My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.



The Disney work session last week was great!
Southern California was beautiful!
The weather was awesome!
The creative team was most excellent!

Hmmm...I think I must find another opportunity to get some work there. ;)



Bliss is having hot water.

The boiler for my apartment complex was out for a few days because of some kind of repair work. The gas company had to shut off service until the repairs to the boiler were we had no hot water. Of course, this was perfectly timed to coincide with drops in temperature to freezing. No hot shower. Bah. Boiling water on the stove-top was my temporary solution to have some hot water for washing. While I was dealing with the situation, I kept thinking of stories my mom told me of her childhood in rural North Germany where winters meant ice on the windows inside the bedroom and extremely short visits to the outhouse. And everyone took a bath in the big tub in the kitchen where it was warm.

Needless to say, I was very happy when the hot water returned. While I happen to enjoy the occasional cooler winter weather that we get here in Texas, I enjoy the hot summers more. I like polar bears, but I'm not one for bathing in cold water.

Love that hot water. :)


New Things

As an artist, I always have something new going on...both at work and with my own evening and weekend doodles. This week has been strangely productive when I consider how swamped I've been at work and I've even been doing job stuff at home.

I've been studying wrinkles. Something I don't usually do. It's not something I like to focus on when I'm looking in the mirror, anyhoo.


Ah, those lines and lines of endless wrinkles. Some of my characters this week needed good wrinkles to help get them a bit more creepy. Aging can do that, when added to the right personality. The final characters I'll be working on next week will need turn-arounds as well so that they can be sculpted by artists in China for animatronics. It's interesting to see the end results a month or so later.

And everyone seems to visualize age somewhat differently. Or, maybe I felt that more since I was focusing on female characters for a bit. It's amazing how adding a bit of "make-up" even if it's only by pencil on paper, makes the critic think the female character is a little younger or age appropriate. At least that's been my experience lately. LOL. And a little plastic surgery a la the eraser helps things a bit, too. So, here's some of what I sketched to get some wrinkle inspiration.

Guess what! Another cool book!

This one is called Creating Characters with Personality: For Film, TV, Animation, Video Games, and Graphic Novels by Tom Bancroft. I totally recommend it to anyone interested in character design. While I already have my own methods to create various characters in the many products I develop (toys, novelty, illustration for books, etc.), this book also has some great alternatives and methods of rapid production that can come in really handy...particularly when you think you've finally run out of ideas for yet another new character. :)

At work, the new things I've been developing these past couple of weeks have jumped back and forth from scary life-sized Halloween animatronic characters that will be sculpted in China for the next six weeks, to saccharine-sweet Valentines and Easter designs. If I had to pick my least favorite commercial holidays, those last two would be it. The first is a constant knock on the head about how unsuccessful and yes, pathetic, you are as a human being if you're not involved in any kind of romantic relationship; and the second has art requests that are 100% focused on bunnies, eggs and other fluffy toys rather than the religious significance of Easter. I have to admit, I always have a laugh when I think of all the Easter bunnies I'm developing...particularly since the original association of rabbits for Christian symbolism in art was how sinful Bunnies are because they're always having sex. Ha! Those sexy Easter bunnies... Of course, there are pagan associations with bunnies as well having to do with fertility and the renewal of life and so on. Ah, those pagans. :)

After work when I can, I've been focusing on my latest portfolio submissions to the various animation and game companies who've been looking for visual development artists or concept artists. Since I'm now submitting to game companies as well rather than just animation studios, I've been pulling together at least two types of portfolios to better match the needs of the two very different industries. Hopefully, I'll be hearing back from one or two in the next few months.

I have to admit, I'm nervous as heck about all of this. It's what I want to do more than anything, but so far I seem to keep missing out. I don't know what else to do, but try, try again. If (when!) I finally get an offer, it will be a big change in many ways. None of these companies are in Texas, so it looks like I'll be moving permanently for awhile. New places, new people, new experiences. While I was consulting, I lived for months at a time at various locations around the U.S. to be at the client site, but usually stayed at various hotels during the week and almost always back in Texas on the weekends. I haven't done a full "home" relocation since I was an Air Force Brat.

Finally...One more week, and it's off to Disney for my first work session. I'm extremely curious to see how that goes. My previous design sessions with other companies have been more focused on the technology side with software and web application development with (mainly) corporate clients; and I'm usually part of the team leading the GUI and Information Architecture, along with prioritizing client content. Very little creative design really to my mind. I'm hoping this one will be more fun. :)