Monday, May 4, 2015

My demo far...

You can view my current demo reel

Let me know what you think!

Be seeing you!...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Musings from a once young man...

I went to see "McFarland, USA" tonight.  Needed to get out and see a movie, and I admit I'm a sucker for sports movies.  They all seem to have a lot in common, mostly the triumph at the end, the overcoming of adversity, and/or how they come together as a team and believe in each other.  Hollywood makes it look good.  I DID like "McFarland, USA" a lot!  I was really in the mood for a "feel good" movie.

It did, however, cause me to remember some things from my childhood.  My father, you see, was/still is a coach.  If I have one criticism for him, it would be that he never stayed long enough in one place to reap the fruits of what he built.  We lived in Wamego, KS in the early '60's and the Red Raiders did fairly well.  Then he got an offer to coach at A.C.C.H.S. in Effingham, KS.

I didn't want to move to Effingham.  The Red Raiders played them, and the town was considerably smaller than Wamego.  If you've never been to Wamego, it hasn't changed much in the decades since we left.  Effingham had no public swimming pool and little to do as it was/is a farming community.  Oh, and the water was horrible!  Hard water and full of iron.  It actually had an odor, and tasted awful!  But the negotiation process was that dad would get to start a wrestling team, something unheard of in eastern Kansas at that time.  Western Kansas was where the powerhouse teams were.  There were some good programs in the eastern part of the state.  Paola comes to mind.  But the "west" ruled the roost.

Within a couple of years, the wrestling team at A.C.C.H.S. was doing quite well, and had a budding rivalry of sorts with Paola.  They even had an Invitational tournament at Effingham, and that's where this memory goes...

Winning a wrestling tournament has a variety of factors, mostly how "points" are scored to determine which team would win the event.  Winning a match counted a certain number of points, but if there was victory by "pinning" your opponent, it counted as more points toward the total team count.

My dad had a good idea of how his wrestlers would do and had estimated that they had a good chance of winning the trophy, but it hinged on the outcome of one of his lighter weight category wrestlers.  It would come down to a farm kid named, "Donnie."  Donnie was facing a superior opponent in the championship match.  In all honesty, he was completely outclassed.  His opponent had more experience, more skills, and I believed had even placed in the state tournament the previous year.  I think Donnie may have only wrestled for maybe a year.  It meant that if Donnie got pinned, the A.C.C.H.S. Tigers wouldn't place first overall for the trophy.  Donnie knew all this.

The match began and within a few seconds, his opponent had taken him down to the mat and had flopped him over on his back.  My dad looked away, but never heard a whistle from the referee that the match was over,  Somehow, Donnie was able to bridge up on his head, keeping his shoulders off the mat.  And if one shoulder did go down, he made every effort to keep the other one from touching.

If you've never wrestled in high school, a 3 period, 2 minutes a period(6 minutes total) match might not seem like much.  Having wrestled in high school, I can assure you it's tougher than it looks.  A lot tougher.  And somehow, Donnie wasn't going to be pinned.

By the 3rd round, his opponent was very frustrated at his lack of ability to pin Donnie, so much so that he began bouncing on Donnie's chest to try and get him off his neck bridge to flatten out.  It was evident that it was hurting Donnie, but he wouldn't give up.  And at the end of 6 agonizing minutes the match was over, and his opponent had defeated him soundly on points, his hand raised in victory.

But he couldn't pin Donnie.

The folks there all knew he had done something special.  They didn't care he had lost, and badly by points!  He never gave up and found a strength to keep his shoulder off the mat.  My dad was so proud of him when he came off the mat, and in the end, the Tigers won the tournament.

In usual fashion, we didn't stay in Effingham but 4 years, and then my dad accepted a position to go to Maryville, MO to coach with his old college coach.  His assistant, a man named Larry Tilton, would take over the reins of the football and wrestling teams producing many successful seasons.  And the tournament is still an event, over 4 decades later, named for both men.

Anyway, that's my trip down memory lane.  Time to put some Geritol in my coffee...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Some Dark Shadows comparisons...

In my last blog post, I went over some of my feelings and thoughts about Dark Shadows, and its various incarnations.  All of them have strengths and weaknesses.  Most fans tend to view the original tv series as "canon," but I would like to offer some comments...

With the various "casts," I do adore the original cast.  Here they are from 1966, or '67...

 photo 1966_cast_zpsb0782bcb.jpg

In all earnestness, though, pound or pound, I'd have to endorse the 1991 revival series as the strongest incarnation of the Dark Shadows mythology, save for one casting...

I could never warm up to Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins.

 photo 1991-cast_zps8354fdb1.jpg

He never quite transcended from being a complete villain, which Barnabas was, when first introduced to the show, but became "sympathetic" when Frid's version literally saved the show.  Cross came across(no pun) as too arrogant.  And the gaunt features with the blow dried hair just didn't seem like Barnabas.

I did like what Johnny Depp did with the character.  For all intents and purposes, he was channeling Jonathan Frid.  He is a fan of the show.  You can tell by this pic from the movie that, while still in character, he was in "fanboy heaven" when four of the original series actors made their cameo appearances, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, David Selby, and Jonathan Frid.

 photo ds2012castcameo02_zps08022df1.jpg

So for my design of "Barnabas Collins" for a "Dark Shadows-the Animated Series," I gave a wink to both--mostly Jonathan Frid, but with touches of Johnny Depp.

 photo DSTAS_rgb_zps5a8716ad.jpg

Yeah, this image is in the previous post.  But I wanted to give my thoughts with it.  I'll be posting other comparisons and designs in the future.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

What I have been working on...

I loved the Tim Burton "Dark Shadows" movie.  I viewed it 6 times when it was in theaters, and gleefully bought a DVD copy.  "Dark Shadows" is my "MLP."  Once, I was asked if I was excited about going to a local comics show by a giddy fan.  I said, "no," and was given a perplexed look.  Comics shows are work.  I can't remember going to a show, convention, event that wasn't "work related."  So going to a "Dark Shadows" festival is something I've put on a list of goals.  I want to go as a fan.  BID.

From the movie, I thought about developing an animated pitch.  Part of the problem has been developing the characters in the best incarnations.  Which version should be the inspiration?  So future posts may be of character development and look.  One caveat--I haven't seen the 2004 pilot, except what has been available on the internet.  I would like to see it in its entirety for comparison.  So I will admit that it has had little to no influence on my own DS reimagining.

For interiors, I would have to go with the sets from the Burton movie over any of the tv sets.  But for exteriors the clear winner is still the Carey Mansion.  I do think the "Old House" would need some modification to look more "colonial."  There also some other buildings on the "estate" to include, as the '90's revival had stables, and the DS '70's movies (using Lyndhurst) had an outdoor pool complex.

Here's what I've designed, character-wise, on Dark Shadows--the animated series so far.  This WIP needs about 5 or 6 more character designs.  I found when I started that it began to "balloon" with additional characters I'd like to include.  For these, I found that the original show would be the inspiration, such as Prof. Trask, Jeb Hawkes, and Adam.

One "character" I've had the most difficulty with has been "Collinwood."  I know what I would like to see in the design, but haven't found it, yet.  So I've used a photo of the Seaview Terrace for placement.  Sorry.

Here's the piece.  Click on the picture to see the whole thing.  Let me know what you think...

WorkingDSTAS photo DSTAS_WIP_zps9da0b07c.jpg

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Maybe I should blog more often?...

I haven't blogged in 2 years.  Yesterday, I got a notification of a new comment on a blog post from 2011.  I admit to being somewhat shocked.  Not so much from what was in this "comment," but that anyone commented at all!  Particularly after 3 years.

What I found discouraging and disheartening about the comment wasn't so much the content as the anonymity of the author.  But maybe things will be clearer if you see the comment from "Anonymous"...

I wondered why you weren't doing any comics that glorified Jesus Christ, and now see that you are doing limited animations that laugh at the notion of first-time fornication on a prom night. Really, Mike, you should know better than this at that late stage in life. I've seen a lot of people fall away from God in this apostate age, but those who hold fast to Christ will gain an unperishable crown. The reality of this is evident in the lives of those who fully entrust themselves to His will and His care. So very few 'walk the walk' in the arts especially. Fortunately, soul-winning doesn't rely upon talent, but anointing and consecrated living. A Holy Ghost-filled believer can work wonders!"

I'm sure "Anonymous" means well.  But due to the fact the comment is anonymous, I have to discount its validity.  It falls into the category of the "poisoned pen letter," or the prank phone calls.  I would've preferred that if "Anonymous" were that concerned, "he," "she," or "it," would show me the decency of approaching me in the open.

I have the impression that either we have crossed paths at some point, which exasperates me that "Anonymous" didn't make the effort to contact me.  Would I have been open to it?  (Yes, I would.)  Would I have welcomed prayer? (Absolutely!)  But instead of approaching me with concern in private, it was decided the more prudent course was to be less private with little, to no, concern.

To "Anonymous,"--Thank you for finding my blog, and for taking the time to take a look at my artwork.  Had you completed reading my post about that particular project, you would've discovered that the "prom night fornication" was a ruse.  A set-up.  A bait and switch.  In the end, it wasn't losing virginity sexually, but of shapeshifter and werewolves getting their first "kill."

It was less porn, and more "Twilight Zone."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

aftermath of tonight...

I had my second class in Game Art Assets, and I found I was able to keep up. One thing I changed was to make sure I got on the front row. I didn't get my usual seat, but the next one over.

It still is lonely. Not just the drive, but being there. It isn't as "strange" as last semester. The faces are becoming more familiar. But I carpooled a year ago, and in truth, I really miss riding with my friend.

This time of year also brings out the "dragon," so I'm having a lot of "this all really does seem pointless" to contend with.

Tomorrow(Friday) the Animation Association will be having their weekly meeting. I think I'll go.

In putting some summaries to 2011 and the beginning of this year, 2011 taught me how to hate. I'm thinking 2012 will teach me to sever. Some things and people need to be excised from my life. I have a post in draft form, which goes more in depth with this, about severing and those who have shown themselves to be "true friends" in my life. My thoughts need more refining on it before posting.

And I need to get back to doing art. Posting warm-up sketches and such. Just some pain to still work through. Maybe the homework waiting for me to complete before Monday will help.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

...the end, the beginning...

Today marked the first day of classes at college for me for this semester. And it also ended the month long lag between semesters that is the "holiday break." Honestly, I find most holiday times a bit boring. I really do need to find some kind of "umph" to be at my drawing table. It would help with the boredom.

One thing I DID do was get some books on programs I would need to learn, such as Mudbox and ZBrush. I've also been working out of a book on AfterEffects to get some proficiency with it. I'm seeing more potential with AfterEffect now that I'm not so confused by the interface.

My first class was "Game Art Assets." Working up some concept art for games may be a way to go for me. We'll see. Tonight I have my other class, "Character Animation in 3D." It will be with an instructor I'm unfamiliar with. But I think I'll be fine. I hope to have some new sketches to post. I see 2012 as a bit of a "recovery" year, in more ways than one. Although the only recovery I'm really interested in is getting my swagger back.