Saturday, March 19, 2011

Guard Dog Global Jam Aftermath and Gift.

     So a while back I participated in Bill Plympton's neat project "The Guard Dog Global Jam", wherein 75  different animators from around the world animated individual scenes from his Oscar-nominated cartoon "Guard Dog".  It was a really interesting and unique experience, to watch so many different artists with radically different artistic approaches come together to deliver one single animation.  All the individual scenes just oozed with personality and character.  Each scene was so unique, jumping around from traditional hand drawn animation to stop motion animation, mosaic art in motion to claymation, flash animation to multi-layered masked goodness!  Everyone from all parts of the earth, from all different ages, united by our shared love for the artistic medium of animation!  And Bill Plympton.  The completed animation has been shown already at a ton of festivals, and though I can't find that video *ahem* anywhere, there is my completed part...

  ...and this animatic made of our still frames...

     And aside from the joy I got from being a part of this incredible experience, interacting and working alongside all the other animators, I got one final gift.  Bill Plympton sent us all a personal gift as thanks for our participation!

I love the doodle of the dog saying my address.  Awesome personal touch to the mail.
No, thank YOU, Bill!
     The gift, an autographed still frame from his original "Guard Dog" cartoon:

In all it's detailed, hand drawn goodness!  Yeehaw!
    Truly it's been an incredible experience to get together with other fans, contribute work for my idol, and get such a kick ass gift! 
     Aside from that and other matters,  I'm still continuing work on my animated project "The Golden Idol".  It's coming along pretty good, and I continue to work towards its completion.  

     More to come...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ed Edd n Eddy Illustrations

     So far I've done 4 illustrations of the Ed boys. One each year since 2007.  It's great to look at the progress I've made in my art skills over time.

My first try at Photoshop.
     The idea to make the Eds look like this came to me in a life drawing class in college.  I drew a dopey looking, realistic grin with chubby cheeks.  Then, for a laugh, I drew the outline to Ed's head around that face.  Afterwards I decided to include the other two.  Ed had to be the center of this world, with his obelisk head, his euphoric albeit vacant grin, and his hunched posture.  Unless Sarah was around to harass him, Ed was always full of joy and pure adolescent spirit.  I wanted to make it feel like he was slowly coming towards you.

    Eddy was always erratic and hyper when thinking about his next scam, and how he was going to use the other two to make it work.  I made him look super eager as he approaches the other two, with a self assured look on his confident face.  Double D, lost in his melancholy, just snares and goes along with his friend's exploits.  Originally he was holding cigarettes, then a calculator, then just a plain box labeled "Life".  Why?  Because life truly shines in only the hands of the youth.

     Also note the teeth.  It's a running theme faithful to the show.  Also, since I was new to Photoshop, I tried to do quick shading with pen.

     Funny story behind this: back in 2008, a friend of mine at the time gave me "Ed Edd n Eddy's Mis-Edventures" for my birthday.  She knew that two things I liked very much were Ed Edd n Eddy, and purposely playing shitty games for laughs.  Taito Legends 2 is a good example of those kinds of enjoyable (crappy) games, and she thought that combining EEnE and bad video games would be a good gift to me.

     Not so much.  Long story short, the game was total crap, the bad graphics and boring gameplay forced me to stop playing, and I almost ended up liking EEnE less.  Shit, it looked like an early N64 game... on a PS2.  The game was so bad, I imagined it to be something the Eds themselves created just to make another quick quarter.  But even that is too much to pay for this crap game.  Eddy's the only one ostentatious enough to still think it's a great game, even as the perpetual jerk Kevin kindly suggests where the game should be put.  Double D's eyes are burned out of his skull and his brain is completely fried, since he was the poor sap that had to program and design that horrible game from scratch.  Ed, my favorite character on the show, perfectly mirrors my animosity towards that game.  He glares at it intensely with angry eyes, knowing well enough the full extent of that game's terrible content.  He experienced it firsthand.  For a kid that takes a lot of pride in being disgusting and dirty, it's a true feat to make Ed feel repulsed.

     When making this, I wanted to have grotesquely realistic features put onto the character's original head shape.  Kevin is my favorite in this picture, as he's the closest to  the original and has the most perverted features of them all.  Same head shape and feature placement, just more weirder and exaggerated.  He and Double D both have the same shaped heads.  To save time and be a little stylish, I made everyone's clothing with flat colors.  Double D's ruler has the message "Life is measured in moments, not years."  Very poignant proverb I thought of at the time.

     The theme with everyone's teeth was something that was seen a lot on the show.  There was a pretty funny reason why the kids had odd colored tongues and teeth.  They were permanently stained since they all constantly eat a lot of candy (jawbreakers).  That's why I gave their tongues odd colors and made their teeth look so shitty.  Especially Kevin, since his garage is full of jawbreakers.  Oh kids and their bad oral hygiene.  Double D is the exception since he's always fixated on being neat.

     By request, this one features just Double D.  I don't entirely know what I was thinking as I made it this way. I know I wanted this to have a divine, enlightened feel to it.  I wanted to make him feel like an under appreciated  genius, lost in his own mind as a means of escaping from the uneducated dopes that surround him in his everyday life.  Had to include his ants and pet cactus Jim, too.  There was originally a crucifix at the center of the light, but I figured that'd be a bit too much.  Also, I messed up on coloring the bag under his left eye, so I just closed it and bloodied it up just because.  I wish I remembered how to make that skin look, as it reminds me of coffee stains on a white t-shirt.

     I was listening a lot to Storm by Godspeed You Black Emperor at the time, so that pushed me into making the enlightening aspects of this otherwise creepy portrait.

     Finally, this new piece shows the Eds trying to scam Johnny and Plank with their sewer swamp ride.  I know it was the girls (and Jimmy) whose business were originally ployed with this scam, but I wanted to illustrate Johnny and his hilarious head.  Again, as with before, everyone's teeth are in shitty shape.  I made Eddy fatter and rounder this time around.  He's the reason I made another Ed illustration.  Poor Double D isn't as physically compelling as his two compatriots, so I improvised with his form and made him as surreal as possible.  A little more disturbing than what's on the show, but still in the same wacky spirit.  I also like on the show how Ed's eyes (or some other character's eyes) would float off their head when they're excited or screamed.  Also notice how in Eddy's jar are a bottle cap from the city episode and a wooden coin, both from Kevin.

     As time goes on, I'll continue to improve my skills.  Little by little, it's happening.  Meanwhile I've got a really interesting project in the works.  Little by little, it's coming.

     Bunch'a stuff at this here account.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ed Edd n Eddy "Scam that Pigeon!"

     Finally got to finishing another illustration of the Ed boys.  Ed Edd n Eddy was, and still is, one of my most favorite cartoons ever.  

      I loved everything about that show: the surreal humor, the wacky animation style, the timeless feel of it.  The show was a huge influence on me and my art style.  I liked using that squiggly "breathing line" trick in a lot of my cartoons, since it was a great way to give life and movement to characters standing still.  The look was simple and detailed at once, and the rubbery looks and how all the characters would stretch and move to extreme shapes was hilarious to watch.  Definitely one of the last good cartoon shows to still be around.  One that was more focused on being fun and bizarre, unlike all the other crap cartoons nowadays that are too obsessed with being realistic and completely missing the point of animation and its potential. 

Earlier illustration, after I played the crappy PS2 game. 
     That's one thing that bothers me a lot about animation nowadays.  Everyone is so fixated on cartoons being realistic and "believable".  I always say that if you want things to be realistic and lifelike, then don't waste an animator's time, get a camera and hire actors to get stuff done.  Don't animate what can be done in real life.  It's all about giving your imagination life and going beyond the physical limitations of real life.  And having fun.

     That's what Ed Edd n Eddy was all about.  Tomorrow I'll go into detail with the details in the new illustration.