Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spyro the Dragon revisited

The other night in class I had a chance to draw with my students. It came to mind that I haven't paid much attention to Spyro lately. This after a lively debate among those in attendance concerning how Spyro is represented in Skylanders. The consensus was for the classic version of the character. So I took it upon myself to do a few sketches of him and spend some time exploring different approaches to Spyro through head drawings. Not anything drastic but some modifications just for fun. These are the images I'm happiest with...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Character Expression exercise

A few days ago on September 13 my blog entry was a character rotation I came up with for practice while drawing with my students. You can see the entry here. This past week I moved on to facial expressions for one of the groups currently enrolled. I try and practice what I teach as much as possible so I created this series of expressions for the character used in the rotation.

It's really interesting to see imaginary characters come to life in the most basic of ways. Once the design concept is defined and we move into showcasing behavior the true essence of the character's personality begins to emerge. The individual expressions are established prior to the drawing of the assignment and students are required to make their character act accordingly. Of the drawings below each page contained 2 expressions for a total of 6 as you see here in the posted graphics. This was fun and everyone had a good time.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Lab Assistant rotation 1997

Here's another rarity from Crash. A rotation from 1997 when I was coming up with concept sketches for Naughty Dog as reference for turning characters into a toy line. This fellow is a Neo Cortex Lab Assistant with a jet pack and a face partially hidden because of a metal plate much like N Gin. This is a photocopy of the original and probably the first time the art's been published.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A different Mona Lisa - 3

It's been a while since I added to the Mona Lisa collection. Last entry was this past May 16 so why not take a look at what we've got in the inventory and post a follow up. Something out of the ordinary since I conceived the image as a graphic emblem and then colored it in Photoshop in the days when I was first learning how to use it.

The series was inspired by a melody sung by Nat King Cole and was a number one hit in the US in 1950. Here's the song will familiarize you with the theme of these concepts.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cuddly the Mad Pufferfish - Part 7

After exploring numerous concept designs for Cuddly it was time to sketch out what made him unique and dangerous. The next phase of this project for the game Developers Conference in 2003 involved describing the transformation process. 

Like the classic Jekyll and Hyde we see Cuddly changing from what appears to be a friendly little fish swimming in the sea to a complete opposite of who we think he is...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Crash Bandicoot Doodles

Last week I was drawing with a student using a technique called free form sketching. That's what I call doodling with a permanent medium such as black line pen without the advantage of an eraser. Good for building confidence.

I decided to practice drawing Crash Bandicoot. I came up with quite a few images. These are the ones I like the best. Some of them are drawn twice in an effort to improve upon the initial concept. Hope the Crash fans around here enjoy this. By the way...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Best of Jak and Daxter - Part 1

I spent the year of 2000 working on "Project Y" which eventually became the video game franchise known as "Jak and Daxter". I created a large volume of work. I would draw in the middle of the night since that was about the only window I could get as my day was preoccupied with operating my school as well as teaching. The Jak and Daxter experience was great one for me creatively in many ways. I've posted art from the development of the project before on my blog. This time I think I'd like to frame the presentation in terms of some of my personal favorites. 

So let's start with these images. They're concept sketches for a character that would best be described as a sage that relied on some sort of electrical technology for his unique power. There were quite a few versions of the character. These three are among the best.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Koala Kong rotation - 1997

Add this to the inventory of rotations created for Crash characters destined to be turned into toys. This is Koala Kong. Along with the other rotations I believe this is a first in publishing these drawings. Created at Naughty Dog's studio at Universal in 1997. They're photocopies of the originals. Koala Kong is Joe Pearson's idea and the design of the character is based upon what he had in mind when Crash was first being developed in 1995.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Animation Day 4

Following up on some of the art I created back when I was promoting the concept of Animation Day. That is making April 1 of each year a holiday for animation among other things. Here's a drawing I discovered that I forgot I did. This is from 2007. I like the character and thought I'd showcase him here. Maybe I'll do something more with him in the future.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cuddly the Mad Pufferfish - Part 6

Maybe you're wondering why I created so many concept designs for the Cuddly panel at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose California in 2003. That's the way good development works. An artist should generate multiple versions of the idea that can be discussed and pondered so that a commitment can be made on how to move forward. From this point on I would leave the designs with the project managers and supervisors so they can best decide what they like and focus on refining that concept into a final design.

Here's the last batch of concept art for Cuddly prior to exploring his behavior which we'll be seeing in the next installment.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - 17 Years - 1996 to 2013

Why is September special? Because that's when Crash Bandicoot was first released in 1996. I think it was September 9 1996 to be exact so we're a week late. That's okay cuz it keeps the celebration going!

Let's mark the occasion by sharing this sketch from a few years ago. It was created for a close friend in September 2009 as a demo to show her how Crash was drawn. The following year in September 2010 I published it on the AnimationNation Forums to honor Crash at 14 years old. I'm using it yet again for year 17. The significance of this image for me is that it was the first time I drew Crash after a very long hiatus. In fact it was so long I though I might have forgotten how to draw him. As it turned out that wasn't the case I'm happy to say.

Thank you Crash fans for keeping the character alive all this time!

By the way...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stretching the design

Going through some odds and ends stuff I happened upon this sketch I created at Cal State Northridge from my days teaching Character Design. It was a quick class demo drawn on a Cintiq and projected on to a screen at the front of the class some time around 2009. I was describing a basic approach in developing a variety of designs from a single concept. In this case by utilizing an animation principle called squash and stretch. By elongating the design both vertically and horizontally you can get 3 concepts out of 1. Helpful in expanding upon a single theme if you're struggling to come up with alternative images. Maybe this tip will help some of the character designers who read this.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Komodo Brothers rotations 1997

Okay Crash fans here's more never before art that's being published for the first time. These drawings are of the Komodo Brothers. Komodo Moe and Komodo Joe. They were created in 1997 as reference for toys of the characters. The images are photocopies. The back views were drawn on a separate page and were merged with the front and side poses for display here. A small sketch of the other side of Moe's face can be seen in his rotation since his expressions is asymmetrical. Credit for the original creation of the Komodo Brothers goes to Joe Pearson. I followed up on what he conjured.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Character Rotation practice

It's been a while since I drew a character rotation. Here's something I gradually completed over the past few days while my students were working in class. I did it in preparation for next week's assignment for the beginning students who've recently enrolled in Character Design 1. Something simple for their reference. Maybe it will help designers in general get a better understanding of how to approach this aspect of character development.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rocket ride - Class demo 1998

This is one of my favorite demonstrations. I created it in 1998 a few months after I started my school. From a spontaneous concept sketch I made a photocopy and used multiple mediums to render it including markers and some color pencils along with acrylic paint for the sky. I used this art for the cover of a book I self published 10 years later in 2008.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cuddly the Mad Pufferfish - Part 5

How many ways can a pufferfish be designed? That's what I was exploring as I continued to work the look on Cuddly for the panel at the Game Developers Conference in 2003.