Read the brief

Or don’t. This one’s for uni and it’s an example of the kind of things we’ve been responding to with each of the assignments you’ve seen me posting here. This time, we’re flipping the tables and it’s us who write the briefs. Here’s my example, titled Sound and Motion.

Sound_motion_brief.doc

Picklet Power!

Anyone with an interest in web comics or picture books, tune in now. If you’re interested in producing said things for i-devices (phone, pad), TUNE HARDER! Picklets are essentially a way of producing simple interactive books/comics for i-things. More info and a demo at the link above. Stewart Haines, creator of Picklets, introduced our class the world of picklets the other week and I immediately saw the potential for comicking and wanted to make one.

More recently, Stewart brought in Melbourne comics artist Ben Hutchings to give us a demo of what he’s been working on with Picklets. It’s going to be one of the flagship picklets and it’s awesome. If you check out his site (link above), you’ll see some shots of his work in progress. Imagine it in motion. Glorious.

Now, I’m in the midst of my own. I’ll post the full thing when I’m done, but it’s silly little idea about dogs chasing frisbees that gets a bit out of control. Here be some dogs for ye to gawk at:

The workflow, once you’ve got everything set up, is pretty simple. You don’t need to know anything about coding or app building. All you need is a google account, dropbox with a public folder set up, and some Photoshop skills. Instructions and the all important script over at the Picklet Builder.

You download a script for Photoshop, which you run to set up your picklet template. Once you’ve got all your artwork into the template, you run the same script again to export it to your dropbox. Jump into Chrome and sign into the Picklet Builder using your google account, then start fiddling and making things move. You can even save drafts which you can send to people.

More on this later, when it’s closer to completion. For now, I’ve got backgrounds to draw.

Storyboarding

So here’s a little ditty that I whipped up the other day titled NeedleBoy in Grooveland. It’s actually the second storyboard I’ve done this year, but I’m not the owner of the source material for that one. It’s more technically complex, took me ages to draw and was a bit of bitch, so I wish I could show it. There was a full band with a horn section, dancing party people, a desert island and more. But enough taunting with untouchable treats, on to something I can show!

This one’s basically a little story I came up with about a little robot needle dude who gets dropped into the groove of records and acts out the music with different parts of his anatomy. Legs bounce as the bass line, forearms act as the guitar strings, speaker bits as drums, mouth for vocals, etc. The poor little guy gets stuck and starts skipping, he takes control of the situation, then other things take control of him. It’s all very emotional. Anyway, here’s the storyboard.

NeedleBoy Storyboard SF

And while I’m at it, here’s the original concept sketch for NeedleBoy in Grooveland:

I found the storyboarding process not too difficult, probably because of my years of (thinking about) making comics and reading tons of comics. Plus I love drawing and expressing ideas visually comes pretty  naturally.

Yes, Needleboy will be a bitch to animate, but I’d like to make him into an animation at some point.

There is no used-by date on art

So, here’s a not-so-fresh batch of drawings from Dr Sketchy’s last month. I’m usually faster at posting these, but they have no used-by date, so here they are.
In February I did a lot of experimentation in different media. March was all done in soft lead pencil, possibly because at that point my brain could not handle simple changes in technique and media.
Anyway, to give these historical context, this session was pretty soon after I completed my 200 Drawings animation. I had crammed a lot of drawing into a short amount of time and learned some things in the process.
Some of those things were:
Speed: I could get more covered in the shorter poses than I used to be able to.
Endurance: Whereas I used to get drawing-fatigue by the end of a session, this one over and I thought “Huh, that was easy.”
Form: I feel like it came more naturally to quickly cover the essentials and then go back for the little extras and details.
March_9
March_8
March_5
March_3
Special shout-out to Lahta for coming along and bringing the skills.
Dr Sketchy’s Melbourne. Last Sunday of every month at The Order of Melbourne. Come one, come all.

Alchemical tinkering

This little piece, for a brief called Form & Image, was an experiment I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. Keen observers may have noticed me mention the open drawing project (free application) Alchemy. This was basically what I used to create this animation. Speel to follow.

Here’s a very brief run-down of the process: Set Alchemy to automatically record what’s on the page to a pdf every 5 seconds. Torture photoshop by making it import hundreds of pages of pdf to individual images and spit them back out again at chosen screen res. Use Quicktime pro to convert image sequence to video. Chop it up and play with the timing in Final cut.

I’ve been using Alchemy for a little while for various things. It’s basically very good for quickly generating ideas and forms, playing around with quickly creating images that you can then play around with in other programs and fine tune.

Alchemy has no undo/redo, no layers, etc. It has a range of interesting tools to play around with image creation & manipulation; mirroring, using pressure, random colour changes, distortion, controlling the line weight with mic input. Part of it’s beauty is the way it can save and export to various formats.

I’ve used it to create interesting backgrounds, which I then used in photoshop. I’ve played around generating random shapes, which I would try to find form and character in to base ideas off. Here’s one of the more clear examples:

mousehead mousehead_colour

sketchcharacters

The bottom images is character hand drawn & inked based on forms glimpsed in Alchemy creations.

So basically, have fun, experiment and play.

Show & Tell

Alright, it’s been a while, so lots to catch up on. Since our last communication, I moved house, made a couple of animations and have been working on a big website launch, amongst other things. The pace of my life seems to have increased ten-fold, but enough of that. On to showing things.

One of these days, I’ll get around to scanning & posting some more recent drawings, particularly of the last Dr Sketchy’s and I’m sure I’ve got some fiction and story ideas lying around that might be of interest to someone.

So here’s my response to the Agents + Behaviours brief we were give a few weeks back. This was basically me trying to do some expressive character animation.

Voiced by the lovely and talented Joana Pires (and myself). You’ll notice that I went with a variation on one of the character in my concept sketches in my last post.

While I did have fun in the end with this, it was an incredibly painful process to begin with. Firstly I struggled to settle on an idea and method of production, torturing myself over various approaches. I settled on one, did a lot of drawing and tests, which turned out awful and I ditched them completely.

While I had planned to do a lot of this hand drawn, I ended up producing it entirely in Flash, with tons of hand drawn roughs and thumbnails to figure out the motion. The backgrounds I painted in watercolour. I would have liked to work on the soundtrack more and played a little with lighting and effects, but there you have it.

Also, I had a lot of fun drawing the disapproving hobo in a dress. K, time for sleep now. Next up, my Alchemy animation…