Tuesday, November 27, 2018

RIP SpongeBob SquarePants Creator Stephen Hillenburg

 I'm reading more and more about middle age people in showbiz passing away, and it's scary. Whereas Stan Lee lived to nearly a century at 95, it's saddening to hear about SpongeBob SquarePants Creator Stephen Hillenburg. Granted he was suffering from ALS, once known as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure.



I must begrudgingly admit, I did get a few laughs from the folks down in Bikini Bottom. And it's a reminder to keep going on my projects, no matter what. Spongebob will be like the Simpsons, just one of those shows that will always seem to be around. The amount of work, and adventures Stephen Hillenburg had as a marine biology teacher is still impressive. Here's a sketch of SpongeBob I did back in 2006.

(copyright Nickelodeon)
Here's to ya mate!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Augmented Reality with Animation

Here is my next step in creating basic AR using Unity with Vuforia. I'll see how much of the procedure I can list here.

These video links outline the process much more clearly.



Monday, November 12, 2018

RIP Stan Lee

Here's to one of the greatest parts of my childhood, and development as a cartoonist, and as an artist.

Along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and John Buscema, along with an almost endless list of other editors, writers and artists most comics fans will know by heart, Stan Lee created the most beloved and enduring comic book characters to date. Granted, all the Marvel Bullpen artists did their share of the heavy lifting in creating the Marvel Universe, which finally led to a financial empire of toys, knick-knacks, action figures, books, animated TV shows, and finally feature films so prosperous that an unlikely rival media conglomerate, (Disney) could not pass it up.

(original copyright Simon and Schuster)

Stan also served in the U.S. Army.


In a Joseph Campbell way, Stan was a modern shaman to me, weaving tales about the Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, and Spiderman, to name a few. Not to mention the X-Men, Thor, Dr. Strange and Iron Man. I plunked down many a quarter, then 35¢, and then well over a dollar to travel off to other worlds of mutants, monsters, madmen and gods. Stan Lee also helped me expand my vocabulary. Where else would a kid in grade school read about a "tumultuous exodus"? It helped drive my teachers crazy. Thank God for such pandemonious puffery! Spellcheckers be damned.

It's tempting to call Stan Lee a modern Shakespeare, with his stories of arrogant men falling, being humbled, and then rising again as heroes. But Lee's heroes also kept all of their quirks, faults and weaknesses, whereas most of the DC Comics universe had heroes who were almost always squeaky clean. How dull. No, in the Marvel Universe, Peter Parker struggled with paying the rent, looking after an aunt who always seemed to be at death's door, and an impossible boss who had a personal vendetta against Peter Parker's alter-ego Spiderman. Soap opera writers must have been jealous.

Tony Stark, Stephen Strange, Ben Grimm and an entire legion of characters were humbled, stumbled and still rose to the occasion when the Marvel villains, most of whom also had their own stories and issues, threatened New York City, the Earth, or even the entire universe. Victories were won, but often at a price, and revelations of the depth of the characters emerged on both sides of the conflict. I seem to be gushing with Stan's "purple prose" here. And maybe some Jules Feiffer.

Got to wrap this up now, but I still treasure these mementos from my childhood. Being able to learn storytelling, draftsmanship, graphic design and even literacy from the humble, much maligned comic book leaves many geeks in Stan Lee's debt. R.I.P Mr. Lee.


CTN Expo 2018

 It's November, and the rock concert of all animation conferences will be here again at the Burbank Marriott Hotel. Various Schools, Lectures, Seminars, Book Sellers, Artists, Celebrities, and the Big Studios will be there to celebrate the Animation Industry. I hope you can enjoy it.

(my photo from CTN 2015, characters copyright Disney)

Wednesday, November 07, 2018



Okay, now all the Bart Simpsons will definitely want to tune in! This short caught my attention on Facebook, and I was struck by its color and energy in the animation. The "Hazbin Hotel" is a short created by Vivziepop, AKA Vivienne Medrano, a grad from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

While I can't deny that there will be a growing demand for adult entertainment on the world wide web, I'm still leery of this post, and I may take it down. On the other hand, I can see what the studio system would do to such a project; cleaning up the language,and watering down the sexy characters. Most of Medrano's characters are tall, shapely and have diabolical appeal. I'm hoping Hazbin will find a mature middle ground where an audience can be amused by a little debauchery, and not fall into mere sleaze.

Anyway, Hazbin Hotel looks like it has some potential of becoming another Annoying Orange or Friday at Freddy's. It does seem stuck in that cutesy, semi-furry art style, but I feel there is already enough flat, dialogue heavy TV animation for kids that an older audience needs something to laugh at. Or at least have something on TV to throw beer cans at.

You can see more of Vivienne Medrano's work at https://www.patreon.com/VivienneMedrano/posts

Who knew that Hell could be so cute and fun?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

More Inktober iterations...

More weirdness with pen and ink. I've been using Kuretake Bimoji Brush Pens for the last couple of years, they seem to do the trick. Although they're starting to dry out. I'm also using a yellow marker to get a midtone, and to help me work out the forms from my rough sketches. Not to mention a gallon of white-out where I'm not sure.

Herman Bear and Athena contemplate an alien necklace
while exploring further on the planet Solstice.

It may be more trouble than it's worth!

Monday, October 15, 2018

My first successful Augmented Reality test with Unity and Vuforia

After following the tutorial from Playful Technology, I finally was able to get my first success in AR with the Unity game engine, along with the Vuforia software.


Still have a long way to go.