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ART+STORY
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ArchivePage 2 of 17

Leonardo

leonardo
I just saw Jim Capobianco’s film Leonardo at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 theater in Hollywood and it was great! It’s an animated short set in (perhaps?) Renaissance Italy, about a familiar-looking character named, um, Leonardo, trying desperately to invent a way to fly (with comedic results). My only complaint is that it wasn’t longer. The gags went by so quickly, I could hardly catch them all. That’s probably a good thing, however, as the film will stand up well to multiple viewings. Anyway, there was some priceless hand-drawn animation in there and beautifully simplified line work overall. I like the idea of a pencil-test sort of look as a stylistic choice for a film. It especially makes sense here, given the parchment or vellum-like treatment serving as backdrop for the drawings — a reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s own sketches and notes. Ultimately, it is a short and sweet piece that I would like to watch again and again. Big up to all the folks involved!

Trailer is available here: http://www.aerialcontrivanceworkshop.com/projects.html
Jim Capobianco has also kept a blog about the film making process here: http://leoanimation.blogspot.com

This screening was to qualify the film for Oscar consideration and so I also wish it the greatest success in that endeavor.

3rd Bloggiversary

Wow! Today is the third anniversary of the Art & Story blog! A pretty slim year for posts. I took one hell of a hiatus after April of 2008 and am still warming up to posting with more frequency again. It certainly hasn’t been for lack of activity that things were so quiet around here. Here’s hoping I’ll have more of an opportunity to share in the coming year. For now, year three in thumbnails:

A Time For Change

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

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:
http://blog.artandstory.com/2008-prior

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.

Your friend,

Lee-Roy

p.s. Here’s the sketch I used to create the new header image:

header

Animation Guild Holiday Party 2008

I know I haven’t posted here in a few, but if anyone still checks this site or is checking their RSS feeds every minute with the feverishness of a meth addict looking for his next score, I will be attending the Animation Guild Holiday Party from approx. 7pm to Midnight tonight at Pickwick Center Royal Crest Room, 1001 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank. Map: http://tinyurl.com/tag-party

So please, if you are going to be there, look for me and come up and say hello. Here’s what I look like:


IMG_0555.JPG

Oops! Wrong picture. This one’s a little more accurate:


Picture 4.jpg

My wife Jamie will be there with me.

I realize this is very last minute, quite literally. It is almost 7pm now, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway. Bye for now!

—Lee-Roy

Cat Sketch

Another portrait of Stripe.

20080811_stripe.jpg

Cat Sketch

My cat, Stripe, lounging on the sofa.
20080804_stripe.jpg

An Inky Housewarming

I gave this as a housewarming gift to my friends Chris and Lindsey. It’s approximately 3 by 4 inches, or 2.75 x 3.75, if cropped to the pencil line.

Ink on Bristol.

Spaceways

Spaceways

Here I am traveling through time and space and thought.

Drawn with Photoshop on Cintiq.

Ollie Johnston, 1912 - 2008

FRC_2.jpg

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.

LEGENDS_OJohnston.jpg

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.

But…

Here’s one of my first sketches on the Cintiq 12WX! I took a couple tries at drawing myself on the Cintiq before this one. I drew myself all bright and cheery, but it just didn’t look right. I felt like I was making myself look too good, and who wants to see that? So I pushed this one a little more and gave myself that look of desperation. This was an unscripted pose, but it seemed as though I might be in a confounded state of pleading or grasping to understand something fearful, so I added the “But…”

Computer Upgrades!

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.

Sketchcrawl 18, Part III of III

UPDATE: More after the jump…

Continue reading ‘Sketchcrawl 18, Part III of III’

Sketchcrawl 18, Part II of III

UPDATE: More after the jump…

Continue reading ‘Sketchcrawl 18, Part II of III’

Sketchcrawl 18, Part I of III

UPDATE: More after the jump…

Continue reading ‘Sketchcrawl 18, Part I of III’

Sketchcrawl 18 tomorrow!

(Logo design by Enrico Casarosa. Used with permission.)
Tomorrow, Saturday March 29th, is Sketchcrawl 18. People will be gathering in cities and places all over the world to sketch. If you enjoy drawing from life and your environs, please join in the fun. Visit http://sketchcrawl.com/forum to find people sketchcrawling in your area. All are welcome. I’ll be joining the L.A. group at Lake Balboa Park in Van Nuys, where the cherry blossoms are supposed to be in full bloom. Hope to see you there. Look for more from me in the next day or two, as I post my results from the crawl!

UPDATE: Here’s another image appropriated from Enrico. A map showing all the places in the world where people will be sketchcrawling tomorrow! Click it for a larger version.