Sunday, June 29, 2008


Poster Art by Eric Tan

Not sure if you heard but a new Pixar film about robot love came out this weekend. I wont give anything away but I must say that I loved this movie very much. Maybe it was a sensitive day, but I must admit that I got a little choked up at parts. Dont judge me blogspot, Cheryl teared up 3 different times! Ha! But really, part of it was getting caught up in Wall-E's story, and the other was taking in how much unique, beautiful, sincere, honest work this animation medium is capable of.
Andrew Stanton makes you really care for this character, and after watching the movie I felt like we became really good friends and I, I miss him! Thats right world! I genuinely miss, and am concerned about the well being of a trash- cubing, pibsqueak robot. If there would be anything I would want audiences to take away from my work, it would be to for them to really care about my characters. Its the reason why Kiwi! is one of my favorite short films of all time, student or pro.

Wall-E and Finding Nemo are the Pixar films that tug right at the heart strings to me. Remember that lump you got in throat when Marlin found that he had one egg left? Daaamn, thats some pretty powerful stuff man.

You've probably read most of the pre-release interviews Stanton has been doing, but I came across a particulary good one with Andrew here. Interesting stuff like the "power of using your personal experiences to fuel certain moments in movies" , and the perceived political & ecological messages in the film.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

D & D rules

A "quick n dirty" for one of my co-worker's next Dungeons N Dragons character. His name is Ghor, and he is a Warlock Dragonborn. He was made fun of as a little one for being short, but had his growth spurt just around the beginning of adulthood. 30 and bitter, he finds beauty in sociopathic things.

I'll let you know how he does in the upcoming 4th edition campaign!

Game design students rule.

Best shirt ever.
AND his critique on this drawing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Matt Rules

Hey Mom! The new "Where the Hell is Matt 2008" video is up.
I dunno what it is, but I can't help but get a little choked up watching these videos. He even goes to the Philippines.
Oh man why didn't I hear he was coming to Gasworks in Seattle!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Class3 Progress Reel

This is my latest Animation Mentor progress reel going all the way back to Class 1 ! The opening dialogue piece is a Work In Progress and is supposed to be completed in Class 4. Much thanks to Dave Vallone for a great class.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Because childhood drawings rule

Know what else rules? Drawings from your childhood! In this case, a sampling from one of my co-workers, Paul Z, age 8. How rad is "Picasso"?! You come up w/ these kinds of designs when your're an adult! And yes those ARE character stats thank you. As you can see, strength is through the roof!
He's got a whole book of these, including another one of my favorites; A character that is......half lion, half tank. Half freakin' tank son! I love that free-thinking, anything goes, throw-logic-out-the-window, "makes sense to me!" mentality we have when we we're kids. How cool would it be to make a feature and let kids art direct the whole thing?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Principles rule.

Get ready to bust out your "Amen's " , "Hallelujah's" , and "You go girl 's". Over at the Spline Doctors site, animator Travis Hathaway has made an attempt to boil down his process into a simple set of broad animation principles. They are so on the nose, your head will explode. I've spent the better part of the day thinking about them and the list is pretty bulletproof. Not only in the criteria of the list but the order of importance that they are listed.

I must admit that these aren't so much the order that I've been placing them in my work up to this point, but they should be if I'm going to really step my work up. I struggle with them all!

My(not necessarily THE) principles of animation.

-Travis Hathaway

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bill the Butcher rules.

I caught There Will Be Blood recently, and Daniel Day Lewis's performance was so great that it made me want to watch Gangs of New York again. Daniel rules. Period. "Ears and noses will be the trophies of the day." WHAT?! Sick man.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nico Marlet rules

To acknowledge how great I thought Kung Fu Panda was, I thought I'd write a little bit about one of the film's strongest suits, character design. In particular, some of the work of character designer, Nico Marlet.

I'm not saying that the following are the only elements of drawing that constitute great character design. But this is my attempt to break down and articulate what I'm seeing and why his current work appeals to me. I've wanted to do this immediately after seeing his work in the recent Art of Kung fu Panda book.

Drawing from Life- I think its very apparent that Nico has gone back to study reference of the actual source material. Haha, when I look at this design of a Monkey, I feel like he's forgotten about every simian design in any cartoon that came before him.
Come on! That dude is a bad ass!

And check out this design of a viper. The way its more than a simple tube shape, but that added detail of v-shape that defines the spine, I feel like I've seen in particular snakes before, but never would've thought to incorporate and emphasize it that way. I've heard alot of people complain that you can't tell that the tiger is a female. Are you kidding me? I said he looked at life, not every other cartoon feline out there.

I'm glad that Nico didnt take the easy way out and slap on breasts and wide hips to convey a female tiger like I would've done. Those choices that came from looking at real life make the character feel more real, different, and genuine to me.

Textures as Pattern
- Something I see alot in his work is the treatment of different textures (fur,scales,fuzz) and how they are designed into patterns.
Take this Sheep's skin, (I even love all the implied texture that white space has):
or the way he's describing the "fuzz-like" quality on a bee's ass.
Alot of times they involve small shapes in even repetition, that when
looked at as a whole begin to describe a very specific texture or surface. Here are some on a mantis and a croc.

Clean,Flowing Gesture
- Take this character sketch from a Bee Movie. Every line laid down is meant to emphasize the overall gesture. Even details inside the clothing (wrinkles, etc.), are meant to emphasize, and tie into the flow of her pose.
And speaking of strong posing, Nico comes from an animation background, and his work shows it. And it goes beyond the classic S and C-curve gestures you've seen in the Preston Blair books. Look at this pose man!
It has a "rounded-off blocky" quality to it that I love. The shape of the gesture itself is just a great design.

Shape Language- Nico's work has a specific and personal "shape language" that is applied to what he's researched, and becomes the foundation to all of his drawings.
I'm a big fan of real graphic stuff. So I love to seeing really clean, simple, and sometimes flat, graphic shapes. Whats great about Nico's work is that it is all of those things, but it still feels dimensional. That is, you feel like you can move and rotate these
around in 3D and they wouldn't fall apart.
This is great too because it shows that he's not just making drawings for great drawings sake, but these eventually are to be turned into a 3D characters. How brilliant is that pig though? I dont even remember him in the movie but I feel like a whole feature could be made around him.

Thats all I got, for now. Obviously there are so much more to successful design; attitude, personality, uh, drarwing good, etc. But I feel like these are known and universal and should be applied to ALL character design. I'm trying to hone in on some of elements that make his drawings stick with me.

You can check out all of these samples in these books.
The Art of Kung Fu Panda
The Art of Bee Movie

Sunday, June 1, 2008


This sketch was done while the room was watching Paris Je 'Taime. And might've been influenced by it.