Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus - CXC

Managed to stumble on this while channel surfing in Ohio before Christmas.
Very good discussion.
Will have to get back down to Columbus someday soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas!

 Something is up in the streets...

But Herman Bear and company will not be deterred.

In spite of it all, Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Up on the housetop...

No reindeer are pausing...

It's "Cubcake" up on the roof, snug in her insulated super-suit. She's staking out the seedy bar across the street.

It's not exactly Christmas, but the snow is helping her stay out of sight. She'll be ready to pounce on some thugs when they come out. And she's still wearing a cute scarf, even though she really doesn't need it.
Basic coloring in Photoshop, bashed out over a rough sketch.
I also wanted to work on some perspective drawing.
In the wake of today's news, I offer the image of another protective spirit for the Holidays.

And to the folks who want it:
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The War on Christmas

Well, maybe the war during Christmas.

I don't know what these images really mean.

Just the struggle and insanity of the world right now.

I hope to finish them soon.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CG Buildings in Maya 3D

Here's some quick poly modeling in Maya, I was thinking of the old Ghostbusters' fire station in New York.

I think I'm also beginning to control Mental Ray, at least enough to get the results I want.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

CTN Expo 2015

My first photos from the 2015 CTN Expo:

I met the stars from Disney's next animated feature, "Zootopia"...
(copyright Disney)

Helped set up our table for Woodbury University...

Saw another ghost from he past...

And witnessed more signs of the craziness yet too come!

I'll try to update this with more useful information asap.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Holiday Cup Controversy

Sorry, I have to throw more fuel on the HCC (Holiday Cup Controversy). Maybe this will get more folks into Starbucks this Holiday Season.

Bashed together with clip art.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Party!

Leave it to Herman Bear, he's found the perfect date for the costume ball!

And she can dance too! Happy Halloween everybody. Still a lot of mistakes, but half a bag of candy is better than none at all. Got it done fairly quickly this time. This is my idea for an animated Halloween special.

(Rough ink colored in Photoshop, got some photos of LA and Canada bashed in there too.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Romance

Lady Cobra flirts with Herman Bear at a Halloween ball. Some of my neurotic weirdness as fall keeps rolling towards winter. I will try to color this in Photoshop...

Pencil sketch inked with Bimoji pens. Herman does have unusual taste in females, they've been dating on and off since around 2009 or so.

Happy Halloween gang!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The evil within

Another rough sketch: the Ibex reveals Herman Bear's dark side. In this case, she uses her magic to bring his shadow to life. The Ibex claims that HB's shadow represents every murderous thought, an destructive impulse he ever had...

Started clean up in Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator has always been my Kryptonite. This drawing still has a long way to go, but I'm finally getting some cool brush strokes.
My hats off to Jose and Sue at the Animation Guild computer lab for helping me start to overcome one of my biggest software roadblocks. Clay Butler's tutorial on YouTube is also invaluable.

The Screaming Skull!

Just some rough sketches; 
Herman Bear goes on little evening stroll with his new companion, the Ibex.

But instead of getting some Trick or Treats...

They find a different Halloween item!

(Another version, want to have the skull facing them a bit more as they approach.)

(Another version, still need to get my ink line back.)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Walt Disney - American Experience on PBS

Well, I have to post this:

(copyright PBS)

(UPDATE) Man, where to start? What Walt did with film making, technology, copyright, marketing and celebrityship (if that can be a word) laid the foundation for the world presently we have. I would compare him to Thomas Edison, or even Steve Jobs. I think the key thing here is power. Walt had a vision, and an incredible sense of direction. By a combination of charisma, determination, and what  I believe were just plain lucky breaks, Walt saw ways to go beyond what even Windsor McCay was doing. And he wasn't afraid to push the envelope.

But success has its price. There are many stories of artists who created great works, but quite a few were impossible to live with. Walt was going to get what he wanted, and that was that.

The established studios that were successful at the time seemed to keep Disney on the run. Mintz studios? Gone. Fleischer? People still remember Popeye and Betty Boop, but those characters belong to King Features. Warner Bros. has Bugs Bunny, but with no "Walt" or Chuck Jones at Time/Warner to support him, he's fallen by the wayside.

Micky Mouse is known around the world, and is here to stay.

I will try to have another update asap.

I wouldn't be here, many people wouldn't be here, for better or for worse, if it weren't for Walt Disney.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Inside Out - Pixar's version of Disney's Reason and Emotion

(UPDATE) After seeing Pixar's Inside Out, I couldn't stop thinking of Disney's original head trip, Reason and Emotion. Here, only two characters respond to the external world, and "drive" human behavior.

Reason is usually in the "driver's seat", and is shown to be calm, collected and rational. Stuck in the back seat, Emotion just wants to indulge in every impulse. Emotion will overpower Reason from time to time, usually in response to external stimuli.

(Copyright Disney)

Reason and Emotion are also shown as female versions. Reason is caricatured as a prim and strict schoolteacher, while Emotion is a saucy, voluptuous sprite just looking for fun.

In Inside Out, director Pete Docter makes the situation much more complex: Instead of just Emotion and Reason, we have Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness. These five basic emotions influence a good deal of the young girl Riley's behavior, with Joy acting primarily as leader.

The Emotions reside in the "Headquarters" of Riley's mind, which somewhat resembles the bridge of the starship Enterprise. Here the Emotions record and store Riley's memories as colored spheres, each bearing the feeling of their particular situations: Joyful, Sad, Angry, etc. The memories are ultimately sent off to "Long Term Memory". The emotions manipulate Riley through their control console, primarily with a pair of bulldozer-style joysticks. They can also plug "ideas" into the control console, which are represented by light bulbs.

(Copyright Pixar/Disney)

In a stereotypical way, Fear, and especially Anger, are shown as male characters, supposedly representing negative emotions. Disgust, Joy, and Sadness are shown to be appealing female characters, foreshadowing that even Sadness has a positive potential. Joy loves life, and sees everything as a happy adventure. Disgust keeps filth and things that might cause harm and displeasure away, while maintaining a chic sense of style.

(Copyright Pixar/Disney)

The "Headquarters" of Riley's mind towers precariously over the "Memory Dump"; a bottomless pit where old useless memories are discarded, and are considered lost forever. "Headquarters" is connected to Riley's five "Islands of Personality". Beyond the islands is the vast labyrinth of "Long Term Memory" where the adventure takes place.

Riley's parents have almost identical situations occurring inside of their minds: The "Headquarters" of Mom's head is like a pleasant TV studio, with smooth shapes and warm colors. Here the five basic emotions also sit at a larger console, looking at the world through the mother's eyes. Sadness has the center seat of the control console, but she is supported by the others, and does not seem depressed the way Riley's Sadness is.

The five basic emotions basically resemble Riley's, except they have all been femininized, and wear glasses like the mother. These five are much more mature, and act in a more sophisticated manner. But from time to time, they still manage to cause trouble for poor old Mom.

(Copyright Pixar/Disney)

In contrast, the inside of Dad's head is more like a military command center, very dark, or very "boss" and high tech, like the ultimate man-cave. The five basic emotions are all macho, male versions watching the action on a giant screen. In this "Headquarters, Anger has center seat, but Anger's reactions seem to be tempered by experience, and he needs the cooperation of the other four to maintain Dad's personality. Curiously enough, Fear is Anger's lieutenant, so that gives us some clues into the Fathers' background. (Each character also sports the father's mustache.)

(Copyright Pixar/Disney)

 Docter's other key story point was how our emotions colored our memories. This was a major issue for Joy, who was always anxious to keep Sadness from touching Riley's core memories, which would tint them in her sad, blue hue. Apparently, even emotions have emotions in Inside Out. And their own thought processes as well. While entertaining they were not always insightful when it came to supporting Riley's mind and personality.

Inside Out also reminded of the 1972 NBC TV show "Search" with Burgess Meredith. Here a team of experts help guide special "Probe" agents the way NASA's mission control technicians would support astronauts. But I'm getting off track. Inside Out was very dialogue heavy, and a bit slow in pacing to arrive at the crisis and climax points of the story. There was also the obligatory sacrifice of a character, in this case Riley's old imaginary friend Bing Bong. His "big goodbye" scene seemed a bit contrived and cloying. But I suppose they needed to kill off a character to show the audience that the situation was still serious.

(Copyright Warner Bros.)

Where was Reason, Love, Jealousy, Greed or Courage? Too abstract for the story? Or just too many characters to keep track of. Personally, I think the general concept of little people inside our heads is a bit overworked. I suppose this relates to the Archetypes of human personalities. Philosopher Alan Watts commented on this in one of his lectures, arguing that humans are a much more subtle combination of dimensions and elements.

Still, go and see Inside Out. I wouldn't devote this much work to a film I didn't enjoy. It's fresh, and much more original than all the sequels Pixar has produced lately.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Siggraph 2015

Didn't get there in time for any seminars or movies, but lots of learning opportunities for students to make their own toys, robots, gadgets, etc. Young people are doing more with laser cutters and 3D printers.
Also demos on more total immersion with virtual reality systems. The vendor floor was smaller than usual, but the Foundry, Autodesk , Mocha and some pipeline system companies were there.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Wander over Yonder - Sylvia as Gigantor

Well, I couldn't resist it. When I saw the trailer for the Season 2 animatic of WOY, I had to bash together a model of Sylvia as Gigantor:

But then, I had to slow down, and really start to detail her-

And of course, she came out svelte, too shapely, with million dollar legs.

My Sylvia is still too adorable, but that's how I see her.

I'm having trouble matching the animatic:

The real work will be rigging her hand so she can punch that evil robot!

Just polygon primitives in Maya with a healthy dash of Mental Ray. But the thought of Sylvia having real power, and really being indestructible just tickles me. Having Gigantor's raw power seems to go with her "Grrl" personality. I think she can be super, and still keep her appeal.

(original copyright Mitsuteru Yokoyama, and Disney)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Wander Over Yonder Season 2 Trailer at Comic-Con

 Looks like they are turning up the heat on Wander Over Yonder. There's a lot more action, and the new super villain is a girl. We also get to see some male Zbornaks.

I like the MST3K tribute with He-Man thrown in, and Sylvia as Gigantor. According to Disney XD, new episodes will be begin Monday, August 3rd.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Matthew Luhn from Pixar at Woodbury University

All day session at Woodbury today with storyboard supervisor Matthew Luhn from Pixar. Some great stuff on storyboarding, especially when he shows how vital it is to hammer out a story before you commit to millions of dollars in animation. Matthew covered things from not crossing the line of action to "stacking" a shot. I'll try to update this post with more details asap. Glad I made it:)

(copyright Matthew Luhn/VanArts)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Joe Sinnott sketch of Ben Grimm, the Thing.

I don't remember if I went to comic con that year, but I met Joe Sinnott on an Amtrak train going east in the summer of 1995. He saw me sketching, and seemed impressed that I could draw on a moving train. He later gave me this sketch of Ben Grimm, the Thing. I think he said something about not wanting to be deterred by a rocking train.

(Ben Grimm - the Thing by Joe Sinnott, now copyright Marvel/Disney.)

Found this sketch in the bookshelf today. (I have it framed now.) Man, it's been almost 20 years?!
I've lost track of time it seems. Joe Sinnott gave me this beautiful sketch 2 years after I met Jack Kirby. Just wanted to set the record straight. The Thing is truly one of Jack's creations!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Jack Kirby San Diego Comic Con

This was my most cherished memory from the San Diego Comic Con. This was the day I met Jack Kirby. (I think this was 1993.) He was just standing there in lobby by himself. I hesitated, then asked if I could get a picture. He seemed more than happy about it. I was surprised that he didn't have a whole crowd around him. I said thank you to him, but beyond that, we didn't say much. It didn't occur to me much, much later that he might have wanted to have been left alone.

(Photo taken by Mark Evanier for the L.A. Weekly  Suzy Skaar for "The Art of Jack Kirby" (Blue Rose Press, 1993)

This is a collage I put together in tribute to Jack. The newsprint article is from the 1994 L.A. Weekly.

Later that year, In August 1995, I met Joe Sinnott on a train ride going east. Sinnott was Kirby's inker during the Silver Age, I believe. He saw me sketching, and gave me a sketch of Ben Grimm.  Whatta year. Long live the King!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

2001: A Space Odyssey - Doctor Who mashup

Need to cause trouble for some summer fun:

Here's a quick mashup of the TARDIS on the pod deck of the Discovery.

 (original copyrights MGM and BBC)

I don't know which Doctor this would be. It would be interesting to see how the Doctor would handle HAL... and then the Monolith orbiting Jupiter.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Christopher Lee in the Last Unicorn

Almost forgot, Christopher Lee as King Haggard in the Last Unicorn. If someone else had done the voice for this character, King Haggard would have been just another anime' villain. But with other stars such as Mia Farrow and Jeff Bridges (the DUDE!) lending their voices to this movie, Lee helped make Peter S. Beagle's story the rare gem it is. I understand that Mr. Lee was a big fan of the book.

The Last Unicorn came on cable at a time when I was finding out how things don't work out the way we planned. It's painful for me to watch it now. I had to pass it up when it came to Los Angeles this winter.

(original copyright 1982 Rankin/Bass)

But here's to the charisma, and the dignity that Christopher Lee brought to all his film roles.

Christopher Lee in the Corpse Bride

Hello, it's still been a hectic spring at work, even with classes being over. Haven't had the energy to put up a post. 'Til now.

Well, we lost Christopher Lee this week at the age of 93. But when you look at his life on and off the screen, I would say his time on earth was pretty remarkable. Mr. Lee was sort of an unsung hero to me as a voice actor in animation, as well Star Wars, and all the horror movies he acted in. Here he is as Pastor Galswells in Tim Burton's the Corpse Bride.

(copyright Time/Warner)

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Just a made up word, but I want to get credit for it here. Responsiquences: "The result of not anticipating the outcome of one's actions."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Not sure about this site.
I was helping someone try to set up a portfolio page at the lab. I managed to throw a page together with my cute stuff:

I was able to setup a basic account, but my friend kept having problems:
Carbonmade would not let her sign in after setting up an account. The buttons on the site literally stopped working.

Will try to do more on Monday.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Symbicort Grandpa Wolf by ffake Animation

I wondered who did this TV ad. It was ffake Animation up in Portland.

The  animation is nifty, and the characters have a lot of classic appeal, even though the meds they are promoting seem kind of gruesome.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hawkman vs. Daredevil

This is a lot tougher than I thought. Really got to tip my hat to Ross over at

(art copyright Marvel/Disney and DC/Time-Warner)

This was bashed together from low rez jpegs of Daredevil #20 and Hawkman #4.

Now I know.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Poppy O' Possum - Fazzi

Hello blog, haven't had a chance to post this winter. This foggy morning looks like my chance.
I found this webcomic last year from a link on Commander Kitty:

 (art copyright Ian Everett)

Fazzi seems to be some sort of enforcer for an organized crime group. Her power allows her to bend people and things at perfect right angles. Very painful, if you get on her bad side. Fazzi is tall, aloof, and intimidating, even though she is a sheep. Her power seems to affect part of her body, her left horn is bent at a right angle, and her voice is modulated in an eerie "square wave pattern".

Poppy O' Possum is definitely different, wigged out, but in a cool way. I'm still trying to figure out how their society works, and how the rules of their magic functions. Ian Everett is cranking out some pretty original work, with characters that live in their own unique culture.

Happy New Year of the Sheep, or Ram!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Charlie Hebdo

 First of all, these cartoonists should NOT have been murdered.


These events have challenged me once again to live up to the quote Voltaire is credited for: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." It's tempting to say that the Charlie Hebdo artists and editors were "asking for it". But if they were censored, then where would it stop? I learned the hard way what happens when you don't stand up to bullies, and failing to do so means living in fear and self-censorship. Life with religious extremists has always been par for the course. Unfortunately, so many extremists have easy access to war materiel these days.

From what little I have seen of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, personally I  don't think their work was really any good. Their cartoons are cheap, hostile, vulgar, and promote the same old stereotypes. But again, this does not sanctify murder. Works like Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" turned me off, but it wasn't enough to drive me to violence.

I don't have time to play into someone else's game. We need to grow up, and laugh off the drunks at the party, and walk past the garbage lying in the gutter. IMHO. And have the confidence in the things we believe to be sacred, and not freak out, no matter what others say.

Personally, if work in comics, or any other medium is going to be provocative, (hey, what work isn't?) then the creators should be able to take legitimate criticism, but not a hail of bullets. And in my opinion, artwork should have some educational, or at least uplifting undertone. Right wing groups in the U.S. publish and broadcast very hostile and denigrating material, and claim that it's their 1st Amendment right. To me, this still borders on yelling "FIRE" in a crowded movie house, but that's a discussion for another day.

I don't know which Muslim or Arabic publications make some sort of editorial response to magazines like Charlie Hebdo. They also have a right to heard, and be the voices of reason in those cultures. Spiegelman on Democracy Now! stated that  the Charlie Hebdo cartoons afflict the already afflicted.

But in the case of today's assaults, this shouldn't mean you have to turn your studio into an armed bunker. The worst thing to happen is someone getting sued if the courts decide that their statements are slanderous. (or, down on the street level, when you dare someone to take a swing at your chin, you had better be ready to defend yourself. But men of honor will fight only with their fists, right?)
 (art copyright Art Spiegelman)

We live in an age where violent action and deadly force is becoming more and more the first course of action. Someone will always lash out in the name of ___. It's safe to say this will never be settled.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. Check out Art Spiegelman on Democracy Now! on KPFK.