Been busy making tons of art but unfortunately, it’s nothing that can be posted online yet. A couple of children’s picture books are coming soon and I’ve been doing a lot storyboard work which is awesome. Storyboarding is a lot of fun as it combines my interest in film technique with illustration. The ad work is all very “top secret” but a short film has already been shot so hopefully I can share that soon.
The school year is wrapping up so I’m also busy with my after-school cartooning class. Below is a handout for a lesson on “special effects”. There are some really talented cartoonists this year and several of them have utilized these techniques to make some awesome comics. I thought I’d share the handout for other artists (and fans of cat fights).
SFX, Emanata, Breaking the Panel
Credit goes to Mort Walker (creator of Beetle Bailey) for coining the term “Emanata”.
This is a piece I’ve been working on for a while in my spare time. Inspired by the production art found in the Disney Archive Series- Design book, the goal was to create the bedroom for a young prince in a story I’m developing. Not sure where I’m going with this project but it was a fun piece to work on. I certainly tried some new techniques and learned a lot in the process.
I’ve also been working on the character design for the prince.
In case you’re wondering, no the prince did not hunt and kill all those beasts! Those are just a few of the creatures his father, the King has hunted.
I recently received an amazing book called Walt Disney Animation Studios Archive Series: Design as a gift and it features the pre-production art from a number of Disney films. It is so cool to see the work behind some of my favorite movies as well as learn more about the amazing illustrators who created the “look” for each film. I’m experimenting with some different techniques as well as learning Corel paint so I thought it would be fun to create some art in the style of different Disney movies. For now I’m focusing on trees…
A tree in the style of "Sleeping Beauty"
I painted this piece while looking at the backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty. Eyvind Earle is the artist responsible for a lot of this film’s amazing design.
And here’s another tree, like one you might see in Snow White.\
The newest Warriors novel, Crookedstar’s Promise will be released next Tuesday, July 5th and it features an exclusive manga that I illustrated. This was a fun project that gave me a short break from working on the Skyclan trilogy. It was cool to design the look of Crookedstar as well as revisit some old characters like Graystripe and Silverstream. Portraits of Crookedstar have already appeared in Cats of the Clans and on the cover of the upcoming novel, both illustrated by the amazing Wayne McLoughlin so I was able to use those as a starting point when designing the character. However, for the comic, my version of the Warrior cats must be a little more expressive than a real feline and slightly anthropomorphic. Below are the paintings by McLoughlin as well as my first take on the leader of Riverclan.
Inset from Crookedstar's Promise, painted by Wayne McLouglin.
Crookedstar as he appears in Cats of the Clans.
Crookedstar, first design.
After submitting this version of Crookedstar to my editor, I was asked to emphasize his deformed jaw even more. Sometimes, it’s easier to show the “grotesque” in a cartoon than in a more realistic painting. Below is the final character design. As you see, I kept the same markings as in the portraits but added the protruding tooth and a more “fatherly” expression. I wasn’t sure how everyone would feel about the tooth but the editors at Harper liked the addition!
Revised character designs for Crookedstar.
Crookedstar, as he appears in the manga.
It takes a while to get a character “right” but I think Crookedstar ended up with a lot of personality. Here are a few panels from the comic (minus the text) that show the process from thumbnail sketch, to tighter pencils, to hand inked and digitally toned illustration.