Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Another chance. That is what 2009 signifies to me. I have had to reinvent myself several times in my career, but I believe this time is different. In the past , the reinvention always was dictated by the marketplace, what styles were current, what was commercially viable. I have decided that it is time to get back to what excites me as an artist and try for once in my life to find my style. I have been a chameleon far too long, and although it has given me some longevity in this wacky field, I have lost myself in the process. 2009 is my time. Sounds dramatic , I know, but as a selfish artist who always bolsters himself with such proclamations, please bear with me. Reinvention is a necessary evil in this rapidly changing animation world and creates a wonderful challenge to my ability to make it happen. I wish all of us luck in 2009, but mostly, I wish us lots of skill.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hula almost complete

All elements are complete. The only thing left to do is to tweak, and check the image. This has been a very tedious process, but since it will be on the website animating on a regular basis, it is important to get it right, or at least close.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dashboard Hula taking shape

After several rounds of tweaks, and the addition of the arms, the Dashboard Hula Girl is getting closer to completion. I will probably post the final tomorrow, if all goes well.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Finishing the Hula

When finishing a traditionally animated sequence in Illustrator, it is important to note several critical issues. First, make sure you animate your images larger than they will appear in the final file. This will insure accurate drawing and aid greatly in the final finish in Illustrator. Secondly, build and test your image as you go, it is essential to analyze each section as you are creating it in Illustrator, you can see you errors more clearly when you are taking a section at a time. The main two issues with this sort of technique is the fact that you are dealing with an image with no line and that you are going to get small "wobbles" no matter how accurate your initial animation is. Having no line creates a circumstance where accuracy is at a premium, without a border your image edge has to me right on otherwise you will definitely see a small flicker. The good thing about Illustrator is the fact that you can "zoom in" work in outline and manipulate points with relative ease. It is a tedious process, in many ways more tedious than traditional cel finish. Here is my progress on the Hula girl for my website, and although you will probably not be able to see the tiny flaws that remain, I assure you that they are there. But luckily the mistakes are manageable.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Pretty Good"

I was eating breakfast at the local, "Good Egg" the other day and as I normally do, I brought my sketchbook. I try to make it a habit to do at least a page or so of sketches everyday and the Good Egg is one of my favorite places to accomplish this task. I mean, doesn't bacon make everything better, even art? After having my meal, I went up to the counter to pay and the hostess commented, "I saw you sketching today, you're pretty good". I thanked her and walked out of the restaurant, happy to have received a compliment. Then it hit me, "Pretty GOOD?!", I have been doing this for 40 years, shouldn't I be at least "Good" all ready? Is "Great" too much to hope for? I stood in the parking lot racing through my sketchbook pages, hoping I was better than, "Pretty Good". I think I am, but that just might be the bacon talking.

Derf Xmas Card

I received a Xmas Card from my good friend John Backderf, "Derf", a great humorist and Comic Strip artist. This just cracked me up. Derf you are a frickin' genius.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Flash in the Pan

Here is a retinal scanner for my website. Just a little gag about the Animation Witness Protection Program. It will be bigger and more readable when the site is up...soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finalizing Pages for the Launch

Here are some of the final page designs for Horrendous Fiasco's website...Coming not soon enough.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays

Just my warm-up today. Now back to Photoshop hell

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hula Girl Revisited

Another animation test for the Hula girl. I started the vector art on a previous test and noticed some problems, so I went back on board, enlarged the image for better control and tweaked it as best I can. There are still minor problems but I am sure I will fix them when I am in Illustrator.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Webpage Format

Completed a mock up of the website, the internal panel is where the various designs for the Bio Page, Gallery, Movies, etc. will reside. The hula girl will dance on the home page...the present central image is only a rough. I will be up and running relatively soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

2009 Demo Reel


Haven't been posting lately because I am working on secret stuff. Will be back posting like a fool soon, maybe even today.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Biggest Hurdle

Time is animation's greatest adversary. We animate in a week what animators a generation ago had several weeks to produce. We battle in an era where clients and even those who should know better utter those famous words, "Well everything is done by computer, right?" We all know that computers are equipped with an "animation key" that with one press will automatically activate a wonderful sequence of perpetual motion and beauty. We all know that key, it's right next to the "Are you fucking kidding me?" button. Buzzer sounds! Wrong, so wrong. There is no disclaimer on any modern commercial or animated project that states, "this masterpiece was produced in two weeks, imagine what it could have been if we would have had time". We live in the Fed Ex, text your friend, hurry up, era and there is no turning back. Do it as best you can, as fast as you can and GOOD LUCK, right? I know there are some people out there who can dictate schedule to a client and they are truly lucky and blessed. Most of us are tied to the yoke of "we only have a week and half can you do it?" Perhaps if animation itself wasn't such a desperate pursuit, we could unite as animation professionals and stand up for quality and the time it takes to produce it. Unfortunately, that possibility only exists next to the "Not a chance in hell" key.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Painted Today

Took a break from the animation grind and did some painting. Here is a quick study of a monster with a human nose. Just a part of trying to finish up some canvases for the website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Great Hugh Valentine

On my first film, Lazar, I had the pleasure to work with Hugh Valentine, a Chicago cameraman who had been in the animation business a long time. He was a meticulous down shooter and provided me with the guidance to be a better prepared animator, showing me camera tricks, and guiding me with my X sheets. He was a great cameraman and a generous teacher. However, the greatest wisdom he imparted to me concerning animation was, "You never remember how long it takes, you only remember how good a job you did". Simple words, but so damn true. I have used this wisdom, over and over again in my career. It forced me to analyze, to work as hard as I could, and to be my own worst enemy, but I never have any regrets. I am in the process of building my website and noticed my Hula girl had some animation issues, not huge, but issues nonetheless. I am going backwards today, fixing the minor problems, and doing the best job I can. So I miss a day or two. It would be worse to notice that tiny little "hitch" over and over again. Thanks Hugh, you make me a better artist every day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recession Animation

Here we are in the wonderful financial hell called a "recession". I personally believe we have been in one for quite a while but are only coming to grips with it now. This is good news really, hopefully we can all hit bottom and then start building up once more. Why am I optimistic? We are getting rid of the Bush Administration for one, thank the heavens above. The other reason is that traditionally animation has done well in a down economy. It is cheaper to produce than live action both in the commercial field as well as the feature market. My only question is "will anyone remember?" This aspect of economy and animation used to be second nature. I remember back in early eighties getting boards for a commercial that was originally slated to be live action and asked to make it an animated commercial. I haven't been asked to to that since. It has been a long time since the recession of the seventies, and I really don't want to go back to being a "disco" bartender. So let's hope for a resurrected animation revival. Anytime now, actually, "NOW" would be just fine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Home and Hula

I am now finally in the process of putting some animated elements into the website. Design for the site is pretty much "wrapped" (tweaking is still a task ahead). I now am in the process of collecting all the materials, building buttons, and finalizing this bad boy.

Poster Design

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sketchbook love

I open each day just sketching the first thing that comes out of the page. This was my warm-up to animating the Dashboard Hula yesterday. Today's warm-up is in recycling.

Hula Update

8 frame cycle should do it for this Hula Girl. There are still a few tweaks to make but will probably deal with it in finish.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dashboard Hula

Here is an extreme test for my little dashboard Hula character. I am animating this in a technique we developed at our studio years ago. It is no where near a traditional approach to animation (using construction, animating rough in order to feel out the motion) but it was much faster and eliminated the need for a larger animation team. We called it, "animating cleanly". Starting with a good pose of the developed character we began animating, cleaning up as best we could. It eliminated the need for a clean-up artist, and it took out much of the guess work for the inbetweeners, therefore making the process faster. With production schedules getting shorter and shorter, we felt the need to approach our animation in this way. It is imperative to have a good knowledge of anatomy to animate this way and it took a consistent hand by the inbetweeners to work in this production model. Did the animation suffer, probably. But it was fast and we did get better at it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hula girl

Dashboard Hula that will be another animated part of the site. Don't know where yet, I just think it will be fun.

Load Splash Animation

Load page Flashed up, simple yet elegant.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Load Splash

Here is the final piece to the 1st phase puzzle. Now I have to Flash it up.

A Prayer for Obama

It is my hope that this man can reach the lofty goals that he seeks. It is my prayer for his safety and our security in a volatile world. It is our burden that he has many challenges ahead. It is my concern that expectations cannot be matched. It is my dream that all goes well for this man, his family, and this great country. It is my faith in our American Dream that has been renewed. It is a wonderful beginning, let it be carried to a great end.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prelim Gallery Page

Horrendous Fiasco's Website is almost complete. Should be finished with the design and animation of the first phase by late next week. Still have to tweak this page, but thought I would post my progress. Wish the maestro of this style (L Todd Myers) had helped, but unfortunately it had to be handled by his ex boss.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Da Vinci

I produced this open for Geomedia, out of San Antonio. Obviously, emulating the great Leonardo, (not Clyde Crashcup's assistant). It was a pretty interesting project for one major reason, doing Da Vinci was much easier in this digital age. Being able to layer, color, and affect the drawings made the project easy to animate compared to the old world animation ways of my not so distant past. The paper was able to remain consistent and did not add to the jitter of the drawings, something that would have been difficult to maintain using old animation techniques.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When George is away.

Jane and Rosie will play. Right now it's just a twisted underpainting.

Have a Virtual Martini

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Contact Page Design

Here is the preliminary design for my Contact Page. The 1st phase of the site should be up an running by December. YAY!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Contact Page

The "Contact" page of my website includes several sketches from the toughs, hard-asses, and babes, I have done over the last couple weeks. Here are a couple of samples.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Old design

Found this while searching through some old design work. This particular image was produced for a gaming company for a possible slot machine. I ended up taking another project at the time, but it would have been fun.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Back to Painting

After being digitally saturated for the past several weeks, it was nice to concentrate on something more tactile. Back to painting. Here is a quick study of one of my favorite pin-up artists, Gil Elvgren. I like to occasionally copy another artist, it is always amazing what you can learn from crawling in someone else's creative head. The only problem is that my socks get wet.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bio Page part 5

More completed version. The self portraits will rotate in and out (via Flash). Now I have to get to work on the components.

Bio Page

Here is another of a series of self portraits for the Bio page of the Horrendous website. This was created exclusively in Photoshop and I should be able to finish it up today. Not sure I am going to go with this color version.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Movie Page (Demo)

Well, I have decided against the "Demo" page below and am going with a more contemporary style. (Similar to the Home page). At least I think is contemporary. Still needs some tweaking here and there.

Couple more

Sketches of a Madman

Started out the day doing some sketches for some of the characters that will adorn the "Contact" page of my website. Not sure who makes the cut just yet, but I am having fun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Have to do a whole series of Thugs, Gangsters, and Tough Guys for the "Contact" page of Horrendous Fiasco's upcoming website. Experimenting with multiple ink lines generated in Photoshop from a thinly inked original.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I don't know if this is the way to go for my "Demo" page. Didn't want something of the movie theatre theme. This image is only halfway there. The surfboard will act as a placeholder for the demo list. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Microbes and Monsters

Here are some sketches for a for a old pitch. Still like the idea and just have to redevelop it someday. It was originally called "Dew Dropolis" and was about the adventures of three single celled animals in a single drop of water.


Sketch of a character I am developing for a viral video series.

A Monkey Logo

Monday, October 6, 2008

A couple of "Toughs"

Love drawing tough guys for some odd reason, makes me feel more like a "man", I guess.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just a sketch

One of the many sketches I did while in Boston. The sea captain on the right was inspired by a gravestone in a small church cemetery. I couldn't read the name on the grave marker due to the erosion of the stone. I could make out that the unfortunate soul was a Capt. Lower on the stone you could read the length of his life, 52 years (no dates) and the simple phrase, "Peg of Leg." That just cracked me up. Made me think of my own epitaph. "Dumb of Head". The other character is just another "tough".

I know, I know.

I am back in the witness protection program after my trip to Providence and Boston. Great towns both. Very cool. Unfortunately, the land of great Italian food and many cool neighborhoods is behind me now. It is time to get back to work and blogging. New Posts coming soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ah Yes, New England

I am still tooling around in old New England. Be back in gear working like the seam of my pants soon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gav Green

Another...almost final...worked on it at a Starbucks in Newport.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gav Red

Tweaked and complete. Another of many self portraits that will rotate in on the Bio page.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Experience is a dirty word

It is the only thing that you can have too little of or too much of and therefore be practically unemployable. Experience is that great "Catch 22". When you are young it is the greatest barrier to getting a job and when you are my age it is like a brand that marks you as "difficult". It is a slight advantage to the younger artist with no experience because like all artists you can beg and not look bad doing it. "Give me a chance, I will do it for nothing". The magic words to many employers. But when you are very experienced, begging is no longer an option for obvious reasons. One , it looks really bad, is surely more pathetic, and always marks you as untrustworthy. I mean, why is this experienced guy begging, what felony record could he be trying to hide? Is he going to stab me in the back once I hire him and take my job? What kind of "ploy" is this guy trying to pull?

I am now at the latter end of the experience chain, where too much of it is either looked at as a threat to others or that you are out of touch with the "new". That can be true with a lot of artists my age, set in their ways and unwilling to grow. You have to stay up on what is happening and use your "expertise" to make it work better. I have actually begun to use the word, "expertise" or "expert" when describing myself, it is a better word. For one it seems to describe yourself in the present tense, something that the word "experience" cannot do. The word "expert" brings with it confidence and problem solving (all important to experience as well) without any negative baggage or predisposed disagreement. Isn't always the case that when you hear that someone is "experienced", you immediately feel that there might be a problem, that they may use their experience as a weapon. Many "experienced" people are pains in the ass, look at your parents, they always want to trump you with their experience (like yours doesn't count). The word "experience" itself, especially in my shoes, has a tendency to give the audience an idea that there is a long list of old ideas, old stories, and emotional baggage that trails behind me like an anchor. So I am now an "expert" at what I do. Wow, that sounds better all ready. Screw the word "experience".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A memory from Bajus Jones and the great Al Chiarito

Bio Page part 3!

Even more about me! All those years of rotoscoping crap has finally paid off.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bio Page

The "bio" page of my website is taking shape. A variety of self portraits in different styles and media will wipe on and to the right will include a filmography, biography, resume, etc. Again, it's all about me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rough BIO

Here is a rough of the "BIO" page of Horrendous Fiasco's website. It will include lots of info and several portraits of yours truly. It is all about me.

It's about making decisions!

Technology has given us one thing in spades, choices. You can take a slider in Photoshop and scroll through a million colors, you can tweak a line in Illustrator until your Wacom tablet is obsolete. If you want to be efficient, make decisions. Believe it or not it will make you a better artist. Before computers, back in the Ice Age, it was imperative to be decisive. When designing a character in animation, you inked a cell, flipped it over and began the process of coloring the damn thing. You made choices immediately, otherwise you were forever mixing paint. You didn't have the option of doing much else, you decided on a general look and palette and you carefully mixed the paint. You were using your head and your eye, not relying on a machine to influence the decision for you. I remember the first character I designed and colored in the computer, I ended up spending the entire day, shifting colors and by the end of the day had at least six versions that were acceptable. It took me another whole day to decide which one I was going to use. I never wasted so much time in my life. The funny thing is that the one I ended up with was the first color version I had done. Technological dumbass am I!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spy Illustrations

Here are some illustrations I did for the Spy Museum in Washington DC and a book they were publishing. I did many illustrations for this client from 2000-2005. The initial design style was created by L. Todd Myers and the rest is history.