New showreel

Let’s get reel!

Here’s the latest grab-bag of things I’ve worked on lately, including MythBusters, White Rabbit Project and assorted freelance stuff. This reel is mostly all hand-drawn and puppet animation, as I’ll be making a seperate motion graphics reel soon.

Enjoy!

Studying Again

Painting’s pretty great. Especially the digital kind, with that ‘UNDO’ button. But I never properly learned how, so I’ve gone back to CGMA and signed up for their Digital Painting course.
I’m 3 weeks in, and the homework’s been interesting (and frustrating at times):

week-2-texturesAbove is a textures exercise. The idea is to find photos of different textures, and paint them on a sphere. It really forces you to look and analyse, rather than just copy. The snake was more trouble than I thought it would be – it actually turned out to be the hardest.

week1-film studiesWe did some master studies too, taking stills from films and learning composition & lighting from them. And then came this week’s challenge: a ‘Master Copy’ (copying a painting from a ‘master’ artist). I chose one from John S Sargent.

week-3_mastercopy I’ll admit it – painting the dog was way more fun than painting the girl! But it is such a lovely image, I hope I did it some justice.
Well, my brain’s already hurting. Let’s see how the next 5 weeks go.

Dust of the Earth

DustCover_FINAL_v1
My ever-patient husband finally has the bookcover I promised him months ago.
This is for his cyberpunk novel ‘Dust of the Earth’ (link opens to the amazon kindle page) that he recently self-published. I’m very proud of him, and fully endorse this new direction in his life. He used to be a stuntman you see, and after years of being thrown off balconies and dragged behind cars, I’m glad he’s making his characters get the bruises instead.

Here’s some work-in-progess if you’re into that sorta thing:

01. Ian posing for me, and a little Ghost in the Shell inspiration.
Dust_WIP_01
02. Started in black in white to get the tones right. Gave Ian some chiseled good looks too 😉
Dust_WIP_02
03. I find robotic/mechanical things very difficult, and this cyber-goon took a looong time. How light and shadow look on a metal & plastic surface just isn’t intuitive for me yet, like it is with skin.
Dust_WIP_03
Dust_WIP_04
05. Time for colour! And to deal with that gun holster thingy…(I really am exploring all my weaknesses with this work; I’m not good with guns :/ )
Dust_WIP_05
06. And finally, figuring out layout & font & polishing up & all the stuff that takes you hours past your bedtime. Have a look back at the top image to see the final piece. As always, critiques welcome.
(Also, I encourage you to read Ian’s book. It’s a fun ride)

Dust_WIP_06

Anatomy class is DONE!

Oh man, 2 months of intense art cramming is over. This was Ron Lemen’s Analytical Figure Drawing class, and I’d totally recommend it for getting your accurate human drawing skills up to snuff.
Every week had an assignment – you’ve seen the gesture drawing one. Here’s a sample of the rest, for your judgement:

Wk 2: Skeletons
Wk2_skeletons
Wk 3: Head Structure
Wk3_Head Structure
Wk 4: Torso Muscles
Wk4_Torso
Wk 5: Back Muscles
wk5_Back
Wk 7: Legs
wk7_Legs
And finally, Wk 8: Everything we learned plus a shaded drawing
wk8_Everything

Welp, there we go. I’ve never concentrated so hard and been so detailed in my approach to human figures – I feel it’s done me good.
Oh, and if you’re going to take this course, I heartily recommend getting those human anatomy posters – you know the ones in doctor’s offices, with skeletons and muscle systems all laid out and labeled? SUPER HANDY, believe me. They’re up on my studio wall now and they are not moving.
All the best folks, I”m going to binge on Archer now.
Bye!

Learnin’ drawing all proper-like.

Who DOESN’T want more homework in their life?
You?
Oh.

Well anyway, I started a CGMA masterclass last week, and already I’m up to my eyeballs in homework – which is good, really. I like their high expectations and rigour.
The course is Analytical Figure Drawing with Ron Lemen, and I took it hoping to get a really good education on drawing humans, because I never had that basic training at school or Uni.

So far, so great. Here’s a sample of the 50 (YES, 50!) gesture drawings I had to do last week, following Ron’s two-layer procedure.
Katie_Winchester_wk1_700px

There are two layers to each drawing, done traditionally on tracing paper. The bottom layer is a mannequin – a pillow for the torso, stick-figure limbs, and triangle shapes for the feet. Then ontop of this basic structure is the curvy, fleshy outlines. It’s a really good method I’ve never tried before. You’ll probably see it better in this gif:

Layers

Next week’s task involves drawing bones and boxes (teeheehee). The homework’s equally hardcore, so I may post them…or I may be sleeping in an exhausted pile.
Cheers.

Behind The Lines

This little beauty is a freelance gig I did for SilverSun Pictures. It’s a commercial for the annual Behind The Lines exhibit in Canberra, and I think you can see why the job appealed to me.

The illustration is by Mark Knight, and my job was to cut it up and make it move. Here’s what I started with:

Team Australia

Team Australia

And then, because I wanted a number of extreme poses, I just had to draw and re-draw the caricature’s bodies, arms and legs. I’m so glad Mark uses that expressive, scattered linework – I could have things be messy and still on-model (just). Here’s a couple of images to give you an idea of the process:

ToneyPieces-web

Terrified yet? Here’s Julie (laser beams done in post. You’ll just have to watch the video again to see them, won’t you):

JuleeFrames-web

(A bit like game sprites, huh? Ooo, that’s an idea, a Team Australia game…)
The hardest part was colouring. Twisting the union jack around the limbs was especially icky, as well as keeping all them stars where they should be.
We should get a new flag, it’ll make my job easier.

Anyhow, hoped you enjoyed all the spandex and budgy smugglers.

Random Sketchypoos

In a heartfelt and oft-failing attempt to sketch every day this year, I’ve actually got a pile of rough sketches I like.
A small pile, but it exists!
They’re not good enough for the illustration page, but I wanted to keep a record of them before they get trampled/abducted/destroyed by cat. Behold, the current faves:

Spider bit me. True story

Spider bit me. True story

WWF was on TV

WWF was on TV

Post-Workout

Post-Workout

I met Martin Pearson!!!

I met Martin Pearson!!!

Pony with a hobby

Pony with a hobby

Prickles rescues Pooch

Prickles rescues Pooch

Weepbix

Weepbix

Intestine Monster

Intestine Monster

TuskMonster. Not at all inspired by Jamie Hyneman

TuskMonster. Not at all inspired by Jamie Hyneman

Narnia in my bedroom

Narnia_mural
So, my parents were pretty cool to me back when I was a high-schooler. Granted, I’d been scribbling pencil and crayon on the walls since I was tiny, so maybe their ‘permission’ was more like surrender.

Either way, when I was 15 I started painting lions, dragons and swashbuckling scenes on my bedroom walls. When I moved out my little bro inherited the room, and now that he’s finally moved his butt to university there’s a big blank patch on the walls where a desk used to live.
I’m ‘between seasons’ on Mythbusters, so I went back to the old homestead and figured I’d do something to fix the patch. Here are the work-in-progress shots (sorry for crappy camera). Click to enlarge.

The Patch

The Patch

It's grander with capitals

Hand’s a bit iffy, but the face is OK

Snow!

Snow!

If you haven’t guessed what I’m doing by now, you didn’t read the title and also you have lived a deprived uncultured existence and must go read ALL of Narnia right now. Go on, I’ll wait.
(Also if you have to watch things instead of read, don’t get those dull movies. Go watch the original BBC series with all the cool puppets.)

Lucy has skin. My window has Spiderman.

Lucy has skin. My window has Spiderman.

Base colours. Check out my high-tech lighting.

Base colours. Check out my high-tech lighting.


I love Lucy.

I love Lucy.

Viola!

Viola!

Lamp post detail

Lamp post detail

Mr Tumnus detail

Mr Tumnus detail

In all the process took about 4 and a half days. It would’ve been quicker if there wasn’t so much Tattoo Nightmares to watch with mum.

I took some photos of the older murals while I was at it:

Ahoy

Ahoy

Safari

Safari

The jungle bit

The jungle bit

Turtles!

Turtles!

And shark. Because this is 'straya

And shark. Because this is ‘straya

Not a bad way to spend the holidays.

Season 10 MythBusters!

Alrighty, the first few episodes have aired and I can safely reveal all! I especially want to talk about the Indiana Jones episode, because: a) it’s my favourite and b) it was the first Season 10 episode I worked on, and was my great big guinea-pig for the new graphics style I had half-formed in my head.

Fans of the show will be familiar with the old cut-out puppet animation on a blueprint background:

From Supersonic Pingpong

From Supersonic PingPong

From 'Fire In The Hole'

From ‘Fire In The Hole’

From 'Jato 3'

From ‘Jato 3’












This was a pretty versatile style. The blueprint acted as a nice sky texture, and the white-outlined caricatures became very recognisable as the ‘MythBusters Style’. I started on MB nearly 3 years ago, so I inherited this style and did my best to stick to the jokey, cute nature of it. But for Season 10 I was asked to completely reinvent the animations, to make it less childish and more informative.
A bit daunting, but I already had an idea which way I wanted to go: something of a technical-drawing or ikea manual. (With plenty of inspiration from Portal and, weirdly enough, a Dove commercial)

This is the animation I tackled first:

And here’s the half-dozen storyboards I made for it. Usually I don’t get into this much detail or colour for storyboards. But this was all super-tentative, and neither I or the bosses knew for sure what we wanted yet.

Grey BG, white figures

Grey background, white figures

Gradient background

Gradient background

Gradient background, coloured figures

Gradient background, coloured figures

Bit of a themed look & title

Bit of a themed look & title

Themed 'parchment' look with coloured figures

Themed ‘parchment’ look with coloured figures

Trying out blue gradient or the old blueprint. Icky.

Trying out blue gradient or the old blueprint. Icky.


























So, as much as the parchment background appealed to me the decision was to go with #3. We wanted something consistent, a look that would stay similar throughout an episode (and season). I ended up re-using the old blueprint as a light grey texture – it added something nice to the background. Adam-as-Indy and his accessories were all hand-drawn because drawing is fun (I’m selfish) and to better resemble the old 70’s tech manual art. The action was less slapstick too. I found a lot of opportunity for more subtle humour in the captions & drawn objects.

And y’know the best bit about this new look? Hand-drawn animation!
You’ll know from Bullet Baloney that I’m a sucker for that stuff. The next animation needed for Indiana Jones was the ‘Temple Run’ scenario, where I needed to highlight the step-trigger and poisoned darts.
Here’s some work in progress if you like seeing roughs:

TempleRun 1
Indy inked in:
TempleRun 2
And the final beast, with a temple environment inspired by Adam’s scale model.



Thanks for reading, folks. And I hope you’re all enjoying the new MythBusters. I personally really like the new science-focused take on the show. These days it’s actually difficult to make a TV show that doesn’t dumb everything down, grab you by the hand and rush you to the next explosion. There’s a lot of pressure from external forces to make everything more of a spectacle.
Don’t get me wrong, there WILL be plenty of boom and mayhem this series. But I like watching closely how Adam and Jamie make their contraptions, and there’s definitely more time spent on that now than before.
Catch ya later.

Hunstberger Junk

Ian, my tiny self and David

Ian, my tiny self and David


I went to LA and met lil’ Davey Hunstberger! (except…well I’m the lil’ one there.)
David is one leg of the three-legged-stool that is Professor Blastoff, a comedy science podcast that is the best. Just the best. No arguments.

So congrats to David for successfully wrangling a bunch of animators to produce work for his Animated Stand Up Show. David was generous enough to let a little Aussie join in the fun, and I made a couple of animations to play behind his comedy act at specific points. There’s no sound here (you’ll need to get the DVD of the whole event) but enjoy the visuals.