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Last Post Before Christmas...

I'm not sure, but this may be my last post before Christmas.

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday (and to those that have already celebrated Chanukah, I hope it was equally wonderful). To those of you that will be away from your computers, I wish you a wonderful and hope filled New Year.

To those celebrating Christmas this year, Merry Christmas...and may God bless!

This is an early development piece for Surf's Up, a concept that never made it into the film. This being the penguins in the Antarctic would surf on the falling iceberg’s wakes.

But, we can still see the ice surfboards and tattoo/feather patterning I developed that did make it to the film … however I was not the character designer once the project moved into production. That job was given to another Surf’s Up Annie Nominee Sylvain Deboissy. He did an incredible job with the designs, I’m really proud of him.

The drawing was done on Clearprint Vellum with Prismapencil.


Jungle Detail

Here's a close up of the jungle.


Surf's Up Artwork

Here's another drawing for Surf's Up.

During the early development stages of the project, I was given the assignment to design the tropical jungle. It had to look both beautiful and lush.

An attempt was made to create this image using our vis dev 3D crew, but we encountered a bunch of unexpected problems. In doing so, we were able to indentify a lot of problems that would come later on. Although the vis dev model for this image didn't come out as planned, it was invaluable to our crew.

You can see the penguin in three parts of this drawing as he works his way across the drawing from left to right.

The drawing was drawn with prisma pencil on vellum and is aproximately 3 feet long.



Fellow bloggers, I have some really good news -- I have been nominated for an Annie Award under the Production Design in an Animated Feature Production category.

Special congratulations to the other nominees for a job well done! The nominees for this category are as follows:

Doug Chiang – "Beowulf" – Paramount Pictures

Harley Jessup – "Ratatouille" – Pixar Animation Studios

Marcelo Vignali – "Surf’s Up" – Sony Pictures Animation

All in all, Sony Pictures Animation has 10 nominations this year, and I have the distinct privilege of being one of those ten representing the company, our movie, our team and my work.

Wish us luck! And, if you are a member of the academy...I sure would appreciate your consideration.


Another Bear...

Askel and Milky, here's another bear drawing for ya.

This was drawn with marker on newsprint.


Brother Bear Humans

One of my assignments was to design some of the human characters too. So, with a bit of research, I did a series of drawings that I believed would be helpful in terms of authentic costume design for pre-Columbian natives in the New World, tools and activities.

In this drawing, I have called out the tools -- and how they're used. This character is drilling through solid bone with a reed and a hands-free vice. The reason for this is to make a bone hook. The kind you see being sold as necklaces today in gift shops.

Showing a variety of different tools, and their usage, I believed would help they guys on the Brother Bear project see things in a different way.

Here, I'm illustrating how the natives would have made planks of wood with an obsidian adze.

These poses and characters were all drawn without photo reference, but rather with lots of research on the usage of stone age type tools.

I was fortunate to have worked on a previous project where I had already done research on this subject, and already bought the books on Native American stone tools. I'd be pretty handy if I ever ended up on a deserted island!

The drawings were drawn on newsprint with prismacolor pencil.


Brother Bear Close Up

Here's a close up as per Mark's request.


Brother Bear Background Design

Here's one of the background designs I did early on the Brother Bear project -- before I concentrated my efforts on the animals in this world.

I wanted to come up with an iconic view of the world that would set it apart from other prehistoric interpretations. The directors described to me that the film takes place during the end of the Ice Age, as the world began to warm up. I thought it would be visually interesting to see a glacier melting in a way to create a grand-canyon-like effect, with a giant waterfall cascading out of a wall of ice.

Well, nowhere in the film do you see anything like that because the directors chose to go more naturalistic than fantastic. Still, I thought it would be fun posting.

As a visual development artist, it’s my job it to come up with as many visual ideas that I can in the hopes that somewhere in my exploration, I will stumble across a particular direction that will work for the directors.


Moment of Realization

Here's a rough sketch/layout idea I did for Brother Bear.

But first, a little back story. Originally, Kenai was a little bear, and he met up with an older bear called Grizz. The father son relationship is similar to the final version that audiences saw. In the final version, the Kenai character was switched, having to step up to the plate and become the father/mentor. It was a very interesting twist and an improvement to the original story.

In this scene, Kenai (the young bear version) wanders into an abandoned human village. Longing to be human once again, he goes into one of the dwellings. Feeling trapped in this bear's body, he collapses on the floor in resignation.

Grizz sets off to find Kenai and discovers him in the dwelling. But, as he arrives, he's contrasted between the scary version of a bear drawn in the petroglyph, and himself in the same shot.

My intention was to have the camera start with Kenai feeling trapped, and then pan over to reveal the petroglyph on the wall ... and then Grizz steps into the frame.


Fighting Bears

Again, here's another one for Brother Bear. It goes along with my explorations of the animals in the land.

This drawing was drawn with Prisma Pencil on Clearprint vellum.

This particular image made it to the Making-Of book, but it was reproduced so tiny that it wasn't worth the ink! So, here it is, a little larger so as to see how I figured out the structure of the bears.


Brother Bear "Character Designs"

When I was working on Brother Bear, I was asked to draw a lot of animal designs. I hesitate to say character designs, because I wasn't given the task of designing any one character in specific, but rather the Disney wanted to pick my brain as to how I would design the animals in this world.

The drawings I did would then be interpreted by the animators, and that version was the final version we saw on the big screen.

Here's my take on the bears. I was surprised and flattered to see that my design for the baby bear ended up pretty close to what the final result was for Coda.

I drew these out with ink and Pantone marker. These were drawn on lazer print paper because the marker ink sits on the surface of the paper, instead of being dulled by absorbing into the paper.


Introducing Paul Lasaine

Most of you are probably familiar with his work, but didn't even know you were looking at it! That's because he's done matt paintings for the past 17 years so seamlessly, you weren't even aware the scene you were looking at was a matt painting.

In other words, you are looking at the work of one of the best artists in the industry.

More than a matt painter, my good friend Paul Lasaine is also an accomplished designer. He was the production designer for Surf's Up; and has worked on many other feature length animated films. Paul was also the visual effects art director for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!

Paul Lasaine’s film credits read like a cornicopia of visual effects films and Feature Animated films.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, he has started his own blog! Please welcome my friend, Paul Lasaine.


Brother Bear Rough Drawing

Here's a rough from Brother Bear.

When I got the assignment from Disney, they weren't sure I could draw bears! So, they purchased a small block of my freelance time to try me out. They were so excited about what I did for them; I stayed on the project for a year!

Initially, they would tell me what sort of animals they wanted me to draw for them, and I would give them a series of rough drawings using prisma pencil on newsprint paper.

The irony is that whenever I start on a project, I get known for doing that particular work. Hence, if I'm doing backgrounds, they forget that I can draw characters, and vice versa. Some project teams or producers still only remember me as the character-guy, while others still only think of me as being able to do backgrounds. That's why the Brother Bear crew wasn't sure I could draw animals to begin with, because they remembered the background vis/dev work on Mulan.


Is It Life, or Memory?


Here's another posting. You decide, is it a drawing from life, or from memory? Is it charcoal, or prismacolor?


Sketchclub Posting!

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Here's another posting for Sketchclub!

This is only a portion of the sketch, so please stop by and visit the Sketchclub site if you want to see the entire image.

1 comment :

This Is NOT A Figure Drawing!

That's right, this is not a figure drawing, but rather a memory drawing.

One of the things I routinely did in order to better assess my skills were memory drawings. Years ago, when I started drawing the figure, I would test myself to see how well I understood the anatomy. During the drawing session I would make a mental note to myself about a particular pose, and then -- the next day -- draw that pose from memory. This drawing you see is a memory drawing.

Doing this exercise was incredibly helpful because it allowed me to spot deficiencies in my work. If I had a problem drawing shoulders, feet, or hips, I could immediately spot the problem in my memory drawings. I would then compare the memory drawing with my original figure drawing from the night before in order to see how close I could get to the original. How well did I remember the pose.

Sometimes the poses I drew from memory were slightly different, but the information in my memory drawings had to work nonetheless. The memory drawings had to work in and of themselves, not just a copy.

One of the things that motivated me to start this exercise was noticing other artists that were really good at drawing the human figure when it was in front of them, but would literally fall apart when they had to draw a human figure from memory. I vowed that was not going to be me! Wherever I spotted a problem in my memory drawings, I would pull out my anatomy books and concentrate on that specific part of the anatomy. Doing this, my drawings improved rather quickly.



Here's another posting for Sketchclub!

Here's just a teaser snippet, so that you'll visit the site if you want to see the entire image.


Three Minute Sketches

Here's a page of three minute sketches.

I like to group my three minute sketches all together on the same page for several reasons. The first reason, I'm cheap! I can't stand the thought of using a full sheet of 18x24 paper for a 3 minute sketch.

The second reason was a happy discovery. As I grouped my sketches on the same page, I started to make quick on-the-spot choices about placement. So, not only was I working on my gestures, construction and anatomy, but also my composition skills. I don't have a good example of it in this drawing, but I also like to overlap my drawings, and sometimes with different colored media.


Here's Another Figure Drawing...

This was a five minute sketch, drawn with charcoal on newsprint. I Photoshopped the toned paper to keep it from being stark white, but the drawing is as I drew it.


Bear Design

Here's a bear design I did for Brother Bear. I was trying to thread the line between realism and caricature in an attempt to give the bear a personality we could relate to.


Marcos Mateu

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Marcos is one of the most talented people I've ever had the great fortune of working with. His skill and design sense for composition and drama are at the very best in the industry. I've never met his equal! Marcos has the style and confidence of the best European comic book artists, and the flair of a virtuoso...and he's a great guy to have around the studio.

Unfortunately for me, and even more unfortunate for Sony, Marcos is leaving Sony for a better deal at Dreamworks. I would like to wish my good friend lots of luck and continued success. YO...respeck!

Go to: Marcos Mateu

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Sunny St. George

Ah, Little Dixie! This city was founded by Mormon pioneers, in the 1850s, as a cotton mission -- hence the nickname, Dixie.

We're sitting up on the red cliffs in Pioneer Park, overlooking St. George proper and the Mormon Temple. There are caverns that were used as homes by the settlers all over these rocks.

It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit, but not when we took this picture. We waited till the sun went down when we snapped this one, however it was probably still over 100 degrees!

When we lived in St. George I would take my daughter out to this park for a little climbing and picnic. Now, almost five years later, I brought her back up here for a little trip down memory lane. She was almost six when we left, but she still remembered things remarkably well.

The very next day we visited the Calico Ghost Town.


Introducing Drew Adams

Hello everyone. I'm on vacation this week, but Drew Adams has posted a drawing I had done in his sketchbook over ten years ago. I thought I would go ahead and give him a link here. I also made my file a little smaller, so if you want a higher res file, you'll HAVE to go to his site.

Go to: Drew Adams


Jed's Request


Here's a five minute figure drawing in charcoal.

Jed Henry had asked that I take some of my figure sketches out of my newsprint pads and let them see a little bit of the light of day.


Brother Bear "Fashion" Designs?

Here are some character designs I did for Brother Bear.

The original assignment was to draw some prehistoric cavemen, but as the project developed the cavemen turned into Pre-Columbian Eskimo.

So, here are a father and son, preparing for some dramatic hunting occasion…but really it was an excuse to draw the wardrobe and show the directors what I had in mind in terms of clothing, jewelry and weapons.


Dinosaur rough

Years ago, when I was working on Dinosaurs for Disney, I was asked to do some dinosaur designs. They had all the technical information and drawings, but what they needed was someone to draw the creatures with a sense of life and animation, without going into the realm of cartoon.

I drew out several roughs in order to work out my designs, mostly using ballpoint pen on newsprint.


I've posted at Sketchclub again!

Here's another posting for Sketchclub!

I made this one a little different so there would be a reason to visit the Sketchclub site. Aside from the color, can you spot the design difference?



Here's a snapshot of Armand Serrano, Paul Lasaine, and myself (pictured from right to left) doing our Surf's Up signing at the San Diego Comic Con.

We got to meet quite a few of animation fans, and were able to sign several posters and books for two hours solid. That's no surprise, since the Comic Con enjoyed record attendance this year -- and sold out the convention center on Saturday. It's a far cry from the first time I went to the San Diego Comic Con in 1987!

Despite being there since the convention opened on Friday at 9:00 AM, I was unable to see the entire show. Regrettably, there was so much that I missed. I'm definitely going to have to book for more than one day.



You are all invited to to stop by the Sony Pictures booth this Friday, July 27, at the 2007 San Diego Comic Convention.

Please stop by and say hello. Paul Lasaine, myself and Armand Serrano (all pictured above) will be there to do a book signing for the Surf's Up making-of book. The Sony booths are located at 4137 and 4419.

(This picture was taken three years ago at a surfing contest while we were doing research for our film.)



Here's another drawing I did for Brother Bear.

I really enjoyed working on this project, and the people at the Disney Florida studio really treated me well. I worked with Producer Chuck Williams, directors Aaron Blaise, Bob Walker, Robh Ruppel and Bob Stanton; they are all top-drawer in my book. They allowed me the time to explore the animals and the world; I felt as though I really got to sink my teeth into the designs.

I didn't know Armand Serrano then, but he also worked on Brother Bear too.

I drew this one on vellum, but for the blog I went ahead and layered it with a colored background and tinted the linework. However, the drawing is untouched. It is as I drew it seven years ago.



Here's one from the Vignali Vaults. I found an old disk with some drawings I did for Disney's Brother Bear.

During this period I was living in Utah and was working as a freelancer for Disney. It was a good time in my life. My daughter was four years old and she would play in my studio as I worked at my drawing board.

Anyhow, I saw this image and remembered how much I enjoyed drawing it, so I thought you all might like to have a look at it. By the way, this was not printed in the making-of book for Brother Bear -- and Disney has the original.

I drew this one one with Prisma Pencil on tracing paper, hence the ripple when I scanned it. The moisture of my hand buckled the paper just a bit.

(Simon Rogers came by and looked over my shoulders and said I was cheating by posting this old stuff. He was just kidding of course, but how fortunate I am to have such talent around me! I have Simon Rogers, Armand Serrano, Noelle Triaureau, Marcos Mateu and Jed Henry -- who's work you can see posted on Blogger -- in the very same building along with me.)


...'Nuther One


Go to Sketchclub to see the full version.


I Have Posted At Sketchclub...

Go to Sketchclub! .


Just Doodlin' in Photoshop

I was just doing a little exploration, with no particular direction in mind. However, I used to work with *Zipitone way back when, and thought I would try to emulate the look with Photoshop.

*I'm not sure a lot of you know what Zipitone is/was. Back in the day, the printing process was separated using mechanicals. Depending upon the quality of the paper, you had a different "line screen." Zipitone was a sticky backed acetate that had little dots printed on it; it came in different line screens so artists could prepare their mechanicals accordingly. The sheets of dots came in different values, so after you did your drawing, you could lay down the Zipitone and cut out the value where you needed it.


Another Surf's Up Exclusive Drawing

In coming up with the look for Surf's Up competition beach during the visual develoment phase of the project, I wanted to create something audiences hadn't seen before in a film. I used the Islands of Seychelles, with its white sand beaches and sandstone boulders, as the inspiration for our beach.

Here's a shot from Seychelles. This choice afforded me the opportunity to use the large boulders as our judges booth, and really frame our sandy beaches in a way we've never seen. But, even still, I was looking for something more iconic for our island, something that could evoke both history, and I dropped in some "Easter Island" looking stone penguins in the background.

I also used smaller rocks to frame the competion beach's bleacher area in a natural looking terrace. The final design was modified a little to fit the story, but the end result is more or less the same. I had a look at our film during the premiere, and I'm really pleased with the final looks spectacular on the big screen.


Exclusive Surf's Up Artwork

This is fairly recent artwork for the soon-to-be-released animated feature, Surf's Up. You won't find this image in the Surf's Up book!

This image didn't make it to the book, but a colored version of this image is printed on page 105. The image in the book is the final image that was used for design, but the image I'm posting here is the original pencil drawing I did for the concept. I was asked to remove the tiki totems for the final, and there were some other alterations. If you have the book, you can compare the two images.



Check it out, the Making-Of book for Surf's Up is finally here, and not a moment too soon because the film's release is right around the corner. Coming at you on June 8th!

As some of you may or may not know, I was one of the two art directors for the picture. As art directors, I handled the designs while Ron Lukas managed the color. And, if I may say so, this is one of the best looking films I've had the privilege of working on.

In terms of looks, I think our film is perhaps one of the best-looking CG films since Finding Nemo. Hopefully you'll see for yourself when the film comes out. The story is pretty funny too, and the "reality TV/surfing documentary" approach is a fresh way to present an animated film.

The book has a ton of great looking visual development artwork, featuring artists like "yours truly," Paul Lasaine, Ron Lukas, Armand Serrano, Marcos Mateu, Joty Lam, Noelle Triaureau, Richie Chavez, Sylvain Deboissy. Also, lots of story sketches and CG models and renders.

The people, who put this book together, are the same group that put together the Open Season making-of book. So, that should give you an idea about the quality of this book. Again, like the Open Season book, it's got lots of stickers, pullouts, accordion folds, and post cards.

If you're interested, just click on this Surf's Up link.


A new post on Sketchclub

Here's the latest Sketchclub victim.

Whadda character. Stop by and visit SKETCHCLUB to see how our memory drawings compare.


I have posted at Sketchclub

Yes, I know, it's been a while, but I have posted my memory sketch at our Sketchclub blog...along with Sketchclub's newest member, Craig Harris.

Stop by and visit SKETCHCLUB to see how our memory drawings compare.


Wakening Close Up

Alright, and here's a close up look at the detail.

I know...most of this small detail stuff is lost on the small card, but hopefully it makes the card interesting enough that kids will get their noses close enough to see some of the information. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part.

I surprised myself by how well the bears turned out. After having drawn bears for Brother Bear for Disney, and then more bears for Sony's Open Season, I've gotten to know the structure of bears pretty well. So, I just "winged" the bears from memory.

By the way, this image I'm posting is taken from my actual illustration. Yes, I know, it's much darker than the printed version. I painted it darker, but unbeknownst to me someone at the Warcraft studio made the decision to lighten the image when it went to print. Personally, I like it better darker because it makes the image more mysterious. It also makes the focus of the image much clearer.


The Relics of Wakening

Here's another card I did for Warcraft. I'm putting up the German version because it's closer in color to the original, verses the card in English.

Here's a little insight into my process:
When I got the asignment, I was a little intimidated by the scope. I had to paint an elf and pet wolf inside a cavern, surrounded by giant bear-like furbolgs. The object of the card is overwhelming odds -- but the elf and wolf are up for the challenge. The text described the situation as a "sea of furbolgs." (That's a lot of painting!)

I typically start my assignments by sketching my first impression. Once I drew this composition -- with all it's complexities -- I realized this was the one to paint.



Ladies and gentlemen, Sergio Martinez has a blog!

Please stop by and visit with Sergio, he's one of my favorite illustrators. His style, mood and classy images are second to none. I've got a bunch of his illustrated children's books.

Just click on Sergio Martinez to see this blog.


Dwarf Close Up

For those of you interested, here's a close up of the Dwarf I painted for World Of Warcraft.


Interesting Link

Hey, check out this link my friend Paul Wee sent me. It's a web site with an interactive anatomical reference model.

Each anatomical model can be rotated around as though it were on a spinning table.

Just click on Pose Maniacs to see this blog.


New Warcraft Illustrations

Here are a couple of images I did for Warcraft. If you collect the cards, or play the game, you might already own a few.

These are currently on sale now in the Dark Portal card game campaign.

I have to admit I don't play the card game, or play the computer game. I did play Warcraft II years ago, and that was hugely entertaining, but in Warcraft III the game changed and it wasn't the same. I've been wanting to find a Warcraft II game that will play on my OS 10.4.8. Maybe some of you know where I can find it. I would think it might get bundled with other Mac games.

The second image was a pretty odd illustration assignment. I had to paint a dwarf enjoying some grog. So, I thought it would be funny to make it look like a beer ad. I love my job, where else can I paint a beer ad for dwarves? I did a couple more illustrations that I'll be posting soon. I'm saving the best for last.


Still More Faerie Doodles

Since I'm in the mode of posting faerie doodles, here's another another one.

A couple years back I thought I might end up working on a faerie world project, and so I had contemplated how I would design this world. The project ended up not going anywhere (and in the end dried up and went away), so the images of beautiful faeries were all bottled up in my mind...hence the doodles.

I added a little muted color in photoshop, but little faerie doodle is as it is.