Monday, 26 November 2012

El Dorado















This is a painting for The Road to El Dorado done in acrylics on Crescent #100 illustration board. Below is my initial sketch, as you can see I got overly excited about the contrasts and needed to back off in the final to make it a proper character moment. The last image is the final frame as it appears in the movie.
















NEW BOOK ABOUT ALBERT DORNE


Just in time for the holidays,  Auad Publishing (which brought you last year's Robert Fawcett monograph) has released the first monograph dedicated to master illustrator Albert Dorne, the most successful commercial artist of his day.






The book is hard cover, 9x12" with a dust jacket and 160 deluxe pages. Like the Fawcett book, it was edited by the talented Manuel Auad, who was kind enough to let me write the text again.

Many thanks to Walt Reed, Howard Munce and Leonard Starr who generously provided me with their memories of Dorne.  Here is my favorite anecdote, from Starr:

The artist Andy Warhol explained to Albert Dorne, "Art must transcend mere drawing."  
"Pardon me, Andy," Dorne interrupted, "but there's nothing all that fucking mere about drawing."
Dorne was one tough bird, and as you can tell, completely unapologetic for the "commercial" nature of his work.

Thanks also to Magdalen and Robert Livesey for generously sharing the archives of Dorne's Famous Artists School, as well as to the Norman Rockwell Museum for their archives containing the illuminating correspondence between Dorne and Norman Rockwell.  Introduction by  Howard Munce, with a "graphic foreword" by Jack Davis.





Monday, 19 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!
















This is a table setting I put together for one of the Shrek projects.

Friday, 16 November 2012

HERCULES TRIUMPHS OVER THE DUMPSTER


Some archaeologists believe that the oldest existing illustration of a fictional work on paper is this drawing of Hercules fighting a lion:
 

Known as the Heracles Papyrus, it was discovered under the desert sands outside the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus (named for a fish which, according to legend, ate the penis of the god Osiris).

The city was once the bustling regional capital of the 19th Upper Egyptian Nome.  For a thousand years, residents dumped their garbage-- including this noble little illustration of Hercules-- in the sands outside the city.  With the fall of the Egyptian empire, the city was conquered by successive foreign invaders (from Alexander the Great in 332 BCE to the Arabs in 641).  Reduced to ruins, Oxyrhyncus was abandoned and gradually reclaimed by the desert.

But it turns out that the climate was perfectly suited for preserving the scraps of paper in the rubbish heaps outside Oxyrhyncus.  The site had virtually no rain, a low water table, and was far from the Nile river (which flooded annually).  The dry sand blew over the tattered bits of papyrus, covering and preserving them until they could be rediscovered by archaeologists.  This was the ancient equivalent of mylar.

Thousands of years later, parents were still throwing away trashy illustrated stories of Hercules.


Hercules rescues Franklin Roosevelt from the Nazis: a comic from the famous "mile high" collection preserved in part by the favorable climate in Denver

But it is all in vain.  Hercules will always triumph over the dumpster. 

Parents hope their children will read something with enduring value, not cheap stories of musclebound heroes drawn on equally cheap paper.  But it's a funny thing about endurance; even the most perishable materials can become darn near immortal when they carry a message that is renewed by each new generation.  The Heracles of the papyrus seems to have outlasted the stone capitals of the mightiest empire on earth.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A little help from the blogosphere please...

Hi all,
I'm getting ready to record demonstrations for a portrait drawing online class I'll be putting out early next year.

Any suggestions on what kind of personal video camera will give me nice, clean recordings?

I hear that a simple HD flip can do a good job under good lighting conditions and that's an affordable option but I'm very open to suggestions

Thanks!

Monday, 12 November 2012

PIB Comp


















This is a comp for the grand finale shot of the Puss in Boots Short "Puss in Boots and the Three Diablos".

Friday, 9 November 2012

Online Class 2nd Term

The second term of my online class has just opened beginning April 15!
We have a limited number of spots, first come first served, sign up today!
Full again, I do appreciate your interest in this class. We may be able to take on more students for the April class at a later date so do go to the link and get on the waiting list if you're interested. We'll also run the class again for you in July and October.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

My New Online Class!

Study Concept Art with me from anywhere in the world! My new online class is Concept Art for Entertainment: Designing with Color And Light. Begins January 10, enrollment is limited, sign up today! Hosted by the great people over at Schoolism!
Thanks for the overwhelming response everyone, the class sold out in the first day! I welcome you to sign up for the following term, go ahead and click the link, there's a window to leave your email address to be notified.


Monday, 5 November 2012













Townscape painting for The Legend of Puss in Boots. We spent a lot of time on a lot of different versions trying to find the right look for Puss in Boot's hometown. This one gets close but there were more tweaks as the show went through final production.