Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shoutout Sunday: Simon Stålenhag

This Sunday I want to give thanks to Simon Stålenhag.

Stålenhag is an artist based in the countryside of Stockholm, Sweden. He has worked on films, commercials, book covers and video games. His paintings are simply extraordinary.

What makes Stålenhag s work so wonderful and exceptional is the imagination on display. He is clearly influenced by his countryside environment which often figures in his pieces. What sets his work apart is the juxtaposition of the countryside and familiar situations against robots and dinosaurs. Each picture captures a moment that encourages your own imagination to determine what happened before and after that moment. Every time I look at a Stålenhag painting, I can’t help but start imagining entire stories. His work is mesmerizing. Period.

Thrill your imagination with Stålenhag's art gallery site or his Tumblr page.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Amazing Middle Comic Beginning VI

Final, scaled up thumbnails for overall layout and early measurements. After some research about web comics, the prevailing idea is that one's web comics should be a standard size to make it easier for them to be published in book form.

This is the final layout for the comic titled "What the Hell Happened?" although Paddington's position will change (per the note on the left under "SWAP")  to improve the composition's flow.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Shoutout Sunday: Rad Sechrist

This Sunday I want to say thanks to Rad Sechrist.

Sechrist is an animation storyboard artist/character designer who has worked at several major animation studios. He has drawn comics and has taught storyboarding and drawing and currently has online instruction courses.

If you’re studying anatomy, I recommend you look at the archives at Sechrist’s site. He has many easy-to-read, color-coded anatomy diagrams that are incredibly informative. I lost count of how many how-to diagrams and posts I’ve downloaded and saved from Sechrist’s site, primarily from his early posts. He studies, dissects and then presents information in easy to digest bites. He’s a one-man drawing education.

I like that he shows his thought process, methods and approaches to studying
This is some incredibly helpful stuff.

Visit Rad’s blog here and his online school here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Amazing Middle Comic Beginning V

Thumbnails for panels and overall layout for the comic including the Henry Reed section:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shoutout Sunday: Robh Ruppel

This Sunday I want to recognize Robh Ruppel.

Ruppel is a concept artist and production designer for games and animated films in addition to being a teacher.

I discovered Ruppel at one of my favorite blogs, Muddy Colors. This review of Ruppel's "Graphic LA" sold me on the book immediately. And the book does not disappoint.

Ruppel has a simple approach—breaking images down into basic shapes and values—that's anything but simple to execute. Ruppel's considerable skills are on display in Graphic LA. Combined with the incredible paintings and step-by-step tutorials are short yet informative bits of text.

I haven't yet fully applied Ruppel's methods but I'm confident that once I dedicate the time to his teachings, my painting will dramatically improve.

Check out Graphic LA and Ruppel's other work.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Amazing Middle Comic Beginning IV

Sketches for The Great Brain and SOS Bobomobile portions of the comic:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Shoutout Sunday: Aaron Blaise

This Sunday I want to thank Aaron Blaise.

Aaron Blaise is a former Disney animator, supervising animator and co-director of "Brother Bear", an animal-lover (see pic above), a painter and an all-around inspiring artist.

Aaron Blaise

Blaise's YouTube channel is full of informative lessons. His site Creature Art Teacher offers a variety of courses. I just happened to catch a sale and spent the mere $49 for his Complete Animation Course (honestly, even if it were still priced at $129, I would've bought it. He's that good.)

I'm looking forward to downloading the 26 course files and starting the course about which I'll post.

Until then, check our Aaron Blaise's sites. You're likely to find something useful.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

James Gurney Explores Stylistic Evolution

James Gurney's Gurney Journey is a site I visit every day. The creator of Dinotopia always has valuable advice, information and introductions to exceptional artists.

I especially liked this "Stylistic Evolution" post because it supports an argument I often make about artists.

Early Klimt.

Late Klimt (This happens to be one of my all-time favorite paintings. Ever.)

My position is that one cannot be a good abstract artist until one has learned to be a good representational artist. With all due respect, I find it impossible to respect many contemporary artist who have a specific style that shows no underlying foundation of having learned basic principles.

I also see this lack of foundational skills in many of the most popular web comics.

I understand being in a hurry to get your work out and to use shortcuts. I'm middle-aged and 20 years behind my peers skills-wise and career-wise. Technically, I don't have a lot of time to complete projects and get discovered by the world. Taking shortcuts sounds like a great idea. But I've taken those shortcuts and instead of being a help, they've hindered me significantly. So now I'm willing to take the time to learn the basics so that once I am ready to share my work with the world, it will be worthy of the world's attention.

As Steve Martin said, "Be so good that they can't ignore you."

Words for all of us, especially artists, to live by.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Amazing Middle Comic Beginning III

Sketches for the Paddington portion of the comic:

Thumbnails searching for expression and figure placement.

The final pencil for the comic's Paddington panel.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Shoutout Sunday: John K.

This Sunday I want to give thanks to: John K.

John Kricfalusi with Ren and Stimpy.
During my years in the wilderness of trying to improve my drawing and animation skills, I came upon the light.

That light was John K's blog.

John K., the creator of "Ren and Stimpy" and a Bakshi's Mighty Mouse animator, shared a small yet significant piece of advice that changed my entire way of approaching animation drawing.

He said that the best way to learn how to do animation drawing is to study the original version of Preston Blair's "How to Animate Film Cartoons."

This blew me away because I had that book…since I was a kid! I kept it all of these years thinking that it was a cute relic from my childhood. Even as a kid I dismissed it as…for kids.

Turns out I was wrong and that I was sitting on an animation education gold mine. It was John K. who opened my eyes to the value of this book.

John K. created his own animation school complete with lessons, some of which are based on the Blair book. As someone who was flailing around, unsure what I should be learning and how to learn it, John K. was a god send. If you want to improve your cartoon drawing, follow his curriculum. You'll be surprised at what you didn't know and with deliberate practice, your skills will definitely improve.