Saturday, February 24, 2007

:: building a bitter blogger ::

i really appreciate the sudden surge of disgruntled animators. although it's making me far more idealistic than i was two years ago even. but i know my goals now. i don't want to JUST work in animation.

i want to be a skilled cartoon animator.

that sounds stupid. "i'm serious about making funny cartoons." i feel i could make something now, with what i know now. or i could challenge, push myself to learn more AND make something. college didn't push me to learn. it asked me to work within my knowledge base. i got poor grades when i challenged myself, but i was happier and i learned more.

who else out there [i've talked to a few of you] wants to improve yourself? who wants to make "art for art's sake?" who wants to make real cartoon animation?

there's a lot of great resources out there, but if there's one thing i know we need as animators, that's organization, discipline and a schedule. i'm willing to suck it up and make one if people out there are willing to try. leave a comment *and email me* if you'd be interested in a team learning/progress/lesson blog.

*IMPORTANT! - to get into this please email me here:, some blogger profiles are disabled and i can't get in touch with you!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

:: doin' time at ac ::

i'm eternally grateful to ac for giving me my first job in the city. but that's about as far as it goes. the work was work, nothing too stimulating. at least not in the vein of things i'd like to be working with. when i moved to ellen's i was given a pad to take notes. i'd do at least a page of sketches throughout the day while i was waiting for things to load and whatnot. these are some of them. you can tell what my hair/facial hair looked like any given day by my "self portraits." and at the end i was getting frustrated and really wanted to rock out, those are my faves.

also, i have a collection of post-it notes of the flash logo doing something dangerous, that i drew every time the program crashed. i gave up after a while because it crashed so much. i'll try and find those...i like em...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

:: mephiskapheles duck ::

i think i figured out the duck i was messing with before. i might go ahead with the mephiskapheles video because i can apparently get in touch with the band and get the rights. here's a really rough drawing of the duck:

pete and i just were going over some color options, and i thought i'd open it up. thoughts? anything here look good to you? should i have something else?

hey a new option:

here's the first batch before petes suggestions

after a conversation with sean [his blog's to the right] at apples in stereo, i decided to make him more like us, a half breed skapunk, instead of super genre oriented. a "skunk". it's tough because it's busy looking, but so are[/were] we. that way i think it might make it feel less like a genre war sort of thing, and more like this guy's just trying to have fun but the penguin is "too cool."

i'll post the penguin and cleanups soon. just wanted this on file.

here's the song i'm going to be using: "eskamoes" - property of mephiskapheles, and moon ska you might have to right click it.

oh! and here's the other character, i have to figure out a good way to get his blacks to work, but i have his design set.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

:: smoreel 02/07 ::

:: smoreel feb 07 ::
Video sent by tomsmo
hey! here's my demo reel!

i decided not to bog you down, so i uploaded it to that dailymotion thing people seem to be posting lots of classic clips on. now everyone on the internet can find my phone number...dang! i listed it under "extreme"

the colliding music in the beginning with Vlad bugs me, but I can't fix anything else on it till wednesday when paleforce is in the can. comments appreciated!

to download it, click here!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

:: upa ::

sorry for all the non drawing posts lately, i've been doing more reading than drawing.

united productions of america, was a studio and a reactionary animation movement at the same time. there's so much artwork out there people are calling upa inspired today, but it doesn't move! so without further adieu, here's some upa so you can see what i mean!


this is a john hubley cartoon, whose name has come up a lot recently. hubley was really big on design, and full animation. he has the most designerly of the upa cartoons, rooty toot toot above being his pinnacle, and last short. the characters are very graphic yet they stretch, morph, and change color based on emotion and personality. they express by the way they move and contort. and screen depth becomes very important. Hubley worked to go against his background of Disney cartoons, and worked away from cute design and story.


bobe cannon, was the other primary figure at UPA, he directed gerald mc boing boing above. egos [apparently mostly Hubley's] and sensibilities caused the two to split into two units, with animators and designers jumping between the two. Cannon came from Warners [and did work at disney and mgm for a stint]. An animator for Clampett early on [think porky in wacky land "hello bobo!"] and later Jones. Cannon's directorial style was reactionary as well. Working against stories of violence and over the top gags, which was his background at WB. he directed in a similar fashion to Jones, giving his animators drawings to work from, although they were more actual animation drawings than layouts. his designs also tend to be strong, and he used mis en scen and the backgrounds to direct attention to the characters. he definitely has leanings more in a cute direction, which is definitely less warners. in boing boing [a story by ted giesel...dr. suess!] you can really see cannon's directorial style solidify. more muted action, emotion not delivered by expression or movement, but by setting, graphic but pliable character design. he wanted to make known that the cartoon was made up of drawings that were animated, not just characters that were.

today i think people confuse upa with flat design heavy cartoons. yet neither of these cartoons are still. in the credits of both you'll see very impressive names! art babbit, grim natwick, bill melendez; all sorts of competent animators' names appear in UPA cartoons. they're anything BUT flat and motionless.

designerly cartoons can be beautiful! but take away animation and they quickly lose their appeal. even cannon's more muted cute cartoons move fluidly when they do move, often in ways that most today would consider "off model," by stretching arms without elbows and bending in unusual ways. and hubley's more stylistic designs become even less flat when they move all around the screen and show off their depth. nothing in these cartoons flips from one 3/4 view to another, everything rotates, everything animates.

upa was animation by and for artists who were tired of the norms established in the golden age that, all it's creators came from [therefore they were all rooted in classic animation principle before they experimented]. today we have this trickle down of skewed upa principles mixed with programs like flash to get a highly watered down version of graphic animation, that is flat and lifeless. a lot of that comes from people not having studied actual animation design and principle. some people out there get it though, like my bud dagan moriarty for one; check out his stuff and you'll see life in every drawing, and design principle that the likes of bobe cannon would definitely support! upa means design, but it definitely doesn't mean flat! don't let anyone try and convince you otherwise!

again sorry i'm so preachy lately! i'm going to try and start putting some of this theory into practice soon! ...promise!

Friday, February 09, 2007

:: listen jackson ::

baby steps...i need to take baby steps.

so i was looking on the scribner project blog today and there were great screens from baby bottleneck of my favorite looney tunes incidental character. i figured i'd give it a shot sketching them and see how i measured up, and damn, i've got a way to go. i think i need to backtrack a bit and just do those blair exercises john k recommends before i get too ahead of myself. talk about humbling!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

:: live action foray ::

back in college we had to make a live action psa. i worked with my compadre Bob Rutan, who uploaded this. we came up with the story when ryan, our band's drummer started talking about selling cutco knives and we decided the spoon with a magnet on it might come in handy whilst quelling epileptic seizures...? to my knowledge i boarded this and lit it, bob and i wrote it and bob directed the actors and worked the camera. the dude in the dress is Jon Arliss. known to many as TorF [neither true nor false, here nor there, a being comprised solely of antimatter] the best bass player in central new york, and oddly enough the bassist for bursting mosquitos, the ska band the three of us had in highschool. the "kid" is Matt Gilfus; an exceptional guitarist and an exceptional mega man x player.

Bob uploaded a few of his early college projects [up through sophomore year] to youtube yesterday. go check them out on his blog! he's hilarious and awesome!

Monday, February 05, 2007

:: lichty ::

more to come on this but:

I'm reading Michael Barrier's "Hollywood Cartoons," book, and although there's a lot of opinion injected that i disagree with, there a ton of useful tidbits too!

Apparently [according to Barrier via interviews with Clampett] Rod Scribner was pretty influenced by George Lichtenstein, above. Mainly his "Grin and Bear it," comics. He looked to stylistically duplicate the looseness of Lichty's comics in his animation in the 40's. After discussing this with Clampett, he'd get the go ahead to "Lichty it up," and do his really loose animtion. At times he'd use a brush, or ink, etc.

Scribner's a big influence for me so when I find out about where he pulled from I get excited.