Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank You and Happy New Year !!!

I thought about an appropriate last post for 2012 and decided this would make a good entry. It's a class demonstration I did in 2000. I used watercolors and black line over a blue pencil sketch. My way of communicating thanks for visiting and for helping to make this experience a special one. I'll remember 2012 in large part for the launch of my personal art blog. It's been 7 months since I got it going and the traffic and page views it gets are inspiring me to get into creating even more. In 2013 I have something exciting on the way and am looking forward to showcasing it. Meantime thanks again very much for stopping by and for the very positive experience. 

All the best to you and yours in the coming New Year !!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Head gear heads

In the summer of last year in 2011 I worked on a project for a while with a group that was looking to do something different with their approach to video games. Unfortunately it wasn't able to move forward due to internal issues they were having. But it did provide me an opportunity to create a good body of new images in a game related property. 

These guys were creatively influenced by Avatar and Jak & Daxter and it was a challenge at times to work with them as they got into a habit of heavily art directing which is not always beneficial at the beginning of a project. Much of what I came up with for the project shows the influence of their direction. None the less I still had a good time and there's plenty of content to feature as a result.

One of the characters they were attempting to come up with wore headgear and goggles so I created these concept sketches. I drew them in black line pen and later embellished some of the images with grey tones in Photoshop.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Skull creature sketch

The other evening on Thursday December 27 we had a special session at the Academy for students to come in and work over the Holiday break. I started to doodle with a little skull head design and it kept on going into this odd looking character. Blue pencil sketch followed by black line and finished with blue pencil on 12 field animation paper.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Crash and Spyro Christmas Tree

This picture was a nice surprise which I'd like to share. Posted on The Animation Academy's Facebook page by Aaron Wood. It's a Christmas tree his family put together decorated with Crash and Spyro ornaments which are actually little toys they picked up on Ebay. What a cool tree! An appreciative thank you to Aaron Wood and his family from yours truly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Clicking on the picture will give you a better view.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Crash & Cortex Christmas 2012

This is a special gift for all the Crash Bandicoot fans who frequent my blog. Since the time I launched seven months ago in late May you've been a big part of the experience. You've given me a lot of traffic and helped to revive my interest in Crash as well as inspire me to do new things. Thanks very much for helping to make 2012 a memorable and creative year. This is for you! Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

ArtShark says "Merry Christmas"

I like to buck trends. That's how trends are created. 

When the Happy Holidays craze was in full bore in society I wanted the Academy's greeting to be "Merry Christmas". Prior to 2005  I had friends and students do the school's Photoshop work. Foremost being the latest ArtShark who is the Academy's logo/brand mascot. By 2005 I had picked up enough on Photoshop to start illustrating him myself. This is my first attempt at digital color on ArtShark.   


I added text to the full color image for a Christmas greeting on the school's website and blog. 

For educational purposes here's how this version of ArtShark developed. The drawing below is the final line clean up I made from the concept rough. This was scanned and the line work tightened and cleaned further in Photoshop.

It started with the initial concept rough which could grow out of a thumbnail sketch. With this approach the design information is built upon a core structure of the character's anatomy. The composition is constructed from the inside out. Thus the feeling of solidity and substance along with weight and volume.

And that's how this came about! So from everyone associated with The Animation Academy here in the heart of Burbank California USA to whomever may be looking and reading these words... A Very Merry and Happy Christmas to you and yours! 

May All Your Dreams Come True!

Keep Creating!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Crash Bandicoot - Original spin sketches

Here's something for the Crash Bandicoot historians out there. More obscure development art I've rediscovered that's never been publicly seen before. 

This is from early 1995 in the days of Willy the Wombat. One of the things they wanted to do at the time was work out a motion for Crash that would give him the ability to spin as part of the game play. These are the initial sketches I came up with to help Naughty Dog with the animation. I'm not particularly enthusiastic about the quality of the art. I was just trying to communicate information that would be useful in the production process. The drawings themselves were loosely arranged on each page. I organized them a little more along with the accompanying notations for this presentation. I wasn't attempting to impress anyone with the images. If I knew back then that I'd be publicly featuring the sketches in the future I would've made a better attempt at drawing them out. Alas, it is what it is and they are what they are. So here ya go! I hope Crash fans will enjoy and appreciate them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What are they talking about?

These little guys are the result of a class demonstration when I was teaching at California State University in Northridge back in 2007. I rediscovered them by perusing through my archives and thought they would make a nice entry for today's post.

Then I thought to myself... What could they be talking about? Lots of different ideas came to mind and then I decided why not turn it into a cute promotional ad for my school. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Strange dress

Ever come up with a doodle and then ask yourself what were you thinking? That's kind of what I've experienced just now as I rediscovered a composition I created when I was learning Photoshop a few years ago. The initial drawing on the left was a concept sketch that I scanned and then used as a foundation to do some simple digital illustration.

Monday, December 17, 2012

J&K - The Road to Daxter - Part 1

One of the characters I had a hand in developing that turned out to be among the most lauded is Daxter from Jak and Daxter. He won the Best Original Character Award in 2002 at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California that year. Something equivalent of an Oscar in the gaming industry. There was a lot of excitement about this when it happened.

I developed the look of Daxter over an extended effort providing a large variety of designs and approaches. A completely original design which I developed without any visual reference. Contrary to the text of the announcement Naughty Dog issued upon winning the award I might add. This is where the journey started. I'll be following up in days ahead with much of the work I did up until Daxter was finally realized. I generated more concept designs for this one character than perhaps any other character I worked on in video games. I won't be showing every design I created. Some of them I'm not happy with but the ones I feel good about I'll be sharing.

The road to Daxter started here with the sketches...  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oldy but goody - When brush tip markers were new

Back in 1984 I was working on the second season of the He-Man animated TV series at Filmation Studios. One day a fellow artist introduced me to something I hadn't experienced before. Magic markers with a tip that simulated a paint brush. They're common today but back then they were a new novelty. Tried it out on this doodle for the first time. I used the marker to block in solid black shadow areas then embellished the light areas with some color pencil and a little white-out to give it life. I attempted to emulate a Frank Frazetta style. He was a great artist and perhaps the greatest fantasy illustrator that ever lived. I found this image in an old sketchbook I recently rediscovered.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Animation Day - Artist Power

I've always believed that art and animation can make a difference in the crazy world we live in. Back in 2007 I was conveying that message to the animation community through graphics I created for the concept of an Animation Day on April 1.

I started with this idea for a symbol of power for animation artists...

Then I added a floral pedal design emanating from the core graphic...

Then it became a nice little pattern of power flowers...

Wishing all the visitors to this blog well. Thanks for stopping by and spending time. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crash Nitro Kart - Road to Velo - part 8

Here's the last entry in the series of design work involving the development of Emperor Velo from Crash Nitro Kart in 2002. If you're familiar with the character and the game then you know that the Velo you were seeing was not the real Velo. It was a mechanical version of this fellow. A weak little megalomaniac creature who needed a robotic illusion to control his minions. This is the original concept sketch followed by his rotation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Marker board notes

I thought it would be fun to publish some photos of the lessons I give when I use the marker boards in class. Sometimes I take pictures of my lessons to have them handy when needed. these shots were taken earlier in the year. They deal with character rotations and also facial expressions. they're from the Character Design 1 course I teach at my school The Academy Academy. Maybe artists out there can pick up on the lessons.

Monday, December 10, 2012

At Walt Disney's Grave on his birthday - Dec 5 2012

This is something different for the blog. Last week on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 it was Walt Disney's 111th birthday. Every year on that day I take a trip to the cemetery to honor his memory. Afterwards I upload pictures of my trip on the AnimationNation Forums which I've been maintaining since 1999.

This year I also recorded video of my visit. I have a strong affection for Walt and while I was recording the video emotions were high when I thanked him for all the good he's done while he was in this life. As a result I hesitated on posting video of my time at his grave but I've since dealt with my feelings about it and went ahead and shared the experience online. 

You can see photos and the video from my excursion to Walt Disney's grave by following this link to the AN Forum topic. Walt was a truly great man and it was a great privilege to pay my respects on behalf of the animation community.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Country bear couple

In 2005 I was teaching an illustration class at the Burbank Adult School. It was mostly a community service gig but it was fun none the less and got me involved with the local school system. While I was there I gave a watercolor demonstration during one of the sessions. I sketched out a simple concept for a country bear in blue pencil. Not quite as hillbilly as what you'd see at the attraction at Disneyland. I drew the image in a pose appropriate for CG modeling. Afterwards I redrew it on watercolor paper and applied pigment. I followed up with a female counterpart to the bear and thought they'd look nice together. Everybody needs somebody you know. Bears need bear hugs.