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.
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.
Update to the previous post: So excited, and yet I’m not completely surprised. The book is perfect for a film adaptation. It’s a real page-turner, a fun thrill-ride of a novel. I can’t wait to see what they do with the ship designs.
Here’s a link to the Hollywood Reporter article:
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.
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.
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.
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:
Some more Batwing designs, from when I was first exploring shapes. There were some pretty goofy-looking shapes too, but all part of the exploration process. The fundamental goal was to design an aircraft that was Batman’s first successfully working prototype, but still had to look mean and cool. VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) needed to be an essential part of the design. I added a rendered version of the final below, and you can see how it evolved from the initial designs and my final blueprints.
The modelling team really helped shape it into a credible and wicked-looking plane.