Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Answer to a question...

One of my faithful blog readers, Sean, after reading Quick Sketching with Ron Husband commented on how I was able to capture the "life and energy of my subjects". 

He inquired, "How do you construct a sketch? Do you start with the head or body...do you use some sort of gesture line to capture movement?"

The answer is that it all depends on the action being drawn.

The majority of my sketching focuses on people and animals in movement. Observation plays a key part in any drawing, more so in true quick sketching (my book gives an in depth definition).

The general rule is to get the head over the weight bearing foot or triangle shape for a balanced sketch. You have to work at this for it to become 'second nature' to you.

Sean, here are a few suggestions with examples...

Examples #1.
I usually start with the head and drop a line (visually) straight down to the foot that is bearing the weight.

As an example, the below man is carrying a weighted object (baby in basket).  You'll see his head is directly over his weight bearing foot and counter balanced by the arm away from the body.

As another example, below is a man holding a small boy- both their heads are above his right foot, yet he feels on balance because the boys torso (weight) is centered over the base of the triangle base formed by the two feet.

Example #2

When sketching sports action the idea of head over weight bearing foot does not apply as most activity is 'in the air' or in an extreme pose. A gesture line or basic shape is what I look for.

For really fast action as in these skateboarders (below), I use whatever it takes to capture the pose. After a period of time spent observing arms, heads, bodies in contorted shapes and all at break neck speed and in constant movement trying to stay balanced upon a small rolling board, I'll begin the sketch.

A gesture line here, foot placement there, deciding what shape this pose represents is about all I can do to put this action on paper in a split second of time.

Below is a Long jump series.  Starting with a backward c shape, into a forward c, and landing as a triangle (my interpretation).

By the time I finish these three sketches, the jumper is walking away from the long jump pit.

Zoo sketches-
Animals also have to feel on balance. Weight over feet (paws, hoofs, claws).

In quick sketching try to choose a subject(s) that is engaged in some activity, that makes your sketches  interesting and fun to look at.

But remember to spend some time observing your subject in action BEFORE you put pen to paper.

For more information and helpful hints on Quick Sketching, check out my book on Amazon.

Until next time...Happy Thanksgiving!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Canada 2015

Ottawa, Canada
The path that led to this past week's trip to Canada began in June when I was interviewed by Mr. Cory Tibbits and Mr. Myles Rourke, co-hosts of the pod cast, End Credits.

At the end of the discussion they invited me to come up to their territory to do a session before a live audience.  Of course I said,"yes".

A few months passed as Cory and Myles worked out the details and then I got the call, "It's a go.
Pack my bag. The trip is on!"

The itinerary said I needed to be at the airport three hours before my 11am flight.
There were at least a dozen people in line ahead of me. I soon discovered the line was not moving because there is no one at the counter....about forty minutes later, the attendants finally appeared sipping large Starbucks coffees.

Check in completed.

Waiting to board the plane gave me time to do a little sketching....

This guy on the far right had a heavy backpack which allowed him to assume an extreme lean forward...keep your eyes on alert, you never know what unique sketching opportunities await your pen:-)


Five and a half hour, smooth flight up and good night's sleep propelled me into my first Canadian adventure.

11 am...
Cory picked me up a my hotel and we headed for the famous Byward Market. Street after street lined with outdoor fruit stands, shops selling all kinds of wares, assorted pubs, eateries and much, much more.

I was assured, "Haven't been to Ottawa if I have not tasted a 'Beavertail'..."
Too good to try to describe. Anyone who has ever eaten one will attest, it is delicious.
If you are ever in the Ottawa, make your way to the BeaverTail stand in Bayward Market.

(Enjoying the Ottawa favorite at the BeaverTail stand)

1:30 pm...
Still in Byward Market, Cory and I split a pizza for lunch, the best I ever had...the 'Carnivore' from Fiazza Fresh Fired on Murray Street.

(above) Canada's Parliament in the background...

 (left) Posing at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

3:00 pm...
We walk a few blocks down town to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC)  for a live radio interview.

We arrived a few minutes early. I see an opportunity to sketch while waiting outside the building.

My view of the happenings on the street.

Waiting inside (CBC) to be interviewed...

3:30 pm...
The interview started off blaring Paula Abdul singing  'Opposites Attract'.   The host and I had a good laugh about it's popularity. Hadn't heard or thought about this slice of my life in a while. Of course, he questioned me about my involvement...

Circa 1990...
 my room mate at the time Jaques Muller said, "Let's go over and pick up some freelance work, after work."

 Chris Bailey was directing the animation for this award winning video. Other Disney animation artists were working on this project after hours, too.

We arrived at an apartment and were handed model sheets, exposure sheets, photo stats (Paula dancing on film) and discussed the business of the scene.

(If you have followed this blog, you know I depend on thumbnails, a lot.)

My thumbnail drawings to work out mouth shapes for MC Skat Kat's dialogue...

More thumbnails working out 'business' of his walk...

and ruff animation of walk.


Thumbnails of MC Skat Kat dance moves...

Thumbnails of  Kat reaching for PA...

ruff animation of the action...




finished animated cell with photostat.

 More ruff stuff...

My jog down memory lane complete, Alan the interviewer turned the discussion to animation, my book and other art related topics...

The short interview ended with an on the air plug for tonight's speaking engagement which I'm sure increased attendance.

7 pm...
Got a chance to encouraged and inspire a few hundred young artists and their teachers.

The end of my presentation brought a short break, followed by an interview with Cory and Myles and  then a Q&A session with the audience.

10 pm...
The session moves to the lobby and I finish answering questions that did not get answered inside and  signed some autographs.

11 pm...
Security is giving us the eye...time to go.

All questions addressed, ticket stubs, backpacks, sketch books, laptop covers and two copies of my book (giveaways) signed, it was time to get back to my room.

It did not take much for me to fall asleep this night .

8 am Oct. 2...

Back to the airport.
And a little sketching in the terminal before my flight to Southern California.

until next time...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Finishing Fantasia...part 2

                                              Fantasia 2000 was coming to an end...

The animation department had outgrown the 'hat' building  and the overflow of production people expanded to a building a few miles north. The departments were referred to as Feature Animation Northside and Southside.

Early in 1999 the Twilight Bark previewed the upcoming release of Fantasia 2000 and gave a plug to Atlantis which would be gearing up next...

Below are some of my thumbnails from Fantasia 2000-  the action of the Elk offering the Sprite (animated by Tony DeRosa) a ride on his antlers...

more thumbnails of the Elk galloping with Sprite atop his antlers...

...and thumbnails of the final scene as the Elk watches 'effects' fall from the sky.

The next leg of the journey...

 With the Elk animation completed, it was time to look into what what other production I could attach myself to.

A few days elapse and I get a call from Hendel Butoy, director of  "Piano Concerto No.2, Allegro, Opus 102" sequence of Fantasia 2000...The story is based on "The Steadfast Tin Soldier".

The principal animation (mostly CGI) had been completed.  There is a short sequence where the toy boat is floating down a sewer and is attacked by...rats.

 "Ron, we want you to animate the rats", was Hendel's request.

Research...One of my favorite aspects of animation.

As usual I do my research on my subject prior to any animation. My inquiry was not about the cute little white lab or the pet rats they sell at the pet store...

I was interested in...

Sewer rats- the kind that make you cringe when you see the damage they do and what they have left behind in their nocturnal rampages.The ones you set traps for.


No 'hands on or visual interaction' this time.  Not writing a thesis on the pests or being an exterminator, I gleaned more than I needed to know through National Geographic and other magazine articles. I learned enough information to add to my knowledge bank and make my animation believable.
(rats on the run- thumbnails...)

(Thumbnails of rear leg movement...)

(more thumbnails of a rat run...)

(Thumbnails working out action where rats of all sizes scurry past camera.)

(thumbnails planning out the action of menacing rat eyeing toy boat,,,)

(thumbnails of action I will animate with rough camera angle.)

(Thumbnails working out the action of the scene where the rats are in silhouette with glowing red eyes.)
Sandro Cleuzo also animated rats in this sequence.

Fantasia 2000 completed and finally 'in the can' as the old expression used to go. Film used to come in rolls  housed in round metal containers which were shipped to movie theaters to be projected onto a screen. Today it's all digital, no more cans of film. Am I old or what!...:-)

Time to celebrate our latest accomplishment.
(LaVonne and I at the cast and crew screening)

I was one of the fortunate to attend the New Years Eve program of Fantasia 2000, which was accompanied by a live orchestra playing the classical musical numbers...

My 1999 ended on a Fantasia musical note and the year 2000 began with a Fantasia 2000 Shopping Experience (below) for the employees:-)

Until next time...