Monday, December 24, 2007

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas to all, friends and enemies alike!

Friday, December 21, 2007

bunny trails

today I was doodling on a telephone note pad, just idly exploring graphic shapes, and as ideas emerged, I expanded to a larger drawing, and a complete character design eventually resulted. this is that story. All names have been changed to protect the innocent.

While watching Woody Woodpecker cartoons, I had a little spark of an ideas in my brain, and grabbing the nearest scrap of paper, I began to scribble. I started with a couple loose drawings of a wolf biting a large bone, then, wondering what the body would look like, I drew a pair of legs on another paper, and from there, sort of "bunny trailed" along, scrapping the wolf, and re-building the drawing, first with the legs, then a pair of crossed arms, and finally a head. On a larger paper, I traced the separate elements to make a rough estimation of the whole. Seeing the overall effect of these graphic elements, which had been designed for their shapes rather than based on anatomy or even traditional cartoon construction, I then set about figuring out how to construct that graphic shape with actual anatomical features in a more solidly constructed fashion. once this was accomplished to my satisfaction, I traced over this cartoony skeleton the details of fur, eyes, etc.My initial sketch was a definite improvement but this was not satisfactory. The body was pretty much how I wanted it, but I didn't like the way the hands and head looked, so, having scanned this draft, I used photoshop to push the shapes around, moving the neck back to where it would look like it joined the body more naturally, and tilted the head so it better flowed along the line of action of the rest of the body.

This I recreated on a second piece of paper with my pencils, then scanned again so I could blow it up, as the fingers still troubled me due to the small size of the drawing. printing out a larger copy of this third draft, I traced over again, and replaced the fingers until they were acceptable. then i inked and colored the final draft. Whaddya think of the final product? I think it has potential...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

gross layout- stretching my long-dormant painting muscles

perhaps i was overconfident, or just feeling brave, but last week i attempted to reach beyond myself and grasp at the stars... or at least a couple distant planets known as Milt Gross and Art Lozzi.

The original art, courtesy of Milt Gross:

My first attempt at this combination of a Milt Gross drawing with a HB bg painting style was
rather rough:
I lost the original forms- all the shapes turned to mush after a couple layers of paint were slathered on too hastily, and the brushwork left much to be desired. But it gave me a general idea what colors i wanted to use, and i used this as a reference on my second go-around. This time i selectively added textures to the painting. the long brush strokes are a bit shaky since the painting is only on a standard-sized paper, but overall, the results were more satisfactory.

after I finished, I retraced the characters in pencil and placed them on top with colors to see if they read properly against the painting. judge the results for yourselves.

interestingly, the composition of the drawing changed dramatically without the speech bubbles crowded in the upper left quadrant of the picture.

well, If I get to feeling REALLY audacious, I might have to record dialogue and animate this as a short scene!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Jay and Brock Show

A buddy of mine from college who is a radio DJ sent me a message the other day asking if I could
make a caricature of him and his co-host. Naturally I said yes.

Here are some pictures of them I used for reference: And my first rough sketches, pencilings,and inkings:

Monday, November 05, 2007

spidey and a caricature

I have several sketches i took a at a parade, but I'm feeling too tired to scan them all right now, so this is what you get: a caricature of one of my friends, and a sketch of Spider-man.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Left my Art in San Fransisco...

Okay, not really, but I have certainly been slacking off in the visual department, mostly due to my being in Thespian Mode as opposed to DaVinci Mode. Last month I auditioned for a part in a local theater, and in preparation for that audition, I was spending more time brushing up my acting chops than I spent brushing paint on canvas or brushing eraser crumbs off the pages of my sketchbook. I did take the sketchbook to my audition to give me something to do in the time that I was not otherwise engaged, but ended up with only a couple drawings, as during most of my free time I chose to peruse a volume of the Complete Peanuts Collection I had brought with me. However, since then I have gotten to do a few pieces of "art," but mostly of a more graphical nature, in the form of some poster designs for a coffeehouse event that I am involved with in church.

Here then are those poster designs, as well as a sketch from the audition.
yeah, I know, this is a pretty half-hearted attempt. I promise to do something better for next time!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lessons from Bosko

Being both an aspiring animator and a regular reader of John K's excellent blog, his recent challenge was one I couldn't resist taking up. I downloaded the video file of the short scene from the 1931 Looney Tune cartoon "Bosko the Doughboy" in which he does 3 separate dance cycles.
And then, the file just sat on my desktop until I had some free time to start the process of copying the cycles.

When I finally got around to it, my first step was to watch the file frame by frame and chart the action out on a piece of paper, analyzing what was going on in each frame, and ultimately, to help determine which were key poses and which were in-between frames.
Here i could see that the clapping cycle repeats itself on every 24th frame, and also that the "beats" are on every 12th drawing, and held for an additional frame to add impact so it reads, rather than just flowing along like a flag or waves. The body bounces up and down and side-to-side about 3 times as fast as the clapping rhythm- each extreme is held 2 frames and the motion between extremes is only a single drawing.

My next step was to copy each of the frames as a separate file so I could more easily compare the drawings side-by-side and thus break down the scene more completely.The first frame I copied was the key drawing of Bosko clapping. This drawing was virtually identical to the final frame, but for the cycle to loop, it must be held for an additional frame. The 12th frame is practically a mirror image of this drawing, but for slight difference in the way the head tilts, which leads me to believe the animator probably started with this drawing, flipped it and redrew it for the second beat of the cycle, then worked out the stuff in between.

It took me maybe a couple hours to finish drawing the whole cycle, redrawing, erasing, etc, until each frame looked like its counterpart in the original animation. I didn't try to "fix" anything, or "make it better," as the object was to reproduce the original motions in order to study how it all works. The only frame I changed was this one below, where the right leg is raised, as it is the only drawing in the entire 24 frames that does this, which i assume is the result of a mistake in the inking department, where possibly somebody mis-traced the leg higher than it should have been.

After I finished, I was curious what kind of arcs the hands followed to get that particular wave action, so I traced over my drawings to get the following path:
The right hand action was a virtual mirror image of the left:We see here that the hand that is clapped starts at that position, swings in a smooth arc up to the other side, winds up, swings down to clap, holds 1 frame, and swings in a second arc back to the starting side, and on the clap recoils down slightly, and is ready to repeat.

After I scanned my pencils, I wanted to see what it would look like colored, so instead of inking and re-scanning and coloring, I just darkened to contrast on my pencils and colored those in, so the drawings in this video are still a but sketchy, but it looks pretty nice anyways, I think.

So what have I learned from this project?

1. as i copied i noticed the head doesn't look the same from frame to frame, but the slight variations seem to add to the liveliness of the motion.
2. timing to a beat isn't a hard as it sounds!
3. the arcs that move objects from one position to another are probably what brought about the "speed lines" and "smear drawings" of later cartoons, as animators wanting to make their drawings move faster and faster realized that in order for the arcs to read when there are only a few frames between the extremes, there would have to be a motion trail that shows that arc, or the animation will just look jumpy.
4. held frames look more alive when there is at least a subtle variation in the drawing; when you just copy 100% exactly the same frame, the cartoon dies during that millisecond of the animation, and is less lively.
5. Animation starts with shapes. if you try to animate everything at once, the features float and bounce all over the place. start with the skeletal structure- the circles and curves, and once they are right, the features are easy to tie into place.

EDIT: here is another booboo pointed out by Josh Lieberman-
I failed to place the extremes for the body as far apart as the original animator did:

ergo, lesson # 6: pay attention to detail!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hello, Roto

I was dabbling with rotoscoping tonight and thought I would show some of what I did. The whole clip is only about 2.5 seconds, but it is a fun little experiment.

My youngest brother captured this shot of me and my other brother, and I printed each frame and retraced it in pencil, then superimposed a cartoon character in place of my brother and myself.
It gets a little more interesting, but I don't want to give away the ending...

Hopefully I get some more free time from work soon so I can finish it and put it all together as a video to post here... for now, view the first 1 second of an early pencil test (I like to test as I go along to make sure it is moving the way I want) :

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

crazy week

I had a week off work, and went to the NFAF. while driving, while waiting, and while about to nod off in the hotel, I drew. And drew. Here a few of the weird things that came out the end of my pencil.

A claymation duo called Wallet and Grimace:

A caveman attempting to invent corporal punishment:
A dragon-creature spewing ash:

A pet alligator whose job is in danger of termination:

A somber satyr playing a melancholy tune on his bone-pipe:

My brother wearing a funny hat he got:

A grotesque couple:

And some preliminary planning sketches for some additional bits of the squirrel animation I have [not] been working on:

'kay, bye.