August 31, 2005

August 30, 2005

For Matter of Comparison...

Previous summers with J and D

August 28, 2005

A Sketchcrawl for Dan and Joe

My cheese tomato sandwich

Here they are--a little less than one day's work, warts and all. These first few from the St. Lawrence Antique market.

This gent is looking at prints

Outside the north market, the street cordoned off

These, very rushed, at breakfast nook Petit Dejuener, packed with people. I tried to get these out quickly and avoided using colour; now if only the tones worked...

Waiting to be seated

People waiting...

The entranceway, less busy

After a longish break I returned to paint the friscillating dusk light, but it forced me to mash this out. The light changed so quickly that by the time I got to painting this last one, I couldn't even see the colours I was using; an interesting excercise.

Cleaning up the street after a festival, my building in the background

From my roof, around 9pm

Definitely a lot of fun; I wasn't sure if I'd be able to sketchcrawl this weekend, but I'm glad that I did. Special thanks to Enrico Casarosa for encouraging this across the world. Considering Dan Lee and Joe Ranft, I tramped out in the name of fun; it was nice to be outside, to see friends this weekend-cheers to them too.

August 25, 2005


I'm trying to free up time for the sketchcrawl this weekend.
These are from the summer last year; I'm always indoors these days.

August 23, 2005


Director Brad Bird curls out an emphatic "DO IT DO IT DO IT man!" at the beginning of the Incredibles making-of, and I'm here to second that. Why? The reason he gives is: "Cause this is gonna be so ------- awesome if we get it right!" I second that too.

I've been working on a portfolio now for a couple of months, trying to pretend that I'm an entire crew from the Walt Disney studios, circa 1953. I'm forcing my way through this like walking through molasses--which is to say very slowly, and with great difficulty (though terribly sweetly). I'm happy with a lot of the stuff that I've been doing, but I'm also learning about my limitations. I've struggled with writing, with visualization and cinematics, with style and design, colour, composition and graphic design. Is there anything that won't bust my chops? Soon it's on to learning how to edit and colour correct, print and bind. I've been through everything from installing DVD drives to the history of hungarian musical instruments these past few months.

My confession though, is that I really don't mind; if anything I actually really enjoy it. In fact, I should probably start enjoying it less and rush this thing out. The truth is that this is a lot of the stuff I enjoy most about animation--the struggle; this is the thrill of the chase.

Working hard to find, as Al Hirschfeld said, "self made solutions to self made problems," one fights to uphold the integrity of ones ideas. Good ideas, rife with potential, deserve the best, and the effort that it takes to realize them is reward in itself--expanding one's boundaries, pushing you for better, broader, better. The whole point is to be challenged, and that makes the journey worth as much as arriving.

Lately a number of my friends have expressed reservations about the future; reservations about progress, movement, relationships, opportunities and abilities. To you I say: fight your apprehensions, explore new territories, broaden, recoup and never stop working towards realization; "DO IT DO IT DO IT! 'Cause this is gonna be so ------- awesome if we get it right!"

August 21, 2005

Various Dogs

They found me.

Last night the blog spammers came and left comments while I was sleeping. Sneaky. Quite a few of them too; strange to think that mostly computers have been looking at my stuff. (sigh). Thankfully, it's sunny now, they've retreated to their internet caves, and I'm back to having no one look at this blog. Phew! I hate spiders.

Here, some happier, various dogs; these are each about the size of your thumb (depending on the size of your hand).

I sort of like that that one leg doesn't make ANY sense; wait, I guess none of it makes sense... hmph. My dogs have variously been compared to miniature guide horses, torpedoes, and sort of lumpy sausages.

August 19, 2005

Choose To Win

Not long ago, I was given the good advice to "choose to win".
Simple, sensible, not so easy to follow all the time.

We do a lot of things for a lot of reasons in this world--a lot of the time, not very good reasons. Choosing to win asks us to make the very best of every moment, every opportunity. Deep down inside we each need to figure out what is right for ourselves, our loved ones, the world. Are we living life as fully as possible? Doing the right thing? What do we give? Applying care in all aspects of one's life makes everybody happier; learning to respond to our own very human needs puts us on the right paths.

I'm afraid that my prevous post didn't reflect the warmth that surrounds the death of Joe Ranft. Truly, more notable than the huge contributions the man made to our many childhood fantasies, dreams and excitements, is the obvious impact he made on the lives of those who knew him. For those of us who didn't, perhaps our feelings of grief and kinship come from every account that describes him as the kindest, friendliest, most generous, big hearted man ever; someone who, obviously, chose to win.

You're probably coming from these places but obviously check out Ronnie Del Carmen and Technorati for everything on Joe.

August 18, 2005


Joe Ranft, circa 1989, pinning sketches to a THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER storyboard. Image from John Canemaker's wonderful book, "Paper Dreams"

I had been hoping to start this blog much later and under different circumstances, but a very important event compelled me to post. A few days ago the world lost Joe Ranft, head of story at Pixar Animation Studios. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy and by the outpouring of sympathy and reminisces across the internet, he will be very well missed. He contributed to nearly every film of the second golden age of animation; nearly every film of my childhood.

I only met him once and for but a few scant moments; I recall him being very warm and very laid back. We chatted about high school theatre for a bit, and he looked over a bunch of my drawings; could anything be better? I described adaptions of childrens books and british operas; shorts about french girls and prom dresses, sad moms and steely accountants. "How do you feel about action?" he asked. "Comedies?" Well, those questions stuck with me, and it's still affecting the stuff I'm doing now; hopefully I'll get to show you a bit of that a little later.

Years ago the Pixar website posted an interview where Joe discusssed his process. In it he wrote one of the best things I've ever read about drawing; it's what I live and swear by:

"Try to draw something that connects with people. Draw things that connect with yourself and try to express that through your drawings so that other people get it. At Pixar, it has to do with character. Whether it's an individual character that you're trying to find the expression of, or the character of the environment. How does it feel? What does it evoke in others? Is it funny, sad, beautiful, irritating, claustrophobic, invigorating? Work on creating expressive drawings-drawings that feel like they're alive."

It says a lot about him, I think; we should all aspire so high.

The first of hopefully many posts