Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Left Handed

Right handed
As I have mentioned many times before, through improv I have learned many valuable lessons.  If I had to choose the one that made the most impact on me as an improviser, artist and human being its that a mistake is a gift.  If you respect mistakes they will give back to you perspectives and ideas you would have never thought of on your own.  When starting out in improv it is easy to feel self consious, and you have an overwhelming desire not to embarass yourself.  When inevitably you do say something completly silly that has nothing to do with anything by accident (only pickles can stop that meteor!)  there are two ways in which to react.  1) Pretend it never happened and try to get on with the scene in the direction is was going before your mistake, or 2) Justify the heck out of it and act like you knew all along where this was leading you.  The latter will endear you to audiences and build credibility and respect, while the former will seem like a cop out and produce an unmemorable perormance.  Mistakes are gifts.  They make our lives more interesting and more rich.  If I am drawing and I accidently draw a leg shorter than the other, than why not use that and exaggerate it so it becomes a memorable drawing and not just the same old stuff?  
Not only are mistakes gifts, but allowing yourself to make a mistake is another gift in itself.  It is the shortest route to discovery.
On another note, a super talented illustrator names Isaac Orloff is giving away free art from his website. Colour me excited!!

Right handed

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This is something I have been working on for so long off an on and I'm so glad its finished.  Its a movie poster for Antonioni's movie Blow Up which is one of the artsiest movies I have ever seen.  After I watched it for the first time all I could think was "what just happened.....?".  Eventually I figured it out, but long before then the striking visuals always stayed with me.  In the film there is this really indulgent sequence that has very little to do with what very little plot there is.  Anyways I thought it might make for an intriguing movie poster.  The colours are pretty off since it is too big to scan so I had to take a picture of it.
Screen shot from "Blow Up"

Opposing Views

Right Handed

I've been working hard on some other drawings and my hand is really starting to hurt.  It's almost a nostalgic feeling though as it brings back my days in college when I was classically animating and life drawing 3 hours a day.   Since my daily warm up consists of drawing at least 6 pages of cafe sketches I was a little worried about how my hand would hold up.  After the second page today I was really starting to feel it but I didn't really want to stop after only 2 pages.  I remembered something my college life drawing teacher had told us.  He had once fallen off a ladder and hurt his right hand badly enough that he couldn't draw with it for some time.  Therefore he decided to just learn to draw with his left hand.  So I decided to do a few pages of drawings left handed, and it turned out to be a lot of fun!  I found I was capturing different aspects of people differently.  The overall pose became a lot stronger.  Sure it is a simpler drawing, but I think it is just as affective.  I think from this day on I will do 3 pages right handed and 3 pages left handed. It will reduce the strain on my right hand but also improve my communication with my left.  WIN WIN!

Right handed

Left-Handed Drawing

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simple Explorations

Today when I was painting up my sketches I decided not to finish this guy as I usually do.  I left out the changes in value because...I don't know, the simplicity of the local colour just really spoke to me.  I just find it calmer and I really think it works.  This is something I think I will explore more in the coming days.  Below this lady's colours are looking pretty darn muddy and I think that its a wake up call to clean my palette.  I always hate doing it cause I feel like I'm wasting so much paint.  But if it comes at the expense of a nice painting then I guess its worth it!!  As a side note this weekend I went down to St. Lawrence market to do some shopping.  While I was there I saw a group of people sketching!!  I went over to them to chat and turns out they were in fact animators as well.  They even invited me to sketch with them!  I didn't have my sketch book with me though so I had to decline.  Last time I leave home without it!  Either way I love meeting local artists.  It always puts a spring in my step!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My day Friday

December is winding down and it's almost the start of a new year.  While I don't ever really do resolutions I'm using this opportunity to look back on what I have accomplished this year and what I hope to accomplish this year.  Things are starting off on the right foot though as I have already started a goal of mine that I didn't think I would get to until 2011.  I don't want to talk to much about it now but I will definitely posting once it is completed.  
Having a clear goal of what I want to work towards is really the #1 way I stay motivated.  I very clearly know how I want 2011 to go,  but I also can't wait to see what little surprises the universe has for me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Way to go JB!

Ok, first things first have you seen this?  Wow, if I ever need to be inspired to just create I never thought Jeff Bridges would be the one to do it.  I have always loved him as an actor (OBVIOUSLY!!!)  but this adds a whole new dimension to him as a person.  This is really the kind of thing I admire.  To just be a creative person and not label yourself as an artist or actor.  Just to live life creating is amazing.  I feel very fortunate that I am able to lead a similar life presently.  I love that when I woke up today I went sketching, then I went to improv and KILLED it with my team!  Then came home and painted and then wrote this post. Such a perfect day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Thank goodness I did it.  It was a close one today, and although its technically after midnight so therefore no longer Wednesday, I don't care.  This counts as my Wednesday post!  Sometimes life can get in the way of a blog, but today my blog stood up and was like, SOMETIMES BLOGS NEED TO GET IN THE WAY OF LIFE!  Good one blog. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something New

I'm trying a new way of painting.  Previously I relied a lot on the white of the paper to lighten the value of my hues.  I want to experiment more with upping the opacity of my paint.  It's taking a bit of getting used to but ultimately I think I am finding I have some more control.  I'm working on a piece right now that is very important to me.  It is one that I first sketched out months ago when I was still right in the thick of Glen Martin season 2 and I really did not have time for drawing at all.  Anyways I'm in the home stretch with it now and I'm so excited for it to be finished so this is a great time for me to finalize what sort of method I will use for painting it.  I've also been doing a lot of school presentations which is always invigorating!  I have two more in a row tomorrow, delaying my cafe sketching to the afternoon (which sucks) but I'm psyched to talk to so many kids tomorrow!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lessons not learned in school...Until today!

Today I had the pleasure of presenting to an elementary school what it means to choose art as a career.  I have several of these presentations scheduled throughout this week.  It was really great and the kids had a great time doing the life drawing and cafe sketching exercises. It can be a really difficult road to take, choosing art as a full time job.  Its not like a lot of careers in that, often times it can seem like its personal and not business.  It's one of the few careers where a sense of self-worth is vital to get ahead.  It can be easy to get down on yourself but you are the only one suffering if that happens.  Unfortunately that is not something I was taught in school but it is a message I try to pass on.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Seriously Doubt this Man

A while ago I watched the movie Doubt.  In case you haven't seen it spoiler alert: ITS AMAZING!  Anyways I also watched it with the commentary which was really insightful.  The director (and writer) had made a decision that the third act of the movie happen after the audience left the theater.  That is, he left us with enough to think about and deliberate on our own so that after we watch the movie we form out own ending in our minds.   I thought this was brilliant.  Recently (this weekend) I watched the Cohen Brothers' A Serious Man.  Spoiler alert: ITS TRI-MAZING! (amazing times 3)  Wow.  If Doubt gave us the subtle inkling that we should make up our minds about the ending on our own, then A Serious Man smacked us in the face with it.  Really powerful movie.  Anyways the reason I bring this up is:  I wanted to draw something that didn't explain it all.  Something that people could look at and form their own narrative on.  This thought process really intrigues me and I think it is something I will explore further.  Please watch the above mentioned two movies if you have already not seen them.

Don't stop believin'!

Such a sweet moment

Earlier today I was in no mood for sketching and painting.  I took a break, cleaned my room and went back to it even though I really didn't feel like it.  I know that more important than a good drawing or painting is not giving up on a goal just because you're having an off day.  I'm so glad I stuck with it cause I'm pretty happy with my end product. Deposit into emotional bank account completed!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sick Saturday

Today I got a pretty great start for a Saturday but I soon began to feel under the weather.  Here is my small offering.  Back to bed!

Friday, December 10, 2010

New beginnings

 For the past little while I have been drawing in half finished sketchbooks from college.  I have finally run out of those so I treated myself to a brand new sketchbook!  When I was younger getting a new sketchbook made me feel like I was opening up a new chapter in my life.  A chance for new beginnings, a promise of drawings better than any I had ever done before, and a chance to forget about the pages I felt I had failed on.  Ultimately these were empty hopes, since a sketchbook doesn't make you better and those failed pages will always exist.  Yesterday as I bought my new sketchbook I felt different.  In fact I felt nothing except for a bit of releif that I could check something off my "to do" list for the day.  The thing that has changed between old me and present me is that I have worked so hard to understand the fundamentals of art.  I have learned that you aren't born a great artist and its not something that you wake up with one day.  I used to think that I had good days and bad days and thats just why some of my art was more succesful and some of it sucked.  This is obviously BS i was telling myself.  The most important thing in life, about being an artist or a performer or anything is to put the time (and sometimes money) into understanding the fundamentals so that you can be as consistent as possible.  That is what sets apart proffesionals from amatures.  Although I no longer have anxiety about what might come from a new sketchbook I have to admit I am only human.  I still passed on drawing on the first page of my new sketchbook because of my own crazy made up superstition that should I draw badly on the first page it will set a tone of failure for the entire book. 

I also just want to share an amazing quote I came across on a blog I read everyday .  “Foolish, ignorant people indulge in careless lives, whereas a clever person guards their attention as their most prized possession.”

Have a great day all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Profiler

If you knew me in college or you've been following my blog you may have noticed a nasty habit I have been indulging in; drawing profiles.  To me it is one of the most fun views to draw just because I really like contours.  However I guess I can answer my own question posed earlier that too much of a good thing is bad.  Its awful to get caught up in a habit because it can become very comfortable.  When I started cafe sketching this time around I was drawing people who were walking very quickly past me.  So what would start out at best as a front 3/4 view quickly turned to profile and then back 3/4.  With the information I could gather from the quickly turning rotation a profile seemed to be the view I could best collaborate the information I had into one drawing.  Well I think I have become proficient at this.  Therefore it is time to move on.  As much as it is hard for me to move on from something I know I am successful at to something that I am trying to improve on I know it must be done.  Now that I feel I have re-established a strong connection between my brain and my hand I know I can push myself further.  So I am going to really work at picking up information quicker so I can achieve mostly front 3/4 drawings.  In a way I feel like I'm starting from the beginning again and really that is what I am doing.  But I really couldn't have it any other way.  One way to be sure at failing something is to be comfortable and not look for new ways to perceive things.  I know if I continue on with my profile ways I will get bored of cafe sketching and probably quit.  This is the last thing I want to do.  Although the sketches today definitely have less information in them then usual I can look forward to looking back on these in a week or so and see how far I have come.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Better Late Than Never

 Today I had an appointment that went 2 hours longer than it should have.  Blech.  If I don't start my day out sketching its all I can think about until I get it done.  Its always slightly tempting to skip a day if it seems like I might not get around to it but that is ALWAYS a bad idea.  The thing is that at the place I sketch at I have to go when things are not busy or I won't get my seat by the window.  If I don't get my seat by the window then I am screwed.  So if I don't go early in the morning then there is always a nagging thought of if I will get my seat at all.  Because of my yucky start to the day my entire vibe is rush-rush.  AND I HAVE IMPROV TONIGHT.  I just remembered that.  Now I have even less time...  Better get to work!  Exciting things are happening!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I'm working on an illustration right now that I didn't expect to like as much as I do now that it is almost finished.  One thing I've noticed about art is that no matter what attitude I go into it with I always end up emotionally involved with it at the end.  Same holds true now that I think about it with my last job animating.  Sometimes I would get some really interesting shots but sometimes it would just be close up after close up which can be a little hard to take.  Its tempting to have an "I just need to get this done attitude" but in the end I always ended up caring about the shot and its really the only way to be.  Once you stop caring about what you're doing there is really no reason to be doing it at all.  Truly you don't go into animation for the money so what else is there but satisfaction and pride in your work?

Monday, December 6, 2010

This is why we animate

Thought of You from Ryan Woodward on Vimeo.

I just found this amazing video on Cartoon Brew.  It was animated by Ryan Woodward who is someone I have been a fan of for a long time.  When I was in college I bought one of his books and it served as constant motivation for me to push forward because I saw what could be achieved in life drawing.  This short shows in the most basic form why we animate.  It is clear that reference material was used for this short, just as it is clear that every Zemeckis film uses reference.  The difference here, the most important thing about this short is that it takes life and amplifies a chosen truth about it.  When watching this short we feel emotion, we feel connection.  The volumes and mass are so grounded in reality and yet with a few interferences by the artist here and there we are taken to a world that does not exist, but one that we believe can exist. This for me at least, is the reason to create. 

The Smack Of Winter

Well I think we all woke up to the smack of winter today (other than those of you lucky enough to be working NOT in Toronto!).  People's body language and wardrobe choice certainly reflect the weather.  I don't think I'm likely to get the chance of sketching a bare hand until April!  Not that you can blame anyone for hiding away their digits in this weather.  Something I've learned about myself is that I really am a creature of habit.  From the way I eat my food to the way I draw people.  This is great to know because I know I can look forward to a routine.  I also know if I purposely break this routine I can often discover something new and different.  Usually when I draw I would always start with a face shape and then sort of work my way around.  Very boring results were had.  Now I usually will go for whatever catches my eye first, from a big purse to a crazy hairdo.  This will influence how I go about the rest of my drawing.  If I like a particular aspect of a person the most I give it more importance in size and space.  While I know going into it what I want to stand out I don't know how I will work everything else in until I am done.  Its exciting to go through my pages after I am finished sketching and see how everything turned out.  Each sketch usually takes me around 45 seconds and I rapidly move on to the next so as not to dwell or over think anything (VERY dangerous).  I am constantly reminding myself that no drawing is precious and that each one must be forgotten as soon as I begin the next one.  It is probably the most valuable routine I have discovered, and one I think I will stick to ;)  Also I'm trying to use different light sources for each sketch I paint!  This is exciting!  I usually stick with a lighting source in the direction of the face.   Not so anymore!

Friday, December 3, 2010


This is something I've been playing around with for a while...just really wanted to have some fun.  So here it is although I may work around with the composition a bit more.


So here is something I have been working on.  I just really wanted to do a simple piece with a clear visual narrative.  Its pretty simple and I think that's great.
Gouache, salt, pen and ink

Can too much of a good thing be bad?

 I originally started these daily cafe sketches and paintings as a way to warm up before tackling larger illustration projects, and yet I find myself spending more and more time on them.  I rapidly moved from doing 2 pages a day, to 4 and now 6!  When I first started I would pick 1 or MAYBE 2 to paint up but now I paint around 4 or 5 ( I only post the ones I like best).  This is great and all but i realize that once I'm done my "warm up" its late in the afternoon and I then end up staying up really late to put more hours into my illustrations.  Anyways I'm just wondering if I should pull back on my cafe sketching a bit....hmmm... As for now I won't because....i don't want to ;) 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There's always one....

Everyday when I go sketching I see a lot of repetition in how people dress and walk.  This is great because now I'm amazing at getting down a winter coat in about 15 seconds, and it also pushes me to look even harder and find the more subtler differences in people.  One thing that is odd/sad that I have noticed is that there is almost ALWAYS one old man walking very slowly with his head down amongst the crowd of fast moving chatty 20-somethings on their lunch breaks. What is up?!?  And no, its not the same man every time either!  Call your grandfathers everyone and make sure they are ok!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Such a busy day!  Just have time for this quick post!  This is a sneak peek at something I'm working on....