Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monkeys and More

If you looked at the drawings before you read this the answer to your question is, YES, I'm working on a film that has monkeys in it. Some of you were probably wondering, what the heck happened to Craig  and why hasn't posted anything in the last year? The answer is, LIFE, which is at the present time overwhelming. Here's a few things that are keeping me busy enough that I am struggling to to find the time for my blog. I'm in treatment three times a week for three hours a each visit (I have to make up that time at work), I was teaching a night course (Story II) at Cal Arts once a week (7pm to 10pm, I would usually get home are midnight though), by the way that does include prep time for each class. We got a horse for my daughter which is a time vacuum, and of course the biggest taker of time, WORK. I almost forgot I took on a freelance gig directing an episode of the SuperBook series that CBN is producing (this was a huge mistake, the project really need a  full time  directing approach to execute it properly). Things don't look like they are gonna free up anytime soon either. I'll be teaching two courses this coming semester, I'll be continuing treatment and call me crazy but we now have two horses. 

 When I join a new production I have a habit of getting absorbed in the subject matter of that film,  in turn I tend to only draw things that are relevant to that film. If you look at my sketchbooks from the last twenty years you can tell exactly what films I worked on because they are primarily filled with drawing that pertain to the current film I was working on. So, to combat my own tendencies I started doing warm up sketches that are purposely not related to my assignment. It works sometimes and sometimes not. 

I have found that I'm not drawing as much as I have in the past. This current film is a daunting task with a ton of line mileage required for each assignment.  I thought "TEMBO" was a heavy film, with it's large cast of characters it meant that every sequence had multiple characters to draw, sometimes up to eight or more all interacting. It was tiring to say the least. This film is ten times worse, It's an ass kicker for sure. So here are some drawings of monkeys and more. Some are old and some are new and some are very sketchy too. See what I did there?

This a rejected panel of a sequence I was working on.
The head of story called for a wide shot but it was cut
from the final edit. That's story for ya, I always say,
"Oh well, it will make a good portfolio piece."
 A sketch of father time. 


This an example of me trying to break from drawing only monkeys.
This drawing was inspired by a photo in an old National Geographic.

Did I mention we got a dog? He is most awesome. He is
 like a little man, always letting us know how he feels.
 The background I drew separate from the Toby drawing
but I stuck him in front of it, Photoshop magic.

Drawing landscapes relaxes me. They are very forgiving, I can
 just free flow these vignettes without getting bogged down with
 the rules of what makes a good drawing or a bad drawing.

There will be many more of these coming now that I'm
a proud horse owner.

This is one of the oldest drawings I still have. 



This a sketch I did for my daughter. Her horse is a 
painted pony called Esperanza. She hates when my
daughter is riding other horses and not her. She is a 
very cute horse with a lot of personality.

I did this drawing last winter but I misplaced the file 
(my naming conventions can use some help). I just 
recently ran across it by accident, better late than never.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


While on any given project it is important for me to draw things that aren't necessarily part of my assignments or for that matter even related to the film I'm casted on. Drawing unrelated or impromptu illustrations keeps me from become bored or stagnate during the long haul of production. You can be casted to a film for  anywhere between two to four years, drawing the same subject matter over and over. If you're on a film you like (for me "BRAVE"), it's not that hard. Sometimes you're taken off of a film before you even get comfortable with drawing the characters.

 I saw a photo that inspired this digital painting, I thought maybe it would come in handy. The original story of "BRAVE" had snow in it after mom turns into a bear.

 Before we had model sheets we drew dad how ever we wanted, this was an early drawing I did before we even had a locked script to draw from.

This is an actual production piece (beat board) for lords arrival. An early pass of the script had the Lords all arriving from different directions over land (the final has them coming by water). As they drew closer to the ceremonial pyre they begin to race each other to be the first clan announced at the ceremony. We use beat boards as place holders until they decide to fully board the sequence that it applies to, there can be numerous beat boards for a sequence.
A Mom and Merida sketch drawn for no particular reason.

This sketch also has no real significance to the film, I may have done this while I was working on an argument sequence between Mom and Merida.

Merida asleep, I drew this on paper. It created a crap storm (who's gonna scan this stuff, where do we store it and track the original art work, etc...) needless to say I didn't draw on paper anymore. For me sometimes it is easier for me to in-vision the world I'm creating if I'm drawing on paper, I don't no why. I still drew out some of my tough scenes on paper and scanned them and then drew over them.

Early on the triplets were very rambunctious, always messing with the royal swans and such. When they changed they originally turned into swans not bears.

Another take on Merida sleeping.

Clock designs and compositional setups for Lilo's kitchen. I wanted the clock to look retro.

An illustration of Merida on Angus, this was a drawing done very early in production. We didn't have model sheets yet. I never showed this to Brenda, she did not want Merida in green and Angus is way to small for a Shire.

An illustration for one of the poems in my dad's circus poem book.

Monday, May 27, 2013

"Lost On The Trail" Part II

So where did I leave off, oh yeah, I have left my family behind to go to work for DreamWorks (great company, hidden secret). God's blessing for sure, he even gave Jodi and us a sign that that was the right direction (another story for another time). I am on the right path, clearly marked, so I don't get lost.

Before I go any further I have to get this off my chest. You should know that I am not the only one who's life was complete turned upside down in this studio fiasco; around 360 other people were screwed in this ordeal (to different degrees) as well.  All this because that rich a__hole CEO doesn't have a modicum of a conscience. By the way he also told me that he was a religious man as well, even talk about his church. Wow, really! I guess he felt like he had to lie to us (my wife and I) because who in their right mind would ever work for a person who builds a business on house of cards (ready to collapse at any moment). Whatever, I'm still working on forgiveness with this - obviously.

Back to my original intent. I moved into my friends empty and I mean empty house for a few months and began working on my new film. Rolling onto a new film is always difficult, compound that with coming into a new studio, new system of working and changing over from a Mac to a PC made things interesting. It had also been years since I had an office mate so adjustments had to be made. Again, I go into survival mode and start working my butt off.

Dreamworks has been so great about my situation and has allowed me to work from home (Florida) during the holiday's and they have let me go home and work periodically since then. It's not an ideal situation because of the time lost and the cost of traveling back and forth but at least I get to see my family a little. 

Like I said earlier I've lived in three locations in seven months since moving to LA. The first being my friends house (thanks Will), then I was offered a free room at another friends apartment (thanks Angelo). God's timing and God's hand, no doubt. As time has been ticking away and we are not seeing any movement on our house I needed to move again and was offered a room at yet another friends house (thank you Karen and Steve). I do not like change, but my life is nothing but change now. Mean while we can't seem to even get a showing on our house. Our house is well with in the value, not over priced by any means. It is in a private horse community (bigger lot's) we have 3.9 acres that sits on a private lake. Three blocks away is a community park that has a soft ball field, a football field, a basket ball court, two jungle gyms and a covered picnic and cookout area. Our house is well maintained and beautiful with it's own pool. But, still no-one comes and we wait on the Lord. Your will God, your timing God, we wait for the people you will send to buy our house. We sit thousands of miles apart, a family divided and we wait. But, we hear nothing, we see nothing, we feel nothing. We pray, and pray, but still nothing. We are not used to the lack of communication from God. He has always kept us in the loop even if it was the slightest indicator. My wife and I are baffled, what direction do we go at this point. I can only compare it to an experience I have had over and over during my hiking days. 

We used to love to drive to the Smokey Mnts. National Park in Tenn. and take advantage of there 400 different hiking trail in the mountains. You always start off with a clearly marked trail, confident, ready to go but as you walk and walk inevitably at some point along the trail, the path, it gets real obscure, your not really sure if you are still on the path. Well, you're on some kind of path but, is it the right path? Maybe you missed a marker or inadvertently picked up a false trail made from animals or off trail hikers and soon the doubt starts to set in. So you start to think "Am I on my path, the path that was chosen when I started?' All you want is a little sign to set you mind at ease. You slow down a little, you start second guessing every step, "should I go back", why did I go on this trail anyway. Did I miss something in the beginning of the trail that would have warned me that this trail is no longer viable? Why didn't I pick some other path, something not so difficult. I call this part of the hike being "lost on the trail". It's a little scary, you're running out of steam and time, if you've made a mistake it may be to late on course to correct. So, you just keep walking, walking in faith and searching and checking your map and looking for a open air spot to get your bearings and eventually you find a marker that let's you know you are okay. 

I could really, really use a little marker about now. The path is obscure, I'm worried, I'm out of steam, I miss my family, and it's getting very late. Where are you Abba? Your son needs you, now.

This is a sketch of Ketchaa I did in a during a very boring meeting. It's on a cover sheet that's why it has the title on it.

Random elephants. What ever film I'm working on, I become obsessed with drawing the subject matter.

These were ideas I presented to the directors. They were looking for everyday life that made baby Tembo unique. He's cute as the dickens isn't he?

Most of these had several more drawings to accompany them when they were presented in the pitch.

His big brother was throwing him in the air and catching him.

A sequence, called "The Capture" Warriors, Fire, Smoke, Elephant herd. It would have been really cool when it was finished.

Early sketches for idea pitch.

Not my Idea, but I liked it so much I did my version with Ketchaa on his head and added it to my pitch.

This is a drawing from a sequence I boarded called "The Barracks"

This is also from the pitch. Thanks to my wife Jodi we can watch a little animation. She's the best.