Thursday, March 24, 2011

Help Japan, Animated Buzz, and some story panels

I know it's a bit late in coming, but I'd like to take the opportunity here on my blog to urge anyone that hasn't yet done so to consider making a donation to help Japan. What is now known as the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which occurred on March 11, 2011 has claimed almost 14,000 lives as well as causing thousands to be injured. The destruction has left over 300,000 people as refugees without homes, and over 14,000 are still reported missing. All of this based just on the reports so far.

There's a lot I could write about Japan, it's people, and it's culture that have affected my life in so many important and special ways. I've been fortunate to visit there several times since my early twenties and I've written a small bit about that here as well as on my other blog here. Anything I could write about Japan now however, would all be in effect to say that, while seeing any country dealing with this level of destruction would be terrible, it's been especially hard for me to witness this crisis due to my personal attachments and experiences with the wonderful country and people of Japan. Luckily the people I know who live there have remained safe so far.

The links I've posted below have a great list of options on how to help Japan. The bottom most link specifically lists charities and what their commitments are in regarding the use of all their designated funds for relief efforts in Japan.

Art Director Dice Tsutsumi from Pixar Animation Studios has also initiated a charity movement called Artists Help Japan. He has created a nice, comprehensive blog where you can find a link to directly donate to the Artists Help Japan group's trusted organizations as well as find out about some art based charity events to help Japan as well. The site is here:

In other news a very talented animator, fellow CalArts classmate, and friend of mine, Mario Furmanczyk has recently transformed his site into a new, animation based social network. Click on the graphic here to visit the site:

Mario has done a really spectacular job with the updated version of his site. Animatedbuzz still has the same great forum that many have used to seek advice for getting into the CalArts Character Animation Program, along with some exciting new added features as well. There are Portfolio and Film sections on the network for members to exhibit their artwork and animation, as well as various Art School and Animation Studio networking groups, and a brand new Mentor service too. For a small fee, interested members of the site can receive a direct, in-depth critique on their work by a mentor of their choice. Many of the mentors on Animatedbuzz have either previously worked or are currently working at many of the major feature animation studios in the United States including Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar, and DreamWorks.

Which now brings me to the final part of my posting. I don't plan on being a mentor on Animatedbuzz anytime soon, but I wanted to start putting together some examples of some things I've done to possibly post in the portfolio section there. I've assembled a few pages of storyboards I've done from "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Shrek Forever After". These are just a few samples of what I thought were some of the better story panels I drew. These are not in continuity, although there are some A and B poses from the same shot set ups shown. None of the sequences presented here for "How to Train Your Dragon" are in the final film, but they are from a very early screening of Chris and Dean's version of it . If you've seen "Shrek Forever After" you might recognize some of the things I boarded that actually did make it into the final film. Some of the boards towards the end on the last page however are drawings from moments that aren't in the final version of that film either, but I thought they'd be fun to show.

As for my work on "Ratatouille" and "Up", it will take me a bit of time to put those together because I can only scan or take screen captures of the boards from the media that has been publicly released by Pixar.

I hope you'll find these interesting to see. Some of these boards are pretty rough, and some are more refined. The more refined boards were tied down for the purpose of public audience test screenings, so that the test audience could read the boards better as well as to soften the impact of things as they switched from the completed CG imagery back into the story reels .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer 2010 sketches

2010 has been a really busy year so far. I've been trying to keep up with environment sketching when I have the time. I attended the 28th Annual Sketchcrawl at Hollywood and Highland on July 31st. A couple of these sketches are from that event, and the one drawn in the box was done in Burbank. I scanned them in from my sketchbook and then added some tone in photoshop.

I've been sketching people quite a bit in my off hours as well. I've been drawing really small, and trying to simplify. These are some of the more successful ones I've done lately:

Kind of a boring update here, but what the heck. back to work.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do the Roar!

Well another film I worked on at DreamWorks just came out this past weekend "Shrek Forever After". It was a fun crew to be a part of. I came on to the movie in the final eight months or so of the production and the story crew I worked with was much smaller this time around.

Anthony Zeirhut, Maggie Kang, Joel Crawford, Ryan Crego, and our head of story Walt Dohrn, who voiced our fantastic villain Rumpelstiltskin, were all great folks to work with in story. Mike Mitchell, our director was awesome, as well as the production staff including Gina Shay, Suvi Booth, Mary Quinn, Bonnie Ann Robinson, and Daniel Inkeles. Again I've attached links to everyone where possible. Congratulations to everyone who worked on the final chapter, it was cool to work with such a nice crew.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Update: Environment Sketches and How to Train Your Dragon

Happy New Year! Wow, it's been quite a while since my last update.

I've been taking the Environment Sketching class with Ed Li at the Concept Design Academy this year. It's been a pretty good experience, and I think it's helped me learn and improve on some things I've been wanting to get better at for a while. Most importantly it's forced me to go out there and get more experience sketching on location, which seems to be the best way to learn. I've still got a long way to go with it, but it's been cool to go to different spots in Los Angeles and do some drawing with the added benefit of being in the company of a knowledgeable instructor, who does on-site demonstrations and is available to ask questions to at any time. Here's a page I put together of what I felt was my best work so far:

Some of these I sketched on my own, and some of them I did during trips the class took to various locations. These drawings were done in Burbank, at the Americana in Glendale, inside the Bradbury Building in Downtown L.A., and at a coffee shop in Koreatown. I experimented with using markers a bit here which was challenging and fun.

Ed has been pushing us to do thumbnails to explore different compositions of the locations and to compose our sketches within a frame. It's been a good discipline to try out. It's also been interesting to experience how intellectual it can be drawing from a location like this, since I've found that you have to edit, organize, and change things so much. It seems to be pretty much impossible to draw everything you see and do it completely accurately, so you have to try and make good intelligent choices that express the feeling of the location or that highlight what you want to emphasize and focus on. Not that I've necessarily done a spectacular job with that here, but it's been exciting to finally be inspired by seeing the possibilities of using design. Figuring out why the shapes you're drawing in the landscape look the way they look according to the rules of perspective, form, and logical common sense is also something that the instructor got me thinking about too.

In other news, I guess it's no secret that "How to Train Your Dragon" opens in the U.S. this Friday, March 26th, 2010. All of us here at DreamWorks are very excited for it. I just saw the final version of the film at the crew wrap party last weekend and it was awesome. I hope that everyone can get a chance to see the film in theaters. I'm pretty confident that you won't be disappointed.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got the chance to work on the movie with Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois during the first 4 or 5 months of their run on the project. I can't claim to have worked on a particular sequence in the final film since it was so early on in their new version of the movie and things changed and grew a lot since I wrapped, but it was a fun project to be a part of while I was on the story crew.

Speaking of the story crew, they were a great team to work with and they're a very talented bunch of people that I'd like to mention here. Chris Sanders, Alessandro Carloni, Steve MacLeod, Tron Mai, , Ben Balistreri, Tom Owens, Johane Matte, Mike Lester, John Puglisi, Aimee Marsh, Dave Derrick, Dave Pimentel, Gary Graham, Jeff Snow, Josh Pruett, and Mark Koetsier. I hadn't heard of many of these guys and gals until I started working at DWA, so I've attached to links to all their names where possible. Check out their work if you get the chance.

The production people on the show were great too. Producers Bonnie Arnold and Kristine Belson, as well as the other production staff I worked with including Kate Spencer, David Joyner, Scott Sakamoto, and Jabari Phillips.

So I figured I'd end this post with a small collection of sketches I did while I was working on the film. Before I start working on a sequence I like to try and sketch the characters so that I can get a feel for their proportions, shapes, and construction in order to try and develop a shorthand for them. The little old lady, Gothi, played a much bigger role in the earlier version of the story, which is why I have a drawing of her here. These sketches don't necessarily represent who the characters ended up becoming personalty wise in the final film, but I thought they'd be fun to show:

I hope to get back to posting personal stuff here sooner rather than later, but I'll definitely be back around in May to post a bit about the other film I worked on coming out this year, "Shrek Forever After".

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Train Your Dragon

Image from the How to Train Your Dragon website gallery section.

I've been pretty busy at work lately, so I've missed my monthly post. I hope to get back to doing it soon.

It was about a year ago this month that I was in the thick of it, working with Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois on their early version of "How to Train Your Dragon".

It was a fun, challenging, and exciting project to be on.

The film has changed and grown a lot since then, and I'm really excited with how well the film has shaped up since I wrapped from the project. I've been pretty fortunate to have worked with some great Writer/Directors, Heads of Story, Story Crews, and Production Teams so far during my time in the feature animation world, and working on this project was no exception.

The film doesn't come out until March 26th 2010, so I'll post more about it in the spring of next year.

Here's a link to a page on the Trailer Addict website which has the latest preview trailer for the film:

There's also an interesting discussion thread about the film at one of my old internet haunting grounds here:

Check out what fellow DreamWorks Story Artist and Animator extraordinaire Rodolphe Guenoden AKA RodGuen has to say about the film there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monthly Posting

I'm trying to keep the tradition of updating once a month here with a new post. Nothing too exciting, just some sketches I did of people in front of the movie theater or in various coffee shops around town.

Obviously I'm no Christophe Blain, but these are some of the best drawings I've done lately. I drew them on paper with a ball point pen. No Cinitiq or Photoshop. It's a refreshing change to use somewhat traditional media.

People sit and stand in a lot of different ways. It's been kind of fun to try and capture their poses. I've been finding that I can't help but draw this stuff more on the realistic side for some reason. When my brain goes into "observation" mode, cartooning tends to get diminished in the process. That's something I'd like to work on changing.

I've been feeling kind of down about my artwork lately, hopefully I'll be feeling better about things by next month's post.