Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fall 2009... inhale...exhale

...Just a minute... still catching my breath...

...Ok--These last few months were basically the beginning of an exhausting experiment. I have been forging a new arena in my animation program where I attempt to have my cake--and eat it, too. It wore me out, but I learned a lot about the grand balancing acts of a full and ambitious life.

Animation Production isn't technically on the books as an option for the MFA Animation program here at AAU, but it's my calling and I was compelled to go for it. Fortunately for me, organized go-getters are in high demand around here, so I have been welcomed as the Producer of two awesome animated films, Prelude and The Lattice-- and spent this semester managing those projects... while also juggling 3 other classes, my RA job, and occasionally helping out with the amazing collaboration project, "Rise of the Turkeynauts!"

When it came time to choose classes for next year, my program director and I realized that continuing production work as classwork necesitated taking the classes as Directed Studies, which you cannot do in our program until you've passed your midpoint review. So, I got signed up to present my Thesis proposal this semester, and the only open time slot was in finals week, on the same day as my most challenging class (Layout Design). The thesis I proposed involves completing and delivering the 2 productions I'm working on, along with "making of" books and deliverables, and also creating a storyboarding portfolio (since this is art school, after all).

To make a long story short (too late?), I survived!--passed my midpoint and also managed what I considered a very generous grade in Layout. I did this all while also taking care of class and work, travelling to see special shows and industry events, and allowing myself time to be social and enjoy myself, too. These were the busiest, most hectic months so far in my young life--and I need to give props to my awesome teachers, friends, and family. I also must admit my secret weapons--Google calendar, and Google docs kept me and my productions on task all semester long!

So I think I've earned a nice long break for the Holidays, and it's nice to have enough time to vent on the blog. Since every post needs pretty pictures, here's some images of the various presentation materials I had to put together this semester as a Student-Producer...

Business Card:

Midpoint Thesis Proposal Book:

Midpoint Presentation Powerpoint:

Layout Portfolio Book:

There's a lot of layout images to show, too-- they'll be up on my next post :)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Antique Repair Store, Wonky w/Graphite Value

My newest accomplishment from Layout Design, a first attempt at breaking perspective for Wonky-style and also my first experiment with using graphite dust to fill in the values. Felt good to get this all done, I'll be doing more work for class but for now, enjoy draft 1!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Art of Procrastination

Last week, a bad flu took me out of commission for about 4 miserable days. When I couldn't stand being in bed staring at my four walls any longer, I finally dragged myself out and saw Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, which was EXCELLENT (SEE IT.) It kick-started my recovery and now I'm back to normal, but the many hours of feverish bedrest put me way behind in Layout Design in such a way that my brain has been psyching me out creatively and making me afraid of tackling it, which is bad at 11pm the night before class... soooo...after cleaning my room and re-writing my dry-erase board's weekly task list (and doing about eighteen other unnecessary things), I decided to finally pretend to get working, and proceeded to doodle this with my Wacom tablet:

VERY weird, I know... but now that I've shot it out into the blogsphere, I feel warmed up and silly enough to go make less of a mess out of my layout drawings--toodlelooooo!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Animation Production: aka, channeling whatever it is that makes me who I am into helping create what I love.

I realized that, outside of the small and wonderful circle of people whom I see or speak with constantly, many of you probably haven't heard the details of what I'm up to nowadays. I want to keep everyone I know and care for in the loop, so I ought to take a moment from my hectic life to explain myself and share my excitement with the world at large...

A year ago, I arrived here in San Francisco to follow my dream of working in animation. My life since then has been a dream come true, and for every moment of it, I have been 100% sure that I am exactly where I'm meant to be. Through many challenges and adventures in academia and beyond, I have learned so much about the animation industry... and gotten much better acquainted with my own self in the process.

I came here determined to absorb as much as I could from all of the beautiful art forms utilized within animation production... and have realized recently that my true passion is the art of production itself. To be the orchestrator of the collaborative process--helping and supporting the talented people around me--has proven to be the role in which I feel most at home.

Now that I can say, "I want to be an Animation Producer", I've realized I also need to explain exactly what that means. The job is a hard one to define, because it covers many areas and is almost always a different job, depending on who's doing it where and for what production. Here's a few definitions I've found that help make sense of it, though:

"In our opinion, the producer is the one person with the full overview and responsibility for a project from a creative, financial, and scheduling perspective." ~Catherine Winder & Zahra Dowlatabadi

"[A producer] has to be part therapist, union negotiator, customs broker, technologist, artist, storyteller, international trade leader, attorney, filmmaker, talent agent, studio executive, mentor, and friend." ~David Lipman

I owe it to my friends and family and the wonderful faculty here at AAU for their votes of confidence in helping me find my niche here, and now I hope I can return the favor in diligent service of the exciting collaborative animation projects which I am now a part of--the 2D animated short Prelude (as Producer) and 3D animated trailer/vingette The Lattice (as Co-Producer)!!!

Since it just wouldn't feel right to post without an image, here's a shot of me with the Prelude Crew:I'm so excited to be helping them keep the project on track, wish me luck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Digital Sketching--Photographer's Room!

Here's something different! I spent the evening playing with my Wacom Tablet to rough out my first assignment for Layout Design. Working with paper and pencil, I get too tight, and with pen, I just make an unerasable mess, so this was a good, safe way for me to exercise loosening up. In other news, I accidentally saved over my original file when I shrank it down for the blog... whoopsie.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Clothed Figure Drawings from Spring '09

I've been getting re-organized for the new school year and found these jpgs floating around my hard drive...up they go!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Character Designs

I've been meaning to throw these up since the Summer semester ended; but I was busy moving to my sweet new place in the Marina district and having an amazing time visiting Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, CA!!! My friend Akin was an intern there this summer, and he was really awesome to invite us, so go check out the fabulous stuff on his website!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Meet Maaren

This is my rough sketch of my newest character design, Maaren the Wombat. Maaren likes snacks and her favorite number is 5.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Watercolors at the Presidio--NOW with Photos!!!

July 11th was SketchCrawl 23 here in San Francisco! A sketch crawl is when a group of artists get together and draw/paint in the same area for a day, meeting up at a planned time and destination to end the day passing around each others' sketchbooks and socializing. We went to the Presidio, and I had no idea how wonderful it is there! Now I am even more excited that I'll be living in the Marina district this fall.

Here's a photo of the gang by Ronnie Del Carmen:

I sketched with a fine-point sharpie (usually drawing over a rough HB-pencil sketch)--the permanent marker gave a nice dark line and allowed me to paint my colors over the lines without worrying about the ink bleeding.

I started painting some flowers to experiment with color.

Then I tried scenery. Down the hill from the Starbucks we met at was this lovely park, with my favorite kind of trees--Weeping Willows! As you can see from the swaying branches, it was a windy day.

I really enjoyed working on this one, it's a doorway of 'Building 38' in the Presidio. As I was roughing out the architecture, this frisky little pup showed up and scampered all over, so I sat him up on the steps.

...and check it out, Ronnie snapped this shot of me when I was working on the drawing!!!

(Another shot by Ronnie: me, Carlos and Fabian hanging out with Claude the puppy!)

I had a great time playing with my new portable watercolor set--can't wait to use it again!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

SF Zoo & The Pimowahk!

This summer has been CRAZY! I'm taking 2 classes on campus, plus getting involved with the school's budding new VFX/Animation Production group, plus working as an RA in a building full of 160 pre-college students (high school girls...aged 15-18) has me running around quite a bit. But it's all going pretty great and the time is flying by. I have been especially enjoying my Character Design class--the 2-to-4-minute poses, and focus on pushing shapes and design are exactly what I need to work on, and my most recent assignment was to design a fantasy creature.

I made it out to the SF Zoo last weekend which was a great chance to seek inspiration, here are my animal skecthes:

The most exciting was seeing the Hawk, a handler had it out on his arm for us to see up close and personal--she weighs 10lbs, which is HUGE, and he kept throwing her bits of rabbit to snack on... yummy!

So for my own design I had to pick 3 real animals and combine them into one fantasy creature, I chose features from a Pig, a Mouse and a Hawk to create The PIMOWAHK! I'm continuing to re-work the design based on my instructor's critiques, so here are a few iterations I've gone through along the way...

First concept:

I dont have #2 on me at the moment, but it was similar to the image below, only with a more average-sized body. Tanya (my instructor) challenged me to play with size variety in the different parts of the body... so I did this as the Third version:

then I tried to loosen it up and get more cartoony... Version Four:

Ongoing process... more to come of character design, and the SF Skecth crawl is at the Presidio this Saturday! I'm gonna try doing some watercolors there with my nifty new compact travel palette... exciting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rosie Probert (clothed figure final)

"One voice of all he remembers most dearly as his dream
buckets down. Lazy early Rosie with the flaxen thatch,
whom he shared with Tom-Fred the donkeyman and many
another seaman, cleasrly and near to him speaks from the
bedroom of her dust. In that gulf and haven, fleets by the
dozen have anchored for the little heaven of the night;
but she speaks to Captain napping Cat alone."

--from Under Milk Wood, by Dylan Thomas

This saucy little lady is Rosie Probert from Dylan Thomas' play, Under Milk Wood. I am a real nerd for interesting word combinations and poetic phrases, and Thomas' mastery of language blows my mind. Just humor me a bit longer and read the opening line:

"It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless
and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched,
courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the
sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea."

Pure poetry! I fell in love with this play with my high school drama club, and performed the part of Rosie Probert, so it was a lot of fun to revisit that role and bring her to life in a new way. Between this clothed figure class and my perspective drawing class, my illustration skills have advanced by leaps and bounds... this assignment was a great high note to end my work for the semester!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Beginning Finals Week

My first semester at AAU was last fall, and it was so chock-full of Awesomeness that I thought it couldn't be topped. I completed my first hand-drawn animated short and was relatively proud of the result. I met animation legends like Bill Plympton, Eric Goldberg and Richard Williams; who were all unbelievably generous in sharing their wealth of experience and god-like wisdom. I went home for Christmas and felt I had returned from some bizzare, Jodie-Foster-Contact encounter which may or may not have been real... Then came the Spring Semester.

I don't even know where to begin--it has been so amazing, and I have gained so much from the multitude of experiences and adventures I've had in these short months, that attempting to reflect on it all has instigated sensory overload, and I think I need to go lie down.

Oh, and here's my perspective final so far--I'm adding shadows, reflection and value today, and it's due tomorrow--I figured I should post it now as a line drawing, in case I mess it up in the next step:

Spring Cleaning in the Seven Dwarves' Cottage, Pencil on Paper, 14"x18"

This has been quite a long post, I couldnt help from getting end-of-another-chapter sentimental before I dive into my work for the last big push. It has been such a great seemster, and I must credit the people around me--you awesome-talented-generous-crazy people who make my life so freaking cool. Thanks.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the spirit of progress: some stuff from my skecthbook

I know so many talented people that I always hesitate to show where I'm at with my drawing skills, but attending Sketch Crawl 22 a few weeks ago was the kick in the butt that I needed to just chill out and do it...(I recommend checking out that sketch crawl link; people posted great work, and you may see someone you know in the photos that 'Biscuit Maker' put up!) I have to keep drawing constantly and be willing to share, because it motivates me to work so much harder!