Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MADAGASCAR 3 Book Is Out Now!

Was out at Target tonight to see if I could buy a copy of the Scooby DVD I did the cover for (wouldn't it be nice to get one for free?) and saw the new Madagascar 3 book I did work on sitting there on the shelf in the book area! I'm all over in some places! Support Dalmatian Press! They gave me a great condolence card for my family! Thanks to them!

Scooby-Doo "13 Spooky Tales Around The World" DVD Is Now Out!

Last week on the 15th of May, a new Scooby-Doo DVD came out called "13 Spooky Tales Around The World". I forgot about it coming out since my father has died and I came across it today and decided to post the roughs of it for you process junkies. For this cover the agency had the basic concept for what they wanted and they gave me a super rough drawing that looked like a child had drawn it. It was just enough to show what they were looking for so my job was to go straight from that to putting it "on model". There would be no rough stage art to then get approved, which honestly I would have prefered. Normally what you do is series of concept sketches and then you do revisions till everyone is happy. These drawings can be slightly off model as you are trying to nail the look of the cover as a whole and how all the elements come together. Once that stage is approved, you then go in and lock it down and put it on model. Also during the on model stage, all the elements have to be separated so they can removed elements or shift something at the last moment if they want to. If it's all one flat piece of art, you can't do that. Once the final key art is on model, you do a color theory piece to make sure everyone is on board with your choice of colors and then the final art is done and then approved.

Anyway, below are the original two "on model" drawings I did. As you may notice, or may not at first, Shaggy is in a different pose. In this first version he's stepping over the hill as he chases after Scooby instead of bounding over it in a full run pose. This was how the original concept art was conceived but they do allow the artist to fix things and add their own take to make it even better. So this version shows the original way it was to be...

And this version below was my version of Shaggy in a full running pose. They loved this one more (as well as I did) and so my new Shaggy made it to the final art. Sometimes you never know how things will play out so it helps to have other options if you have the time to do them.
Since the concept art was so loose, I was forced to do everything separately anyway since I didn't know how it would all fit together in the end. Scooby himself was in an extreme pose running right towards us and he dictated how the rest of it was going to have to fit together. I didn't know how he would affect all the other elements such as the placement of the Gang, landmarks, spaceship, water, etc. So the first thing I had to draw was Scooby, as he is the star, but also because it was key to make him work just by himself. My job also was to, in my mind, make a Scooby pose that was worthy of Iwao Takamoto (Scooby's visual creator) and one that he himself would have liked. That was a lot of pressure so I had to think about bad tangents and positive/negative space all working in tandem together and how he'd look in just a silhouette. It was like doing a piece of Scooby-Doo style guide art which can be hard to get right. I drew on Scooby on 8.5 x 11 cheap copy paper and inked him with a PITT Brush Marker and some Micron Pens.
After Scooby was done I did was the ground and river, and then did the other elements like the White House and Aztec Temple/Aztec God since they all had certain places they had to be on the cover. Once they were all drawn out, I started on the rest of the Gang and Shaggy was the first character I did since he was the closest to Scooby in the running line of characters. Even as I was doing the thumbnails for him I knew I wanted to change his pose. I didn't know if him coming over the hill would have worked as well on the final as it did on the loose concept art, so I did two versions on him on the same piece of paper. I did my version of him first and then did their version. Once again drawn on 8.5 x 11 copy paper.
Next up was the Gang and since they were going to be around a half-inch in size on the final art, I had to do them much bigger to make sure I could get into the detail of them accurately. All three characters were done on one 8.5 x 11 copy paper. I also had to draw them all running and in slightly different poses to keep them interesting. If I drew them all running in the same pose with the same leg and arm coming forward it would have stuck out as boring since each character runs in their own way.
Here's the Aztec God. I had do to him separate from the temple just case he had to be moved over a mouse click or two.
Then when it was all drawn out, I then scanned it all in and spent several hours piecing it together like Colorforms on a background plate and seeing how all the elements worked in tandem with another. If one element had to be redrawn it was easy to do since they were a separate layer and could be deleted and substituted for a better drawing. When I added my version of Shaggy to the layout I then had to slightly adjust the other members of the Gang as well. So it takes some time to get right. Luckily I didn't have to do any other drawings for this cover and it was approved and good to go to the final art stage. It's easier to color the art as well when it's all separated onto single layers. When I submitted the final design, I thought for sure WB would have had some kind of revision/s but they didn't! Usually with higher end things they can nitpick elements like Scooby's nose being a hair too big or his tail being a hair longer than it should be. This is one of the rare times that I got everything right the first time out with no changes! I guess all the years I've drawn him helped a lot. Ha! Hope you enjoyed reading about this work process!

For those who'd like to purchase the DVD set on Amazon, here's the link!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Robert K. Neely (May 2, 1939 – May 4, 2012)

My father, Robert K. Neely, passed away at 11:55pm on May 4, 2012 in Delaware County Memorial Hospital after his long ten year battle with kidney cancer. He had just turned 73 only two days before his passing. He was probably the longest survivor of kidney cancer in the state of Pennsylvania. He was a fighter and never gave up even when it looked like it was the end. Over the years many doctors have said that he had nine lives since he had so many health problems due to not only the cancer but the effects of the cancer drugs he was taking, and he was still able to walk out of the hospital on his own. After ten years of a grueling emotional and physical fight that started in 2002, his body was exhausted and finally succumbed… but not his mind. Where his fight and drive came from and kept him going we don’t know, but he was tough. His spirit lives on. His use of experimental cancer drugs, which were just approved by the FDA in 2004 when he needed them most, and their results on his body over the past decade will be a massive help to future patients everywhere.

My father was best known as a salesman who worked at Dick Barone Chevrolet and Rothrock Chevrolet in Springfield, Pa for a combined 55 years. He started at Dick Barone Chevrolet when he was just out of high school and worked his way up the ladder from auto mechanic and then into sales and became the sales manager where he spent the bulk of his time and made many friends in the community. When Barone Chevrolet was sold and became Rothrock Chevrolet he continued in management and then retired in September of 2009 due to complications from his battle with cancer. He was a man of honesty and integrity and was loved by all that knew him.

The last five months were probably the worst for him, and for us, but he took it in stride and rode it out. He was not in pain at the end and he died peacefully, which is what we wanted the most. I’m also glad the stress my mother felt over the years is now over and she can enjoy her life to the most as well now. She had given much of herself to him over the past ten years and was his rock. I’m personally glad he was there in 2007 and 2010 to see when I had received two awards. This picture above is from May 2010 when I was inducted into the Springfield High School’s 1st Inaugural “Arts Hall of Fame.”

He will be missed.

Thanks Dad.

I love you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sometimes, Life Is A Real...

Well, this year hasn't gone the way I thought it would... I have to apologize since I've not been posting the way I wanted to. Life has gotten in the way and my father's health had taken a severe turn for the worse from late January to pretty much now. There's been so much drama that I even stopped working for two weeks to help out as we didn't know how all of this was going to work out in the end. I recently have been working the last two weeks on art though.

For an update, I've been working on Phineas and Ferb for Disney here in America and am also doing some work for P and F for a studio in Paris, France this week. I've also just done a second round of rough sketches for the next Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated Season 2 DVD sets and the Tom and Jerry Robin Hood DVD cover is finally done now as well. This week and last week were busy with work here and I think they love me at Disney as I keep getting P and F work all the time. I've had three jobs going at once and so I haven't been able to post anything till now.

Other than that, I've been juggling life and work of late and have "fallen off the grid" so to speak. I hope to get moving soon again and will be posting new stuff for you all to see, so please check back!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some Props...

Here's some props I did for Bratz back in 2004. A lot of the work was almost like doing an animated cel with the character art being on a separate layer from the background so you could create different layouts. Above is a full background plate and the prop was a set of lockers that was for a high school hallway. I did everything separately and so you could take the lockers off and just have the hallway. Then I could add a clock or some other high school themed prop I would then create to redress it. I've done a lot of my professional work in this nature to get more out of a background. I normally don't want to spend a lot of time working on a background only to just use it once and then move on. In some cases, you can reuse them, or just use the perspective of the background and build something new.

Here's the original rough I did of the lockers. I originally did only three and then added two more to make it more of a wall of lockers. When I did the original color file of the locker art, I kept the original three lockers on one layer and the added two on another. I also left it open to go back in and change the colors at some point if I wanted or needed to. Also, all this work was done in Photoshop with the pen tool. Not sure why I didn't do it in Illustrator at the time but nowadays I probably would build it there and then add the color enhancements in Photoshop. Now once I settled on the look I wanted, I save the file in layers and then flatten the locker art and drag it over to the main background file where I compile all the different elements into one final piece. All my Strawberry Shortcake art was done this was since the character art alone could be around 20-25 layers in Illustrator, and that was just one character!
This I thought I would add as a little extra to this post. I had to create a soda can for the lunch room tables in the high school cafeteria backgrounds. I also created brown paper lunch bags, chairs, lunch trays, etc to make the lunch room seemed "lived in". I was and am quite proud of my little soda can. I had this done in about 15 minutes or so and then just copied and pasted a bunch to add throughout the scene. This is fairly big though as they were maybe a 1/4-inch to a 1/2-inch in the final piece. But again, it's a prop that is built and I could reuse again.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Professor Pericles Sketch!

This week I did 3 art comps and a variant for the possible DVD cover to Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated - Season 2 and thought I'd post a separate element that I made as a variant to one of the designs I did, and it was for Professor Pericles who is a villian in the series! It may not be used in the end though. For those who don't know the process, you do several art comps based upon notes of how they want the DVD cover to look (or what story angle they want to pursue) and you do some roughs. When submitted they may like one a lot and then they'll add revisions to them, or possible they may not like any of them or the direction since they changed their minds, and you then do a round 2 (or 3, or more) of sketches till you arrive at a final rough that everyone likes. Once that's approved by all parties, you then do the final tight rough which is put "on model" and everything is locked down. Then it goes to the final color art stage after a light color theory preliminary is submitted so they can see how you imagine the color theory going for the final art.

And I'll be working on Tom and Jerry's DVD cover this weekend as well, which is a round 3, since I now have the new title logo to work with and new art direction.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Starting 2012 With Scooby-Doo!

Actually, I finished my last P 'n F jobs on Friday, December 30th around 3pm and went into my email to let Disney know that they were done (even though most corporate people were off this week) and saw a new email from the agency in LA with a new job!

So now I'm doing the DVD cover art for Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated - Season 2! So I'll be doing the first round of concept sketches this week! The second season doesn't start airing episodes till May this year, but they are starting early to get this work done and in the can so I'm guessing this will come out next fall. So I'm excited. So excited, I forgot to email Disney that the P 'n F work was done! Ha! So we start yet another year drawing Scooby and the Gang! If my math is correct, I guess this is my 12th year straight now!

Also, as an aside, DC Comics is using one of my Scooby comic covers for the first Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? trade paperback collection coming out this winter! It collects comic issues 1-6! I'll post it when it comes out. I did one story as well that should be in it.

Slaving Away... Or "Sorry! I Was Really Busy This Past Fall!"

Well, it's been so long I almost forgot how to post through Blogger! I know some may have given me up for dead or onto some other social platform since I've not posted since August! I've never had that much of a lapse go by without posting, but the work was flying off the drawing board just as fast as new gigs landed on top of it! Any contractor (or freelance person) can tell you that it's feast or famine when you are a freelancer so you tend to take a lot of jobs as you don't know when the slow times will hit. There's always a natural ebb and flow to things but this past fall from September on till December 29th was jammed! I've been very fortunate since there are a lot of talented folks who are struggling to get anything right now.

I've had the joy of being in Phineas and Ferb's backyard for most of it all and the work has been so constant that I've had to turn down some work since I can't draw three big P 'n F jobs at once. I can usually make it work but some deadlines were the same exact date and hence there would be an issue, so I'm back to trying to figure out how to clone myself.

As I say, most of the fall was spent with Phineas and Ferb, creating inators, and Agent P battling Doof in his lab, but I did do other cool side jobs as well!

1) A Scooby-Doo DVD cover for a repackaged collection coming out in 2012. I'll let you know when it's close to release and what it's called.

2) The new Tom & Jerry movie DVD cover (which we are in the 3rd round of sketches and waiting on them to decide what the actual title of the film will be since the design will be affected by the size and look of any title logo.) This one is Tom & Jerry meet Robin Hood (working off the classic 1938 'Flynn' Style) and is following on the heels of Tom & Jerry and The Wizard of Oz which is in stores now. The Wizard of Oz one is really well done and a lot of fun mixing the two IPs together.

3) Madagascar 3 licensing work, which is still being drawn, redrawn, re-redrawn and then finalized and should be done by February sometime.

4) A housing development sketch for Odyssey Design. Got photos of a building development being rebuild and refurbished and had to do artistic color art for a sales brochure that will show off what the property will look like when it's done. It's a mess still right now so you do art that will help sell it based upon the final look.

5) Odds and Ends - Did some original sketches, commissions, and other small job commercial work here and there and sold all the original Scooby art for the Mystery Incorporated book I did this time last year! (Thanks, Jim!)

As I say it's been hectic but all the work has been done on time and on schedule. From November into December I was working on P 'n F and had to get two jobs done by the 12th and then the 19th of the month. I did and thought I'd have off till January but then got another P 'n F job offer on the 20th that would have had me working through and on Christmas for a due date of the 28th. I've worked the last two Christmases so I turned it down only to get an email 30 minutes later with three small P 'n F jobs due on January 2nd! So I took them! Hahaha! Hard to turn down work, but these were rather simple and didn't add any stress to the holiday season. But I tell you all that to show how busy it has been. Luckily I did mostly all my Christmas shopping and had it wrapped the night before Halloween. I know you are laughing at that but I do shop early and get it done while I have disposible cash and that way I have no holiday debt ever to pay off during the winter.

Let's see, what else, I've had no social life and my birthday in late November was rather low key this year with a nice meal. But I'm hoping to change all that this year as 2012 has now begun... with another cool job! Read the next post for more!

As a New Year's resolution, I will be posting reguarly, though some stuff I can't post till they get closer to coming out, but I will be posting new art and sketches.