Friday, September 28, 2007

Hand Gesture

Dont' worry. It's not dirty. I just wanted to try out animating a hand since I just finished the hand construction section of the Preston Blair book.

Here it is. It's pretty simple, but I'm really getting the hang of this now. It's amazing what you can do with a mirror and a Wacom tablet. Notice the secondary action of the hand recoiling before it stretches out. Enjoy, and happy weekend.

Go Gators!


Who are these guys?

Preston Blair
Well, they're the animators we all grew up with. Creators of such classics as Red Hot Riding Hood, Droopy, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and many, many others.

Here's Wikipedeia's Blair page:

And here's some background on Tex Avery:

Tex Avery
I tend to prefer Avery's brand of animation a bit more than Blair's. He took more chances and wasn't afraid to "go there" for the gag. Plus with a middle name like "Bean" how can you not be funny?

Hand Construction with Preston Blair

It seems like such an innocuous thing, but proper construction of the hand can go a long way in conveying emotion and expression in an animated character. Here are a couple of pages from this exercise. I enjoyed doing these.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

That whacky Mahmoud

In the spirit of fairness, here's my Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cartoon from December 2006, entitled "Iran's Holocaust." I'm glad I didn't just settle for a "he's nutty, crazy, coo coo" theme.

Last cartoon of the week

This is the kind of stuff that really pisses me off. Of course the story of Bush crony Ray Hunt will probably be way under reported (not to mention under cartooned), but what gets my blood boiling is the thought that our troops are being killed in Iraq while these Texas oil men plan to drill for oil and profit amongst the bloodshed.

This story ran in Newsweek last week, and I saw nary a peep out of cartoonists. There are only a couple of us who are even interested in the Caspian region and other areas of NW Asia. Shame on us for not going after Bush on this. We all know Ahmadinejad is whacked. How many cartoons can we do on that speech? Sorry, I like to save my spit for the end of the week...

Here's the background story (yes, you should read it):

And here's my rough:

And here's the finished drawing. I added more detail in the oil derricks, and learned that in the states they call these "Texas Grasshoppers."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Syndicate cartoon # 1

My first national issue cartoon of the week. The cool thing about this one is, since one of my local papers is in a military town, it's gonna run in that supplement as well.

On the subject of Ken Burn's "The War," if you're not watching it, you're really missing out. What a great synopsis of events. Ken Burns is like our nation's video historian. This should be required viewing for every kid from elementary through high school.

This idea came to me rather quickly, and it was one of those deals where I can't really put my finger on why I got the idea, other than I've been watching that show and thinking of how the horrors of WWII echo in what's going on now.

Here's the rough:

And here's the finished cartoon:

Side-by-side Comparison

As promised:

Full Frontal

No. It's not what you think. It's just my latest animated "head." I've taken the side view that I did earlier and created a frontal animation of this guy saying "helloooo..." I may post both running side by side later on. That might be cool to see.

My wife says it looks like me. God, I hope not.


Notice how the hair, and the ears, and the eyes are almost like separate animations? Those secondary motions are what make it really sing. I just can't imagine doing a whole movie like this though. It takes FOREVER! My only hope is that the more of these I do, the more proficient (and faster) I get.

Local Cartoon

Well, we had a few sprinkles here last week, so you know what that means...St. Augustine is going to flood. It seems that while the city is still trying to hash out where it's "red light district" is going to end up, King Street still floods in a light rain.

Here's the rough:

I Google imaged "King Street" for this shot. Word of warning...when you Google "King Street" you run the risk of getting pix of Britney Spears in all her glory. Best I can figure, those pantiless shots of her in her car were taken on another "King Street."

Here's the finished cartoon:
I changed the wording in the final rendering. I think it just made more sense to show that the city has their priorities all out of whack.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More dialogue with Preston Blair

Here's the exercise from the Preston Blair book that I did before I produced my "Helloooooo...." animation. Notice where I've made corrections in red. It's amazing how even the most subtle change can effect whether or not the sound matches the image. Knowing these facial expressions ahead of time was a real help, but I still found myself looking in the mirror to see just how the face contorts when you form the "wuh" sound, or the "heh" sound. Try it - it's fun! And the best part is, the only person you've got to embarrass is yourself.
Happy weekend.
Go Gators!

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Do-over" in color!

Sometimes being late with something is a good thing.

BTW, I got the revised version to my syndicate in time!~


A "do-over"

Sometimes I like the way my rough sketches come out better than the finished drawings. Today's syndicate cartoon is one of those examples. The devil just came out to darned dark, so I decided to redraw it, and resubmit it. Hopefully I got it in on time. Tell me what you think, and stay tooned for this cartoon in color. The red, and the fire should really make it sing.

Here's the revised cartoon in B&W:

Last syndicate cartoon of the week - fresh squeezed!

I wanted to try a new twist on the latest OJ saga; attempting to tie in previous events and this latest crime. This idea just seemed funny (and obvious) to me; that Simpson would actually try to steal his soul back from the devil.

I also think it's funny that the devil has stored Pol Pot's soul in an actual pot. Go figure.

Here's the rough:

I made a lot of visual adjustments to this cartoon during the final inking, not the least of which was making OJ a little bigger, and making the devil really dark.

Here's the finished cartoon:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dialogue with Preston Blair

Well, as promised, I'm continuing to do my Preston Blair animation exercises directly in Flash. Here's the dialogue exercise. I'm really learning quite a bit in doing these. Like how all of the elements of the face are animated separately, but together at the same time - i.e., the hair has it's own unique characteristics, as do the eyes and the mouth and the eyebrows and the ears. It's like orchestrating a symphony on someones face. This marks the first time I've ever layed down my own voice into an animation. It really wasn't that difficult. I started out wanting to do that silly Seinfeld "Helloooooo..." but it just ended up sounding like silly old me.

To tell the truth, I had just about given up posting these exercises here; then I heard from another editorial cartoonist that he was enjoying seeing my progress, so I decided to continue.

Here it is. Enjoy.

A not so crappy local AND syndicated cartoon

On some rare occasions, I'm able to use one of my local cartoons for my syndicate. Here's one of those occasions. This cartoon actually went through several re-writes with the text until I finally settled on what's shown. In the original, I had the guy say "crap." My editor said it looked like I was saying crap just to say crap. I like writing that word now. It's strangely liberating. Crap. I think blogging the word crap might be making up for not having the word crap in my cartoon. Oh well, crap. Anyway, here's the rough.

Hey, look! The rough had the word crap in it! Cool.

Here's the finished product. Enjoy.

For the record, crap is much funnier than junk.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another local toon

I haven't posted today, so I guess I better put up "something." Here's another local cartoon dealing with the shrinking water levels in NE Florida lakes and in our springs. Believe it or not, there has been some talk over the past few years of pumping water from north Florida down to points south. I don't know where they think all this water is. In the next century water may become as precious as oil. An increase in the number of desalinization plants might be the only answer.

Here's the rough:

And the finished cartoon:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Deconstructing Hillary

Hillary Clinton has done a myriad of things to change her appearance since the 1980's. Probably the thing she's changed most often has been her hair style. That's simple stuff. What I've been struggling with in her caricature is finding a defining facial characteristic. She's a tough one; and I'm not quite sure why. As with all caricatures, you find something odd or unique about the face, and then you amplify it; exaggerate it. I think I might have found the first thing - her over-bite. It was right there all along, and it's pretty pronounced. She's also got what we used to call "apple cheeks," but they're small apples. She's got bug-eyes, and she tends to open them very wide when she's making a point or she gets excited. A lot of this is just observing her as she speaks. We saw her give a speech once down in Orlando. she's a very good speaker - very captivating; she draws you in. Maybe it's those hypnotic eyes...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Second local cartoon of the week

Ok, so I didn't post the first one. It wasn't as good as this one, and surely won't produce as big a reaction.

Here's what will run on Saturday.

First the story: It seems that even after a long, heated debate over whether or not they'd let a Wal-mart be built in Neptune Beach, and even after the city capitulated and allowed it, now the "discount giant" wants to muscle Atlantic Beach as well by asking the DOT to take out a median and palm trees to allow for a turn lane.

Wal-mart truly does live by a different set of rules than the rest of us. I just hope their lawyers never decide to come after me. One of my Florida Press Awards was for a Wal-mart cartoon, and I thought they were going to come after me then. I can just see two smiley-face-trench-coat thugs showing up at my door one day.

Here's the rough. (Note: This was the sketch I dug up earlier today):

And here's the finished cartoon. I "Google Image Searched" - "Shark Top Light" to get the value shade of the sea correct. I think it came out alright. I LOVE Google Image Search.

Caricatures & other lost treasure

Every now and then, I'll go back through my vast storehouse of sketchbooks (usually searching for an idea, or looking for an idea I remember having a rough for). And, every once in a while, I run across a cartoon or a caricature, that for one reason or another, I never did anything with. Well, here's one of Bill Clinton that was in pencil, so I just decided to ink over it to see what would happen. I like it, so I'm gonna post it here and send it to my syndicate.

Oh, BTW, I found the idea I was looking for. Stay tooned.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Halltoons Updated!

I've posted about 2 months worth of cartoons over at the website. It's funny, but nowadays I seem to be spending less and less time over there, and more and more time over here. Makes me wonder if I even need to keep available. I don't think I could shut it down though. I was one of the first editorial cartoonists to have his/her own website. Halltoons has been around for quite a while, and I hope it's like an old friend to most of my readers. You will find a few local cartoons that weren't posted here, and maybe a stray national topic cartoon or two. I hope so anyway. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Final syndicate cartoon of the week

Here's one that went through several phases before I was happy with it. You'll notice that I enlarged the figure during the final rendering and tightened up the caricature. One thing I learned in doing this caricature is how important it is to make his eyes dark. They're sunk into his skull pretty far, giving him a kind of caveman look. Until I figured that out, the cartoon wasn't really "there."

Here's the rough:

I added the White House, the chicken, and his signature (rented) red pickup on the fly for emphasis. Enjoy.

Last local cartoon of the week

Here's one that was fun to draw. Anytime I can incorporate animals into my cartoons, I'm happy. It's pretty self explanatory, but to summarize, the City of St. Augustine Beach has decided to regulate (or do away with) rental properties. This would include vacation rentals within this Beach community. There have been no problems with crime, or run-down properties, or bad tenants, they've just decided it would be a good thing to do. Gee, I wonder why? I guess there's a few tax dollars out there they still haven't gotten their hands on. I know if I was a landlord, I wouldn't want the city dictating what I had to do with my properties.

Here's the rough:

And the finished cartoon:
This one might get some letters. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Local Jaguars cartoon

I usually don't do sports cartoons, but this one was just begging to be done. For those of you unfamiliar with Jacksonville's NFL team, our starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich, was "let go" at the beginning of the season, and replaced with David Garrard. Garrard was supposed to be our saving grace, but the Jaguars "home" opener turned into a flop. A lot of people thought that Leftwich should have been given one more chance. Oh well, it looks like it's just more of the same.

Here's the rough:

And here's the finished cartoon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First local cartoon of the week & some thoughts

A 14oo square foot minimum is being proposed for new homes in Glen St. Mary. Some potential home buyers & builders are not too pleased with this. They say "of course we don't want mobile homes, but don't cut out retirees, first time homeowners and people who don't necessarily need 3000 square feet of house." Here's the story.

Here's the rough.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I live in a 1940's style bungalow. It was only 1150 square feet until we added onto it. Having lived comfortably in it for 2 years, I simply don't see why quaint neighborhoods with smaller houses are frowned upon. Back in the day, people used to raise 2 kids in these houses (think bunkbeds & shared baths). Here's the finished cartoon. I added the car at the last minute on a seperate layer.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A last minute syndicate cartoon & misc.

I decided to work late this Friday (which I rarely do) because I FINALLY came up with a Larry Craig idea! Actually, I got the idea this morning when I woke up, but didn't get around to inking it until later.

Here's the rough, which I liked, but I changed the phrasing coming from Larry's stall. I also adjusted the perspective slightly:

Here's the finished cartoon. I originally had him singing "Hokey Pokey," but half way thru I realized that "Hanky Panky" was funnier. I hope people go over that song in thier head, because "you put your left foot in" is pretty funny also. Enjoy:

Here's my original Larry Craig idea, still in rough form (I never did it). Steal it if you want.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Final syndicated cartoon of the week...

OK, this one doesn't totally suck, so I decided to put it up.
Enjoy, and have a GREAT weekend.

Here's the rough:

I added A LOT of stuff (obviously) during the final drawing stage. I wanted it to be set in a swamp, which I drew on the fly.
Here's the finished cartoon:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Another local toon

I've got an idea. I know we have to meet our budget this year, and new State laws are causing us to have to cut back on city services, but wouldn't it be a GREAT idea to spend $95,000 on a sculpture for our town square entitled "In Search of Atlantis?"

Here's the rough:

And the finished cartoon:

Chances are...

Well, the issue of whether or not there will ever be a casino-type poker room in Orange Park Florida has gone from "NO WAY!" to "OK, maybe," to "NO FREAKIN' WAY!" to "Alright, whatever..."

Needless to say, some residents are more than a little ticked off at the town council.

Here's the rough:

And here's the finished cartoon:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

More Line of Action Study

OK, so I was mistaken. There are a few more line of action studies to do. Here's one I did last evening. Now if I can just get a few weekly cartoon ideas, I'll be doing fine.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Weekend Preston Blair Assignments

I've fallen a little behind with these, so, as I continue to try to reconstruct the entire "Animation with Preston Blair" book, here's the latest. More line of action studies.

And here's a 3/4 view run cycle I've developed for a modern character. I think this might be the last of the line-of-action studies. We'll see. I'm excited to be starting the animation portion of the book. As I said before, I'm going to do most of the animating straight into Flash to cut down on one step. Stay tooned!