Monday, July 11, 2011


It tool a little bit of coaxing, but it seems that some of you do have questions. I was beginning to think the information I get each week about how many of you are following this blog were nothing but hooey. Glad to see the stats weren't wrong (I think).

Here's a question from Dani's Blog:
When you start searching for work, what did you do? where did you look first?

The story of how I got into the animation industry is probably not the typical story for most artists. I was still in High school and just starting to apply for Art school when my art teacher found an ad asking for portfolio submissions to work for Ralph Bakshi. Neither of us thought there was much chance of my actually being offered a job. In fact, I had never even considered getting into animation -  I wanted to be an illustrator. But my teacher thought this was a good way to get a professional portfolio review and was hoping it would take a little of the wind out of my sails. I was pretty cocky for a High school student.
As it turned out I was offered a job and my teacher and counselors helped arrange for me to finish my senior year through night school, but it wasn't long before I did realize I wasn't the best artist in the world. Once I saw all the other artists that were hired at the same time (not to mention the ones that were already working at the studio) I realized that i had a lot to learn.
Now, when I look for work, I rely mostly on networking. So much of getting jobs in this industry is about who you know and being in the right place at the right time - and, of course, having the skills and talent at your disposal once you do get the gig. Networking is so much easier these days with the internet. I try to the full advantage of it and I suggest that even newbies do so as well. It's been very rare that I've gotten a job by calling studios or knocking on doors. I don't want you to think that only those of us with conections can network. Even a newbie should be able to connect and get their stuff in front of people a lot easier these days with e-mail, FB and Devenat Art that is so much easier than mailinmg your portfolio around to studios or artists hoping you get a response.

Capt. Sunshine asks:
How often do you find your work "stolen" and posted on other websites, claimed as someone else's efforts?

Maybe I'm not looking around much, but I can't think of anytime I've come across any my "actual" work that someone else was claiming as their own. I do often come upon my XME models that have been re-purposed and altered with new costumes or turned into new characters. I gather there's quite a bit of that going on  with not just my models, but models from other character designers as well. And, of course, I see many of my designs being drawn as fan-art  which I find flattering. 
If any of you see someone trying to pass my actual art off as their own please let me know and I'll do what I can to stop it.

Anonymous asks 3 questions: 
What is your favorite part of production from your viewpoint? I know there are many legs in a complete production and you have amazing storyboarding, character design, and animation skills but what part really gets to you deep inside and you can't wait to work on?

Okay, first my favorite part of production is usually different from project to project and whether it's a feature or TV production. If it's a feature project the part I like most is working on the story, character arcs and hammering out all the beats (working with the directors and story crew, of course). When I was an animator on features there was nothing quite like seeing the scene move for the first time - usually as a pencil test and seeing your scribbles come to life. 
 If it's a TV  or direct to video production then I enjoy the directing process (very rarely do you get a chance to get involved with the story in these type of productions - though when I have, that was also very enjoyable. I also enjoy creating character designs and fleshing out a characters personality by way of expressions and attitudes. 

Also have you ever thought of doing more full animation in your style?
Sure, I'd love to do full animation again of characters I've designed. Some of the most fun I had on XME (a show I had a LOT of fun on) was when I actually did several scenes of full animation using my character designs - whether it was for season 1s opening credits, walk and run cycles or for some of the dance sequences in a  couple of the shows for season 1 and 2. Not sure I'll get another chance to do that, but anything is possible.

If I haven't run up my limit on questions I would also like to know your thoughts on animation in general, like what goes through your head when doing a scene or just a test like for characters like in X-Men Evolution?

That's hard to say and depends a lot on what type of scene it is I'm animating (and it's been so long since I've animated I'm trying to remember what it feels like). Action scenes bring different challenges than acting scenes
With action a lot of my thinking is about plotting out the key moments that I want to hit and make sure the scene has the right impact and how can each drawing convey what the action is so if you only saw one drawing you wouldn't have too much of a problem deciphering what is going on in the scene. 
If the scene is an acting scene I have to try and capture the dialogue (if it's a dialogue scene) without getting in the way of the dialogue - something I feel I've not always accomplished after looking at some of my old animation. Or if it's not a dialogue scene how do I convey what the character is thinking so it doesn't just look like a lifeless drawing on the screen.

And Yen asks:
Are there any type of requests that you don't do?

I assume you mean commissions...? If so, I won't do full on porn  and if I'm asked to do something 'sexy' it has to be tasteful to me and respectful of the characters - in my mind, at least.

Please feel free to send in questions and I promise to get to them as soon as I can.
Yesterday while sorting through some boxes from the garage I cam across my Fire and Ice and Black Cauldron stash. Seeing these inspoired me and I hope to have a couple of blogs coming up soon (time permitting, of course) that will discuss my experience on these films and show many of these images.
Here's a little taste (you'll have to excuse the quality of the images - these unfortunately are not originals):



JRtist said...

Ah YEAH! That's what I'm talking about! Awesome.

Alright, here's a question for you... double header question.
You've been working on so many different projects, that call for totally different styles of artwork. How hard is it, in your eyes, to differentiate from each style? Is it kind of hard for the learning curve to get the previous style/design out of your head and start on the new style? Do you do a lot of sketchbook drawing to get yourself molded into the style you're working on at that time?

Do you ever think of recording yourself drawing for youtube from time to time? Even if it's a timelapse drawing? (I enjoy those a lot, myself)

*I had better questions today, but these are the only ones that came through my filter*

Josh Awolade said...


I've got just one question (for now :D ) How did you do animate your walk cycles and the Sirens and Boom Boom dance scenes?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering the previous questions. It is a rare treat to ask actual professionals about their work and actually get a response. Seriously, thank you.

That said I was curious about your scenes in animated features like The King and I, The Swan Princess, and Anastasia. What scenes were particularly yours in the films and what scenes do you feel like you really got what you wanted (as an artist)from the scene?

Also, has the inverse ever happened where a scene got ridiculous (frustrating) and you felt the urge to break the pencil over your knee and walk out for a bit, before coming back and knocking it out of the park?

Thanks again for the opportunity to pick your brain a bit.

P.S: Any chances to see some pencil tests from the films you have worked on.

Blaze Rocket said...

I actually find your work posted on DeviantArt A LOT, being claimed as someone else's. I do daily searches for new content for the Evo-Obsessed Club, and for a while, pictures from your website, in particular, were very popular for other people to try and claim as their own. Thankfully, the mods at DA are very good about this thing, and when I give them a link to your website and the stolen work, it's always been removed within a few days.

I have a silly question, actually ^_^;;
Obviously you have a lot of fans. I know that personally, I would love to give something back to you, for all the amazing things you've created that brightened my life, and for how amazingly cool you present yourself as on line. I never know what exactly to do though... Voice actors frequently get fan-art of the characters they voice, but you obviously have drawings of your characters already. Is there anything we, as your fans, can do to repay you? Bring you a soda at a con or something?

... I swear I'm not sucking up, I just really want to throw you your own parade or something.

And so long as I'm asking questions: Have you ever considered teaching or guest lecturing at an art school anywhere?

Aaaaaand, as per usual: Will there ever be a 3rd sketch book? :D

Polyxeni said...

I feel like i struck gold finding your blog and seeing all these commission drawings and designs from the Xmen series + Many others! :D

I was wondering, if we ever sent you a link to our blogs or work, would you ever be able to critique it?

My other question is, what would you say to aspiring artists that are struggling but keep at it?

thanks for your time and amazing work! :)