Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

It's the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the USA and I'd like to pass along a greeting to everyone who frequents my blog. Thank you for visiting and participating! It's been a year and a half since I started posting and it's been a great experience. I appreciate all the new friends and interesting people I've met. Thanks again, God bless, keep the faith, and let's be grateful for all the good things we have in our lives. Especially wonderful people. :)

And speaking of wonderful people, here's something I came up with in 2008 for the dedication page of my book Controlling Illusion. I dedicated it to my mother and father and honored them with this humble pen sketch which I colored in Photoshop...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Crocodile and Shark

You may recall sometime last year when I posted some images of characters developed for Willy the Wombat / Crash that were never used. One of them being a crocodile. Here's the design I'm referring to followed by the revised version based upon Naughty Dog's input. The later drawing is dated April 1995.

Also there was a shark I created for the first Crash game. This is what I posted last year followed by a design for a hammerhead shark of sorts dated March 1995. I don't know if the hammerhead design or if the second crocodile design has been published before but I'm sure I'll find out soon thanks to the Crash experts on the blog.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The value of Free Form sketching

The day before at my school in the Visual Development class I created a demonstration for a student who was struggling with the concept or free form drawing. That's the term I use for sketching with a non-erasable medium such as black line pen of marker. This is what I drew for her and then rendered in blue afterwards.

Today I finished an image that was related to the idea of free form drawing. Instead of drawing in black line first I instead sketched the concept in blue pencil and followed up with line.

One of the advantages of working in a permanent medium such as black line is that it takes away the option of erasing and thus develops a greater confidence in your ability to commit to the emerging composition. It's a great exercise for any artist who's looking to reach higher levels in the creation of their art.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Monkey and Gorilla

You may remember last year when I posted a design for a character from the original Crash / Willy the Wombat that was a thug kind of monkey. I found the revised version and would like to include that as well. I also found a design for a gorilla character. These are all from March 1995.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A lesson in color and tone

In the early days of my school back in 1998 I gave a demonstration in the Visual Development class about how color and grayscale tone are related to each other. It was a fun experience. For my current students and others who may be engaged in developing this aspect of their skills here's the demo that I created at that time. Starting at the end of the process with color and going in reverse...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Possum and Koala

Hello there everybody! Sorry for the delay in posting new content. Things have been really busy lately and sometimes it gets to the point where I have to deal with what's in front of me at any given moment. Let's get back on track with the latest in never before seen art from the development of the original Crash Bandicoot game in the days when it was Willy the Wombat.

Here's a couple more incidental characters I came up with in March 1995. One is an opossum and  the other a koala bear. My first attempt gave them some fairly nondescript eyes and upon Naughty Dog's feedback I revised the designs accordingly.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pencil to color concept sketch

Around 2002 at my school I engaged in a demonstration for the Visual Development class. I looked to communicate how simple it was to create with watercolor. Starting from a blue pencil thumbnail sketch I proceeded to redraw the concept in graphite on paper suitable for pigments. Next I mixed some basic colors for the composition in a direct but controlled manner and painted right on top of the pencil line. The result of which you see below. This was a quick and fun demo that helped get a message across as to how efficient and effective some traditional analog mediums can be. Color studies make a great portfolio filler plus they're an excellent exercise in prepping for more ambitious works.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Running Lizard

Looking through the archives I found another obscure character from the development of the original Crash game when it was Willy the Wombat. I posted the first image last year when I was featuring characters that never made it into the game. At the time I was asked to design a running lizard so this is what I came up with. The running lizard Naughty Dog wanted was one with a hood that would expand and give a menacing appearance as one would expect to see in nature. The revised design is dated March 1995 as is the lizard in the track suit. The reason why the second lizard is simple and angular is due to the requirements of the original PlayStation console. There were a limited number of polygons that each character was comprised of so I adapted and kept that in mind when I worked the revised concept.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Drawing Jesus - Lesson in grayscale and color

I've been experimenting with Saturday sessions at my school. A student at that time is taking Visual Development and he's at the point of moving into the use of tonal rendering in preparation for color. One of the things I impress upon my students is the importance of the relationship between tonal grayscale values and color. I got the message across yesterday through the use of a demo.

I started by drawing a stylized image of Jesus or a Jesus like character. I felt like this would be a good subject to work on. Here's the initial blue line drawing...

When I was comfortable moving forward I got my gray markers out and made three photocopies of the original. The first was rendered in a range of light tones with a degree of contrast within that aspect of the grayscale spectrum.

The second one was rendered using the mid-value range of grays...

The thirds was approached using the far end of the value spectrum which is the range of darks...

After class I spent some more time rendering the light value image in Photoshop using several layers of transparent tones of  color with a few opaque highlights. This is the result...

To prove my point about how important tonal values are I converted the color image to grayscale. Take a look at how the color translates to a full range of tones. Lights to middle tones to darks...

And that's the lesson for the day my friends. If you're an artist looking to improve upon your fundamentals keep in mind an example such as this one. It will help to make you more effective when creating in a visual development capacity.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Animation Day - The Light Within

This is something I came up with while teaching at California State University Northridge in 2007. I drew it while class was in progress. More or less a doodle that just got carried away. I used it in conjunction with the Animation Day campaign I was on. For a few years I was into the idea of establishing a special day for artists in the animation biz and everywhere else for that matter. So I'd take time to create a composition that was different and that featured a smiley face sun. In this case it also featured a little boy contemplating that magical light that shines within us all.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Iguana

Dated from March 1995 these sketches were part of the early development of the Crash Bandicoot franchise when it was still originally Willy the Wombat. We were in a phase of developing additional secondary characters. I was thinking distinct personality but Naughty Dog wanted straight out simple creatures representative of what we'd see in nature for the most part. This was what I came up with for an iguana. Initially starting out as a punk biker thug and then winding up as a straight forward animal. I don't think this has been published before. Something for the Crash historians.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Best of Jak and Daxter - Part 5 - Miners

One aspect of the development of Jak and Daxter in 2000 - Project Y at the time - was a group of characters that were miners. I came up with several versions but these are the two that I'm partial to.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Warthogs

Someone asked recently about the warthog characters that appear in the first Crash game in 1996. I dug up some images from the development of the warthog.

In the beginning he was conceived as a sumo wrestler. Naughty Dog decided they didn't want this guy and other incidental characters to emerge as full personalities. Instead they opted for simple versions of what the animal would look like in real life. These drawings are dated March 1995 back when Crash was a wombat named Willy.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Dragon character rotation

This is how I wrapped up my week at the Academy. Helping students understand the importance of being able to create a rotation on their character design concepts.

Here's the initial doodle where an idea for a dragon based character started to emerge.

I tried a couple of variations along the theme of my initial sketch and got a little farther on the character.

When I had enough of a direction established I proceeded to the rotation whereby I modified the anatomy of the character somewhat. I did this rotation on an animation disk with five separate pages using punched 12 field paper. I hope you find this educational and creatively inspiring.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bear cub character rotation

I really enjoy rotating character designs. When I started out in animation I had a knack for it and really nailed the art and the craft. I made a great living designing and turning characters for years at studios all over town. Still do except now I teach it through character design. Plus I can create any character I feel like coming up with which makes a difference. It's not always fun when you're working within the studio system but it is when you're at The Animation Academy.

Here's the latest from earlier in the week. I plan on developing this guy into something special. I realized I left out a little tail but I'll include it in the revised version. This was for educational purposes.