Sunday, December 2, 2012

Maddy Play

     Here's a painting of Maddy...playing under the stairs on her alphabet play mat.  As per usual, I spent all week on several different paintings, to different degrees of success.  I was relatively pleased with this's colorful and I think I really got Maddy's likeness and personality.  Still gotta spend some time studying value on fabric, but that's the way she goes.

     The other paintings weren't horrible, but I couldn't get really invested in them...the subject matter was just too inconsequential.  With this series I really have to have more of a connection with what I'm painting if I want them to evoke a real reaction.  Besides, you gotta give the people what they wanna see.  Below is the original sketch. Thanks for enjoying her with me.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to it...

      So, after months of procrastination and broken promises, I've returned to my blog.  I will be updating it at least once a week, but more likely more often than that due to the massive amount of work I've had the good fortune and opportunity to produce, yet have sheepishly omitted on this forum.

    Loyal devot├ęs will no doubt recall my vows to update more, read more, blah blah blah...sorry guys, but they turned out to be fails and lies.  The good news is that job I took worked out very well and gave me a solid year of employment, experience and a shocking amount of autonomy.  Shortly after starting at the studio I was recognized as someone who could contribute more than just an animator so I made a move back to supervising and helped turn the studio into a real success.  I had another great team, a brilliantly talented co-supervisor and a wonderful boss who let me institute some training initiatives.  Soon I was tutoring the animators, holding seminars, giving extra assignments, standardizing quota systems and overhauling the dynamic at the studio to really give some young animators a chance to develop skills and shine.  It was a very good job, but as they all ended this past september.  I took a month off and started at another studio a few weeks ago and it's rolling just fine.

     During my month off, I decided to embark on a project: 100 arts in 100 days.  It proved to be a great experience that inspired me to improve, broaden my skill set and gave me the opportunity to touch people (artistically...not creepily).  I began October 1st.  I began posting watercolours on facebook and I got great feedback, tips and tricks and wonderful words of encouragement and love.  Really, if you're thinking of doing it...just do'll never regret it.

    I had to stop at 50...not because I ran out of time (even though I now had 3 new jobs, a beefy commute and a 9 month old), but for a real reason.  One can ALWAYS find time to draw in any day, so please don't get the impression I would dream of using that as an excuse.  The truth is that after 50 paintings, I craved the opportunity to invest more of myself and more time into the works.  Once can only put so much into a daily drawing when life is as busy as it I augmented the project so that I could acheive the new goal of 1 art a week for the next 50 weeks. 

    Naturally, irony decided to kick me in the shin with the first piece (pictured above).  I spent all week on another painting...starting, re-starting, trying and failing to find a proper look.  So, I went into my message log and got out a request from a friend to paint her, her husband and their dog Molly.  I had tried caricaturing them a few years back with little success, and I saw a great photo of them by a river, so I took a stab at it.
     You'll notice that this is not my style at all, but I really love the result.  In the past I've been too apprehensive and timid with my colours and their application...this time though I went bold and chunky and really loved the results.  I am also very excited to continue down this path and see where it ends up.

     Ok, enough chatter...I'll be posting the first 50 arts here over the next few weeks along with 1 new painting each Sunday night/Monday morning.  Wish me good luck and I'll keep you all posted with my adventures.  Thanks for reading, viewing, and sharing...I feel the love and am incredibly grateful to you all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fail Post

Well this is my fail post.  It's a fail because I've completely failed at achieving my goals from the last post (to post more, to read 20 books, to get in shape, etc.)  So fail.  Big, big, fail on my part.

     That being said, it's been a helluva year.  Days after my last blog post I got hired at Gallus Entertainment, a great animation studio in Toronto.  Unfortunately, it was not a senior position and I took the job because I was coming off a 6 month layoff.  My confidence was at a low point, I felt disenfranchised and was becoming disenchanted with the entire animation industry.  Regardless, I pulled up my socks and jumped into the studio and did my best.  Really, I did.  I did not let my depression or negativity come out (which is rampant in this industry) for a second and tried to model myself into a beacon of positivity and let my work show that I had more to offer than just a butt in a chair clicking away.  In exactly 4 weeks of working like this, I was promoted to supervisor and became responsible for over 20 animators.

     It was the professional moment I had been working towards for nearly 10 years.  Gallus gave me total freedom to focus on getting the best out of the crew any which way I wanted to.  I decided to become the supervisor I've always wanted to have.  I implemented animation meetings (an open forum to let the workers feedback about the job and have them see what they say actually can affect change), a shot of the week rewards program and I shrank my quota so I could focus 100% on motivating seniors and educating juniors. I got to spend half my day in the edit suite making animation direction imput actually affecting final shots.  It was the BEST job I've ever had, due to the fantastic crew, liberal administration and the respect people gave me really brought me out of that dark place I was just a month prior.  I was able to secure a good mortgage rate and we bought our first house. But as we all know, happiness was and is fleeting...

     We lost the project due to creative differences after 2 months and had to lay off about 80% of the crew.  It was very teases us, gives us those little quips of what we think we want--maybe to provide incentive to dream bigger, to help realize potential.  Anyway, I went from working on a dream show to working on a somewhat less glamorous one at a different location and just went back to cranking out footage.  It wasn't ideal, but I stayed on until July and was eventually let go when the contracts dried up.  Luckily, I was reinvigorated and my confidence had been restored so I knew I there were some great jobs out there, I just had to find them.  Keep in mind, I had spent over 140 hours in the past year and a half testing for jobs (3 40 hour week-long take home tests, 3 on-site full day).  Oh, and we found out Janela was pregnant my last day of work.

   Eventually, with the added pressure of having a baby on the way, my search led me to Crowdwave Games...I was hired as Art Director for my first full time PERMANENT job in the games industry (with benefits t'boot).  We made games for big screen game-day events at sports venues...section races, energy meters, games for 20,000-100,000 people to play simultaneously.  Yet again, I got to lead a staggering talented team of artists to execute the owner's vision and to be as innovative as possible within a very specific set of parameters.  Challenge accepted.  And throttled.  With the team I had, we brought the quality of work (in both its aesthetics and innovative gameplay) to a new level and dream job #2 was in full effect.  And then they closed the studio and laid us all off.  Sigh.  Damn basketball lockout... 

     So there I was again...out on my toosh, looking for work.  Luckily, now with 2 directing credits on my CV.  That opened up some doors--though to no channels that actually got realized.  The next thing I knew, I got a call from a good friend in the industry who was trying to fill an animator's position at a small, new studio just west of the city.  Had we not been pregnant, I doubt I'd have taken the job...but reality is what it is, so I was back to commuting to another city for work--something I hadn't done since my first real industry job 9 years ago.   Hell, if I could commute 2 hrs each way as a starry-eyed heel-nipper right out of college, I can commute 1 hr and 15 minutes as a curmudgeony pappa-to-be today.
     It is now my 2nd week at this job and it's actually great.  Again, I tried to shelf the ego and contribute the best possible work I could, regardless if I felt like I wasn't in a position to realize my full potential.  But, the truth is, it's the individual who decides if one wants their potential realized...and I'm doing some of the nicest (though subtle) work I've done in years.  Also, the crew here is very "green", but ready to learn and improve without a bunch of bad habits that have to be unlearned.  It's a great place for me to shine and the boss is very open to hear what I can do beyond just being an animator and cranking out footage.

     So here we back with a steady job, a story and a litany of excuses why this blog failed fiercely this year.  I have a house/mortgage, a 6 month pregnant wife and a new job; all of which have contributed to not just changes in my life, but a full on paradigm shift.  I've been very fortunate to have all these opportunities come my way and I expect 2012 to be even crazier.  Now, time to get back in shape, read some books and make this updating thing at least once a week.  Anyway, thanks for reading and keeping abreast of my life.  The intermittent sketches I've added were all done in the past 2 weeks and I'm working on some doozies that will be posted over the next few months.

Cheers, best wishes and stay positive in hard leads to opportunities you won't see coming.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year Me Mateys...!

   And so as the new year begins to unfold, we clear the crusty 2010 sleep boogers from our eyes to blink anew in 2011.  It's a budding January and my resolutions have yet to become lies.  So, while I'm promising that THIS YEAR will be the one to get in shape, I might as well throw down blogging regularly, reading at least 20 books this year and maybe even (while I'm amidst delusion) inspiring at least 1 person to draw for fun.

 Well here's at least hoping the blogging bug better bite my butt again...I got a great feeling from starting it last year and I hope to make it interesting this year.  I promise the following:

-More Sketching!
-More Kvetching!
-Less offensive odor!*

*no guarantee

Thanks all and enjoy some old faves of mine from past sketchbooks!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cee Lo Green

My first contribution to Caricaturama 3000 on the facebook.  The Soul Machine.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life Sketches from an oldie...!

Here's some streetcar, bus and subway sketches.  You should do some too.

      Don't let lines on the page stop can use them as guides to keep features and proportions in line. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Subway Sketchery


                        A big shout out to Bobby + Kei over at Imaginism studios...(check them out in the links) for introducing me to one of my now favorite pastimes.  I started doing this a few years ago, and it's really the only life drawing I do nowadays.  It's immeasurably learn so much about people, in addition to the fundamentals of proportion, form and character.

     I have about 10 sketchbooks full of's great, there aren't 2 that are alike.  It's also my introductory course into caricaturing (a skill I have yet to master, though I'll get the hang of it someday).  Most people never notice I'm drawing them, I think it's important to make sure I don't make anyone feel awkward...after they're the ones who are doing me a favor, I should be considerate to their comfort level.  I learned some tricks though...choosing already occupied subjects (reading, talking, sleeping, etc),  using periferal vision to spy on people until their attention is elsewhere, using multiple subjects for 1 pose (someone else's  nose or mouth on the face).  The important thing is to keep your momentum, be polite and be considerate.

                           Having fun with composition....
                   Playing with pens!

                                                 And colour!

SUBWAY SKETCHING--do it everytime you're on the damn train.