Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sheridan Animation Year End

Yes, as April draws to a close, so too does this year of the Sheridan College Animation program. The last few weeks are always pretty crazy, with students trying to stay on top of last assignment deadlines and we in the faculty going bug-eyed from all of the final grading! But now it's done and everybody can breathe a collective sigh of relief and start enjoying the spring and summer weather to come.

Here are a few photos I took this week and some caricatures of my 2nd Year students:

The selection process behind which student caricatures made it into this particular montage was determined by the following group shot photo at Monaghan's Pub across the street from Sheridan, taken after my classes wrapped up on Thursday April 22. The students in the caricature are Laurel Dalgleish, Evee Fex-Chriszt, Drew Petursson, Justin Hartley, Keely Turple and Caroline Hung. Hopefully you can match them all up with their real faces pictured below. The wise old sage in the photo is none other than my friend and Sheridan Animation colleague, Mark Mayerson, whose terrific blog is probably well known to many of my readers.

This pretty young lady is Lisa Kathofer, another one of my 2nd Year Character Design students who finally had her caricature drawn on the last day. Watch those deadlines, Lisa!

The fellow pictured above is Josh Heisie, a student in the Film and Television program at Sheridan, who is a friend of my former student, Amir Avni.

For the entire series of Sheridan 2009/2010 2nd Year mugshots, you can find them all posted here on my Facebook page.

Incidentally, for those in the vicinity, I'll be drawing caricatures along with several animation students for visitors to Sheridan's Open House, coming up this Saturday, May 1st. Here are some pics from last year's event. I hope some of you can stop by to say hello!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some Cute (And Not So Cute) Doodles!

I make no bones about the fact that I love to draw cute characters. Cartoons that are cute and appealing are what I grew up with, and I still far prefer that over the ugly schlock of today, therefore that is what I gravitate towards in my own cartooning. Here are some more examples of recent doodles that explore that theme.

In the one above, I decided to scribble out several animated poses of the same little guy bouncing his basketball. Though I have never animated per se, I have always enjoyed bringing a character to life through continuity poses and expressions. Of course, this is the essence of what I have done for many years in illustrating children's books for Disney. Ideally I would love to start illustrating books with my own characters, but I'm not sure that children's book publishers even like cartoons anymore. Regrettably, they seem to have forgotten that the most famous kids' illustrator of all time, Dr. Seuss, was in fact a cartoonist.

These were a couple of quick impressions I scribbled of other diners at the restaurant I was at several weeks ago. The old guy reminded me a bit of Ed McMahon and the young girl had similar features to Drew Barrymore. The cat was not actually in the restaurant, but snuck into my doodling just the same.

Okay, I guess these ugly rascals can't be called "cute", but they were fun to draw. After finishing up a Suduko, I started aimlessly doodling a couple of ugly mugs, which then led to a whole series of unsavory mobster types appearing around the edge of the puzzle. I particularly like the psychotic looking fellow in the lower right corner and the wall-eyed rascal in the top middle. The whole exercise was really meant to explore facial features of varying shape, size and relative placement on various head shapes, which is something I stress constantly in my Sheridan College Character Design class.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, James Garner!

Yes, I've celebrated his birthday for the last couple of years on this blog and I aim to keep on doing it. Jim Garner remains my all-time favourite actor and I never get tired of watching his many great film roles and sketching my impressions of him. For this year's caricature, I watched The Great Escape, the classic WWII film from 1963, which was based on the true story of a POW prison breakout. Jim Garner plays Lt. Hendley, also known as "The Scrounger", for his ability to scrounge all manner of raw materials from within the camp that can then be jerry-rigged into usable tools to be utilized in the digging of not one, but three tunnels to the woods outside the fence!

The Great Escape is a hugely thrilling epic that I've watched a number of times over the years, though I try to limit my viewings so that it still feels fresh every time I watch it. There's a lot of humanity in the film, most notably in the friendship that develops between Garner's Lt. Hendley and Blythe, "The Forger" played by British character actor, Donald Pleasence. Just prior to the planned breakout, it's decided that poor Blythe is to be left behind in the camp due to the risk he presents to the mission, having suffered a deterioration of his eyesight to the point of near blindness. Hendley insists that Blythe still be included, offering to take full responsibility for getting him out and away under his protection. That act of kindness and human decency is a trait I like to attribute to Jim Garner in real life, too. Jim has always been outspoken on various issues on which he takes a principled stand, often being honest to the point of bluntness in his opinions. Many of his film roles have portrayed him as, if not the typical "hero", then certainly the "reluctant hero" who may wish to avoid trouble if he can, but will rise to the occasion when necessary.

As I've mentioned in a past entry, I got to meet Jim Garner back in 1982 when he was starring in NBC's Bret Maverick, a sequel series to his classic original Maverick from about 20 years before. Here is a photo that was taken on that occasion showing me and my friend Bryan Stoller with Jim, actress Darleen Carr and singer/actor Ed Bruce on the set at Warner Brothers. I wish that I'd had a better camera - where was digital when I needed it? Also, I'm kicking myself for having blinked when the pic was taken! Still, I'm happy to report that Jim Garner was as charismatic and nice in person as he often appears in his film and TV roles, and it was such a thrill to meet him. Happy Birthday, Jim!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More Doodles!

Here's a bunch more of my recent newspaper doodles drawn in blank areas of my daily Globe and Mail over a succession of leisurely lunches at my favourite local eateries. The oddly dyslexic Bell Canada ad pictured above seemed to offer up an interesting layout in which to fit a bevy of cute showgirls. It started out with just the one in the lower right, then led to one after another as my pen meandered clockwise around the page.

Uh oh, I think the guy in the above photo may be in trouble now that the gal's cartoon hubby has unexpectedly walked in the door! The family pets apparently never liked the rascal anyhow.

As for the following images, I believe that any product will sell better if the corporation hires cute cartoon gals to hawk its wares: