Bring out the snow speeders!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
And this Saturday, December 18th will be a screening that includes 1000 TIMES NO along with some other great films!
Check it out:
Short films from around the world for all ages - animation and live action.
Free admission for everyone!
Saturday, Dec. 18
Martin Luther King Jr. Theater in Santa Monica, California.
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Program #4: Short films for all ages
1000 Times No
El Salon Mexico
Lil Emos HallowEmo
One Small Step
The Locket & the Sea
The Lonely Rabbit
For directions to the MLK Theater, adjacent to the Santa Monica Main City Library, 601 Santa Monica Blvd
And for more info about the festival, head over HERE!
See you there!
Friday, December 10, 2010
It was a happy sketchbook...
Stickerless, unlike it's brothers before.
But it was the only one to be adorned with a genuine Donald Duck luggage tag.
I won it at my Disney Employee Orientation by answering this trivia question:
Name something Walt Disney was the first to do and the film he did it in.
And I was all like:
First color cartoon, yo... Flowers and Trees.
(I refrained from mentioning that it was technically the first 'commercial' cartoon in color since there were some indies before... but I didn't want to get my luggage tag taken away.)
The majority of this sketchbook was filled with sooper top secret book stuff that would burn your eyes out of your skull if you don't have the right security clearance.
But there's plenty of other stuff to show you.
Like fer instance--
Evil snake plants...
An octopus-thingie in a water bottle...
And the usual dinosaurs
And while this sketchbook has left us for the great shelf in the sky...
It will be remembered fondly even as we move on to another.
That there's Fido Dido and when I saw him I knew I knew I wanted to draw him.
Kind of weird how things work out.
One of my first freelance jobs in NYC was at the Ink Tank inbetweening Fido for ABC's Saturday morning cartoon interstitials.
And then a couple years later one of the first spots I worked on at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions was this:
We did a couple more Fido spots after that and Fido creator Susan Rose and I ended up working together alot. We got on kinda famously and I was thrilled when she let me
take over drawing Fido for her studio's annual style guide since she was so busy with other stuff (ie: the early days of Pepper Ann!)
So here are a bunch of style-guide drawings I did before they got hit with the brush marker:
These were always really fun to draw and I loved seeing what kinda cool stuff Fido's graphic designer Flavia Fiorillo would do with them!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
you should put it somewhere else. That's gross.
In other news... did you hear that that FISH HOOKS has just been picked up for a SECOND SEASON?! That's 22 more half hours of unfiltered fish tank fun!
Mad huge congrats to the whole sooper talented crew, but especially creator/Van Halen fan club president Noah Z. Jones and Executive Producer/Sears underwear model Maxwell Atoms!
And congratulations to me since I get to hang out with everyone on this awesome production even longer! It's been a blast so far and it's only gonna get funererer!
But I'm getting ahead of myself-- there's still LOTS more of season one coming up on Disney Channel. Check 'em out on Friday nights at 9:00!
Bonus big fat congrats to Alex Hirsch (voice of Clamantha and one of the guys who helped develop Fish Hooks) who just got his show GRAVITY FALLS greenlit to series by Disney Channel!
Monday, December 6, 2010
No, wait... come back!
This is a GREAT story.
One that I didn't tell ANYONE for almost 15 YEARS!
Not my friends...
Not my family...
Not even my wife!
It all started waaaaaaaay back in my senior year of college. The mighty sceptre of graduation was poised to knock me upside the head and smack into the real world where I was going to have to find myself...
And while my preference was to find a job in animation,
I wasn't exactly prepared.
I had gone to school for graphic design and halfway through decided to pursue my true dream of making cartoons.
I probably should have transferred to a school that specialized in animation but instead decided to stay at Kutztown University and learn what I could.
Which wasn't alot.
There just wasn't much of an animation program back then despite the dedication of a mighty professor named Dr. Schantz.
But lack of education didn't stop me from leaping in head first when I saw an ad in Animation Magazine:
The Simpsons... one of my favorite shows... was hiring layout artists?!
SIGN ME UP!
Never mind that I had no experience.
Never mind that I lived on the other side of the United States.
Never mind that I had NO IDEA what animation layout even was.
I just went ahead and sent for a test!
And in a week or so it showed up on the doorstep of the grubby, foul smelling domicile I shared with 6 other loudmouths.
But this wasn't just a test... it was a GIFT:
A big thick model pack of all the characters from The Simpsons with detailed instructions on how to draw them!
And background layouts of locations from the show!
Annnnnd official Simpsons blank storyboard pages!
Even if I didn't get the job I got a ton of really cool stuff!
But I was gonna try my hardest to get this job so I read through the test requirements.
I had a few questions:
What's a 12 field?
TV safety? Excuse me?
I'm supposed to clearly mark camera moves A, B, C huh?
Regardless... I attacked the test with my patented brand of blind, screaming-with-my-hands-flailing-over-my-head determination!
One of the bits I was particularly proud of was where I had to draw three (3) poses of Bart sitting on the sofa playing a videogame.
And I posed the CHICKEN AND WAFFLES outta that scene!
I mean, I had that kid rockin' the joystick like crazy!
(this was the the late 80's so joysticks were the weapon of the day)
Since I didn't really have anyone to ask for advice (none of my teacher's had worked in animation) I fudged my way through what I could and sent the test off.
And the very next day I got a call from Simpsons creator Matt Groening offering me the job!!!
And then I woke up.
In actuality... I waited a loooooong time.
But no one ever called me back.
I eventually mustered up the guts to call Film Roman and after a couple tries got someone to talk to me... but she said the position had been filled.
So that was that.
Flash forward five years later and I'm living in New York City working in animation!
I've served at Buzzco Associates, The Ink Tank and I've been a layout artist on Nickelodeon's Doug.
And now I'm at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions doing assistant animation and production.
And I'm loving it!
I'm a REAL LIVE OVERWORKED ANIMATOR!
Eventually, I got to visit a friend in LA and while there decided to check out the animation scene.
I visited Spumco (the home of Ren and Stimpy), Klasky Csupo (home of Rugrats, Real Monsters, Duckman, etc) and Film Roman---
HOME OF THE SIMPSONS!
(second home actually... it was first done at Klasky Csupo)
A sooper triple nice guy I used to work with was working there as a layout artist and I was dying to check out the studio. So he gave me a tour and loaded me up with cool Simpsons swag, including a copy of sketches the crew had done of the Simpsons characters re-enacting scenes from Pulp Fiction. He also gave me a big thick stack of the latest Simpsons model packs!
While we were walking around, I eagerly flipped through them, totally nerding out over the model sheets.
And then I saw it.
Right there on one of the Bart pages.
One of MY drawings.
ONE OF MY VIDEOGAME DRAWINGS!!!
Then I looked closer:
They used my drawing as a DON'T.
That's when my heart, along with the rest of my internal organs,
sank into my feet.
My breathing came to a grinding halt...
I broke into a frigid sweat...
And I swore I was going to explode in a shower of tears.
I hastily excused myself, making up something about having to visit my dead Grandmother who was sick from a ninja attack, and fled the building.
I was mortified.
Were people inside, after being introduced to me, laughing and whispering,
THAT'S THE GUY FROM PAGE 72!!!
And YES! It was a stinky drawing!
I tried to console myself with the fact that I was in college when I took the test and had no idea what I was doing.
That I would do better if I took the test today.
It didn't make me feel any better.
My drawing was a DON'T.
And I didn't tell ANYONE.
I just couldn't.
I could barely even watch the Simpsons after that.
Because it would remind me of how embarrassed I was.
But as the years went by the mortification eventually wore off.
I managed to block it out and forget.
Flash forward a bunch more years.
I'm still in New York.
I've animated on tons of national commercials.
I've been the production designer on Beavis and Butthead.
A director on Schoolhouse Rock and Saturday TV Funhouse.
The lead character designer for Disney's Pepper Ann.
I've made my own pilot, Kenny and the Chimp, for Cartoon Network.
I've been a director on Sheep in the Big City.
And I'm the creator of the sooper giant hit show Codename: Kids Next Door.
So I'm doin' okay.
And eventually I find myself having root beers with Spongebob creator Steve Hillenberg and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The lawyer we share was receiving an award so we came to show our support. Afterwards, we all went out together and I was totally giggly-little-girl excited. I had briefly met Mr. Hillenberg in Ottawa where we served on a panel together. But I had never met Matt Groening before and was DYING to hang out with him.
But what could I say?
I mean... he's had to have heard every compliment in the world about The Simpsons.
So I tell him I've got a GREAT story.
One that I haven't told ANYONE for almost 15 YEARS!
Not my friends...
Not my family...
Not even my wife!
And when I finished, Mr. Groening laughed and said,
Well, if it makes you feel any better... I can't draw the characters either.
Nah. It doesn't make me feel any better.
That was a couple years ago. After that night I felt free to the tell the story to anyone and everyone.
I've had a pretty awesome career so far that dulls the embarrassment I felt for so long.
Someone even told me that when they took the Simpsons layout test a couple years ago-- my drawing was STILL in the model pack!
I find that hard to believe... but I'd like to think that over the years I've helped teach the crew how NOT to draw Bart Simpson.
That's gotta count for somethin', right?
Toldja it was a good story.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
California Readers, an organization that "connects authors and artists with students and staff in California" has added 1000 Times No to their list of recommended books. Check it:
California Readers Announces 2011 Book Collections for School Libraries
Los Angeles, CA -- November 9, 2010 – California Readers, the state's premier reading and school library advocacy group, revealed its latest recommended book lists for California school libraries. The 300 books on the three new lists can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.californiareaders.org/collections/index.htm at the California Readers' website. The new lists include 41 books published within the last 12 months.
I KNEW I liked it here in LA!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Well, back when I was visiting Mr. Willems at Knuffle Manor he decided to throw a party in anticipation of me going away
(which you can read about over HERE if you missed it).
As he rattled off the guest list, he mentioned Rebecca Guay. And the conversation went kinda like this:
Me: Hey, I know who she is!
Mo: Really? How do you know Rebecca?
Me: She illustrates Magic: The Gathering Cards. There was a huge stink when Wizards of the Coast stopped using her. Tons of fans rose up and demanded they bring her back-- and they did!
Mo: How do you know all that?
Me: Um... some nerd told me. And then I beat him up for being a nerd.
Mo: Who was it?
Me: Uuuuuuuuuh... me.
But I think I made out even BETTER. Along with the cards, Rebecca offered to send me a sketch. Because she doesn't just do nerdy card games, ya know.
Wanna see it?
Meet awesome new artwork that's getting hung on you!
Wanna see some more of Rebecca's work? Go on over HERE and browse to your heart's content!
Monday, November 22, 2010
That's EXACTLY what my lunch was like the other day.
Mr. Kazu Kabuishi was there.
His lovely wife Amy was present.
And there was food.
There was also a lot of other stuff.
Like their sooper mega kawaii baby Juni.
And Clio Chiang.
And Martin Hsu.
And everyone in the Disney commissary.
But other than all that stuff...
IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT PICTURE!!!
(which I found on the internets)
See, many thousands of years ago I just up and e-mailed Kazu to tell him how much I loved his work. You know... stuff like the Flight comic anthologies he put together and contributed to:
And his Daisy Kutter graphic novel:
And, of course, his sooper smash hit Scholastic graphic novel series, Amulet:
I told him that if he ever was in NYC
I'd love to buy him some lunch and hang out.
Well, would you believe that he e-mailed me RIGHT BACK and said he was visiting the East Coast and would be in town the very next week?!?
Which was AWESOME!
Except that I had to find enough money to take him to lunch.
So we ended up meeting up and having lunch. He even brought along his fiancee Amy!
(Fortunately i planned for just such an emergency by borrowing enough money from my mom to cover THREE people for lunch. I'm smart like that.)
We had a great time and chatted about all things comics, animation, friends-in-common, and eleventy hundred other things. And afterwards we kept in touch here and there over the years. But once I moved out to his neck of the woods, it was only a matter of time before we got to hang out again.
And hang we did!
And since we was kind enough to meet me at Disney, we decided to dine with some more of his friends who work at the House of Mouse.
First up was Martin Hsu... who I already knew because he works on Fish Hooks as a soopuh star character designer. He also does some sooper triple beautiful painting of his own, too. Like this unbelievable puppy he did for Sanrio:
Click on his site up above and order up a print NOW before they're gone.
But guess what?
Clio Chiang was also there!
I've always totally enjoyed her work in the Flight books and elsewhere so it was a pleasure meeting her. She's working over in development at Disney features.
And obviously... the minute people finished their lunch I dropped the ol' sketchbook in their laps:
Here's a drawing Kazu and Amy's adorable 1.5 year old son Juni did and then Kazu added to:
And here are some fun creatures by Mr. Hsu:
And lastly, I looooooove this drawing by Clio:
I love when awesome artists draw in my sketchbook!
So there you go.
Now you know what I did for lunch on Monday.
I'm a lucky guy to get to hang with such sooper talented artists, right?
Saturday, November 20, 2010
And I'd like to say I rocked it...
But this year I was only able to attend for one day.
So I semi-rocked it.
I'm talking about the second annual
Creative Talent Network Animation Expo, of course.
Perhaps you remember me harping on about how fun it was last year over HERE?
And for all intents and purposes it looked like its awesomosity levels were equally off the charts this year. But I can't really prove it. I only got to go to one panel called SMALL SCREEN WONDERS which was about TV animation.
I mainly went to heckle Maxwell Atoms, but it was interesting to hear Mark McCorkle (Kim Possible, Penguins of Madagascar), Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time), Sandro Corsaro (Kick Buttowski) and Rodney Barnes (The Boondocks) talk about their adventures in TV animation.
After that, me and Mr. Atoms wandered the floor to check out the artists selling their wares.
Storyboard sooper genius Sherm Cohen was hawking his 10 DVD set, Storyboard Secrets to a curious public. And while I haven't seen the videos, I HAVE seen the man do butt-kicking work since he's one of the Fish Hooks crew! In fact, if you watch the show, you might recognize Sherm as the face of Bud, the guy in the pet store at the beginning of each episode:
You and I could learn a TON from this guy (Sherm, not Bud). Hit up his blog for more info over HERE.
As I meandered around, I bought this adorable squid from Blue Sky character designer Marceline Tanguay:
You tell me where else you can get a beautiful drawing of a cephalopod so beautifully framed.
I had to stop by and see Phil Rynda-- he who designs characters and makes those awesome title cards for Adventure Time. He was selling art and handing out his latest comic:
And while at his table I TOTALLY mugged Adventure Time creator Penn Ward and made him draw in my sketchbook.
And then had Mr. Rynda join in...
And then fellow Adventure Time designer Andy Ristaino got involved.
The result was this:
And as you can see, the result was... how do the kids say, awesomesauce?
And speaking of amazing, check out this sketch Pascal Campion did for me.
I can't shout loud enough about how much I love this guy's work. His line. His sense of color. The mood he sets. I literally swoon when he posts his daily "warm up" drawings on Facebook. I should hate him... but he's too sooper triple nice.
So I'll just keep drooling over his paintings.
And then, check out this totally sooper cute sketch card by Louie Del Carmen. He's all sorts of rockin'.
Obviously, other stuff went down including chatting with the fine folks from Titmouse, some lunch time chat with character designer Chris Battle, and getting to watch a live drawing demonstration by one of my mega-favorite illustrators Tadahiro Uesugi.
Phew... and that's a taste of what I did in just a couple hours.
Can you imagine all the awesomeness I would have witnessed if I had got to go every day?!
If you can make it next year, you gotta hit this event. It's getting bigggerer and betterer every year!