Monday, December 26, 2011

Color my world....

First I want everyone to know that my Holiday sale will continue until the end of the year, so if you're interested in any of the pieces still listed in my FaceBook gallery let me know. For those of you that don't do FB, you can look around on this blog (or my web-site's sketchbook page) and feel free to ask about any of the art you see there - though I can't guarantee they're all available for one reason or another. The FB page gives an accurate listing of what's still available for sale, but feel free to ask anyway.
Also I want everyone (that haven't already discovered it on their own) to go check out the latest incarnation of my web-site/portfolio . The old one was great (created by my good friend Francesco Francavilla) and did what I needed it to do, but it was getting old and dated looking so I finally found someone to give the site a fresh new look. Even though it's not complete yet I think he's succeeded wonderfully and I'm very happy with the results.

Okay, now that I've finished with business (more or less) I'll get onto something a little more fun. I've already posted this in several spots, but I wanted to make sure all of you got a good look at this as well. I finally finished the color for the promo piece for The Eternal Savage based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ THE ETERNAL SAVAGE as adapted by Martin Powell and illustrated by me (authorized by ERB, Inc. and published by Sequential Pulp/Dark Horse Comics). 
And so I continue my quest to be the oldest person to start a career in comics.




And here;s the black and white for that art.



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday sale...

For the first time I'm selling a lot of my original pencil (and some ink) sketches for the Holidays. Many of these were the drawings I did for Fan Request Friday.
You can view all of them on FaceBook on my "Art of..." page (just click on the link) and just message me to see if a piece you'd like is available and to arrange payment (through PayPal), The range from $45 to $100 +postage.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sideswiped....

Yesterday I was alerted by Wren Price that one of my commissions had been copied and posted on Deviant art.
I don't have a problem with anyone copying my art for their own enjoyment, as fanart, or for educational purposes or does not acknowledge where the original came from. When someone seeks to profit from the copied art and /or denies it's a swipe is when I react.
At first I just posted a comment on his page asking if he had used reference for his drawing. The he removed my message and blocked me so I contacted DA and filed a greivance sending them the drawings I've posted below.

It evidently worked because a few hours later I received an e-mail from him telling me that he removed the art, but still denied that he had copied it.
So, thank you Wren.



The top drawing is mine (obviously), the next drawing is the swipe and the third drawing is the mine laid on top of his - after I flopped it (the one change he made to the art other than changing the characters)




Sunday, November 13, 2011

We don't need no steenking free time...

Oddly enough I've found myself with a little more free-time than usual and I'm not sure why.
I just finished a quick turnaround on a HarperCollins Batman book and I'm starting the next one (can anyone say Man-Bat?) and I'm still working on a Young Justice storyboard assignment as well as all my normal day to day duties on Voltron Force.
But I still manged to create a banner for CTNX (and probably other Cons afterwards - if I can get a table),...


...finish a long overdue commission  based on a Fan Request Friday drawing of Spike and Buffy (Spuffy)...




...and do these 2 drawings for the FOCer's SketchBlog. Well, actually one of the drawings (pterodactyl) was done for the graphic novel I'm gearing up for and seemed like a good reason to use as a entry in the dinosaur theme week.


And this other drawing for the FOCer's Sketchblog was done for the Golden Age of Comics theme week. My choice was Miss Masque and as many of you know from reading this blog I have a soft spot for these Golden Age Heroines.


So overall I've filled in the free-time voids pretty decently I'd say. This coming week looks like I'll be able to wrap a couple of other projects I've been working on as well. I hope.
And remember to come to CTNX and say "hi". If you haven't already gotten your tickets you can still get them at a discount by using my discount code: GORANIX11
Animation expo
   

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Lon time no see...

I actually have a few minutes (something that doesn't seem to happen too often these days) so I thought I'd toss down a post and give everyone an update.
This last weekend I went to the Long Beach Comic-Con and had a great time (Saturday was much nicer then Sunday, but that's not too unusual from what I hear) and I did several sketches and sold some books - and best of all I was able to see some old friends as well as meet some new ones.

These are the sketches I did at LBCC.





  

This month I'll be at CTNX, The Creative Talent Network Exposition, doing more of the same I hope. So if you'd like to come to this one-of-a-kind Animation Con Nov 18-20 you can still use my discount code GORANIX11 to purchase tickets. If you're into animation and the people that make it then this is the Con for you.

 Animation expo

Also, in case you haven't already seen it on FB of the FOCer's Blog, I thought I'd share with you my latest drawing for the FOCer's Blog. The theme was Universal Monsters and I chose the first Universal Monster: Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera

 
 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Go and do my bidding...

Lots of great artwork is being auctioned for a worthy cause. So go to New Jersey Comic Fusion web-site and make a bid! Online Bidding ends at Midnight Saturday Night! Comic Book Pages, Original Artwork, Signed Items and more! Please share so they can raise a ton of money for SAFE in Hunterdon! Domestic Violence destroys families and leaves a scar on those it touches! Healing starts at shelters like SAFE! 
And head over to the Portland site to bid on the art they have available there as well.
These are the pieces I made specifically for the event:



Monday, October 24, 2011

Just a quickie...

...and hopefully more later this week. But in the meanwhile I wanted to make sure everyone knew:
This weekend I'll be at Long Beach Comic-Con in Artist's Alley [Booth #1409A] come by and say "hi". I'll be selling sketchbooks and doing Con -Sketches.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A little of this and a little of that...

I thought I'd give an update on this post as well as answer a few questions that have piled up since last time.
As you may know I stopped doing my FanRequestFriday series a little while ago because I kept finding myself too busy with work and falling weeks behind on the suggestions. But I missed drawing for fun and so when some of the members of the Frank Cho messaage board, which I visit occasionally, decided to start a sketchblog I thought this might be another opportunity to do a weekly drawing just for fun. And since I'm not the only one participating, if I happen to miss a week no big deal.
So here's a link to the FOCer's Sketchblog (FOC stands for Friends of Cho), so go there and check out what I'm posting and what the other artists are doing. If you don't want to go there for whatever reason don't worry, I'll also post my drawings here. 
The first post was just a painted version of one of my FanRequestFriday drawings which coincided with the first week's theme: Liberty Meadows - the great Frank Cho's great comic strip. It worked out good for me since I was already pushing other deadlines.



Here's from this week's theme - Samurai. I'm also going to reveal my first and second roughs for this piece. Unfortunately this isn't an exclusive since I also posted these on my Facebook Art of page , which you should also check out if you haven't already.
I originally envisioned this as a female samurai warrior, but decided to pull in  my libido a little and go full on nasty male samurai with it instead - as you can tell by the second rough.





Now onto some questions:


Dani's Blog asks:
Hello, I have a question.
I really liked the Storyline between Kurt-Mystique-Rogue, and also the way Kurt show he liked his mother in "Impact". Did you ever discuss how these characters would end up? It seems Mystique wanted to get both of them to like her and to be a mother.
I really liked all those dynamics as well that started with Shadowed Past - an episode I directed in season 1. I wish I had an answer for you, but if this was discussed I wsn't part of that discussion. I assume that since the storyline was so meaty it would have been re-visited if the show had gone onto another season

Anonymous asks:
Thanks for posting this, x-men evolution was a fantastic show! Heres my question: In season 1 Mystique has a different blue on her face and hands than on her arms/legs/back, I was just wondering what was the thinking behind this? Thanks
Originally her legs and arms were the same as the rest of her skin. KidsWB was skittish about so much flesh showing so instead of completely redesigning the character (we were already into production at that point) we opted to just give her sleeves and leggings and painted them in such away that it wasn't too distracting. KidsWB accepted this as a solution, but when season 2 came up we took the time to completely redesign the character because we weren't very happy about the final look


BlazeRocket asks (or says):
ee, now I'm amused because the "Pietro was probably 8 and Wanda was probably 6. But I could be wrong..." was the answer you gave me a few years ago when I asked. I like your new answer better though!
Sorry about that, but it just goes to show you we never discussed it much and my personal opinion was never clear. Though, if I answered "8 and 6" years ago that very well might have been the directions I was given by Boyd when I asked him what their age difference was when I started designing Wanda. I like my new answer better as well ;)

another Anonymous asks:
Hi, Steve. Any chance of seeing early concept art for X-Men: Evolution? 
I think I only have one or two of those early drawings. I'll look around and post them if I can find them.

Also everyone should check out some of the fan art linked to on the comments on the previous post. Some fun stuff!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Questions from XME fans


Recently I was asked by a very nice young lady (a young lady who sometimes dresses as XME Jean Grey) if I wouldn't mind answering some questions from members of a group that she belongs to - an X-Men: Evolution group, of course. I told her I'd do my best and from the looks at some of the questions these fans seem to know a lot more about the show then I do.

WHY did the show have to end?
That's an answer that I can only answer in vague terms since I don't want to offend any future employers. I can tell you another season had been originally part of the original contract and plan, but for several reasons KidsWB and Marvel decided not to go through with the next season and just wrap it all up at the end of season 4. Needless to say we were disappointed.
 
Do you ever read any of the fanfics or look at fanart created by the fans for the show?
I've never read any of the FanFic (though I understand some of it can get quite "interesting"), but every now and then I stumble across some of the FanArt (some of that can get quite "interesting" as well). I do get sent some photos of some of the Cosplays though every now and then. Feel free to send me any of the FanFic or FanArt. I'm always curious....I think.

Why did they create the acolytes with good-guy characters?
I wasn't part of that decision so I can't tell you the exact reasons since it wasn't one of the discussions I was involved in. In fact, I knew nothing in regards to the Acolytes prior to this show - as I've said in other interviews, I hadn't read or collected comics in a lot of years prior to getting the job on XME so I wasn't even aware of who Wolverine was. 
I regards to the Acolytes, I suspect the reason we used these specific characters is that they wanted to bring them onto the show and this seemed like a good way to bring them in as opposed to bringing in some bad guys never to be used again. Especially since (or so I've heard) that there was some history of these characters being bad guys at one time or another.

Why wasn't Dazler/Marrow/the White Queen/Polaris ever included?
I can only address two of these since I don't recall any discussion in regards to Polaris or Emma (though I'm not sure why - especially since Emma she seems to be a fan favorite and a favorite of Craig Kyle who was the Marvel guy starting in season 3). I know that Marrow wasn't used because we accidentally created a new character (Spyke) that had the same basic powers as Marrow. Believe it or not, we truly had never heard of Marrow until after we had already went forward with the Spyke intro episode. Kind of surprises me , in retrospect, that Marvel never said anything. The other character that you mention that I remember some discussion of is Dazzler and, if I recall right, it was determined she was too dated.

What are the main character's ages?
We never determined specific ages other than the obvious ones. Kitty was young enough to just be learning to drive in season 2 (if I'm remembering right) and Scott and Jean were seniors. Most of the characters were discussed in more general terms. Like so-and-so was in their 30's or so-and-so is younger than Kurt, etc.

Sounds like you have it right to me and I don't think I can add anything more to it. I don't think we thought of them in any more specific terms than these.

Are there ANY plans to continue the series someday? Maybe in comic form?
Anything is possible...but I seriously do not believe there is any chance of the show coming back after being cancelled so long ago at this point. Unless DVD sales are huge (like Family Guy) I wouldn't hold my breath.

All I can say is anything IS possible, BUT I really can't imagine it happening. Marvel never really accepted the show (even though many of the ideas we came up with they adapted and claimed as their own) so I can't imagine now that Marvel is in charge of their own animation that anything more will ever happen with the XME universe.

If the series hadn't ended, what storyline would they have tackled next?
To my knowledge the next season's shows had never been seriously discussed (this usually only happened after the next season was green lighted) and these visions were created as just a way to wrap up the series for the fans - and ourselves.

Where was Gambit's flirtatious side in Evo?

I wasn't involved in story discussions for season 3 and 4 (I was only freelancing the character designs and the occasional storyboard - my day job was at DreamWorks) so I don't know what their thinking was in regards to Gambit. I thought they tried to use it a little bit, but it didn't become quite as big a deal as it did in the comics. Keep in mind we liked (and I think the fans did too) that Rogue had sort of a thing for Scott and too much Gambit/Rogue flirtation would've interfered with that.

Why wasn't Gambit at the final battle with Apocalypse?

I have no idea...sorry. Too many Mint Juleps...?

Why wasn't Rogue and Gambit's relationship explore further?

I think I answered this in the earlier question as best as I could. When I was involved in story discussions I know we didn't feel it was necessary to replicate all relationships and personalities from the comics.  We sure went quite different with many of them like Rogue (no longer the big haired Southern Belle but now Goth Trailer Trash).

If the show had continued, would Gambit have joined the X-men, and if so, how?

It wouldn't have surprised me, but if anything was specifically planned I couldn't say for sure. My best guess would be that he would've only been an occasional guest star on the show and used for specific episodes.

Does Rahne shed?

Constantly. That's why they didn't let her on any of the good furniture.

Why did Rahne get taken out from the show?

After season 2, I think it was determined that we had too many characters to adequately service and give quality time to so they used the outing of Mutants in season 3 to move some of the characters off screen. 

What is the correct way to pronounce "Rahne"? In the show, both "Rain" and "Rawnee" are used.

When we checked with Marvel they said it was pronounced "Rain", but I had a friend that was actually from Ireland and even though she'd never heard of that name before she assumed it would be pronounced "Rawnee" and couldn't imagine it ever being pronounced "Rain". Why was it pronounced both ways on the show...? I can only assumed someone made a mistake and it wasn't caught.

Was Moira MacTaggert Rahne's foster mother in Evo verse?

I don't think we ever went that far in our thinking. If someone had come up with a good storyline that involved that connection we might have used it.

Would you say Magneto is a: Misunderstood old guy in a helmet or Crazy old guy  bent on worldwide domination?

Even though it wasn't real apparent in season 1, I think our goal was to try and show that he was someone that had been wounded by the Human race and felt he needed to do what he could to save Mutant-kind. I think this actually worked much better in Wolverine and the X-Men then in XME.  I also think he suffered from being forced into the position of being the Big Bad in XME and this caused any subtleties to be smoothed over quite a bit.

Where did Pietro disappear to for the end of "Shaddowdance"? (He's seen arriving with his four dates, but after arriving all five are never seen again).

Though I haven't read any of them, I suspect that FanFic has probably addressed that better than I could.

Would Wanda have ever gotten her memories back?

I'd be willing to bet that would have come up in a future episode. We were very proud of that whole "Wanda was institutionalized by her father and was damaged goods" storyline we created, so I imagine it would've come up again.

Who is older, Pietro or Wanda? How old were they when Wanda was institutionalized?
Pietro was probably 8 and Wanda was probably 6. But I could be wrong...

I always assumed they were fraternal twins - isn't that what they were in the comics (not that mattered in the XME universe)? But I'm not sure we ever discussed it. If pressed I would assume Pietro was slightly older

What exactly happened to Kurt in those experiments?

We never really discussed it (that I recall) and we purposely left it vague so the audience could come to their own conclusion. BUT I always assumed that Magneto had done something to force his mutation to occur sooner then it would have naturally (we were working on the hypothesis that mutations didn't usually manifest until the character in question reached adolescence). Whether that caused his mutation to be different  than what it would have been if left to evolve on its own is anyone's guess.

What does the "E" stand for in Kurt E. Wagner? (from "Bada Bing Bada-Boom" where Tabby has doodled what fans speculate to be her initials (T.S.) and Kurt's initials (K.E.W.) in a heart http://www.xmenetv.com/images/caps/02/02_03_56.jpg http://www.xmenetv.com/images/caps/02/02_03_57.jpg )

I have absolutely no idea...sorry. My guess is it was something the writer came up with.

How much can Kurt eat in one sitting?

I don't know...as much as a normal teenager - In other words, a lot!

What's X-23's real name?

I'm pretty sure there was never one created. I think the idea was, since she was  a clone and had no real parents, that she was just given an identification number and X-23 was the 23rd attempt at the cloning process.

Why were two entire episodes devoted to X-23?

There might be a couple of reasons for that. The first is that it was a way to make a couple of episodes specifically involving Wolverine without them being directly about him and the other reason is that the Marvel guy in charge of the show starting in Season 3 was Craig Kyle and he created the character X-23. X-23 was based on the niece (I think she was the niece) of Craig's fiance. She was used as the original model for X-23 and Craig's fiance was used as the model for Dr Risman.

Paul: Where did he come from, and why wasn't there MORE of him?

I assume the writer's came up with the character so Scott could have a non-Mutant friend and eventually they found fewer reasons and less of a need to include him. I did try to insert him into crowd-shots whenever possible, but that was pretty limited

Did Paul ever realize that his milk was overflowing? (While he's watching the X-men on TV in "Day  of Reckoning: Part Two")

If he never figured out Scott was a Mutant then I suspect he never realized his milk was overflowing and probably is still overflowing to this day

What colour are Scott's Eyes? (In the show, in various flashbacks, and single-frame freezes, his eyes are shown as being Green, Blue, and Black (or possibly a very dark brown).)

Hmmm...I'm not sure. I know we did come up with a color model, but I couldn't tell you which color was the official one...sorry

What ethnicity is Avalanche?

American Trailer Trash. Pretty sure we never worried about his heritage beyond that.

Why was Spyke blond?

We were just trying to come up with a unique look for him and it helped tie him in a little with his Aunt Ororo. Originally he was designed with Corn-rows, but the people in charge thought it looked too "gangsta" and might scare the children (?)

Blob vs Juggernaut. Who'd win?!

Juggernaut

Since Forge appears underage, does he have a hard time buying beer or getting into clubs and stuff?

Forge doesn't party - he's a geek. At the end of MiddleVerse originally Forge was going to give Kurt the Star Trek "live long and prosper" sign and Kurt would try and return it unsuccessfully (he was NC at this point), but the KidsWB didn't want us to reference Star Trek.

Was Piotr an artist, like in the comics?

I'm not sure and I doubt we would have gone there, but anything is possible.

Was there a back story or origin story for Ray Crisp? Why was he at the institute? How did he know about the Morlocks?

I'm not sure his backstory was ever really worked out (same for many of the new recruits), but we did know he had a relationship at one point with the Morlocks.


I'm afraid I wasn't nearly as authoritative as some of the XME fans would've liked, but I did my best and I'm always willing to answer more questions (assuming I know the answers) In the future.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

In the meantime...

...I've been working on  a couple of very long posts so I thought I'd just give you a little something to tide you over. If you're following me on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenEricGordon you saw that I posted this the other day. I suspect that a lot of you don't follow me there so it seems like a good idea to post it here as well. If you are on FB please feel to wander on over to my "Art of..." page and LIKE it so you can see more little bits of animation and drawings that I usually don't post elsewhere (or, at least, until I get the next version of my web-site up and running - maybe....).
Anyway this is from American Pop (1981) and my second feature that I worked on from beginning to end and the second feature I worked on for Ralph Bakshi.

video


It was a film that I struggled on quite a bit because every part of me wanted to simplify and stylize the animation (of course, what did I really know about animation at the time...) and I ended up in some weird fights with the ersatz Art Director and Character Designer because of my refusal (inability?) to trace every line, crease, wrinkle, bump and tiny nuianse that was in the photos that we were using for the animation. I also instinctively exaggerated poses and pushed attitudes for effect. I had originally been told and trained that was the way to work and I fell into it very easily. Unfortunately so many of my fellow animators were happy tracing the live-action slavishly that I was pretty much the odd man out and started to be shifted off of any of the main characters and given Second Unit stuff (for lack of a better description). I ended up doing a lot of the dancing (like the Spaz in the Punk Club) and the band shots during the Jefferson Airplane song as well as this piece of Jimi Hendrix.
My animation of Jimi Hedrix seems to be really well remembered by a lot of people and when I was looking through the film to grab this little piece I do have to say that it's easily my best animation in the film. Of course, that's not saying much since despite the fact that I think American Pop is a pretty good film - mostly for what Ralph tried to do and almost succeeded at - though I don't think the animation is anything to write home about and looks like what it was: a film animated by a bunch of very green artists that traced the photos exactly.
In this case, once again despite the Art Director's glowering and screaming behind closed doors I pushed, exaggerated and stylized the animation to some degree. I even worked with one of my fellow animators that was a musician to try and get some of the guitar playing right - though I see now where I could have improved that a LOT more.
As it turns out I think I did the right thing on that film since on Ralph's next film he offered me the role of Animation Director. Which ties in nicely with one of the longer posts I'm working on...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A chance to relax...

...sort of.

I survived the Con and met a lot of good people and hooked up with some old friends, sold a few books and posters and also drew a few sketches.
What can I say about the Con? It was the Con. It's always good as long as you know what to expect and don't think it's going to be something it's not.



For those of you who didn't get a chance to say "hi" you can swing by CTNX in November - I'll have a table there and be selling my books and drawing sketches.

This weekend I've actually had a chance to catch up on some other stuff I'd been putting off due to a crazy work schedule. I finally had a chance to scan in a lot of the Fire & Ice drawings so the blog about that production and Mr. Frazetta shouldn't be too far off - in theory. Kind of timely considering Robert Rodriguez just announced he intends on remaking the film and has showed off some of his concept art for the production (just click on the link to see it).

In the meanwhile I'm continuing on with my Supervising Director duties on Voltron Force - which I understand is doing GREAT in the ratings and I highly recommend for all you action/adventure cartoon fans - whether you're an old Voltron fan or not. I also just wrapped a freelance board for Young Justice and I'm continuing on with the illustrations for another HarperCollins book featuring Batman and Killer Croc. And in my free-time I'm working on a Graphic Novel for a great new line of GNs that should be announced pretty soon. 

These are some rough exploratory character sketches as well as roughs and inks for the promo piece. I'm having a lot of fun with this and I'm wondering why I never ventured into this type of thing before now. Since these drawings have already been shown on Facebook I assume it's okay if I share them here as well.










Now to answer a few questions...

A follow up question from Anonymous (feel free to come up with some sort of screen name so I can tell who's who - sort of):
I'm not sure why I didn't mention Cauldron. I imagine it is because I've only seen the movie about once and it was forever ago. But since you mentioned it, how was your time at the Disney Studio during that period? I ask because I've seen "Waking Sleeping Beauty" and from what I understand that period was rough on the studio and its staff.

I'll only briefly touch on my period at Disney for this answer since I intend on writing a more in-depth blog about my experiences there and especially about working on the Black Cauldron.
Let me just say working at Disney was something I'd never experienced prior to that and very few times after. Before working at Disney I'd worked only for Bakshi Productions and a brief stint at Filmation so the chance to only rough animation (without having to do your own Clean-Up) and to take the time to work on a scene until it was as close to perfect as you could get it was pretty foreign to me. Due to mostly these reasons I felt very liberated and tried to take very little notice of the politics that were going on below the surface. Unfortunately by the time the Black Cauldron was finished I, like everyone else there at the time, were heavily involved in some political craziness due to the 'takeover' at Disney (though in retrospect it seems like less of a takeover and more of 'saving'). The time period that is shown in "Waking Sleeping Beauty" I only had first hand experience with the very beginning since I left before Oliver & Co got into full swing. I had heard quite a few of the stories  that were going on at the time, since I was till friends with many of those involved, and all I can say is that Don Hahn and Peter Schneider seemed very fair about what went on during those years and could have easily made a MUCH longer film without boring anyone. Though I suspect if the film had gone on much longer a lot more fingers would've been pointed and the film wouldn't have been quite so even-handed.

ThePast asks:
Do you actually pay attention to the many MANY fans of your work out there and their attempts to recreate your genius? And if so, what is your reaction? I am sure there has been times you have seen people butcher your ideals of specific characters (sadly, the saying is true, death of the author/artist).

First I'm not sure there are that many that are trying to recreate my "genius" and if they do I don't have a real problem with it. I find it flattering and as long as they don't try to pass my actual art off as theirs I won't bother them. Though a mention and a link to my web-site are always appreciated. There's another saying I'd rather live by and that's "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"....I hope...

and ThePast also asks:
And one last, in a way to do with the con... is there any chance we could steal you down to New Zealand one year (or more than one :D) for one of our main cons? Preferably the Auckland Armageddon :) for us poor cartoon fans trapped 12 hours away from ComicCon.
 
I would love to go to New Zealand one of these days and if I were invited (and my traveling expenses covered) I'd probably go. So start a campaign to get me down there ;)

and another Anonymous (at least, I think it's different one) asks:
I've seen your drawns in your blog, and most of them are teenagers and adult people. How do feel about drawing kids? It is harder, it is easier, it is the same?
Is there any kind of people who is harder to draw to you?
[Sorry, my bad english, lol]

I've drawn lots of kids, but I guess I haven't posted many of them. I'll have to do that soon. As to who is harder to draw...? A lot of different factors are involved including what day it is and whether my drawing and is co-operating. Some days every drawing (regardless of age, gender or style) comes out easily and other days nothing comes easy.  In general I don't find children anymore difficult to draw than adults or teenagers.

Remember to send your questions and I'll answer them as soon as I can.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More answers...

More questions and answers: 

JRtist asks:
Alright, here's a question for you... double header question.
You've been working on so many different projects, that call for totally different styles of artwork. How hard is it, in your eyes, to differentiate from each style? Is it kind of hard for the learning curve to get the previous style/design out of your head and start on the new style? Do you do a lot of sketchbook drawing to get yourself molded into the style you're working on at that time?

If the new style has a definitive look it's much easier, but in truth, when you're story-boarding, the style that you're drawing in doesn't really matter all that much. Unless of course you're switching from Young Justice to Sponge Bob, of course.  It's more about the style of the direction, angles and editing that are more important to capture. It's usually easier to draw in a style that is comfortable to you so you can make the deadline.
 
Do you ever think of recording yourself drawing for youtube from time to time? Even if it's a timelapse drawing? (I enjoy those a lot, myself)

I've thought about it, but I'm not sure it would be all that interesting and I doubt I'd have much to say while I'm doing it

Anonymous (anonymous asks a LOT of questions):
...I was curious about your scenes in animated features like The King and I, The Swan Princess, and Anastasia. What scenes were particularly yours in the films and what scenes do you feel like you really got what you wanted (as an artist)from the scene? 


I'll answer for the Swan Princess first since that's kind of the easiest. Animation in the SP was mostly handed out by character. Originally I was going to only be the Key Animator for Bromley with the plan he wasn't such a big character that I wouldn't have time to do my other jobs on the film - Character Designer and Animation Director. Unfortunately  things didn't exactly go as planned and I ended up also doing the majority of scenes on the Swan, Odette and Rothbart (as well as misc scenes on several other characters). So if you look at the film and see any of those characters there's a 95% chance I animated them. When I look back on my animation I wish I had not been so swamped and had a chance to refine  and do several more passes on almost every one of my scenes. Oh, well.
On the King and I my memory is a little foggier since I thought the film to be overall a mess and have kind of blocked it from my memory. I do recall doing a few scenes of the King's son and the slave girl while they were declaring their love for one another and several scenes of the king, but I can't be more specific than that.

On Anstasia I only did a handful of scenes and I couldn't even tell you what they were specifically.

The film I was most happy with my animation in was The Black Cauldron (which you didn't even mention). It was one of the few times there was a budget and a schedule that allowed for reworking tests until not only was the director happy, but so was I. On that film I did most of the animation for the sequence where Taran and Eilonwy were escaping from the castle and the fight between Taran and the Horned King at the end of the movie (as well as many other scenes throughout the film).

Also, has the inverse ever happened where a scene got ridiculous (frustrating) and you felt the urge to break the pencil over your knee and walk out for a bit, before coming back and knocking it out of the park?

Almost every scene has a moment or two like that though it's debatable if those scenes ever got knocked out of the park. Depends on who you ask and I tend to be my harshest critic.

P.S: Any chances to see some pencil tests from the films you have worked on.


I've actually been looking around to see if I have any of those old pencil tests that I recorded on my trusty old Amiga and transferred to VHS. I haven't found them yet, but if I do I'll very likely post them

Blaze Rocket asks:

I actually find your work posted on DeviantArt A LOT, being claimed as someone else's. I do daily searches for new content for the Evo-Obsessed Club, and for a while, pictures from your website, in particular, were very popular for other people to try and claim as their own. Thankfully, the mods at DA are very good about this thing, and when I give them a link to your website and the stolen work, it's always been removed within a few days. 


Thank you. Please keep up the good work. I don't understand why anyone would do that, but I guess I should be sort of flattered...

I have a silly question, actually ^_^;;
Obviously you have a lot of fans. I know that personally, I would love to give something back to you, for all the amazing things you've created that brightened my life, and for how amazingly cool you present yourself as on line. I never know what exactly to do though... Voice actors frequently get fan-art of the characters they voice, but you obviously have drawings of your characters already. Is there anything we, as your fans, can do to repay you? Bring you a soda at a con or something? 

 ... I swear I'm not sucking up, I just really want to throw you your own parade or something.
I can't really think of a thing off hand, but I'll let you know if something comes to mind. As long as you guys (and I mean that inclusively) continue to support and follow me and my work that's all I can really ask.


And so long as I'm asking questions: Have you ever considered teaching or guest lecturing at an art school anywhere?




At one point I was supposed to guest lecture at Savannah School of Design in Atlanta, but for whatever reason that fell through. The truth is I'm not a very good public speaker (anyone that's ever seen an interview with me can attest to that) so I don't seek out those types of situations. And since I was never formally taught I'm not sure how good I would be at teaching anyone the way that I work.

Aaaaaand, as per usual: Will there ever be a 3rd sketch book? :D


Hopefully soon - I'm compiling images now. I'll let you (and everyone else) know when it gets published.


Josh Awolade asks:
I've got just one question (for now :D ) How did you do animate your walk cycles and the Sirens and Boom Boom dance scenes?

For walk cycles I animate it one step at a time (rim-shot). Sorry, I couldn't resist. Actually I usually just start animating and refining. I helps if I know and understand the character ahead of time. I very rarely use reference for walk cycles, but I will if I need it. 
For the XME dance scenes (and almost every dance scene I've ever animated - and I've animated a lot of them over the years) I usually start with some live-action and will use a process called roto-scope. Most of the time I use this as a blueprint to do my animation on. It makes the whole process a lot quicker and will naturally lead to a better animated scene then if I struggled without some sort of reference.


Okay, that's all the questions for this week -  feel free to ask more next week (or later this week) and I'll try to get to them ASAP. 

Now for some business. I'm currently running around crazy trying to get  ready for San Diego Comic-Con (or Comic-Con International). Most of the time I'll just be wandering around checking out the main floor and saying "hi" to old and new friends, but there will be two different places to locate me and I hope any of you coming will swing by and say "hi" so I don't look too pathetic.


I'll be at at the Chuck Jonesgallery in San Diego on Friday, July 22 from 7-10pm (at least sometime during that 3 hour period) for the Ralph Bakshi exhibit. It should be an interesting show with a lot of original art from many of Ralph's films. I would highly recommend swinging by the gallery sometime while you're at Comic_con even if you can't get there Friday night.
I'll also be at the Creative Talent Network's booth (#5022) from 12pm to 2pm on Saturday, July 23rd. I'll be selling copies of both my sketchbooks, Expressions and Attitudes 1 and 2 (special Con price of $15 each - which will include a sketch and signature), my Rogue Poster (as pictured below) for $5 each - signed of course and signing anything else you might have that you feel needs my signature on it.





And for those that are wondering if I've forgotten about last week's post - I still plan to do an extended blog about Fire and Ice as well as Black Cauldron once things slow down a little after Comic-Con





Monday, July 11, 2011

Answers...

It tool a little bit of coaxing, but it seems that some of you do have questions. I was beginning to think the information I get each week about how many of you are following this blog were nothing but hooey. Glad to see the stats weren't wrong (I think).

Here's a question from Dani's Blog:
When you start searching for work, what did you do? where did you look first?

The story of how I got into the animation industry is probably not the typical story for most artists. I was still in High school and just starting to apply for Art school when my art teacher found an ad asking for portfolio submissions to work for Ralph Bakshi. Neither of us thought there was much chance of my actually being offered a job. In fact, I had never even considered getting into animation -  I wanted to be an illustrator. But my teacher thought this was a good way to get a professional portfolio review and was hoping it would take a little of the wind out of my sails. I was pretty cocky for a High school student.
As it turned out I was offered a job and my teacher and counselors helped arrange for me to finish my senior year through night school, but it wasn't long before I did realize I wasn't the best artist in the world. Once I saw all the other artists that were hired at the same time (not to mention the ones that were already working at the studio) I realized that i had a lot to learn.
Now, when I look for work, I rely mostly on networking. So much of getting jobs in this industry is about who you know and being in the right place at the right time - and, of course, having the skills and talent at your disposal once you do get the gig. Networking is so much easier these days with the internet. I try to the full advantage of it and I suggest that even newbies do so as well. It's been very rare that I've gotten a job by calling studios or knocking on doors. I don't want you to think that only those of us with conections can network. Even a newbie should be able to connect and get their stuff in front of people a lot easier these days with e-mail, FB and Devenat Art that is so much easier than mailinmg your portfolio around to studios or artists hoping you get a response.

Capt. Sunshine asks:
How often do you find your work "stolen" and posted on other websites, claimed as someone else's efforts?

Maybe I'm not looking around much, but I can't think of anytime I've come across any my "actual" work that someone else was claiming as their own. I do often come upon my XME models that have been re-purposed and altered with new costumes or turned into new characters. I gather there's quite a bit of that going on  with not just my models, but models from other character designers as well. And, of course, I see many of my designs being drawn as fan-art  which I find flattering. 
If any of you see someone trying to pass my actual art off as their own please let me know and I'll do what I can to stop it.

Anonymous asks 3 questions: 
What is your favorite part of production from your viewpoint? I know there are many legs in a complete production and you have amazing storyboarding, character design, and animation skills but what part really gets to you deep inside and you can't wait to work on?

 
Okay, first my favorite part of production is usually different from project to project and whether it's a feature or TV production. If it's a feature project the part I like most is working on the story, character arcs and hammering out all the beats (working with the directors and story crew, of course). When I was an animator on features there was nothing quite like seeing the scene move for the first time - usually as a pencil test and seeing your scribbles come to life. 
 If it's a TV  or direct to video production then I enjoy the directing process (very rarely do you get a chance to get involved with the story in these type of productions - though when I have, that was also very enjoyable. I also enjoy creating character designs and fleshing out a characters personality by way of expressions and attitudes. 

Also have you ever thought of doing more full animation in your style?
Sure, I'd love to do full animation again of characters I've designed. Some of the most fun I had on XME (a show I had a LOT of fun on) was when I actually did several scenes of full animation using my character designs - whether it was for season 1s opening credits, walk and run cycles or for some of the dance sequences in a  couple of the shows for season 1 and 2. Not sure I'll get another chance to do that, but anything is possible.

If I haven't run up my limit on questions I would also like to know your thoughts on animation in general, like what goes through your head when doing a scene or just a test like for characters like in X-Men Evolution?

That's hard to say and depends a lot on what type of scene it is I'm animating (and it's been so long since I've animated I'm trying to remember what it feels like). Action scenes bring different challenges than acting scenes
With action a lot of my thinking is about plotting out the key moments that I want to hit and make sure the scene has the right impact and how can each drawing convey what the action is so if you only saw one drawing you wouldn't have too much of a problem deciphering what is going on in the scene. 
If the scene is an acting scene I have to try and capture the dialogue (if it's a dialogue scene) without getting in the way of the dialogue - something I feel I've not always accomplished after looking at some of my old animation. Or if it's not a dialogue scene how do I convey what the character is thinking so it doesn't just look like a lifeless drawing on the screen.

And Yen asks:
Are there any type of requests that you don't do?

I assume you mean commissions...? If so, I won't do full on porn  and if I'm asked to do something 'sexy' it has to be tasteful to me and respectful of the characters - in my mind, at least.

Please feel free to send in questions and I promise to get to them as soon as I can.
Yesterday while sorting through some boxes from the garage I cam across my Fire and Ice and Black Cauldron stash. Seeing these inspoired me and I hope to have a couple of blogs coming up soon (time permitting, of course) that will discuss my experience on these films and show many of these images.
Here's a little taste (you'll have to excuse the quality of the images - these unfortunately are not originals):