Thursday, June 28, 2012

You're wondering now...

Just in case anyone has been wondering why I've had no updates in "forevs".  I've moved all my blogging action over to my main website  So if you want to see new drawings by me, go check there.  And if anyone still checks here and refuses to go anywhere else, well then maybe I'll just repost everything here.  Who knows.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For Tax Reasons Goes To Genericon!

February 11th-13th, Matt and I (aka For Tax Reasons) will be all up in Troy, New York for GENERICON XXIV!  48 straight hours of sci-fi, anime, and gaming (of the video, table and live action varieties).  Of course, like any self-respecting convention, there will be PANELS PANELS PANELS!

We’ll be running two of the previously exclaimed panels.  A how-to animate panel- where Matt and I will discuss producing independent shorts, the creative process and showcasing work. As well as a screening and Q&A panel- where we’ll take on all the scathing questions and criticisms the viewing public has been too afraid to voice over the internet.  And as a special surprise† we’ll be screening our never released Ronin Dojo Community College DX cartoon!

Go to for more details.  We’ll be chilling there all weekend, and should have a table up. So if you’re in the NY area, come around and hang out.

†no longer a surprise, specialty withstanding

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chach Rules!

This past weekend I hauled my butt back to DC for the Max Levine Ensemble's 10 Year Anniversary Show.  It was, without a doubt, one of the best shows I've been too.

I started playing in a band right around the time TMLE started up; the Konami Code for anyone interested (we were once mentioned in Game Pro at the height of our "success").  We dabbled in the same DC/MD/VA punk-ska-anything scene, and knew each other from hanging out at the Corner Kick- this indoor soccer place where our friends from DC Ska / Rude In DC would put on these awesome shows with local bands.  At any rate, fairly early on my journeys as a teenage songwriter it became evident that TMLE were operating on a much different level than I was.  Their first songs right off the bat were so insightful and nuanced, yet still fun and catchy at the same time.   Whenever I heard a new song from them, I would say something like "Oh yeah, I've thought about that too" or "So you don't have to slam a slogan over someone's head to make a statement".  Plus, on top of all the punk rock, they had a sense of humor.  So seeing them live was always a rad time. 

I'm rambling.  Point being, I was impressed with them when they started and I'm still impressed with them today, and super glad they've been going 10 years strong.  It was so fun to see everyone come together for the show, see all the old faces and friends, and feel all the super posi vibes.  And of course, it was great to hear them play Pizza Guy again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

That's the second longest Monkey Island post I've ever seen!

Over the holiday break, I had the chance to get reacquainted with an old friend. Not one of my high school chums, I see them fairly often. I'm talking about graphic adventure games.

The story starts when I got an iPhone! (<-- Read in Oprah voice) First app I purchased proper- THE SECRET OF MOTHERFUCKING MONKEY ISLAND! 
 It is so awesome to have that game in my hands. I'm not too hot on the Special Edition graphics (though it's fun listening to the new voice overs), but with a simple two finger swipe you're back in original game mode. Only complaint, I think the music from the forests on Mêlée Island™ weren't included. That was one of my hauntingly favorite synth reggae tracks.

After all the excitement of having an app everyone else played months ago, I got sick and was stuck in bed with a fever. I found myself rocking even more graphic adventure games. Legend of Kyrandia 2 and Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game and Tales of Monkey Island. I love the writing, acting and graphics in both of Telltale's ventures. Tales is an especially welcome sight for sore eyes. Between the third and fourth iteration of the Monkey Island series, the graphics had moved from this, with Curse of Monkey Island:

To this, with Escape from Monkey Island:

I was sad too, Guybrush. Personally, nothing tops my nostalgic love for the EGA graphics in the first two Monkey Island games, or the way the box art captured my imagination (I know at least one guy feels the same). But we can't live in the past, and I really dig what Telltale is doing.

So I was moved to do a little Monkey Island tribute. Click HERE to see the original.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

to every kid who ever got picked last in art class

I got some new Ronin Dojo Community College DX artwork finished up. Hum some Pokemon music and watch this one evolve. Dum dum dum dum. . .

Did some experimenting with a lot of elements in these. I really wanted the characters to pop off their surroundings, but I didn't want to paint everything by hand. Since I had drawn the characters and the background on separate layers in Photoshop, I decided I would just make the background lines lighter.

When coloring, I selected each background object using the magic wand, expanded the selection at least 3 or 4 pixels into the line, and filled it with the paint bucket on it's own layer. This really bit deep into my line, and made each layer essentially over lap one another.

I stacked the layers in the order they actually be on each other. Then I dropped the line layer down to 30% opacity. This left the line slightly gray, and because I had 'over filled' each object, no uncolored white space showed through.

I also added in shadows and highlights with a textured brush, and made a layer with the blending mode set to "overlay" and lightly brushed some flat areas to give them a faux, painted feel. Again, an attempt to make the characters stand out from the background.

For a final touch, I tried putting a slight airbrushed vignette around the edges. To help keep the focus. Just brushed some black on a layer with the blending mode set to "overlay".

I'm still experimenting with diff ways to color and paint backgrounds, if anyone has suggestions I'd love to hear them. I'd really like to try some with no lines at all, but that might involve just straight up painting in Photoshop. That is not my forté. Also, these three drawings will have text on them, if you're wondering why there's so much extra space on the top and bottom.

Side note: messy rooms are a pain to draw. Lots of details, lots of colors to pick out. But it pays to push yourself extra mile, otherwise it just feels empty and flat. If you can't push yourself to do it, just find someone to yell at you about it. I had Ms. Jordie Bellaire on my case this time around.

I need to get better with my background details I think, more photo reference or something. There is an awesome example of a fully fleshed out, messy room over at Meaghan Carters blog. Great specifics. It's the little things. . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rough Drawings from a Person Who Does What Is Roughly Considered Drawing

Here are some rough pieces of Ronin Dojo Community College DX artwork I've been working on. Thought I'd share them with the interwebs.

These first couple might be used for posters. I was attempting to work in some interesting angles; trying to emulate the classic epic, anime ensemble pose. I had to keep pushing myself to make the gestures feel kinetic and alive. Still don't think I pushed it far enough.

More fun with perspective and faking a fish eye lens type effect. In this one, you can see an unmasked version of David, the mysterious third nerd from IM IN UR MANGER KILLING UR SAVIOR.

A more standard use of perspective with this one. Unlike photography and live action, cartoons don't have that inherent sense of depth. You have to go out of your way to build up that sense of space and reality. If someone had battered me over the head with the rules of perspective starting when I was like five- maybe I'd have mastered it by now.

While working on these, I was paging through Rad Sechrist's blog, along with the Art Center blog he contributes to. Lot of great tips and inspiration up there. Definitely check it out if you're an animator, illustrator or if you like ducks in steam punk looking suits.

I'll try to be a little Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance here, and say that it's a good thing that I'm 27 and still learning about drawing and animation. Embarrassing, but good.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Going Digital Saves You The Pain of Trashing Stuff

Phew, it feels good to be back on the ol' internet. For a couple months I was on a little work hiatus. As in a hiatus from being on the internet because of work. Not to be confused with a hiatus from working, or the 1954 B-Movie Hiatus From The Black Lagoon.

So now that I have nothing going, what better to do than blog.

I took a little break and went back home to Maryland. My parents requested I clear out some of the mess I've accumulated in the basement storage room, or they'd call whoever cleans up the houses on Hoarders. During my digging and crying, I ran across a couple boxes worth of animation.

This represents only a fraction of For Tax Reasons' work. I think some of IM IN UR MANGER is in there, the heads from the G.O.P. P.S.A.'s, and part of my Got My Number music video.

It's almost as tall as Marley! And would be even taller if Matt and I didn't cut so many corners when we animate. Of course, if we didn't cut any corners, we'd probably only have two shorts online.

I kept a few of the drawings, but threw most of them into the recycling bin. They're all scanned and saved on various hard drives; pretty pointless to keep around. Even if I became ridiculously famous in some bizarre twist of fate, nobody would ever want the majority of these drawings. Since Matt and I work with so many layers and libraries, they're mostly bodies without heads and random arms:

The only way someone would EVER want those drawings is if I become a crazy eccentric billionaire- and after I die Sotheby's auctions off my state and includes them in some 2 for 1 deal with a real live genetically engineered Centaur. Only then would somebody MAYBE want those drawings. Fancy auctions do 2 for 1 deals, right?

As you can see, I work hard to validate my decisions to toss anything.