Monday, October 5, 2015

Backyard Buddies!

     Well, alas... it's official! Summer's over. I've probably mentioned before, but I'm not the biggest fan of the colder months. However, I do love the festivities of the fall and winter seasons, so this is a pretty bittersweet time for me.

     Turns out, not only am I a fan of the summer, but so are those little robot friends I've mentioned before that hang around my office. I was able to catch a couple of photos of the little guys enjoying the great outdoors!

     So I figure if I'm going to keep drawing these little guys, then I need to call them something more clever than, derrrr... tiny robots! The best idea I currently have is "Nanos." Technically, nano-bots are quite a bit smaller than I'm depicting these guys to be... but technically, robots don't have mustaches either, so I say it'll do until something better comes along. Enjoy the Nanos!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Too Derivative!"

     If there's two things I'm a sucker for, it's Nostalgia and Toys! This is why I love Funko's ReAction figures! They're retro-styled action figures for big pop culture films that didn't originally provide much in the way of merchandising. They're pretty much the only way I can fulfill my dream of having a 3 3/4in scale Quint from Jaws watch me while I work. Yeah! I know it's a weird dream, but last I checked... this is America!

     There is one film that I would LOVE to see get a line of ReAction figures! So much so that I decided to put my Photoshop skills to good use and trick my brain into believing they already exist. It's the 1990 pop culture classic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

     Of course, I realize that when it comes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there were, and ARE, more than enough toys out there already. But none of them pay tribute to this cult classic in the way I think it deserves... with smaller, cruder action figures!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Pack Man!!

Q: What has two thumbs and wanted to draw another character from The Office?

...You can't see it, but I'm... pointing at myself... with my thumbs. Or... at least I was until I started typing this sentence.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Halfway There!

     As I've mentioned before, my New Year's Resolution for 2015 was to draw 50 original characters before the end of the year. My creative energy is always veering down the fan art boulevard, so for me, 50 is a pretty big number.

     I can come up with original characters all day long. For example, an alien robot named MoMo that enters a space race as an underdog, but later backs out and instead decides to go camping with friends. I just came up with that. Or how about a hamster that loves sandwiches? You know... Sammy Hammy? Or a time-traveling beluga whale that just wants to swim in the future... or maybe the past. Whatever. Her name could be Joan.

     See? It's easy. But actually sitting down and committing to fleshing them out onto paper is a different story.

     For this post, I decided to just crank a bunch out! Some of these are characters that I've been developing for quite some time and some of them... well, aren't. The good news is I'm halfway done! The bad news is the year is MORE than halfway done. Luckily though, resolutions are meaningless! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

And That's The Way It Is.

     Last week, I wrote about the former attraction at Disney's Hollwood Studios, The Magic of Disney Animation. While I was looking up little tidbits of info on the attraction, I came across this video. It's a fun little film where the great Walter Cronkite and the great Robin Williams walk visitors through the process of animation! Check it out!


     I first saw this film when I visited Walt Disney World back in 1991, but I had completely forgot about the entire thing! It's always fun for me when little forgotten pieces of nostalgia find their way back to the surface of my brain. One thing I just noticed is how similar Robin Williams' attire is to the Genie's at the end of Aladdin. As a matter of fact, it's EXACTLY the same! That had to have been on purpose! Robin Williams, as everyone knows, played the Genie in Aladdin, but that was in 1992! This short was released in 1989, which means that the Goofy hat gag in Aladdin was referencing this Walt Disney World attraction!

     Picking up on obscure references in my favorite Disney film 23 years after the fact - This is something else I think is fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Fond Farewell to The Magic Of Disney Animation

     Out of the four parks at Walt Disney World, my favorite has always been Disney’s Hollywood Studios… or as it used to be called, Disney-MGM Studios. The place has Star Wars, Pixar, The Muppets, Indiana Jones, they’ve even recently incorporated Turner Classic Movies into the park! In other words, it’s basically everything I’ve ever loved! Recently, however, the park has been getting an overhaul of sorts. They started by shutting down the Studio Backlot Tour and then removing the park’s central icon, the giant Sorcerer’s Hat. I’m not a fan of change, but I’ve been pretty welcoming of these updates. I think the Studio Backlot Tour was way past its prime and as far as the Sorcerer’s Hat, it never really made much sense to me to begin with. I’ve always thought the water tower with Mickey Mouse ears was a better icon for a park with a movie studio theme.

     But even more recently, an update to the park came out of nowhere and really hit me right in the feels! On July 12th, Disney’s Hollywood Studios closed the doors on their attraction, The Magic of Disney Animation! I, for one, really liked this section of the park, but rather than gripe and moan about how things need to stop being different, I’m using this blog post to give this particular attraction the farewell tribute it deserves! …or at least the farewell tribute that some guy with a blog and some free time is able to give with minimal effort. Here are some fond memories I have of The Magic of Disney Animation!

      Disney’s Hollywood Studios was originally an actual working studio, and The Magic of Disney Animation was the Orlando branch of Disney’s animation studio where such films as Mulan and Lilo and Stitch were produced. At the attraction, park guests would be shown exhibits displaying the ins and outs of an animated film, the basic lifeblood of the Walt Disney company, and were then able to look through a window at an actual Disney animator hard at work. I’m not sure how the animators actually felt about this, but I thought it was cool.

Ever try drawing a dragon riding a featherless falcon while a sunburned couple from hackensack looks over your shoulder? Well it’s likely someone has.
     My most recent trip to Walt Disney World was in 2010. By then, the attraction was no longer a working studio, but the remnants were still there. My favorite part of the attraction was the massive amount of concept art for future projects that was on display. I love the film, Tangled, but this was months before it came out and I knew nothing about it. Massive amounts of artwork for the film filled the walls and display cases of the exhibit. I took photo after photo and poured over them for the next several months, ingesting every detail I could possibly attain on Tangled, as well as the animation business in general. For a wannabe artist such as myself, it was both humbling and inspiring!

     Down the hall were a few generic posters promoting animated films that were on the distant horizon such as Wreck-It Ralph and The Bear and The Bow, or Brave as it would later be called. This hall lead into a large, open room where different characters would greet guests throughout the day. There was the Main Mouse himself, Mickey, dressed in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice garb. The Incredibles had a regular meeting place, and then there was a location for characters from the most recent animated feature. While I was there, it was Lots-o-Huggin Bear from Toy Story 3!

And I could swear he actually smelled like strawberries!
     The queue to meet Lotso was decorated to look like Sunnyside Daycare from Toy Story 3. Backlit displays resembled windows looking out into the playground and the walls were adorned with children’s drawings of the Toy Story characters.  The theme of this location would change with the character so with Wreck-It Ralph, the queue would resemble Game Central Station, or with Winnie the Pooh it might resemble a storybook. It wasn’t the most mind-blowing thing you’d see at Walt Disney World, but it was still a fun little corner of the park that you could tell a lot of thought was put into.

     Last of all, I want to talk about the Animation Academy! These were actual drawing classes that The Magic of Disney Animation offered! For me, this was as close as I’ve ever come (or probably will come) to the real thing. A Disney employee, or “cast-member” as they’re called, would sit in front of a large classroom of drawing boards and go through the process of drawing a Disney character step-by-step. In our class, we drew Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I probably would have rather drawn someone like Gizmo Duck or Zummi Gummi, but, hey… whatchagonnado?

     My wife and I showed up to the class early, so we had to wait outside the classroom. The 3 or 4 cast-members that taught the classes were also waiting, I guess, and were standing in a group quizzing each other on their knowledge of Disney trivia. These people were Disney fans that loved to draw, and they actually got to do it at Disney World! When I first heard that The Magic of Disney Animation was closing, I instantly thought of them. I’m not sure it all worked. Maybe they’re art school interns or something, so they’re not technically out of a job, but I really hope that Disney is able to find a place for these fellow nerds somewhere else in the company.

     I can understand why Disney might feel the need to close The Magic of Disney Animation. Like Opie’s daughter said in Jurassic World, “people want an attraction with more… teeth” and I suppose The Magic of Disney Animation doesn’t really have much in the way of “teeth” sadly. There have been several occasions where I was sad that an attraction I liked closed, but then I ended up liking the new attraction even more! I’m sure the same will be the case here. I’ve even heard rumors about something Star Wars related taking its place! I’m definitely not going to complain about that! Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to the memories I’ll be making there someday, while always cherishing the memories I have from The Magic of Disney Animation. It was a lot of fun.

Maybe a little too much fun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015