Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Wacom Tablet

In 2010—as I discussed HERE—I replaced an old Wacom Intuos 2 9" x 12" tablet with a Bamboo Pen tablet. (Funny that my original intention was to go paperless considering everything I've done since then has been on paper. I just can't kick the habit!) It was working great…until now.

It's developed an issue with the cord and since I'm on a take-no-prisoners mission to get my Repairman webisodes completed FAST, I don't have time to deal with flaky equipment. Also, I got more than its $70 price out of its use so spending $90 to replace it with something newer and better is neither a mental nor a financial strain.

After some quick research on Wacom's site, I chose the Intuos Creative Pen & Touch Tablet (Small). Actually, I chose the pen only version but upon discovering that B&H Photo was selling the more advanced model for the lesser model's price, it made sense to go with the more advanced model. Also, the "Bamboo" line has been phased out and basically replaced with the Intuous models.

The tablet looks great and works wonderfully. I didn't purchase the Wifi accessory but know that it's an option.

Thank you to B&H for not only a decent price but for the fast shipping that allowed me to get back to work quickly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Repairman Web Series Episode 01

If there was any question as to whether or not I should have put my 5-minute film aside to do a serialized story based on a Harry Harrison short story, the completion of this first episode put those questions to rest for me.

It did take longer than I originally planned (4 months from beginning to end) but ALL of my projects take longer than what I first plan. Ultimately, the goal of the pivot was to get work completed as fast as possible. In the time that I made this episode with it's beginning, middle and end I would have maybe completed ONE of the 60+ scenes in Adult Toy Story.

I'm happier with this project's progress.

I'd love to show you the final episode but I think the series can be better appreciated once there are enough completed episodes to release to you on a weekly basis.

Instead, I made this teaser trailer. Any and all feedback is welcome so please don't hesitate to tell me what you think. Thanks!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Anthony Jones's Shortcut to Being an Amazing Artist

If you're trying to improve your skills, watch this video by artist Anthony Jones:

Here are some screen shots that summarize his point:

Go to Jones's YouTube page for another great video called "How to Study Like a Creative Artist, Effectively."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Boulet's Watercoloring Technique

If there's something I would've paid money to know is the specific thinking and approach that Boulet uses for his watercolors.

I LOVE this stuff! It has such a beauty, richness and depth to it.

Boulet has posted numerous time-lapse videos of himself painting but it's not possible to see exactly how he does it. I must not have been the only one wondering because he's finally posted a video that not only explains the various types of water-based paints but summarizes his approach to "l'aquarelle" with the succinct term "La Gougoutte" or "L'il Drop."

This is "the secret" to Boulet's watercoloring success for FREE! AND the video has an English translation!

I tried this approach recently while painting my webisodes and it helped tremendously.

If you've struggled with watercoloring and are interested in a doable method, I recommend you watch Boulet's video.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Major Project Pivot

I've had my eye flare up with chronic conjunctivitis (pink eye.) I've had trouble sleeping. I've felt anxious and stressed.

All because of my concerns about completing Adult Toy Story in a timely manner.

I recently came to the conclusion that despite my best efforts, completing ATS in less than TWO years was simply not going to happen. Now that I recently turned 46-years-old, I can't justify waiting that long to get my work out into the world.

So I decided to pivot.

Once the pivot decision was made, the stress and anxiety subsided. The pivot felt right.

I have a tough dual goal: to get work out into the world and to improve my drawing, animating and storytelling skills.

Accomplishing this goal has been a multi-year challenge. I accept and embrace this challenge. But at the same time, I need to be realistic and smart about it.

After some self-assessment and re-evaluating, I decided that I do not presently have the skills to animate ATS quickly and the lack of progress was depressing me.

I DID realize that I can quickly do an animatic. So it's not full animation but it's not entirely static either.

All I needed was a short story and I found one in the public domain. It's called "The Repairman" by Harry Harrison. I divided this story into 18 episodes and each episode is divided into scenes. Each scene requires drawing, painting, animation, audio and compositing after I've storyboarded the entire episode.

This is still a LOT of work BUT it's going significantly faster than the work on the film.

Page 1 of Ep.01 storyboard
I'm calling this switch from the film to the webisodes a "pivot" rather than "quitting" because I'm leaving the film temporarily. I love ATS and WILL complete it. I just can't complete it now so it makes sense to work on something I can complete now. As long as I'm working on any project, I'm improving my skills, learning more about Toon Boom Animate Pro and getting closer to fulfilling my vision as I see it.

Coming soon: a rough version of some of Episode 1!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Learning to Ink with Crow Quill Pens

Falling in love with John J. Boulet’s work inspired me to make my own web comic. To set it apart stylistically, I decided I’d ink it with a crow quill pen (the best way to get a variety of line widths) and color it with watercolor. But how to start?

First, I researched what the pros do. The old Famous Artists Course said to use a Gillott 170 and 290 nibs so I bought those first. Then I discovered a recommendation from Dave Sim’s book Cerebus Guide to Self Publishing”. In it he explains in detail how to use a crow quill pen and specifically that a Hunt 102 nib was used for Cerebus. So I bought that, too!

Second, after buying the nibs (and the appropriate pen handles and waterproof ink), I downloaded practice exercises for the pen found from an Internet search. From what I’ve learned, using a crow quill pen is like anything else…a matter of practice.

Surprisingly, drawing all of these lines with the three different nibs isn’t monotonous. I enjoy the sensation of drawing with it and look forward to using these wonderful tools to enhance and set apart my comics.