Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Monster - Hallmark Cards 1982

At the beginning of my professional career I was a staff artist at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. The division I was in produced non-greeting card products such as door posters and birthday party sets along with other items. This was the art I created in early 1982 for a Halloween poster that came out the following year in 1983. It was intended to be something scary along the lines of a monster sneaking into your room through the window.

This project was something different and innovative for Hallmark. They started by setting up a window shoot in the company's photography department. From a black and white blow up of that picture I was to design the composition and then paint the monster from a small color transparency for reference. I also had to mat the areas of the art that would be overlapped by the photo and keep everything very precise and accurate as well as blocking out the monster for the process of running each image individually through a two step printing process.

The monster was tough to design because everything I was doing looked too menacing and threatening. Finally I was able to come up with this guy painted in gouache which is a term for opaque watercolor. The black surrounding the character is a matted area. This scan is from a photo of the original taken at the time I completed the work. 

The final result can be seen below. Technically it was a big success at the company although I have no idea how it sold. This is the first time I'm publishing the art since it was marketed by Hallmark many years ago.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Best of Jak and Daxter - Part 4 - Human Daxter

If you're familiar with the character of Daxter from "Jak and Daxter" you're aware that he's something of a ferret kind of creature. At a point during the game he turns into a human form. These are development sketches of him in that way from the year 2000 when the project was being developed. The  first drawing was for a random character whose look Naughty Dog liked. Later on it was used as the basis for the altered Daxter as can be seen in the subsequent images.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween Crash !!

This is the big week for Halloween and Crash is ready to have some fun! You can help him celebrate by following the links below and doing your part to rally support for Bringing Back the Bandicoot...

Follow this link to the Bring Back Bandicoot Petition

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chicago White Sox Poster 1983

If you're a baseball fan you're aware that it's World Series time in the US and as the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox battle to see who'll be the champion of Major League Baseball I'm reminded of a something I created way back in 1983. At the time I was in business with a friend and we were involved in printing posters based upon college and professional sports teams. We did pretty good too and if I'd have been more mature and knew what I was doing we could have kept it going.

In any case one of the teams we approached were the Chicago White Sox which is the team closest to my old neighborhood and which I root for. That year as it happened they won their division and there was a lot of excitement as they made it to the playoffs. They were known as "Winning Ugly" that season as they fought hard to do what they could to achieve success in the game.

We were able to get a license from the ball club to market this design...

The original was painted in acrylics and is pretty big at 40 inches tall which is over a meter. The print was smaller. This was based upon the brand of the team at the time which I didn't care for much but provided a good base for the composition...

I was trained in fine art and illustration and in those days I was coming up with ambitious works. I was excited about painting and still am. Maybe I'll get the chance to get back to it again.

Incidentally the company we formed was called Maverick Productions. Years later after we disbanded we were really surprised to find that Madonna had taken this name for her own production company.

Friday, October 25, 2013

'Wish Kid' dinosaur - 1991

Maybe some of you who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV in the US during the early 1990s will remember a show called "Wish Kid". It was produced by DIC Entertainment in 1991 and broadcast on NBC.The series was about a boy who found an enchanted baseball glove and if he hit the pocket of the mitt three times with his fist and made a wish it would come true. The central character was voiced by Macaulay Culkin who was famous for starring in the movie "Home Alone".

In one episode of the show he wished for a dinosaur and a baby one that hatched from an egg as I recall. Here's some of the models I created back then of the baby dino. The first drawing is the initial concept sketch followed by key poses as sequential reference for a jump.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crash Bandicoot 1 - Tribal Native concepts

I was digging in the Crash archives and found these obscure sketches dated March 1995. I don't know if they've been published before. If they haven't consider this another first. These are a couple of concept sketches for Tribal Natives that were to be part of Papu Papu's world. The last drawing is a final line cleanup of the version that Naughty Dog went with.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A different Mona Lisa - 4

Follow the trail starting with the last Mona Lisa entry and you'll see what's gone before. Meanwhile here's some more art for a personal creative theme I was developing in 2006 or thereabouts at a time when I was learning Photoshop and experimenting with what it could do. This is a great way to come up with content by the way. If you're looking for an idea and you're not sure what to do why not pick a song that you like and design concepts based upon your impressions. An excellent exercise in imaginative thinking. And for good measure I've included another video of the great Nat King Cole singing the song.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Best of Jak and Daxter - Part 3 - The Gambler

Hi everyone! Thanks for your patience with my return to posting art and for hanging out on the blog in the meantime. 

Let's pick things up with another personal favorite from the development of Jak and Daxter in the year 2000 when it was still Project Y. These concept designs were for a character intended to be a gambler. I saw him as something of a charlatan that you'd see frequenting casinos on a riverboat in the Old South or maybe the Wild West in the US. He was fun to draw.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Back on October 21

Hi everyone. I'll be out this week taking care of some personal business and won't have an opportunity to upload art. But I will be able to clear comments and interact with text. I'll be around on October 21 and get back into a normal routine again. Thanks very much for checking in. I appreciate all the visits and your positive remarks. See you next Monday! :) 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Uka Uka - Part 3

Here's the last body of work I created for the development of Uka Uka for Crash 3. These drawings are dated March 26 1998. The look for Uka Uka had been defined and now it was time to establish his relationship with Neo Cortex. If this series Cortex is being chastised for his incompetence and inability to deal with Crash. These are photocopies of the originals. They've probably been posted online prior to this although I don't know if all three have. In any case I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Werewolves !!

It was a productive day for one of my favorite subjects. Here's what I came up with a week after my most recent werewolf entries. Drawing with students in class using blue pencil and black line...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Power up your character anatomy

Something else for my students and artists who could benefit from this example. Around 2008 I created these drawings in class as demos. Not sure if it was The Animation Academy or Cal State Northridge. May have been both. In any case my intention was to show how muscle structure could be used to add strength and intensity  to your characters. I emphasized the pattern at which different muscle groups wrap across the body utilizing the variations to punch up the strength of the figure and enhance design and form by virtue of what's already there.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Variety in design - Costumes

Two years ago I was helping a friend with a special project he had in development. We met on weekends at a local restaurant and would draw while we had something to eat. These were fun and productive sessions. I wasn't getting much of an opportunity to create at that time so the chance to doodle and practice my sketching was very much appreciated.

I was taking his direction and coming up with character concepts along the lines of what he had in mind. At this point I was engaged in designing clothing for some of the figures for the project. Not so much the characters themselves but how they would be dressed.

These images are what I came up with at a sitting in September 2011. They're free form drawings that didn't involve anything else but a black line pen on paper. I'm posting them here for my students and also for others who would gain from this blog entry. The lesson I'm communicating is that creating a variety of designs and approaches for a specific concept is the preferable approach when working at a professional level. Giving your client / partner / associates / employer a broad choice of concepts with variation at the initial development stage.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Best of Jak and Daxter - Part 2

Another of the many fun character concept designs I came up with in 2000 while working on Project Y commonly known as Jak and Daxter. This fellow is a sculptor so I gave him an apron and some sculpting tools. I drew him from front to profile in order to give the naughty Dog crew a better understanding of how he looked from different angles. Included with the side view is an example of how his apron would tie in the back.