Monday, March 31, 2008

Pencil tests

When I start a new film, it often begins with a strong image in my mind. I may not even have a story or a full picture of characters developed, but I can see in my mind's eye a particular scene that will end up in the film. These end up being the cornerstones of the plot and I build around them. The particular challenge is that usually these images are so strong and well-developed they become intimidating! I am never sure if I will be able to do them justice with pencil and paper. This particular scene has been bouncing around for a while. Amazingly, I think I managed to get pretty close! It's been a while since I've done straight-up classical character animation, so I'm pretty excited I'm not as rusty as I thought.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Opera in the barn

Today I went down to the Washoe valley and the historic Davis Ranch. There is a big, dilapidated barn resting underneath an even bigger dilapidated cottonwood tree. One or the other or both will likely not last another season and the Tahoe Art League was invited to photograph and sketch on the site for the benefit of posterity. I did take some pictures of the exterior of the barn, but inspiration struck as I wandered inside. The light seeping through the decaying siding became my palette. My obsession with slow shutter speeds continues. I stopped down to 1 second exposures and started moving the camera around to see what would happened. I was pretty eager to get home and see the results. Some of the still images are fascinating, mysteriously musical.

As for the animation, my technique needs a little refinement, I think, but throw a few Amici vocals under the abstract images and we have a MacLaren-esque bit of animation.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The bird returns

I wanted to see what this would look like with a bit of color. I started with tempera and then switched to watercolor. Can you tell where I switched?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I would like...

Once you set your mind on a task, suddenly the world conspires to distract you from it. Two weeks seems to be more manageable for posting, but perhaps the results are worth the wait...

Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said.
A clock has stopped striking in the house
across the road...
When did it start?...
I would like to step out of my heart
and go walking beneath the enormous sky.
I would like to pray.
And surely of all the stars that perished
long ago,
one still exists.
I think I know
which one it is --
which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,
stand like a white city...

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This is the first of a series of weekly bloggimation. My intention for these little weekly animations is to overcome the inertia that is commonly associated with Blank Canvas Syndrome - that ineffable fear of making the first mark on a new project. Yes, I am percolating ideas for my next film. Sorry, still keeping things hidden behind the curtain, but I will disclose that it is a narrative short and I will need to brush up on my drawing and painting skills. Hence the above 10 seconds.

I am occasionally blessed with bald eagle sightings on the beach near my house. I haven't seen the eagle for a few months now, blame crazy snowstorms, my lack of outdoor activity while being sick, or just not crossing paths.

There's about 100 drawings in this sequence and I'm in the process of adding some paint, but, well, that's gonna take a while! Look for it next week (hopefully).