Thursday, December 31, 2009

Death Valley '09

The camping trip to Death Valley was a lot of fun.

We had a nice camp site nestled in the hills.

Day 2 was met with a 8.4 mile hike up Death Valley's second highest peak. We were quite optimistic here at the start.

Then it just started getting cold...

We still made it to the top in the 20°F breezy weather.
No matter how tired, hungry, cold, and sweaty we were.

Day 3 we hit up the sand dunes.

It was the warmest we would be all trip (about 50+°F) .

Salt Creek

Golden Canyon
We saw some rocks that looked like steps. So we followed them. They went no where. And I almost fell to my death. Good times.

But that didn't stop me from climbing more rocks.

There was something about this place that made me think: Tatooine.
I just can't put my finger on it.....

Then we went to Artist's Palette for sunset.
It was quite a view.

I made a sculpture by stacking rocks.
A random man complimented it and said it looked like a duck.
I proceeded to knock it down by throwing more rocks at it
(contrary to his advice of leaving it be).

I think I made a bigger statement by not letting him tell me how to make my own art.
Also--they were stacked rocks for heavens sakes.
(my intention was target practice anyways)

All in all, it was a great trip. Had lots of fun. Saw lots of wild life. It was a great way to end the year. I didn't get a chance to water color like I wanted to, but that was because our days were quite eventful. I only got a page in a my sketchbook in, but nothing worth mentioning.

The night sky was absolutely wonderful. The moon is incredibly bright--you really can't appreciate it in the populated places with so much light pollution, but it casts so much light. It really makes it easy to see at night. And once the moon was gone--the stars were AMAZING.

2009 in Review

This year caught me by surprise and it was the good kind of surprise (like a Sunday morning when you wake up and its raining). I had no expectations for '09. For some reason, this time last year it was in my head that this year was going to be a lot more of the same; that couldn't be further from the truth.

Of course my adventure with the Imagineers played a big part in making this an exciting year, but I feel like I have talked great lengths about that. And maybe I should just shut up before my stories grow too old for re-telling.

I had some commissioned work this year. It was my first time freelancing and it was quite an interesting turn of events and I did make some decent money from it.

I definitely see a huge improvement in my work and I am definitely happy for that even though it is still not enough in my eyes (but when will it ever be?). In many ways, I feel like the things I have been learning and working on are beginning to click (especially since last year was particularly frustrating for me). I have been thinking about it, and I would say that I feel more like a knowledgeable artist vs. a skilled one. This of course is owed to the great program I have at my school with very talanted professors as well as my own personal efforts. Which isn't so bad I guess--the skill will come with time and practice and if I can set my impatience aside, maybe just maybe I'll get there...

If could boil down this year to one word it would be: progression. I think that serves a justifiable overall theme for everything that has happened.

2010 is sure to be an interesting year. So much to look forward to: interning at Nickelodeon, graduating college, and spending a month in Europe just to name a few. Not to mention the loads of job hunting I will be doing... (yaaaaaaay)

-Write more short stories
(and actually finish one this time)
-Time lapse video of me growing my beard
(currently a work in progress)
-Storyboard my April Fools story and Rocky Raccoon music video
(potential portfolio pieces?)
-Work on stand up comedy routines
(look into amateur nights-signing up optional this year but mandatory next)
-Epic road trip
(this one may get skipped due to Europe trip)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom: Public informational #3.141

(photo courteously stolen from The Bui)

I have always fancied the thought of me being a person of good (dare I even say "great") ideas, but the all too evident truth is quite the contrary (I know of a certain skateboarding monkey who could attest to many of my short comings). The beautiful and wondrous thing about ideas is that they stay in our heads--occasionally we may have a slip-up and the "profoundly" conceived images of our brains gets spewed out into the open and serve as a great platform to be mocked and laughed at. Which, as my buddy Jake would so eloquently put, is total Asscheeks.

And, alas, I have done it again! Oh, how easy it is for me to take a half-baked idea and cement its existence in this world by documenting it (in video form no less). What can I say, my friends? I am a natural at this (just wait until I unveil my grandest invention: The Fandelier)

The preface:
I needed to make my animated film presentable to the class. It shouldn't have been as daunting task as it was, but I didn't give it nearly the attention it deserved. I would like to blame my lack of productivity on having 3 part time jobs this semester as well as being a full time student, but then I would just be making excuses for myself.

So, while I worked away my final hours, I had the brilliant idea of documenting the event. Looking back on it now, I realize that it was a moment of high stress and even higher caffination.

The following are some clips of the footage taken and are being shown for educational purposes only:

(about 1:50am)
I have no idea why I thought any of the was relevant information to.. well... ANYTHING. The list of "twos" went on for a while. It was shortened for the interest of time.

(about 2:10am)
It is important to take frequent breaks so you can rest your muscles and your sanity but I think I began losing mine about here.

(about 2:20am)
I have nothing to say about this one to justify myself...

(about 2:30am)
This would be the moment of pathetic realization--as seen in my Phases of Storyboarding cartoon. By that I mean, I begin to realize this isn't a smart idea, however, it doesn't stop me...

(about 3:00am)
Yes, breaks were quite frequent.

(about 5:30am)
Notice how I start talking to the camera as though it is actually a person? I don't I would be able to tell the difference between the two in that state of mind.

(about 6:10am)
I'm not really sure where those voices I make (or the sandwich) came from.

(about 7:30am)
Unexplainable burst of energy and talking faster nonsense are common symptoms of me under stress.

(about 3:00pm)
Here we have the anti-climactic ending to my day. Where I was just too tired to feel. A bit of a low point in the day which ended in quite the epic nap causing me to stand up my friends and previously made plans.

So the lesson to be learned here is a bit of an interpretative one. It could range from staying on task, keeping excessively hydrated to stay awake, giving your ideas a second thought, etc.

But really, the lesson to be learned here is don't make an ass of yourself. And do not proceed to film it. And do not proceed to place it on the internet. Have a little more dignity for yourself. Having over 22 years of experience of making a fool of myself, I would like to say I am an exception to the rule, but even when I do it, it is totally, utterly, completely, 100%: Asscheeks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Battle Plan

(quick little SpongeBob warm up)

Looks like I have my work cut out for me. Classes are over and now it's just a race to finals. Everything is due on Wednesday and as soon as I am done with them, it will be time to wrap up the rest of the year and relax a little and work on my own things for a bit. I sent away for my post-semester gift (I usually like to treat myself to something nice for all my hard work) so I am looking forward to it!

The battle plan:

Today (Friday) we'll finish the SpongeBob storyboard. It's almost all roughed out (and I have to add the changes Chuck suggested) then I have to clean it up. If I devote the next 10 hours to it, I should be able to do it AND have time for Amber's party at the karaoke bar. There will be little to no drinking on my part, which will severely inhibit my motivation to actually karaoke (I'm not much of a singer, but I love to ad lib lyrics and make the songs about my friends--usually get some good laughs from my friends and weird faces from other bar patrons).

Tomorrow (Saturday) I have to be at work bright and early to do whatever I have to do there. My guess is it will just a be a maintenance/cleaning day for the computer labs. Then home (probably nap).

And the rest of the day, plus Sunday AND Monday will be devoted to finishing up my film. Wont have too much time to animate anymore but I'll be making it presentable and cutting sound into it. No sleep 'till Brooklyn. (Beastie Boys said that--they also said "Ain't no faking - your money I'm taking. Going coast to coast - watching all the girlies shaking" which may or may not also be applicable to this entry)

Then Tuesday will be spent putting final materials together--scanning, portfolio, DVDs, letters, etc. As well as addressing any last minute items.

(or an internet publishing equivalent--CANCEL THE DATA TRANSFERRING)

So I just received a call as I was typing this up. Nickelodeon wanted to schedule an interview for an internship! The interview is this Monday, this doesn't change my plans too much, but a good night's rest and a shave will be a must. I'm glad my boss gave me the first three days of next week off from work.

So much to do.
Better get started.




Monday, December 7, 2009

The Science of Bad Ideas

Fact: the mass population likes unoriginal garbage. It has been proven scientifically. Case-in-point, the following scientific graph:
This evidence clearly illustrates that coolness is based on how many commandos and helicopters Godzilla could take down (or vice versa--I'm not sure so I couldn't really say).

Could Munk E. take down Godzilla and or commando helicopters? Short answer: Yes. I mean look at him!
(Yes. I drew AND colored another one...............)

Long answer: He's a chimp robot that was developed by gnomes to infiltrate the human world, but Munk's knowledge of the humans is limited to 90's pop culture due to the research resources available to the gnomes as well as their own incompetence.

Maybe it is not the WORST idea I ever had. There was Hambo (part pig part Rambo) and then there was Snakes-For-Arms-Boy (pretty self explanatory...).

Or maybe I should just keep some things to myself...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today in doodling we ask the question "Why?"

Meet Munk E. the beat-boxing-banana-board-riding-urban-colloquialism-speaking chimp:
I drew him just now as a post-dinner warm up to get back into my animation and couldn't help wonder the following:

"What the hell did I just do?"

I think I ineffectively crossed two video game apes:
(Funky Kong and Diddy Kong)

Except that Munk is part gnome AND robot on top of also being a chimp. Another possible '90s urban-outreach mascot influence may include:
(Poochie the Rapping Dog)

Well we all have our moments of being generic and uninspired, but I think I just sank to a new low. Something tells me there is a pearl of wisdom to be found here, but maybe I need to ruminate on it further and address it properly at a future time. So instead I'll end with the wisdom of a hairier, albeit fictional, mammal:

"And remember kids, always recycle... TO THE EXTREME!!!"
(they never did make it to the fireworks factory....)

I think I'll be referring to all my future project failures as Munks now...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Human Cali Sweat Pants

So for my storyboarding class, I opted to take the Sponge Bob Square Pants test over the Fairly Odd Parents test. A storyboard test consists of a portion of a script of the show plus model sheets for characters, layout, props, etc.

The process has been... well.... met with multiple phases:
Maybe if I spent less time doodling and more time working, I would be more productive...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Week in SUCK

Things are feeling very one-step-forward-two-steps-back these days. I wonder if it is just because it is the end of the semester and I am feeling drained. But now is not the time for complaints--it is the time for action.... umm... starting tomorrow.

I've been having too many off-days where my drawing is concerned. Funny thing about that: the next two weeks will consist of the most drawing I have ever done in such a short period, and if today's hours of life drawing is foreshadowing the weeks to come, it will be filled with a whole lot of suck indeed.

Chuck gave a pretty good and helpful lecture about trying to find work as a production board artist (which is what I want to do at present). So, I have to make a portfolio geared to that, meaning I need a portfolio to show off my ability to story board. Meaning I will only have a page or so of life drawing tagged on at the end anyways. For our final, he is requiring a production board portfolio be submitted for the Storyboarding class. I have a feeling mine will be pretty rough, but if anything, it will be a good jumping off point for refinement in the coming months.

Important thing to remember: draw less suck.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Revisting an Older Post

Something I forgot to mention in my last post--I had said something about that drawing being a culmination of many of the concepts and skills I have been learning in school, but I left out one of the most important things: the process!

As a young artist I always wondered:
And as much as I still find myself asking that kind of question (because every artist has their own process), some answers just end up being the definitive:

Simple shapes.
Figure construction.
Working in layers.

I was first taught these concepts in life drawing. And still hear it all the time from professors and professionals. It's fundamental knowledge, but for some reason it only really started sinking in towards the end of my college career. And of course I am still working on it like I do with the rest of my craft.
Life is filled with so much learning...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Revisiting an Older Drawing

What's this? New, completed, and colored artwork? How dare I do such a thing! I would almost be impressed with myself if this wasn't school related. But the assignment was to take an old drawing from class and recreate it in a personal work. If you remember, this is based off a quick sketch I posted last month.

I attempted to do somethings that I have been wanting to do (mostly based off some stuff I have been seeing on the internet). And I had some fun doing it.

This piece isn't perfect (the line work is unrefined and the brush-work boarder looks too mechanical for my tastes) but it is nothing I can't address at a later time (oh digital work--how convenient you are). But I feel as though it is a culmination of my time in art school: life drawing, anatomy, design, composition, photoshop, illustrator, and, the newest friend of mine, tvpaint.

Also, becoming more fond of my TabletPC (probably because it is working a lot better and getting comfortable with it too). So don't be surprised to be seeing more work like this one from me (but you will be allowed to be surprised for seeing finished work--because that is the real shocker).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

This film feels like it will be the death of me. I still don't really have a title for it... I'm not really good at naming things anyways (*note lame blog title that is pending yet another name change)

Good news: Animating is actually kinda sorta maybe possibly a little fun. Go figure.
Bad news: I suck at it!!! :(
Ugly news:

(click on image)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lovely Little Lilly

Lilly is starting to really like me, probably because she is realizing that I have a lot of cool stuff in my room and I am more then willing to let her smash everything in exchange for her love and admiration. This was an impromptu recording session just because she was doing some of the funniest things and because I just about rather be doing everything other then my homework(s).

I wanted to cut the footage together, but I was having some quality issues....

So here are just some of clips of the evening's shinanigans:

This one is probably my favorite video.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

I've been thinking about what I am thankful for and among the usual blessings in my life there are two big things that really stick out this year that I am IMMENSELY thankful for:

1. It's my last year of college. I mean it just feels like a long time coming (Almost 18 teens years counting head-start, pre-school, and kindergarten). And although I'll always be a student of my craft--it will be nice to start working on making a life of my own that doesn't revolve around being a student in the classical sense. I'll probably go back for my Master's before I am 30, but I'll deal with that when we get there.

2. The ImagiNations competition. The year started and I had no real expectations. I thought it was just going to be one of those "let's hurry up and get through it" years but when we became finalists, it turned out to be one of the most memorable summers ever.

Next year, however, I have high hopes for all that is to come. First things first: I need to get through this semester. With a film to finish animating and several storyboards to finish, I have my work cut out for me. But there is NO WAY that I will not be graduating next semester--so I will get this stuff done. No matter what.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom: Public informational #3.14

(photo courteously stolen from The Bui)

Occasionally the family likes to stuff their faces (by occasionally, I mean every an any occasion). And while I ponder the irony of why they insist on always arguing over who in the family is fatter than whom when we are standing in a buffet line--I don't say anything because I am not willing to be guilty of the same crimes. I also don't say anything because, as a rule of thumb, I tend to avoid conversation with them (avoiding eye contact and appearing to be deep in thought helps facilitate my minimalistic views on intra-familiar interactions). I am, however and probably always will be, a sucker for a free meal no matter how shoddy the line-up may be.

Although the local Hometown Buffet may have some pretty good corn bread, everything is usually over cooked and their breakfast taste like cardboard. With that said, I was quick to ready myself after receiving the invite to my late breakfast.

The man who sat directly behind me at Hometown Buffet had quite the comb-over. I wanted very much to let him know that his attempts of hair compensation only drew attention to his baldness. In fact--I don't even remember what he looks like! I was far too enthralled with few strands of protein that cascaded atop his scalp to pay attentions to the specifics of his visage...
I was reminded of this Mitch Hedberg joke:

"When I get a cold sore, I put Carmex on it, because Carmex is supposed to alleviate cold sores. I don't know if it does help, but it will make them more shiny and noticeable. It's like cold-sore-highlighter. Maybe they could come up with an arrow that heals cold sores."

Once my fixation from his lock-less monstrosity (is that a wordplay or a pun?), I noticed that he was eating alone. Which is kind of... sad. And before I am called out on my hypocrisy because I know I have openly admitted to dining by myself, I never do it in a buffet.

Granted, the buffet is just the place to do it. If you think about it, it is the least social of all dining scenarios. You seat yourself, you serve yourself, you leave your crap on the table--other people just slow and complicate the process. It's not like at a sit-down restaurant where its nice to have someone there to tune out when you are waiting for your food (this is how the majority of my dates go).

But there was just something about the man sitting behind me with his comb-over and collection five-plus emptied plates that struck me on a gut level. Although it may have been the crazy mixture of foods in my stomach from my creative combination or maybe I just saw my future and was filled with lonely brunches at buffets...

It wasn't the WORST (or I could also make the argument of BEST) comb-over I have ever seen. No, not by a long shot. Because that title belongs to this guy:
This was taken with my old phone, which means I had to get real up-close and personal to snap this gem of a do. I was sneaky like a ninja (paparazzi + ninja = endless douchy possibilities!)

When engaged in what is commonly accepted as a social activity all by your lonesome, it is important to realize how pathetic you may appear to other people. If you don't care how you appear, then kudos!, you have quite the self esteem and self confidence that the majority of us have had verbally beaten out of by our parental(s) and or by various other means. BUT if your insecurities do get the best of you in this situation, remember to look toward your better qualities and try to supersede the defect you call your person. Chances are people will still think low of you, but it will be lowered proportion to how you appear as a whole. So remember, when you try to hide something, you could actually be drawing more attention to it.

So when opting for the comb-over remember to NOT instead. And when eating at a buffet alone, leave a half-eaten plate in one of the empty chairs, that way it looks like someone is there with you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From the Lost Reaches of the Digital World

This was the attraction poster I did for the ImagiNations competition. We had it blown up real big for our presentation.

And here I thought this was lost forever! Luckily it wasn't hard drive failure, it was only operating system failure. I don't know what other goodies are saved on that hard drive, don't really have the time to sort through it..

Looking at it now, I feel the stamp is up too high. But that's all done with. This Summer's memories just makes me... smile.

Here is the color thumbnail I did for it:
As you can see, the final stayed pretty close to the concept.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today in Sketching: Art for Art's Sake

So today was an odd day in sketching to say the least. I drew this on the back of my receipt at Panera's while having lunch with some of my class chums from animation class. The girl who took my order is a bit of an odd ball yet awkwardly pleasant. She is always overly eager to take your order and she leans her body (lead by her head) toward you when she asks questions. She did remember me though--she tagged me "the artist"--and after a briefly confusing conversation (which was purposefully confusing on my behalf) she comp'd me one free drink.

Then I have been drawing these creepy ogre-looking things (*note the green mistake in the last post). The one on the right was actually drawn fairly large on bigger paper. Why? I don't know...

Then it was off to life drawing for animation class!
It was another model-less day. So my instructor did some quick poses for us. Because the class needed the practice in drawing cargo-pants... Okay, joking aside, I give the man credit for really putting an effort out there to give us something to draw (I had an instructor once who made us take turns in modeling on the stand).

My instructor does get pretty inventive though. He ran out and grabbed a plastic tiger mask and a plastic pink flamingo (probably a lawn ornament--btw how were those ever popular???). Instead of drawing a man in a mask, I decided to transform him into an actual cat:
These were fun and I wished we did more of them, but all of a sudden, things took a turn for the weird.....

When we first walked into class, we were told to fill a page with random marks. Later were told to return to that page and were verbally handed a laundry list of things to do to it. It was like 20 minutes of creating abstract expressionism in a LIFE DRAWING class for ANIMATION! I mean who forces contemporary art onto people? WHO? Sometimes my instructor's fine arts background rears its head in class and just likes to ruin my day. There is a time and a place for that kind of stuff--really, I don't hate it--but seriously not when I am trying to work on my draftsmanship.

Then again, I wouldn't have made this masterpiece:
This is the image of my brain checking out.
We went back to gesturing right after. For our last drawing, he wanted us to create tension in the pose and gave us about 15 to 20 minutes with it:
I didn't even bother to get a clean paper and gave it about a minute of my time. I spent the rest of the class time making caricatures of some of my classmates (they were pretty mean exaggerations and didn't have much likeness of their respective subjects). The class had to turn our drawings around for everyone to see, as we occasionally do, and I clearly didn't spend as much time on it then the rest of the class. Hah!

I was having such a good day too! I was in bright spirits. Having a modest amount of social interaction with my peers. Cracking some jokes. But I felt the life just get sucked out of me in that class. Days without models are the longest.

Thursday we don't have a model. So we will be field-tripping to PetsMart for some cafe sketching. Except last time we went, it was one of the most stressful cafe skecthing I have ever experienced. I hope I don't get placed in front of the gold fish this time...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

French Fry Factory

Just playing around with coloring in TVPaint.
Better get some sleep--lots of drawing to do tomorrow! (and a lot more on top of that for the next handful of weeks...)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom: Public informational #3.1

(photo courteously stolen from The Bui)

A good way to judge how employers treat their workers is by seeing what kinds of toilet papers are stocked within the stalls of their respective water closets.

An empty dispenser acts as a metaphor for the lack of care in the workplace.

One-ply meets the minimum requirements much like the minimum wage the employee earns for every extra minute spent extending his break time on the porcelain thrown.

Two-ply demonstrates the teamwork needed within the workplace to really get the job done.

Quilted two-ply is the icing on the cake if the icing were clouds of wonderfulness and the cake was your bum. (the thought did occur to me however that a better metaphor would be one that removes the caked on icing from the pastry...)

Three-ply is quite literally the ménage à trois of papier toilette in every sense of the word--you have two doing most of the work while one underplays their duties. Not to mention it's a damn waste of paper.

When I was younger, mother would call anything above one-ply a luxury as well as a waste. Similar paper products in this category included napkins and paper towels. She is quite the conservationist in that respect (more so of what remained in her wallet and not of the Environmental variety). Regardless, it was a reflection of the bitter hardships of life.

A problem does arise when having extended visits with friends. Because sometimes you'll have friends who take greater pride in their wipes (sometimes they are scented!) and you'll be too late to realize that the proper amount of one-ply that has been formulated after many years of trial and error does not equal the proper amount of two-ply. One would guess the amount needed is half and while that is closer to the truth, life gets tricky when it is quilted.

It is common to be enthralled with the quality of paper goods on your first visit. But always remember to mindful of your portions. And always always always carry a plunger with you because no matter how much advice the mind can retain, some things are just meant to be learned the hard way...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rainy Day Special

So every now and I again I make a drawing and I can see where my skills are leading me toward. And when I did this super-woman drawing in my life drawing class, I got that feeling again. It was my last drawing of the day and after the 3 hours of so of doing life drawing, my instructor asked us to do a quick sketch of a cloaked figure from imagination (we had been focusing on drapery/cloth on the model).

In the 3-5 minutes we were given, this is what I came up with. I approached it like I approach every drawing and I feel like it's a culmination of everything I have been learning and practicing when it comes to life drawing:

Quick armature lay-in from head to toe, simple shapes for the large portions of the body, keep the figure balanced, keep the energy flowing on the page

Now, this is a gestural drawing, meaning it is more a focus on action, movement, life, energy, emotion, and mood. And on my good days, I can get 5 min drawings of the model to be far superior to this one--but because this was a quick sketch from imagination, I could really see how far I have come. And well, I know I still have quite a ways to go to get my skills up, drawings like this one make me feel like I am on the right track.

The only problem is I find myself drawing things that make me feel like I digressing more then progressing. Example: Only really feel good about work that am I doing in 1 out of 3 of my classes......

With that said, here's more life drawing!