7 Sep 2011

Recent Work

Here's some  design work Ive involved myself in which was for a chance to work for an indie iOS game studio.  We each  had to design and animate a character performing a movement that would be present in the game.

As I do, I overlook the possibility that as an indie company they probably want 'cutting edge' animation graphics rather than a 'classic' design although there was a mention of being quite Disney-Esq with the design process. Despite this it seems that cut-out animation and texturing won the battle here which I didnt even consider as it is something I dont and havnt really been properly introduced to as an animator. When its done properly it looks amazing (The girl who actually won the job is a perfet example how to do it right!:)) but I also feel it plagues the animation industry like... a plague! Its everywhere and this is partly why I havnt tried harder to adopt this method of animating because, lets face it and I think some may agree; it saps the life out of the character's performance and corrodes the soul of the animator in the process (when its not done to a high standard).

However, its always handy to learn new things so I must try to go with whats popular now and again (Urgh I just told myself to conform, now I feel dirty) to increase chances of employment. Im always hoping someone will like my 'cartoony' sometimes retarded looking characters next to something that is getting to be a little over-done but never-mind..I'll have my day!

Pencil designs:



 Them's some daft lookin' bears son! I had ALOT of fun drawing these guys and to be fair all I thought about all week was,'how can I make this guy look even more dumb?' It really was a labour of love (something I do more often than Id care to mention) and I really thought that from these designs that I would at least come 2nd in the design side of things. But! It wasnt to be but it did indeed 'flex my design muscle' and feel this was a great mini-project of 243MB to kick start what I will soon be working on; my mini-short film :P

Some Inked and Developed designs:

Being a natural queen of indecisiveness (sometimes not all) I decided to choose two characters to develop. This guy:

 And this was my real choice:


These guys came in a hot third place (the 1st and 2nd designs)

 If theres one thing I love and thats goofy characters with over-bites and a vacant expression of stupidity on their happy happy faces. I love playing with body-shapes and generally creating wacky designs. I thought they worked pretty well in colour too.

The Animation:

 It really was a joy to animate and stretch that design and create some interesting movements and character performance. Im in the process of adding this guy to my showreel along with a few other updaterees so watch this space and watch for him when you see the updated version. Hope you enjoy and feedback is always welcome:) 

18 Jul 2011

New Content!

New look and some more doodles! Until I can afford to make a proper website I have to make do with what E-blogger has to offer and therefore have to make some sacrifices now and again. Ive changed the overall look to make it more attractive and clearer to navigate through although I still hate that every new post over-takes the previous and you have to locate the later work via a pin-sized archive on the side.
If you're familiar with eblogger then this isn't a problem, but for first-timers and people in a rush (i.e. hopefully prospective employers) this can be a pain in the....neck.  So instead of this happening Ive devised a Page index where you can find: Sketch-book Begins, Life Drawings and my recent and regularly updated work will be found in UPA (attempts).  The work on each page is updated and labelled as you scroll down. I don't like having the newer work mess up the chronology of the page so it starts with the old, the inspiration and previous work and carries on with the newer stuff. Any comments and suggestions such as 'do you think this is a good idea and if you actually like this system or should I be showing new work at the top all the time' or even if you know how I can access a better layout on e-blogger or suggest a cheap website hosting that would be of great help!

Vimeo videos of my animation and illustration Reels can be found at: 

Heres some of the best from each page


23 May 2011

A collection of work from 2010

I rarely get to reflect on my work and achievements unless I am choosing content for a show reel or to show examples of my work to someone.  So, I decided to make some splash boards with the best of my work up until 2011 and make some new year's resolutions while I'm at it.

Best of Copying Classic Construction and Freelance Model Sheets

Best of Freelance 

 Best Of Life Drawing

Best of Uni Work (all my own design work, animation and illustration)

 Best of My work (All designs and animation work)

When I look at the life drawing and freelance boards I know I need to do more life drawing and character work to gain any more Freelance or studio employment; the work I produced is directly proportionate to the work I will gain from Freelance and studio work as long as I work hard for it.

Some straggling Doodles left over in sketchbook  from 2010...

 I think at the time In was quite proud of this lady of lust and I still quite like her as a character now.

 Some random doodles exploring teeth and mouths whilst extremely bored in work. Nothing to shout about but I did like my crazy/ constipated squirrel an aweful lot! :D

Some ladies I tried to draw using block construction in the 2nd drawing, and the rushed final drawing.

New Year's Resolutions and 2011 Commitments:

*More Life Drawing, Landscape work and animal studies as well as anatomy and sketching from magazines and other resources.

*More Caricaturing and cartooning work for portfolio

*Character animation exercises and small 40 second productions 
*More experimental line and colour work, copying and emanating other styles

*Portraiture and long life drawing sessions as well as quick moving studies

*Above all, to have more confidence in myself.  To accept that there will be 'bad drawing days', imperfect attempts and have the mind-set to carry on and always improve and persevere.

*This year I will get a studio job

18 Jan 2011

JVL things

I decided today that I would spend a little time to clean-up my old and very quickly drafted model sheets for the the internet viral I produced for JamesVonLeyden.com.

I think I prefer the old and sketchyer version as the cleaned up attempt seems to have lost its character a little?



Will be posting up old storyboards, character and font designs as well as the completed animation in the next few days. 

A few days later...(02/05/11)

To begin with I was a little confused about who this Katie character was and which angle to take the animation.  I started doing some drawings of her in different costumes and different roles such as Band player(see with 'Katie' and musical notes coming from her trumpet), lion tamer/ circus leader, and a painter/ decorator which I quite liked the idea of with the website in painted letters on a billboard. At that time the company was under the name 'Yorbrand'.
Later there was the suggestion that it should be set at Halloween so I was to focus on snazzy and jazzed up costumes to put her in (such as the cat and ghoul outfits).

Katie is meant to be the fun, vibrant selling point of the company so there had to be contrasting characters or brands which are alot more un-appealing and dull (black and white). Again, a few teething problems and experimenting with styles so heres some rejects as well as the successful characters which were used in the beginning of the ad. I particularly like my onion-faced kid on the 1st row. Some of these were seen as too elaborate and quirky looking which would take the focus from Katie so they were rightfully rejected. This was probably the funnest part next to animating.

Once we established it would be a halloween theme I started playing with text that we might use and some background characters for the grand finale. I didnt end up using any of this as we dropped the name Katie and the focus would be on jamesvonleyden.com.

I loved this guy and wished I had time and reason to add him into the final animation but it would have taken alot of time to animate him and add other characters in so he didnt seem out of place.

This is aweful storyboarding but James seemed to understand where I was going with it. We lost the pumpkin goo which I though would be a cool way to spell out the 'www.' and Katie present the branding name with her spells etc. Theres alot we kept and alot that got cut out from these simple doodles which I used more as a map for what the animation would look like.

 I wish I could have gotten her in a top-hat and tails/ Ghoul outfit in the animation at some point too XD:

These were the designs before we got rid of the Katie motif as shes holding a staff with the letter 'K' on it in these versions.

These were some more early development drawings but I kept the idea of writing on the back of her wings in the final animation only it displayed the words 'Trick or Treat' instead of Katie. We also lost her cat outfit incase the audience got confused but added cats in instead to juggle pumpkins.

Early bat design (didnt like the colours here at all)

As you can see the old storyboard fared me well with the transformation from Witch to bat costume in the final cut. I made sure the design would enable me to nicely metamorphasise between these two costumes i.e the bat-wing skirt becomes her wings and her hat is squashed into ears as she performs her cartwheel.

This was probably my favourite part of the animation. I checked out different videos on Youtube for cartwheels and backflips. I mostly liked adding the delayed actions/ long inbetweens in the arms and legs as they move in their arcs; it makes for interesting stills as well as less inbetween drawings in the animation process.

These are the simply animated background elements used in the 'finale' of the ad. I used 4-5 Bat frames, one facing forewards and one taken from a side view. Before Katie releases the magic she flips into position between two cats juggling pumpkins;the movement of which I took from footage of guys juggling from Youtube. I coloured and duplicated the bat frames and placed them all over the screen to make it look as though she had released them by magic. I also rotated, skewed and animated the stars and puffs (shown as separate PNGs) to make it seem more magical.

More to come soon!