Saturday, November 3, 2012

Made In Canada

  This last week was a bit of a bust when it came to working on my portfolio.  After nearly a year of evading the common cold, one virus finally got me and I found myself at it's mercy.  However, all is not lost.  I planned on making these drawing for Halloween.  Unfortunately, my head cold had just struck me and I couldn't find the energy to muster the concentration required to execute them.  Besides, as every animator knows, Col-Erase animation pencils are highly water soluble (in College I ruined a perfectly good pair of Khaki pants forgetting some red and blue Col-Erase nubs in my front pocket and then running them through the laundry.....Oops).   

  For those of you who didn't grow up in Canada, or who are too old or young to remember the great television animation renaissance of the late 1980's to Mid 1990's; these drawing are fan art within fan art.  When I was just embarking on my cartoon capers, my absolute favourite animated television shows were produced by Nelvana Inc.  A Canadian animation studio based in Toronto and one which I have had the pleasure of being affiliated with (Once removed).  The cartoon "Beetlejuice", is my absolute childhood favourite.  I was so fond of this show that I wore black to school for three weeks and was asked by my classmates if someone had died.  Fortunately enough, I made a lousy third grade Goth; but, these fabulous trips to the Neitherworld sparked my imagination and since then I've developed an affinity for the macabre.  First released in Canada on September 9th, 1989 and ran for three series until October 26th, 1991.  In the United States it aired on ABC and Fox from September 9th, 1991 and ended May 7th, 1992.  Loosely based on the Tim Burton film of the same name and with the main titles composed by Danny Elfman, that series opening stands to date one of the most marvelously animated I've ever seen (Plus, it doesn't hurt to mention that I got a chance to touch the Emmy Nelvana won for "Beetlejuice" while attending a company Christmas Party at Nelvana.  For the record, I wanted to lick it, but I didn't know where that Emmy had been.  So, I touched it a little and that was good).  Thus, it's very fitting that the "Ghost with the Most" should meet the American Family of which I am most fond, American Dad.

  Screen Right to Left:  Stan Smith - Beetlejuice, Francine Smith - Lydia Deetz, Hayley Smith - Delia Deetz, Jeff - Charles Deetz, Bottom:  Roger Smith - Clair Brewster, Steve Smith - Prudence.

   The Second drawing is a mishmash of cartoon characters from various shows which rounded off most of my pre-90's viewing.  At first I toyed with the idea of inserting the "Care Bears" into the picture.  Mostly because they are probably the most recognized world wide and second, Stewie would make a fabulous "No Heart".  The reason why I changed my mind is because I couldn't bring myself to deface these characters to that degree, and so "Babar", "My Pet Monster", "Inspector Gadget" and "Punky Brewster" won the page.  Babar was one of those wholesome shows which will forever hold a place in my pre-school heart.  The sweetest story lines, and the wonderful way it blended real life into fantasy makes it one of those shows you can leave your kid in front of and fall asleep on the couch during.  "Babar" premiered in 1989 and produced a staggering 78 episodes which was launched by a movie made in that same year.  "My Pet Monster" was one of the most well marketed of the Nelvana shows and only was released as one season in 1986.  It had plush toys and made yellow handcuffs popular with children under 18.  "Inspector Gadget" needs no introduction, as most of you are probably familiar with that Matthew Broderick abomination which was released almost 14 years ago.  The animated series ran from 1983-1986 and didn't reach syndication until the 1990's.  The last character, and one which does not belong, is that of "Punky Brewster", which is an American cartoon and aired September 14th, 1985 to December 26th, 1985 on NBC.  I chose her because she fit the era and Meg best.

  Screen Right to Left:  Peter Griffin - "Babar", Lois Griffin - Jill - "My Pet Monster", Chris Griffin - Uncle Arthur "Babar", Meg Griffin - "Punky Brewster".  Bottom Page: Stewie Griffin - Penny "Inspector Gadget", Brian Griffin - Brain "Inspector Gadget".

    There you have it: Fan art Within Fan art.  Canadian fan art at that.  I hope that Tim Burton, Nelvana, and Fox can all forgive me for merging them together.  My only defense is that my imagination made me do it (as people do the most appalling things when on Buckley's Cough and Cold medicine).  Frankly, I blame NeoCitran and it's manufacturing company for producing faulty packaging - thus leading to a cold and flu over-the-counter medical shortage this year.  Because of this I was forced to open packages of the drinkable cold medication which were only 4 months away from expiry.

  Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did.  I needed to take a break from Oz and have a little fun. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Updates from Oz...

..- .--. -.. .- - . /  ..-. .-. --- -- /  --- --.. .-.-.- 

I know I was talking a while back about doing Wizard of Oz Storyboard MacFarlane style.  Truth is, I began it while working on the last season of "Wild Kratt's".  Unfortunately for me, due to a miscommunication, I lost 95% of the work and had to start at Scene One all over again.  Finally, after a couple of weeks coming into the studio, (Yes, the studio has said that I am more than welcome to come in while I am laid off work and work on my own thing using their software and computers.  In fact, everyone who worked at the studio is welcome to do the same.  Just letting all of you know). I've finally regained everything that I've lost, and then some.  I thought I would share some of the work in progress with you.  However, my update will remain conservative, with all of the bare bones, bad perspective, and overall dirty laundry hanging out. 

"To Oz?".....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fridge Worthy?

      Ah, finally!.  For an artist, not putting pencil to paper for an extended period of time results in a lot of, "Artistic Frustration".  The digital Cintiq is close, but there is nothing like the sensation of the lead of a slightly dulled pencil gliding across the paper.

     This post was supposed to be blogged months ago.  Back in the Spring, there was some question at Fox as to whether or not another season of "American Dad" would be on the menu for the fall roster.  When I heard the news I was telling everyone at work and most people looked at my puzzled and asked, "What do you care?.  You don't work there".  To which I replied, "Maybe not, but somebody does.  Whenever a regularly scheduled show is threatened, all animators, everyone in the industry should band together to keep the show on the air.  It might not be the food on your table, the clothes on your children's backs, or your debts paid; but, it IS someone else's.  We should all care, we should all stand up for each other".

  Complacency will get us into deep trouble one day.

     I can tell you right now, I do care.  I care a lot.  So much in fact that I had planned this picture to be a much larger drawing.  Originally, I desired to draw this on bristol board and to bring with me to the Ottawa ComicCon (which took place in May) with the title boldly printed: "Save American Dad!".  On the back of the drawing I wanted to print one of the addresses of the Head Honchos at Fox so that people would know who to contact if they shared my concern.  My "Master Plan" would have been completed by me waving the sign around when I attended the Patrick Stewart Panel on the Saturday.  Surely, that would get some attention.

     Alas, my "Master Plan" was thwarted by Patrick Stewart's untimely withdrawal from Ottawa's very first ComicCon. Thus, this drawing and all of it's positive intentions remained merely a "good idea", until now.

Post Script:

     For some reason, these projects feel like they draw themselves!.  That I can bring to life the ideas in my head and them execute them with relative ease is fascinating.  I am very pleased at the combination of two of my most favourite genre's of entertainment:  "American Dad!" ~ My absolute favourite of the MacFarlane line up, and "Star Trek"~ which I listened to a couple episodes while drawing this (DS9 as a matter of fact).

     "Star Trek", the most magnificent thing about that show is that you don't necessarily need to watch in order to know what's going on.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Awesome Night That Almost Happened

Like so many other people in this industry, after work all you want to do is go home and do nothing. Well, this weekend I felt like doing something!. I live only a 15min walk from Scotiabank Place, the HUGE rink where all of the NHL games are held in Ottawa. This past Saturday was supposed to be one of those "BIG Games", between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators.

I've only ever been to one live Hockey game in my life and thank goodness the Ottawa Senators won that one. This weekend, I really wanted to experience one again. The manic energy and excitement that you experience at a sporting event is so worth the $12 beer. So, I thought that this weekend would be a good time to revisit the rink. The only problem was, no tickets.

I asked a co-worker if they wanted to check out the game with me on Saturday night. Not having any tickets to a sold out game, I thought that we could chance it with a 15min walk to the rink, arrive a little after the game started to see if we could cut a deal with a scalper on some tickets. Some friends of mine who are huge hockey fans told me that sometimes scalpers will sell their tickets off cheap after the game has started to make at least some profit over unsold tickets. However, if this plan fell through, all we had to do was walk back to the car or catch a cab to a pub where we could just sit and watch the game from a bar stool.

My appreciation of the game didn't come until after I moved to Ottawa from London for College. I remember sitting in front of the tv while labeling my final animation assignment while having the playoff game on in the Background. Since I got rid of my cable years ago, I lost touch with the game; but, I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to check one out live or at a local sports bar.

Anyhow, this Saturday I was super excited that I might actually be able to see a game live again. When I asked my friend if that sounded like a good plan the initial answer was, "I have to walk?". My heart sank a little. Then when I asked later if they wanted to come they said, "well, I'm not really into hockey, I don't really follow it", "It's cold out", and "we should do something else together".

It was like I was asking my friend if they wanted to go see Disney on ice. I should have just gone on my own. But, I didn't and drew this instead.

It was the awesome night that almost happened and the Bruins won. Ugh.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Next Step...

Okay, so there hasn't been a lot going on my blog since I've moved back to Ottawa. My Supervising job has kicked into high gear and the first couple of weeks have allowed me the pleasure of wrapping them up with a couple shots of rum.

Truth be told, I've been picking the brains of a couple of the top storyboard artists here in the Nation's Capitol, trying to get some tips on how to get started. Some of these guys have worked all over the world and in feature, so, why not?. The studio has generously offered me up one of the storyboarding work stations with cintiq (YAY, I'm just working on a Mac with a tablet), and, on my own time when I have to come in on the weekend to assist the crew, I can start working on my board!.

I'm moving again in a couple weeks, closer to work. I figure that if I have come back to Ottawa to do these things, then I better commit - All or nothing!.

Currently, I'm working on a drawing with the slogan: "I don't work out for my health, I work out for yours". My Director laughed when I told him about it. He insisted that I make the sign and threaten to tap it whenever occasion arises.

I'm super excited to get this dream off the ground. I just hope that my life can arrange and settle in such a way that will allow for the magic to happen in between training my body and a super green crew.

A crew, by the way, I am very proud of. Four out of the six of my crew graduated College for animation in the last 6-9 months, and all of them are incredibly talented and hard working young people (even though I am only 4-8 years and several productions older - I'm starting to feel my age in this young industry). We almost hit our two week deadline of 900 frames/week with my revisions. Outstanding, seeing as most with most of them this is their first REAL series production since graduation. Go team "Sock Monkey in a Fruit Basket"!! (Yes, that is the name I have given my crew and, yes, there is a story behind the name that I will share with you who really want to know).

Anyhow, it's late, and I'm going to watch more BBC Sherlock before I lose consciousness. I just wanted to let all of you out there know that I am working hard, and I need to get used to the production schedule of this new gig, and get myself re-located before you start to see more "OZ". The yellow brick road will lead me back here soon.