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.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gary Vaynerchuk on Passion, Patience and Persistence

This was way back in 2008 but in case you missed it or have never seen it, take a look.

Watch Vaynerchuk do his thing HERE. (WARNING: naughty words are used. If you're sensitive to that type of thing, you're missing out on a lot in life.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Steam Effect in Toon Boom Animate Pro

While working on the scene 28 of Adult Toy Story, I realized that it would be a nice touch to have some steam floating around. After all, Honey’s deeply involved in her shower so of course there’d be steam!

Since this is an effect, I wanted the easiest way to do it. After looking into the Toon Boom Animate Pro templates, I didn’t find exactly for what I was looking.

A quick Internet search turned up a Flash tutorial. I assumed that since Flash and Animate Pro are similar that I could apply the approach. But it still didn’t give me the results I imagined. 

The next best thing I found was a Photoshop tutorial. This was quick and worked as I imagined. Here’s what I did:

1. Before starting, I thought about the look I wanted and how best to achieve it. I’ve learned from past mistakes to not rush into any creative activity without knowing what I want.

2. I determined that the fastest and most effective approach would be to create one file. In Animate Pro, it would be on its own layer that would move upwards, animated in the program by simply establishing its start and end keyframes.

3. Once I knew how I was going to create this effect, I created a file in Photoshop whose width matched my film’s and enough height to allow for upward movement.

4. I set my foreground and background colors to the defaults, black and white.

5. I chose the Cloud filter.

6. I made the file into a layer and deleted the white.

7. I changed the opacity.

8. Done!

This file was then imported into Animate Pro and put on a layer at the top so it floats over everything else in the scene. I then clicked on the starting frame in the Timeline; placed the art at a starting point and keyframed it; clicked on the ending frame in the Timeline; dragged the art to its ending position and keyframed that.

I played the movement and made adjustments for timing until I liked it. Here’s the scene with just the various effects: