Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daily Post: Schlubby Guy

This schlubby guy is for my mystery project.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daily Post: A New Beast, and Some Thoughts on Disney Past and Present, Pixar, and Chomet

Reminds me of some sort of Disney interpreted Winnie the Pooh character. Sort of.

Some Thoughts on Disney Past and Present, Pixar, and Chomet

Been looking at a lot of Disney lately. The Jungle Book isn't as good as I remember it, The Aristocats is quite a bit better, including just the general design (love the backgrounds!)--I can understand why Chomet is a fan--Pinochio is a feat of craft. Can't wait for Chomet's The Illusionist. Chomet is out-Disneying Disney, at least Disney prior to the very early 70s. Can't wait for The Illusionist.

As for the 70s: As much as I like The Rescuers it was the beginning of the more budget conscious movies that followed. No more Pinochios! The true star of The Rescuers is Madam Medusa, a descendant in spirit of Cruella Deville, both animated by the great Marc Davis.

The true beginning of the end, though, was The Little Mermaid. All the subtlety and naturalism of the Disney of the past was lost in favor of fast-paced action and rapid, squirrelly movement that doesn't resemble anything remotely in nature, and the music became even more annoying. Once Phil Collins was brought in to do the soundtrack for the completely unrecognizable Tarzan they had truly reached their nadir, but somehow they continued to be more successful than ever as parents began to babysit their kids with multiple viewings of every film from the Disney catalog, particularly the lame new stuff. Disney's concept art was still done by some fantastic folks, but like a lot of concept art, Mary Blair in particular, the concepts never quite reached the screen.

Disney and its imitators have also been trapped in the Disney look, basing all their character designs on earlier Disney characters, neglecting to see the visual evolution in the Disney character designs that took place in between Snow White and 101 Dalmatians. Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, all borrowed the appearance of their characters from earlier princesses and animals animated with a quality of craftsmanship the new characters could never match. They even managed to screw up Gerald Scarfe's character designs for Hercules! Once again the concept art never reached the screen.

Right now Pixar is the best we've got going in the states with some solid storytelling, but CGI has never quite overcome it's sense of sterility. Pixar right now is also producing the best concept art, and I recommend checking out any of the "Art of" Pixar books to see what I mean. Now only if they they could somehow translate the life in those drawings onto the screen. CGI can't accommodate the life in a drawing, but that doesn't mean there isn't hope for the medium. It continues to improve, and then there's always Chomet!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daily Post: A Rabbit Sort of Thing

I do these from my imagination, sans reference, so apparently I have some vague idea what rabbit anatomy looks like, as this does seem to resemble in some ways a perverse version of the animal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daily Post: Mystery Shoreline

This is a piece from a larger mystery project.

Pretty mysterious, huh?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Post: Tiny Blue Bird Painting

A tiny blue bird painting (pictured a little larger than actual size) done for a "tiny" themed show at the Pence Gallery a while back.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daily Post: Santa sketches

These are for a Christmas mailer in progress.

Santa coming to town,

Santa leaving town...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bonus Daily Post: Student Work

These are my favorite irises, bearded irises. I did this as a student, so it doesn't really count as "new work" which is why you get two posts today. The original drawing is pretty huge and done from life, about 24x30 or so. Now I'd just rather draw from photos in my studio and not be damp, though I still occasionally take a sketchbook with me when I travel. I drew this in pencil and inked it at home in crow quill.

Daily Post: Travolta Monster

Last night Reg and I saw the first ten minutes or so of this really horrible John Travolta CIA movie in which right away the characters started doing very badly written un-CIA-like things. We were proud of ourselves for turning it off, but before we did I drew this bald John Travolta with a goatee monster (his look in the film). It doesn't look much like John Travolta but I think it caught the spirit of his character in the film.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Daily Post: Halloween Mailer

Usually I conceive of a piece with only a vague idea of how I'll attack the color, depending primarily on the strength of the line drawing, solving the color problem later. This time color was very much a part of the piece's conception. I had pretty detailed color notes very early on with this piece, inspired by the work of Mary Blair. Mary Blair was a Disney concept artist who had an amazing sense of color and design, and often the way her work finally appeared on the screen never quite matched up to be as striking as her original designs. This is particularly inspired by the backgrounds in Disney's Alice In Wonderland which still somehow managed to capture the character of Blair's designs.

My colors ended up changing some in the execution, particularly the purples, but largely this turned out much how I envisioned it, and from a color perspective I feel this is one of my better pieces. After this experiment I'd like to make color much more of an integral part of how I conceive a piece from now on. Another thing I tried here was losing the outline on the larger shapes, having the color go right to the edge.

My only concern is that with the limits of digital printing. Dark colors don't fare as well as they might with off-set. With my ealier Kipling jungle piece I had to go to a photo processing lab to get the colors right for my portfolio because they were so dark, so printing this as a mailer may pose a problem. Laser printing tends to be kinder, but there are limits. I'll be attending a Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrator's conference today and had to settle for a laser printed copy for my portfolio because of time constraints, and the colors were much darker than I would have liked, but I decided to include it anyway because of the strength of the design. At any rate, how you see it here on the screen is pretty much how it's intended to look. Dark colors seem to fare better on Blogger as well.

My crazy color notes, followed a little less closely than I thought, it seems:

Daily Post: Another Monster

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Daily Post: Ladybug

Here's an inked character for my halloween piece in progress. This guy will be dancing with the beetle of a couple of posts back. Again, I'm experimenting with more elaborate rendering in my ink drawings, more spotting of blacks and hatching and feathering. Usually I stick with a straight contour and let the color do all the work, but I would like to try to include more line variety, giving my figures a little more character than when they're simple outlines.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Daily Post: Halloween Sketches

These are sketches for a halloween-themed image I'm working on.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Daily Post: Companion Piece to the Geese Mailer

I had tried to do a second piece of the girl feeding the ducks as a companion piece to the earlier one a few posts down, but the pose came out stiff because I was trying to copy the photo too closely. This time I made it a little more cartoony, further animating the figure by putting her in a sequence. I ended up using some of those extra duck drawings after all!

Another thing I was messing with here is limited color. Here much of the background and geese were virtually left as line art. Since this will reproduce at about 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, too much busy detail would be distracting. A fully rendered scene with this much action would read poorly at that size. Simplifying both the color and the rendering makes for a much easier read and more pleasing design.

Daily Post: Drybrush Bee

Edit: I thought I could upload a bunch of posts at a time and then publish them whenever I wanted to, but apparently blogger only publishes them in the order they were downloaded. So this one was supposed to go before the one above. Next time I'll have it all sorted out.

This was done for a Bee-themed show for the Pence Gallery here in Davis. The show won't be for a few months yet.

And with color: