. I did it in either very late 1982 or very early 1983. I'm not sure which year so I'll go with the earlier date. My assignment was to come up with concept designs for dragons that He-Man could fight or that could be turned into individual characters. I thought I'd be efficient so I sketched a composition in which many dragons would be featured and any one of which could be further developed. I had a little fun and placed He-Man in an impossible situation. 

This is the very first time the drawing has ever been published. Very few people have ever seen it. I have an extensive archive of art from He-Man and She-Ra and Bravestarr that's been waiting to see the light of day for a long time. Since 2013 will mark the 30th anniversary of the broadcast of the TV series I think it's a good time to get started on showing some of it.

I worked on animated projects prior to breaking into the animation industry proper. Developing the original He-Man series was my first job in an actual animation studio. It was called Filmation and they did a lot of cartoons throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s until they closed in 1989. I was one of three artists on the development team and the only one still alive. Looking back I realize how much I had to learn. Wish I could do things over again but alas... we know how that goes. I'm sure the He-Man fans out there will appreciate the significance of the drawing. Clicking on the picture will give you a better view.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today's color demo

I was working with a student of mine this afternoon. Gabe is a talented artist in Michigan concentrating on his visual development skills. I used a drawing I came up with in 2006. It was a ball point pen doodle that I thought would look interesting in color. The original sketch is followed by the Photoshop rendered version. I used a few different techniques and emphasized getting the color you want and going with it in a direct painterly manner. It's fun to see how pigment can affect a simple black line drawing. I enjoyed this demonstration. Some fundamental advice for up and coming artists. Get your analog basics down and you'll become a better digital illustrator.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Black and Blue Girl

There was a period around 2007 when I was getting into drawing with blue pencil and black markers. I like the way black and blue work together as can be seen from the design of my blog. This is from that time. A class demonstration from my days at Cal State Northridge initially sketched with ball point pen prior to rendering.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Coco - Part 2

Following up on my last entry. Here's a few more concept drawings from the origin of Crash Bandicoot's sister Coco. These also date from March 18, 1997 and there's still more from this sitting. Looking back it appears I was able to visually define her right from the beginning on the first day of working on the character. Her clothing changed but the design essence is evident early on from her inception. Not sure what order these were done in but it's pretty darn close chronologically.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Coco - Part 1

I'm sure the Crash fans out there will be excited about this. Did some digging around today and guess what... Found artwork from the creation of Crash's sister Coco Bandicoot! There's a few drawings of her. Most of them are photocopies of the original art which Naughty Dog has in their possession as far as I know unless they gave them away to Sony executives as a present. They did that quite a bit with original development art. They'd frame the drawings and gave them away as presents to executives.

Coco was created as a counter balance to Tawna who was Bandicoot's  girlfriend. She came along because ND was sensitive to Sony Japan and wanted to please them. Sony Japan didn't feel comfortable with a super sexy character with Crash so ND went with a sister character instead to appease them.

So here she is on the day of her birth. These are the first few sketches. This is where she started from. There's more and I'll be posting those in a later entry. I wrote down the date on these pages when I drew them. March 18, 1997. I was developing Crash 2 at the time.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

A different Mona Lisa

A few years ago in 2006 when I was familiarizing myself with Photoshop I was doing experimental work discovering different ways to use the software. While listening to the radio Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" was playing. It was a hit song in 1950. I was inspired to do a few versions of a Mona Lisa type of character described in the lyrics. I used multiple layers in this composition isolating the line in certain areas and sweeping my brush strokes for a unique effect. Touched this up a bit prior to posting. She's based upon someone I used to now in my college days.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Hello there Skeletor

Nope. It's not this guy. This was a doodle from class the other night.

Which lead to this. For some reason I drew a skull head character.

Which in turn lead to this interpretation of what was forming in my mind's eye. One of my students thought it was a new version of Skeletor who is He-Man's prime adversary. So why not?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

J&K - The Road to Daxter - Part 2

Here's the follow up to my entry on December 17 2012 when I started featuring concept designs for the development of Daxter from the Jak and Daxter game series. There was a huge amount of work that I did for the character. More so than any other video game I was involved with. These are from the earliest days of Daxter's coming into being.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Angel and Devil

Everybody has a little of both in them.

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing that 2013 is healthy and prosperous and creative for you! I'm really looking forward to this year. I've got a special project in the works that I'm excited about. Looking forward to launching it soon! Meantime...

Not exactly sure when these class demonstrations were done. I think it was around 2003 so that's what I'll go with. Starting with a concept sketch I used a light box to redraw the images onto watercolor paper and   then give them some pigment. Like everything dealing with life we choose which way to swing. Yin and Yong, positive or negative, day or night, angel or devil. So let's begin 2013 with a wee bit of contemplation and a couple of fun characters