Chalk it up

I like my local gym. I like how it pulls my squishy body back into shape after too many hours at a desk. I like the people there, how there’s a bunch of regulars that come in at the same time I do. We all nod to each other and chat a bit, and exchange exhausted “Ugh I’m so done here” groans at the end. And I like the trainers, who in this tiny gym all get to know you and joke around a bit.

In short, they know me enough to know what I do, and one of them asked if I’d draw their portraits up on the chalk board. Now, I’m no chalk artist. I’ve seen what some of those guys can do around Sydney and I’m hella impressed. But I wasn’t going to say no – play with chalk? For a couple months free membership? Hell yeah.

The terror of the Blank Canvas

The terror of the Blank Canvas

Mess!

Mess!

The Title looks fine at least

The Title looks fine at least













I started easy, with the text and pointy hand. The lack of an undo button was genuinely terrifying, but had a very concentrating power – no more sloppiness allowed. I actually had to think about what I did before I did it. Weird.
Tiare stage 1

Tiare stage 1…ew

Tiare stage 2

Tiare stage 2…it’s worse!

I umm-ed and aaahh-ed about black ‘n’ white vs colour for a long while. Colour was the winner, but not without a lot of trepidation. I was using soft pastels, which are really clingy. The only way to really rub it off is to throw water on the chalkboard. That meant if I messed up I had to start all over again. And I knew pastels would only support about two or three layers of colour, so I had to be smart about building up those layers. It goes through a mega hideous stage before it looks any good.

Tiare stage 3. Oh, actually looks human

Tiare stage 3. Oh, actually looks human

Tiare stage 4, uniform and golden locks

Tiare stage 4. Uniform and golden locks

As you can tell, I went for a very exaggerated, cartoonish look. I think I captured Tiare’s essence though – she poses like this all the time :p









Then it was the boys’ turn. I’ve got their photos here too, so you can judge how close I got.
Matt, gross stage

Matt, gross stage

Matt: Hairy Ape Man

Matt: Hairy Ape Man

Junya, looking like a little Buddha

Junya, little Buddha



Matt ref photo

Matt ref photo

Mike ref photo

Mike ref photo

Junya, ref photo

Junya, ref photo





















It really does take a while to get used to analogue media after a few years of digital, and it can be disheartening to feel like you’ve lost that competence. But it’s great fun getting fingers messy again.

Everyone should play with chalk.

The finished masterpiece

The finished masterpiece

Miss Busties

Miss-Busties-(MythBusters-co-workers)
Ooolala! Pinupalishious!
These dames (and my fine self, on the right there) are my co-workers in crime. Yes gentlemen, these gals have both the beauty AND the brains, as they wrangle MythBusters post-production into something like a damn fine show. Miss Busty (MythBusters), Posey Belle (Plausible) and Connie Firm (Confirmed) are her for your entertainment!

OK, what really happened was the work Christmas party was themed ‘Great Gatsby’. It was 2013. It was inevitable. So the lasses and I threw out the flapper idea and instead wowed everybody with our cigarette girl costumes. I may be exaggerating, but I don’t care, we were terrific. I decided to commemorate the event with a pin-up painting. Here’s a few work-in-progress images. Thank you, dear departed Gil Elvgren for showing me how it’s done.

Our Beautiful Selves

Our Beautiful Selves

First sketch. Not too great.

First sketch. Not too great.

Alicia sketch

Alicia sketch

Oh my! How clumsy!

Oh my! How clumsy!

Ravishing Ria

Ravishing Ria

Colour palette & block colours

Colour palette & block colours

Working up the detail on faces and clothes.

Working up the detail on faces and clothes

MythBusters Bullet Baloney

MythBusters animation with a difference! Here was my big chance to introduce some classic ol’ frame-by-frame animation to the show.

This was great fun, if bloody hard work. Eight solid weeks of this beast consuming my life, and I don’t mind telling anyone who is or isn’t listening.

Anyway, I’ve got some work in progress here, starting from when I first got the ‘Wild West’ brief and worked on what A&J would look like in cowboy garb.

Adam Bandit

Adam Bandit

Jamie Lawman

Jamie Lawman




















This is of course the fun bit, when it’s all potential and no all-nighters yet. The next step was thumbnails. They’re super messy, but you can see the ideas starting to come together (and the bits I ditched. Can’t believe I thought shooting Jamie in the butt was a great idea.)
Wild-West Thumbnails 1

Wild-West Thumbnails 1

Wild-West Thumbnails 2

Wild-West Thumbnails 2

WildWest Storyboard 1

WildWest Storyboard 1

Wild West Storyboard 5

Wild West Storyboard 5

Then came the storyboards. The composition of the action, ideas about the background and firmer character designs came out of these. They also were pretty important for the editor (hi Evan!) as he cut these images together to the music, and could show Discovery channel what we were thinking. The animatic he gave back to me was my bible – I needed to know exactly how long each shot was, because this is old-school animation and I’m drawing every frame.
I’m sad that Kari shooting the bandit was bumped from the final animation. I’ve got a bit of a soft-spot for cowgirls (shock). I got as far as inking her movements, before Evan and I agreed time-wise it wouldn’t fit:

KariShoot The bit that melted my brain the most was when Grant grabs the shotgun from Tory, and I decided throwing a camera spin in there would be fun. I started to regret that decision pretty much straight away when I was doing first-pass rough animation. Everything’s moving and shifting perspective – the gun, the hands, the faces.

Tory and Grant But because of some madness I stuck with it, throwing in some smears on the faces for some faux-motion blur (and because sticking to a face model got very hard). As usual, it’s over so quick and most viewers will never realise how much cursing it took! I like it though, it was a good learning experience.

Bent Barrel Oh, Tory has such a delicious face for caricature.
Let me know if you want to see any work-in-progress for the other scenes. Big thanks to Josh Bramley for painting the background environments, thanks Ian for constantly posing for reference videos, and thanks Red Dead Redemption for all the inspiration.

The Monsters are Back!

GMBM-poster-image-1
Remember back to this post about the Good Monster Bad Monster book illustrations?

Well, now it’s a full-blown film, part of the ‘Locks of Love’ feature by Screen ACT and SilverSun Pictures. I do love these squishy furry monsters, and they were fun to animate – loads of squash and stretch and cartoony violence.
The biggest ordeal was, after animating the little rotters in ToonBoom, I had to achieve the same pencil-coloured look as in the book. After a few failed attempts in After Effects, I decided the only way was the hard way. I exported the roughs from ToonBoom to Photoshop, and then coloured in each frame with a pencil-like brush. It took awhile, but worth it in the end. Here’s a short segment:

Good Monster Bad Monster

GMBM-CoverOK, how cute is this? How could I possibly turn this job down?
Evan Croker, a Canberran film-maker, needed a prop for a film of his. A kid’s book, featuring the two monsters that would dance around in the main character’s imagination throughout the movie.
The best part about this project was getting back into coloured pencils. Other digital artists can relate to this – it’s both scary and wonderfully releasing. There’s no Command-Z, but you get sucked into the work in a completely engulfing way. I think it’s the lack of internet! A piece of paper can’t tweet at you.

Heaven is a dining table where no dining happens

Heaven is a dining table where no dining happens

Goody Monster

Goody Monster

Baddy Monster

Baddy Monster













Evan and I settled on a very squishy, round and fluffy look for the monsters. I gave it a go with watercolour but it didn’t quite work, so I tried coloured pencils on rough watercolour paper, and it worked wonderfully. It’s nice to sit back and let the texture of paper do the work for you! Here’s a few pages that I liked the most:
Good Monster Bad Monster p1

GMBM p1

GMBM p3

GMBM p3

GMBM p6

GMBM p6

GMBM p7

GMBM p7

GMBM p8

GMBM p8














Good Monster can be a jerk sometimes.

Einstein and Zombies

Einstein is oddly suited to zombification…Hmm… Anyway! This is a promo for Time Vandals, the first book in an exciting new series by award winning writer Craig Cormick. Alternate Realities, Incredible Physics, and of course ZOMBIES!

Produced by Pete Butz at Cry Havoc Media, animated by myself and special thanks to James Moudakis.

Psychotics continue

I have an update from the Psycho Chicken project for your greedy little eyes.

Here is an inked version of the complete TVC, about 18 seconds long. So far, the animation and inking has taken a grand total of 40 hrs. At 2 hrs per second, that’s pretty cool.

Next stage is the colouring. What I would love is to give it the painterly backgrounds of old TV cartoons. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Cheerio.

I wants to eat it

This.
Is genius.

Psycho Chicken

Hey all, I have a nice, somewhat rare opportunity to show work-in-progress here.

Psycho Chicken (what a name!) is a fast-yet-healthy food business in Sydney.
Nic (a sound designer buddy of mine) and I have decided to make an animated TVC for these guys as a bit of an exercise and test of our speed and resources. (And yes, the Psycho Chicken boss agreed!) SO, without any need for secrecy or client confidence, I can post every part of the production process.

First off is the story-boarding. Well. What else could we possibly do but a re-make of Hitchcock’s classic Psycho shower scene? Honestly I TRIED… I tried REALLY hard… But I couldn’t think of anything more fun.
Storyboard 1Stroyboard 2
With the basic story in place, Nic and I agreed on a Warner-Bros animation style. This has a lot of ‘rubber-arm’ physicality, absurd violence and animation techniques such as smearing which adds a lot of zaniness and energy. (Not to mention removes the horror of ‘Psycho’s’ violence, and just makes it absurdly funny) So I spent some time watching other crazy birds such as the Road Runner and Foghorn Leghorn.
coyote roadrunner
Yesterday I jumped into test animations. Here’s our chicken villain, coming to get you…

Chicken stalking
Pretty damn fun. And here’s the vegetables caught in the shower.

Veggies screaming
I’m doing more work on this today. It’s one of those blessed projects where one wakes up in the morning, grinning at the prospect of working. Ah, cartoon violence. Nothing like it.

‘Dorks’ app game

Dorks is a strategy game set in a high fantasy world but from the perspective of the ultimate underdogs: the ugly, smelly D’orks. The first demo has been developed, with myself as animator and art director. It has been incredibly fun – I mean, who doesn’t like making monsters? Other credits include Lucas Li as project manager and scriptwriter, and Daniel Fenek as programmer. Links to the demo and official website coming soon – for now, enjoy these character sprites…

The thick yet aborable melee unit, ‘Thumper’


D’ork units turn to slime when they die.


My personal favourite: the range unit ‘Snot Slinger’
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