Saturday, May 27, 2006

Animation Blast

In late March I was contacted by Amid Amidi and asked to take a crack at creating a new logo for Animation Blast magazine. Being a huge fan of his magazine I jumped at the chance. Below is a montage of the sketches I made in the process of creating the logo:

Here are the final letter forms, drawn in Adobe Illustrator:

With a little 3D shadow action:

In pretty colors:

If you don't already know Amid's writing from Cartoon Brew or Cartoon Modern head over right now! Don't forget to buy Amid's new book from my favorite publisher Chronicle Books, also titled 'Cartoon Modern'. If you're a fan of cartoon animation, especially the more designed and graphic work of the 50's and 60's you want to own this book.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Phased-plasma rifle in the forty watt range.

My latest project requires me to create a cartoon character out of 'Governator' Arnold Schwarzenegger. So I went out to Target and Best Buy to grab as many cheap Arnold flicks as possible. I was amazed that for $60 I could pick up seven DVDs with a total of eight movies. Gems like 'Kindergarten Cop' were only $5!

This first page was done only with pics found on the internet. Suprisingly the selection of Arnold pics on the web sucks as much as my drawings of them.

These were all based on stills from T2.

This page is all from the T3 behind the scenes features. Notice Arnolds turkey neck.

Hopefully my drawings will improve and I will be able to boil Arnold down to a cartoon character. Tonight I'll be watching 'True Lies' and 'Kindergarten Cop'. Since he's not playing a robot in those films he has more than three expressions... maybe five or six at best.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Los Angeles Pt 2

Tuesday May 2

After waking up and chugging some ice coffee from the local Starbucks, we hit the road and take the 5 up to LA. Since we're not going at peak hours the drive isn't too bad. The weather is pretty overcast into the early afternoon. Leah was compelled to capture this taco truck on the drive up.

Our only real mission today is to visit the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive. We get to Burbank early and locate the archive on the semi-desolate Burbank Blvd. Since it isn't open yet we head over to the only sign of civilization, a shopping center. I try unsuccessfully to find some white t-shirts from Target that aren't cut to fit fat people.

With nothing else in the immediate vicinity we head over to the lovely Olive Garden. Any one who knows us also knows that we hate chain restaurants with a passion. The 'host' quizzes us on our Olive Garden menu knowledge on the way to seating us. I lie and say I've been to this place before just to spare us any more of his corporate jive.

After an okay meal we head over to the archive. The director Stephen Worth shows us around the exhibit area where there are a stack of vintage Golden Book recently donated by John K, tables covered with Mexican lobby posters, and early (if not the first) Betty Boop model sheets. Next he takes us to the back room which is packed with yet to be cataloged animation cels, drawings, storyboards, model sheets, background paintings and any other piece of cartoon related art you could fathom. Finally we are led back to the front where there's a row of iMacs for viewing digitized cartoons and art. Leah and I sit down to join Katie Rice and Marc Deckter who are watching a slew of vintage Terrytoons. I can't wait until we move to LA so I can volunteer at the archive to help preserve cartoon animation history.

Next we decide to drive through Echo Park, Silverlake and Atwater Village to check out the vibe. Since we're unfamiliar with the LA area our tour is pretty random but still fun. On a whim we decide to drive up to Griffith Park which we liked a lot. The trail had a lot of wildlife like birds, lizards, insects, snakes and some angst ridden teens sharing a bottle of Jack. The views from the top start Leah's obsession with the Hollywood Hills.

After our hike we drove over to Cobras and Matadors on West Beverly Blvd for some delicious tapas. All I can say is whoever thought of searing bacon onto the backs of prawns and drizzling them in cream sauce is a genius! It's a BYOB restaurant which saved us some cash, so we left a decent tip by NYC standards. I guess it was bigger tip than normal because our waiter thanked me like I just saved his kid from drowning. Finally we jump back on the 5 down to Dana and Lisa's place.

Los Angeles Pt 1

Monday May 1

Leah and I wake up at the ass crack of dawn and are wisked away to JFK by the ever vigilant cousin Lew. Upon our arrival at LAX we grab a ride over to our rental car service. We booked the cheapest thing they offered but were bumped up to a hideous, green Dodge Magnum. I convince Leah we should spring for the GPS for an extra $10 a day. She ends up loving it since it gets us where we need to go without much fuss. Since Leah did all the planning, I volunteer to drive for the entire trip which oddly enough I really enjoyed.

Next we hit the streets and head over to the strip to get tickets for the band Morningwood who is playing at the Roxy on Wednesday. After eating tacos and downing some coffee, we notice that the people eating at all the little sidewalk cafes are giving us the eye. We attribute that to the fact that we were the only people walking on the strip who weren't total degenerates. The only other person on the sidewalk is a guy who looks like Axl Rose with a skanky rash all over his arms and is pissing on a telephone booth you're not in good company.

Since we wanted to avoid the legendary LA rush hour traffic we head over to my brother Dana and Lisa's place in Ladera Ranch. We arrive early and get a chance to chill in a little park. Dana and Lisa take us out for Mexican food in Laguna Beach. After many tacos and margaritas we walk across the street and dip our feet in the Pacific Ocean. After that we went back to crash in Dana's soon to be bad-ass home theater room.

Rock N' Roll Dream Realized

Most people who know me also know I'm a huge fan of rock n' roll music. In junior high school I was sucked into the world of rock music by Guns N' Roses. They were the only band from the Sunset Strip scene in the 80's that sang about life on the street rather than about 'Girls Girls Girls' or 'Nothin' But A Good Time'. Through them I discovered classic bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC as well as punk rock acts like The Stooges, Dead Boys and The New York Dolls. Slash and Izzy's playing are what inspired me to pick up the guitar in the first place.

So last night I was listening to Camp Freddy Radio on Indie 103.1. Usually Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison host the show, but this one was hosted by Matt Sorum and Slash of Velvet Revolver and G N' R fame. Leah quickly shamed me into calling the show to talk to my rock idols. A lot of people were asking G N' R questions and you could tell the guys were sick of talking to about their old band. I figured if I asked about what VR is doing now and who's producing their new album I could get on to talk to them, and I was right!

At first we talked about the show on New Years Eve at Starland Ballroom that Leah and I went to. Then the guys got into talking about the new album and who might be producing tracks for it as well as the song for an upcoming movie soundtrack. I was pretty nervous while I was on hold but once Matt started talking I was totally relaxed. Anyway, if you want to hear the portion of the show with my call click the link below:

Me talking to Slash and Matt on CFR

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cartoon Lessons

John K is giving cartoon animation lessons based on Preston Blair's book on his blog. I just purchased this book recently and have decided to follow along with the lessons as John posts them. Here's the results from the first two lessons:

In the past few months I've been working on making my cartoons look more solid like cartoons from the 40's. Hopefully following the lessons and John's advice will help this 'old man' improve his cartoon prowess.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

Hey folks, Leah and I just got back from our trip to California early this morning. It was a great time and we're both excited to move this fall! I'll be posting a breakdown of our trip with a few photos thrown in. Unfortunately some sort of technical difficulty with either my Canon Powershot G2 or iPhoto caused the deletion of the Napa Valley portion of our trip. Bummer.

This is me after a fun trip to ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive which I'll include in my LA visit post coming up soon!