28 February 2006

Teen Titans: Cybrain

Although I was playing around with the free download, Personal Learning Edition of Maya at the time, I found I did not have the extra hours to learn about nurbs and all the other features in this industry standard 3D application. I had also recently purchased the then newly released Adobe Creative Suite. Illustrator CS has some limited but still pretty useful 3D tools. They are basically: revolve, extrude and map pattern. using those three functions, I was able to knock out most of what we see inside Cyborg. The "Crash" episode called for Gizmo and Beast Boy to be shrunken and injected into Cyborg's inner machinery, ala "Fantastic Voyage" sans Raquel Welch. I have not upgraded to Creative Suite 2 yet, but I look forward to playing with some of the new perspective tools on Photoshop.

21 February 2006

Calvin: Birthday Bookmark

My friends James and Michelle asked me to do a bookmark to give away at their second son, Calvin's first birthday. I did two sketches, one of Calvin wearing a Superman outfit with those "Hulk smash!" fists while his brother, Justin, dressed in a Batman suit is trying to coax Calvin back to the DC universe. I opted for the second idea of a Calvin & Hobbes theme. So, with apologies to Bill Watterson, I hope you enjoy.

18 February 2006

Teen Titans: Bruce Timm Art

Here's two drawings Bruce Timm did for one of the Teen Titans episodes.

14 February 2006

Teen Titans: Crystal

There are some designs, where I can say I've really helped shape the environment and mood. There are others like this crystal, that show just how much the BG painters improve upon our line art. All I drew were the lines of the facets and some hints of texture. The rest was all Chu-Hui.

07 February 2006

Teen Titans: Super-D Tower

Sorry, for the delay in posting this. I had some trouble posting, but blogger seems to have worked out the trouble. This is one of several "Super Deformed", "SD" or "Super-D", as we usually called it (at the request of Warner Bros., Titans Towers I designed. I'd intended that grid of windows on the side to be colored like a graphics equalizer readout, but I forgot to mention it to the BG painters.

One of my old PSX favorites, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo (one, two) along with some Puzzle fighter manual art I'd never seen (one, two). I hope you enjoy the SD mini-gallery.

Related link: Special thanks to The Video Game Museum for the Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo and Puzzle Fighter images.

03 February 2006

Teen Titans: Moroccan Market

The series of drawings we did of Morocco for the Hotspot episode, actually called for the lines to not be so straight. So, there wasn't much call for the ruler. The street scenes were at dusk, so the colors went very saturated and lively. It's a bit of a departure from some of the other episodes, but I liked the change of pace. The flipping back and forth between reality and Super-D(eformed: when the characters and backgrounds can get very exaggerated in proportions to convey additional emotion or mood. I'll post an example of a Super-D background this weekend) that Glen utilized on Titans afforded him quite a bit of stylistic latitude and made the show really fun to design.

As a background designer, I enjoy drawing cities and researching different styles of architecture to give them realistic details while adding my own flavor to them. Although, certainly, the rules of perspective apply to such drawings, I often eschew my ruler during the clean up (or inking phase, I'll post a series of drawings that will illustrate this process in the future).

As the years have gone by, I've become more and more reluctant to rule out even my roughs. It's not that I shun the rules and think that my lines are perfect without the ruler, but since your pen or pencil runs along an edge that is constant, there is a sense in which the ruler kills the character of your line. Oddly, even though your hand can run along a straight edge far more confidently and quickly than without it, I find that, mentally, things go faster when I draw freehand.

Still, some lines just call for the ruler. On occasion, the freehand line can get a little too wobbly, especially with any dose of caffeine, so there's also the possibility of having to bring in the ruler to straighten things up. Some artists even hold their breath during some of the longer and more crucial lines. For me, this practice was, in part, inspired by an exhibit I'd seen at the satirical Museum of Jurassic Technology. It's down the street from where I used to live and my former apartment manager's husband was it's curator. The exhibit highlighted a man whose microscopic, fully posed and painted dust sculptures required him to stroke his one hair brush in between heartbeats.

Now, before I start off some young artists on the wrong foot, I should add that I did first learn correct perspective with rulers and strict rules on creating the illusion of a realistic depth. Repeated use of these techniques then allowed me to tackle more complex perspectives with angled and curved planes, multiple vanishing points & a bunch of other jargon filled aspects. While I can't say I've fully mastered perspective, I can see that I have improved in my understanding of it. The understanding has, in turn, provided the solid foundation that enables me to produce convincing perspectives in freehand. Others may discover their own way of coming to this point, but that has been my process thus far.

Child prodigies and budding Mozarts aside, most musicians must learn how to generate notes on an instrument along with scales and chords and some way of remembering them in sequences (most of the time by learning the language of notes on a staff with the various markings), as they tackle the basic harmonies and melodies of simple songs. With practice, reading those notes and commanding the body to respond accordingly become second nature allowing the focus of a performance to shift from those basic concerns to more complex ones that might add to or accent certain points of a piece. Even the timing and understanding of those things can grow, until that musician is performing the most difficult of concertos in front of a captivated audience. Of course, not every musician strives for such mastery nor can everyone attain it, but I am confident that those who do have suffered long hours of practice mixed in with various triumphs & failures, that refined their skills and demanded a piece of themselves to pour into its artistry.

I hope to draw "concertos" some day.

02 February 2006

Teen Titans: Road Runner

This wasn't the most sophisticated background, nor is it indicative of the "normal" Titans style, but I thought I'd post it for nostalgic reasons and to give props to Chu-Hui for matching the color so well. I really enjoyed emulating the style of the Warner Bros. cartoons that were my Saturday morning and weekday afternoon staples. I am an ice cream fiend, and my addiction to Rocky Road and Cookies & Creme began with my grab-a-half-gallon-tub-o-ice-cream-and-a-spoon Saturday mornings camped in front of the TV watching them. Studying what had been done on those old Road Runner cartoons, I was amazed to find that I hadn't noticed just how different some of the eras looked. Even the cacti leaned different directions during the running scenes. Ultimately, I opted for the Maurice Noble look.

For those keeping track, the sequence was called for when Beast Boy turns into a green Wile E. Coyote as he is chased by Control Freak in Episode 257-494.