one week later, and I'm still processing the passing of Robin Williams.
The seemingly endless anecdotes extolling how giving and kind he was
exemplifies the kind of person I strive to be in my daily life. My love
of who he is and what he meant to me growing up has been rekindled.
I went to school with his first son Zachary, who is 7 years my junior.
The memory that sticks out most in my mind was trailing behind them on
my way up the stairs one morning. He was holding his young son's hand as
they traversed each step. It's not so much the act as it was the
feeling of tenderness in their wake that I felt. Perhaps that is why we
mourn him as a collective, because on some elemental level, it seems so
unfathomable that such a gentle, gifted spirit could meet such a
violent, lonely ending. My greatest hope is that more meaningful
dialogue about depression comes out of this tragedy, that we become more
equipped to care for each other when we recognize each another's void.
The boy in this picture, who was initially evoked by my memory of
Zachary, is actually another dear soul who passed away only a few days
before Robin in an unfortunate accident. He's the 9 year old nephew of a
friend of mine. He had seen my work and was inspired to send me this
adorable text message that featured the above quote. Now it seems
strangely profound. Robin also happened to love video games, so much so
that he named his daughter Zelda. The fact that this young boy would
want to reach out to me and connect over something creative made me so
happy. Now that he's gone, I wonder where all that potential and
vitality goes in the universe.
So in that spirit, I wanted Robin
and this boy to meet, to continue their path in peace, stardust and all.
May their co-op games reign eternal and be saved in the ultimate Cloud,
where nothing is lost, only loved and played. #riprobinwilliams
I took my very first Skillshare class recently. I recommend it for its breadth of courses, good teachers, community feedback and low cost. This particular course was taught by Charlie Bowater, a talented concept artist with a very charming British accent. What follows was my progress for the month:
Updated Fri, Nov 22nd 2013
Greetings and salutations beautiful peeps!
This is my first
Skillshare class and I'm really blown away and humbled by the talent
here. As someone who's always loved character design and dabbled in it, I
relish the chance to be able to delve into it more seriously.
main theme here concerns an ancient civiliization that combines animal
spirits and a synthesis of Mayan, Chinese and Japanese mythology. The
characters here are all following paths that lead to the same
destination, but have different motivations for getting there. The world
they live in is out of harmony and it's reflected in the weapons, magic
and strengths/weaknesses they possess.
Here is my first round
of thumbnails. It's probably more detailed than it needs to be, but I
love erasing just as much as I love laying down brushstrokes. I would
like to do another round when I have a breather, then onwards to the
selection process! I welome any comments and feedback meanwhile.
promised, here is my second round of thumbnails from the same universe.
I feel like it took a slightly different direction, perhaps more sword
n' sorcery, but I still wanted to have this frailty and subjugation
aspect of it that these characters are trying to break free from.
Halloween everyone! I feel like this is the perfect community to share
our little monsters with :) Here are the choices I went with for
refinement. Thank you everyone for weighing in. With so many beautiful
projects here, I'm appreciate any time you give me and will do the same
I think I mainly went for these puppies because they
have the most opportunity for something dynamic, strange yet familiar
all at once. I'm now vascillating between the bookend characters. What
do you think?
definitely made some choices here with the Variation stage. Hopefully,
one of them jives more than the others. Influence wise, I think the
classic, beautiful Thai stylings of the Mandarin Spawn action figurefrom
the late 90's came through for the middle figure. For the gender swap, I
was channeling some kind of anime couture, or perhaps a more down to
to some great community encouragement and feedback, I finally have this
finished character to show. In the end, he comes out to be both an
angel and demon. I decided to meld attributes from the first two
variations that seem to resonate best with the character in terms of
gesture, clothing and silhouette. I hope I made good choices!
I also included some closeup detail on the face for you to see as well.
you all once again for the great critiques and helping me with the
forward momentum. I hope to do more of these and continue to share
progress with you. I look forward to seeing all your great works as
whirling dervish was my first attempt using a revolutionary piece of
software called Mischief. If you're actively in or dabbling in digital
these days, it behooves you check out this game changer. In essence, you
can paint like you do in Photoshop/Sketchbook Pro, but have all the
possibilities of vector scalability at the same time in
Illustrator/Flash. Best of both worlds. http://www.madewithmischief.com/
In the spirit of catching up, here are all my entries for Inktober collected in one posting. It was definitely a mixed bag from my point of view, but it's a great way to create some discipline in the creative flow of life and keep one honest. I'm not on a Daily Doodle list from which I will start sharing work here as well.
I apologize for neglecting this space of the world for awhile now, as I've been more active on my Facebook fan page. Having said that, I have been spending weekly time with my characters, drawing them connecting with loved ones and their animal spirits. Some of it has been inspired by movies I've seen as a child, being embraced in my own life and watching strangers connect in various ways. It's ultimately a very comforting subject to work on, even full well knowing that tackling the themes of loss and letting go will be right around the corner.
As promised, here's how my first pass at the animation of the Baobab sequence is going. There is still work that needs to be done in regards to the motion/timing of certain elements and the animation of the girl within the music notes, but the emotion is present.
An update on "Cradle the Sun" is long overdue, but rest assured I've been working on it. I thought I'd take this opportunity to delve into both illustration and animation.
Today, we're going to start tackling the Baobab tree sequence of the story. This is where the boy finds the source of the ancient music that pulls him out of his sadness. My aim here was to really give the tree a reassuring presence from first sight. The reader/audience is discovering this place along with the boy, hand in hand.
I started off with several different iterations of this tree, the composition and finally settled on the Baobab. It's known as the tree of life and is positively mythical looking in physical size and grandeur. This was the sketch I was finally satisfied with.
1. Using this sketch as a template, I started to lay down the major shapes of the tree in solid colors in Photoshop in different layers. I do this upfront so that I have options when I start animating the scene in terms of z-depth.
2. The reason why I lay down solid colors is because it allows me to utilize them as masks for texture, shading and lighting. I model and use various brush strokes and varying opacities to approximate the feeling of a Baobab trunk. Most importantly, I use a lot of visual reference here while still making it my own.
3. Next up, I worked on creating a rounded hill for it rest on. I wanted it to feel a surreal and water like, so I chose a very specific brush to ground everything. The long term benefit of this choice is that it also allows for the water themes of the other story to seep in subconsciously. I chose to tone down the hotness of the tree, so everything could feel more unified. I still have to do more work on the color of the grass, but all in good time ;)
4. The sky had to feel different here from the previous frames, for the same reason that I said earlier in regards to the water theme. It also serves as a counterpoint to the punishing heat and violence to the earth, like a literal break in the clouds. It was really fun to paint these fluffy little clouds, Bob Ross style!
5. Time for some warmth and rim lighting. Light to me, is nature's way of speaking to us, which is probably why I place such an emphasis on it in my work.
6. Last but certainly not least, our little boy has to make an entrance. If you look at the original sketch, the pose is different because I felt it was too stilted and staged. I wanted there to be a little lilt in his body, listening intently on the music. A few birds never hurt to break the landscape either.
7. Although I previously cooled down the tree, I wanted to bring some warmth back into the overall plane, but sparingly so your attention is still focused on the two central characters. (Sidenote: The funny thing is saving versions of this file, I almost lost it altogether and was weirdly wise enough to back up a nearly done version on a USB drive. That's why if you look at this shot, it looks slightly different. I actually prefer it.)
In the next few installments, I will be working on illlustrating/animating the abstract music notes coming from the conch, filling out the field, and making this puppy sing!
I was watching a fine French tutorial on character design by Aurélie Neyret. I was so under the spell of her Gallic ways, I could not help but draw something in that European whimsical world. Yes, pantaloons and striped shirts will always be featured.