Monday, April 28, 2014

My son Mikel...

Mikel Lamar Husband...

  Today marks the 43rd anniversary of Mikel's birth..

(Mike and proud dad)

In todays world the Dad's have cameras and video equipment to forever freeze a moment in time. I used my pen and pencil  to capture those golden moments of my family's life.

Mikel asleep as a toddler...


Mikel and brother Jai (below) as toddlers...

 San Dimas Saints high school football games I'd be sketching my son, waiting on the sideline to get in the game or in action...

After high school Mikel attended Howard University in Washington, DC. A visit to his apartment in DC I caught Jai from the rear and Mike pouring milk in a big bowl of cereal...

Mikel, always busy even had time to contribute to a book (above)...
Mikel worked for several start up magazines after graduating from Howard. He was Assistant Editor for BET Weekend Magazine(above) in the late '90's.
He also worked for Code Magazine during this time.
Mikel always has always had an interest in journalism, working on the yearbook staff in high school translating into his joining the staff at Howard's student newspaper The Hilltop which he was editor his junior and senior years there on his way to graduation. The paper ran an article  (below)...




Mikel was the editor of the Howard Magazine (above) at the time of his passing. A co-worker and good friend of Mikel, Yanick Rice Lamb, write a wonderful article.

So blessed to have been able to capture some of my son's life in line.



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sketches from Skid Row...

Sketches from Skid Row...


 Like exercise or practice to an athlete, sketching daily is designed to improve one's drawing skills. So, I carry my sketch book everywhere....chronicling that days activities in line. I date the page, then begin to capture the moments...

  Often, today's activities have a way of taking precedence over what was accomplished yesterday.  And things are just as quickly and easily forgotten. Luckily, my sketch books are also a kind of journal or diary in line that reminds me of past activities hidden in the recesses of my mind. Like a  photograph that is dated, I can look back and see what I was doing on a particular day. Today was such a day...

   As I thumbed through to my sketchbook, I came to a page of sketches dated 4/12/14. How could I have forgotten the events that transpired that day?

  To the best of my recollection, the weekend before I had been at Edinboro University in Pa. giving a series of lectures. The  night of the 12th, I attended the Arcadia Invitational Track meet... couldn't pass up an opportunity to sketch athletes. Then, the following week was spent preparing to speak to a group in Lakewood, Ca.

  Sandwiched between these activities was what happened the morning of April 12th, 2014.

  I had been asked by a friend, Larry Willis, to accompany he and his wife Renee to skid row to feed the homeless. They needed more men, particularly African-American men, like Larry and myself, as the majority of people we encountered were of color. This would be a first for me. To visit the homeless on their territory.

  I announced my plans for that weekend and my daughter Melissa, a cancer survivor, who in two weeks will receive a Masters degree from the University of Oklahoma, asked if she could come along. Of course, I said yes!

  That morning Melissa, another first timer Donn Burwell, and I met at the Willis home in Azusa and then made a short trip to Covina to the home of Tony and Shirley Mirador where the action would start.

The  couple head a group called Labor of Love.  (Their website is here:) Their organization delivers meals to the homeless twice a year and they are ALWAYS looking for more volunteers!

  Tony and Shirley's home was the drop off point for the donated food and other items that would fill  plastic bags to be handed out to the people who call the sidewalks their home.  A few days before, volunteers had filled some 800 bags with a sandwich, bottled water, fruit, an energy bar, chips, and other items. The living room floor, a hallway and another room were filled with the meals we would hand out that day.

   We loaded the vehicles with the bags, about 125 per car.  Some cars went to Pomona, Ca. to share with the homeless there, and five vehicles went to downtown Los Angeles. The plan was to caravan to skid row; park in a line, then pass out meals from the trunk/back seat of the last car.  When that car was empty, move to the next car in line until we get to the lead car.

  First stop..a park across from Union Station.  I passed out my first bag; it brought a smile to the face of a homeless man and warmth to my soul. Another bag of mine was turned down by a lady who wanted me to guarantee the contents were safe to consume..."have a good day, ma'am".   We walked up, down and across the streets to hand out bags. Everyone in our sights were offered a bag. All bases covered. On to another stop. As we pulled away, through the rear view mirror I saw a man hobbling up to where we were parked and his body language said he was too late.

  On our way to the second stop we passed many more homeless scattered here and there. We could have stopped anywhere along the way but were looking for large concentrations of people.

We rounded a corner and pulled over to the curb. Word spread we were handing out lunch. There were those we stopped our cars in front of, those walking by, those curious of the crowd gathered around the cars, those coming from up, down or across the narrow streets. Bags were handed out to all in reach in exchange for a 'Thank you', 'God bless you' and a hug or two.

  On to our last stop of the morning, we pulled our train of cars up in front of a man who was sweeping his piece of sidewalk clean. Like the other stops, the people walked, jogged, ran or hobbled to where we were. Some on crutches or in wheelchairs came toward us, carrying their worldly belongings in a black plastic bag or two.

  We all held our breath as we saw people dart across a four lane 40 mph street to get to us....

  In about twenty minutes and three stops, we came to the end of our bags. Some disappointed faces, but only one complaint I can remember, "I got here before her and she got a bag!"

  Then Georgia rolled up in her wheelchair, too late for a bag..."that's all right, I just want prayer," she said. There on the sidewalk, she and I shared a word of prayer.

  Our ride home was filled with memories of that morning. My memories are dated 4/12/14 in my sketch book.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

ATX talk...

Welcome to the Adobe Technology Xchange

Yesterday (Saturday 4/19/14) I had the opportunity to speak to the Adobe Technology Xchange in Lakewood, Ca.
They are a not-for-profit forum for graghic designers,photographers, fine artists, multimedia creators, television and film artists who meet monthly.

( My presentation)

After my presentation and book signing, I was treated to lunch by (left to right) Lynnette Kent, Vice-President and News Editor, Rick Redfern, President & Editor, me, and menbers Kirk Grodske, Melissa Glush and Jan Aven and her pooch.

Praying you all have a Happy Resurrection Sunday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014



One of the the things I have appreciated over my years at Disney is the emphasis the department placed on preparation before pencil met paper.  It is important for the producer, director, art director etc. to have insights into the environment and personality traits of what and who we were about to bring to the screen. The animators also must have these same insights in order to bring believability to the personality of the characters we bring to life.

This concept goes back the early years of the Disney studio with Walt's desire to have his artist continually growing in their knowledge of all the aspects of animation as entertainment.

 "It wouldn't be bad if you made a up a list of qualifications of an animator in order of importance. Then all these men could see what it takes to be an animator, and could check on themselves to see how nearly they approach the desired perfection.

 The list would start with the animators ability to draw: then, ability to visualize action, breaking it down into drawings and analyze the movement, the mechanics of the action. From this point, we would come to is ability to caricature action- to take a natural human action and see the exaggerated funny side of it- to anticipate the effect or illusion created in the mind of the person viewing that sensation and to feel the force behind sensation, in order to project that sensation and feel the force behind sensation, in order to project that sensation. Along with this, the animator should know what creates laughter- why do things appeal to people as being funny.

In other words, a good animator combines all these qualities:
    Good draftsmanship
   Knowledge of caricature, of action as well as features.
   Knowledge and appreciation of acting
  Ability to think  up gags and put over gags
  Knowledge of story construction and audience values
  Knowledge and understanding of all the mechanical and detailed routine involved in his other
abilities without becoming tied up in a knot by lack of technique along these lines."

 - Excerpt from a memo from Walt Disney to Don Graham in 1935 discussing his ideas for Don to put together training sessions for his animators.

  As part of the training, representative teams of Disney artist were sent on location to get a first hand look and feel for the environment, colors and people. If not first hand knowledge, the reference library filled in the blanks.This thoroughness to detail helped tell the story in a believable way and continues on today.
  This concept is not unique to Disney.  All studios, live action as well as animation utilize this. For me, in 1975, with only a few months at the studio, it was new to my thinking, not having a film/storytelling background. Through the years I have come to appreciate time spent in the researching characters and environments.

  I got my first lesson of how important research is to the animator by observing Glen Keane. We shared a room, not really shared, it was two rooms at the end of  hallway. You had to pass through my room to get to his:)
 Glen was animating the climatic scene in The Fox and the Hound of Tod (fox) fighting the bear. Day after day I watched him immerse himself in bear anatomy and bear stories. One morning passing through my room he says "Huz...listen to this" . He starts telling me about this article he read about bear attacks (on people).
  With research done, Glen started to animate a sequence of scenes that will long be remembered for the action, staging, timing and the believability he brought to the screen through his talent as a great animator and the time spent getting to know his characters.  And that brings me to...

 In keeping with the theme of preparation...the animation team was treated to a workshop conducted by the late Al Hirschfeld. Eric Goldberg's genie was influenced by Mr.Hirschfeld's line work.
  Al (87 years young at the time) visited our department on Flower St. to conduct a workshop on what he had done for the last 60 plus years of his life...caricatures.

  He laid out photographs of famous people with the instructions to "pick one and caricature it". I preferred to use a live model.

Group shot with Al Hirschfeld, some of us holding up our caricatures done in his workshop...

We all got the opportunity to have one-on one tutoring from the master...

The day after the workshop the department gathered in the theatre to say goodbye to Al and hear any final words from him followed by a question and answer session.

He was asked if he had ever seen any (good) caricatures of himself, he named a few people and ended by saying,"and that guy yesterday".

(So much for preparation, Aladdin was released the next month,)

Part 1


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Edinboro University Pa...

Edinboro, Pa....
  At the 2013 CTN Expo I met up with Mike Genz whom I had not seen since our days at Disney some twenty years ago. He is now an Associate Professor at Edinboro University in Pa.

He had brought some of his animation students to the festival. In conversation, Mike brought up the idea of me coming to EU.

 This past week the invitation became a reality.
After a long, smooth flight I arrived Wednesday April 2nd. Fortunately for me  nothing was scheduled and I took the opportunity to rest at the Seasons Inn, a first rate, family owned Bed and Breakfast. I was greeted and made to feel welcome by Mary Anne who made sure all guests were well taken care of.
The Seasons Inn...

Mary Anne in the lobby of the Seasons Inn..
Thursday morning I sat in on Brad Pattullo's animation class. One of the students, Dani K. said she had written a song for me and asked the teacher if she could sing it, right then and there. 'No, maybe after class', as he rolled his eyes:) class end I was treated to a song written especially for me, a rap song no less.
In very animated body language she belted out
"R to the O to the N Husband
                Carryin 'round your sketchbook again 
                                              Some say he is the O.G. of a Company called Disney 
(Super awesome beatboxing)
Can we get a selfie?
pretty pretty please
I'll do the duck face if you do the PEACE" 
She also makes a tasty homemade cupcake, thank you Dani.

That night I spoke to 106 students and faculty on campus.

Mike Genz introduced me as I prepare to lecture.

The attendees from my view point of view.

I had the marvelous opportunity to speak...
   do some drawing to illustrate a point...
and answer some questions.

At the end of the lecture I greeted a long line wanting to take a selfie, shake hands, get an autograph or sign my book.

Friday afternoon I spoke again to about 40 students off campus.  That night, more than 60 braved the cold weather to come out and hear what I had to say about storytelling and the process of animation.
Saturday about 15 students met me, Mike and assistant professor Jeremy Galante, at the mall for a hands on  quick sketching session that lasted about two hours. The students (and teachers:) put into practice some of the concepts I had been lecturing about.
We met afterward, pulled some tables together, and had class/critique in the food court.
Thanks again to Mike Genz,the Incubator group, the dedicated faculty and the talented students of Edinboro University for making this a memorable visit for me. 
The youthful enthusiasm and creativity of the Edinboro animation students has encouraged me to continue sharing my passion for art and animation!