12 November 2007

Animated Sarcasm

At long last, after more than a year since starting it (but only a few weeks' worth of actual effort, all told), I've finally got this animation to a presentable state:

That would be Sue Perkins in place of Emma Thompson ... her voice is a bit harder but she's got a good delivery.

01 November 2007

Shrek Goes Fourth

Hey folks ... Sorry I haven't updated in roughly forever, I just haven't had anything to update with. What little I've drawn recreationally since getting back from California has been of a most specific and probably uninteresting fangirlish nature so it's been sequestered to my LiveJournal. I have a whole lot of things on my 'to be drawn' slate and nearly all of them will be worthy of posting on Blogger ... when I get around to them ...


Upon learning yesterday that the newest incarnation of Dreamworks' cash cow is to be called Shrek Goes Fourth, I realized they were following the Blackadder naming convention, and the inevitable crossover followed:

DONKEY: Hey Shrek! I got a cunning plan!
SHREK: Tell me, Donkey ... Is it more cunning than a weasel with a doctorate in cunning from Cunning University that has just broken into the cunning reserves and eaten so much cunning that it is literally oozing out his ears?

The more I think about this, the more I believe it would be bad enough to be actually entertaining.

23 June 2007

Gealimh an Daoinn (Gallivanting)

Here I am in Belfast, alive and well, though I question my sanity when after only a few days in Ireland I turn up my nose at a castle if it is merely Victorian. Everything is so much more fantastically amazing than I thought it would be. This place is seriously awesome. And I have a renewed desire to learn Gaelic if only to figure out the mad spellings.

Today I listened to Radio 4 LIVE and IN THE CORRECT TIME ZONE.

Not enough time to sketch! Have lost all my pencils and must use pen! Many many photos! Have some more exclamation points!!!!

14 June 2007

The First Letter of Tealin to the Vancouverites

And lo it was a Wednesday, and I was labouring upon my animation, and my desk was within earshot of the chamber of editing/compositing. Upon a late hour in the afternoon, there commenced a Meeting in which the Lords of Colour and the Lords of AfterEffects did converse and dispute as to why the company that did the trailer for Enchanted got the colour so wrong. It did continue for a goodly time and in fact well into the evening. And at no point was anything pronounced by the conversants which could be interpreted as "Aah, 's good enough, the kids won't notice, just ship it." Verily I say unto you, I have heard no such utterance in all my time here. The good citizens of James Baxter Animation have deadlines like unto the Vancouverites, yet behold their passion and commitment! THIS IS THE SOUND OF PEOPLE CARING. Love it.

10 June 2007

More Photos

It's the magical door ... and I go in it every morning! Magical! I think there might be a forcefield of drawing power at the top of the stairs because it's just ridiculous in there. Here's a detail of the sign, with the world's best logo.
The Mendenhall Sobieski Gallery is next door, and it has this sign in its window which I found amusing.
This is a fixture in the local grocery store ... as far as I can tell, you put money in and you get movies out. No word on how they hold you to returning it ... maybe you have to use your store's loyalty card or something so they have your address and can send out their movie thugs to get it back.
This is the view from my bus stop in the afternoon. One of these days I will investigate that church or whatever it is; it looks pretty cool.

05 June 2007

Adventures in Pasadena

First day of 'work'!

Five Things About California that are Not Like BC:
1. There is not a Starbucks on every corner of a busy, touristy shopping/business district. I walked for ten minutes to find a café, a length of time that would have taken me past three Starbuckses and an independent café in a comparable area back home.
2. The commuter bus is a coach, with no rails to hold while standing up, and with a button in the seat's console to signal your stop rather than a cord to pull on. FANCEY.
3. Jasmine-scented sidewalks that nobody uses vs. urine/pot-scented sidewalks that everyone uses.
4. People who talk to complete strangers on the bus and are not crazy.
5. No $5.95 18-piece sushi combos at liberally scattered hole-in-the-wall takeaways.

Photo Time!
Hey look! It's Robson! With palm trees and no pedestrians! (It was 8:30 am so no walking commuters and no business traffic yet.)
Further proof of Robsonicity: they're digging it up.
You know those trees people keep in big pots as houseplants? This is what they look like when not housetrained.
Oleander bushes that line the Buena Vista side of the Disney lot ... look out, they're toxic. Yes, that's right, Disney has a POISON WALL. Don't tell the kiddies.
The door I go in, in the morning, is the one in the side of the alcove that has the double red doors. It's magical. McCormick would have been my last name if it were not for my great-grandfather and, the story goes, his raising the ire of the IRA. It was meant to be, obviously! We'll conveniently ignore the fact there are thousands of McCormicks...

As for the life inside, well ... this is going to be an awesome two months.

04 June 2007

Safe and Sound

Made it here in one piece, luggage intact (as far as I know), plus arms legs minus scales fins. All good. Now back to lunch and the Mabinogion!

P.S. Ken Duncan has a studio in Pasadena too. To which I say: AAAH. Mayhap I will meet him and pick his brain on his brilliant yet incomprehensible line style.

31 May 2007


This is, more or less, what I was thinking through that whole part of Pirates III.

Last fling with a Cintiq for a while! Whee!

26 May 2007

Special Announcement

I'm going to J. Baxter 32 Mills Place Pasadena, where are you going? I'm going to J. Baxter 32 Mills Place Pasadena if you're asking where I'm going, I'll tell you that's where I'm going is J. Baxter 32 Mills Place Pasadena – Where? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you, J. Baxter 32 Mills Place Pasadena - I can hear you, I was just asking if it was J. Baxter 32 Mills Place Pasadena!

16 May 2007


Every so often I am seized with the urge to caricature the cast of Lord of the Rings ... this is a good way to keep my head from swelling because it's always a painful exercise in futility. After a couple days drawing the same thing over and over, I think I managed to get Eowyn. I begrudgingly chalk up another point for the Cintiq; as soon as I tried doing it in Sketchbook it worked. (Well, on the second try, but that's close enough.) Blast.

06 May 2007


I just finished Airborn, Kenneth Oppel's first book after his Silverwing trilogy. It's got airships and pirates and swashbuckling good times ... and apparently a reluctance to give up flying mammals, but who can begrudge him that? Anyway, it was fun, so I drew stuff:

(left) Main character, Matt Cruse, looking kind of bland, but that's more or less how he looked in my head ... and that's why I'm not a design star.

(right) Kate de Vries, leading lady, who makes me wonder about Mr Oppel's wife because she's very much like Marina in Silverwing. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm majorly ripping off some Jane concept art but it turned out nice anyway! Yay me! (No telling how many really awful sketches came before this one...) There's a girl at work whose 'look' I want to capture for her...

A thumbnail for the scene where they're offloading rubber hosing ... it looks cool in my head, trust me. Mostly dependent on colour, though. The composition needs a little finessing before I go that far.

Szpirglas, the pirate captain. After overcoming my tendency to picture him as Reacher Gilt, I realized I could base him off a family friend who fits the description rather well, but these were drawn before the realization, and I'm not sure I have any reference pictures. He could also look a bit like the author, but I don't know what Mr Oppel would think of that. Doesn't look very captainly here, or very piratey for that matter... More attempts later, perhaps.

The book is punctuated with occasional dream sequences in which Matt is flying, so I brought in a bit of the climax and stuck him with a flock of cloud cats ... apparently I can't get over Silverwing either.

Now for some moaning: Every day at work I draw what I would consider decent drawings. Admittedly, they're mostly poses in rotations, but they're solid and confident. I've even taken to doing rotations on paper instead of the Cintiq to keep me in touch with a pencil (and also because it's faster... and better). I get home, though, and open my sketchbook with pencil in hand, and what comes out looks and feels like the stuff I forcibly excreted in the midst of my rough storyboard-induced drawing decay period last summer. What do I need to change? I've been out drawing observational stuff more than ever this year but that hasn't seemed to have helped, it just seems to have made me impatient with my drawings so they're all really haphazard and gestural and I don't bother to get things right.

EDIT 21 MARCH 2009: What is up with this post? How is it getting so many comments? Does it turn up on a Google search or something? Could someone please tell me what is going on?

EDIT 14 NOVEMBER 2009: Thanks to those who commented with info regarding the traffic on this post! Interesting.

03 May 2007

The Wintersmith

I finally got around to reading Wintersmith* and rather liked the image of the Wintersmith handing Tiffany her necklace in the snowy woods.
It started out as a speed painting but was rather blah, so I bounced it off Sean and with his suggestions managed to make this out of it,** which is actually presentable, hurrah!
I've been meaning to update this blog more often but if you look back and see how much of that I've done, well, that is exactly how much recreational drawing I've been doing lately. Must fix that.
*Most recent Discworld novel, but it's a Tiffany one which, while better than most other YA novels out there, did not warrant the urgency of, say, a Watch book or Making Money.
**...though that nullified the 'speed' side of it. Oh well, greater good and all that.

22 March 2007

Belated Blogging

I promised this to some of you weeks ago but here it is at last:

~ Rough Draft ~

Please, please, please make some comments ... What should I keep? What should I chuck? There's way too much in the 'design and illustration' section, for one thing, but I don't know what to cut out. Heeeeeeelp!

20 March 2007

In Watson's Kitchen

I've been listening to BBC7's run of Sherlock Holmes radio plays, which are very well done and approximately as addictive as crack. There's a scene in The Final Problem where Watson finds Holmes a nervous wreck in his kitchen, having climbed in from the back garden to avoid Moriarty's men. It's jarring to see (well, 'see': this is radio, after all) this character behave in such an out-of-character way, and the scene made quite a visual impression on me. Watson was supposed to be in this scene but, er ... he didn't turn out. (Holmes is far more interesting, anyway.) Thumbnailed at life drawing with a 4B pencil, tightened up in Sketchbook, and painted in OpenCanvas.

14 March 2007

The Oldest Creature

Here's the result of Sean's 15-minute design challenge 'The Oldest Creature in the World' ... it turned out better than I expected but still has a few improvements to be made. I'll forget about it if I don't post it, though, so now it is a Note To Self.

28 February 2007

Alphabetizing II

Here's the second part of the Dragons alphabet, detailing how to write it out.

17 February 2007


In going through piles of old artwork in an attempt to cobble together a portfolio, I found the alphabet I'd designed for Dragons. It's now vectorized and can be seen here if you're interested, and might be followed up by the guide on how to write it if I can find where I put the scan...

16 February 2007

Exploiting the Ignorance of Strangers

Here's a collection of observational sketches I've done recently:

I haven't done nearly enough of these lately. Most of them are fellow travellers on public transit, aside from the girl at the hair salon with her substantial boots.

14 February 2007

Revisiting the Post Office

This scene suddenly struck me as I was walking home yesterday. Usually I fritter away my independence on cooking dinner or doing dishes, but today I decided to cash it in and, in an uncharacteristically impulsive move, deviated from my walk home and spent two hours drawing in the library's café. This is the result of that.
This is the scene from Going Postal where Antimony Parker and his Aggie come to thank Moist for delivering the ancient letter. I've bent the text a bit and had Aggie be the old woman in the following:
    'I said is it true you're opening the old place again?' she repeated. 'My granddad used to work there!'
    'Well done him,' said Moist.
    'He said there was a curse!' said the woman, as if the idea was rather pleasing. [...] 'It lives under the floor and drives you maaad!' she went on, enjoying the syllable so much she seemed loath to let it go. 'Maaad!'
It's been far too long since my Going Postal drawing spree... I miss it so. Maybe I'll pick up my cruelly interrupted Clacks Board when I go 'on hiatus' in a couple weeks.

11 February 2007

Painted Pirates

I like the effects I see people get in Open Canvas but never had the time or patience to figure it out for myself... I've been poking around with my revised pirates after work (and, now, this weekend) so here's the result. I've probably forgotten things and could fix others but that's about the limit of my patience (for now) and ought to get back to work on my portfolio.
Oh yes, and I've changed some of the characters and tried to fix some silhouette problems. I hope it looks better... I realised while painting this that I actually know very little about drapery; I know how to express it with useful symbols in line form, but as far as knowing its form well enough to paint it ... no. Sigh. Time for more studying. After the portfolio.

29 January 2007

Seattle Coffee Pirates

My sister tried to get a sugar-free cinnamon dolce latte from Starbucks on Sunday only to discover that, according to the barista, there was no sugar-free cinnamon syrup in the entire city. Considering that the number of Starbuckses here would warrant a container ship specifically designated to keep this city stocked, that's quite something. We concluded that the syrup had been hijacked by the notoroius Seattle coffee pirates.
I think I'm going to go over this again and sort out some silhouette problems that I stumbled into when drawing them all separately. (That was a brilliant idea.)

24 January 2007

Six Shots by Moonlight

I promise this will be the last Herbert West picture for a while (unless the tow-headed little fiend hijacks my mind again); I'm getting a little zombied out for now. This image came into my head the last time through the readings, though, and I couldn't resist. It turned out okay, I suppose, for having started life as an oversized thumbnail that I got carried away with. It's not textually accurate and I cheat the light a lot but I hope it's good enough that this can be ignored.

This is what lunch hours are for.

14 January 2007

Masquerading as Originality

I spent Friday afternoon drifting in and out of naps, being beset with a bad case of cold head – that woozy, floaty, drunk feeling that comes with some colds and which medication doesn't seem to touch. While somewhere between sleeping and waking, this thing came into my head. I think it came from a combination of two pictures Meghan has up by her desk. Maybe it's even less original than that. I so rarely have an image enter my head that hasn't been put there by a book or radio show or movie, I'll take what I can get.

13 January 2007

Wotcha Wazzer

Just to prove I have been drawing things not of a Lovecraftian persuasion, here's a drawing of Wazzer from Monstrous Regiment which I did over Christmas.

11 January 2007

Re-Animation Formula

Of all the Lovecraft stories I've listened to* I like the Herbert West ones the best. This is probably because instead of the main character having wacky things happen to him,** as in most of the stories, Dr West makes them happen, or is at least responsible for 90% of the plot. It must also be said that I find myself identifying with his monomania and emotional detachment, for better or worse, though my interest lies more in imparting life to lifeless lines rather than dead boxers or decapitated Canadian officers...

Anyway, here's a mediocre artistic encapsulation of the formula to the stories (which you can read here if you're interested):

Apparently Dr West = Milo + Wiggins ... erm.

*Thanks to Sean and his CD burner ... I haven't managed to actually read any yet, though considering I haven't been able to actually read anything for the last two months any such attempt would probably have failed anwyay.
**I wonder what Mr Lovecraft would think of me describing his horror as 'wacky'...

05 January 2007

Slightly More Fishy

Here's a few more attempts at the Innsmouth folk ... I am moving at a glacial rate towards 'creepy' from 'cute.' Maybe a few thousand more tries will do it.

Poor neglected Blogger account ... I will try to feed you more often.