Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All Natural

Yes I can still do art if my computer dies, and no I'm not a photographer. I did this on large Canson paper, and of course I need some brush work in this conversion process from paper to computer. Regardless you get the idea. This is for my continuing cheetah project.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Birds

A few quick sketches I did at the zoo recently. Turkeys again. I liked drawing them so much last time, I thought I'd go back and do it again. This was on another one of our scorching days out here. I think I really burned my neck from the sun. Now I'm literally a red neck.
While walking back from the turkey area though I was attacked by a bird. I was just walking by this group of trees and I suddenly felt a sharp pain in the back of my head followed by the flapping of wings. Just as I turned a little black bird was flying away from me (inches from my head). At first I thought it may have just misjudged it's distance and flew into me, but after repeated attacks I realized this was no accident. It must have been a mother with a nest near by. I can see the headline now 'Pasty midwestern artist pecked to death by 4 inch bird at SF zoo'. I guess I'm just not one with the universe yet....sigh.

Friday, May 16, 2008

If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of Africa (or Alameda)

Ha! I needed to do a hot looking Serengeti image since I was living it today. Man, here in the Bay Area it got up to 101 degrees! My cat would go outside and collapse, then walk inside and collapse again. Being all black she definitely attracted that heat. What ever happened to "The coldest winter I every spent was summer in San Francisco"?! Mark Twain would be sweating onto his paper writing that today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The old LeapFrog saying goes "Learning Something New Everyday". Well, I try to employ this in my own life too. While researching this project I learned that Serengeti mean "endless land". Makes sense, huh?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Under the Umbrella of Africa

Yet another quickie. Although I'm aware this is a vertical format, in these images I'm trying to get across the feeling vast open plains where the cheetah calls home. It was most successful in my first post on this series I think, but still you get the idea.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Where the Umbrella Thorn Acacias live

Doing research for this Cheetah project my curiosity keeps growing. As I'm finding images of Africa to reference for the Cheetah's home, I keep seeing these distinctive African trees and wanting to know their name. We'll here we are, The Umbrella Thorn Acacia. The name makes sense doesn't it? Apparently there are over 700 species of this tree in Africa, and it's made for life on the savanna. It survives 122 degree days, freezing nights, and areas where rainfall is as little 4cm a year! That's no Wisconsin tree I'll tell you that!
Again, I'm really trying to be quicker and quicker in these studies. This one took 45 minutes. I'm timing myself each time, and intend to decrease the length eventually.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kitty Got Back!

Ok, this is totally unrelated to the whole point of this blog, but I had to post it because I thought it was hilarious. This morning my cat, seen here, was sitting on our bathroom window ledge looking out. I was ironing, looked up, and started laughing so hard. With the way her shadow was placed on the curtain behind her, it looked like she had two butt cheeks pressed up against the fabic. Good times!

Painting as fast as a Cheetah runs

Lessons in speed painting...Pick that color and paint like hell! Yeah I know some of my former instructors may kill me if they heard me saying this. "Take your time, observe, stop rushing" Well there's a place too for speed painting of course (just ask any concept/matte painter at a major studio). It's a good overall challenge for me too, being one of the most indecisive people in the world.
As I said in my previous post I'm working on a personal project about cheetahs. I decided to start adding speed paintings to the mix of their habitats. I'm also currently doing anatomical studies of the cheetahs. These are all being done traditionally on large Canson paper using pencil, chalk, and dry pastels. Since they're larger, they're a bit trickier to get into the computer. I could take a digital pic of them, but I'm rarely satisfied with the colors in these. All I know is, I'm having so much fun doing this project. I really do look forward to working on it each day. It acts as incentive to get my "paying" work done and onto this. Good times!

Building a Cheetah

WHEW! I tried to pump this one out in about a half hour. Eez alright. I've started a new personal project that for the time being I'm calling 'Building a Cheetah'. As I've said before this blog and really all my work is about learning and exploring, so my intent with this is to create a life-like Cheetah. The plan is to start off doing anatomical studies/illustrations, which I've already done, then I'll start doing concept sketches of the cheetah and its habitat, such as above. Finally I plan to do a walk and run cycle in Maya. It'll probably include some tests in Flash. I'm even considering doing a sculpture in plasticine. So I'll be using traditional drawing, painting, Flash, Painter, Photoshop, Maya, After Effects, and perhaps clay to accomplish this project. This whole idea jumped into my head after acquiring Maya recently, which I haven't touched really since school. I wanted to learn it better, so suddenly the idea came to me "I want to do a cheetah run cycle", and I could see it all so clearly. I love animals and I love art and animation, so Voila! I think the whole project is going to take some time...months perhaps up to a year, depending on how often I can get to it and achieve the look I want. So like in school I plan to start by knowing the Cheetah inside and out. I've read about 7 different books on them now, along with internet research, and have really learned a lot. It's amazing to me in studying their anatomy how identical it is to ours. Basically all the same skeletal and muscle features as us.
As an additive to all this I need to give a quick mention as to how awesome my fiance Sarah is. Knowing I was starting this project, as an early birthday gift at the end of the month we going to a wildlife preserve up in the wine country where they have Cheetahs! We're going on a safari tour and have two private tours with the giraffes and cheetahs. I'm beside myself with anticipation and excitement for this, although you couldn't tell with my emotionless, robotic expression ;)

p.s. I'll try to keep throwing out some Flash cartoons too in between all this. YEEHAA!