Here are a few cartoons I posted to the internets today, President’s Day 2012.
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I attended the 2nd Annual Animation Expo in Burbank yesterday, hosted by the Creative Talent Network. I could only go for one day and didn’t get there until the afternoon. I have a new baby girl who is almost three months old and it can be a bit difficult to get out of the house these days. But I attended a few talks and walked the floor, where I met some great artists and picked up a couple of inspiring books. I also signed up for “An Evening with Moebius.”
Artist Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, in the United States for the first time in 15 years, discussed his life and work and ideas with animation director John Musker. The talk was slated to last 75 minutes, but it ran two hours, which was terrific! I could have kept listening for another hour, at least, but this was about perfect. At the end of the talk, he banged out a couple of drawings, projected onto two large screens (where we also viewed many samples of his work and video clips during the talk). My exposure to Moebius began at about the age of twelve, when I bought a Silver Surfer comic book that he had collaborated on with Stan Lee. I have to admit, though I’ve seen many examples of his artwork over the years here and there, I really have not read much else of his work. But since that first glimpse with the Silver Surfer, he has always stuck in my mind as an exceptional draftsman, a masterful artist with an enigmatic quality to his work. His work breathes. It seems alive.
This experience was very inspiring. I’m really excited to start reading some Blueberry and Arzach.
Those of you who are visiting this site because I gave you one of my cards at the Expo, welcome! It was a pleasure meeting you and thanks for checking out the site. I will be adding some new posts soon to talk a little bit about what I’ve been up to lately and to show some samples of my work. Stay tuned!
In the spirit of fresh starts, I’ve revamped the ol’ bloggy-blog, peoples. In case you find yourself missing the old design, I’ve archived it at:
However, if you wish to see new posts, they will only appear here. I upgraded Wordpress 2.0.1 to 2.7 and gave the thing a makeover. I did a little custom stylesheet I like to call ‘Skine’ — perhaps for obvious reasons. I felt like the old design was getting pretty bland and oh so Bush-era. It’s time now to celebrate diversity and smarts and the arts. I got a little creative. I hope you like it.
p.s. Here’s the sketch I used to create the new header image:
Another portrait of Stripe.
My cat, Stripe, lounging on the sofa.
Here I am traveling through time and space and thought.
Drawn with Photoshop on Cintiq.
I just watched the documentary film “Frank and Ollie” last week for the first time. I knew that these two guys (Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston) were legendary Disney animators and two of the “Nine Old Men.” I also had some idea that Frank and Ollie were good friends. I didn’t know just what good friends they were. What a very special friendship they had. A deep understanding of each other’s minds, immense wisdom and patience and love for life. It’s a wonderful story about two friends, really. And two great people. In addition, they created these wonderful works of animation that are and forever will be such huge contributions to our culture. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Pinocchio, Bambi, just to name a few examples. That’s big. And yet, their contributions were so often such little things when it came down to it. A slight change in expression. The shape of the eye changing, a lean of the body one way or another, beautifully pushed, yet understated mannerisms. And the feeling behind those movements so wonderfully conveyed so that we really feel there is a living entity there, even if only in our imaginations (which is a lot). All embodied by some lines drawn on a piece of paper.
After watching “Frank and Ollie,” which was produced in 1995, I was saddened to learn that Ollie’s wife and his best friend Frank had both since passed away. Saddened after seeing what beautiful relationships Ollie had with these two, I imagined him then quite elderly and alone, but at least he might still have those friends, the trains. I wondered if maybe he was too elderly to care for his trains anymore. Then I learned that his train, the actual, life-size, restored steam engine, had since been purchased by John Lasseter (a long-time friend of Ollie’s). Where was Ollie now? And was he happy? It seemed to me, or so I hoped, that in spite of the loss of loved ones and the difficulties that come with age, he might still find some solace in his living an exceptionally good life. Which means having dear friendships, making a contribution to humanity… and what I saw in that film was a radiant inner joy, peace, and spirit that Ollie seemed to have. Of course, I think it’s pretty unlikely that he was alone. He was living in a long-term care facility in Sequim, Washington. That’s on the Olympic Peninsula, not far from Seattle (where I lived for 8 years), and it’s a beautiful area. The Olympic mountain range is there, Hoh Rainforest, hot springs nearby, Pugent sound to the north and east, and further west is the Pacific Ocean.
Ollie died of natural causes on Monday, April 14th, 2008, at the age of 95.
We’ll miss you Ollie. Your passing puts a final page on the story of the Nine Old Men, but your work and your legend will live on forever in some of the finest animation that we have ever (and may ever) experience.
My computer for the past eight and a half years has been a Power Mac G4. The very first Mac G4 ever produced, known as the G4 “Yikes!”
I purchased it within the first month of its release in September of 1999, and at that time it was considered so powerful that the U.S. Government declared it a “supercomputer.” Today, with a 400MHz processor and a 10GB internal hard drive, it’s anything but super, but this machine has held up surprisingly well over the years. It came with Mac OS 8.6 installed and has since been upgraded to OS 9, then to OS X 10.0 Cheetah, and finally 10.3 Panther. It was able to run all of the operating systems relatively smoothly, but I don’t know how it would’ve handled 10.4 Tiger and I think 10.5 Leopard simply would not have run on this machine. The limited hard drive space became an issue quickly and I added an 80GB external drive and then a 250GB external drive to hold all my applications and files. CD burning had only just come on the scene when I got the computer, so I’ve always had to do that with an external. I’ve had two external CD burners over the years and it looks like my second one is now broken. With all of these peripherals, it’s come to look as though it’s on a sort of life support.
About four to five years ago, when I had to color a storyboard assignment in Photoshop using only a mouse, the budding carpal tunnel that I felt in my wrist urged me to purchase a Wacom Intuos tablet. This streamlined my workflow in Photoshop a bit more. It gave coloring and pretty much everything a great deal more natural feeling, but I would continuously run into walls using Photoshop simply because my computer couldn’t handle the heft of the program, particularly when working on large files. At times I would have to wait minutes for it to complete a single action and saving large files could take ages. Anywhere from 15 minutes on, and in some rare cases, over an hour.
Well, no more. My new machine is a 15” MacBook Pro. The processor is 2.4 GHz. That’s six times the speed of my G4. The internal drive is 250GB, twenty-five times the size of the G4’s internal drive. It has wireless internet and bluetooth capability, a DVD/CD burner, a built in iSight camera, a nice video card, and comes with Leopard and lots of bundled apps, including iLife ’08, and on top of all that, it’s portable! I’ve gotten iWork, so there won’t be any need to install Microsoft Office on this machine, and now I have Photoshop, too, so I can get to work.
The Wacom Intuos has always been great and for a variety of things it is far far better than using a mouse, but drawing/painting on a separate surface and looking at another was always rather counter intuitive, no matter how well I may have adjusted to it over time.
I’m now able to work directly on screen with the Cintiq 12WX, a newer model of Cintiq that brought the screen size (and the price) of the Cintiq a little more into the realm of possibility. It’s still not a cheap item, by any stretch, but it’s a powerhouse of graphic potential. This should really streamline my storyboarding process, in particular. No more scanning necessary (while technically also true of the Intuos, I could never get the hang of drawing with that, even though painting seemed to work more or less okay, so I always had to draw on paper and scan it in). I have no intention of abandoning physical media entirely, because there’s really just no replacement for that, but this will be a lot of fun to experiment with and will certainly give a boost to some very key areas of my work.
To celebrate Pi Day, here’s a very “edutaining” piece on the mathematical constant:
I came across this video from comedy duo Hard N’ Phirm (video by Keith Schofield), oh, about a year or two ago, and I thought it possessed a kind of genius. I still do. Parents, shield your child’s ears from the section at about 2:00 through 2:40. Although, if they watch television or listen to popular music, they’ve probably heard it all before anyway.
One interesting and oft-commented aspect of the song by Hard N’ Phirm is that it is exactly 3 minutes, fourteen seconds (3:14) in length.
What is this obsession with numbers? Madness and superstition, I tell you, and it will not end well!!!!!
I went to my local polling place today and cast my vote in the ‘08 primary election. My neighborhood polling place seems to be in a different location every time. Once it was in a barbershop on Pico called “The Headmaster.” This time around it was in someone’s junky old garage. It smelled musty, it was loaded with different kinds of weird junk and what space was left over had everyone just short of being shoulder-to-shoulder. One of the funniest parts, though, was this sign hanging outside the door. Now, you’d think they could maybe take this down on election day. I mean, what kind of message is this sending to potential voters?
In case you can’t make it out, the hand-painted portion of the sign reads:
DO NOT DISTURB!!!
YOU AIN’T BEEN
DONT START NOW
Another page from the Land of Ink. Bonsai branches, watchtower gourd on hourglass temple, old-man’s-face-breathing-dragon, smoldering volcano, and other things yet unnamed.