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Introducing Ted Blackman

My good friend Ted Blackman has finally created a blog.

Ted and I go waaay back. When I first started in animation he was already a star talent, but I quickly discovered that Ted was also easy to get along with, versatile, and funny.

Ted was a crack-up to have at the studio, he was always making caricatures of his fellow artists, and drawing funny studio situations -- like when the air conditioner was stuck on FREEZING. He did a cartoon of himself trying to warm himself by using several drawing lamps at his desk.

Ted really opened my eyes about how a cartoonist should see the world. Meeting him had a profound impact on me, thanks Ted!

Please welcome my friend by paying him a visit at Crotchety Comics and leave him a comment.


Open Season

We have to go back a few years for these. When I first came to Sony Pictures Animation, I started working on Open Season as a character designer. My job was to develop the Boog character's design -- before the script was set. I did a series of sketches trying to figure out who this nine foot, 1,100 pound grizzly bear was.

Boog was raised as a house pet, and he's sort of a naughty child. The idea here, as Boog attempts to raid the cookie jar, is that he is completely unaware of his size and power.

I did a lot of exploration with the designs and attempted to move him around to get a feel for the way the character would move.

Once I had gotten a good feel for the character, I did some turns. In the end, I gave him fur-like pants that gave him a britches-feel to his fur, and large forelimbs with tiny paws and delicate claws that act like fingers.

Ultimately, my friend Carter Goodrich came on as the character designer, and I took the position of art director on Surf's Up. Despite the changes in the style and design for Boog, I was glad to see the ideas remained the same and made it into the final version.


Jolly the Chimp

When I was a kid there was this toy called the Jolly Chimp. It was a frightening chimp doll that would bang its cymbals, then bare its teeth while, with eyes bulging out of his sockets. It didn't seem like a kid's toy, and I think that's what the allure was. I never owned one as a kid, but my cousin had one, and I was mesmerized.

This toy has now become sort of iconic in that it's been featured in various movies, Close Encounters, Monkey Shines, and now in Toy Story 3. Ironically I drew this before watching the movie.

(OK, a side note, I'm such a fan of this nightmarish toy, as an adult I've collected and refurbished several of them and have two, mint, still in the box. There, I've said too much already.)


Fourth of July Fireworks

On the Fourth, I was sitting out by the hotel pool while my kids were swimming. There were a lot of families, the pool was a full of screaming kids.

Then two young ladies, about 17-18 years old, came out to the pool. I over heard one say to the other, "This is boring, there's no one here!" That comment struck me so funny, I guess the mobs of families and screaming kids didn't count.

They only stayed a moment, but not before I blocked in this sketch. Obviously I had to finish it in their absence, but what a moment!