Thursday, August 31, 2006

Animation Work That Gets Cut

It happens to the best of us. Every animator can relate to this tale, because all of us have spent hours of toil putting our hearts and souls into some beautiful piece of animation, just so it can get edited out of the final picture, never to be seen again.

This is one of mine that has never been seen until now:

This is Amber, from Aqua Teen Hunger Force Episode #55, "Carl". This scene was cropped in the final from about her shoulders on up, and it stays on that frame as she turns and runs away. You don't get to see much of the effort I put into the boob squeeze animation, and you certainly don't get to see the days of effort put into finishing her running off screen. I got paid to animate it, so wouldn't they want to use it? Anyway, it's not the most beautiful thing in the world. They may have paid me but not enough to do any secondary animation on the hair, or the drooping weight of the form. It's a good thing too or else this post might be twice as long!

And, just for fun, here is the original design of Amber. Poor thing! Shake can be so mean!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Space Ghost Interviews Carl (of ATHF)

Sometime in 2004 I drew an illustration for Giant Magazine for a section which had Space Ghost interviewing Carl. I never saw the final product so I don't even know if it actually printed. But that's not important. What is important are the next few sketches.

Here are 2 sketchbook pages that I drew to get the composition and gag and then submitted for approval. I really like each one, and they seem to get better with each one I drew (after all, these are two of my favorite cartoon characters!).

Personally, I like the third one the best, where Carl is farting and Space Ghost is offended. But, alas, the decision makers at [adult swim], (I think it might have been Dave), chose the one that I thought was the most boring, and then added some legitimacy by throwing in something that Carl had done in the show, sloppily eating buffalo wings. Oh well, at least you can see the others now thanks to the world wide web (Al Gore did what...? Nuh-uh..!).

Monday, August 21, 2006

Venture Brothers Season 2, pt. 5

Love Bheits aired last night. Here are some characters and props. Mr. Jackson Publick drew this first henchman, and I based all the others on it.

As Chris Battle said in his blog recently, "Sometimes it's the simple props that are the most fun."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Venture Brothers Season 2, pt. 4

This is from last week's episode, Victor. Echo. November. A while back, I mentioned that I had lots of trouble getting into the Venture Brothers style when I started as a designer on the show. Here's a great example of the evolution from my style (which as I mentioned before, was pretty much the Aqua Teen Hunger Force style) to the VB show style, as I worked on the character, Jollyrancher82. This first example shown on the right is a decent drawing, and I definitly used some of the stuff going on there in the final design, but as a whole it's way off. In fact, as I look at it today, it's so ATHF. I don't even think I showed this one for approval.

These next two were a lot closer, but still no cigar...

This is pretty much the final design with a few notes from Jackson Publick on the upper left.

And, this became the final design. You can see that I had to thin up the "big hair", so she wouldn't obscure the entire background.

Here's the Ibis Priest. In this case, he was pretty much approved on the first round of approvals.

I attempted this gag throughout a whole round of drawings. I thought it would be pretty retarded (and therefore funny) if these Ibis Henchmen had these ridiculous ibis beaks on their masks. Mr. Publick didn't go for it, but here they are for your enjoyment!

My first design of Caligula when I was really trying to push the design towards Malcolm McDowell, and, more notes from the big guy on the bottom left.

Mr. Publick had to pretty much redraw this to arrive at the mummy that you see in the episode, but I always thought this drawing was cool anyway. Here's to drawing classic monsters!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Squidbillies Pilot Design

Hello [adult swim] fans. I was involved at the very beginning of the Squidbillies pilot production working on the character design. I was given drawings from the writers that they did themselves, and knew that they wanted a very "un-educated" style, meaning the type of art I (and many others) used to draw in high school. In order to get into the mindset, I did my sketches in ball-point pen on notebook paper. I really like some of the designs posted here, and wish that they had gone for something like these. Ultimately, all these designs below were never used. I struggled to draw un-well, but could never reach the level of un-sophistication that they wanted. However, I had a lot of fun working on these, and the show has come a long way since the pilot. I love the colors and the backgrounds done by Ben Prisk at Primal Screen of Atlanta.

Originally, a lot of the humans were going to be a lot more humanoid. I was really stabbing in the dark with some of these very first ever concept sketches. (I think I remember them hating the first one in the middle.)

I LOVE these studies below with the squids chewing dip. I had years of reference in my very own high school in northern Florida.

In one version of the pilot (that was re-written 704 times), they had a fat brother who couldn't leave his room. Is that in the show?

I love this last one. I actually used reference from my 9th grade (1988) yearbook for the hair.

So, that's it. There are a few more that I may post later, but these are my favorite drawings that I've ever seen associated with the show. (And there's a point I'd like to make here, and it's that as a lover of cartoons I have no problem with a show like Squidbillies and have enjoyed many others that are poorly drawn or poorly animated, eg. Dr. Katz. However, as a cartoon designer, it may not be a project that will challenge my skills and keep me entertained. So in this case, I ultimatley felt like I had nothing that I could "bring to the table", and this, in no small way, affected my decision to move to NYC, and to ultimately jump onto the Venture Brothers team.) There may be some more never before seen pilot design sketches out there that I don't know about that are also worth seeing. If so, hopefully this will get the ball rolling. And speaking of Venture Brothers, I'm scanning away right now!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Venture Brothers Season 2, pt. 3

OK, so, at this rate, I'll never be able to post all of my Venture Brothers art to keep pace with the show, but it's my sworn oath to do my best! A very funny Victor. Echo. November aired last night, and I have some cool drawings to post from that show, but before then I was hoping to squeeze in this post showing some more of those doodles I was doing right around the time of V.E.N., which happens to be just about one year ago.

Here are some of Dean. I mentioned before that at this time, it was the beginning of the season and we were still working with the old (season 1) model sheets. Dean is strangely difficult for me to draw.

Some funny ones here. And, a pretty good version of my Malcolm McDowell-ish Caligula, another visual joke of mine that didn't quite make it into the show.

Can't get too far with my doodlin' without drawing a Carl or two.

Fun stuff! More coming soon!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

First Comic Book Page

Recently, I had a chance to check out [adult swimmin'], C. Martin Croker's [adult swim] themed blog. Needless to say, it's an inspiration to me on more than one level. It was through Clay that I came about having the chance to draw my first comic book page in the industry, which was certainly a goal I had worked towards (and dreamed about) for many years. Because of his blog, I realized it's been almost a decade since I worked as an assistant on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. At this time Clay was drawing the first ever Coast to Coast spin-off for DC Comics. It was titled something like, Cartoon Network Special, but I'd have to look it up to find out for sure. Anyway, he would work on the book in addition to his usual routine of creating new animation for the show as well as driving back and forth to record V.O. (as Zorak and Moltar). So, it wasn't long before he asked Robert Pope and me to help draw some of the pages. We worked on a few books in this manner. Usually, we were finishing panels that he had already laid out. This page (written by Andy Merrill), was the first one that he asked me to come up with the layout and draw the pencils! I was ecstatic!

After all these years, I still think the page holds up pretty well (even better than a few I did much later). I think I was really warmed up at this time, and it helped to have the input of Clay and Pope working as a studio effort on the comic book rather than the usual solo approach.

Thanks to this opportunity (thanks Clay), I'm still freelancing for DC Comics (and Pope is too) helping out with any and all Cartoon Network properties that I have time to draw.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Venture Brothers Season 2, pt. 2

Twenty Years to Midnight just aired, which means I get to show some of the production work! Mr. Publick had already designed the Kirby-esque Inquisitor, and it was my job to finalize the design. Here are a few versions.

This one has one of those post-it note sketches from Jackson. It took several versions of messing around with the helmet to get it right, which you can see in this final design (and even it couldn't escape one last post-it!).

Throughout the show, I kept on trying to add a little bit of visual humor into the show, succeeding occasionally. For the Inquisitor, I kept thinking it would be funny for this 12 foot space alien to be cooped up in a tiny ship.

Here are a couple of cool Inquisitor ship designs.

I think those show some of my Space Ghost influence. As you can see, there was a lot of work that went into stuff that never made it into the show. I have a handful of designs to show from a scene that was cut from this episode.

By this time, I was getting a little more warmed up on the show. Here are some designs I always liked of Jonas Jr.'s girlfriend.