Sunday, March 31, 2013

Muscle man practice

I wound up the week by drawing some male figure characters consistent with what is taught in advanced Character Design at my school. The class is called Character Design 2 and involves developing characters based upon the proportions of the human body as one would do for action adventure cartoons or live action.

I thought I'd practice on my ability to do the same as well as come up with new content to help encourage our students. I went in a direction of a cyber type of character without getting too caught up in anything other than a focus on the anatomy. This is going backwards from the most recent version to my first attempt. I tried to exaggerate as I progressed. This is only a start as I intend to do more experimentation with.the subject. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy these sketches and learn from them if you're working on your art. This first image was too big for a single sheet of 12 field animation paper so I taped a second sheet to the bottom and finished by drawing the rest of his legs.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mystical maiden

This sketch came about as I drew with my students. I set it up the night before and finished it last evening. My intent was to use it as an example of creative design based upon the female form. Someone in class mentioned that it looked like she was levitating so I took his suggestion and included a shadow to place her floating in the air. Really enhanced the composition and the narrative. Thanks Joel... 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rethinking Crash Bandicoot - Part 5

A little more fun with Crash trying out new and different looks. These are my most recent attempts. For the Bandicoot purists out there I thought I'd take a trip back to the classic Crash with the second of these drawings. Thanks for following along.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One mean ogre

One of your goals as a designer of characters is to convince the viewer that what they're looking at isn't just a drawing but an actual being that is capable of thought and emotion. That was the case last night in class as I sketched out this intimidating fellow. I imagined him to be a giant ogre that ornaments himself with human skulls. 

Here's the process in reverse from Photoshop color and tonal tints going back in time to the original sketch. One of the things to look for while painting is consistent progress within the composition. If you're going about it the right way you can stop at just about any phase and it will have a feeling of completion. I could use just about any one of the following versions and it would work as a conceptual image.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rethinking Crash Bandicoot - Part 4

The years have shown that one of the very interesting aspects of the design of Crash is how he's open to interpretation. His flexible looks show how inherently strong a character he is. That's how I see Crash. From what Joe Pearson and I did at the beginning along with other studios throughout the different games and even fan art that I see.

This version of Crash involves some body markings. The one that follows is... well... ya just gotta battle it out Crash and keep fightin' no matter what!

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rethinking Crash Bandicoot - Part 3

I've been getting into it pretty good and have something of a backlog of alternative Crash designs lining up. Here's a couple more from the past 24 hours.

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Thursday, March 21, 2013

From a dream

A few days ago I saw a face in a dream. This evening in the Visual Development class I attempted to paint what I saw as a demonstration in the use of acrylics. Drew the image on watercolor board in pencil and then proceeded to block in the colors in a transparent monochromatic wash. The last phase involved building up light areas opaquely with white mixed into the pigments. This is as far as I got in one class session. I wasn't too keen on how the background color turned out so I fixed it in Photoshop to be similar to what I originally had before I altered it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rethinking Crash Bandicoot - Part 2

Had a chance to work on a couple of other versions of Crash this evening as I experiment with his look and explore alternative ways of designing him. These drawings are follow ups to yesterday's entry.

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rethinking Crash Bandicoot - Part 1

I plan on developing an ongoing feature on my blog of experimenting with the look of Crash. I've been meaning to do it for some time now and in fact have attempted to work with his design in past entries. I picked it up again this evening while drawing with students in class. Let's have some see how far we can take this. 

I imagine myself challenged with the assignment of coming up with a new version of Crash similar to what designers at other companies have done over the years. My obstacle is that I'm so entrenched in drawing the Bandicoot in ways that are familiar to me that it's actually kind of difficult top break out of what I know when it comes to his look. If I diligently explore and apply myself I think I'll be able to find new ways of portraying Crash.

In the first attempt he's pretty straight forward except that I've modified his snout by reducing and streamlining the size of his nose. The second drawing is a slightly more aggressive redesign and something I'll be picking up on and continuing with next time. Subtle changes but ones that I can build on.

By the way...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Monday, March 18, 2013

She means business

I followed up this evening on the idea of a determined angelic being along the lines of yesterday's entry. Using blue pencil on 12 field animation paper I looked to explore the personality and nature of a potential character that can be further developed into something unique and interesting. Drawn in the company of my students in class whereby we all gained from the creative experience. Afterwards I added a little tone in the shadow areas to enhance the composition's dimensional aspects.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Angelic doodles

I was seeing this concept in my mind's eye recently after being inspired by a student's work and wanted to explore it a little. The idea of an angel beings of justice and retribution with mix of Byzantine and classical elements look to their design. I'd like to develop this more and see where it goes. I drew these sketches with graphite pencil on my own time in prep for this week's sessions with the advanced Character Design group. Enjoyed working on the drawings.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Dingodile - Part 1

I've been going through the archives and found something special to share with all the great Crash fans. I'll be following up with more in the days ahead as there's quite a few drawings of this fellow.

These are the very first development drawings of Dingodile who made his appearance in Crash Bandicoot 3. They are dated February 4 1998. Looks like I came up with a high volume for work on that day for this character. You'll see more in follow up posts. These were very happy times. Probably the best time as far as my relationship with Naughty Dog was going. I started my school just a couple of weeks before this and everything was in high spirits. When I came in to work on the project I was in the corner conference room on the top floor of the main office complex at Universal Studios. That's where ND was located before they left Universal to go on their own. A fun place to create.

The idea was to come up with a character that was half crocodile and half dingo. These sketches are my very first attempt at building out the concept. I don't know if they've ever been shown before. I think most of what you'll be seeing is a first in publication. Hope you enjoy these drawings guys. I'll be featuring more soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Drawing in class Photoshop later

Once again the opportunity presented itself for me to create while class was in session this evening while my students were doing the same. I've been impressing upon them the importance of having a tangible piece of work as opposed to an entirely digital image. A physical object of art with the passing of time will prove to be more valuable then one consisting only of electronic data. Physical art will increase in significance over time. Digital art will always remain digital. So I've been encouraging my students to create first in an analog manner and then complete the composition digitally if they choose.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. I'm going in reverse as I describe the creative process. The first image is the completed work digitally colored in Photoshop...

Before the final rendering of the illustration I used color to tint over a gray scale version of  the composition...

Here's the image toned in gray....

Prior to that step I digitally enhanced the shadow areas of the figure...

And at the core of the process is the original drawing completed with a soft lead graphite pencil...

Thus we have the best of both worlds. An original sketch that can be saved for posterity and admired in the future and a digital representation of the drawing in color for use in modern media. Two sides of the same coin!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Head Rotation demo

It's been some time since I practiced a good ol' fashioned character head rotation. Had an opportunity to do something this evening for the beginning group in Character Design at my school. Here's each individual drawing followed by a compilation as a line up. A good exercise for an essential fundamental skill in the subject.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Characters concepts - Lost project 1993

Sometimes I go through my work and am surprise at what I find. These character concept designs are from a freelance project circa 1993. I'm pretty sure I came up with them for a French production company that had a studio operating nearby. Don't recall what the nature of the project was but I did include these images in my portfolio throughout the 90s. Someday I'd like to do a little more work on these guys and see what they would look like in color.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Animation Day 3

It's been a long tiome since I've featured something the the Animation Day series I was doing a few years ago to promote and inspire the idea of a Holiday for animation and art. I organized an annual event for the animation industry every year on the afternoon of April 1 from, 1999 to around 2008. Here's some of what I featured before on the blog to tie these together. 

A recurring design theme was a smiley sun face. In this quick sketch from 2007 I drew it in an unusual way as part of a trophy or award. I like this concept and might revisit the composition to experiment with the central female image. Photoshop was used to blacken the areas around a blue pencil drawing. Then I worked on the color balance and gave it a little more zap. This was fun! I enjoyed working on it even though it was simple.

This year's Animation Day is coming up!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

An idea for Disney's Hercules 1997

In 1997 I was teaching at a friend's art school. It was really happening at the time as the animation industry was in a boom period. Lots of movies going on plus TV shows and everyone was trying to get into the biz. This was before the widespread advent of computer animation when hand drawn films were still the order of the day.

Around that time Disney's "Hercules" was in production. Maybe it was released by then. Being so close to the core of the industry it wasn't unusual for character designs to float around prior the film coming out. I remember being really disappointed in the way they made Hercules look. After seeing the movie I was even more turned off by the way they portrayed the character. So I took it upon myself to come up with my own version of what he could have looked like. I did this as a class demonstration in acrylics. Drew the sketch in pencil on watercolor board and then started mapping out color. Didn't finish it but had fun while it was in progress.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 2 - Polar Bear designs

Something else for the Crash fans and historians. These are concept drawings I created on March 28, 1997 for the development of Crash 2. Polar bear designs intended as part of the game play. A baby polar bear and its mother. I'm sure you recognize this. I didn't get into exploration of the look too much as they were incidental characters and not something major to the project. Kept it simple and direct. Still they're part of the legacy of Crash so here ya go! 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Monster head color sketch

I've been tossing paint around a little more nowadays and it's good to be getting back into it. I really enjoy painting in the traditional sense with pigments and brushes as much as anything I would get into digitally. I looked through my archives for some inspiration and direction from past class demonstrations I've done and this image caught my attention. It's acrylics on watercolor board. I created it around 10 years ago in 2003. It's a good example of what can be done once proficiency with color is achieved. You can use a traditional painting medium for sketching in color just like you would use pencils or markers or anything else along those lines with just as much ease and success once you get on top of that aspect of your skills. Plus when you paint it gives your work an added aura. A feeling that it's a little more special.