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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wolf Puppet Designs Pt 1

A few years back, I met an absolutely amazing puppet builder, named Jarrod Boutcher. Actually I only met him through his website, and email. A few months back, he ended up visiting Disneyland and spent quite a while in my shop watching me paint. But he didn't connect my name to our emails years earlier, and I had no idea who this guy watching me paint was. Thanks to my blog and a few comments he left, we eventually connected the dots and had a good laugh. Anyway, we've decided to collaborate on a puppet design, and I suggested doing some sort of Big Bad Wolf character. This undoubtably stems from my childhood terror/fascination with wolves. Below are several of the sketches I came up with. Most of them are not puppet designs persay, merely quick sketches to work out proportions and ideas. Jarrod is going to take what I've done and try and refine them into a workable design.

This final one in color at the bottom is the one I like the best.

The only addition I am thinking of is maybe some article of clothing or unique feature that makes this character a little more identifiable, a hat or scarf or something. I think I always like my animal characters to have a bit of anthropomorphism like that, like the clothes wearing critters in the Uncle Remus stories- it helps tie them down to a time period.
I don't know what the final result will be. Jarrod has amazing instincts when it comes to puppet design, and I've asked him to please feel free to make changes and suggest ideas. He says he's going to show the progress on his blog which is seperate from his site and you can see it here. Check both our blogs for updates.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Girl with a Martini

This started out as just another sketch. I was pretty happy with it, but didn't get around to posting it. Then I decided I'd play around with some digital color. I really just wanted to do something quick, but I just kept going. I think I'm happy with it.

Of course, then I discover another blog by a very talented artist, filled with more gorgeous girl drawings, but these are all traditionally done and painted. Now I feel like such a follower doing the digital color. Maybe I should watercolor now....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Going Digital

I do a lot of digital coloring nowadays, but have never really drawn much digitally. I have a Wacom tablet, which is great for the coloring, but it's still a bit awkward to freely sketch while looking at the screen instead of your hand. But I've been looking a lot at Jenny Lerew's site, and her digital figure drawings are just amazing. With just quick bold strokes and a few finer details she draws the most beautiful sketches. Now a few clarifications- she's using a different kind of pad, one that I'm told is a screen in itself, so your hand is in the same place the image is. And, she probably draws in that bold quick style no matter the medium she's using. My drawings tend to be sketchy busy things, with lots of lighter lines and the finals being darker. Experimenting with my Wacom pad, I did this one:

It's allright. It's on par with a lot of my figure drawings in my paper sketchbook. But it's not as bold and confident as I had hoped. Part of that lies with it being from my head and really not having a pose in mind until halfway through- you get a lot of false starts and remnants of a changing mind in the drawing that way. I also used a brush tool that was set at a pretty low opacity, which lets me start light and then go over and over a line to build up it's darkness- just like with a pencil. However that's a real good way to allow yourself to hem and haw, and not be very commited to the lines your'e butting down. A friend of mine suggested using a bigger bolder brush and set it to full opacity.
I have to say, the bottom one shows the most skill I think. It's not pretty, but it's confident which is what I was going for in the first place. I would still like to get to a place where I could draw the female form with such confidence, but that certainly takes a skilled hand, and it seems I need some more practice. If you haven't allready, check out Jenny's site.
Oh, and Happy 107th Birthday, Walt Disney!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mr. Toad, The Big Bad Wolf, and One Little Sheep

A bit of cross promotion today.
For anyone who hasn't explored my other links, I have a seperate blog that I use as a portfolio for my theme park design work. Keep in mind, for me, Theme Park Design is a goal- I don't actually do it yet, so nothing you see there is being built or designed by Disney, just me. Above is 1 panel of 2 for a small gag in a much larger attraction I'm designing, an all new version of a Mr. Toad attraction. This is a simple scene and I think that's why I like it. You can see the other pieces I've done for this attraction here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thank heaven for pretty girls...

I hardly ever draw pretty girls. I mean if I'm out and about sketching and a pretty girl walks by, sure I'll try to draw her. But those are almost never pretty drawings. For one reason or another, those end up being overworked, figural sketches. I don't worry about the facial features or the simplicity of the form. When I draw those girls, it's almost always an unsatisfying result. But every once in a while I will just sit and try to draw a really pretty girl. A girl with a nice figure, and attractive features. I try and get it all down quick, but since it's all from my head I'm not concerned with matching what's in front of me. My only concern is putting down something that looks right. They aren't all great, but more often than not, I like 'em. My only hesitation in putting any of them up is that there are a lot of people who do these kinds of drawings a lot better than I do. To see some absolutley phenomenal "pretty girl" drawings that look like they just flowed into existence, check out the blogs of Chris Sanders, Jenny Lerew, and Frank Cho . They make my stuff look like gorilla finger paintings. But I'm stubborn so I'm gonna post mine anyway! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's a world of laughter, a world of crafts...

For those of you reading this blog besides my family (yeah, you two know who you are), I should tell you that my daughter used to have a Small World room. It's being slowly changed to a Princess Room now, but once upon a time it was small world. My wife and I had gathered quite a few Small World things, and with just a little bit of paint and craft stuff from Michael's we were able to kinda theme her whole room. It was an apartment so most of my really elaborate ideas were not possible (no painting the walls except for one colored accent wall). One idea I did have though was to recreate the big smiling clock face from the attraction. Here he is below... It really wasn't as hard as you would think. Somewhere online I found the clockface all drawn out in a front view. I think it was taken from blueprints because the proportions looked dead on. I used this to plan everything out. Down at Home Depot I bought a prefinished white laminate disc. I didn't plan for it to be finished like this- I just figured I'd by a round piece of wood, but this worked out great. At Michael's (local craft store) I found some little paper mache round boxes for the eyes and cheeks (see the second picture below) as well as lots of doweling and wooden spheres, and of course the secret to any Small World decor- lots and lots of glitter.

Above can see here the circle piece and the two simple pieces I cut out of playwood to form the face (and a bit of my sock at the bottom there!)
Here's the main shapes just sitting in place to get the idea. I really didn't document this process as thouroughly as I could have, but you can see below, I've painted the nose, and the gold portions around the eye.

Here not only have I screwed the top layer down (and attached that nose too, though I don't remember how- probably through the back), but I've also used some thin gold braid (from the fabric section of Michael's) to border the eye gold and the triangle. The braid stands in for the raised metal that is used on the real clockface, and I don't believe it actually is on the bottom of the triangle, but I thought it helped defind the space better and mask off the gold eye paint.
Ok, here's where I skipped a lot of steps. I used bigger gold braid for the mouth (again, standing in for metal) and placed the now painted gold circle boxes over the ends, then hot glued them in place. On top of these I used the doweling and wooden sphere's to make the little sunburst shapes that go over the cheeks, glued those down, and glued a wooden button covered in silver glitter on that. The eyes were constructed similarly: The box was glued on open side up and I made a different starburst of 1 sphere surrounded by doweling (mine only has 6 spines, the real one has many more. Looks like they used a small wheel of some sort). The scrollwork on the triangle is all thin braid glued into place. The shape under the chin is a wooden button with glitter again and the shape on the traingle is a piece of glittered foam. All in all I was very happy with this. The room overall was not all it could be but little things we did like this made it neat. I even put a picture hangar on the back at an angle so that the clock is perpetually tilted mid-tick. Now if someone can just tell me a good way to get it to rotate back and forth. Now that the Princess room is going in, I've salvaged it for myself.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Brick Mouth

Here's something a little different for me. My brother David owns MAWL Wine, a wine store in Garden Grove California. Aside from the frequent tastings he arranges, he's recently begun an organized tasting course, called Palate Builders and he asked me to do some art for it.

He wanted a mouth and tongue that looked constructed, and we talked about steel girders and wood. The girders seemed a bit too structural for the design of a mouth so we did brick, stone and wood instead. Kinda fun to stretch out of my Disney character mode once in a while.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

People watching

I dug out some sketches today. All of these were done around the Disneyland Resort with a soft grey art marker for the initial layout and shadows and then refined with a black Pilot pen. For any budding artists out there, those art markers are a great way to get depth and shadow if you're drawing with pen. Prior to this discovery my pen drawings got very black and messy.

This was a bellman at the Grand Californian Hotel.

Just some lady. Must have been a cold day.

A server, at the Carnation Cafe, most likely.

This was a CM I worked with in Toontown actually. Were this a color picture she'd be wearing bright blue pants and a sunshine yellow shirt under her black universal coat. Drawn while she was on a break enjoying one of those delicious bags of vending machine Fritos- golden chips of corn!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yeah, we wrote these lousy lyrics...

Wendell is one example of a final Animatronic figure (below) that I don't think matched the Marc Davis art very closely. The face matches, but to me, the Marc Davis art shows a stockier Wendell, while the Animatronic seem's slenderer especially around the neck, which to me changes the whole look of the face. I tried to match the art exactly, except that I gave my sculpture the mandolin of the final figure as opposed to the banjo that Davis drew him with.

I wasn't entirely happy with his face; like Henry there were some big symmetry problems. I was happy with how well I was able to match the posture of Davis' art- that arched back as Wendell hits some horrible off key note. This was the last Country Bear I sculpted. Like I mentioned on a previous post, each bear got a bit bigger each time. Wendell wasn't bigger than Trixie, but he was bigger in scale than he should have been. I figured it was time to take a break before I did another, perhaps find one from this set that I was happy with and then redo the others and new ones to match that scale. But as it happens, life gets in the way. I'd love to get back to this project some day though. And of course then there's America Sings...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tears will be the chaser for her wine

This was the first one where I really relied on the Marc Davis artwork. Even though Trixie is basically a big lump, the way her arms are postitioned and the subtle tilt of her head are perfect here, and something that would go unnoticed on the actual Animatronics figure. The main thing I changed was the position of her feet, cause I liked the way the Animatronic kind of rocked back and forth on her box and kicked her feet a bit. Like I said, this is my favorite of the 4 that I did. Don't know why, there's just something about it I really like.

The End
Until tomorrow's entry that is.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Howdy Folks!

The second Country Bear I tried to sculpt was Henry, the host of the show. Like Big Al, I relied a bit more on photos than the Marc Davis art for this one. Specifically, I noticed that Henry has a particular posture I wanted to capture, kind of leaning forward on his seat. The animatronic figure also has a very well defined shape, as opposed to some of the others which tend to kind of be furry lumps. I got the body shape pretty well, though the face has some symmetry problems, little stuff that wasn't really noticeable until I had finally painted it. The most frustrating thing though is that his scale is out of proportion with Big Al's. In fact each subsequent Bear I did was bigger than the last. I think this was an unfortunate effect of putting more and more care into each figure- the more detail I added, the more clay it took to achieve and in my enthusiasm I wasn't paying attention to the sizes. I meant to remedy this and actually made a second Henry, but he met with an unfortunate accident before he could be painted. Oh well. Below are the pictures of the first Henry.

Ya'll come back tomorrow for that special treat out of Tampa. A little bit of ever loving cuddlesome fluff, our own Trixie! She's the one I'm most proud of. See ya'll real soon!

Monday, July 14, 2008

There... was... BLOOD on the saddle....

About 8 years ago I decided that I wanted to try sculpting the characters from the Country Bear Jamboree. How hard could that be? Mind you I had no real sculpting experience, just a class or two in high school, and when I say class, I mean there was an hour where they let me play with some clay and simple tools- instruction was really not part of the process. Anyway, I had always loved seeing pictures of small maquettes and the beautifully sculpted larger than life characters in this Disneyland attraction seemed like the perfect subject to try my hand at.

The first one I decided to tackle was Big Al. For reference I used the above piece of Marc Davis art and lots of photos of the final Audio-Animatronics figure. All I used was some simple white clay that I bought at a craft store, toothpicks to sculpt some of the smaller details and acrylic craft paint.

I was so happy with this sculpture- like all art, it's just so satisfying to take something that's just an idea in your head and see it through, in this case to a fully dimensional object. In retrospect, it's far from perfect. I sculpted the way I painted back then- I was more about the overall impression than the fine details, so things are lumpy and rough and not as refined as they could be. But the overall sculpture had the pose and personality that I liked- and keep in mind he's just under 3 inches tall. What's even better is that as I did each subsequent bear they got bigger and bigger, so Big Al ironically ended up being the smallest. Stay tuned and I'll post the 3 other Country Bears that I sculpted. See you real soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yet another gorilla sketch

I've been busy with some other projects and haven't posted anything here for a while so I dug up another Gorilla from an old sketchbook.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A quicker, quick sketch

When I realized that I was putting out much better figure drawings in pen than in charcoal, someone suggested I try using a grey art marker to do tones and any underdrawing, so that the drawing didn't become any more of a mess of black lines than it needed to be.
Usually I would take a drawing like this and then go in and accentuate the final form with a black pen. For some reason I didn't do that with this one. I don't remember if I just lost interest or if I was just happy with it the way it was. Flipping through my sketchbook now, I do like this as is.

the spiky haired artist returns...

I found more drawings of this guy. Something about him must have inspired me because if you were to page through this part of my sketchbook, my drawings of him are all pretty good, but the ones of the model, well, not so much.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I wanna go back to my little grass shack...

I painted this a few years ago for a kids music video that was going to have kids bluescreened onto this background. Kind of fun to do since I had very few parameters.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Another student

...who was a more interesting subject than the real model.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rabbit sketch

I drew this a few years ago, and just came across it in an old sketchbook. I don't know why I tend to frequently put overalls on the rabbits I draw. Besides the fact that the bagginess tends to go well with the hind leg forms, I think I always picture these guys as relatives to Brer Rabbit, and there's a folksy ruralness to overalls. All he needs is a bindle over his shoulder!