Monday, July 31, 2006

More sketches if you want 'em

A word about the vampire: on Saturday night, during a bout of drinking for which Miss Lauren thoughtfully provided her birthday as an excuse, Sean remarked upon the typical subject matter of the drawings of one of our erstwhile schoolmates. This erstwhile schoolmate, he noted, tended to eschew vampires, pirates, zombies and other creatures of fantasy and adventure, and preferred to draw "regular people" -- waiters, plumbers, used car salesmen, stoner dudes, ladies of the night and other people in your neighbourhood. ("Oh, the stoner is a person in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood, in yer naaay-burrrr-hooood...") Although I wasn't the artist in question, it dawned on me that I myself have preferred the prosaic to the fantastic in my own choice of subjects, so now I have made a modest start at climbing out of the rut in which I have lain all too comfortably for too long. It was only when I finished scratching away at my vampire that I noticed he looks rather a lot like Rick's beaver. You'll notice a line sticking out from his heel. I started to draw a shadow behind him, then stopped when I remembered that vampires don't cast shadows.

* * * * *

I was browsing my new copy of The Penguin Book of Comics, which I picked up for a song the other day at the Salvation Army thrift store on Lower Lonsdale, and my eye fell upon (and my mind boggled at) an installment of Mutt and Jeff dated 1929. I've scanned and posted the strip so your mind too may boggle at it. Here are the facts you need to grok the gag: Mutt is the tall guy with the comb-like mustache, Jeff is the short guy with the brush-like mustache, and Herbert Hoover was President of the United States from 1928 to 1932. Now enjoy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Look who just turned pro!

Welp, I'm in. I've taken the training, filled in the forms, read the employee handbook, and received my own key card, thus making me a full-fledged hired hand at Mercury Filmworks and by extension a professional animator. I was getting a little worried whether I'd make it. I spent two weeks learning Harmony and taking tests -- twice as long as Mercury usually lets applicants show themselves in action. Being ever the paranoiac pessimist, I was beginning to think that the directors were straining to think of a way to send me off, but it turned out that there were no new scenes available for newcomers to work on until this week. So yesterday I got to pose my first one, a three-second bit showing Ruby Gloom reading aloud from a book -- a softball for the greenhorn. No doubt they'll start coming harder and faster before long. I hope I'm up to the challenge. I think I am.

I'll be working the evening shift, from 3:30 pm to midnight. That's when I'd been taking all but the first two days of my training, and I find I like the hours more than I thought I would. True, I can't go out on weekday nights, but I can cop a few hours of sunshine before I head to the studio. And school has ground into me the habit of working in the small hours of the day, so such a work schedule is not unfamiliar to me.

Further news to come as events and professional discretion warrant. For now, and a propos of nothing, please take a moment to read this vital message about the demon booze and the evils of abstinence therefrom.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sketchbook follies for today

My latest page of sketches is pretty presentable, so you get to look at it too, if you like:

I drew all these with a Sanford Design Ebony jet black extra smooth pencil, which is a bit too coarse for putting in noodly details, as I tried to do on the face of the full-figured girl. (That is, the girl whose figure I've shown in full, not that she has a full figure like in, uh, you know. Anyway, she doesn't. Geez, good thing she's only a drawing.)

Off to Mercury now, possibly for more training, possibly to become a full-fledged hired hand. I'll let you know.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


One of my dad's pastimes is scanning old family photographs and, once in a while, sending JPGs of them to his kinfolks. The other day, I got an email from him with the following photo attached to it:

That is indeed yours truly on the plastic toy tractor. I suppose I was five or six years old, and Mom or Dad must have snapped my pic while I was tooling around my grandparents' farm near Kamsack, Saskatchewan. Dad sent the JPG with a note saying "Here, you can put this on your web site and say you were a farmer", and I have now done as he has instructed, being the dutiful and obedient son that I am, and don't let him tell you different.

I've got some drawings to show today, too. Click the peek-a-boo thumbnails to see recent entries in my sketchbook:

Sunday, July 09, 2006

An ape on his pantomime steed

Sean Covernton, a former schoolchum of mine and a fellow refugee from Winnipeg, issued a challenge this morning to draw a knight on an awesome steed, and although he didn't issue it to me, I took it up with alacrity nonetheless. At the same time I took up another challenge, from Sloth, to draw a baboon, and thinking to show barrels full of resourcefulness on my part I met the two challenges in a single drawing, like so:

Well, okay, so that's really an orangutan rather than a baboon, and his steed isn't all that awesome, though it inspires something just as good as awe, I betcha. I was operating under the same conditions as for similar challenges we gave each other during odd moments at Cap: draw something somebody else tells you to draw, in fifteen minutes, references at hand or not. Some of the results of my efforts from these "design-offs" were, as you'd expect, pretty blah, but others weren't too shabby. That drawing of Scurvy the Teenage Vulture which graces the home page of my website came from my hand during such a design-off. If Sloth and Sean and I hadn't dared one another to draw a flatulent teenage vulture who'd just burst in on his parents as they were having it off, you would not now be greeted at my portfolio site by a pop-eyed carnivorous bird. (You'd probably be greeted instead by Phyllis Diller as Cleopatra -- which, come to think of it, wouldn't be all that different.)

In other news, I started training at Mercury Filmworks on Friday. I was operating a tad sluggishly that first day, due in no small part to having attended a midnight showing of Pirates of the Caribbean the previous night. Still, I did well enough to be asked back for the next three days, so hope abides in Doodleburg. I just have to take care to watch movies at a saner hour for the next long while.