Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Pumpkin Lineup

I had a bunch of friends over for my birthday last weekend and had a good ole-fashioned pumpkin-carving party. This lineup of characters is the result. A handful of them were by illustrators who blogs you may (and should) frequent, including Renee, Keith, and Allie.

Lights out!

These despicable characters are the ones my wife Loren and I created (mine on the left). I think Loren's is the more sinister of the two (I tried).

For pumpkins from previous years, click the halloween label.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Robbery! (animated)

If you liked Helena Rubinstein in buying back her company, you'll be sure to get a kick out of her bossing around a bunch of burglars. Of all the stories I got to animate for The Powder & the Glory, this was definitely the best raw material to work from. The producers of the film encouraged me to play up the humor and the drama, but this really happened to her. It was an event destined to be animated!

The robbery ocurred in her later years, placing the animation style in the early 60s. At the time I'd been flipping through Amid Amidi's Cartoon Modern, and wanted to take stab at something more flat and stylized. I storyboarded this one very differently than the others, trying to use more dramatic angles. I also used Painter for the backgrounds, to add texture. Have a look at the animation below.

OR, you can watch it in full resolution, if you like.
(A bonus, because this one is better viewed large)

Again, I have to thank Dustin Wade for all his help. He handled the walk cycles and the animation for when the robbers tie her up. I should note that Rubinstein survived unharmed, though definitely shook up.

These are some of my favorite frames:

So that wraps up the week of animation at Drip! I hope you enjoyed them. We actually made 4 or 5 more animated segments for the film (I only posted my favorites), which you can see when it airs on PBS on Monday, March 23, 2009 at 10PM. I'll post a reminder when the date gets closer. And here's a link to documentary website.

Related posts:
History, animated.
Flappers and Lipstick
Helena Rubinstein

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Helena Rubinstein

This is the third in a series of posts I've been doing this week showcasing some animated shorts I created at FableVision for the documentary The Powder and The Glory. It appears in the film when they are discussing a moment in the midst of the Great Depression when Helena Rubinstein cleverly managed to buy back her company from Lehman Brothers (that's right, the now defunct Lehman Brothers)---and made a huge profit to boot! You might notice her height deficit. Rubinstein was only 4' 10", so I couldn't help but play up her Napoleonic stature.

I stepped out of black and white with this one, and decided on a washed out palette of greens, reds, and browns, to match that look of early 1930s Technicolor. It tends to read as a limited palette, but those of you who are familiar with the color Fleischer cartoons from the 30s will know what I'm talking about. The audio (as with all of these shorts) is rough cut, so the final version includes sound effects and whatnot.

Click PLAY to view the animation below. A note to those of you in RSS reader land to hop on over to my site to watch it here (the Flash embed doesn't show up in Google Reader for some reason).

Related posts:
History, animated.
Flappers and Lipstick
A Robbery! (animated)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Flappers and Lipstick

This animation, created for the documentary The Powder & The Glory, was a humorous take on how make-up suddenly became a public "ritual" and "performance" in the 1920s. It's definitely one of my favorites of the bunch. I did all the storyboarding and design to go along with the narration. I again called on Dustin Wade to help me animate some of the more difficult spots, including the flapper dance sequence. He figured out the mechanics of the movements in rough gestures, and I translated them into cartoony drawings.

You can view the animation below. Note, if you're looking at this in an RSS feed reader (like Google Reader), you're gonna have to hop on over my site, because it's a Flash embed.

I like to do a fair amount of redraw when I animate in Flash (as opposed to tweening). I reuse art assets when I can, but these shorts didn't require that as much. I was also trying to battle against the slickness of Flash to make them look authentic to the period.

Related posts: History, animated.
Helena Rubinstein
A Robbery! (animated)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

History, animated.

About a year and a half ago I posted (here) about a series of animated segments I was helping to create for a documentary film. I'm currently updating the animation section of my website and thought it would be fun to show some of them here before I finish building out the site.

The producers of The Powder & The Glory came to FableVision looking to use animated reenactments to illustrate moments in history. The film tells the story of two prominent women entrepreneurs who essentially founded the American beauty industry—Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein. Our job was to recreate moments in their lives that were never captured on film or photograph. Additionally, they thought it would be appropriate to match the animation style to make it contemporaneous. Meaning, an event that happened in 1930 should be animated in a style current to 1930.

Over the next week, I'll be showing a few of these shorts. The first, which you can view below, tells the story of how Elizabeth Arden decided on the name she used to launch her company. We took some visual liberties, but the story is accurate. The style is straight out of early 20s animation (my favorite period!). I did the character design, storyboarding and final artwork, and teamed up with the talented Dustin Wade on animation. The audio is a rough cut, and a little quiet, so you may need to turn up your speakers. (Hopefully it loaded while you were reading!)

I believe the film is due to air on PBS at some point, and has had several screenings in festivals over the past year or so. It is a truly fantastic documentary, and I couldn't be more proud to have been part of it. You can learn more about the film at this website, including dates of upcoming screenings.

UPDATE: I just heard great news that PBS has indeed picked it up. It's scheduled to air on Monday, March 23, 2009 at 10PM. Congrats to Arnie and Ann Carol!

Related Posts:
Flappers and Lipstick
Helena Rubinstein
A Robbery! (animated)

Monday, October 06, 2008

SpongeBob News

I have fun news to share with frequent visitors of Jinx the Monkey and Drip! Some of you may remember a couple SpongeBob related posts from the beginning of the summer (1, 2). The primary reason I drew those studies was because the fine folks over at Nickelodeon Magazine had asked me to pitch ideas for SpongeBob comics. They ended up selecting one of my ideas, where SpongeBob goes a little crazy with a Polaroid camera, and gave me the go ahead to draw it up. I finished the inks in July, which they proceeded to color and finalize.

I recently received word that my comic (a two-pager) will appear in the December issue of the magazine! Even better, today I got the green light on another pitch—one where Plankton schemes to steal a Krabby patty. It's all been pretty exciting for me, as I'm a huge fan of the show. In the midst of doing my own comics, I'll be keeping busy drawing the gang from Bikini Bottom as well.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Comic Book section of the magazine, head on over to NickMag where they've made a ton of Nicktoons comics available online. Better yet, pick up the magazine! They also have a great blog that regularly posts on upcoming comics and features.

I'll post the comic later in December when the magazine hits the newstands. Until then, here's a snapshot.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Don't get so bent out of shape!

I got lost in a mess of twisted body parts when I was drawing tonight. This was actually a lot of fun—a good way to unwind before I hit the sack. As I was coloring, I began to notice how much the image changed if I made the characters significantly darker than the background color.

The drawing was constructed in line.

But as the color approached the value of the line, the silhouette of the design became more apparent. I found that I liked the silhouette as much as the line, if not more so. So I continued to darken until I arrived at my final image, which was something of a balance. See a related post from April about cartoon silhouettes.