Sunday, December 30, 2012

Virtual Campfire Challenge #1 - Self portrait based on a favorite character

A group of my friends who we refer to ourselves as the Virtual Campfire (since we spend a good amount of time while we're working sitting in a Facebook message chat together shooting the shit or critiquing each other's pieces) have set weekly challenges for each other during this winter break.  The first one was a self portrait based on a favorite character of ours.

I chose Calvin and Hobbes as mine.  Bill Watterson has always been somewhat of a personal hero of mine and I own all his books.  It's actually rather amazing to see the evolution of his artwork through the years he did C&H and in the end, his mastery of colors is truly excellent.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012


1 hour - Digital
Movie still, Elrond from "Return of the King"

Saturday, December 22, 2012


1 hr - Digital

Ugh.  I need to step away and loosen up on these paintings.  Really unhappy with how this turned out so spent an extra hour painting over it and just having some fun.  Tried to  recapture my sketchy kind of style.  Below is the results.  A little happier with it but time to move on.

Tried something new and recorded the hour like my buddy Russell.  Interesting to see each other's process in how we tackle the painting. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

STICK A FORK IN ME. AHHHHhhhhhhhhh......

Final projects are done!  Fairly happy with my sack pantomime, ehhhhh about my enchanted forest painting (but maybe I'll go back in with some photoshop and do some touchup :-D)  This semester was intense.  The workload was by far the most I've ever encountered and now that I'm finished... I just want to do MORE.  Got projects and goals lined up for the holidays that I'm so excited to get to.  AHhhh, I can't wait!

And w/o further ado... here they are!

And..... Badger badger badger badger badger.....  Learned a lot on this project.  First... I don't like painting.  Second... I should've spent more time in the planning stages to really nail down a good composition.  Ahh, hindsight is 20/20.  Time to start work on my own stuff!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Last push of the semester!

Last week of classes and then a week of finals and I'll be closing the chapter which was this semester.  Honestly, I don't think I've worked this hard in my life!  But the greater the struggle the greater the payoff right?  I think I've taken a leap in skills and knowledge again these past few months and I threw a portfolio together for class and because I actually have some stuff I'm kinda proud of. ^_^

This semester has been awesome.  I've had a distinct lack of sleep but a small price to pay for everything I've gained.  Not only in my schoolwork but I also made some really good friends as well.

Looking forward to the break and soaking up the family time. ^_^  Grey and Char are going to get sick of me by the end of it, wahahhaha :-D

Anyways to start off, here's a taste of my final sack pantomime.  About 50% done; gotta finish drawing the inbetweens for the sack and chain and time it out better to the music.  Also, you'll have to imagine that there is a chain that is shackling him to the bottle for the first half of the animation.  :-D

And my portfolio for now:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ramping up...

Always feels good to finish a project. =)

113B - Heroic Tree
This will be the focal point which we'll build our enchanted forest around.  When I thought heroic, I immediately thought of something that protects, shelters, nurtures... so I built a parent tree where under its canopy a young sapling takes root.

Final graphite rendering and the thumbnails/comps included:

114 - Character Animation
This was tremendously fun to animate... and I got to throw a ball bounce in!  Since my first ball bounce sucked.  I've also got my sack pantomine idea sorted out... I hope Chai likes it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Long Road... of animating

Just some links to the pencil tests I've done thus far in ANI 114.  We're up to the basic walk cycle which will be followed by a personality walk and then the flour sack pantomine!  I've included a link to one of my friend's pantomine that she did last semester.  If mine is even half as comparable as hers, I'll be quite happy. ^_^

Brick Drop Test:

Sack Drop Test:

Paper Drop Test:

Water Balloon Drop Test:

Walk Cycle (Basic) with Overlapping secondary action Test:

Nicole Chen's awesomeness Sack Pantomine, I only hope mine can be as evocative!

I also participated in a 24 hour animation contest with 4 of my friends/classmates.  We didn't place but it was a great learning experience.  Basically we had 24 hours to complete a 30 second animated short about a topic that we were given day of.  In hindsight we wouldn't have had 6 different backgrounds and so much hand animation.  Planning goes a long way. =)  Anyways, without further ado:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sueno Yamamoto: March 3, 1920 - October 15, 2012; Grandma extraordinaire.

My grandma passed away quietly and peacefully last night at the age of 92.  I guess I just want to share a little about what made her so special to me.

Probably one of her most wonderful and at the same time quite maddening qualities was her ability to talk.  Grams could strike up a conversation with literally anyone at any time and continue that conversation until the sun went down if we let her.  This coupled with her love of giving to people or helping out those that looked lost or confused... well, she was just a really good neighbor.

One of my favorite memories is when we were at a grocery store and there was a lady that was picking through some watermelons with a slightly befuddled look on her face.  Grams walked right up to her and not only assisted her in finding a nice ripe one but also continued to talk about how to assess all fruit, which continued onto the woman's garden, etc. etc.  We practically had to drag Grams out of there but not w/o the two of them exchanging numbers for future correspondence.

Of the many wisdoms that Grams imparted on me, one that always stuck out was her view on street lights or more specifically the yellow light.  She'd always turn around from the front when Gramps was driving and tell me that "Yellow means go like hell!"  I almost feel like this was a euphemism for her life.  Even when her body started to slow, every day she'd be up at the crack of dawn, fixing a king's feast for breakfast.  I'd always gain 10lbs just from staying at Grandma and Grandpa's place every vacation just from the breakfasts alone.  Then after breakfast she'd be out in the garden, tending to her fruit trees and flowers.  Then it was back in for lunch, and then dinner; always cooking up wonderful dishes and desserts.

Grams never forgot our birthdays and holidays...  We'd always, always have a card from her, year after year... lovingly covered with stickers she's collected for us.

I love you Grams, and miss you terribly.  Say hi to Gramps for us and I know you'll be looking over us from above.  I promise when life tries to slow me down, I'll go like hell. ^_^

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The more you know....

School's started and wow... we just jumped right into it.  After my first sessions last week, I had 25 trees to draw, pine cones to collect, and a completed animation to do... and that didn't count the reading and paper I had to write for my GEs.  =)

The animation was just to gauge where we were; a walk cycle where anything goes.  I wanted mine to loop and keep it simple yet throw in a tiny bit of perspective, so I went with a cube with legs, which morphed into a Wally'esque type robot.  Haha, I love him, he's really cute. ^_^

Animation is below:

Was a busy weekend filled with trees and building my own little animation downshooter.  Still had the program Flipbook from Art28 but I was really unhappy with how the macbook's little webcam handled capturing each page so I ordered a new HD webcam from Amazon and fashioned a mount for it with some scrap wood, screws/brackets and some plexiglass which I could attach the suction cup arm to.  Came out looking kinda snazzy. ^_^

Page from my tree sketchbook (Owen said it was alright for the first pass. I need more detail!):

Tuesday we brought our pine cones (Special thanks to Missy for finding these awesome ones for me).  Mine are apparently from an Austrian Black Pine and are smallish (2-3"), light exterior, black interior, with a small prickle.  We dismantled one of the two and started a graphite drawing of the second.  Tonight I found out 20 factoids of pine cones which was actually kinda interesting.  I never realized that there were a male and female pine cone (the ones we're familiar with are the mature females).  

They say knowledge is power but one has to ask how learning about pine cones beyond what you simply see can help you draw?  Honestly, anything more you know about an object will help you draw it better and more accurately.  Owen used the word "authentic".  You want to make your drawings believable.  For example, learning anatomy will just make your figure drawings that much better, that much more believable.  And once you know how things work, you can start bending, even breaking the rules because you know how you can push it.  

Oh and pines cones (specifically from the family Pinaceae); their scales grow in the fibonacci number sequence, or the golden ratio. It's one of the biological examples of this perfect design.  Other examples found in nature are artichokes (go figure, they look like pine cones), ferns, and the shell of a nautilus.  

Pictures of my awesome pine cone, both dismantled and lit up for a still life:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Final day of summer... first day to a world of new beginnings...

Melodramatic title I know.  But though this summer was one worth remembering, I'm practically chomping at the bit to get back to work.  Knowledge is addicting.  The more I know, the more I want to learn.

This summer was busy.  Spent a great deal of time re-connecting with my family and over the past 3 months, I really had a chance to form a special bond with my son.  I remember the turning point vividly.  It was when I had left for San Luis Obispo for the weekend and when I returned, I hadn't seen Grey for 3 days.  When he saw me, he got more excited than I had ever seen him.  Shouting, laughing, dancing around the couch before he finally came rushing over to give me a huge hug.  Knowing how much he had missed me was an experience I can barely describe.

I will miss these days that we spent together but even the little time that I had to fill my BFA sketchbook was enough to keep pushing me forward.  I learned a great deal in the 96 pages I filled and every mark and stroke I made was pure enjoyment.  I can't wait to get back in the saddle and work my ass off this year.

Spent my final day of summer with Grey and Char.  Took Grey to the park and a good friend came out to meet him for the first time. He was his usual charming (translate: serious face) self and went into his silent strong mode instead of his chatty McJibberJabber silly self.  He did summon up the courage to give her a kiss on the cheek and hand before we left and then napped in the car before we headed to Valley Fair and he played some more before we went to get his favorite junk food, corn dogs!

We went home and Char had finished work so I got a chance to sneak in an hour nap before we packed up the bikes and took a trip out to Yogurtland where we had dinner and then picked him up a Badtzmaru spoon (Yogurtland's having a promotion with Sanrio and has these cute character spoons).  He also drank a good amount of tea so he was bouncing off the walls a little before finally crashing and going to bed.

We turned in our sketchbooks this past Monday and I was sad to see it go.  We'll get it back soon enough and in the meantime I have my two new sketchbooks to start filling.  I decided to splurge a bit and picked up a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and a Strathmore book filled with tone paper.

I'm trying out gouache for the first time and finding it really fun.  It's so true.  Once you learn to draw, any medium is just that. Drawing. ^_^

I let Grey have some fun with my junky brushes and my watercolors on one of the pages.  I then went over with some ink to bring out any shapes I saw. =)

BFA sketchbook cover (illustration board cutout; I wanted to try and mesh the gears of my mind with my love of trees and things that brought me joy this summer).

New sketchbooks!  Love ^_^

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Seeing w/o Limits

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” 

 Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

It's interesting, the path of learning to draw.  Drawing after all is really learning how to see.  

We start off, doodling the care-free whimsy that is a child's mind.  The ability to create as a child is magnificent; kids see the world in such a myriad of ways and colors, but are unfocused.  When we start taking direction through art classes, we're taught how to draw what we see.  Utilizing reference as a powerful tool to better know what we want to draw.  First it's reference in the manner of photographs, translating 2d images into 2d images.  When we grow some more, we start drawing from life.  Seeing the world in 3d and reproducing them into flat form.  We grow again and that's when we learn that our eyes can only tell us so much.  A deeper understanding of the form and physiology of our subjects and its environs allows us to push what we draw beyond what we merely can see, into a realm touched only by our imagination and dreams.  

Only one more week til the BFA sketchbook is due.  Got my new sketchbook all picked out and ready to go. ^_^

Spent the day in SF today along the Embarcadero with a bunch of A/I buddies.  Enjoyed possibly the best milkshake I've had ever, a vanilla shake with chocolate syrup swirled in.  Delish!  Was a gorgeous day, think I got a little sunburned though. :-D


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Collision of Dreams w/Reality

My friend posted this pic she found and being an aspiring animator/illustrator, it really spoke to me.

I wonder about the creator of this image; whether they never experienced a dream coming true or seeing a vision fulfilled.  I feel blessed to be an artist, where daily I take my pen to paper and touch my dreams to reality.  It's the one place where I can live the fairytale, and when I return to real life, I'll have brought a small memento with me.

Sketching has taken on a new life recently; now that the first 80 pages are done and over with, I finally feel free.  Having more fun with it and pushing myself further; I really should've been doing that in the beginning I think.  But looking at my progress over the last 90 pages, there definitely has been!

I spent a page with my 13 year old niece who is looking to get into an art centered high school in SF.   Spoke to her about perspective and shadow shapes and the three rules that I put into practice in ever piece I do.  Squint, Contrast is the meaning of life, and REFERENCE.   I hope I wasn't too real with her about the work it takes to become successful in the art field; she's just a kid and should enjoy being one still.

Spent a Monday at the Winchester Mystery House and Santana Row.  That was an awesome day to say the least. I need to go back.  The house is just absolutely massive and a joy to draw in perspective. =)  And as a place to draw people... it's hard to beat Santana Row.  Sat outside Pinkberry and just stared and sketched for a good 3 hours.  Oh and ate yogurt.  Can't forget that.