Monday, January 26, 2009

Episode 2.5!

Check it out folks, it's RDCCDX: The Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga- Episode 2.5: "Parking Garage Diplomacy".

Oy vey, this was supposed to be a short little mini episode we could easily churn out, but it turned into some Deep Throat-CSM-Work-a-Thon for Matt and I.
But hey, we said we'd release it Monday. I hope somebody noticed that, because we really were working hard to stick to that deadline.

EDIT: Ok, now I got a second to breathe. A big thanks goes out to Tim Martin and Emily Tarver who did the voices as well as collaborated with us and Zack Scheer to make this little ditty. Episode 2.5 was a fun one to work on because it was fresh and new. All of the "full" episodes were written & recorded months ago, so the material feels a bit stale and old to Matt and myself. But for this one, we got to bring everyone into the room together to record and throw around ideas. It was a fun change of pace. We also got to experiment in the drawing department with some lighting and perspective. Even though it nearly drove me insane, I'm please with how the backgrounds turned out. Seriously, I felt like I spent an entire day trying to draw one background. I'll post them later on, I'm too tired right now. I'm going to go eat a banana.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Everything I ever wanted to know about perspective drawing I learned in junior year of college and then forgot

Before I begin this post I must state that I am in no way an expert or even at perspective drawing. But after a marathon session of drawing, and then complaining to Matt while he was trying to watch wrestling, we both finally remembered some of the basics that the incomparable Matt Sheridan taught us in college. I thought I would share my meager knowledge today.

So, this is how you figure out proportions of equidistant crap in perspective. I'm talking about like, if you're drawing a row of doors down a hallway or telephone poles disappearing into the desert horizon. That's the classic example they use in drawing classes- for some reason. I'm down with it; something romantic about the American Southwest indeed. Anyways, for my purposes I'm drawing cement poles in a parking garage, since that's where the next mini episode of RDCCDX: The Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga takes place. I had to figure out where to place all these poles in a manner that looked like they were equally space apart yet getting smaller in the distance. Here's how I did it, and how you can do it- in 6 easy steps.

Step 1: get yourself a vanishing point. Most art stores carry them- some places online sell them in bulk. Don't worry about brand, they're all the same. So you get some vanishing points. If you're doing one point perspective, put down, one- if you're doing two point perspective- you put down two. Since I'm a simpleton- I did one point perspective. So here goes my dot.
Phew. Ok. Step 2: lay out your horizon line (the line in red there) and then make two lines for the angle of the stuff your drawing. In my case, these purple lines marked where I wanted the tops and bottoms of the cement poles to go.
Step three- draw some vertical lines. I drew where I wanted two of the cement poles to go.
Ok, so at this point I was like "Man, I think these poles are spaced too far apart, I need to draw a pole in between these two- but HOW?". Conventional widsom says, just find the halfway point between the two verticals. Well, conventional wisdom is wrong- cuz you're in the twisted world of perspective- up is down, black is white, god is dead and geometric algorithims rule with an iron fist. So what do you do? Step 4: Draw an X between the two verticals.
The center of that X is the halfway point between those two verticals. Amazing! But shit, I wanted to draw some more poles. You know like, ones going far into the distance, how do I figure out where thos are? I have nothing to make an X between- WHY IS LIFE SO CRUEL!?

Step 5: Draw a line from your vanishing point- through the center of your X. In my case it was pretty close to the horizon line, so I'll just use that again.

Step 6: Draw a diagonal from the top of one of your verticals through where the center line meets the next diagonal. Where that line touches the bottom diagonal- is where your next pole would go. It sounds complicated, but it's not- I'm just really bad at explaining things. LOOK AT DRAWING!
You can keep doing variations of this X/diagonal method to figure out where things should go. For this drawing I kinda winged some of it, but the used that whole technique as a basis for laying it all down.
Man, that took a while. And I got 5 more to go. Woo and a hoo. The next RDCCDX mini episode is coming out this Monday. Be ready and keep watching the medicine cabinets- KEEP WATCHING THE MEDICINE CABINETS!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back to (the) drawing boards

Matt and I started drawing boards for Episode 2.5 and Episode 3 of Ronin Dojo Community College DX: The Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga. 2.5 proved to be particularly difficult, as it takes place in a parking garage. It's a great location, with all sorts of cinematic possibilities-angles and perspective and repeating patterns vanishing into the distance and all sorts of other things which are hard for me to draw.

In these cases, photo reference is key- and the internet is the lazy animator's god. There was a beautiful spread of photos of vast, empty parking garages on Flickr. But even with an array of moody photos at our fingertips, it was still hard to turn the space around in our heads and fit things to what we wanted. If this weren't for a minute long piece, we'd probably have to haul our asses out to a Home Depot or something.

In other news, I've started experimenting with brushes and inking. I've been kinda frustrated lately, wondering why my drawings never look smooth and sweet like everybody elses. And I guess reading Bone was the last straw.

I went out and bought some small water color brushes, india ink and a pad of vellum. Not sure if these are the right tools or not, I was just kinda winging it on some advice my friend Kudlick had given me. So, here's a new Ronin Dojo t-shirt design I've been working on, which I inked with a mix of brushes and Micron pens.

I was mixing the brushes and pen out of necessity, my hand isn't steady enough to make thin details with a brush. However when I found Youtube vids of Jeff Smith and Jim Lee doing it too, I realized it was kosher and felt a bit better about myself. I really have no concept of how professional people go about things, cut me some slack.

Anyways, now I'm gonna go paint with some smashed berries.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to the back- with a tat!

I'm starting 2009 with a first. This is the first ever tattoo of something I've drawn.
That's the right leg of my buddy Darrell, freshly inked with a tattoo I designed for him this past summer. It's a tribute to our friend Dan Hess, and the ska shows that he and Michelle Chin used to put on at this indoor soccer place called the Corner Kick.

Originally, shows were held on the Corner Kick's indoor field, but majority of the shows were put on at the upstairs bar area. This meant that someone had to go downstairs to check that empty, darkened field and locker room every once in a while. Thus, Make-Out Patrol. Dan would take some of us down with flashlights to make the rounds
to make sure no kids were screwing around or making babies.
Those shows at the Corner Kick were lots of fun. They were all ages, and you could see local bands goofing around and playing ska, reggae, punk, rockabilly, and rock. Sometimes there would be some sweet out of town bands coming through, but you knew there would always be Dan and Alex's band The Ratchet Boys playing, with Dan making all sorts of ridiculous jokes and throwing donuts at you.

Dan and Michelle and Rude In DC productions enabled an entire local music scene to exist. They put on these shows, ran, made t shirts for bands- they brought the scene together by giving local bands a place to play and everyone a place to dance and have fun and get a Krispy Kreme in the face. Seeing that Michelle and Dan could make things like this happen on their own was definitely a big inspiration to me.

Dan passed away in 2007, he'll always be missed and never forgotten. Especially, now that Darrell's got a tribute to him emblazoned on his calf. That thing is not coming off in the shower. I went with him when he got the tattoo, there was blood.

Here's a link to a big image of the design.