Just did a quick tie and color. The call was for Tim Burtonesque and simple. Saw the final version and now I'm glad it went the way it did. Since then this butthole has sent threats of violence and tried in every way to intimidate me for posting my own work :) The song is at best pedestrian. The visuals as literal and simplistic as they come. None of it makes any sense. At all. Have to say , the bus turning into a rocket at the end and stealing the girls dog ? WTF ? Lets face it Rob stole what he could like thieves do but it looks like typical flash crap. He tried to cover the theft by posting this.
Lol! It was never rejected, it was just not paid for. Lets face it . It took me 15 minutes to rough. Reminds me of the stories of the Wrecking Crew. They could play it right the first time while the band could take days to learn it. Often never being able to play it as well. Dig it cats.
Now in the 37 years I’ve been animating I’ve worked for a lot of companies. This one is special. Why? Distorted self perception, inability to communicate, raging insecurity , raging anger. Total FLAKENESS! Oh, and they are going to rip you off. Sadly this is an old friend who apparently has not grown as an artist at all in the last 20 years.
This is not me being vindictive , it is my real life experience on a job that only took one day. Yup , just one day . A job among a sea of jobs. The job price was 600 CDN dollars (about 500 US) , which is the average price for a day in my biz. Nothing special, nothing amazing and yet it matters. Here is why.
In this business there are all kinds of people who want things for free. Especially given that the economy has been pretty bad and young or unemployed artists its are pretty desperate for work. It’s in this environment that many of them get taken by companies willing to rip off the helpless. As a pro you expect this from business people but the last person you would expect tho from would be another artist.
Does this matter financially to me ? No, I’m fine and as I said it was one day, the entire point is really to not let this bullshit happen to others. So , let us begin.
Received through Facebook January 16th, 5:13pm
Rob : Hey- I have a gig doing a music video and wondered if you would be availble to do some concept art. The idea we are looking for is a Tim Burton- Chuck Jones approach. Let me know if you are interested and available to pull something off.
Me: Sure, for you it would be fun to do I thought you had mine (email).
Rob : Hi Darlie- I never heard back from you @littlebun email. I sent you a few emails about the project. Unfortunately, I had to put someone else on this as it was a tight time schedule. Thanks anyway, Rob
Me:Oh ok.It was little@tinybun . It never came. Yup I checked Rob, it was never sent to my address, I think you must have put down the wrong email. Good luck!
Rob : i could have- I copied and pasted it. Now checking- yes the L in little was missing. The font is so small and my eyes are not as good as they used to be. I hate getting old! ha-ha, Anyway- you know the animation business have it done before you start type of thing. So I just had to get things moving for the client, as we had a meeting yesterday.. Sorry about that. Cheers, Rob
Yup, Mr Efficiency, the guy who wanted to get this done quick is apparently copy and paste challenged. Ummmhmmm! Fascinating! Do you think he actually sent an email? No, I think this was the first indication of flake. “Oh look , I guess I left the L off” Lol! Does anyone actually look WHILE they are writing an email ? No of course not but then it was a pretty idiotic thing to do and reality is a hard task master. So we leave this and assume a lll has gone well at Animotion Arts. That the job gets done and life goes on, cats and dogs do what they do. Aha , but not so.There is trouble a foot.
Received Jan 30, 11 days later in m email.
Rob :Hi Darlie- I’m really sorry that I copied your email wrong the first time. I hope this works. The other artist I got fell through on me, as after waiting a week, she tells me they went to work on another project. – so, I was wondering if you would still be interested. Please- please- please J I got an extension from my client on this now.I hope you are not too busy and would be able to help me out again. Again I wished that email went through and I wasn’t pressured to find someone so quickly. If you can’t, I totally understand. Thank you in advance, Best regards, Rob
Lol! up, Mr Efficiency waits an entire week for another artist who drops him for another job. Comes pleading back to me apologizing. Keep in mind up, Mr Efficiency only gave me three days to respond and at no time checked to see if I got an email. Fishy , you bet.
Response Jan 30, in email.
Me: Give me the details of the project and lets talk about it. See if it is what I can do within the requirements of time and money.
Rob : Basically- all I need are some rough inspirational type sketches of the main character line up.
Me:Just looking through the bible. So you want roughs for all these right ? 1) The runner He is cool urban guy, somewhat tall, slim jeans, blazer and pointed boots wearing a current longish hairstyle and whiskers. 2) The chaser She is part goth, part hipster, piercings, layered clothes with perhaps a leather vest with pins and buttons on the front. Perhaps hooped earrings. Cute but edgy! 3 Doggie He looks a little unkept, long ears, tongue hanging out, wide eyed and excited. Sits in a box in the back of her scooter. Perhaps a red scarf waving behind him. 4) Mother She is overweight, scooter tires are a little flatter. Angry looking since the runner did her daughter wrong. She has a basket on the front of her scooter with groceries popping out of the bags. Things like carrot tops and long bread sticks and a bottle of red wine. 5) Brother He is tall and gangly, always staring ahead with half closed eyes, perhaps too much cannibus. Black hair sticking out of his helmut. He is dressed in black with a tall flagpole on the back of his bike with a small skull and crossbones flag. Studded jacket with his long neck, big adam's apple and smallish head on top. 6) Sister She has flaming red hair and is a smaller version of the mother...looking mean and going to back her sister up. She is adorned with many beaded necklaces and bangles,
And he responds email
Rob : Hi Darlie- Well it’s not a feature animation budget. But for these designs how about $100.00 a piece? That would be for the rough design and maybe a head profile for rotation purposes if necessary. Meaning it’s it something you think might be difficult to turn. I figure it shouldn’t take more than a full day to design up? Yes- for those main 6 characters… The dog I was thinking on the “Family Dog” side but obviously not that same dog.. It’s the chasers dog who will ride with her on the back of her Vespa motor scooter.
So I agree email.
Me:Ok, that sounds alright. What I am going to do is a quick rough sheet of the set to get started, Get some feedback going It will be incredibly rough and is only a place holder. I will reproportion and simplify later but get the character stuff feedback first.
In 15 minutes I produce this. Yes , 15 minutes.
To which Mr Animotion replies email :
Rob : Wow. I love them! Take a look at the script and see if you think there should be any alterations But I think it feels right.
Oh helloes gee thank you Rob , I’m a genius ( like I didn’t know) Lol! So Im feeling good I can just relax and at my own pace tie it all down. Apparently it doesn’t need to be done till Monday so I set up Sunday as my all day tie down for each character and to do a profile.Monday morning I shoot off a link with a zip file on my site. What follows is a circus of Robs inability to open even simple zip files. Huh ? What?! Yup! Finally ending in him creating a dropbox. I dump my files in and this is where the fun begins. Here are the finals,
Now he is using Facebook again.
Rob : These are looking great. Are you going to tighten them up a bit more? I can’t make out a few things- like, if the runner has a moustache or not as well as some hand designs. They have a great feeling though. The doggie could use a more full design so we can see what his body is like. Also- would you be able to give me a few more poses of the runner and chaser – medium shot with expressions? That would be nice to help nail the model builds on them. Not sure if you were already thinking of this… Thanks, R
My reply Facebook quoting his original requirements:
Me :” That would be for the rough design and maybe a head profile for rotation purposes if necessary" No I wasn't in my mind . I did the day as requested. These are rough designs and it sounds like you want clean ups and additional poses and that was not in the requirement. I will do a complete view of the dog but then I think it is done.
Yes, here it comes. “Could you just animate it for us and do every possible view ?” It should only take a day!
This is still on Facebook:
Rob : I guess our emails got a little got misconstrued. I thought they would be a little tighter so I can make out some things a little better- However I can still work with them and guess what is going on. When I do rough designs i usually give a few poses and a few expressions. Especially on the main characters. Something that would go with the script that I sent you. That was why I sent you the script to help you feel out some action poses/ expressions for the designs. They don't have to be tight nice loose gestures so I can feel the character a bit more.”
Dear reader, this is where it starts to get bizarre. “tighter” roughs ?! A contradiction in terms but you look at that character lineup. Bitch that is tight and I could hand it to any cleanup artist on the planet and they could tie it down effortlessly. He wants more poses, more designs, hand studies. Why , that was why he sent me the script don’t you know, so I could “feel out some action poses/ expressions “. Remember that from the earlier discussion on budget and requirements ? No, because it is not there. Now look, I have no board to go by so whatever I do from tho point on would be guessing anyway. Any pro who is reading this knows, you put the effort in where it needs to be or you are just burning useless fuel . He’s my friend so I say on Facebook :
Me : If you want gestures specific to your boards then I need to see the boards and know how you want to use them . These are pretty tight.
he replies Facebook
Rob : I don't have a board yet. It's still in the design stages. Maybe a shocked look on the runners face. some attitude on the chasers face.
Oh shit, genius, a film without storybooks. He hasn’t even boarded this motherfucker, I suppose I’m supposed to do that as well. “Just board it Darlie, then you can do me some expressions ok ? It should only take a day “ My face palming at this point is becoming serious threat to my health. Stay calm , he’s a friend. Just do him some stupid expressions.
Me: Give me a rough examples and I will work them over.
Rob :that sounds fair
So ok, we agree to do this, without boards I have no idea whether the dog is out of the basket at any point but I decide fine, just do a dog body. Whatever and within a few hours top him in his dropbox. Wait for the thumbnails of the poses he wants.
Me: Ok , I dropped the full dog body in the folder. Been running around a lot today.
So you think that everything is farting happy pink unicorns at this point don’t you reader? Lol! Oh watch as we descend into the hell that is a troubled persons ego. :)
Rob : Sorry our internet was down for a while- we had a huge snow storm here.Okay, here's the thing. I think you are a little confused on what I needed. Your very rough drawing were starting to feel good and it was a good starting point. And- You did those in less than an hour! However, I expected that you would push those further. I just thought you would know because you are an amazing animator and why I went to you for this. When I design rough characters, for clients, I always do some poses to see if that model will animate nice. So important for flash builds, as I have to separate a lot of levels. I understood it that you would work out and simplify but. I did see that. Therefore as they are they are not useful to me. From you email correspondence I sense that you are not happy working on this project with me, so I think I will pass on your designs and have to start from scratch, again. I'm sorry this didn't work out because I put you on a pedestal as one of the greatest animators I have ever met... and that won't change Best regards, Rob
Seriously, my face palming at this point is like a jackhammer. “ it was a good starting point.” HAAHAHAAAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA! So what follows is the CIRCUS OF STUPIDITY of which I have never seen the like. You will note that the first response basically wanting more. No criticism , no requests for revisions. Just more. Expression sheets , hand studies. By the time he and Sandie are done these will be the worst designs ever done. Yeah right , whatever. He will finish by intentionally misgendering me. Yup, he went there. Mmmmm baby,
So what happened between the agreed additions and the next day.? Rob discovered overnight he was Milt Kahl. I know, you think I am kidding but I’m not. He sat down and fell in love with his own drawing. No I’m not kidding. Sandie his wife is their producer, and in a fit of total “blinded by love” she sent me this prize to show me how much of genius he is. Feast on the subtle curves and pointed emotional depth of a cartoon genius at work. Are not the gods weeping now at the breathless beauty ? Fascinating that they claimed to have deleted all my drawings yet still have them , no ?
“My little drawings were rough but they did have some movement and life that I didn’t see in yours. You have to admit that ”-Rob
Oh hell no I dont ! Not one of these drawings is usable. Not one. They are horribly off model and poorly constructed. It would have taken time for him to learn the design. What he did was rank amateur bullshit. One of my friends said "This is like every "dont" in the Preston Blair book. No silhouette, no line of action.
Mine are designs, his badly drawn toothpicks with bulgy eyes pretending to be expression sheets that I was never contracted to do. . They demonstrate how distorted his perception is. I did design and that what I was to be paid for . You can’t get to expressions without the design first. It’s like building a car as you drive it. You are deluding yourself. So I decided it was time for drawn lessons. You can overlay these drawing to see how off he was in structure, proportion and finally, acting. How to you explain to someone who draws with such a careless disregard for art what is wrong with their work? They can’t see it, all you can do is show it.
Regardless of how you prove they doesn’t know their stuff it won’t change them . The blindness that brought them there , to that spot is pretty deep. For 37 years I’ve feature animator who worked as a lead at DreamWorks, Warners, Universal , Nelvana , Disney , Bluth , you name it. What they do is little flash presentations for business. An honorable business but made worse by an emotionally insecure, chip on their shoulder person running it. Poor communication skills inferiority complex. It’s all there.
So what do yo do if you are approached as an artist by these people ? Smell the fear baby! Know that you are dealing with amateurs. Professional is a standard a company shoots for. Hitting budgets, treatment of employees or freelance staff , delivery dates ,having communication skills, maintaining expected quality. This company by that standard is amateur. They are paddling without a plan and flailing at other people for their obvious short comings . Honestly, who works without boards ? I mean come on , are you supposed to figure all this out by telepathy ?
So I got ripped off for 600 buckaroos.In the end these creeps offered me 100 dollars for my work. Let me be clear when I say this. Fuck you “ Animotion Arts ” ! Lol! To all my animator pals out there, get the money up front and the expectations in writing when you deal with amateurs like this, its the only way. Design theft is pretty common but honesty I don’t worry about it because I know they can only steal the designs they can't draw it.
In the end Rob accidentally explained it in his final post to me. The art was fine. His ego was not.
"Had you been respectful to me on FB yesterday none of this would have happened.” Rob
Yup , this petty little motherfucker intentionally did this because of his weak ego !This JERK contracts me for some CONCEPT ART and tries to turn it into THE ACTUAL ANIMATION. Then when I wont buy his scam he kills the job. What a HACK!
This is a scene from a promo I did for Ken Duncan. The designs were rough and in the end the promo changed so radically nothing was left. I really liked the action look but it became much more cartoon . I got a nice lunch with an old friend out of it and that is the best you can do.
An old boss Greg Duffell brought me into Lightbox to do couple scenes on this promo. It was set up to emulate the Fleischer Superman and I just loved it. Before the entire series ever became the hit it did, this was what it was based on.I smile every time I see it.
This rotation was my end of my weeks on Brave. I had one up previously but that was just a rough for this final that I sent . Amazing what you can forget in 5 years. I was sure there was a final somewhere and tonight I came across it accidentally. Now it looks just like her. And some additional roughs never used.
I waited 3 years to post these. Now Brave is coming out.
Years ago I spent a single week doing some expression work for Pixar long distance. I had just had a serious operation and the story was brand new so I had no script. I tried fast so after a week I begged off. Worth a peek since it is coming out this week.
I had been working off Carters sketches to that point and then I got Steve Pilchers painting of the lead character. I loved it so much I took it and did a quick rotation before I left the project. Now looking at it I see a bit of the Queen from Prince of Egypt in it. It was only a week but I realized I didn't know anything about the character so I made he decision to leave
We were finishing Rock and Rule at Nelvana n 81 and Robin Budd, out of the kindness of his heart gave me these , the final Mok death scenes to do. He did the very last tiny one ( I think he wanted to do the very last scene and he did) and I did the 3 previous. He had so much stuff to do. And so imagine my surprise bt Nelvana had my drawings up.
It's under Robins name but we know who did them. These last scenes were done on the porch at 159 Roncesvalles Avenue. In the hot sun. Wendy Perdue had just finished and she as a favor did the clean up. The best clean up I'h had done the entire film.
I went to CalArts the other day and I wasn't able to draw for them in that particular classroom so I am making these video's. I don't like drawing at a severe angle , I need a desk so I shot myself working out this design for Wendy's film on the Cintiq. Next I will film how I work out the acting and how I break it down.
I thought I would stick these early roughs up. For the Family Guy Road to the Multiverse we threw in ideas even before we got the job. I took it as being more Sleeping Beauty but the director Greg really wanted to keep the cartoon proportion. My first pass at Brian with Tony Pulham's color and BG. A more Fox and the Hound version of Brian then I started messing with a Baby Weems version of Stewie ( in the same run for "Look how gayly we run "). A Briar Rose Lois with a Prince Phillip Peter. The big Stewie was a month before we got the final design but other than his larger final head proportion is almost exactly what we used.
As some of you might know this was the project a finished a couple months back. It was the Disney sequence for Seth MAcFarlanes Family Guy. Multiple characters, low budget and limited time but that was offset by having a good company as my liaison ( Mainstreet Pictures ) and a terrific art director Tony Pulham. Because of cost the cleanup was sent overseas so while not perfect most survived. Not bad considering this is not the kind of work they do.
One of my favorite comics when I was young was the Green Arrow / Green Lantern "Snowbirds Don't Fly " set that Neal Adams did with Dennis O'Neil in 1971. DC comics did the impossible, they matched real issues with superhero's.
I loved it because , I mean how many times can you have these characters fight the same formula villains . It was a huge milestone to me and one of the few comics that felt honest. I wish these guys would do it again so ....
Quentin Tarantino said in Kill Bill that Superman was our modern mythology . That Superman uses Clark Kent as a critique of humanity and that Kent is a dope because Superman sees us as weak and cowardly. So to me Superman is the American ideal , our Jesus in a way . "Truth , Justice and the American way ". There is such a contrast in our "mythology ideals " and our actions. I did a rough a couple days back because I wondered if Superman was real how angry he would be over what we have done.
"T'WAS BEAUTY KILLED THE BEAST "
Remember when Eisner refused to leave Disney and Roy had to take him down like King Kong ? Yeah thats the Disney Animation building.
Some sketches for a graphic novel song sequence I was doing. It probably wont make sense without the words .
Some quick costume scribbles .
Ok, many of you have seen Jamie Hewlett's incredible version of the Monkey King. He is producing a stage play and has done an incredible Gorillaz style animated trailer. Well hard to believe but in 2003 Dave Smith came up with doing the Monkey King himself and asked for some character sketches. While nowhere as good as Jamies these were my first shot.
My version of Rupert Murdoch , puppet master ! Media dictator Rupert hires insane attack dogs like the Michelle Malkin to run propaganda sites like Hot Air Dot Com . This peice only makes sense if you have seen hotairs own graphic .
1979 ? And here we are at the beginning of my career ( well pre-career ) . My first color film done on acetate with a grease pencil. The bg is a color card.
Before it became the "soup de jour" I had planned a film in 3D . I had figured that I could do it by matting and layering 3D elements in After Effects ( I think it was like version 2 or 3 ) I modeled in precambrian Hash for Mac and imported the DFX files into a program called Specular3D (a freebee to do logo animation as I remember) . I got some really terrific effects and it actually could do some simple animations layered in. I lost some really wonderful tests in a drive crash ( ah the days of Seagate and their ultra expensive and deliciously unreliable 10,000 rpm drives ) . All lost like teardrops in the rain ....... except ..... I found one jpeg extracted from the original mov . This ship is tumbling away from this Super Nova of a explosion after some ridiculous and goofy thing happens in their lab, I really don't remember the story but I'm sure it was melodramatic and overblown. I'm like that. To ghosts of the past that can never live again.
Years ago when we first got here, in the few moments Wendy and I had between jobs , we put together a one minute short. She boarded and laid it out with some minor input from me , I cut the reel together , came up with the color models and bg styling . Wendy animated half of it in her off hours waiting for me to get to design and animate the male character but I got so busy I never got back to it . It's a nonsense film with no deep message or hidden meaning beyond the mystery of man confused by woman. I found the reel again and thought it was just as charming as it was when we first did it so I really should finish it so here I go. It won't be in the "new hip " style but it will be fun. I just finished some CG animation for it and I'm doing his character layouts. The it will be like a week or 2 animating . The ruff design I finally finished.
It's out there now. Andy Knight died in Paris. It's still hard to believe and I'm still trying to grasp it . Though I worked on a lot of his stuff I cannot say I knew him well. He was this super talented mystery really and I regret that . I had an apology to make I think and , I never really got to say it. Most of our working together was on long distance projects, Asterix or commercials and that is hard because you are under such terrific pressure . Even so I think he was one of the best , if not the best board artist I have ever known and I know he was just a terrific person . He did many things , directed , designed , storyboards , layout , produced and owned his amazing company Red Rover with his beautiful wife and partner Linzi . His talent was not lost with his incredible diversity , he was good at it all . Our sympathies, Wendy's and mine , to his family and his real friends .
A wonderful tribute to Andy is here at Amid And Jerry's terrific Cartoon Brew
Fund memories follow by so many people I know like Claude Chiasson ,Robin Budd , Pascal Blais , Ian Hastings , Jamie Oliff , Greg Tiernan ,Paul Bolger , Dino Athanassiou and Kaj Pindal. And of course super animator Ken Duncan's blog on Andy , his co-worker (Asterix in Britain) .
The great thing about blogging is it forces you to look at your work again. Something it's hard to do in the work a day world of animation. Some of it works , some of it doesn't but it's just nice to see what you were thinking at a given time in your life. Most of these are recent or within the last year or two. Sorry ,I'm a bit burned out on scanning.
Trust me Mr Soxs ....
Space Rangers. Done before my cintiq it was just a scribble based on some stereotypical Flash Gordon idea.
"Now hand over the X Beam ranger or your life is over".
Ahhh , more cow. Ok this is a bit hard to understand as it was rough comic for a freind who loves cows. Trying to get cows some respect. Very loose scribbles.
Swim . Just some early PS playing with simple reflections and color.
My first CG bg test attempts . The program has a very simple light systems so I tried to keep everything as flat as possible to match the drawings I was going to use. The type was done in Elephont .
Another CG bg . This was playing with the morphing tools to create beaches and such. I was going to go in later and do a huge projected set of toners for the sand so this is just a crappy repeated texture for now.