Monday, January 15, 2018

A few demos from last year

Here's some class demos from late last year that I'm filing away for posterity. The first is a facial expression study with a notation on how an overhead light source can help enhance the dimensionality of the subject.

Next we extend the head design into a full body concept.

Turn that head!

Rotations are a staple of character design and an essential skill for professionals.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

I found Marilyn Monroe's House in Burbank from 1948

Hello there! Hope everything is going great with you. I have an interesting photo essay to feature and which I'm excited to share. Here's the tale...


For decades in Burbank California we had the story that Marilyn Monroe lived here. We even had a photo dating to around 1948 that included an address. But nobody could figure out where that address was, whether the house was actually in Burbank, or whether it even existed anymore.

All of that has changed. The location of the house has been discovered and I can prove this was the place where the photo was taken. Click on the shots below and follow along as I tell you about Marilyn Monroe's house in Burbank. The 70 year mystery has finally been solved!


It's 1948 and Norma Jean (Mortenson) Dougherty is a 21 or 22 year old in Burbank California. She'd been working at a plane factory at the north end of town and is gradually picking up modeling work. Things are changing as she gets ready for a new career in show biz. She's signed a short term contract with Columbia Pictures and is frequently appearing as an extra and in bit parts in the movies. She's working as Marilyn Monroe for the first time. 

And she's living at 4215 Rowland Avenue.

Fast forward to Burbank in 2017 and the question becomes... Where's Rowland Avenue?

There's no such street in Burbank. If the street doesn't exist then what about the house? 

The great mystery surrounding the iconic photo of Marilyn Monroe in Burbank was solved this past summer by Wes Clark, a local historian who published the info on July 6 2017 and gave credit to Harry A. Marnell for disclosing that Rowland Avenue's name had been changed years ago. We now know what the current street name is and where to look.

Armed with the info I set out towards that part of town on Dec 28 2017. It was a neighborhood I lived at in 1995. In fact the house was across the street and only a few doors down from my old residence. As I approached I made a personal commitment. To take one shot as I walked by and make the best of it. Here it is...

It was built in 1937. A blow up of the photo shows the entrance. I lightened the image slightly for clarity. The front door is now painted white. The dark object in the center is a holiday wreath with a red bow.

By overlaying a transparent version of the photo we can see exactly where Marilyn Monroe was standing 70 years ago in 1948.

To further confirm the location of the 4215 photograph I used the street view from Google Maps dated 2015.

This is an image of the front door zoomed in from the street view on Google Maps.

This is an overlay of the original Marilyn Monroe photo at the exact spot where the image was taken.

Thanks to Google Maps technology we can see what Marilyn Monroe was looking at from the perspective of her front door. The panorama still has some of that small town country charm to it. Beyond the hill on the left is Hollywood. Towards the base of the hill is Warner Bros Studio. To the right of the hill and directly in the center of the image would be the area of Universal Studios.

Marilyn Monroe was facing Hollywood!

Another piece of the puzzle in the life of one of America's greatest and most iconic entertainment talents. 

Norma Jeane we have found you !!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Happy 2018 !!

I was having a great December and lots of fun during the Christmas season when --- Wham! ... I got sick the night before Christmas Eve with a nasty bug of some kind that knocked me out for the holiday. Then it came back on New Years! But I'm pretty resilient and after taking it easy for a while I'm on top of things again and getting ready for a great year ahead.

I hope you're all doing well and I thank you once again for following my blog and for your appreciation of the things I have fun with creatively. Will be around again soon with new stuff. Meanwhile here's wishing you every good thing for 2018 and beyond!

Friday, December 15, 2017

At Walt Disney's Grave for Japan TV - Dec 15 2017

Today is a special day in history as Walt Disney left this mortal earth way back in 1966. On his birthday which is 10 days earlier on Dec 5 I've been making a pilgrimage of sorts to his grave in memory and to pay respects. Been doing that each year since 2008. The past few years I've been recording videos of my visits and put them on YouTube. They came to the attention of a TV show in Japan called "Graves of the Heroes" A film crew came in from Tokyo and interviewed me today in front of the cemetery. It will be broadcast in March next year I'm told.

It was an interesting experience and the people were great. Sees also that Crash Bandicoot is pretty popular in Japan. In any case I placed some flowers at Walt's grave site and this is what it looked like on the 51st anniversary of his passing.

If you'd like to see my last birthday visit to Walt on Dec 5 take a look at the video below. Rest In Peace Walt.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Little Billy Collection for sale on Indiegogo

Hey there you lovely people. Recently I completed a series of sketches for a friend's project which he's crowdfunding on Indiegogo. His character is called Little Billy and he's the very first special needs character. Little Gilly lives in the 1980's and is caught up with cartoons and cereal and all the things going on in that decade. Chance Raspberry who's an animator on The Simpsons is the creator of Little Billy.

My contribution to the campaign involves a collection of original drawings that I came up with in a couple of sittings getting the hang of the character based upon the look that Chance has established.

Here's the collection. You can find out more and purchase them on the Little Billy campaign on Indiegogo. There's only a couple of days left and some of the drawings are grouped together in a bundle at a great price. Look for the Original Art Collection. 

They're done with blue pencil and black pen on animation paper. The He-Man and She-Ra sketches are 11 x 17 inches and are sold individually. The others including the one with Crash Bandicoot and Fievel Mousekewitz (American Tail animated feature 1987 - I was the first artist to develop the character) are included in the Little Billy Collection Bundle and are going for a great rate.

I don't put many of my originals out there for purchase and ownership so here's an opportunity to grab some up and support the Little Billy Project as well!. Campaign wraps up around December 15 or 16 2017. There's other rewards for supporters as well. Please check it out and help the Little Billy campaign reach its goal. 

In order of completion...

He-Man and Little Billy drawing sold separately...

She-Ra and Little Billy drawing sold separately.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Beatles Booth in Burbank

Hey there great people! Here's a story. Once upon a time the Beatles came to Burbank California when they were on their Help tour in August 1965. They had lunch at a local joint that was famous for its burgers. It was just down the road and over the hill from the Hollywood Bowl. John, Paul, George and Ringo went in secretly and sat at the farthest booth away from the windows and main entrance for privacy so they wouldn't be mobbed. 

Afterwards the owner of Bob's Big Boy Restaurant (which is today the oldest Bob's in America dating to 1947) placed a plaque there commemorating the occasion. People kept stealing it over the years so he moved it to the front where it's out in the open and visible to all.

But the Burbank locals remember which booth it is and here's a picture of it. One of my most favorite places in the world to hang out with friends.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

It's the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best! Here's something I just completed as a greeting on behalf of my school. Thank you for being such an awesome and excellent community. I'm grateful for your attention and for the many years you've been following my blog. May you always have joy in your life and lots of good food in your belly! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 NHRA Awards - Hollywood

Hey there folks hope this finds you well. I was invited to help out a little with the set up at the National Hot Rod Association Awards in Hollywood this past Monday Nov 13. Had a fun time hanging out at the Dolby Theater Complex which is where they have the Academy Awards ceremony. There's a banquet hall on the top floor above the theater where the Oscars are held. This is where the NHRA had their shindig. I got a couple of photos to share so here ya go...

Thursday, November 09, 2017

I painted this

Well I got out my trusty ol' acrylic paints that are older than everyone in the classroom except for me. And they're still wet! This is a reverse process of what I said I would do in the last post. I did it in one night as a demo and kept going until it was done.