Thursday, June 23, 2011

Traveling and Art


      So sorry for not being able to post recently. Things have been busy here at the studio in so many ways. Cars 2 is about to come out, I've seen it and the kids should love it. On top of that I have been getting ready to go travelling abroad. I leave this Monday the 27th of June! Where am I going? Belgium, Germany and Amsterdam. So if you are in the area be sure to send me an email, I would not mind meeting up!

      So I want to talk about drawing materials briefly.. And since I'm travelling, more specifically materials on the go. Sure you can make art out of anything and make a drawing with any sort of thing that makes a mark.. but should you? I'll say no, not all the time. Just like a soccer player can not be the best player they can be while playing with a mango shaped ball, neither can an artist release their full potential with with the wrong materials..

First off-  The Sketchbook/ Pad of Paper
Find the size that's write for you.

     -You want to work on details and become free to draw without the edge of the paper restraining you? Go for the big sketchbook. (my preference)
    -You want to draw people discreetly and work on catching quick gestures and in the moment expressions, go for the small note book

    -You just want to put your self through drawing boot-camp and not treat every drawing like it's precious and just focus on form and skill? Go for the cheap newsprint like drawing pads that have like 300 pages in them and get your self some permanent markers!

     The kind of sketch book you choose will greatly effect the way you draw. Imagine you buy a leather bound notebook and you are just learning to draw. You might feel like you have to make every drawing worth it and it has to be the best.. this kind of thinking is bad, you'll find yourself too timid to even draw in it. How will you EVER improve your skills when you expect yourself to make good drawing right away? As a rule never treat your drawings as gems. I say, the first GOOD drawing you draw, have your mom, or sibling draw over it or rip it up. You have to learn to treat your good drawings like nothing and think of your self as being capable of drawing EVERY drawing that good. And make that your goal to be able to draw EVERY drawing that good when ever you make a pencil touch a paper...
     If you are in architecture, how are you suppose to draw the grandness of the building on a 3x5" sketch book????? No way you can draw the masonry or the details around the windows! You would be much better off with an 11x14" sketchbook...

So enough about sketchbooks, you get the point.

-The Pencil
Lets start with the basics. If you do not know the hierarchy of pencils.. LEARN THEM..

    In school you usually use an HB pencil or a 2B pencil. which are pretty common. Ideally you want to use a dark (they are referred to as soft) pencil to draw and sketch quickly. Especially for figure drawing you might want to even go up to a 6B pencil. It's harder to erase and it'll force you to live with your mistakes and see them, learn from them. Very good at learning how to make your lines correct the first time you put them on the paper.
   Now and then I'll come across someone trying to draw a full on landscape with a 2H pencil. Your making life hard when it doesn't have to. Keep the light (referred to as Hard) pencils for details and tinier feats. When going out, my combination of pencils are 6B, 2B, HB, and H
(Eraser to use: White eraser)

Here I used a many different types of pencils to achieve the desired shading the drawing required

This was the finished piece, my favourite sub picture would have to be the lower left.
-Wax Pencils
    I almost forgot about these. Wax pencils are usually thicker and you have to peel to expose the tip after it gets dull. I like these a lot. Use them for quick drawings and figure drawing! There are also wood-less pencils that just plain look cool :)

-The Charcoal Stick
    Perfect for life drawing and figure drawing. Charcoal is messy and fun. You can not take charcoal and be serious with it. Most likely you will see artist do fast 30 sec. or 15 sec. model studies with charcoal. Charcoal allows you to manipulate lines and clearly see your mistakes. And the only way to fix mistakes with charcoal? Is to not do them in the first place! Over time you will see your lines loosen up and you will see your hand eye coordination greatly improve. Most likely you'll see me using huge Biggie pad of newsprint paper that doesn't cost much. Huge means like a 2 foot pad. You need a huge pad so you can learn how to use your WHOLE arm when you draw, and not just your wrist. Very good thing to learn for painters.  (Eraser to use: kneaded Eraser)

A very fast one minute contour drawing of a flower
     Charcoal CAN be used for great detailed art pieces. There are no rules. I am just saying what you can do with these materials to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Still Life of hanging clothes with charcoal

Just because you don't have the right colours of charcoal doesn't mean you still can't do what you want...

-Color Pencils
   If you use any color pencils, use Prisma Color. Think: go hard or go home, they might be expensive but they are worth it. Prisma Color will get you the most vibrant richest colors out of any brand. Have fun with color pencils! I always carry a few just to inject some life into my drawings once in a while. Because page after page of black and white drawings just doesn't do it for after a while.

    There are 2 kinds of markers I usually use. There are the grey gradient story boarding kind, these are always good to have for any sketch artist. Good for practising tones and light studies.

    And then there are the Crayola markers and Sharpies. if you make a mistake, make something out of it. work with it. do not waste paper! Go with the flow, CREATE! Do what you need to do to save the drawing. Markers teach problem solving. You will find yourself saying, "Shit Danny! I drew that line in the wrong spot, what do i do with this line?" make it into a cloud? FIGURE IT OUT.  I love markers. make sure you use them with paper you do not care about. You will go through a lot.

-The Ball Point Pen and Ink Pen
    I have grown fond of these. It's a nice mix in-between a marker and a pencil. You have to learn how to do things right the first time or learn how to solve the problems you create. I've learned to be patient and learn how to shade with them and draw pencil like drawings with them. I figured out that they are very good for blind drawing and counter drawings. I like the lines the create and the aesthetic quality they give to the drawings. Try them out.

   Do not act like crayons are for kids. Do not act like it wasn't THE CRAYON that inspired you to start exploring your creative eye at the age of 3... try letting loose with them and see what happens!

     So on my trip you can expect me to have some of these materials, and to be sketching on my train rides around Germany. I'll be sure to post pictures of the sketches :) I will be gone for two weeks and will be back the 15th of July! Still keep those emails coming, I do enjoy seeing all your work and reviewing them!

Go out and draw. and watch cars2.. at least for the Brave teaser in front of it...
-Daniel Gonzales

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Animation 102: General Polishing Notes..

     So here is an email of a critique I wrote out. I thought it had some useful elements  to it and decided to share! Context: They is about to wrap up on this and has a little less than a week to finish. So I pointed out the major things that catch my eye and overlook the little things so they can make the best use of their time... enjoy

Hi _______,

     Lets get down to business shall we? I'll try not to be that harsh :)

     So, contrast... everything needs some sort of contrast, it just makes things look texturally more interesting, agree? So your animation is great, but as bad ass as it is, in the beginning it's still sort of, smushy, water smooth... (and I understand he's sneaking) but none the less the characters movement is a bit swimmy.

     The Culprit: The FLASH LIGHT. The flash light moves way too much and at the same pace and style as the body, if you would just view the flash light and hide the body, it will look like the hand of someone high, or drunk, or just someone waaay too relaxed. It has tooo much over-lap (up and down), the head and the body go up and down already, no need to go overkill and do the flash light as well, it's like you want me to watch your assignment while nodding my head up and down the whole time. if you're more a percentage kind of girl, I would tell you to take it 80% down...

     Solution: Hold it reletively still in the direction it is in now, towards the opposite wall where he is heading towards. and if you are feeling daring even put a lil frequency vibration in it to show shaking, but DONT MAKE IT look like he has tremors! This will contrast the slow cat like movement of the body. make it look like he's holding the Flash light with a purpose and not hold it as if it was a prop.

     POSES: On frame X78 is very natural and realistic. Not bad, but tell me one thing...  which one is better.... im just asking.. you know... just take a look and let me know...

        You see? Just always push things a little more and make sure you are selling the pose. Never forget to check if your silhouette value is the best and clearest it can be. Is it telling the whole story? is it appealing? What might it be mistaken as? how do i make it fool proof? And don't start saying that it's not physically possible with the model. "but Dannny, it wont let me, It doesn't want to bend that way, it's too hard..."  FORCE IT. Do not compromise with the computer, do not meet it half way, don't let it decide how far you can push your art. It does what you tell it to do, don't pitty it. The moment you start to let it tell you who's boss, that's when we all lose and then movies like Terminator 2 and the Matrix become reality. Always keep the computer in check. :) It's just waiting for you to let down your guard..... haha

Frame X78- X104
       After you hit that pose you start to turn, BUT EVERYTHING TURNS WITH EACH OTHER FAIRLY AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!!! You do have a teeny weenie bit of an off set, but that's only because I had to look for it. How about you hold the head staring towards Screen Left for a while longer and hold the flash light there too. Make the body turn first then around X92 start the head turn, try that out see if it feels right and adjust accordingly. Break it up, make it feel natural.

       Ok this next one is a big one, you might hate me but i can afford you to hate me, what you CANNOT afford is sub par problem solving skills!
-Flip through Frames X105 to X110.. then continue flipping to X115. Doesn't it look like he's bouncing off those boxes? Like in a bad action film sort of way? X110, that character definitely broke it's back on those boxes.. I drew something that might help you out:

      So you see what I did, I also moved your last pose a little screen left. This way not only is it a reaction, but VISUALLY he is moving away from the ghost as well. It makes the head ARC less spontaneous and it's easier to follow along with the eyes. But that means reworking the animation before and after it and making it work, re-look at the physics my pose change demands and make it work. it's going to be tough but try it out. It will definitely be challenging.

     Your ending
, I'm going to acknowledge it's subjective. Because I too watched cartoons when I was younger I could recognize what you were doing (scared stiff and the fainting) but if I was living in a cave my whole life or from Antarctica, I would have no freaking idea what the hell was going on, "he stopped, then moves again and stops again... then he MOVES again to fall down... and then the ghost looks at me??" WTF is going ON!!!!!!????? lol. your animation is nice. I'm just letting you know you are relying on the audiences background knowledge of cartoons to sell your idea.

      So I hoped this helped you out, Let me know how it goes, your animation is very nice and it doesn't look messy at all. Good job staying organized. Notice how most of my notes were on choices and not fundamentals. That's perfect since you are in the polish stage. If you would like me to check it out again let me know and I'll gladly do it. Touch on these notes then I can look deeper into your timing and spacing after there is nothing to distract my eye. Keep on going!

-Daniel Gonzales

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cars 2 Drawings


     So the Film is done, the press is out and about, Festive air in the studio, it's a wild time to be at Pixar right now! It probably being the last time John Lasseter ever directs a film, it was a real treat to see him in action this past year.

     I thought I'd share some sketches that I've accumulated over the years and since all these characters have been either in trailers or posters, so I think I have the green light to reveal my drawings. I usually draw in dailies while JL is giving notes to animators or while in meetings. It's a good way for me to stay concentrated and not have to settle for going and getting coffee.

     This is Francesco, Italian Race car. Cocky as hell. my kinda car.. Even though cars are limited in their movement you still have to try to give them angles and line of actions. Otherwise all you have is a box with eyes....

     Like Fillmore, a simple characteristic such as the eyelids is enough to give this care it's distinct personality.. 

     My favourite car would have to be Finn. Not just because it's Michael Caine as his voice actor... well yea maybe that's why. Finns dialogue was especially hard to animate because the mouth shapes had to be "English Accent" mouth shapes rather than American mouth shapes. (Yes there are differences)

     Zunndap, or professor Z. close second for my favourite character... There character designer was clever enough to make the racks on the top of the vehicle also be some sort of 'comb over" for the car. All the character designs and the set designs are amazing in this Film, especially once they are rendered out.

     Sometimes you say more with fewer lines. When you have 2 seconds and a marker, you have to be efficient!

      One time I saw mater driving pass me towards the bathroom.. I had to sketch him quick....  nothing but quick lines and trying not to lift your pencil will increase your chances of getting interesting line work in your work!

      Below, are pictures from my sketchbook. You never know what you're going to draw next so I always like how the compositions end up. Here you'll see some other cars that will be in the film. I was really horrible at drawing any sort of car when I first came onto the film, I hated drawing cars (mainly because I sucked), but that's no excuse to not to try to learn.

     Last but not least: here are two Mater drawings I did.

      Even when you find yourself really busy still try to find time to draw and sketch. Believe me when I say for every semi interesting drawing I have here there are 10 bad drawings banished in a corner somewhere. Cars2 comes out June 24th I believe, and I hope all of you go to see it and enjoy the playful, fun, action paced film. Once more here is the trailer.