Friday, November 11, 2011

Grab bag #2

First out of the bag are two recent drawings. I had a lot of fun developing the border in the first picture, a birthday present. I enlisted the help of some of my Punjabi friends for the writing.

Everybody loves mountains:

Second from the grab bag:

Awhile back I started drawing Cruella DeVille from the various frame sheets posted on Andreas Deja's awesome animation blog, as a practice exercise. I liked the wild expressions that the origianl animator (Marc Davis) came up with, and so only concentrated on her head and face instead of full body poses. I ended up with so many that I could practically read dialog from her mouth as she thrashed back and forth, hair and bangs whipping as she cackles and snarls. And so, in the early morning I was motivated to animate my own sequence, borrowing some of the expressions.

I decided to start with something relatively easy (the Cruella heads and faces), compared to the other ambitious projects I had in mind. I'll tackle those after I struggle through some initial shorter, relatively simpler sequences to become familiar with the mechanics of making a cartoon. Voila my pencil test (scroll down). The original idea was to have a woman huffing and puffing and screaming at her cats. I got through that sequence pretty quickly (and roughly) and thought next about what I could add to it; hence the cat-thrashing and strangling. I don't intend to make this too much longer, as there is no real plot to speak of.

One common thing people write in animation books and on the blogs about pencil tests is that they aren't about producing the final clean, perfect drawings. They're important to get a rough approximation of how the movement in the animated sequence flows. Does it look believable? Do drawings need to be added or subtracted to make the motion work? Then once you've decided that the sequence works, you go back and clean up all the mess and keep the final lines. It is painfully obvious to me that my pencil test will need lots of work to make a "final" product.

Admittedly, I didn't take as much care as I could have to keep the character on model, as they say. Throughout the sequence here her head balloons up, her arms stretch, the dimensions of her face change. But overall I'm happy to have done it, considering I'm teaching myself everything. Also, I am using a hand-held digital camera to capture the images, which explains the shaky aspect to the video. Until I meet my goal of "completing" a cartoon short, I'm withholding from buying a scanner. As I posted before, I use ImageJ (a program provided free by the National Institute of Health) to assemble the drawings into a Quicktime movie. Someday I'll explain step by step how to do that so people who otherwise wouldn't make cartoons (no animation software) can learn how to do it relatively easily.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hooray for Japanese pens!

I just ordered some more of the Deleter G nibs and Maru nibs, which are both incredibly fun to draw with. Hopefully I'll be able to afford a scanner soon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Grab bag

Late nite pen and ink has been the name of the game recently. I finally settled into the upstairs of a duplex and set up shop. Thanks to kind friends I have tons of desk space for both illustrating and animating. The pages in my sketchbook are filling by the day, sometimes labored and other times more easily.

My main focus as I pieced together my apartment and tried to find work was larger pen and ink drawings. The original idea was to use lyrics that practically begged me to think of something to draw for them and draw it. While taken completely out of context and influenced by Bernie Wrightson's work on Frankenstein, I used "the wind and the willows play tea for two" for this one:

One of the drawings I'm working on now (shown at the top of the post), however, was not influenced by any lyric but only an awesome photo of a friend's baby. Hopefully I'll get the lighting right.

I've been pushing to fill up my sketchbook quickly. And although I haven't been close to meeting my ambitious deadlines, the book has been good so far (to me). One effort made is to draw more of what I see, which many people agree to as being an essential skill; a difficult but essential skill. I've also been tightening my loose grasp on perspective drawing. In the case below I didn't concern myself with staff and customers around the register.

I even got in some landscapes while in-between climbs in Utah this fall, drawn with a trusty, tried and true Bic pen. If anyone as ever been to Indian Creek, these were drawn while sitting at Middle Crack (5.12), at Reservoir Wall.

Another focus has been drawing/coming up with characters, and drawing them as reproducibly as possible in different poses and gestures. Exact reproduction is lacking, but on my radar.

Here are some atypical characters. (Atypical in the sense that I usually draw bald men).

Here's a fun one from the notebook.

However, I have animation on the mind. This is an adventure a little more intimidating to begin and therefore easier to delay. Luckily I have the space and basic equipment necessary to commence production when I can wrap my mind around the project. My first landmark is getting out the first 5 seconds in the form of a pencil test. Once I start and obsess and animation becomes a compulsion that demands insomnia, 5 seconds will become 10 and then after many lost hours of sleep my 10 seconds all of a sudden become minutes, I anticipate that I'll have a decent second effort (first effort). I just need to start.

Anyway, here are some random pictures to finish up my road trip. First off, the rainy Olympic Mountains and the Queets River.

Orcas Island:

Failed attempt on Enchantment Peak:

Indian Creek: