I don't think this image has ever been printed in any book or posted on anything since I drew this 20 years ago for Disney's Kingdom of the Sun. You are the first to see this image in over two decades.
This was the early development work for Roger Allers' version of the film that would later become The Emperor's New Groove. The story was considerably different, in this scene Pacha sneaks into the palace to retrieve his llama that has been taken by Prince Manco.
This is a graphite pencil drawing. I would vary between wax based pencils and graphite depending upon the level of detail or atmosphere I needed to capture in a drawing. If I needed more detail, I used graphite. If I needed more atmosphere, I used a wax pencil.
With so much digital work in animation today, it’s important to keep in mind that “design" should be the driving and motivating factor of design. While it’s a lot easier to create digital artwork that allows us to use multiple layers, textures and even 3D models to paint over, don’t underestimate the power of the pencil. The pencil is a direct line of communication.
Glenn Keene has said, "the pencil is the seismograph to the soul."
The strength of pencil design work is that every mark on the paper is a deliberate stroke. Each value, each mark is a decision made by the designer. How you feel, what you want to say, is directly translated onto the paper.
This is one of the designs I proposed for the girl Smurf village.
Here are a series of visual development paintings I did for Hotel Transylvania 2. Although I'm not listed in the credits, I did do some work for HT2 in the early development stages. In this assignment, we were exploring the world of Johnny's parents, still trying to figure out how to keep the look for this new location consistent in the same HT style.
I thought I would play up the contrast between the Romanesque castle architecture with no windows, to the modern glass wall architecture. What would be worse for a vampire than a glass house?
Poor Dracula, just when he thought he was going to get a little shut eye. What could be more horrifying to a vampire than the morning light?
In this image we can see the hearse driving through the Napa valley. A subliminal cross peaks out over the treetops to torment Dracula.
The postcard game is game where you trade artwork with your artist friends.
Look at this gorgeous watercolor postcard I received several years ago from my friend Paul Felix...sent to me FROM AFRICA! The Disney Studio sent Paul all the way to Kenya to do research for their upcoming film at the time, TARZAN, and he was taken by guides to a remote mountain where he was able to observe Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat!
I'm including the back of this postcard so that you can see it has the actual postage stamps from Kenya! Sent to me, while I was at the Disney studio in Burbank working on Mulan.
Here's a seven minute figure drawing sketch from last night, drawn while using my Fractal Method.
Athletes to the gym and train, they build muscles they need and use when performing their activity. Artists are very much the same way, we need to train for our activity -- and going to figure drawing is our gym.
So, if you're an artist, get into our gym and start working out!
Continuing with my Ordinary Hero series, this guy was my ordinary hero today! When his little mini-me started to act up at a local yogurt shop, this hero promptly "took-him-out." Hah! Now, that's what I call a real, "PUNISHER." We need more parents like this!
I just uploaded a new video on my Youtube channel. Designer Training/Drawing with Markers. I do my usual ramblings as I discuss the importance of training, my unique Fractal Method of designer-training, setting goals, and some tips on marker drawings in your sketchbook. If you have any questions, post them here. I'll get back to you.
Entertaining a thought here, what if superheroes were just like regular people. I mean, what if they were still super, but they didn’t wear costumes – rather, just regular clothes. What would they look like? Along with the usual suspects of antiquated art equipment. I've got a mechanical pencil whose metal grip has nearly been worn off, an extinct Tria marker, and my favorite eraser.
Here's a memory sketch of a big guy that we spotted last week during our sketch club. I paired him up in my sketchbook with this odd looking young woman. She was a young hipster that dyed her hair blue, and dressed like an old lady.
I usually reserve my dry marker sketching for figure drawing. But, this time I drew a character design using the tool, a dry brush pen. I was attempting to refill the pen because it had dried out too much and I was testing it out. I liked the doodle, so I added an orange color to fill it in.
The tool isn't as important as the idea or the design, but a different tool may cause you to think differently. If you feel like you're in a rut with your drawings, switch up on your tools and see how that affects your thinking.
The storyline is this, the villain attempts to get away, while the Milo gives chase. They use some of the planes that was brought by the explorers onboard the sub. Of course, you know this attempt fails, and the heroes have to attempt to activate the older technology in order to stop the villains.
I drew this one for Disney's Atlantis, 17 years ago. It was drawn with graphite pencil on a ledger bond paper.
In 2003, at Sony Pictures Animation, we were still trying to figure out how to create digital animated movies. In these designs I was building assets that were later used in a test using Maya. I did a series of drawings that we used as digital cards, in order to plan a camera move and track our camera.The cards were later replaced by digital assets as they were created.
In the beginning at Sony Pictures Animation, we were in the process of having to invent techniques that would later become a staple at the studio. Much of what we did was a mix of analog and digital. I provided drawings, and Michael Humphries painted them. Much of the paintings Michael did were also analog. He painted his work in acrylic paint, and had a whole series of painting techniques to accommodate the textures.
Once completed, our digital painters emulated what Michael Humphries was able to do with paint, and likewise with the digital models. The result was spectacular as is evidenced by the movie.
That's a doodle of my youngest daughter there among the foliage.
My 13 year old daughter now has her own Youtube channel! She's been posting some of her animation, please go and take a look. If you subscribe, you'll get notices when she posts a new one. BTW, it's all done on an iPad, and all her own ideas.
We have to reach back to 2002 for this one. The date says 2003, but I remember it was drawn while I was still living in Utah, thereby making it between 1997 - 2002. By the end of 2002, I had moved back to California.
This drawing is graphite pencil on bond paper. I probably added the slight blur on the foreground element in 2003, hence the later date on the drawing. I guess it's now a mix between traditional and digital. Normally, I would have drawn the blur.
I think that computers have certainly been a benefit to the industry of animation, but that's not to say that it didn't come without a cost. I don't know that there are many people left who can still draw backgrounds on paper as they did during the golden age of animation.
I'm still playing around with this funny cat idea.
I've had cats nearly all of my life, and they are amazing personalities to live with. I don't really feel like they are truly domesticated, but rather to live with a cat is to have a complicated relationship with someone.
They certainly have a mind of their own, regardless our plans or expectations we attempt to have for them.
Just because...I'm a huge fan of the original Planet of the Apes. And, who doesn't like a good revolution poster? Only, in this case, a good devolution poster.
It's a vintage era propaganda poster from the apocalyptic future.
Sorry for the low res JPG, but a print of this image is available at Society6. Just click the link and it will take you to their site where you can purchase a variety of print sizes of this image. If it does well, I may continue this series and make three different prints available.
We have a club that meets every Friday for some sketching fun. We eat lunch,
and watch passersby as we "inconspicuously" eye them and sketch them
out. I think the people-watching is half the fun. People, of all shapes and
sizes, really are beautiful.
Steven Silver and I started the club in August of 2005, and I've been
attending ever since. Sure, sometimes we have to move the club to Thursday
because of a meeting or something, and sometimes I'm on vacation, but aside
from that my sketch club date is non-negotiable. If I have free time, I'm going
to the club.
There were times the club dwindled down to me, alone, eating and drawing.
But, still I wouldn't miss a week. And then there were times attendance would
grow to 18 people. 18 artists packed into a restaurant, laughing, drawing, and
sharing their art with each other.
Over the years I've been blessed to have some of the biggest names in the
So. California's animation industry sitting and drawing right next to me. Other
times I've been surrounded by young, enthusiastic talent -- yearning to stretch
As artists came and went from the club, I began to really appreciate each
and every one of them. Each artist unique, distinct and honest with themselves
-- searching, just like I was, for that voice inside them that speaks without
The friendships I've been able to cultivate with this collection of artists
has been immeasurable to me. I thought I had been filling pages in my
sketchbooks, but I've been filling pages in my life. To all of you who have
attended the club over the years, thanks.