Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reunited, and it feels so good..

I was in a panic over the weekend after leaving my sketchbook behind at a cofee shop across the valley. The first time I called to see if anyone had turned it in, I received a very prompt "No.", and that was that. Thankfully, I decided to call the next day and was overjoyed to hear "Is there like a picture of a wooden fence in it? And one page has like a grouchy bear.."

So the lesson learned today is that when your sketchbook comes with a pre-printed "If lost, please return to" page near the cover, do not scoff at it. Needless to say, I profously apologized to my little Moleskin book and promptly wrote in my name and phone number on both covers.

This is the proudest I have been of a sketchbook in quite sometime. The thought of it being gone really disappointed me, so I'm very happy someone did the right thing and turned it in.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Arialla - facial study

Just a study for a drawing I'm trying to work on. It's going to be of a friend's character, so I wanted to make sure the facial features were specific and identifiable. The hair style will be different, but I liked the one in the reference and went with it temporarily.

This study made me realize that I need to do some more realistic facial drawings and implement shading, as it seems I forgot how to.. uhm.. shade. o.0 Now I need to dig up a good photo reference for some practice.. probably one for fabric, too. Time to relearn some Drawing 101.

Yay for drawing on post-its when my sketchbook is one whole foot away!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Post-it sketch

Yup, hard at work.

EDIT: I think this chick is supposed to be a mermaid. I just get that vide from her. Don't some people just give you the mermaid vibe? Mebbe I'll draw it..

Monday, October 20, 2008

Laundry Day

Just a quickie sketch that I went over with in pen. It pretty much sums up my mood every Sunday morning when I am dragged out of bed in order to beat the crowd at the laundromat.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Illustration Friday: Sugary

It's been one of those days where I'm living in a spacey, daydreamy state just thinking and creating in my brain. I had to sneak away from my desk for a while and take a sketchbook break.

I've been making it a point to check out the Illustration Friday site on a regular basis. While I am a day late on this topic (which has had a page reserved in my sketchbook for a few days), I'm glad I finally managed to crank it out. This little guy makes me think of my nephews and how whenever they got a hold of some sugar, they would definitely manifest into little monsters.. heck, they're still like that.

I hope to ink and color this one. I snuck out on a break from work to crank out the drawing, so there's a little refining I want to do when I have time. It's just a relief to finally have it down on paper, after swimming through my brain for a while.

Meanwhile, I am happy to still be working with the John Kerwin Show. I wish it taped more than once a month, because I really dig working in production and the show itself is a lot of fun. Below is last month's episode, which had actor Max Ryan ("Death Race," "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," "Kiss of the Dragon"), and musical guest Colby O'Donis.

I also received a promotion to Production Coordinator, which I am really proud of and happy that I get to do more work on the show. The pay's the same, but now I have more responsiblity!
...Hey, wait a second...

Friday, September 26, 2008


A little doodling while watching the season premiere of The Office (JIM AND PAM. AMG.)

I've had an animation idea swimming through my head for quite sometime, so I am trying to do some work for it. These guys are just some practice for the concept and character design stages. I haven't drawn many monkeys-type-characters, but they're kind of fun.

Ook ook.

P.S., I didn't mean the monkeys are Jim and Pam from The Office. I meant JIM AND PAM. AMG!! as a stand alone exclaimation.

Ook ook.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


This piece was actually a bit of art therapy. In a moment of frustration during a heated IM conversation (no, not cyborz), I grabbed my sketchbook and my Prisma pencils, flipped to an open page, and just scribbled. It was a little reminder that everything I create does not have to be a masterpiece. A sketchbook should be a practice place for ideas, observations and experimentation.

The Prismas felt so smooth and nice gliding on the stretched skin of those little moles, that I did a quick doodle of an apple.

While failing to get all of the colors and shading to display properly from the scanner (which emits as much light as the friggin' sun), I played with the saturation and liked this warm gray version. You can faintly see a few more sketch lines where more color was applied. Still looks better in the book. o.0

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with my super-duper-bright scanner that washes out all of my drawings? The pages I draw on are actually cream-colored, but show up stark white once scanned (the brightness level is actuall brought down in the above scans). There isn't much I can do in the scanner settings, so I have to try to fix everything in Photoshop.

Gracias, amigos and amigas.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bernini at the Getty

On Sunday I had the pleasure of visiting the Getty Museum for the first time ever. Sadly, my camera was left in my car, so I will have to go back and take pictures of the amazing Bernini exhibit I viewed before it's gone.

Once I heard about the Bernini exhibit, I immediately called my friend Nick (a former employee of the Getty) and demanded he take me to see it.. and to get us free parking.

The exhibit was amazing. Bernini is my favorite sculptor, and to see his work up close was quite an experience. The majority of the pieces displayed were busts done on commission, as well as several portrait paintings. However, the most surprising treat were a series of sketched portraits done with simply black, white and red chalk. Unbelieveable.

I need to go back and see several of the other exhibits as well, and also wander around the gardens. I won't forget my camera next time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sketch dump

Was unable to access the scanner until today. Behold, the Moleskine insanity:

This is an odd montage of sketches. The arrow-headed-geese-like-things up top are something I made from notes on my legal pad. I somehow made an arrow into a bird and thought it was kind of neat. On the bottom right is a little tree-doodle of the fake tree in the waiting area by my desk. The final, weird, Pokemon/mouse looking thing was a creature put together from the abstract painting directly opposite of me on the wall. I slightly altered the placement of the painting's elements and got that little creature.

Here's a horrible webcam still of the painting I was talking about. If you squint at it for a while and drink a few shots of alcohol, you can kind of see how that little creature came to be. Kay, moving on...

I wanted to try a shot at Illustration Friday, and this week's word is "island". This is just one concept sketch, which again didn't turn out too well because of the lightness of my sketch lines. All those unidentifiable scribbles surrounding the girl are people walking by, going about their routine. I was going for a feel of "isolation" which I got from the "island" concept.. but I think it may have come out as "emo", I don't know. I like the girl anyway because she sort of reflected my mood at the time I drew her. Need a reference picture so I can fix her arms/hands.

This was my first attempt at the "island" theme. It was so generic I think I had to do it simply to get it out of my system. I hated the fact that such a boring sketch had it's own page in my book, so in frustration I drew a set of jaws coming up to swallow the stupid drawing. After a few seconds, I realized the gaping maw quite randomly belonged to a familiar character...

Speaking of stupid (as in stupid funny), I saw this episode of Family Guy last night and can't get the part Peter sings out of my head. Curse you, Seth MacFarlane.

"HehHehHehHehHehHeh, and then another HehHehHehHehHeh..."

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm somebody!

Sweet fancy Moses, I'm on IMDB!

IMDB Profile for Crystal Mora

As the link will reveal, this was obtained by working as a Production Assistant for a local/internet talkshow called "The John Kerwin Show". I got to show off my fancy logistical work and mad teleprompting skills during taping. I have a second credit pending from the last shoot, and hopefully will have another episode under my belt in October. Rock, rock on.

Here's a somewhat random sketch page from my Sunday morning at the laundromat. This was a really weird weekend all together with lots of strange people doing strange things. More sketches to come pertaining to my dining experience on Saturday night.

The scanner couldn't pick it up, but all of those words by the Pac-Man game are "AbbaAbbaAbba"... as in the sound Pac-Man makes when he's eating pellets, not the Swedish pop group from the 70's.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Secret sketching

Emily and I had a sketch night, which hopefully will become a weekly event now. We walked down to the little coffee shop by her place and discreetly leered at people while scribbling.

I wanted to try pastels again.. yeah.. rounded pastels not so great for small, detail work. Aw wells.

I really like this pencil sketch, even though the guy couldn't decide if he wanted to put his hand up or down or look straight ahead or turn slightly to the left. Finally my view was obstructed when another patron sat down in the way. People should really be more cooperative when they are secretly being sketched from across the room.

By the way, I hate my scanner.. that or I guess I need to draw much harder. A lot of the details and linework look so much nicer in the book. The sketch lines of the guy's hand by his mouth and stripes on his shirt were pretty much lost. Curse this digital age we live in!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quick sketch

This was a quickie I did right when I walked in the door after my commute home. Had to play with the contrast a lot because I drew this with pretty light lead. o.0

This was a little scene I witnessed while sitting at a stoplight. It was just kind of sweet and I wanted to capture the basic scene into my sketchbook for reference, should I choose to do a finished picture in the future.

And no, I'm not a voyeur if it's happening in broad daylight at an intersection. >.<

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is it "Moleskine" 'cause it's made of moles?

Much to my sadistic disappointment, no. But I will pretend.

Breaking in my new moleskine sketchbook has been way overdue. I don't know what is so damn intimidating about a blank sheet of paper to me these days. This past Saturday, I went downstairs to thaw out in the blistering sun, by the pool. I decided it was time to learn how to draw again.

I need to finish the trees in the background once the temperature cools down, or I can get air conditioning outside.

My friend Emily inspired me with how she is also trying to fit more doodling into her hectic schedule. When I went over to visit, she had several small notebook pages (tattered edges from the binding and all) placed together on her wall. She had done a simple ink landscape of the buildings by her work, pieced together on 5 or 6 seperate pages.. like how people take individual photos of a landscape and piece together their own panoramic puzzle. She had tied them all together with a simple, yet lovely watercolor wash for the sky.

...So this isn't exactly a tryptych or anything (ten points for remembering Art History 101 terminology), but I was inspired to create something.. and I mean -something-, ANYTHING at all remotely artistic. That's sort of a big deal to me, and it shouldn't be. Life continues throwing transitions at me with a new job and new home, but at least these are good things. I am ready to get settled into a new routine while trying to incorporate my creativeness once more.

More doodles to come soon. Thank you to the little moles who helped make my sketchbook possible.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


So I got the earthquake job. :D Yesterday I started with a company called Fix8.

Fix8 is a program which allows you to customize and animate yourself via webcam. You can either create a 3D avatar, like so...

Or add on accessories and little flash animation special effects, like so...

What's kind of fun about the avatars is that they sync up with your own movements. When you smile, it smiles. When you talk, it talks. When you move your eyebrows, it moves its eyebrows. There are also options to add vocal effects to alter your voice when you speak.

For right now I am doing some part-time admin work, which includes lots of playing around with the software. Right now I am doing some research to provide feedback concerning the program's interface... which means I look at myself on a webcam and make lots of goofy faces. They have eluded to me helping out more graphically in the future, and seemed pretty excited about my background in animation and graphic design.

While I admit to never being big on the video chat, this program is pretty fun to play around with. They have a lot of cool possibilities for the software on how to expand its use for animation purposes.

Fun stuff!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My first earthquake

No sir, I don't like it. o.0

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. For me, it happened in the middle of a job interview on the 10th floor of a building overlooking the 405 Freeway and Galleria mall. Fun times. As my prospective employer and I huddled beneath a doorframe, he remarked that I was handling my first earthquake rather well. My reply was that now he could see I work well under pressure. I hope it at least made me memorable.

Monday, July 21, 2008

That's showbiz, kid

Work-wise, I have been trying to get my foot in the door of the entertainment industry. Between the writer's strike and the forboding talk of an actor's strike, I really picked a heck of a year to get into "the biz". Still, this is a path I am determined to travel. Since being out here in California, I have developed an interest in production, development, and more of the business side of entertainment. This not only encompasses animation, but feature and television as well.

Getting that first foot in the door has been tricky. So far, I have been working as an intern for a production company in Los Angeles. The project is a documentary on Marvel Comics' Stan Lee, so the subject matter has been really fun for me. In my short time there, I have learned much about the industry, but I'm still trying to find a specific direction in which to move forward. Tomorrow I start a temporary gig as a Production Assistant for a television talk show. There are a lot of PA opportunities around the city which are great for both experience and networking.

In short, I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.. You'd think I'd have it figured out by now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More apples

It's pretty slow-going, but it's fun to sort of re-learn what Photoshop does. To be honest, I don't remember doing any realistically shaded images in Photoshop. Oh well, the practice is fun. Fixed the shape of the main apple, as well as correcting the placement.. as well as changing what I thought was a leaf to an apple or lime or whatever it is. Also experimenting with different brushes and textures for the apples and such.

Nothin' like scribblin' to the rousing speeches of Zap Brannigan.

Monday, January 7, 2008

"Speed" painting - Apples

I haven't picked up the old Wacom in ages, so I decided to start playing around with it again today. I remember some of you blogsters who were doing "speed painting", so I decided to try a hand at it myself.. except that I kind of forgot the "speed" aspect and just sort of did this through an episode of Futurama that was playing in the background.

Just got the blocking done today. It's been ages since I've colored anything in Photoshop, and I haven't really colored a complete picture with a tablet. Figured this would be good practice. More progress will be posted later.

Hope everyone is having a great New Year!