Thursday, February 28, 2013

Early Skeletor production drawing 1983

This is for the He-Man fans out there. I have a large volume of unpublished works from the original He-Man TV series from the 1980s and She-Ra as well. I'll be feeding more images as often as I can. Here's something to share. I'm not sure which episode it's from but it dates to early 1983 and is among the very first production drawings every created of Skeletor. I thought it was from "The Cosmic Comet" episode of He-Man but I don't think that's the case. If someone out there recognizes this from a first season He-Man cartoon they've seen I'd appreciate it if they could place it within a historical context. You have the power. ;)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Mona Lisa

Hi everyone. It's been very busy lately and although I intend to update my blog daily sometimes with so many things going I fall a little behind. Let's get back on track.

You may recall back on January 5 of  this year my entry was a Photoshop illustration of a woman based upon a popular song from 1950 by Nat King Cole called Mona Lisa. I created a few different images along that theme. This is another version from that time in my early days of learning and experimenting with Photoshop. I scanned a blue pencil drawing and used it as a base for a color illustration. I stayed within one local color and played upon the value or tonal relationships to get the desired atmospheric affect. An easy and efficient method for moving into color if you're not sure what to do or how to proceed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last project for Rhythm & Hues 2008

If you watched tonight's Academy Awards this evening you would have seen that the Oscar was given to "Life of Pi" which was the work of a studio by the name of Rhythm & Hues. A major FX house for Hollywood who had won Oscars before. They declared bankruptcy the other day and this has thrown a big spotlight on the problems within that sector of motion picture production. I did several projects for R&H back in the mid 1990s about the time I was working on Crash and Spyro. My first project with them was the movie "Mouse Hunt".

I  came up with these drawings on August 10, 2008. They were in a tight spot and needed some character concept designs for an insulin commercial that was happening. I don't know what happened with the project but the designs I did for them are here for all to see. I created these on a Sunday and the work was delivered by the start of the next day to begin their week. 

This was fun. I liked the characters and the nature of the challenge. I attempted to develop an array of safe and encouraging characters with lots of charm for individuals who suffer from diabetes. Here's my contribution to the last R&H project I was involved with...





Saturday, February 23, 2013

Crash Bandicoot t-shirt design 1997

I find things from Crash that I came up with while working on the games from back in the day. Here's another example. This was for a t-shirt design that Naughty Dog asked me to come up with while on Crash 2 in 1997. It's a concept sketch of Crash as a fireball streaking towards the ground...


This is another version that incorporated different positioning on his legs...


This is a quick doodle I created to show how the design would look on a t-shirt...


Lastly here's the final line drawing of Crash for the t-shirt. I don't know if it was ever printed. From what I recall this was not something that was going to be sold. It was for the ND crew and others close to the production.


Enjoy this vintage Bandicoot artwork Crash fans!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Creature in acrylics

It's been a long time since I had the opportunity to so some good ol' fashion painting and I got a chance to do it this evening as a demonstration for the Visual Development class at my school. Whipped out the acrylics and my artillery of brushes and some watercolor board and got busy. Within an hour or perhaps 90 minutes I completed this composition.


I explained to my students that with today's digital illustration technology you can get something started traditionally and finish it off in Photoshop if it needs further touches or adjustments. I took advantage of my own advice and tinted the image to give it some further color sophistication and knock back some of the intensity and accentuate the highlights. Here's the final result.


While the demo was in progress one of my students took photos of the painting in different stages of completion. Here's what it looked like going backwards in time. Thanks Joel!



Before any rendering took place and prior to the commitment to paint I worked out my composition as a free form doodle on a notepad to be sure I knew what I was aiming for visually.


And that's the story behind today's entry! Hope this inspires other artists to get back to basics every once in a while and keep those analog chops up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gray to color with markers and Photoshop

Last week I had a chance to create a quick demo for a student in need of some direction in my Visual Development class at the Academy. He was emerging into the gray scale rendering aspect of the course. I place a strong emphasis on understanding how gray tonal values work in relationship to color.

I began with a drawing in blue pencil followed by black line pen. The I added the gray tones with markers.


Once the analog work was done I digitized the image and brought it into Photoshop to enhance the grays through tints.


Finally I made use of color tints to bring additional life and interest to the subject. Really made a difference!


A simple black line and gray marker sketch becomes more interesting when a digital approach is added to the process. Try it sometime and see what this technique can do for your art.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blue pencil head study

It was in 2005 while conducting a class at the Burbank Adult School that I came up with this image as a demonstration. In was an exhibition in the versatility of Col-erase blue pencils which is a traditionally staple medium in animation. It's pliable and can be used in several different ways. The technique I used here involved drawing the composition followed by a combination of smudging with blending and line drawing. To    complement the effect I used an eraser to pick out areas where light would be cast upon the subject. If you're an artist that uses a pliable medium for drawing try it some time and see the results you get.

Monday, February 18, 2013

He-Man - Oldest surviving image of classic pose

Looks like the He-Man and She-Ra community have discovered my blog. Here's something special to share with the Masters of the Universe fans. 

It's the oldest existing image of He-Man in his classic pose from the original TV series in the 1980s. I drew this for practice early in production at Filmation Studios. I was learning at the time and not entirely used to designing in this style. I was striving to adapt and get better. It turned out very large. I drew it on oversized animation paper that would normally be used for backgrounds. Somehow the original was lost or maybe I gave it away. Fortunately I made a photocopy beforehand. I cut the central image out and taped it to another sheet of animation paper. That's why it looks the way that it does. Tried to color correct it as much as possible without affecting it too much. It's 30 years old and the paper has yellowed over time.

Hope you enjoy this all you great He-Man fans out there!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

J&K - The Road to Daxter - Part 5

As I progressed on my way to developing the character that would become Daxter for the original Jak and Daxter game I was having some problems with the direction I was getting from ND. It was leading towards a character that would not be achieving its maximum design appeal. I felt as if I were going backwards. Still I was able to come up with a couple of concepts that had some potential. 



Then the breakthrough happened with this sketch. Recognize it? Look at the head. That's the image that was used for the cover of the game.


Compare it to the look of Daxter on the cover of the first J&D game.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Coco - Part 6

Okay Crash fans here's the last entry in the development art of Coco Bandicoot. These are the final drawings I did of the character when she was first designed. They were sketched on May 6 1997 at the same time that the previous 3 images I showcased a few days ago on February 6 were drawn. The entire collection of Coco concept development art is now online.



Monday, February 11, 2013

The difference that color makes

In my Visual Development class I emphasize several aspects of rendering primarily dealing with the importance of grayscale relationships. This ultimately leads to how well a students deals with color. A good line drawing is great but once it goes to color the composition takes on a whole new vibrancy. This is an example of the lesson I gave on the subject back in 2002. On the left is the blue pencil / black line sketch of a character I came up with in class. On the right the completion of the demo with a rendition in color markers on a photocopy of the original drawing. Getting into color will significantly enhance your art. Especially if you're aiming to be a character designer or visual development / concept artist. The industry today is looking for more color work from students who are heading in the direction of production design. Having color markers handy or access to a digital illustration program such as Photoshop will help make the transition and take your art to the next level.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - City Walk - Universal Hollywood

It's a really good feeling to visit Universal Studios Hollywood and hang out at City Walk cuz right in the heart of it all is Gamestop. It's been a while since I went to City Walk and you can imagine my happiness when I saw their flashing neon sign loaded with famous video game characters and among them Crash Bandicoot of course. Wanted to share this with all the many Crash fans who visit my blog.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

Top Hat Teddy Bear

One of the things I encourage in my Visual Development class is experimentation and innovation with traditional mediums. This evening I worked on a composition that was partly a demo and partly just creating with my students while they were going the same. I came up with the sketch for this fellow with graphite pencil and then proceeded to add tone with markers. Once it was blocked in I picked up the pencils again to shade the image with gradients and texture. I started with an HB pencil then followed up with 2B and 4B and 6B to achieve rich darks. The higher the B number the darker the graphite. 


Afterwards when I scanned the drawing I used Photoshop to manipulate the color balance so that it looked as if it was done with blue pencil instead of gray markers and graphite.


It's been a little while since I was able to creatively engage with my students since much of my focus as of late has been on working directly with them on their own art. Feels good to have my own fun again.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Bringing classic sculptures to life

I remember as a kid I'd look at photos of sculptures from ancient times and wonder what they would look like in color as flesh and blood humans. I'd often imagine finding some way of tinting photos of these classic works to see them as living beings. Along came Photoshop and many years later I was able to pull it off in 2011 just for fun. Boy what a difference this made! Check out these images and you'll see what I was aiming at.

The mystery is solved for the Venus de Milo. Here she is in the form we know in plain lifeless marble followed by her color version as both a light and dark haired lady.




This is a statue of Zeus commonly known as Zeus Ostricolli. A very robust bust. Zeus was typically rendered with a magnificent mane of dark hair and a full flowing beard. Here's what the sculpture would look like in real life...



Next up is the statue of Apollo at Delphi. As god of the sun and the arts Apollo was a golden boy. Take a look at what this sculpture would be if it was a real person...



Last but certainly not least is Julius Ceasar himself. This bust is in the Vatican Museum in Rome and I'm happy to say that I laid eyes on the real deal when I was there several years ago. At this point in his life Ceasar was basking in his middle aged glory after the conquest of Gaul or modern day France and Belgium. This sculpture is considered to be a faithful rendition of what he actually looked like.



It was a great deal of fun to color these images. Hope you enjoyed viewing them as well.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Crash Bandicoot - Origin of Coco - Part 5

Here are a few more sketches from the development of Crash's little sister Coco Bandicoot. The drawings are dated May 6 1997. It was my third session working on Coco's design and personality. She still did not have a name at this point but she had a nice look and she had character. You can see how her final appearance was really taking form.



Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Color from Gray tone

This is a class demonstration I created in the first year of my school in 1998. I did it in the Visual Development class. Students were a bit baffled when I worked up the color version of this design. I started with a gray marker rendering of the composition. Afterwards I made a photocopy of the toned design and used color markers to bring the xeroxed image to full life. Helped to drive home the point that gray tones and color are strongly related to each other. You're in greater command of color when you learn to use your gray tones effectively.


Monday, February 04, 2013

J&K - The Road to Daxter - Part 4

Picking up on the design progress of Daxter from Jak and Daxter in 2000. These next sketches show a turning point in the development of the character. The first drawing below has potential for something. After this the direction on the emerging sidekick started to change. Here's some of the stronger designs during this period.