Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Old friend, good times, great opinions?

I had a dear friend visit me this past weekend, I'll refer to him as Shadrak, to protect his innocents. Jodi and I have known Shadrak for a very long time and when he comes into town he always stays for a visit. He an exceptional house guest. It was refreshing to have an old friend come and share some good times with us. He's a great cook as well but he has a screwed idea of how to make Caprese, that's another story for another time. I really admire his professionalism and his integrity both, in his professional and personal life. There is much more to Shadrak, but in the interest of time I will not share more about this kind fella. I'm honored to be his friend, plus my kids love him. I think that's enough schmoozing for now, don't you?

So, I asked Shadrak if he would please start reading my blog. Oh, and I asked him to please write some comments when he felt they were needed; then I remember what a major perfectionist he was, and when I say perfectionist, I mean the ultimate in perfection. I've always admired this in him but I've never been in the path of it's scrutiny either. What did I just do? I went in and quickly checked my grammar before I let him look at my blog, of course something got messed up in the process and the illustrations I posted disappeared. " That's just great", I exclaimed with displeasure, towards my wife, who is also my technical staff. She quickly expressed with equal emphasis,"just relax, I'll fix it later, I don't have time right now". The first time the Shadrak was going to viewed my blog, and it was already messed up. Gulp! He scanned it quickly with his skeptical eye, periodically pausing or should I say studying. I'm pretty sure I heard a sigh or a humph once or twice leak out under his breath. He turn and look me in the eye, I wiped the sweet off my upper lip as he spoke,"Maybe you could expand a little on some of the comments below the drawings." Then he got up and walked away from the computer. That's it, that's all I'm going to get?

Well, I didn't get a good read on wether he liked it or he didn't like it, but I realized that he understood that my blog is still in it's infancy and that over time it will develop into a well oiled machine and it will be respected and a often referred to forum. I
am of the opinion that comments from people like Shadrak will only make this blog better and more interesting to read. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Oh, by the way, Shadrak asked me if I wouldn't mind writing something about working in a collaborative environment, actually I think he told to write about that, what ever. I want everyone who looks at this blog to understand that comments and questions are encouraged. Next post I'll talk about working in a collaborative environment.

All three of these pieces are from when I was working at Disney on "The Kingdom of the Sun" before it became "Emperor's New Groove". I liked both versions but the big wigs at Disney thought they new better and made major changes on the project. Guess what? They were wrong and the film tanked at the box office. On a different note, it is one of the most well liked films by college students, go figure! The piece above was so large that I had to Xerox it in pieces and patch it back together, hence the seems on the art work. The whole drawing was not on the screen at the same time, there was a camera move that went along with this piece of art work. It was so large because in the old days, the size of the character animation dictated the actual size of a background a lot of the time, I'm sure now that photoshop has entered the 2D film industry things are different now.

This piece had a camera move on it as well.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "Shadrak" ChadSeptember 13, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    Ha! What a great post. Shadrak here back in Orlando from my work on the west coast which had the bright spot of a two-day visit with the Grasso clan. They are some of my favorite people in the whole world.

    When Craig asked me to look at his blog, I was excited as I am a huge fan of his work. His description of the technical problems and the interaction between he and Jodi are right on the money. She typing away on a Labor Day morning, he was impatiently sighing with no power to change the situation. And I am the perfectionist - right.

    As Craig whisked Jodi out of the desk chair and wheeled my up to the screen, I could see that he wanted lots of feedback, preferably the positive kind. Sorry. But when I have the opportunity to play with Sable, Eden and Ariana, there isn’t a blog in the world that doesn’t take a distant back seat. And so Craig would have to wait.

    With a tough work week ahead, I knew the perfect time to take in all of Craig and Jodi and Samanatha’s work on the blog. It is here, a peaceful Sunday morning perfectly paired with a delicious cup of coffee and a comfy leather sofa as an homage to the author himself.

    It has been a great morning filled with exceptional artwork and insights of a talented artist, caring father, Caprese snob, occasional dramatic (“actually I think he told to write about that”) and all around good guy.

    At his core, Craig is a storyteller. I saw it in many ways this past weekend. Whether it’s playing a game or shopping for food, he can’t help himself but pack as many sound effects, hand gestures, facial expressions, postures and voices into every conversation. I think this blog will be a whole new venue for Craig and his stories.

    I will provide Craig with as much feedback as he can tolerate, but I will spare fellow blog readers from enduring that.

    So in response to his comment “Well, I didn't get a good read on whether he liked it or he didn't like it…”, I love it! One a selfish note, it minimizes the 3,000 miles between me and my friends. It inspires me with great art. It makes me laugh and sometimes exclaim “What the…?” It’s the stuff of life wrapped in a great package.
    I know the discipline that it takes to regularly blog – it’s one that I don’t possess. So thanks for doing this Craig and inviting me to enjoy it. Bring it on!

  3. Craig,
    Well i finally am at computer. You have a great gift and such attention to detail. Thanks for sharing your talent. I have not seen this movie but know the successes. David