Archive for December, 2007


I have a large collection of old illustration magazines and manuals. They can be funny to read, descriptive text from the 1920′s ETC has a very pronounced style. But they have a ton of amazing, beautiful art samples. I will upload a few from time-to-time if people are interested. The above catalog was published by Higgins Ink Co. from 1948, and is edition number 5 (the first being from 1927). It has dozens of illustration samples from folks who, obviously, use Higgins Ink.


It features some great advertising cuts, book covers and golden age illustration samples as well as several wash drawings by Andrew Wyeth. I’ve chosen pieces by Dong Kingman and Tracy Sugarman to show up close.

Each page features at least one, and as many as 5 illustrations and short bites about the artist’s technique or methods. It also features cutting edge (for the time) info on line screens, half tones and advice from various professionals. I’ll leave you with this quote from William Longyear (credited as -Head, Dept. of Advertising Design Pratt Institute-)

“If you aspire to be an illustrator, draw incessantly, draw intelligently, draw for the love of it. Drawings is the foundation of all illustration.” While not revolutionary, certainly good advice and advice that is as true today as it was in 1948.

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The above art are samples from a set of icons for OSX called CREEPS. I made them back in 2003 for an icon contest. It seems to me, I didn’t do that well in the contest, as most people in the Icon world like clean, photo realistic icons, and I am way too messy for that. They are all horror or sci-fi related heads.

So here is a Holiday gift! For the first time since 2003, free OSX icons! Please don’t repost these files, but you can link back to this post.


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Above are two pieces I’ve done for a new animated short I am working on. When will it be done? …well, I am hopeful March or April of next year. But we will see.I’m not 100% sure of the overall visual look/art direction yet. I have locked the script and the board is about half done. it’s only a 2 minute film, but I want to have more subtle animation then I have done before. I imagine I will do a bunch more of these designs before I decide on a look. It is a fairytale, but with an edge.I’m playing with color and design at this point. Trying to find not only a palette for the entire film, but a design style. Should it be modern and quirky? Rough line and watercolor looking? I’m not sure yet. But the look has to reflect the story, at least the pathos of the story.It’s based on a single page comic story I did years ago. But the comic style isn’t quite right when you bring the idea into animation.

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Some card art from 2004. The traditional Holiday cat, duck and wolf. The ageless Christmas tale of how they learned to skate. In other words, I wanted to draw our cat, a duck and our husky.

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Animation Monday is proud to introduce Don Hertzfeldt. Rejected is a great animated short (an Oscar nominated short from 2000). I’m sure most people who stop by this blog have seen it and most probably own it on DVD. Anyway, a great short, funny, with unexpected turns all done in his unique style, and shot under a camera. This is on YouTube. Not sure if it is legally up there..I would guess not. But you can stop by his web site,(linked above) and buy his DVD’s with  better copies of the film as well as his most recent work.

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The sketch above is from a book project. It is a big crowd scene. I love to draw crowd scenes. And I do it differently then I used to. As I do all my finished art on the computer it allows me to easily mix sketches and play with a composition at lightning speed. Good for someone like me who suffers from attention deficit issues.

I have a rough layout of where my crowd goes on the page and relative sizes. Of course there is a main piece of action attracting their attention. I have done about 20 pages of sketches, different people, groups, families, all reacting to one another or the main scene. Each, hopefully, telling their own story as well as revealing emotions and attitudes of what is happening on the page. I can pick and choose,  draw more people and combine them until I have my crowd. Then I draw over them in Photoshop and paint. Or in this case, I am choosing a style where the background crowd will be just line art so as not to distract from the main action. In years past I would have worked on a single piece of drawing paper/board and worked the sketches until they were dead and tired on the page. I feel like my work is better the more improvisational it can be. And although there is a lot of planning and layouts to get to this stage, I want the characters to be alive, unique and interesting enough to jump off the page. I want you to recognize them, perhaps guess what they might be eating or if they smell! This is the second rough. I think I will ‘ink’ this and see how I like it.

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Back on schedule. Animation Monday will be posted on Sunday as I won’t be posting on Monday. So here is animation Monday!

Pencil tests. You Tube offers a great variety of pencil tests. Some are copies of original test shoots by animators, others are, I would guess, reshoots of cycles and scenes when someone finds or ‘inherits’ the originals pages from an animator. Either way some amazing 2D pencil tests are available for viewing and education. This is a characters scene from what is probably the worst of Disney’s animated features (not counting the Emperor’s New Groove) Treasure Planet. I think it is Treasure Planet. If I’m wrong let me know.A really nice little clip. It claims to have been animated by Sergio Pablos. I don’t know otherwise.

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It’s off-topic Sunday! Where I, well, you know, write an off topic post. Today it’s Facebook.

So I have a Facebook account. After 6 people emailed me in like a two week span, I gave in and got me one. I don’t know exactly why it fascinates me. I’ve grown to think of it as a 2nd-Life for people who don’t play 2nd-Life, Web 2.0, social application, white noise generator. It’s like the Midway of the Internet, except all the Carnies can not only guess your weight and age, they know your email address and what website you last visited.

Top 5 applications I want to create and install on Facebook:

1- PAY ME – once anyone installs the application it automatically deposits 25 cents in my Paypall account every 45 minutes.

2 – EMERGENCY – once someone installs the application it randomly dials the local 911 number of one of my Facebook ‘friends’ and demands a swat team at the residence.

3 – MARKY’S BIRTHDAY – when you install this app it triggers an automatic email message to you and and all your Facebook ‘Friends’ reminding them when my birthday is.

4 – CASUAL FRIDAY – a user installs this application and they get a daily email, fax (if number provided) and robotic phone call reminding them that every Friday is a ‘casual Friday’.

5 – BUY THIS – once this simple application is installed it rifles through all your personal emails, websites, voice mails, instant messages, web cookies, passwords, Amazon lists ETC and sends the results to the top bidder of the day. (Oh, wait, I think Mark Zuckerberg already made this app…)

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Saturday must be Old Art Saturday. As I can’t show you the stuff I am working on right now (but I will be able to shortly) I decided to post an older piece. This is work from a graphic novel  I am working on. It’s pretty self explanatory. Kids, aliens, a school bus in space…you know. I will also have some work that will probably be in a show of my paintings in January at the Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego. Getting some digital prints made this week.

I also promise that Animation Monday will return this Monday with animation news or a link to an outstanding animation ETC.

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I’ve had a few emails from people about my posting on Borders. They all felt the same way. That many bookstores don’t know how to sell picture books. That the picture book has a unique selling ability – the cover. And, I have proof.

I went down to Powell’s City of Books in Portland last Saturday. It’s a great, huge, wonderful bookstore, and is reason enough to visit Portland, Oregon. Anyway, I was looking for a particular picture book. They have a huge picture book department (next time I will take pictures and post!) and while they have shelves and shelves of picture books spine out, they also have tons of books cover out. Perhaps a hundred were displayed with the wonderful art looking right at you. And you know what, I bought 5 picture books. 2 by artists and writers I have never heard of. The art above is one from one of the books I picked up, because the cover attracted me, and I ‘fell in love’ with it. The writing and art are superb. Powell’s made like 80 bucks from me because the picture book covers caught me. Borders, are you reading this?

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