Tuesday, July 17, 2012

30-Day Drawing Challenge: Day 8

Day 8 is "favorite animated character." I could rattle off my top 20 list easily, but in terms of which character had the most profound influence on me as a budding animator, I'd have to go with Timon.

When The Lion King came out, I was 13 years old and I'd already known for about 10 of them that I wanted to be an animator.  Something about Timon's squashy/stretchy body and face really appealed to me, and when I got my hands on the VHS, I popped it into my parents' VCR and frame-by-framed every scene he was in, trying to master his hand poses, facial expressions, line of action, and attitude in my trusty sketchbook.

Looking back on it now, Timon was probably one of the easier characters to draw.  Maybe I should have challenged myself more.  I tried drawing Simba and Rafiki a few times, but kept coming back to Timon.  Of course had I kept up my drawing, maybe I would have gotten good enough to draw any character I wanted!  Sadly I'm still not at that level of skill necessary to keep characters on model, do turnarounds,  come up with appealing poses, draw from imagination, etc. etc.

When I took an class at the Animation Guild in Burbank, I realized just how much I have to learn if I ever want to become a decent 2D animator.  I struggled with every class assignment and was never satisfied with any of my pieces.  What would my 13-year-old self say to me if she saw where I was today?

This evening, I popped in The Lion King and sketched out frames from a Timon scene in my sketchbook, just like old times.  It's never too late to get back into it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

30-Day Drawing Challenge: Day 7

Day 7 is our favorite word.  This one conjures up so many different and wonderful images in my brain...

Adventure on the Atari 2600 was one of the very first video games I ever played.  The graphics were so rudimentary that we couldn't really tell what some things were without the instruction book.  Keys and castles were easy enough, but... was that a dragon or a duck? Do you kill him with... an arrow?

Seriously, for about 25 years I'd been picking up the sword the wrong way.  You can kill the dragon with either end of it, so I just figured it was an arrow since that's what it looked like to me when I was 5 years old. I don't see how that's any more nonsensical than a plumber eating mushrooms and stomping on turtles.  I just had to incorporate that silliness into my artwork. :)

The graphics may have been simple, but for me, it truly was an adventure.  It had mazes, secret passages, hidden rooms, terrifying enemies popping out of nowhere, keys to unlock castle gates, and shiny treasure to discover.  To this day I still love to play it.  I've discovered new games in the interim, one of which inspired the top half of my picture.  Sword & Sworcery gave me that same sense of wonder as I took control of the Scythian and got lost in the mountains of Mingi Taw.

Of course, I love going on real adventures too!  I have fond memories of growing up and going camping, tidepooling, fishing, and travelling to all sorts of places with my family.  Nowadays it's a little harder since I don't get summer vacation anymore.  But Tommy and I try to take at least one vacation somewhere new each year.

Ultimately, to me, the very word evokes the discovery of something new, of stepping outside one's comfort zone and being open to experience something that could change your life.  It involves risk, sometimes small, sometimes large.  I generally prefer the smaller risks.  One can have adventures without being reckless, after all :)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

30-Day Drawing Challenge: Day 6

"The enemy's gate is down."

Day 6 is my favorite character from a book that hasn't been made into a movie yet.  This is soon to change, since Ender's Game is finally being adapted to film after many years of development shenanigans.  I figured I'd better draw some fanart now before all the images in my head get warped by the movie.  That is, if I decide to see it instead of boycotting it.  But that's another matter.  Anyway...

So this is the famous zero-gravity battle room.  Salamander Army (green-green-brown) has not quite adapted to zero-g, and is attempting to keep themselves oriented the way they were facing in the corridor outside.  Meanwhile Ender, decked out in the grey-orange-grey uniform of Dragon Army, has easily reoriented to the position that makes the most sense strategically, throwing himself "down" towards the enemy gate and tucking his knees up to shield him from oncoming blasts.

This image was quite complicated and took a lot of planning and research, but in the end it was quite fun to make.  I looked at photos of astronauts, motorcyclists, Tron costumes, and other Ender's Game fan art. Here's some WIP stuff:

Modelling the background in Maya.
Planning out Ender's pose with a temp model. Why does she have such freakishly long legs?
Sketching Ender with drapery reference photos. I don't own a spacesuit so I made do with snow pants and a jacket.
Rotating the canvas to sketch in Salamander Army.
Inks. Had to pull out my tablet laptop since I hate drawing clean lines on a Wacom. It's much more natural to rotate the canvas than to twist my arm.
Flat color. After that it's just making stuff look shiny. :)

The funny thing about Ender's Game is the minimal amount of physical detail given for characters and places - the majority of the book revolves around thoughts and actions.  I re-read the book for the zillionth time to see if I missed anything prior to starting my piece, and realized that there wasn't much to miss.  I tried my best to compile all the details that I could piece together - red and white buttons on the guns, army colors lighting up the corridor, handholds in the battle room, etc.  I wasn't about to draw all 40 kids from both armies though!  It was interesting to see how other fans interpreted the book.

The next challenges will not be nearly so involved.  But I had to do Ender's Game justice.  It helped me get through a difficult growing stage.