Mar 12, 2014

I ♡ Turtles

Went down to Puerto Rico for a long weekend and got my scuba certification, which I've been wanting to do for years. We saw two turtles! I love sea turtles. They're so sweet and chill. All I wanted to do was hug it, but I was told you're not allowed to do that. So I did the next best thing and drew a quick sketch of it.

Mar 11, 2014

Stripped, The Documentary About Comics

Here's a trailer for the upcoming documentary Stripped, about the comics industry, its decline along with newspapers', and its changing face with webcomics and the internet. It brings together some amazing artists, including Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes and notoriously tricky person to get to do anything publicly (he wasn't even interviewed for the recently released documentary about Calvin & Hobbes). I'm excited to see what it has to say about comic strips' current state and future.


Mar 6, 2014

Making of Frozen Teaser

This looks like it'll make the DVD worth it, just to see a musicalized version of how the film was made!

Mar 5, 2014

Life After Pi

Life After Pi is an excellent and really sad documentary about the bankruptcy of Rhythm & Hues studios a few years ago. It was one of the (if not the) best VFX houses in the world, having created the tiger, Richard Parker, for the film Life of Pi. The VFX industry (particularly in California) is in a horrible state, due to multiple factors, including foreign subsidies, studios changing films without paying more money for the costs of the changes, and higher-costing expectations from audiences. Just to add insult to injury, check out the way the VFX people were treated at the Oscars by both the get-off-the-stage music and by director Ang Lee, who managed to thank his lawyer and the crew at the filming soundstage, but not the hundreds of artists that created over half of his film (including Richard Parker, one of the main characters, the ocean, the sky, and all the other animals that are seen in the film).

The film is certainly worth the thirty minutes of your time to watch.

And here's a little bit on the making of the tiger.

Mar 4, 2014

Timing and Spacing In Winter Sports

For animators, timing and spacing are two of the most difficult things to get right.  The difference in just a frame, especially in fast-moving actions, can alter the entire perception of a movement. Some really insightful reference was put up by the New York Times, showing athletes performing different feats frame-by-frame. You can see how their body positions, weight, and even faces change during their jumps and spins and twirls. Very helpful.

Some Redesigning

I was recently doing some updating to my portfolio, including to a few of my earlier character concepts, of an old cowboy who gets a zebra for the cheap and tries to regain his glory days. The earlier pieces are now somewhat embarrassing for me to look at, but I'm pretty happy with the updates!

Mar 3, 2014

The Day My Pants Left Me

So, my pants and I are splitting up after many months together.

It all started fine, just a few months ago. The weather was getting cool, and I decided to start a new pants relationship. After trying a few on for size, I found them. I thought this was the pair. I thought it was going to be for life. They fit great, and they always seemed up for something fun.


But the months went on, and the weather got more than cool. It got cold. It snowed and snowed. And my pants...well, they just couldn't take it. They changed. They became listless and sad, but there was nothing I could do. It was cold, and I needed to wear pants outside.

Then came Friday. It was another cold one in Chicago, where winter never seems to end. But that didn't stop me and my pants from heading out to the gym to work up a sweat. Usually, my pants hang around with the coats and other pants. It's not always what they want, but it helps them get out and see people. I thought I had great luck: Whose Line Is It Anyway? was on the TV, so I was entranced.

But at some point while I was laughing uproariously, my pants took their opportunity to escape from me.

I was left, betrayed in 5-degree weather with only my gym shorts. At least they know how to handle the cold.

I've thought through all the options, and the Caribbean is the most reasonable guess where they went.

I'm keeping custody of my wallet, though. 

Feb 9, 2014

Another Cold Day

It's cold and snowy outside, as it has been for the last month. When that's the case, I just wrap myself in a blanket, curl up, and draw.

Feb 7, 2014

The Russians Are Coming!

With the Olympics starting this weekend in Sochi, I thought I'd post a few designs I did recently. They were actually more inspired by reading The Brothers Karamazov, an excellent (and oh, so Russian) book full of intense themes like the nature of evil, the existence of God, the temptations of sensuality, and the folly of pride and hedonism. But it also speaks to that time when Russia was living the high life before World War I, deeply inspired by the West (wearing the fashions of Paris, importing German governesses for their children, discussing the Europeans' experiments with socialism) but still very much its own culture. The czar was an autocrat, the people were passionate, the champagne was flowing while the peasants toiled, the church was sacrosanct and inviolable, the communists were whispering and's all such a crazy and fascinating world to dive into.

I've heard it said that there's Africa, the East, the Middle East, the West, and Russia. It's in a category all to its own, which seems true even today.

Anyway, happy Olympics! Go enjoy some Trepak, a bit of vodka, or a prayer service in an Orthodox church.

Happy Trees

Redwoods are happy trees.

Feb 6, 2014

Disney's Castles

Cool graphic of all the castles in Disney animated films. So much variety of style and character in these buildings!

Mulan, The Emperor's New Groove




Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and ??? (not sure what the orange one is)
Sword in the Stone (I think)
Black Cauldron (?), Little Mermaid

Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin

Feb 4, 2014


Been a while since I did a big cat design.  In that vein, following up on the Amazon folks, here is the only American big cat: the mighty jaguar.

Ever wonder how you tell the difference between a jaguar and a leopard? Here's a handy chart explaining it, though, if you're seeing it in the wild, the first question you should ask is "Am I in the Americas?" If your answer is yes, then it's a jaguar. If not, it's a leopard.

The actual easiest way to tell is that a leopard has black-edged spots with a light center. Jaguars have larger black-edged spots with a darker center and little dots inside the big spot. Also, jaguars are thicker and stockier. Leopards are more lithe.

Best not to go check it out anywhere outside of a zoo, though, lest you find yourself unwitting prey.

Jan 30, 2014

Amazon Natives

 I just read an article on the Kayapo natives in the Amazon. It was pretty interesting, about how they as a culture balance between the traditional, native tools and systems and encroaching modernized world, but even more interesting for me were their different body paints, beadwork, and headdresses. Additionally, I found some photos of Amazonian kids who have monkeys and sloths as pets, which was kind of wonderful, especially given how adorably uncomfortable all the sloths looked.

So I drew a few.

Kid with squirrel monkey

Another kid with sloth

Old man

Jan 23, 2014

Snow Leopard Animation

I've written about animating quadrupeds before, so, with a new drawing tablet for Christmas, I decided to try it out by creating a little snow leopard. I used a bit of reference from the playful snow leopard cub at the Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago.

It's a rough pencil test, with a lot that could be fixed, but it was fun to do, and I'm pretty happy with the results!

Jan 20, 2014

Some Woodland Creatures

I just drew some woodland animals. Trying to push my character designs a bit.

Opossums are really ugly creatures.