The computer I’ve been using for my drawing and animation for the past 5 years or so finally succumbed to an unceremoniously-abrupt death….
This happened several months ago, and as luck (or the lack thereof) would have it, my life became very busy right at the same time…
Suffice to say, I have not replaced my dear old friend yet… which explains why there’s been such a gap since my last posts to this site.
At any rate, I’ve found myself doodling a lot lately… mostly on scraps of paper… backs of envelopes, etc… and now… Post-It notes.
They look really interesting (to me anyway) when photographed at high-resolution with my phone, and then posted at larger-than-life size.
More to come…?
While we spoke, I absently picked up the only writing implement on the abandoned desk – a red ballpoint pen – and started doodling on an old notepad the desk’s former occupant (or most-recent squatter) had left behind.
When the call was over, I had this drawing. I kind of liked it, so I snapped a picture with my phone.
Happy Halloween 2011!
I didn’t get around to carving a real pumpkin this Halloween, so I figured I’d at least draw up a Jack-O-Lantern instead.
Craig @ Cutting Edge DJs asked me for another drawing… to go along with another blog he wants to publish… a list of his favorite car-themed songs…
When he asked, I was really busy… and really tired…
But rather than saying “No” or “Maybe next month” I decided to have some fun with him… and I sent him this :)
He wasn’t impressed!
It still makes me laugh, even as I’m writing this.
I’ve been trying to be more disciplined about my drawing and practice [almost] every day. Like they say… if you don’t use it, you lose it. I’m also trying to work on things that I usually find difficult. Here are a group of female facial expressions that I challenged myself with.
Like most people – artist or not – the face I’ve studied more than any other is my own. When staring into the mirror trying to understand how an eyebrow arches, or what shape the mouth makes when surprised… it has always been a guy’s face staring back at me. And so naturally, I’ve always had an easier time drawing male faces and a bit of trouble drawing convincing female faces.
Because female faces don’t come naturally to me, I’ve always tended to stick to a very few expressions… and most of them haven’t been very animated. Here I tried to push myself a bit with face shapes, expressions and hairstyles. They’re still a little bit hard-edged (slightly masculine) but I feel good about the exercise. It keeps me honest.
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Do you know that saying that goes “How do you eat an elephant…? One bite at a time.” ?
You may have heard this before… and if you haven’t heard it before, you can probably get the point… but just in case you don’t… this is a saying that people will use when they – or someone they know – is faced with a gigantic task to accomplish. .. when the job seems so big, that it’s almost impossible to imagine ever being able to complete it.
And so the point is that – like attempting to eat an entire elephant – the best way to complete such a monumental effort, is to take it in small “bite-sized” pieces. Rather than looking at the whole – which could be overwhelming – you can look at one chunk at a time.
A little while ago, my friend Kevin asked me to illustrate these words of wisdom for him, so that he could hang the picture by his computer, to give him perspective whenever a job started to feel too big to handle.
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“I am the Lizard King… I can do anything”
About a month ago I watched the film “When You’re Strange”… an artful documentary about the Doors, featuring Narration voice-over by Johnny Depp. The movie focuses on the Doors’ legendary singer-front man, Jim Morrison and it portrays him in a way that seemed new to me… I mean, I’ve been familiar with Jim Morrison for a very long time… but after watching this movie, I felt like all this time I had been missing something really special, and that now I finally “got it.” I’d say that’s the sign of a really good documentary.
So inspired by my new feelings about who/what Jim Morrison really was… I drew this characterization sketch.
Break on through, break on through – eh… eh.. eh.. eh.. eh!
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Another rough animation done in ‘Pencil’… this is a great tool for these quick exercises.
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I’ve been playing a little bit with this (forgive the pun) “sketchy” freeware program called ‘Pencil’. I cranked out this scene of a figure leaping into the foreground to reveal himself as a superhero… I converted the frames to an animated gif for convenience of posting here.
The Pencil program is a bit buggy, and can be frustrating to work with – but then again, it is freeware. It’s fun to use for quick little roughs, like this one… though given the number of times I’ve lost considerable amounts of work (either from glitches or straight-up crashes) I wouldn’t want to try and use it to do anything more significant. Animation is far too labor-intensive to deal with losing your work.
I’ll probably keep using Pencil to do little roughs like this, to work out ideas… I’ll post them as I get the time.
I’ve been really busy at work lately… but even I couldn’t avoid hearing that The Beatles are finally on iTunes.
I may be a little late with this – like I said, I’ve been REALLY busy - but I thought I should post one of my Beatles drawings to mark the event.
This is my original sketch/study, which ended up being the basis for my current work-in-progress, When They was Fab.
The Walking Dead on AMC. Sweet.
I was turned on to the comic (or graphic novel, I guess… I’m never sure) around a year or so ago. I loved it right away.
The combination of the brilliant story written by Robert Kirkman, and the striking illustrations by Tony Moore, just really does it for me. Both the story and the drawings in The Walking Dead are direct and efficient, without ever appearing to be anything less than Kirkman’s and Moore’s very best effort… on every page and every panel.
Maybe it was foolish of me, but I was a caught off-guard when Frank Darabont’s TV version chose to use a different opening sequence than the one from the comic. I guess the opening sequence in the book worked so well for me that I couldn’t imagine anyone feeling the need to rewrite it in any way. I mean the screenplay AND the storyboard/shotlist were all right there… why wouldn’t you just USE them?
But once I got over my surprise – and reset my expectations – I was able to thoroughly enjoy watching the show.
I mean, when was the last time any of us had the opportunity to watch a TV series about Zombies? And this series is going to based on some top-notch source material… it would be a real waste not to enjoy the ride.
Here’s another Zombie drawing, in honor of the Walking Dead on AMC. DVR – RecordSeries – Check.
Remember… always kill the head.
It’s almost Halloween, and all procrastinators are hurrying around trying to get a costume together.
So I figured I’d share the design I made for the super-cutesy, matchy-matchy homemade costumes that Kim and I put together last year. Worker Bee & Queen Bee.
The real costumes came out amazingly-similar to the drawing – with the addition of big, oversized sunglasses… yellow frames for me, and rhinestones for Queenie - and were well received at the party. Kim found a yellow shirt with black stripes, and I put the stripes on mine with hockey tape. The yellow hardhat was just a few bucks at the Home Depot, and the jewelry was easy to find in the kids’ toy aisle… I already had the tool belt.
So there you go – if I’ve saved one procrastinator’s Halloween, then I’ve done my job.
This isn’t the best photo, but it’s the only one I’ve got handy… and don’t ask me why I’m standing like that… I blame the steps :)
The Beatles are a great story… ever since I was a kid I’ve had a fantasy about being there with Paul, Ringo, George & John scrappin it out on stage way back in those early days in Hamburg. Here is my interpretation of that fantasy.
This is a scaled-down version of the work in progress – the actual drawing is 19×25 inches… looking forward to having a print made and framed.
Here are some close-ups of the Boys (where you can see a little better how unfinished this is just yet)…
Wow – it’s been a busy summer/fall for me in my non-artistic life! I’ve only recently started doing some drawing again… and it’s been a reinvigorating experience. Creative expression really does help my state of mind.
I’ve picked up on the Zombie project idea again, and started designing some of the non-Zombie characters who are going to have to survive in the world of the living dead.
So, here are a couple of pics of * THE Z-TEAM *… work in progress.
1ST DRAFT w/storyline & dialog ideas overlayed
CAST OF CHARACTERS + a bit more definition
BACKSTORY w/WORKING NAMES:
college student… was on a canoe trip when the Zombie outbreak swept through the cities, towns, and well… campuses. He got back to the dorm… had a look around… and decided to head for the hills… literally;
art-school dropout & vagabond… was crashing at an acquaintance’s hunting cabin when the dead came to town… and that’s right where he was when Marcus found him;
biker/mechanic… stays on the move riding with his motorcycle club and kicking Zombie asses along the way… “Live to Ride, Ride to Live” has taken on new meaning… while running for their lives from a pack of TEETH, the boys are saved when Hoops and Co. happen on the scene… suffering a broken ankle in the scrum, Hoops decides to stay with the boys for a bit while he heals;
USMC Combat Rifle Company squad-leader whose team was eviscerated when a call to “quell a riot” in Trenton NJ put them in the path of several-hundred Zombies tearing through the city… after barely escaping across the river, Val comes looking for provisions at the mall.
That’s it for now… look for more… sooner or later.
And remember – Kill the Head!
Life is filled with endless challenges.
They just keep on coming at us… day after day.
Resolve to meet them face to face… give them your best effort… and never allow yourself to be beaten into submission.
Whatever the outcome of today’s challenges… tomorrow will bring another opportunity to take on the next.
“Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.”
~ Edward Eggleston
When business gets messy… they call in the Heavy Hand…
Somebody is not going to be happy to see this face tonight…
This is just something I was playing around with… I’m not sure what she sees up in the sky there… but it seems to have put a smile on her face, so it can’t be bad.
It’s only natural that my love for drawing and my love for music would come together as a love for animation, and – - - Oh… I didn’t mention that I dabble in animation…? And I forgot music too? Huh – weird…
Historical Note: I’ve been told that the KO Title Sequence was the first ever Animated Theme Song intro of any YouTube Channel… And while I’m not at all not sure how true that really is… it’s still really cool that I’ve been told that!
===> * * * WATCH THE VIDEO… IT’S SHORT, I PROMISE! * * * <===
Well, I guess I just figured that the Opening Sequence for KatiesOpinion made that kind of obvious… I mean, you do remember KatiesOpinion – right…? What… NO…?!? Why that’s preposterous!!! EVERYONE knows KatiesOpinion! On what planet do you spend most of your time?!? I mean seriously – WTF!?! Why don’t you try pulling your head out of your – - - !!!
I know, I know… of course I’m just kidding. I know KatiesOpinion was never THAT big… But it was kind of popular… back in the good old days… waaaayyyy back when in the olden times of 2006-2008
. . . cue flashback . . .
My buddy Craig has a really big head.
Presumably that would mean he’s got a really big brain too – wouldn’t it? Maybe that’s why he writes so many damn blogs. His big ol’ brain just keeps churning out idea after idea… and blogging gives him a place to dump them all.
Lately he’s been siezed by a fit of Beatle-Mania which <sarcasm>surprisingly</sarcasm> has resulted in several more blogs.
His latest one is a response to some folks who questioned whether or not it’s productive for someone in his business (the DJ business) to spend time writing blogs about the Beatles.
The blog answers that question, by posing another question (a nice Socratic approach)…
Craig goes on to argue that music is a DJ’s stock & trade… you want your DJ to be knowledgeable about music… and researching and writing about one of the greatest music groups of all time is therefore consistent with what a DJ OUGHT to be thinking about.
He sent me a draft of his blog… asked for my opinion on it… and then asked if I would be willing to provide another illustration [see Octopus].
But, he said he didn’t know what kind of picture would make sense…
So I whipped off this little doodle here…
The sketch above is the one I sent Craig for his blog.
I had cranked that one out real quickly right before running out the door… so I didn’t spend too much time staring at it (which I usually DO)… so when I looked at it again later that night, it was kind of “new” to me.
I really liked it… and I couldn’t stop looking at it.
Turns out… I wanted to play with it some more.
So I re-opened the file and started resizing… adding backgrounds… throwing on filters and effects…
Eventually I tuned in on this “poster” treatment… which makes me laugh… which is good.
Make sure you click it to see the full-size version (and press ‘F11′ to go to fullscreen view)
If there’s one thing I just can’t stand about Zombies it’s gotta be how damned inconsiderate they are…
Ya know – it doesn’t make one bit of a difference to a Zombie what plans YOU may have had for the day, oh no…
The ZOMBIE wants to rip your arms off… the ZOMBIE wants to tear open your skull-bucket and devour your brains… It’s all about the Zombie… ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE!!!
To hell with your important business meeting… or your long-awaited vacation… to hell with your lunch date with grandma… to hell with your stupid wedding reception… GAH! See what I mean??? SO friggin selfish!
Seriously… I mean half the time they can’t even be bothered to use DOORS…
“Nevermind… I’m coming through the WALL!“
What a bunch of JERKS…!!!
I think this may be my favorite of all my Zombie sketches so far. It captures the look and the style I was after throughout this exercise. I’m really satisfied with this one.
As a matter of fact… this is the last Zombie sketch I think I’ll be posting…
At least for a while… I’ve got some other doodles that I want to give a little time to.
But you know Zombies… you can’t ever really get rid of ‘em… not really.
In a world following a massive-scale Zombie outbreak… lots of things will change… many sights that would surprise you today, will become commonplace…
Traditional law enforcement and military forces will likely be otherwise occupied with securing strategic infrastructure (or protecting the “important” people) or they may even no longer exist… except maybe as uniformed Undead
Bands of citizens will have to organize and pull together for their mutual survival… groups like the one in this sketch won’t be uncommon at all…
These guys look like they’ve survived quite a bit and know what they’re doing… they also look like “good guys”…
Which brings up a good point - even if you’re alone and on the run from flesh-eating Ghouls, a roving gang of armed men isn’t necessarily a good thing to run into… but I think these guys would help you out… if they could…
I decided to combine 2 pix in this one post. Though they’re not exactly related, I think they go well together visually.
Not too much to say about this next one… I think it tells its own story…
You can fill in the details however you want… but one thing is for sure… some shit is about to go down, and it ain’t gonna be pretty…
Zombies are mindless animated corpses, operating strictly on the simple instinct to pursue and devour… no external force affects or influences their behavior… right? Well what if something, or someONE, could? What if some sinister figure had the ability to coordinate–to direct–the legions of the Undead? How would that change the playing field?
So, I’d sketched up some ghoulies, dreamed up a hero and carved out a back-story for her–partially setting the stage for the overall story in a spontaneous fit of creative writing (don’t worry… that doesn’t happen often.) So what next…?
Well, I’m the kind of person who craves balance. So once I’d defined the hero, it became important for me to come up with an Anti-Hero. “Protagonist… meet Antagonist. I’m sure you’ll hit it off famously.”
To be honest, I never did come up with quite as clear of an idea about who the Antagonist was, or where he came from. Maybe I was being lazy, but I decided that he would at least start out as a complete mystery… and I figured I could sort out the rest if it ever became important. And knowing that I was doing this as a creative exercise, and never really planned to actually MAKE a movie out of it… I figured that was good enough.
The Antagonist as far as I did define him was a man… probably incredibly old, but with no appearance of physical decline… grim, but not unattractive… absolutely fearless and intimidating beyond belief. In fact, I modeled the basic idea off of my memory of Stephen King’s ultimate villain Randall Flagg, from one of my very favorite books ‘The Stand.’
Like I mentioned previously… my main goals in this series of drawings were:
1) move quickly – don’t spend too much time on details
2) experiment with framing
3) work on color schemes to convey mood
On that score, I think I did well with this one. Although, I’m not exactly crazy about the face, or the figures in the background (truthfully, I’m not even sure what they were supposed to be… but I’m calling them Zombies now… weird, lumpy Zombies) I do like the framing, the colors and the overall sense I get when looking at this sketch, so… I’ll call it a keeper.
Sometime last week he came across a blog posting that offered one particular person’s list of the Worst Beatles Songs ever. On that list was Octopus’s Garden - written and sung by Beatles’ drummer and lovable comic-relief… Ringo Starr.
Craig didn’t think that seemed right… I mean, bashing on Octopus’s Garden somehow seems to be in the same class with screaming at cuddly kittens. So Craig decided to do a blog of his own in response… and he asked me if I’d do an illustration of an Octopus to go with it.
I don’t think I’ve ever drawn an Octopus before… and I happen to be a big fan of Ringo Starr (not so much the musician, but more the persona)
…so I said yes.
And here it is…
Thanks for the smiles, Ringo.
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How about I start off this post with a meaningful (pretentious?) quote…?
Yeah – nice one… that’ll do.
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So… WHY would anyone be afraid of greatness? I mean wouldn’t it be… I dunno… great??? OK, then consider this… What if you were born great, but didn’t know it? And then at some point–having made no effort to achieve greatness–it was suddenly–and violently–thrust upon you? And what if this all happened to you when you were less than 10 years old??? Hmm… yeah. That could be just a little scary – don’t ya think?
So, there you go – that’s the basis of the back-story for our hero, Blue. Fleshing it out a bit more I figured it went something like this…
The Zombie outbreak surged to a global crisis just before the girl’s 9th birthday, and the defenses which had been keeping her community safe, abruptly and completely failed… As all hell broke loose, the Emergency Broadcast System announced that the Catastrophic Incident Evacuation Plan had been initiated, and so her family set out for the nearby waterfront in hopes of escaping aboard one of the Coast Guard-commanded vessels that had been prepared for this contingency…
At the waterfront, instead of finding salvation they found nothing but chaos and horror… The Coast Guard and their evacuation craft had been overwhelmed by the Walking Dead, and throngs of arriving civilians, caught up in the desperate stampede for survival, found themselves swept forward into the jaws of a nightmarish feeding-frenzy… Panic-stricken people ran blindly in all directions – bodies slammed violently into one another and the world moved at dizzying speed… Clutching his daughter in one arm and holding onto his wife with the other, Blue’s father struggled to keep his feet as he sought an escape route for his family… And suddenly – time slowed…
Blue felt the massive jolt that spun her father completely around… She felt herself slip from his slackened grasp as she was sent airborne… she saw the awful look in his eyes as–still reaching out in an attempt to save her–he went down under the pile of bodies…
On the ground now, she staggered to her feet… she glanced around wildly but could see no sign of her parents… her tear-filled eyes began to burn with heat… a high-pitched white-noise filled her head… her limbs and spine stiffened… and from the pit of her stomach to the tips of her fingers and toes a bright tension drew steadily, relentlessly inward… and just when she felt as if her body was on the verge of collapsing in on itself… the tension released in an outward rush of brilliant light and wind…
Blue felt like she was falling from a sky-scraper, only horizontally - and without moving… she could see nothing but brightness, and though she was sure she was engulfed by flames, there was no heat… no pain… only a deafening roar… through which she imagined she heard horrifying shrieking…
OK, wow – I wasn’t expecting to write all of that. I’d said I was going to keep these posts short, but it looks like I just can’t be trusted. At any rate…
Some time later, Blue opened her eyes and found herself strapped to a stretcher in the back of a military helicopter flying over the ocean. The rescue team had found her unconcious at the scene of the massacre… the sole survivor, surrounded by hundreds (possibly thousands) of incinerated corpses. They’d decided there must have been a chain reaction of explosions which had ignited the thousands of gallons of marine diesel stored at the site… but damned if anyone could explain how this little girl had survived… it could only be a miracle.
Oh by the way… if you’re one of the friends who’ve been reading these posts, but you haven’t been clicking on the pictures to see them at their full-size… well, that’s just not right.
Please go back to the beginning and re-read every word of every post, and this time follow instructions and “CLICK FOR FULL-SIZE” like the nice blogger said to.
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