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.