Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas time is here...

Another year has almost come and gone. But this year I actually got the Christmas card done and out on time, fancy that! This years card drew a little bit of inspiration from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." But instead of the Grinch flying the sleigh we have two young elves, who look remarkably like my kids, piloting the carriage with their trusty, overachieving dachshund steed leading the charge. Although looking at this now I can't be sure if the elves are helping deliver presents or whether they're coming home with they're holiday haul!

As always, from our family to yours; may you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year!

Friday, September 3, 2010

iPad Sketches.

So my family got me an iPad for father's day and besides the usual stuff that you would expect the thing to do (it's basically like a giant iPod Touch) I was interested in trying it out as a digital sketchbook and scratchpad (when I can tear it away from my kids). There are a few drawing programs for iPad out there but the two I am currently using are Brushes and Sketchbook Pro. Both just cost a few bucks off the iTunes store. Anyone out there who is familiar with using programs like Photoshop or Painter will be able to figure the interfaces out pretty quickly. Heck my 6 and 8 year old figured it out after a few minutes! You can essentially draw with your finger or you can purchase a stylus and use that but the iPad's screen is not pressure sensitive and the stylus available out there are not pinpoint accurate devices. At first it sort of feels like your trying to draw with a rubber mallet. It's a primitive, detached sort of experience. Also, if you use a stylus you should wear a glove on your drawing hand because if your palm comes in contact with the screen the iPad will think you want to draw there. I have white cotton gloves with cut off fingers that I use but a weightlifting or racket ball glove would work too. It takes a bit of getting used to but after a while it is fun to use. Can I get an idea down faster with a pencil and paper? Yes! Can you do production quality artwork on it? For most uses, no. It doesn't have the kind of resolution you'd need. But when I'm out and about and I have some time to kill it beats carrying around paper, pencils and color to sketch with. With practice, like anything else, one can get some neat results with this thing. If I could ask for one thing it would be to have a pressure sensitive screen and stylus like I use on my desktop. There are tablet PCs, the Modbook and other more expensive solutions out there for a digital sketchbook but they are heavier and bulkier than an iPad. But it really depends what you're after. If you want to do production level work on the go and need the processing power to run something like Photoshop then invest in a Tablet PC or Modbook. If you just want something to sketch on and portability is a prime concern then sketching on an iPad is not a bad alternative. Could it be better? Sure. But I think we are about to see a wave of more powerful tablets coming soon in the iPad form factor. And besides, my wife already has dibs on my iPad when I upgrade!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Toy Story 3 Operation.

Like most people out there I am a huge fan of Pixar and the Toy Story movies. So I was really excited when the fine folks at Hasbro Games asked if I'd like to illustrate the box top and game board for the TS3 version of the classic, Operation.What people might not realize is how far in advance something like this needs to be produced in order to reach the market in time for the movie. I completed these illustrations almost a year ago. As always these things start out with a concept, in this case Buzz is in the repair shop. I started off with a couple of quick sketches to cement the idea. Then there is the back and forth of the creative and approval process. A few rounds of discussion and adjustments until everyone is happy. And then "voila" you have yourself a direction for the final illustration. You paint, then a little more back and forth, you paint some more, a couple of minor tweaks and you're done!
This is the first game I've ever illustrated and it was a very fun experience. The folks at Hasbro were , as always, swell to work with.
The illustrations were done in Photoshop CS4