Monday, July 28, 2008

COMIC-CON 2008!!!

"It ain't over till the paramedics arrive", I always say. And as the men in white proceeded to wheel a plus-sized Superman away, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

I arrived home at about 3am this morning. The Con was awesome, overall. Though I can see why people like Paul Dini and Kevin Smith have so many good things to say about SF's Wondercon. There were soooooo many people there, you could barely sit down...or think...

On the plus side, the con was a feast for animaton artists looking to schmooze! I came back with autographed merchandise from:
- Don Bluth & Gary Goldman ("The secret of NIMH"/ "An American Tale"/ "The Land Before Time")
- Chris Sanders ("Lilo & Stitch" creator/director/voice)
- Eric Goldberg (Superviser of Aladdin's "Genie")
- Man of Action! (Team of creators behind "Ben 10")
- Bill Plympton ("The Animation Show",, look him up. He's got too many credits)
- Stan Sakai ("Usagi Yojimbo" creator)
- Robin Mitchell (Talented character/toy designer)
- Greg Weisman (Disney's "Gargoyles" creator, Spectacular Spider-Man producer)

I also managed to meet up with some professional friends from MySpace who had booths like Steph Laberis (Girls Drawin' Girls), and Molly Hahn ( They were hard to find, but I always try to catch and support these guys in person when I can. Until then, it's hard to say that I KNOW them. I love having faceless contacts and penpals, but it means so much more to actually show up and meet your friends, right?

Ah, panels. Special presentations of productions to come! There were so many it was a real pain to choose between them all. I was quite annoyed by the high attendance. I was squeezed out of a Disney Story panel, which I assumed no one wanted to go to (Wondercon). At San Diego, you have to get to your panels about an hour early to secure a seat. Which means you can only make it to every other panel, if your lucky. I eventually figured it out though, and had a decent schedule working.

I saw the trailer premier of the upcoming series, "Batman: The Brave and The Bold". It was AAAAWESOME!!! I found out that at a product testing, The Blue Beetle action Figure rated almost as highly as the Batman figure! Blue Beetle: The Animated Series debuts fall 2012 (kidding) ! Jamie Reyes, The Hispanic new Blue Beetle's armor looks like a combination of the Guyver and Iron Man. I've been following this interesting character for a while now. His voice will be provided by Batman Beyond's Will Freidle!

I also caught the 3 episode sneak peek of the OTHER upcoming series, "Wolverine and the X-Men". I was really nervous about how this show might come out, and I wasn't disappointed. Marvel has always managed to provide great stories, but starting with "x-Men: Evolution" and "Spectacular Spider-Man", they're finally starting to find methods of producing higher quality TV animation to match it! Boyd Kirkland (ironically of "Batman TAS" fame) is seeing this baby through. The series is going to be like crack for fans of the "Astonishing X-Men" comic.

The "Hulk vs. Wolverine" DTV was designed by Jeff Matsuda and was richer for it. Who knew that animation-friendly character designs could help the animation process?... The movie involved the infamous Weapon X program, so fan favorite characters Deadpool and Lady Deathstrike were applauded upon arrival.

Saw a lot of animation panels. Went to a voice acting workshop where I learned a lot, plus another where a group of fan-favorite V.O. artists did a hilarious cold read of a Superman radio show. I caught a glimpse of "Treehouse of Horror 19" at the Simpsons panel. And I went to ANOTHER one where I was introduced to this effin' brilliant show, "The Mighty B"! Amy Pohler sure put her foot in that one! As far as Family Guy goes, you know you're in a good panel when Seth Green goes under the table and pretends to "service" Seth McFarlane.

As far as live-action panels, "The day the earth stood Still" looks good, and apparently there's a slick-looking new "Tron" movie coming out! Great footage for that one was shown. Kevin Smith was there, stealing the show along with newcomer, Seth Rogen. I unwittingly missed the UNANNOUNCED world premier of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" footage. I'll be kicking myself for that mistake...

What an adventure. We went to In N' Out every night and partied all day. I think I saw that "Watchmen" trailer about 78 times before the Con ended. BTW, Connie, if you're reading, I brought back about 3 bags-worth of freebies you and the crew can pick apart. How's that for "goodies"? lol

Thursday, July 17, 2008

R.I.P. Michael Turner

MAN, I had no idea...Michael Turner passed on Friday June 27th, 2008. I was in the middle of adding one of my favorite artists, Humberto Ramos, to my links list when one if his entries dropped a bomb all the way from June 30. I'm just glad I had a chance to meet him. He did the cover for the famous JLA: Identity Crisis, a good one for Marvel: Civil War, and a chunk of pencils for the awesome Superman/Batman comics. Of course this is only a chip off his span of work...

Whenever a great artist dies, no matter what the medium, they take their unique artistic flair with them. It is because of this that they are missed so much by so many who never knew them. I remember standing in line at WonderCon, waiting for him to sign my Supergirl comic, when I noticed he had a shaved head. He didn't quite look like the photo. I asked someone in front of me and was informed that he was fighting cancer. Even then, as I shook his hand, I didn't expect that to be the last time I'd see him. Still, it'll always be a great memory. Catch you on the flipside, Mr. Turner!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trini: Part Deux

Sorry for the barrage of posts. I actually have a lot of "old" drawings I wanna catch up on. I couldn't resist trying out Jeff Matsuda's Batgirl, "Big head, small/thin body" ratio on the Yellow Ranger. I can't yet push my designs nearly as far as he can, but his style is infectious. I'm not gonna pretend I'm not influenced by it ;). She's supposed to be feminine, but not quite so "graceful" as Kim. I'd probably have her fight animation silent and quick, with daggers a-blazing, like a female ninja...yeeaaahhh...

I also tried "softening" up Trini's head design. I brought the chin in and changed her eyes to something more...slanted (for lack of a less racist term). In the end we have a whole new, more innocent look. How'd I do?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Trini & Kimberly

Well this project that Raf and I are working on (see Ratdog Blog) is moving about as smoothly as WALL*E with 4 flat tires and a crowbar dent(i know he doesn't use tires...). I think the problem is (besides my raging 'boarder's block') that we can't seem to get a good workflow going between meeting, working, and the rest of our lives. What keeps me going though is a comment made by Andrew Stanton a while back. He said that if, at the start, you love your idea so much that you're dying to see it on the screen, that obsession will drag you through the slow times and rainy days. If we pull this off, it'll mean a lot for all our futures. Plus it'll look awesome.

Enough of that. Here's the official first pass at the 2 characters, Trini Kwan and Kimberly Hart. The point of this wasn't necessarily to caricature the actors from the show, but to organize their character descriptions and try to translate them to action cartooning. Of course to completely ignore any flair these actors brought to the MMPR craze would be a crime also. I'll "show my work" in these descriptions in case someone wants to make their own designs, sans the tedious research lol (Check my links section for some good MMPR reference sites...or not).

I always imagined Trini as the second most capable member of the team. She talks a small game, but she's always so Gung Ho about helping her friends. Her flaws are that she lacks a lot of the attitude most snot-nosed American kids have. Her humanity lies in her sincerity. She looks like she has a lot of respect for the truth. And also her inner strength. "Kid's got heart!", as the High School coaches say. The fact that the actress who portrayed her is no longer with us makes me want to draw her in as emotionally stronger than in the show. She has the rough hairstyle of Thuy Trang plus one of the outfits, But I played with her expression and gesture to fit my idea. She has a solemn look to her, sugesting she got "the call" from Zordon.

Kimberly is inescapably a Valley girl. She's also a competitive gymnast. Her more annoying character quirks are that she's so delicate, both emotionally and physically. You don't see much of her taking down putty patrols on her own, as she works much better with the team. However, she's not dead weight. No Sentai series from Gatchaman(G-Force) to Voltron would be complete without this acrobatic and graceful element. She's enthusiastic, and shows courage under fire. Plus, her "Check out the sterio!" comments were cute. I'm sure if she was actually cornered by a goon squad, she'd find a way to smear em'. She's the smallest physically, based on the Pterodactyl and later, the Crane. I imagine her Ranger animation would be light and floaty. Classic outfit + hairstyle. I improvised on the physical build and facial features.

NOTES: Of the people I showed it to, I got a few critiques. One was that Trini's face was too...big? I think in the cheek area, i dunno. Maybe I should bring that chin in a bit. No complaints so far on Kimberly, but I might still work on her a bit more. Any thoughts?

Next up is probably Jason and Zach. I stumbled on a cool and easy head design for Jason, but need to produce a solid complete figure before I show it. Zach is becoming a real pain in the spandex. Who knew the Black guy would be the big speed-bump lol!? I can't seem to get a good head design for him. Ah well. I'll keep on it.

Fanny and Alexander

I finished watching this 3+ hour experience called "Fanny and Alexander". It's this Oscar-winning foreign film about these two kids who go through the crappiest part of every fairy tale hero's story. Remember how Cinderella lost her loving father and was forced to live with her pineapple-up-the-bum Stepmother and her three punk Stepsisters? It's 3 hours of that part. Only Disney would have a tough time cheering this one up with a song...

Anyways, my new "hobby" of Netflix-ing more classic live-action films has become more fun than I could've ever hoped. The last handful were all reeeeally honestly good, especially "Witness" and "Klute" (Jane Fonda was FIII-HINE back in the day!). Within the first hour of this one, I thought this might be the first dud, but Christ, did it ever pick up in the later hours! Awesome!

From exposition to resolution, every key point of the story seemed to have it's own tonal scheme and shape patterns, not to mention it's own individual use of flat and limited space. Alexander's family lived in a whole world of bright flowery days and warm, earthy nights. There was no tight leash on the use of space, just a comfortable moderation. There were organic shapes everywhere.

The Bishop's(evil stepfather) lair, however, wasn't necessarily darker but devoid of any plant life or organic stuff like that. There was smiling, all right, but only the kind you see on a torture artist before he rips out your bicuspids; empty, condescending, and creeeee-py! The "pure flat-space" layouts made those scenes so uncomfortable I turned the lights back on for the rest of the movie. The DP definitely got his point across...sheesh...

The book that recommended this flick didn't have much to say about it, so I thought I'd offer my thoughts. Just make sure to set some hours aside if you wanna check it out!

Oh, you want a, have a Leo master copy. I wanna reserve the fun stuff for their own blogs!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lending a hand

Get it? HAND?.......HAND?....HA-never mind.

I left you, the reader, with a relatively extensive links list. I did so mainly out of my own taste. I personally love the "Blogger dance" of finding one good blog that sends me off to many other FANTASTIC blogs and websites. Now I'm no Lauren Montgomery, but at least you stumbled upon the guy who'll send you her way.

Each link was either some art I drooled over, or a chunk of info that grew me an extra ounce of brain matter. It just goes to show you how open you have to be to various sources, plus how much you need to absorb. I still have a ways to go before I consider myself "employable", But I'd be doing a lot more "error" than "trial" without some of these individuals.

So go ahead. Browse my ever-growing buffet of artist blogs! I hope they're as helpful to you as they were to me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

*sigh* Just what this world needs...

...ANOTHER SKETCH BLOG! YAAAAAY!! Welcome to my new blog. I was originally against doing this myself, as I am used to reading the blogs of ego-crushing giants like Robin Mitchell, Lauren Montgomery, Ben Balistreri, etc. But my friends made passionate and convincing arguments so here I am.

I was at a loss as to what to CALL this thing...I'll probably end up changing it, time will tell. I decided to name it after a life changing moment in my development as a geek. I dub this Blog, "Day of the Dumpster", after the first ever episode of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Aye, a Saturday morning of 1993' I'll not soon forget...

As a matter of fact, this could work out real well...I've been working on a sort of "portfolio-filler", and this could give me a reason to keep it up. I plan on "adapting" the MMPR world to a (pretend) Saturday morning cartoon format! I figure everyone my age knows those characters pretty well, plus how they look. So, like in Jeff Matsuda's "The Batman", cartooning them should teach me a lot about how I like to draw, as well as show employers an honest look into my personal drawing style.

Plus I'm always guilty of holding my art as "too precious to post". Since the MMPR are a copyrighted property ANYWAY, It'll be a lot easier for me to just draw, show, and take lumps.

I'm still working on it, trying to heed the words of authors Tom Bancroft and Ben Caldwell. I have a decent springboard for the characters, Trini Kwan and Kimberly Hart (who knew they had last names!?). The suited designs aren't an issue right now. The main challenge is translating the (surprisingly diverse and detailed) character descriptions of these 6 teenagers to interesting designs, along with the other wacky citizens of Angel Grove.
I'll post some work l8er. But for now, enjoy this scribble I did (not to be confused with a "sketch". there's a diffrence, darn you!).