Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Figure Block-in

This is the block-in I did in Monday mornings Life Painting class. I think this is the best block-in so far and we'll see how it goes from here, I am trying to keep this one loose, it's so easy for me to get too tight too soon, so I am really working this one even trying to hold my brushes a bit different to make it loose, they I can decide what to accent later as I will have a good "bed' to paint into as Al calls it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Creepertins

It seems impossible in some ways but the Happy Holidays are upon us already. Tom Turkey sits frozen ready to meet the oven and his delicious fate.

That means it's almost one full year since I started doing the Creepertins in Delaware County Magazine, seems the time flew by and I will so glad to see 2008 go bye-bye. This has been the worst year of my life as an adult, there was lots of really bad stuff this year, so while there was also some very good things like being in School, and professionally to, but personally I can't wait to see the calender for 2008 fall into the waste basket. Too bad some people can't also fall in along with it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Mixed Bag

Here is a mixed sampling of recent work, some finished and some in progress. the above drawing was a two week drawing in Scott Noel's class and it was a bear of a drawing. the light changed quite a bit from the original set-up and then there was a lot to try and get at on this...and I don't consider the drawing really done, but I am happy with parts of it like the skeleton. Funny how the drawing went from being about the model to about the skeleton. I feel very unsatisfied recently with my work at school, I just feel cramped for time and I am trying to incorporate things I am learning which are not fully digested yet. The one group of work I am happier with is the small studies in charcoal. the trick will now to see if I can translate that feeling and esthetic I have in the small drawings into paintings
here is another samll still life in charcoal.
here is a 'constructional" self portrait done for John Horn's class. John didn't want us to render this, but to do a drawing exploring the construction of ourselves. I was influenced a bit by a drawing of a man dressed as a clown by RICO LEBRUN.

Today I started a broad grisi block-in in still life class. It's in acrylic, which I haven't painted in since high school. Tomorrow I go to NYC to see Vincent Desiderio in and get to visit with him and have him talk about his art on a school field trip. man, I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Final Figure Model

Today was the final session with our models Jon and Zenia in John Horn's figure modeling class. The next step is to cast the sculptures over the last few weeks of class.

This was the first bust of someone I have ever done from life and the first since I was about 10-11 years old, when I sculpted a bust of Jesus back in grade school. that piece was disqualified because they said I couldn't have done it myself and must have had my parents help me.

I did have some help on this from Mr. Horn, my fantastic teacher I will readily admit. All John had to do was look at the sculpt for 10 seconds and make a few pushes here or there, or take a tool and make a deft cut here or push there and suddenly the piece would have what it needed.

I have wanted to sculpt for a long time and finally getting to do it has been very challenging, frustrating and also fun. I still hope to be a sculpture minor and have some pretty cool ideas I'd like to make and themes to explore. PAFA is to my mind really the best place left in the country to study figurative sculpture and the cast hall is a fantastic resource in that regard.
This piece still could use a lot more refinement, but that's all the time we have, so this is as far as I could take it. I know with more practice I'd get farther, faster and learn to deal with things like the model moving around, doing eyes (which are friggin hard!) and the esthetics of the smooth surface vs the rougher sculpt where you can see the finger prints of the sculptor, which I really like.
The part I am happiest with is the hair as I think that adds a real nice balance with a cool texture and almost gestural movement.I had to fight this thing tooth and nail at times, the further along you get the harder the little things become. I think I sculpted and re-sculpted the mouth 5 times alone. My buddy Jeff who's taken several sculpture classes before was also a really big help at times, especially when John horn wasn't in the un-instructed classes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cartoon Network Dominance! Batman Brave and the Bold and Sceret Saturdays!

This weekend two of the new Cartoon Network shows, Secret Saturdays and Batman Brave and the Bold are on back-to-back, and I worked on both of them as a storyboard artist and character designer respectively. So while I am not really dominating , I am very well reped this weekend. I have had up to 5 comics on the stands at one time back in the rah, rah, 90's, but i don't think I've had two cartoons on in the same night I've worked on.

This week's Episode of the Secret Saturdays introduces a new character, Doyle into the Saturday clan, and it's the premiere of Batman B&B. Above is the model for this week's villain, Kan Jaro. The rough was done by James Tucker the producer on the show, and often he'd do a rough pass fiorst on the main characters, then I'd take a shot at them or would do the turns depending on what he wanted. Here I did the clean-up and the turn.

Below is a section of my board from this weeks episode of Secret Saturdays. It's always interesting to see how close the final show is to my board. I sometimes feel the animators overseas or the clean-up artists loose the life in the board in the quest to make the characters "on model". I can always tell the A, B, and C level animators from scene to scene, sometimes I watch a sequence and there is really something animating with squash, stretch, overlap, etc., and sometimes the characters just move from key position to key position without much extra juice like anticipation, secondary action, overlap, etc. I still think the process of doing boards and designs here and sending it overseas ends up with at times very mixed results depending on the studios you work with. Sometimes as I understand it, scenes are even farmed out from the contracted studios to smaller outfits, or freelancers as pick-up work.

I know on some of the Superman and Batman cartoons I boarded on the animation and drawing quality would radically change from scene to scenes sometimes and I wondered why, until I heard about how business was done. I know the director is only allowed to call for so many "re-takes", where you send a scene back to be reanimated on every cartoon. So it seems sometimes you have to pick your battles. The aid of computers now in creating the vehicles and the fact that everything is composited in the computer (no more cells and cell paint) has added a lot more creative possibilities for us as board artists in the last few years, but all the slick computer effects can't save a bad drawing or poor animation, it can't "plus' a board, that can only be done by a good artist or animator.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Near Semester's End

With the wet windswept weather and the nearly bare trees fall really swept into Philly this week as a herald of the Thanksgiving Break and the end of the fall semester that will be upon all of us students and teachers in just a few short weeks. As I type this post I can hear the soft chatter of the blowing leaves racing each other in wind driven sprints down Fairfield Street.

There is always a certain amount of anxiety in the student population at this time of year, "I have sooooo much homework!" is a very common complaint heard at the lunch able or in the elevator. Many a charcoal smudged face appears tired from lack of sleep, and I am a face in that crowd for sure.

In the two classes on storyboarding I teach at both DCAD and Uarts some students are struggling, and some have dropped the classes all together, especially at DCAD this semester. The next 3 weeks will make it or break it for many more students, including myself.

To be frank, the amount of homework I get as a student is nothing compared to the amount of work I do as a professional. School work is a walk in the park on a sunny day compared to the grind of a storyboard. Homework for me is a joy, time for me to do something for myself and try and push myself to a higher place as an artist, to experiment, try out what I've been learning. I know my perspective as a student is unique, I am a 25-year-professional, returning to school with a lot of experience which is a big help. Homework is a day at the Art Gym, or a week, to strengthen myself and try and apply what we are learning in class so when we leave and enter our studios in the 3rd year, man, we should be ready to tear into some art.

So, my challenges are different in that I can easily do the work at school physically, it's the challenge of pushing myself up Art Mountain that is the issue. As a younger artist I think you can make great leaps forward in ability, but I haven't felt any great leaps, it's more of a steady (hopefully) gate, an inch, a step at a time for me.
The challenges I have are harder now, "It's all about the little things" as my still life teacher Mike Gallagher put to me.

I this regard I feel I have made progress this semester. I have been pushing for a more "poetic' and personal feel in my work, trying to really define my way, my path, find my voice and what I want to do, how I want to speak as an artist. This of course is totally seperate from my commercial work, where I pretty much know exactly how I want to speak, or how I have been hired to speak--on model.

I think I have come closest in my Still Life Class to getting what I am after by doing the smaller more intense studies. By working smaller I force myself to not rely on one of my greatest skills as an artist which is my line, a line I use every day in my commercial work. Instead i have to concentrate on composition, value, shape and atmosphere a lot more to compensate. the challenge now is to take what I am getting in the smaller studies and transfer that to a bigger drawing.

The one at the top of the post is the next round in this quest. Now I have decided to continue to only draw and not paint, but to now work on a mid-tone paper and introduce white into the value scale. I think I will try a few more like this and then possibly do one smaller painting for my final go in the Still Life class.

Below are some of the other pieces I've done and pictures of my fellow friends and students from my anatomy and still life classes.

One more session with the model and then we are off to cast the heads.
This is from our Thursday night open figure sessions run by the students. I got things blocked in and have 2 more weeks with this pose to see where I can take it.
A figure comp assignment from John Horn's anatomy class.

From our recent mid-tern still life crit.
Liza working on her big, big drawing...

John Horn reviewing our homework.