Thursday, December 13, 2007

Still kicking

Just wanted to post a little update to say that I'm still alive. Life's been absolutely nutty since the end of October, and I'm feeling spread kind of thin with all the stuff going on.

Right now my efforts are concentrated on applying for jobs more directly related to the animation/entertainment industry. I had an amazing opportunity to visit Cartoon Network and take a tour of their facilities (Craig McCracken's personal collection of Powerpuff Girl paraphanalia was a might impressive). While unfortunately they're not doing any hiring at the moment, they were nice enough to take my resume and look over my portfolio for feedback purposes.

I was fortunate enough to know people face-to-face at Cartoon Network, but getting my foot into other studios where I don't know anyone seems tricky. The Writer's Strike is also still affecting major studios. I have a friend who is out of a job soon because there are simply no new scripts to work on. While the situation is a bit discouraging, I'm continuing to poke around on craigslist and multiple job boards to see what's out there. There are a ton of production places right here in Burbank, now I just have to find 'em.

Job-hunt-wise, I can't wait for all the holiday business to be over with. But fun-wise, I'm so excited that I get to go home for Christmas. This will be my first trip where I get to fly instead of deal with a 16 hour round-trip of driving. And I'll also be spending several days home instead of just over the weekend. That means FIVE DAYS WITH MY RIGBY.. oh yeah, and my family and friends. ^.^

Monday, September 24, 2007

Madison - Colored

Madi, mama, daddy, and everyone else loved it. Now they're trying to talk me into doing a cartoon or book with Madison. She's so gosh darn spunky and silly, there would be no shortage of stories. It gives me a cute little girl chracter to have on reserve.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm on Cartoon Brew!

I'll take my fifteen seconds of fame anyway I can get 'em.

Disney Exhibit at Forest Lawn

I wrote an e-mail to Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew about the art exhibit in Glendale. The exhibit itself was so small and in such a strange location, I was hoping it would make the news page so that others would have a chance of hearing about it. Mission accomplished!

Jerry and Amid from Cartoon Brew also attended the Platform Festival in Portland. They gave great talks at the panels, and also wrote some great articles reviewing the festival. Here are a few of those links:

Report from Platform - Day 1

Report from Platform - Day 3

Report from Platform - Day 4

Hertzfeldt Wins at Platform

If you do a search on Cartoon Brew for Platform Festival. plenty of articles and pictures pop up. Still waiting on word from Cartoon Network as to if we have the go ahead for next year or not. I'm hopeful, but the suspense is getting to me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Madison - sketches

I just thought it would be nice to post some actual artwork up here. This is Madison, who I was asked to draw a cartoon version of by her mother.

First I did this little sketch, which was compiled from several different reference pictures.

Then I found some pictures from a Monster's Inc. party plate to use as a style reference. Afterall, one of my first thoughts of Madison was that she looked just like Boo from the movie, pigtails and all.

Madi's signatures are her pink flip-flops, sparkly pink sunglasses, and her "Nemo" beanie-baby (who she is -NEVER- without).

I'm going to work out some proportions and fix the angle of the feet.. probably change the eyes a bit to show more of Madi's half-Asian-ness. I'm glad I stuck with something quick and simple so I can get the image done on time. I will start on coloring tonight, though I haven't picked a medium. I really wish I had a copy of Illustrator at home. :(

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Miss Rigby

Here are her puppy pictures...

Here's a more recent picture. I caught her sniffing the flowers.

I miss my baby girl, but she's doing a great job of filling the empty-nest syndrom for my mom.


Still around, but still battling a severe lack of inspiration. I'm not too worried because this has happened to me once before. When it was over I had suddenly found myself enrolled in an art college. Crazy!

The problem is that I am not a very self-motivated person. I really miss my friends from The Art Center back home that I used to collaborate with. It seems most of the people I'm around these days are not very artistically inclined. They're fun, great people, but none who really understand the way I see things in the world around me.. for example, "that cute little rat movie" by Pixar. Once you know how animation works, you see so much more than a simple "children's" movie.. plot progression, character development, lighting, textures, environments and props.. sigh. I know there's no shortage of people knowledgeable about animation in this town, but it's been tough to pin them down.

My friend Nick and I went to a fantasy art exhibit at Forest Lawn in Glendale (which is a really weird location, because it's a giant cemetary with a museum up at the very top hill). I was surprised to find a lot of works on loan from Walt Disney Animation Studios. There were maquettes from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, character sketches of Ariel and Beast by Glen Keane (amazing), concept designs for the dwarfs from Snow White (with some GREAT variations of Dopey), as well as character designs, storyboards, cels and backgrounds from the original Fantasia, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and more. It's running until January, in case anyone has the chance to take a peek.

I've finally been sketching again, but haven't finished anything in color. Right now I'm working on an illustration as a birthday present. Little kids are fun to draw. I'll post that one when it's finished.

So far the only project I've finished out here has been a tattoo design. Man, is it weird to see your artwork displayed on someone's body!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

If failure were not an option

I found this article on and really enjoyed it. This is a problem which I am aware that I have, but I've been making a conscious effort to improve. Now all I have to do is practice.

By the way, my internet will allegedly be available on Friday or Saturday. Only took a month. :p

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A Lack of Perfection = Perfection

I have a good eye for how well something has to be done in order to accomplish what I need to accomplish, and it's one of my favorite traits about myself. The good that comes from a lack of perfection is that I can set a lot of goals for myself because I get them done.

Here are the reasons I can't stand perfectionists:

• Perfectionists procrastinate because they're scared of not being perfect.

• Perfectionists are hypercritical to the point that they can't support people around them.

• Perfectionists can't finish a project because they can always think of a way to improve it.

• Perfectionists are phony, because no one's perfect and they can't handle showing that in themselves.

Four Steps to Imperfection

Here are four things to think about if you're letting perfectionism dictate your life:

1. You get more done if you don't sweat the details.

My disdain for details started when I looked around at all the people who are disappointed with their lives. For the most part, these are people who wish they'd done something that they didn't do for fear of failure. In the worst cases, these people have whole lists of such things. Then I saw a bumper sticker that read, "What would you do if failure were not an option?"

When I went through my own list of what I would do, I decided that if I stopped worrying about failure I'd be able to do a lot more. So I started focusing on just getting stuff done instead of getting it done perfectly. Details fell by the wayside.

I also noticed that once I stopped worrying about doing something perfectly, I didn't have nearly as much reason for procrastination. It's easy to start something if you tell yourself that getting it done 70 percent perfect (as opposed to 100 percent) is OK.

Believe it or not, in most cases 70 percent perfect is fine for what we do. The trick is to balance fearlessness with attention to detail and understand when you need to concentrate on each.

2. You do better work if you aren't worried about perfection.

Here's a story I heard from Alexander Kjerulf, who was talking about David Bayles's book "Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking":

A ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produced. All those on the right would be graded solely on their works' quality.

His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group; 50 pound of pots rated an A, 40 pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot -- albeit a perfect one -- to get an A.

At grading time, the works with the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work -- and learning from their mistakes -- the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of clay.

Think about this in your own life, even if you're not using clay. The more you practice, the better you'll get. But you can't practice if you think only of perfection. Practice is about making mistakes; perfection comes from imperfection.

3. Working the longest hours doesn't mean you're doing the best work.

Usually, the hardest worker in an office is a perfectionist. This begs a few questions: Why does this person need to work harder than everyone else? Is she slow? Is she stupid? Is she avoiding her home life?

The people working the hardest are usually stuck on getting all the details perfect, but they've lost sight of one of the most important things -- which is that you look desperate if you work more hours than everyone else. The person working the hardest looks incompetent, either at managing their workload or at managing their family life.

Of course, you don't want to work the least number of hours, either. But you want to fall somewhere in between. People who work very long hours are inefficient and sometimes get so little sleep that they're performing at the level of a drunkard at work. So cut back your hours, and even if you do things with less attention to detail in order to get them done faster, they might actually get done better because you have a better handle on the time in your life.

4. Stop procrastination by stopping perfectionism.

One of the biggest productivity problems is procrastination. And one of the biggest contributors to procrastination is the feeling that we need to do something perfectly.

The key to ending procrastination in your life is to be honest about what you're really doing with your time and energy. Look closely at why you've made the bar so high that you can't even start. Procrastination can only flourish in a situation where perfection is so clearly demanded and so intrinsically impossible that inaction seems preferable to action.

So be honest with yourself about why being perfect is so important to you. Perfectionism doesn't make people happy, and often makes them nutcases.

And remember those clay pots -- they represent all the creativity and excitement you could unleash if you'd let the attention to detail slip a little.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Movin' on u~uup...

To the east si~iiide. Burbank, that is... Swimmin' pools, animation studios.

This weekend's move to my new digs in Burbank was a complete success. Now commences Operation: Scour Thrift Stores and Yard-Sales for Cheap Furniture. Or, Operation "Stsyscf", as I like to call it. At least buying a bed was taken care of well in advance. I would hate to have to sleep on top of those giant, plastic storage bins, as well as continue to store clothes in them.

Unfortunately, I once again find myself in the situation of having no internet connection--and no computer desk, for that matter (curse whoever bought the last of the models I wanted at Ikea). Hopefully I will be able to post some updates on here soon enough.

My new commute to work takes me past both Walt Disney and Warner Brothers Studios. Perhaps one day that's where the commute will end! Oh, to be starry-eyed and full of dreams in L.A.

Draw, monkey!!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Happy Little Trees

Just playing with different brushes and tools in Corel. The Impressionist tool is handy for textures.

Studio Session #2

The drawing studio was packed this Tuesday. It was a lot noisier, and a lot smokier. Finding a good spot to draw from was a bit difficult, and my view was continuously obstructed by a gentleman peering out from an easel (but his renderings were great to watch). This session's theme was the 1920's and, appropriately, the booze and jazz were a flowin'. By the way, trying to draw someone who has downed a few drinks is a fun challenge. They don't stay still quite so long.

My scanner really didn't like this last drawing. I played with the settings for over an hour, got frustrated, and finally just accepted this scan. Blah. Anywho, I plan on taking this sketch into Corel for some correction and coloring.

At the next session, I think I'm going to spend some time doing more simple gestural sketches of the people around me to warm up. The costumed models and props are great, but I'd really like some short, simple poses to get started and find my groove. Maybe the nudity happens after people drink for a bit longer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Playing Around

This was one idea I toyed with for this Illustration Friday's theme, which is "hide". The feeling I got from this sketch was more "scared", so I'm still playing with other rough ideas. I guess a person might hide if they're scared, but meh.. For some reason I originally painted this with white on a black canvas, but it looked a little better once I inverted the image.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Revisiting the Basics

My friend Dan told me about a figure-drawing studio in a somewhat frightening area of LA by Little Tokyo. This past Tuesday evening, we made a spontaneous trip down to the studio for some sketching. While the bum-infested industrial area almost made me cry as we walked to the loft around 10 o'clock at night, once we got inside I was quite amazed.

The studio was very spacious, and the overall environment very warm and friendly. Artists from all walks of life formed a large ring around an expectant model platform. People had brought along every medium imaginable for the session, which included a few laptops and drawing tablets. The studio itself also sported a fully-stocked bar (yay! drinking and drawing!), a billiard table, a small stage with lights and speakers, and an upstairs area that I didn't get a chance to explore.

Yikes. I have definitely devolved since my last figure-drawing session. Since the models were running a little late, I caught the last few minutes of this gentleman who volunteered to sit in. Every week the models have a theme to which they dress accordingly in professional costumes. This session was Greek/Roman themed, and the wait was well worth it.

This was probably my best attempt after the multiple Prisma sketches I made (same goes for the guy above). My first warm-up session after not drawing for months was tough, but also a great motivator for getting my skills back to where they should be.

Since the studio was a bit far and it was past 11pm on a work night, we decided to cut out early and head back across town. The Tuesday session goes from 10pm-2am, and I'm not sure if they have any other sessions scheduled. Hopefully we can make it out to the studio on a weekly basis and Wednesday mornings I'll just start drinking coffee.

That Wacky Wacom

I've neglected my little Wacom tablet since it was purchased almost a year ago. Unfortunately, my initial approach to this newfangled technology was: "I'm not good at it right away, so forget it." Countless canvases were deleted which bore my unintelligable scribbles and experiments with different media brushes.

...not that this is anything fancy, but it's really my first ever drawing using the tablet. For reasons unknown I just came home, fired up Corel, found a photo reference, and started to draw.

Total execution for this sketch took around 20 minutes. I'm still quite inept when it comes to remembering I can change brush sizes without having to physically change the pen in my hand. Fine-tuning the opacity and pressure settings are also tricky, so I'm still playing with the default pen configuration to find my comfort zone.

The main reason for saving this piece is to use it as a starting comparison for my practice (and hopeful improvement) with digital media. I figure the tablet will be a simple alternative for my present lack of space to use traditional media.