Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's up the Stairway to Heaven on the Highway to Hell, but just past the Escalator to Nunavut

I tried to do more with life drawing these weeks than just pastel and conte, and explore more color combinations and visual styles. Sparing use of pastel and lighter colors gets you this really spiffy sfumato effect, while using warm colors to make up a base tone means that cool colors can be used to make really psychedelic, popping highlights. Using markers forces shorter drawings to be more precise with form and line economy, but for longer drawings, a decent range of markers can basically be used in same way as water color.

The most taxing thing I have to face in my day to day is balancing that work load with my new found dream of being a mangaka. Yes, I've just finished reading and rereading Bakuman, and I too have become enamored with the idea of creating action adventure battle manga targeting the 10 to 14 demographic.

So like... :

"It'll be about a kid who escapes from the pressures of his life by spending his dreams inside a meticulously crafted personal fantasy. Think of it as his own personal Land of Ooo, or Narnia, or Gondor, but with giant robots and samurai and shit. One day he discovers that everything he does in the dream world has somehow become a metaphor for his troubles in real life, and by overcoming obstacles in his fantasy world, reality itself would change to reflect the results of his fantastical adventures. In this way, he attempts to deal with his real life issues by escaping through dreams, since he can now face them in a more comfortable context. However, he finds the difficulties of interpersonal relationships do not get easier through the looking glass, and there's no way of pussyfooting around love, lies and people. Ultimately, it'll be a coming of age story about owning up to life, peppered with elements of giant robot battles, knights vs. samurai, sci-fi dog fights, and lighthearted awkward teen romance."

Seriously, reading Bakuman makes me want to be a mangaka like Freddie Mercury wants to ride a bike. It was electrifying.

I got a chance to go cafe sketch at The Rex Jazz Club this week. It was oozing atmosphere out of its pores, and the best part about drawing there is that everyone's focused on the music, so no one's looking at the shadowy, escaped convict looking guy with the sketchbook. I took some of the sketches and tried things with them. Painted one, did some sort of sketchy Art Deco thing with another, and compiled the rest (poorly). That last full bar room scene I would like to polish up, with its multiple cool light sources flooding into a predominantly warm room and all. 

That bassist was really projecting the groove. The entire bar funked as hard as a collection of senior citizens could funk. Good times.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Lightning! This Madness!

I think the one thing that I'll always appreciate about being in animation is the fact that we don't need to do straight up portraits. I hate the idea of staring at an idle face for 2 hours, only to discover at the very end that subtle shifting throughout the pose has completely ruined the likeness. I may need to work on them, and most likely I may need to work on them A LOT, but I think I'd prefer caricaturing over portraiture alldayerryday. When I gave up trying to draw the guy's face and just tried to capture the pose, drawing the head again was naturally out of the question. 

THAT, hypothetical internet audience, is the story of why there's a robot in my weekly life drawing log. 

I have nothing finished for this week, so here's a small fraction of the massive backlog that I'm trying to gun through. Looking at it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. 

I also took the time to study a few shots from Yi Yi (life through the eyes of three generations of a middle class Taiwanese family and their tale of love, loss, and moral integrity. Directed by Edward Yang) this week, mostly focusing on the use of silhouette to frame a mood. The left shot is used in a romantic context, a literally electric moment, as a girl wanders in front of a theater screen looking for a seat. Each peal of lightning serves not only to highlight the grace of the girl in movement, but also reflects the thoughts of the main character as he looks on. I think the right shot is an expression of futility. The screen door behind the character looks pretty much like a jail cell, and his internal dialogue is essentially brooding over the limitations that define his life.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Poisonous Pastel Dust

You know what I never got? Disney brand underwear. In fact, all cartoon related undergarments. I mean, are people really that comfortable about having The Little Mermaid so close to their unmentionables? Are Mickey, Spongebob and Donatello really things you would want to associate with the remains of yesterday's Trinidad scorpion chili? Diapers too, if you think about it. The baby doesn't know what the hell's going on, and goddamn Bambi isn't going to make the process of changing a diaper any more pleasant.

This week's adventures in life drawing were less productive than I would've hoped. I'm averaging like 2 good drawings per pad. I am trying more with the drawing though, colors and form and line and such. Still working on it.

Animating on a tablet that's not a Cintiq is like using two knives instead of a pair of chopsticks. Here's stuff I've given up on! The first is based on a song by The Protomen, from Act I of their Rock Opera about Megaman. Your lives are horribly incomplete without this album in it. The other one's a shot study from "I Saw the Devil". Really gruesome film, but like everything else Kim Ji-Woon does, it's brilliant.