Sunday, December 02, 2007

DC's Cartoon Cartoons #14 Splash Page

I've only drawn one or two splash pages for DC, and this is one of them. I'm still pretty happy with it, after all these years. Which I was trying to figure out, and can't. I want to say I drew it in 2001, but it was probably the summer of 2002. Anyway, It's far better than some SGC2C pages I drew years later, and that's probably due to the fact that this was the ONLY thing I was working on during that time. I got up and worked on it all day and into the evening, everyday, for about a month. I was happier than a pig in $h!t, especially because drawing comics was not my main profession. Every once in a while my freelance schedule will align just right, and I'll get to take my time on some pages. I've got this one up on my wall. As I say all the time on this blog, I sure miss drawing these characters.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

VB3 Sneak Preview 2

Here's a jet I drew based off of the Blackbird. When doing these, I was inspired by those old Jonny Quest model sheets like THIS ONE, especially since we were encouraged to do so. I don't think I come close to some of the excellent draftsmanship seen in some of those model sheets, especially the Doug Wildey designs, but they are inspiring nonetheless. Maybe if I xeroxed this design a hundred times and then posted it, it'd have that quality that I covet so much. Just kidding. I consider myself a cartoonist, but those old greats like him were real illustrators. By the way, I really took advantage of some great reference on the web during my stint on VB season 3. If you're looking for old Jonny Quest art, GO HERE.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Car Guy (aka VB3 Sneak Preview)

OK. So, here's a great example of what I was talkin' about in my previous post. This is a Land Rover I "drew" for season 3. I'm pretty happy with it except for the lack of detail in the hubcap area.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Haircuts Are For Sissies

And they ARE too!

Found this rough sketch the other day and decided to do a quick inking over it.

I finally finished my 6 months on the Venture Brothers as character and prop designer. Don't think I'll have much to show until the episodes start to air, which will be a little longer I guess. Maybe I'll shoot an email over to JP3, and see if he minds if I show you a sneak peak. The season was lots of fun and ran very smoothly this year. As usual, it was great to work with such talented people and especially loved working with Stephen. I got a nickname this season, "The Car Guy", which means, you guessed it, I got stuck with a LOT of the cars (and jets, and zeppelins, and motorcycles, and...). This was something that started last season. The designation would be a lot cooler except for the fact that I really just find a photo at the right angle and trace it in Photoshop. So, I guess that means I'm the best tracer of cars, mainly cuz I'm quick with the vector tools, which makes for the best ink style of anything manufactured. I did have fun redesigning the X-1 and also updating Brock's Charger. It's especially funny to me because I've always hated drawing cars and always felt I was terrible at it. But because I love VB I just took my time and through patience would generally end up with something I liked. Anyway, I'll post some designs as soon as I can!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Sometime, back in 2000 (maybe even earlier...), I got a call from a freelance producer working for Toonami. He and the Toonami crew were doing a shoot of a Space Ghost Coast To Coast read-through over at Williams Street. I'm not sure what episode it was for, but I think they were going to air the read-through, and then air the episode. Well, they needed storyboards for the shoot, or for the editing of the shoot. He didn't need them in any particular order, something that could be done later. The funny thing for me, looking back on these boards, is that years later I was going to work pretty closely with most of the guys doing the reading, but at the time I didn't know them, except for Clay of course. If you are familiar with SGC2C, The Brak Show, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, you might recognize this motley crew: Dave Willis, Matt Maiellaro, C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, and Jim Fortier. It was the only time I ever worked for Toonami.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bag of Weed

Found this the other day. I drew this prop for Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode 19, "Frat Aliens" (I think...). I remember thinking at the time, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to draw weed." Upon recollection, I believe they ended up painting the bag opaque white, so you couldn't see what was in it. Here's the un-edited, un-rated version!

Monday, July 09, 2007

DC's Cartoon Cartoons #13 Penciler's Cut

I've waited almost FIVE YEARS to be able to show these NEVER-SEEN-BEFORE pages. Check out the first eight and compare them with the second.

I pretty much started my career as an animation assistant on Space Ghost Coast To Coast. I had a few other freelance jobs before that, but it was my FIRST show. Years went by, and Cartoon Network had licensed the property to DC, and since I worked on the show from time to time, I had the fortune of helping create a handful of the dozen or so SGC2C books that were made. Some of the pages I drew were good, some were bad. I made a lot of mistakes at this time as I was still somewhat of a rookie, but I was learning a LOT from drawing each page and even more from pouring over every panel after receiving my copies of the finished book, taking note of what turned out right, and what turned out horribly wrong. In this case, the trouble turned out once again to be editorial changes coming down from CN. I've mentioned this subject before on my Illustration Blog, that sometimes you turn in your art and then someone up the chain of command decides to change the script! As a result, my eight pages above were completely mutilated in the final, printed book, mainly having most of the backgrounds erased away and replaced with big swaths of emptiness (this was NOT the fault of the bull-pen artist who made the changes, but lay more in the area of what the new BG's were ordered to be -- the interior of the SGC2C studio. This was an issue that kept coming up again and again. CN hated any story where good ole SG and crew were anywhere other than on the set, just like the show. This command may have kept advertising integrity, but it sure limited the creative scope of the books). Not being the most fantastic artist, I was relying on the gestalt of each panel. Once the BG's were taken away, it left imperfections in the characters all the more glaringly obvious. Luckily, I was in the habit of Xeroxing each penciled page before shipping off to DC. Below are the 6 inks I got back, while the last 2 went to the inker, so I've scanned the last 2 from the book.

(Having changed the location AFTER the art was created resulted in some wanky-ness in the final, such as having and ice-cream truck INSIDE the studio...)

(and here, hastily converting a garbage truck into the above ice-cream truck even though the two look completely different. -oh the humanity!)

(Ah well, it was fun while it lasted!)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Venture Brothers Storyboard Test

Just over 2 months ago, I decided to leave one job for another (which allowed me to avoid a recent NYC animation disaster) and take the design position on season 3 of The Venture Brothers. I also decided to take the storyboard test since I've always wanted to 'board for the show. I'm happy to show the results of my test below (followed by commentary).

OK. So those of you who love The Venture Brothers will recognize this sequence of scenes from last season, and that it's also one of the toughest sequences to 'board of just about anything they do in the show. At least it seemed that way to me when I sat down to do it, a suspicion later confirmed by Chris, who pointed out that that's the point of the test. I hadn't done any 'boards for a while, and the last one was when I took the last VB SB Test (see PG1 and PG2) leading up to season 2. I spent a week on that test, then quickly spent an extra day taking the design test, and later on got the design position. I love to design on the show, but have always wanted the challenge of doing the 'boards.

I knew I had to "wow" Chris and Stephen or it wouldn't fly, so I really concentrated on the shots, to make the angles and sequences as dramatic as the script demanded. I spent way too much time on it, over 40 hours, but a lot of that was just getting warmed up. I was really proud of the test when it was completed and I think it shows that I've come a long way since the last one (at least to me). I happily turned in the script and waited. After a few weeks went by without any mention of it, I soon realized I did in fact, not "wow" them. However, I knew it was a long shot anyway, having seen some of the truly fantastic, beautiful boards done for the show, and at the very least was hoping to get a critique by two very talented and experienced 'board artists.

I got my wish this week when Chris and Stephen pulled out the test to talk to me about it. The main feedback was positive. Chris said he really liked the test and the angles I chose, which was my main goal. Also, they took the time to go over the secondary goals that I had forgotten along the way. I didn't realize that good ol' construction drawing is an absolute priority when storyboarding. For me, it was easy to forget as I was blocking out the compositions and making sure all characters were where they're supposed to be, and then dashing on the character details before moving on to the next panel. It turns out that it's more important to have proper construction than detail. They stated emphatically that Korea can get all the details right, but will fall on the boards almost 100% for the construction of the characters. So, Chris pointed out there were a lot of areas that were "mushy", where I didn't prove a commanding knowledge of constructing the characters. Not that I can't, but that in places it wasn't there as proof. I had to agree. He also mentioned a few places where I broke some cinematic rules like unintentional jump-cuts, etc., but that it wasn't more than the usual 'board artists would do on the show, and that we'd probably get around that during a thumbnail phase (which wasn't done for the test).

So, surprisingly the critique ended with Chris' assessment that he liked my 'board test enough to give me a shot on 'boards, but at the same time, there seemed to be a learning curve that it would take for me to get to the proper speed, groove, etc., that the schedule and demands of the show wouldn't allow. I did take a long time on the test, so I had to admit that the same thought had occurred to me. So then to my amazement, he mentioned that from time to time some 'board artists would get behind and have scenes or groups of scenes split out for another artist to complete, and that he'd like for me to help in this capacity if I was up for it! Something like a few scenes with a month deadline that I could do at nights and on the weekends. And from there he could see if I could get up to speed, etc. And, it's my hopes that in doing so, I can gain enough trust in that category to finally qualify for the position on season 4. Sounds perfect to me!