Monday, October 10, 2016

Best Friends
 I laid in my bed last night unable to sleep, so my brain, like many nights started to review the events of the day or in this case my weekend. Many times it, my brain that is, will remind me of all the things I haven't done around the house, sometimes it will lock in on a remodeling job for one of the rooms in our house, going into great detail of it execution. To my surprise last night it (my brain) jump to memories of our horseback riding excursion on Saturday at Vasquez Rocks in Aqua Dulce, in particular thoughts of my wife on Cochise which was the horse she was riding for the day. She was absolutely beautiful, lit up by the sun with her curled hair blowing in the wind. Her independence and self strength has always been admirable but as I watched her maneuver her less than obedient horse through this dangerous terrain, up and down its steep rocky paths I thought of how lucky I was to have her as my wife and better yet as my best friend. I reached over my dog who was asleep between us and lightly caressed her arm lovingly but oh so light as I did not want to wake her. As I rolled back onto my side of the bed another thought came into my head, I know she's my best friend but am I her best friend?
 We have been together for so long I just assumed I am her best friend, but maybe not. I assumed this because we have moved so many times and we have had to survive on our own in most of those places without any support system what so ever, so I got the spot as best friend out of default. But this made me think of all the best friends I've ever had, all the way back to my very first best friend a ever had. 
I would have to say my very first best friend was my little brother, Blake. We slept in the same room, everything we did was together whether it was play, eating, bathing we were always together. One of my fondest memories is of the heart to heart discussions we had at bed time, sharing thoughts and concerns as we lay in our beds before one of us would drift off. Their is a deep love that I have for him that I would not experience again with a best friend until Jodi, my wife became my best friend. 
Chris Smoot was my first best friend out side of my brother. I met him in first grade, we hit it off right away although I can't quite remember why. It may have been that he brought very cool toys to school, who knows. When I discovered he had an identical twin brother I was a little taken aback, confused to say the least and kind of upset. I think, deep in my heart I knew that his brother was truly his best friend and I was a friend but not his best friend. Can you consider someone your best friend but you're not their best friend? It didn't matter, Chris Smoot moved away before second grade, ending the best friend dilemma  abruptly. I didn't really make another best friend for a very long time, besides my brother truly held the best friend spot and he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. 
Fast forward to sixth grade, this is when I made my next best friend, Anthony Feo with another lad named Chris Grozer in close second place. I can say now, as I think back to that friendship, we didn't have much in common except for maybe a strong love for four square (a ball game we played at lunch) but mostly I think we just enjoyed each others company.  As we moved into seventh grade something unexpected happened, at the beginning of that school year Chris Grozer, who was a mutual good friend to both of us announced in a not so friendly manner that we could no longer be his friend or hang out with him because we weren't cool enough. This was pretty devastating to both of us, for one, how could someone we considered such a close friend just turn us away like old rags and second, we found out that day that we were'nt cool. What does that even mean in seventh grade? Well, over the next couple of years Anthony and I drifted apart gracefully, primarily because we had different interests occupying our free time. I for one was working for my friends dad's lawn service part time, and then there were these really interesting things called girls and of course rollerskating consumed me and my brother. All of these distractions stained our friendship and it was compounded by the distance we lived apart.
Chuck Fountain would be the next fella to become my best friend. It was a friendship that grew into a best friend status over the course of a year or so. We met in french class. We lived primarily in the same neighborhood and shared a lot of the same interests not to mention that neither one of our families had a great deal of money. I really enjoyed Chuck's peculiarities, his jovial spirit, and his spontaneity, just to mention a few of his great qualities. Our friendship was awesome, we spent many nights at each others houses, we shared interests in comic books, drawing, music and so on. Many mornings we would walking to school and many afternoons home from school resulting in many great adventures together. All was good until I met another fella by the named of Ralph Iglesias. Ralph came from a family of circus performers. He was a tight rope walker, he could ride a unicycle and could juggle. Well, a bunch of families all went on a camping trip together and he was one of the kids from the circus family, I was intrigued from the moment we were introduced. I thought this guy was one of the coolest dudes I've ever met. He was confident, Sauve, he knew things I didn't, and man did he have a way with the chicks. He had a strong understanding of how to work the system, a con man of sorts, getting people to give him things or doing things for him.  When he shared that he wanted to hang out with me I was all in. Chuck and I still hung out mostly during the week but the weekends were a mixed bag.  Many times I invited Ralph to hang out with Chuck and I, surely Chuck would think Ralph was as cool as I thought he was. Eventually, it was evident that he pretty much just tolerated Ralph. Somehow, Chuck remained my friend during this time even though I wasn't being a very good friend to him at times.  My senior year Chuck went off to the Navy, and my best friend status shifted over to Ralph, which ended when I punched him in the face (it's another story for another blog post). I wished we were good enough friends that he could have found a way to forgive me but it was not so. Should it be a criteria for best friends that they should be willing to forgive each other even in the most grievance of circumstances?
I myself went into the Army right after graduated so the dilemma of whether or not Ralph wanted to forgive me or not resolved itself . I was on my own again. I made many friends during the next four years but I never drew close enough to anyone to claim a best friend. It was at least another two years after my four year stint before I made another best friend. I met guy in college by the name of Jeff Draper. He was relaxed, easy going, fun to hang outwith. We spent a lot of our free time together either working out or playing some kind of sport together. Our friendship lasted until he met his future ex-wife who slowly drove a wedge between us.  My next true best friend would end up be my wife, Jodi.  I can tell you that I'm profitting from this friendship much more than she. 
So, as I lay their in my bed slowly drifting off to sleep I continued to reminisce the times I spent with these people who I considered my best friends. It was for the most part great. The question of whether or not I was their best friend seemed to matter less and less as I got closer to sleep. What was important to me was whether or not I was able to give them what they needed from a friend at that time in their lives, they surely did that for me. My friendship with them deeply enriched my life and I hope that someway, somehow I did the same for them. Best friends should have a mutual need from one another, they should be able to give and take equally back and forth, right? Well, that was my rational just before I drifted off to slumber-land.

On the way to Kansas City,Missouri my favorite town
 I might add, I sketched a few drawings while in flight.
 I put some value on this drawing to give it a little life.

  BEFORE                                                   AFTER 
 This was another sketch from my flight. On the left is the sketch and on the
right the illustration from the sketch.

  These are two land scape drawings I ran across.
 The top one is about four inches by four inches 
and a maker, color pencil, and digital sketch. The 
bottom one is marker and color pencil on velum.

Indigo has an insatiable need to chase her ball, you
can throw that thing for an hour and she'll just keep
bringing it back.   

Toby is about to go mad because of the gardeners 
outside using a weed whacker, he hates that sound.

This was done a long time ago, it's a four inch pencil drawing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "I love turtles."

A compilation of drawings. Some pencil some ink.

Some quick ink drawings on green color erase.

Another Halloween inspired drawing from my plane ride.

I did a few moose drawings a while back, 
so I compiled them on one page, added
 some value and here you have it.

This lion sketch is from my plane ride as well, but the 
drawings below are a compilation of lion drawings from
my sketch book. I did these drawings for a sequence in 
"TEMBO" where lions were attacking Tembo's brother.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Don't Take It Personally?!

About three years ago I returned to work after a restful vacation to the surprise that I had a new office-mate. He wasn't actually in the office at the time, being that he had just gone on his own extended holiday. As I examined his stuff that filled the back of the room, all sorts of thoughts went through my head. Who was this joker. Is he going to have all kinds of rules and odd behaviors that I will have to adjust to. Well, to make a long story short, little did I know that I had been blessed with the best office mate I could ask for. We hit it off right away and have become good friends. He's made our office (working environment) a very pleasant place to come to day after day. The atmosphere is very conducive to productivity, and although a certain level of professionalism is prevalent in the office (both us take our jobs very serious) it remains an extremely fun place to be for 8 to 10 hours a day. Our histories in the animation industry complement each other which in-turn helps us to produce our best work. 

Working in such a great environment has made me reflect on my past. I have worked in both good and bad work environments and it has made me realize how important it is to be happy in your work place. It is very difficult to get work done in an atmosphere that is not conducive to your needs on any give day. For an artist the work environment is even more import for they tend to feed off of the energy that is prevalent in the room. Like most artists it doesn't take much to upset the balance I need to be effective in my work. Artists can't just turn on their creative side like it's an on and off switch. Can they still be productive in a poor working environment you may ask, the answer is yes, but it will be far from their best work and surely it will not reflect what they are truly capable of producing. 

Recently, I've been asked to move to a new building, into an office that's half the size of my current space, with a new person that I don't. Here's my dilemma, besides the obvious already stated,  I really like the project and the people that I'm current working with, but this move will isolate me from the rest of the companies projects and it will lock my computer out from them as well, I am uncomfortable with this to say the least. I have refused to move at this point, desperately trying to maintaining my current situation. The professional in me wants to comply with their wishes but moving into a work environment that is inevitably  going to make me unhappy is a unhealthy path to head down. I'm good  at what I do and I love my career, but it can be difficult even on good days when everything is right with the world, so I don't need to upset it with something that can easily be avoided. So far, we have been able to work around this issue and I hope to be able to maintain my current situation.

Here is a statement that people make that drives me absolutely crazy. "Don't take it personally".  I find it offensive to say the least. First, let me tell you that this statement, "Don't take it personally" is one of the most stupid and apathetic things that anyone could say to another person.  Anything that effects them in any way is personal, so, when someone said to me something like "Don't take it personally, we are asking everyone on our project to do this" I of course took offense to this statement immediately. Personally, I think that it's a cheap tactic to try and make someone feel as though they are not a team player, just to get them to comply with their want. Blindly following someone does not make someone a team player. Truth is, I am loyal to a fault, but  I guess I'm suppose to disregard any of my own personal well-being, my family's well-being and my  career and go in the same direction that all the other sheep go without question. Who's to say it does or doesn't work for the others, and if it doesn't and they are willing to suffer through day to day,  that still should not have any bearing on my situation. Usually, when someone says to me "Don't take it personally" I can't help but to  return the statement "Would you be okay with this if it were you?" or "Would you be okay with this if it was one of your children?" They always get angry and say "Hey, let's not make this personal".  REALLY?! Decisions are made for many different reasons, many of them for reasons unannounced to me, but I can guaranty that none of them take into account my well-being, nor do they even care to when they are being made. I have learned the hard way that the only person looking out for me is me. So, let me inform anyone who might read this so that you fully understand my thoughts on this, anything that can effect my personal well-being and that is to include my family's well-being, I will take personally without reserve. 

Okay, I'm glad I got that off my chest.

This is an unfinished scene from a sequence jam 
packed with witchcraft. It would have been 
awesome if I could have finished the sequence.


This was an awesome project and a great experience  
 it was eventually canceled to my great disappointment. It was  a 
great example of having a conducive work place with great people 
all at the same time,  I couldn't get enough of this project.

These were ideas I sketched for some possible shots
 in a travel sequence for "TEMBO" I don't think I 
ever showed these to anyone.

I can say that "TEMBO" wasn't always
a conducive work environment. It made it 
hard to perform at my best.

This is a preliminary drawing that I will eventually
 illustrate for my good friend Eric. He is an avid CUBS
fan as well as his family.

This is a worked up thumbnail and below it are
 the finished story panels that came out of it. 
"MONKEYS" was a very demanding project, 
but I loved it, the challenges it presented from
day to day is what I liked the most. A story 
artist grows the most when he is being challenged.


This another thumbnail that I found. It is an example
of how ruff they can be, this was a small sketch I did 
for the director to see if this was what he was thinking.

More drawings from my time on 

Deepu drawings

 Thumbnails for a couple of shots featuring Ravana's Demons.

More Raj expressions.