Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Podcast Divide or Animation is Animation, Guys. WTF

So after discovering the hotness that is iOS's Podcasts app (subscribing to podcasts without having to download them? Word?) I set about on a subscription frenzy, amassing a list of podcasts in my subscription list that I'll probably never be able to clear.

Music? Stones Throw, Mad Decent, and Fool's Gold got me covered. Information? NPR and Phil Yu's Sound and Fury. Comedy? Yo, I 'f*x with' Neal Brennan's The Champs Podcast.

But as far as animation goes, there are hundreds to choose from, but I haven't found many that discuss animation in a way that interests me. I'm probably making gross generalizations, but animation podcasts seem to fall into two distinct camps. The ones discussing Eastern animation ('Eastern' almost always meaning Japanese) are usually enthusiastic anime fans sitting at a table talking about whatever the hot new film/series might be, sprinkled liberally with references to "Over 9000" or some hot internet meme. Which is cool, I guess, but because they don't have a ton of supplemental information or access to anyone on the production side, I don't find them particularly insightful. The ones focusing on Western animation ('Western' usually meaning 'American') might satisfy my thirst for critical discussion and 'insider' talk, (the Alt Animation Podcast, for instance, is excellent), but there seems to be an almost willful ignorance of anything coming from other parts of the world, particularly Asia ... particularly Japan. Judging by the descriptions in various show archives, Hayao Miyazaki is apparently the only living Japanese animator. Even then, his work is considered like some bizarre Martian artifact, impenetrable and wholly unlike anything done in the West. Meanwhile, discussion-worthy work like Kaiba, and Noitamina shows like The Tatami Galaxy and Kids on the Slope are banished to the 'otaku' podcast ghetto where discussion barely ventures beyond plot, love triangles, and kawaii factor (Again, I know I'm probably making some nasty generalizations here). Not to mention all of the innovative works coming from Europe that appear to be cockblocking my film on the film festival circuit.

Really, is it too much to ask for a podcast featuring knowledgeable, well-rounded, animation enthusiasts introducing and/or discussing cool animation, no matter where it comes from? The only thing out there that seems to fit the bill for me right now is the French TV show Catsuka. But it's not quite a podcast, and I can't understand a word of French.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hard Boiled

So last week, I tried drawing Chow Yun-Fat and kind of failed. Determined to get a passable likeness, I tried again. Then I thought, "Eh ... why don't I throw Tony Leung in there too". Then, "I might as well do a background now." And so I ended up with a tribute to one of the great Hong Kong action films.

When I first saw the Hard Boiled, what struck me was that it felt more 'Hollywood' than Woo's previous films - a little more 'cold' emotionally when compared to the thick melodrama of films like The Killer and Bullet in the Head. This is exemplified in the film's overall bluish tint. That blue-ness really stuck out to me, and so it's something that I tried to convey here.

Sketched and inked in Sketchbook Pro and colored in Photoshop.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Play on, play ooooooon ...

Voodoo by D'Angelo is my favorite album of all time. For better or worse, it almost single-handedly made me the music junkie that I am today; constantly searching for something that'll make me feel like I did when I first listened to Voodoo. With this digital painting, I tried to convey how the opening track, 'Playa Playa' makes me feel like I've been transported to some smoky jazz club. That opening still gives me chills more than a decade later.

I also used this to experiment with using a monochrome underpainting. I'm not really satisfied with the way it turned out. I think it looks OK when scaled down, but sloppy when blown up to full size. But I've already spent too much time on this and I need to move on to something new.

Sketch was done on paper, then scanned, cleaned up, and painted in Photoshop.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Big Ol' London Olympic Sketchdump

It's several weeks late, but here are some of the results of a couple of weeks of sitting in front of the TV, trying to capture the thrill of victory and agony of defeat with whatever drawing utensils I had at hand. As you'll see here, I spent most of my time doing super quick and dirty figure sketches, trying to capture athletes in motion, as well as some caricature and likeness drawing here and there.
Badminton. Why was I watching badminton?

Gymnastics. I need to remind myself that the way these people can flex their spines is not something I should apply to when I draw normal people.

Volleyball. I swear I only enjoyed women's beach volleyball because it's a competitive and intense sport

Swimming. The 'dolphin kick' was my nemesis.

Track & Field. I think that's supposed to be Usain Bolt in the center.