Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep12

"A cold and fishy eye."

Flying around space fixing hyperspace beacons can be dangerous.

New episodes every Monday and Thursday.


Monday, June 12, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep11

"A grand sight."

Flying around space fixing hyperspace beacons can be dangerous.

New episodes every Monday and Thursday.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep10

"Horrible but effective."
Flying around space fixing hyperspace beacons can be dangerous.
New episodes every Monday and Thursday.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep08

"And it wasn't nice."
Flying around space fixing hyperspace beacons can be dangerous.
New episodes every Monday and Thursday.


Monday, May 29, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep07

"Time to make contact."
Flying around space fixing hyperspace beacons can be dangerous.
New episodes every Monday and Thursday.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep06

"They are poison."
Flying around space fixing hyperspace beacons can be dangerous.
New episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep05

"Something clicked in my mind."

A Universe of Trouble—Ep04

"You have to understand hyperspace."


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Universe of Trouble TEASER!


On Wednesday, April 29, 2015 I started this journey.

At that time, I was struggling to simultaneously draw a 5-minute film while also learning to draw.

It. Wasn't. Working.

My skills were not sufficient to make the film as I pictured it in my head. And learning to draw while also trying to draw a project was getting me nowhere since I was splitting my limited time.

Through all of that, I had a nagging desire to complete some THING. Any THING!

I had calculated that at my present pace, my 5-minute film would take 3-5 YEARS to complete!

So I thought if I did a project shorter than 5-minutes, it would be completed quickly and satisfy my need to make something.

That's when I found Harry Harrison's "The Repairman" and was grabbed by the story. It felt like an excellent opportunity to tell a new story with a black woman in a compelling situation that had nothing to do with being black or female. It was perfect!

When I started I thought it'd take a few months to a year to complete. That quickly became a dream after it took 3 months just to complete the first episode…out of 17 episodes!

Yeah, I miscalculated. Badly.

Now, exactly 2 years later on Saturday, April 29, 2017, I completed this project! One month before my deadline!

I didn't fully realize how stressful working on this project was until it was over. I spent so much time on it that other parts of my life suffered. Despite the stress, however, I would have done it again. What I've learned from doing this project could ONLY have been learned by doing this project!

Now that I've made something and will be sharing it with the world, I'm excited and eager to get back to just pure drawing skills development.

I'll be discussing what I learned from doing this project in future posts in addition to what I'm learning now as I return to drawing practice.

I hope you enjoy my project! Please give me your feedback. As long as it's constructive criticism and observations (and not pure hating), it can only make me better.

Thanks for following me on this journey!

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep17 Storyboard. FINAL EPISODE!

Here it is.

I've imagined this moment since April, 2015.

I'm about to start production on the FINAL episode of this project/journey.

I can't begin to describe how thrilled I am to be one big step from the end of this project.

One more BIG PUSH, and I'll be DONE!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Universe of Trouble—Ep16 Storyboard

Here it is, the penultimate episode of my web series "A Universe of Trouble."

This is the episode that I originally had split into two. But after a second look, I decided to make it one long episode instead of two short ones. I think it makes sense storywise but also…it helps me psychologically. Once I decided I had one less episode to create, I felt less pressure! It's still the same amount of work BUT it feels like less work since it's one less episode. If I need this mind trick to complete this project, so be it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ep14 DONE! Ep15 DONE!

Scene from Episode 14.

Scene from Episode 15.
I've been so immersed in my Big Push that I didn't realize I hadn't posted since Jan. 30!

And since the last post I've completed TWO MORE EPISODES!

The light at the end of the tunnel has gotten a bit brighter now. There's one big scene and one small scene to complete and then I'll be done with this two-year challenge.

Next post: the storyboard for Episode 16

Monday, January 30, 2017

Episode 13 Production Has Begun

Continuing with my "Big Push Period" to complete the last 6 episodes of "A Universe of Trouble" on Memorial Day weekend, 2017, I completed the storyboard and scenes 01 and 02 this weekend. In the process I discovered that scene 03 is simply a closeup and scene 02 which saved me from having to do another scene.

This scene will be the last time for awhile that the Repairwoman is in the temple. After this, she moves into the actual hyperspace beacon to make the repairs.

Here's the storyboard:

I'm relieved that after doing a 30-scene episode, this episode has a mere 13 scenes.

There's no excuse to complete this quickly!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


April, 2017 will be the 2-year anniversary of working on "A Universe of Trouble."

My original intent was to quickly get some work out into the world. I assumed telling a short story would take less time than animating a 5-minute film.

Yes, I will complete this web series sooner than I would have completed the animation for "Adult Toy Story."

No, it's still not THAT fast!

I'm pleased with the progress of this project and am enjoying the process. However…I want it to be OVER!

First, I want it to be over because I'm eager to do so many other projects. But none of those projects can be worked on until I learn two important things: human anatomy and perspective.

Second, I want to enjoy my summer this year! Meaning, I want to get out of my drawing room and ride my bike while not having a little voice telling me that I should be working.

Therefore, I decided to make the remainder of the winter and some of the spring my BIG PUSH TIME. This means that I will cut back slightly on drawing practice to work as much as possible on completing these last 6 episodes (I'm days away from completing episode 12 of 18).

That's 4 months to complete 6 episodes. Right now it's dark and cold and I don't want to be outside anyway. THIS is the time to really push, to wake up even earlier (5am) to get this project DONE!

My new deadline is Monday, May 29, 2017—Memorial Day—to complete this project. That will be a long weekend and the official start of summer. What better time is there to wrap this up?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Newest Favorite "A Universe of Trouble" Scene!

I'm happy to report that abruptly switching from Toon Boom Animate Pro to Harmony is not nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be. The two programs look and work similarly which is a great help.

BUT Harmony has many more features than Animate Pro and I happily discovered one of them: the Quake module!

In Animate Pro, I was able to do a camera shake effect by altering the x, y and z coordinates of the camera in the timeline. It was effective but a little time consuming.

In Harmony, I drag a module into the Node View, attach it to the camera node…and I'm done!

Here's the Quake module at work in my newest favorite scene of the series:


What do you think of this scene?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Studying Gesture—Examples of Combining Methods

In the previous post, I talked about combining the methods of Stan Prokopenko with those of Samantha Youssef.

Prokopenko's lessons communicate to me better than anyone else's. I think it's because I think linearly and completely and his lessons are designed that way. So I started with his spaghetti gestures and then moved on to the bean gestures.

Youssef also starts her gesture drawing method with "spaghetti" drawings:

I was ready to start the second step of Youssef's 3-step approach which is adding 2D forms to the spaghetti gesture. With limited time to practice, I decided to combine Proko's bean practice with Youssef's method. I did this after realizing that Proko's bean shapes are similar to Youssef's egg and rectangle shapes:

Youssef's method has this important element: the addition of 2D shapes to the spaghetti gesture that represent the silhouettes of the solid, inflexible chest mass and the solid, inflexible pelvic mass. This 2D element is essential before adding the 3D forms of the figure. They act as a bridge between gesture and structure. Here she shows that the shapes should be a simple egg for the chest mass and a simple square/rectangle plus how they differ between male and female:

My practice of these principles:

Black charcoal is used for the spaghetti gesture and the bean masses. Red marker is used to make the egg and rectangle shapes.

Not only am I enjoying doing these otherwise tedious exercises, but I feel that I'm understanding and improving at drawing them. It's making SENSE to me!

There is a LOT more to gesture drawing than I imagined. So much so that I find that I regularly take 30+ minutes to review the principles and thinking behind the methods to ensure that I'm doing them correctly.

Keep drawing!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Studying Gesture—Combining Methods

Last year I made the mistake of going through the Prokopenko Figure Drawing Fundamentals lessons too quickly. I saw the lessons as "easy" and in my eagerness to improve quickly, I dedicated no more than two weeks to each lesson.

Needless to say, NONE of the lessons stuck!

Once it became clear that the skill of gesture drawing was the foundation for all figure drawing, I returned to studying and practicing it mindfully.

I'm dedicating four weeks to each lesson this time to ensure that I get it. I'm also combining methods from various instructors to see which work best for me.

Currently, my daily practice involves a warmup of circles, ellipses, egg shapes and straight lines. The circles, ellipses and straight lines I got from the Watts Atelier. The egg shapes I do because of Samantha Youssef.

I returned to the Youssef method after dismissing it the first time I studied it (I also dismissed the movie Tekkonkinkreet the first time I saw it and now love it having watched it again recently! Funny how age changes the way you look at things.) Originally I found the method involved too much thinking and too many steps to follow in the short period that models pose.

Well, I looked at it again and now understand how her methods relate to Prokopenko, Vilppu and Nicolaides. I'm making the connection among these various methods, finally understanding what they mean and how they're different ways of teaching the same principles. This is how I'll eventually arrive at the best gesture and figure drawing method for ME.

Next post: what combining Prokopenko and Youssef looks like.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New 27" iMac!

I'll admit, I didn't necessarily WANT this gigantic computer (it weighs 21 pounds and my arms were sore for 2 days after from carrying it home.)

What I DID want was a computer with the power to last for several years and to handle my animation, 3D rendering and film editing software. I would've preferred a laptop for the portability option but a desktop will do fine (especially since the latest MacBook Pro eliminated most of its ports and I REALLY need ports.)

It was recommended to me that I get a computer that will allow for parts to be removed in case they fail instead of having one where everything is integrated. That requirement combined with a video card that works well with both Toon Boom Harmony and Adobe gave me one option: the 27" iMac.

It's been a few weeks now and I'm absolutely loving this machine! Yes, it's a little big for my desk and I miss the portability of the laptop but the power of this machine makes up for all of that. I no longer have a use for my second monitor since the iMac's is so large.

I swapped out the 8GB of RAM that it came with and replaced it with…32GBs! It boots up in 10 seconds and effortlessly runs animation and video editing software simultaneously. I. LOVE. IT!

The speakers are so awesome that I no longer need the external speaker. The wireless keyboard and mouse frees up ports (4 USB, 2 Thunderbolt). And although I chose the smaller 512GB Flash storage instead of the 1TB, having less space forced me to clear my harddrive by moving all of my iTunes music to an external drive (the drive that I salvaged from the MacBook). Besides, I can always upgrade it later.

The only issue was that I was now forced to switch from Animate Pro to Harmony mid-project which is exactly what I didn't want to do. The change, however, has gone a lot smoother than I expected and Toon Boom even converted a few files for me.

I'll talk more about how much I'm liking Harmony in another post.

Ultimately, I consider the purchase of this machine as an investment into my future.

Now back to work!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

White MacBook Crashed!

It was going to happen eventually.

My white MacBook stopped booting up suddenly. The only bright spot of losing that computer is that the harddrive didn't fail. It was more likely the logic board.

Bye bye laptop, hello shiny, new desktop!