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 and 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 be our best selves can be incredibly difficult—but it's the most right path.

I'm afraid that my previous post didn't come close to reflecting the affection felt for Joe Ranft. More notable than the contributions Joe made to our childhoods, was the impact he had on those who knew and loved him. For those of us who weren't so blessed, our feelings of loss, grief, and kinship come from their accounts. Joe was, we're told, the kindest, friendliest, most generous, big-hearted man we could have known — 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 hoped to start this blog later and under different circumstances, but a tragic event compelled me to post. A few days ago the world lost Joe Ranft, the head of story at Pixar Animation Studios, friend and father, husband and brother. It's a terrible tragedy and by the outpouring of sympathy across the internet, he'll be well missed. He contributed to nearly every film of the second golden age of animation; nearly every film of my childhood.

I met Joe once, and we spoke, but only for a moment. I recall him being warm, laid back, tall and affable. He inquired about my life in high school theatre as he looked over my drawings; what could be better!, I thought. I described stories I was developing: adaptions of childrens books and operas; short films about enigmatic french children and prom dresses and sad moms and steely accountants. "How do you feel about action?" he asked. "Comedies?" He asked about my sensibilities and as we chatted, it became clear that in story, the entirety of the world could come into view if you met it with openness and curiosity. Today, I still approach the world with humility, with empathy: I hope that will make itself clear in my work to come.

Years ago, Pixar posted an interview wherein Joe described his process. In it, he makes one of the most insightful suggestions about drawing I've heard—and it's what I continue to 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."

I think this says a lot about who Joe was and what he valued; we should all aspire to as much.

The first of many