Putting Life In Your Poses

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I recently purchased the special edition DVD of Disney’s Jungle Book. It is widely regarded as one of the all-time classics of animation. Not because of the story. The plot is so simple that the movie should be a total bore. The movie is revered because of the characters. They are so incredibly entertaining and delightful to watch that you can’t help but get caught up in the fun.

That is no small feat. Continue reading

Deadline Crunch

At the moment I’m under the pile with five freelance projects. I’m doing turnarounds and mouth charts for an upcoming episode of 3-2-1 Penguins!, I’m creating some spot illustrations for a website, I’m designing a character for a popular food product (can’t say what yet), I’m illustrating some Spanish curriculum, and I’m getting started on a set of Bible flashcards. So, my apologies but there’s no post today.

However, I’ve also got some fun stuff in the works. I’m writing a post about the animation and posing in The Jungle Book. I’m also doing some research on the best websites for a freelance illustrator to advertise, which should be helpful to you other freelancers out there. So there’s some hearty stuff a-comin’!

In the mean time, check out some of the great Art Blogs listed off to the left. Super inspirational stuff!

HOW Webinar Series

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HOW Magazine is a leading publication in the art and graphics community. If you don’t subscribe, you should. There are a ton of great articles on both the creative and business aspects of being a commercial artist.

Recently HOW started offering a series of online “webinars”. (A webinar is a seminar broadcast over the web.) These webinars are designed to help creative types improve their business skills so they can land more jobs and grow more successful. Continue reading

Pizza Math

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This is an illustration I completed earlier this year for Trend Enterprises. They wanted a pizza chef to use on the packaging of an educational board game. The game uses pizza slices to teaches kids about fractions.

The game is now being sold in Target stores. I’m told it’s in the learning products section, kinda between magazines and books, next to flash cards. I haven’t seen the final packaging yet but a copy of the game will be shipped to me soon.

Next time I order from Pizza Hut, I’ll have a fun new way to figure out the tip.

EDIT: Finally received my copy in the mail.  Here’s a scan of the final cover:

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Re-Post: Need inspiration? Make an Art Screen Saver!

Here’s a re-post from way back when my blog was only a couple of months old.

(Turtle artwork by Guy Francis)

Like a lot of artists, I get challenged and inspired by drooling over the work of other artists (like the ones listed to the right, for example). One of the best ways for me to keep that inspiration going is to create a screen saver of their work. That way, any time I need an inspirational kick all I have to do is look up from my drawing board and watch my computer screen for a few minutes.

Here’s how to create your own screen saver on a Mac with Safari. It’s super-simple.

First, start collecting inspirational goodies:

1. Create a folder (anywhere on your computer) to store all the images. I named mine “Other Artists”. (Within the folder I have the artwork organized into more folders by artist’s name, but that’s optional.)

2. In Safari’s Preferences, click on the “Save Downloaded Files to” drop-down menu and select the “Other Artists” folder.

3. When you find a super-cool piece of art, control-click and select ‘Save Image to “Other Artists'”.

Then, set up your screen saver:

1. Open System Preferences and click the “Desktop & Screen Saver” icon.

2. Click on the Screen Saver tab.

3. Under the “screen savers” list at left, scroll down and select “Choose Folder”.

4. Locate the “Other Artists” folder and click “Choose”.

5. Adjust your other screen saver settings to your liking, then quit System Preferences.

That’s all there is to it! I hope I’m not violating any copyright laws by downloading other people’s work, but I figure if someone posts their art online for me to view on my personal computer, it must be ok for me to use that art elsewhere on my personal computer…as long as it stays on my private computer screen. But if I’m mistaken on that, I’d welcome anyone correcting me.

Jott

My mind wanders when I’m driving. A lot.

One of the worst times to get a bright idea or remember to make a note about something is in the car. Taking my hands off the wheel to scribble a note on the back of a receipt is probably not the smartest thing in the world (although some of you have probably tried it. Me, I’ve done worse.)

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That’s why I like Jott, a new service I’ve recently discovered. I call a toll-free number on my cell phone, speak a message, and that message is automatically transcribed and emailed to me (or to someone else if I want). For free! I’ve got the number on speed dial, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well it works.

It takes a minute or two to get everything set up, but once you do it’s quick and simple to leave yourself a message:

1. Call Jott.
2. An automated voice asks, “Who do you want to Jott”?. Say, “Me”.
3. You hear a beep and start talking. When you are finished (you have 30 seconds), there’s a short pause and then an automated voice says, “Got it”.
4. Later, when you check your email, you will see a message containing a transcription of your voice note.

The transcriptions are surprisingly accurate. Not perfect, of course. I Jotted myself a message recently that included the word Hallmark (as in the greeting card company), and Jott translated it as “Hall(?) Mart”. But it was close enough that I could figure out what I was trying to remind myself of.

You can also Jott messages to other people. They can receive a text message, email, and/or call Jott to hear your audio recording like a voice mail.

Jott is a neat service, escpecially if you are on-the-go a lot. Give it a try.

More John K on Character Design

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Recently I posted links to several blog articles on character design written by the talented, prolific, and opinionated John K. Here’s a few more good ones from his blog. Set aside some time to read these, his posts are always meaty:

Bill Tytla – Terrytoons – cute animation, is it such a bad thing to have appeal?

Appeal 1-starting with cuteness as the 1st element

Dan Gordon and what makes a cartoonist

Animation School. Lesson 9: Model sheets/Steve’s gift to young cartoonists who thirst for knowledge