Sunday, October 16, 2011

High and Dry

Power point presentations can often be dull and dry and often put viewers to sleep. With this in mind, Big Block, a digital Production studio in Santa Monica, hired me to do some cartoons for their Oracle Configurator presentation that was shown at Oracle Open World in San Francisco. I drew the cartoons and they animated my assets in AfterEffects. Thanks to all the nice people at Big Block for the work!

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Devin R. Bruce has started a new comics related podcast and blog called "Scotch and Comics". In the first episode of his podcast, he reviews several comics, including my own "Vice" Check it out!

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For those who are wondering, I'm currently working on a project with The Third Floor, currently Hollywood's biggest digital previs company. Great company, great people!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Getting into the Union Is An Uphill Battle

Super talented illustrator Mike Vosburg posted a little commentary on his blog about the current way the IATSE Local 800 (the union for storyboard artists, matte painters, and art directors) takes on new storyboard artists.

Currently, there is a convoluted system in which you must accumulate so many days of work within a 365 day period doing union commercials to get on a commercials experience roster (and a second number of days once you have been put on the roster) before you will be allowed to be put on another roster that allows you to work on feature films or TV. Another way to get into the union is to be hired on a non-union movie that later signs up with the union while you're on it. But this is a rare convergence of events that can't be predicted nor planned for.

Since union commercial production houses tend want to hire union artists before hiring non-union artists, and because non-union artists' days only count toward the roster if the company agrees to put their hours on a union timecard, it can be very difficult for a non-union artist to rack up enough days in a year to get on the commercial experience roster. Effectively, this makes it almost a matter of chance whether or not you can get into the union. I've been in LA doing storyboards since 2002, and only know of one artist who has gotten in by accumulating commercial hours. Most have gotten in by working on non-union films that went union while they were on it...essentially they were hired at the right place at the right time.

Before moving to LA, I worked on Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow for 7-8 months doing storyboards. That was when the movie was a small indie production. The film eventually did go union, but only after nearly a year had gone by since my last day of work on that project. I have tried to get into the union in so many ways for years without success. Mike has been storyboarding for decades, and is even an Emmy winning director, yet by the union's reckoning, doesn't have enough experience to be in the union.

Both Mike and I support the union movement and what it stands for, yet the current roster based system makes it damn near impossible for us and many other experienced artists to get into that union. There are other unions (The Animation Union, for example) that operate just fine (far as I can tell) without a roster system.

It just seems to me as though something is very wrong in Tinseltown.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

That Time of Year Again

San Diego Comic Con is less than a week away. As usual, I will have a table at Artists Alley. You can find me at Table DD24 right next to my brother Benton, who will be at Table DD23. I will be selling all the usual comics, posters, sketchbooks and original art, plus my new mini-sketchbook, "Doo Dah". Please stop by and visit! I also plan to spend a bit of my non-Comic-Con evening time visiting Trickster, the new event for storytellers showcasing their creator-owned work running concurrent with the convention.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Sketches

A selection of some of my sketches from the sketch-a-day forum.

Click image to see larger.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sketchy Characters

I thought I'd share a few sketches I did for a book project I'm working on.


Click each image for a larger view.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Sketch a Day....

I'm a firm believer that you make your greatest progress in art (or any skill, for that matter) when you work on it on a regular basis. That is to say, one hour every day of the week beats seven hours on a Sunday. I know this works from experience. I've worked on sketchbooks on a daily basis for several months at a time and usually notice marked improvement. Unfortunately, I often fall off the wagon, and my sketching goes unattended to for long stretches of time.

I've recently started teaching a class in basic storyboarding at the Otis College of Design one day out of the week. This regularity concept is one thing I'd like to impress upon my students. To encourage this, I started an online forum for the class in which they can earn extra credit points by posting a new sketch to the forum every day. To make sure they're not raiding their old sketchbooks for class points, I give them a new assignment every day. I post a new assignment every morning (including holidays and weekends) with a description of a simple scenario for them to draw ("alphabet soup", "monster on a train", "businesspeople playing basketball"). They have 24 hours from the original post time to come up with a sketch (doesn't have to be fancy, even a napkin sketch will do). They get two class points for each sketch. If they do 20 consecutive sketches without missing a day, the point value of those 20 drawings doubles.

Now originally, I was looking for a forum that had a queued posting feature. This is a feature that would allow me to create all my assignments in advance and have them posted automatically at a predetermined date. I didn't like the prospect of getting up early in the morning and dreaded the prospect of posting a new assignment every single day.

Of course, the hypocrisy of this situation finally got to me. How could I expect my students to do a sketch every day when I'm not even willing to even simply post an assignment every day?

So I decided to forgo the queued posting and not only post an assignment every day, but do the assignment with the class as well (actually, I do the assignment a day later than everyone else, so that my art doesn't influence them or hamper their creativity). Here are the sketches I did for the first week. Enjoy!


Click each image for a larger view.