Friday, August 31, 2007

Everyone's a (different) critic

I’m just posting for the sake of posting.

I haven’t been able to post anything lately, because its the beginning of the fall ‘07 semester at Pratt (my last year at Pratt). So its been pretty busy, with all my classes and stuff starting up, including my thesis (I hope to have a title for it soon, because I don’t like referring to it as “the thesis”). It’s got a very good story, although I’m instructed that it needs a little more work. I am hoping to spend this Labor Day weekend working on it. That will include doing some storyboards, some of which I might post after presenting them.

In the meantime, there is Illustration. Some of my friends have already taken the Illustration class, and have done some amazing work. I finally have it this semester. I love looking at the work of different illustrators, among my favorites are Gerald Scarfe and (currently) Ronald Searle.

Here are some drawings for life done during the first Illustration class. As I am sure many know, I am the harshest critic when it comes to my own work. I am going to make an attempt to not voice my own criticism so loudly anymore. Some of these drawings came out pretty good and some didn’t. My dad told me recently that maybe the reason I get so bummed out over my drawing is because they don’t look like the people I admire, most of whom have amazing style. I guess I should take the hint. These drawings are how I draw naturally. Most of them have no artist in mind. Its just me trying to get shapes and gestures down.

I hope to have more coming up soon (for the few of you who are still interested in reading this blog).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sketchbook Updates

It occurs to me that in my last post, I might have alarmed some of those who read this blog. Do you ever forget how much you enjoy doing something, and later when you have to do it, you forget that its something you enjoy? I, unfortunately have that all the time, and animation is one of those things. I’m just not very good at given myself a strict schedule.

This isn’t a cry for help, but rather its me letting off some steam. I think about animating a lot, especially lately with my thesis schedule approaching. I have an animation table, but its not in a room where I can lay papers all over the place, and leave pencils lying around. Where I am staying this coming semester, I am bringing the table, so its there right from the start.

In the meantime, I figured I show some of my own stuff. My last few posts have mostly been reviews.
A couple nights ago, I went to dinner with my sister and her friends at the restaurant my sister works at. I filled a page with various faces of the restaurant patrons. I used a 0.7 lead mechanical pencil, which is currently my choice tool for random drawing.

Recently, my mind is preoccupied with my thesis. So whenever my sketchbook is opened, I try to put down as much as I can, which is still too little right now. I can only hope more will be established by the middle of September.

My thesis involves characters that are parasites. So I find myself trying to design different specimen. The reason there is a copy of “Stitch” (which I consider to be one of the best character designs in any animated film) is because of the new site put up by animator Chris Sanders. Check out the site: it has sketches that are beautiful and highly imaginative.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Sorry for the slow posting. I have had personal problems lately. I have been oversleeping, which affects my credibility. I am struggling with the art direction of my thesis, and I am still losing motivation. And to top it off, I haven't animated anything in months, because I don't have all my resources, and I feel like I'm the only one of my peers who isn't at least practicing.

I have just seen The Simpsons Movie twice, although the first viewing gave me enough of an impression. What can I say? I love the old Simpsons, and I love Matt Groening’s style. But the movie: it just comes off as one of the better episodes of the Simpsons in recent years. All in all, it was a good movie, not a great movie.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a severe problem with the Simpsons since season 9. Around the time producer Mike Scully took over, the show changed from being original and character based to being a repetitive series of sight gags. Homer and Bart’s characters changed severly in ways I disliked: Homer being mean spirited and obnoxious and Bart simply being misunderstood. I miss the days when Bart was an outspoken and fun loving little menace, and Homer was a loving husband and father whose head always seemed to be elsewhere.

In the movie, Homer’s obnoxious nature is explosive, and finally causes the family to endure great hardships. Homer’s beloved pet pig leads to his irresponsibly damaging the Springfield lake with a silo of pig crap. As a result, Springfield is placed under glass by the government to prevent national contamination. The family manages to escape the dome, but not after losing their house and achieve the maximum anger of Springfield’s citizens.

Angry mobs are something that have always suited the Simpsons, and is something that I often look forward to in Springfield.

My problems.
Patty and Selma (two of my favorite characters) had no role in the movie, not even a speaking part, which would have been sufficient.

Most of the animation was no different than the show, with the exception of a few choice moments. Notably a removed smear of Marge Simpson.

I wish the movie was more character based, and less about making fun of itself. All in all, it is simply a movie about the Simpsons being a movie. That gets tiring.

On a side note, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed the Green Day cameo. Very charming.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Animation Block Party, Part II

This is a late entry. I’ve just been extremely busy lately, getting work done for Andy London, checking out Augenblick studios, and trying to get the story for my thesis down.

I saw the last two nights of the Animtion Block Party, and was very impressed. Actually, the third night only had a few films that impressed me. But, as I predicted before, the final night at the BAM Cinemateque was by far the best. One day later, the audience awards for the ABP were presented, and only one of the films I voted for won something. A CAL-Arts film called Zoologic won a best design award (I wish I could find this film on the internet, but no success). Below are some images from my favorite films.

Don Hertzfeldt’s Everything Will Be OK was featured in the final night, and is still one of my absolute favorite films of the year. It’s Hertzfeldt at a whole new level. I bring this up now, because I have been reading all of John K’s blog entries on blandness. Recently, he featured a “blandness defense” from executive Marc Deckter, and I regret to admit that a lot of it makes sense. Anyone reading this should read it.

What does this have to do with Hertzfeldt? Everything Will Be OK won the best short film prize at Sundance this year, which is impressive, because Sundance has never been known to take a shine on animation. Everything is, as far as I know, the first animated film to win a top prize at Sundance. This is only the beginning, in my opinion. It is my hope that sometime in the future, animated features will make their way into more independent festivals. Independet features can’t be bogged down by commercial executives, and in film festivals, they are reviewed by peers and people who can respect originality and imagination.

I am also sorry to admit that I haven’t been doing a lot of drawing lately. For practice, I took out Amid Amidi’s Cartoon Modern book from the library. It features a drawing style I think I can figure out. Hopefully, I will get plenty of drawing done this week.

This Sunday, I am off to New Jersey to see The Police at Giants Stadium. I know its not animation related, but I am still excited to see the reunited Police.