Eyes Almost Closed

Back in 2011, I posted some images I created, trying to reproduce the effect of light through eyelids that are almost closed. Recently, I created a video based on these images for an exciting exhibit at Dawson College called Vision(s), on till May 11th at the Warren G. Flowers Gallery at Dawson College in Montreal. The video was created using photography through polarized mylar, Photoshop layering and effects, video segments using lenses and found objects in front of the lens and After Effects compositing – my first full video using that program. I created the music using a tiny segment of the end of a song, time stretching it, reversing it and layering it on top of itself to create an ambient wash.

EAC_Parts_mh

Here’s the stuff I used to make the video.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Pencil Sketch

Every once in awhile, I like to grab a pencil and draw without any preconceived idea or rough sketch. Sometimes it’s just random scribbles, sometimes it’s something like this that happens. It’s got some old-fashioned Sci-Fi clichés. Guy standing, looking at alien stuff. Took me about about 4.5 hours total. Sometimes I want to smack myself and say “imagine how many drawings you could crank out if you did this every day.” Yeah, I know. We who carry our supply of pencils, pens and paints will always beat ourselves up  for all the times we “could have been making art.” I think when all the client-based work slows down, and we have time to do other things, we do other things. Then, when the time is quiet, we draw, to remind ourselves that we can still do it.

First landscape paintings in oils

I took the plunge, got my hands dirty and made a few oils paintings. I think if I really take the time to practice, I’ll get the hang of it. These were done over 4 days, (there’s another one, but didn’t post it because it needs touch ups) and though I think they turned out ok, I feel like I have a lot to learn. I want to paint much larger canvases next.

Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01 Spaceship Designs

About a year ago, I was contacted to design spaceships for a YA sci-fi novel. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity and it was a thrill to come up with these ships. I’m pleased to say the book has been released this week and it was a blast to read! It’s the first in a trilogy, and I highly recommend it if you like a fast-paced and unique space adventure. It’s also an amazingly well-designed book, told through transcripts, archived files, text messages, blueprints… and at 600 pages, it’s a surprisingly fast read. This book is going to be a big hit. Thanks to Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, the brilliant authors, and Heather Kelly, designer at Penguin Random House for this cool opportunity.

Here are my designs for the main ships that appear in the story, and in the book.

This ship is huge - 3.25km long, and 1.3km high.

This ship is huge – 3.25km long, and 1.3km high.

A LOT of desk on this ship.

A LOT of decks on this ship.

A more sleek, less military design.

A more sleek, less military design.

Copernicus-front-side

Long absence, slowly returning

It’s been a long and busy time. I’ve been teaching full-time, and also freelancing on various projects. This means that anything I do cannot be seen until the projects are complete, on DVD/broadcast and/or published. In the past year I’ve worked on a book, three feature films and two short films. Some of this stuff I can’t wait to show, as it’s been both challenging and exciting.

I’ve been looking at a lot of artist’s blogs and it occurs to me that if I want to keep this site up to date, I need to be doing personal work on top of everything else, as that can be published immediately. The good news is that I’m going to have the summer off to do just that, so stay tuned for more posts.

I look forward to more exploration and drawing.

A quick little sketch done during a break in class.

A quick little sketch done during a break in class.

My Spacesuit

Here’s something I worked on, on and off, over the past month when I had free time. I intend to do a little video shoot with it at some point. I’ve had the Russian MIG helmet for 6 years, and always intended to build a retro-looking suit to match it. The collar needs to be adjusted, because it rides too high over the shoulder straps, but otherwise, it’s quite comfortable, even with the heavy backpack.

Old vacuum cleaner, cocktail shakers, water bottles and a military backpack harness.

Old vacuum cleaner, cocktail shakers, water bottles and a military backpack harness.

Workman gloves and plumbing parts, with a BBQ thermometer and video remote buttons.

Workman gloves and plumbing parts, with a BBQ thermometer and video remote buttons.

The collar is made from a plastic bucket, and the rim for the helmet is from a drum practice pad, exactly the right size for the helmet.

The collar is made from a plastic bucket, and the rim for the helmet is from a drum practice pad, exactly the right size for the helmet.

Here I am at the office with the full suit on. As you can see, the helmet is riding a bit too high, but that's an easy fix. Can't wear the helmet sealed for too long before it fogs up, so I'm going to put a little fan in it.

Here I am at the office with the full suit on. As you can see, the helmet is riding a bit too high, but that’s an easy fix. Can’t wear the helmet sealed for too long before it fogs up, so I’m going to put a little fan in it.

The Signal

Here’s a quick render I did recently. Just playing with shapes and colours mostly. Some false colours here and cheated perspective. That desert theme seems to pop up a lot when I’m painting.

TheSignal_wip

 

Chesterfield Slacks: From the archives

In the 90s, while I still had a foot in the door of animation, I created and pitched a few ideas for series, including this one, which my brother Gunnar and I collaborated on. Gunnar put together a great text document, which I no longer have a copy of (Gunnar? Do you still have it?) describing the series as an animated riff on Vegas in the 50s.

The concept was to have this guy, Chesterfield Slacks, battling for gigs in the swankiest clubs in Los Vegas. His rivals include Dirk HiJean, a slick Pat Boone kinda guy and the mysterious mobster known only as The Chairman, his gang members resembling the infamous Rat Pack. Then there’s Lola Getz, the queen of Bossa Nova, and whatever Lola wants…

Even though Chesterfield Slacks is a lounge singer, the idea was to never hear him sing a single note. Every time he put his mouth to the microphone, we’d cut away. It was to be an adult cartoon, with drinking and smoking. Like Mad Men, only much funnier.

The style was going to be purely late 50s and early 60s, and we planned to get in touch with Capitol Records to make a deal to include swinging ultra-lounge music which had a short revival in the 90s. Alas, when pitched to Canadian networks, it was turned down for being too “American”. Here are my early sketches trying to portray Chester. I can see why I’m not hired as a character artist very often:

chester_finalcover1999 Chesterpage1 Chesterpage2 Chesterpage3