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Figure Drawing This Week

I've been figure drawing regularly since 1989. That's NOT including the four years of figure drawing in art school from 1983-1987. I think figure drawing is the cornerstone of good draftsmanship and design, and so I make an effort to attend figure drawing classes on a weekly basis. When I was in Utah, I also taught figure drawing, as well as participated in an open drawing lab.

Fortunately, Sony Pictures provides a drawing workshop with instructor Karl Gnass. Although I like his teaching, the poses are a little too short for me. Most of the time the model's poses range from three minutes, to five minutes. Which means it's very difficult to have any time to render shadows, volumes, and design shadow shapes. Rather than simply limit myself to doing line drawings with generalized volumes, I'm still trying to do what I normally do in a 20 minute sketch in only five or eight minutes.

On this particular image, the figure was drawn in eight minutes on tracing paper and China Marker.


New Pacifico Page


I've completed another page for our El-Pacifico blog. Our pirates are now attempting to steal a ship! I have it linked on my Blog Links section under EL-PACIFICO, or you can cut and paste this address:


Atlantis, The Lost Script

Back in 1998, I did about a year's worth of development work on Walt Disney's Atlantis. Although the film had many story and concept problems, I have to admit it was a lot of fun to work on. The Art-Of book for this film had about ten of my visual development images printed, however this was not one of the images printed in the book.

In this scene, Rourke has stolen something (I think it was the princess' crystal), and is attempting to make a getaway. The Atlantean charge Rourke, as he attempts to fend them off like Daniel Boone at the Alamo. Once in the cockpit, I imagined he would fire his gun and cut the rope and the plane would be launched into the air. This scene never made it to the film, however the film's actual getaway sequence takes place when Rourke and Helga try to escape using a hot air balloon.

Why did I imagine the getaway like this? Since the lost city was sitting inside a cavern, surrounded by water with only a few patches of land, I asked myself, "How they would launch a plane?" I put myself in their place and realized that it would be near impossible to launch a plane with no runway, so I imagined a large wooden contraption like a catapult that would launch the plane into the air, whereupon the engine would do the rest.

As you can see, the characters are heavily influenced by Mike Mignola, who was the style artist for the movie. Unfortunately, the Mignola style was barely recognizable by the end of the film...the final version had been "Disneyfied" to the point that it lost it's original inspiration.

This drawing is about 16x22 or so, and drawn on vellum with black Prismapencil.


Introducing Armand Serrano


For those of you that don't know about Armand Serrano, he's a talent you might want to get acquainted with. He's certainly one of the best visual development artists I've had the privilage of working with in my 20 years in the business.

You can visit Armand Serrano's new art blog at: or simply click on the link I've provided in my links section.

Here's a little history. Both Armand and I worked together during our time at Disney, but never met. I worked at the California studio, and then as a freelancer when I lived and worked out of Utah, whereas Armand worked at the Florida studio. We are currenty working together here at Sony helping to develop Sony's second CG animated feature, and in the process have become good friends.

Armand's work is amazing and well worth a visit!


Pudge The Fish

Again, this drawing was done in developement for Disney's Lilo & Stitch. In this scene, Lilo is feeding Pudge the fish her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This image never made it to the final film, but the idea of the fish was kept during the title sequence as a down shot through the water. I like their verison better.

In my drawing, you can see that I'm playing around with some underwater lighting effects and refractions. This image was drawn in graphite.

As a note: the underwater fauna was completely incorrect in my drawing. I couldn't find underwater Hawaiian reference at the time, but when I was sent to Hawaii with the Disney research trip I had an opportunity to snorkel in the ocean ... and discovered that I had missed the mark. The corral is very different there, and not as colorful ... but the fish do eat from your hand. While we were feeding the fish, one of the parrot fish bit art director Ric Sluiter on the hand so hard he drew blood. So much for the saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."


Sketchbook Sketches

A couple years ago a friend asked me to sketch a few pages in his sketchbook. I wasn't sure what to draw, so I sat down in front of the TV and sketched these out. The film was some old black and white German film with a very young Ingrid Bergman in it. There were English subtitles, but I was busy sketching and wasn't paying attention to the story. However, there were some really great looking faces and lighting situations.


Awakening Gargoyle


I painted this image for Wizards of the Coast. The assignment was to paint a castle gargoyle awakening after a snow storm has passed, and taking flight into the air. Also note, the gargoyle had to be made of stone and the castle had to be a primitive looking structure.