Friday, January 4, 2013

Digital Still Life

I would like to learn how to paint well some day.  But for now, it always falls into the hobby/just for fun category because I'm pushing myself to focus on story and animation.

I think this is my first digital still life, just looking at some stuff on my desk.  I used only one layer to try and replicate the actual oil painting process.  I didn't really consider composition at all; I focused on trying to duplicate the colors I saw, and just wanted to try it out and see what I could learn from doing it.

I also snapped a photo with my ipod so I could compare what I thought the colors would be with actual ones sampled out of the photo.  (I know a photo is also super different than life, but it was close enough for this.)  It's crazy how they were pretty much NEVER even close.

The hardest part that never even got close to looking right is the black book in the foreground.  It's a black, textured hard cover sketchbook with yellow light falling on it.  But when I sampled colors out of the photo, all I got were greys, browns and purples--never any yellows.

Color is nuts.  But digital painting is super fun.  I'm going to wash my digital brushes out now.  :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Learning new things

Classes have been exceptional so far, and I'm busier than I've ever been before at CalArts.

One of the happenings this year that I'm most pleased with is a growing sensation I feel of falling in love with the work that we do here.  Whether I'm lying on some broken-down boxes on my cube floor reading handouts on screenwriting, or listening to a guest lecturer speak about the miraculous process that is film-making, I'm very happy.

I struggled my first year here as I adjusted to the new community and schedule.  One of the most devastating parts of the struggle was a growing disgust with my drawings, and even with the act of drawing.

I'm not sure why it happens, or even how common it is, but it seems that art students lose some part of their love for drawing when they begin to study it at a university level.  That pure enjoyment we felt while drawing as a kid, or even in high school, slips away.

Some seem to skip this weird period entirely, and I envy them.

That said, I've been lucky enough to have some teachers here that have patiently helped to rehabilitate my love of drawing.  Honestly, it took 1-2 years to feel like I'd cleared the woods, but I now feel like I'm in the steep part of the curve again, zooming up out of the flat into the thrilling idea that drawing is FUN.

Here are a couple drawings I've made in the last few weeks.

     I watched some debate segments from this year (and 2008 obviously) and worked on a couple things.

     First, I wanted to explore caricature, which I think is probably the most fun that someone can have while drawing.  I was lucky enough to have Steve Brown and Jonny Gomez teach my figure drawing classes over the last two years.  They were excellent instructors in teaching me a new way of thinking about drawing--I came here with a purely academic, representational figure drawing background.   They both encouraged me to scrutinize the figure, to really analyze what I'm seeing, and to then TRANSFORM it into an interesting image.  This idea of designing (creating deliberately and methodically to create interest) permeates our practice.  Steve talked to me about letting the model's figure tell me how it should be drawn--"If this side of the arm looks kind of straight to you, then draw it STRAIGHT!"

     Secondly, I am experimenting more with using ink this year, this time a brush pen.  Ink makes you get it right, or else.  Ink forces you to make a careful, but bold statement.  It also makes you cautious not to "kill" the drawing, as I have in some of these.  There is no undo button, so it forces you to decide and then to state.  It's a great instructor in and of itself.

     This is a drawing I made for our first character design assignment of the year.  The idea was that Spongebob had died, and we were to draw it.  He's a sponge, after all, so I figured maybe somebody left him in the sink for too long and he drowned and became waterlogged.  Or maybe the opposite happened, and someone left him in the sun to dry out.

     I think the top spongebob is much more fun to look at, but I'm not exactly sure why.  I believe the colors help, and that the round shapes make it more pleasing, but I really can't say why it's the preferable image.

     As fun and instructive as a brush pen is to use, I've gotta say that it's also a lot of fun to draw digitally.  When you draw in the computer you protect your investment, because the image actually exists on layers and in steps that you can undo or redo just by clicking a button.  You can try new things over and over and over on the same image, without ever harming it.  There is never any instance where you do something that can't be changed or undone.  It's a sanctuary for your drawing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Movie Jackets

Sometimes a movie or a tv show will have such an amazing prop or costume in it--an item so inherently appealing and attractive--that you want to own one for yourself.  If you're Adam Savage then you just make it.

I asked for and received an Indiana Jones hat for Christmas once, I've played with real-as-possible lightsabers... Last year there was a lot of excitement over the satin scorpion jacket that Ryan Gosling wore in the very cool movie "Drive."  I thought that jacket was just "ok."

Here are two jackets that I love.  I'd give a lot for these--I'd give even more if they were replicas made by Adam Savage.

French Stewart wore this coat often in "3rd Rock from the Sun."  I don't know whether it already existed and they found it, or if the show's costumer made it for him.  Most of what he wears in the show is extremely cool; it looks like a collection of thrift store clothing you could only find in your dreams.

This jacket blows Ryan Gosling's out of the water.  Ulrich Muhe wore it in "The Lives of Others," playing an interrogator and surveillance officer in the 1980s East German secret police.  It's an amazing jacket.  It's an even more amazing performance and movie.

What's your favorite movie jacket?

Monday, May 7, 2012

2nd Year Film

Here is my second year student film.  I learned about a thousand things by making it.

And here is a Vimeo channel and facebook page where you can see some AMAZING 2012 CalArts Character Animation student films.



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Monkey Chant Class at CalArts

I decided to check out the famous CalArts Monkey Chant class on Wednesday; normally I don't go in for drum circles and the like, but I've been excited about the monkey chant since I saw it in Baraka in 2001 in Composition class at BYU.  Here is what I was more or less expecting:

Here is what I wrote home about my experience:

     So we all met in the Balinese drum/gamelan room and took our shoes off and  gathered on the wooden floor.  The brown, friendly, presumably Balinese teacher said he was happy to have us all there and hoped that we'd add the class.

     He had as all stand facing him and we began to learn different movements and sounds/notes/words and put them into sequence.  15 minutes later we were sitting around him in a circle doing the actual chanting and musical part along with the hand gestures and body movements, similar to what you see in that video.  That part was pretty cool--it was like a combination of karate class ("Tee Aye!!!!") and choir.  When we'd hit the big sounds together all the gongs and drums in the room would resonate and ring, which was awesome.

     Then things got weird.  After 5 or 10 minutes of chanting and "dancing" while seated, our instructor had us begin to stand up and snarl, hiss, and claw at the air.  "Like a monkey!" he said, over and over again.  And then without any more verbal instruction, he led us all to "put on the monkey" and I felt like I was in a bad, bad version of Cats.  We all pretended to be monkeys, being afraid of things in the room, or being happy about things in the room.  Sometimes we were afraid of all the other monkeys, and sometimes we'd all laugh together, like monkeys.  Still no talking, because we were monkeys.

     All of a sudden our teacher monkey got his leg stuck in a trap!  The rest of us monkeys had to save him!  Then ANOTHER monkey got stuck in the trap.  Then we found something heavy and passed it around, until it crushed a monkey and we had to save him too.  Then we ate some monkey food.

     This went on for a while.  Maybe a half hour of pretending to be monkeys.  We came out of our adventure and did some more movements and stretching and breathing, and then class was dismissed.

     I liked the first part a lot more than the second part.  But I'll go back again next week to see how it goes.  Maybe we'll do more chanting and have less monkey adventures in the jungle.