Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Feelings on 2008:

Maybe 2009 will be better.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rhapsody in Blue (Doodles)

Rhapsody in Blue Doodles by ~FantasiaMan on deviantART

To see the image, click on the link above & click on the image to enlarge it a little bit. To see the image at close to its intended size so you can see each doodle up close, click the "Download" button on the left side. It may take a minute or two for the page to load, but hopefully it will be worth the wait for you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yule, Noel & Such n' Such...

Christmas. What else can I say that I haven't said last year?

But hey, look at all the cool personalized Christmas cards I got this year:

This one's from my friend & fellow SVA animator, Jimmy Harrigan.

This one's from another animator friend of mine, Ivey Ao. Notice Steve-O holding a Flurt cup. (God I love Flurt...)

& this one's from my very good friend (& teacher), Don Duga! Don was in charge of continuity (aka Storyboards) for some of the classic Rankin-Bass specials, including Frosty, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Mad Monster Party & The Last Unicorn. 

& finally, here's mine (blank). Straight off, I want to apologize to those that didn't receive cards this year, mostly because I either forgot to ask for or lost your addresses. I know it's too late to send them out before the holiday, but if anyone wants a personalized (yet belated) card, let me know, 'cause I don't want anyone to feel left out.

I'd like to wish everyone & their families a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Boxing Day & a Happy New Year! But before I go, here's one last Christmas treat (courtesy of Youtube). This was my favorite childhood Christmas commercial (although I wasn't a big fan of the product they were advertising):

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Dexter's a Cookie!"

"Cookie! Cookie! Cookie! Cookie! Cookie!....."
"I'm gonna bop you one girl!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Sketchbook Hero"

The other night, my friends Shelley, Carly & myself were hanging out upstairs in the solarium of the GW dorms (actually, they were busy doing actually schoolwork & I was procrastinating on a term paper). At one point, we decided to have a little drawing session for kicks n' giggles. More like a mini quick-sketching competition to see who drew what best. We call it"Sketchbook Hero" (Shelley picked the name). All the drawings came out of our heads, absolutely no reference whatsoever.

1) I shouted out the first idea: to draw a really grumpy lion. A chance for me to draw the same expression for the 7 billionth time.

2) Next, one of Shelley's friends said to draw "Wrestling Nuns". I rushed it (about 15 seconds) so it didn't look as readable as the other's.

3) Carly called "Ninjas" next. It's my ninja's first day on the job, & he has a bit of a pot belly to show for it.

4) I knew it was coming sooner or later: "Pirates". I based my design off the pirate I animated last year for Doug Crane's animation class. I like the parrot the best.

5) Since he just celebrated his 80th Birthday not too long ago, next I said to draw Mickey Mouse in your own style. Another "Grumpy Gus" expression, of course.

6)Running with the Disney idea, Carly called "Tinker Bell". If there's one thing I can't draw, it's girls. Well, I tried...

7) One of Shelley's friends requested Fievel Mousekewitz from An American Tail. Carly got the Don Bluth style down, Shelly caught the cuteness of the character, & I got this. Boo hoo.

8) Completely out of left field, Shelley said to draw your favorite Smash Bros. character pounding your least favorite one. The idea of a gorilla socking a pink girly Poke'mon teeth in the teeth & sending her straight into the ionosphere tickled my heart. 

9) Papa Smurf was next. This was my first time drawing a Smurf, & I think I got it somewhat close.

10) Last (& certainly not least) was the one, the only, Howard Beckerman! The only reason I drew him grumpy was because it's easier to draw humans angry than they are happy (at least from my perspective). It makes it fun for me to draw.

We're gonna try making this a weekly thing, it's a lot of fun & it helps let off some steam & stress. It also lets me know how much my drawing needs to improve (& that's a good thing).

Make sure to check out Shelley & Carly's interpretations too!  

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Syke! It ain't done yet! God, I love to screw around with people's minds.

Since there's still a little more work to be done before it goes up, here's a preview-ish thing on what I contributed to the project. I don't think this is spoiling much. I even SNAFU'ed the pictures up a bit to screw around with you some more. Consider this a small nibble of the 4 course meal that is to be "SooPaH NIN10Doh!".

You know what?.... Since Christmas is right around the corner, I'll let you have another bite:

Here's my recording session for SOOPaH NIN10Doh!, done earlier in the Spring. It's a bit embarrassing listening to my screw-ups, weak vocals & total wackiness when I'm behind the microphone again after so long, but I really enjoyed recording it at the time, so that compensates things a bit (Still, I could've done better). You'll also hear Chris Niosi directing me nearby & Chris Zito commenting & fooling around in the background. 

*I should warn you, the following audio contains some foul words, inappropriate language & downright gutter-talk. Now that I warned you, enjoy!:

$oopah NIN10Doh!-Michael J. Ruocco - Michael J. Ruocco

I'll still let the world know once it's complete. Let this also be a reminder to those who need to get off their behinds & finish their segments!!!! The rest of the team is waiting for you! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kirb Goes to the Birds...

I bought a commission from my good friend Chris "Kirbopher" Niosi, & look at what he made:

If you like how my little guys look here, then why don't you buy a commission from Chris too? The prices are so cheap, he's practically giving them away! "CLICK"

& now for something completely different:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Do I really need to say anything, other than I'm really bored?

A Monster Escapes...

As some of you may remember, my old man's auto shop has some pretty interesting pieces floating around. Once in a while, something new will mysteriously show up & make itself at home.

Well look what turned up this time:

It's one of those creepy singing & dancing animatronic pizza robots.... SANS EPIDERMIS!!!

What kind of animal is it supposed to be anyway? A cat? A bear? A wolf? 

Those eyes...... those terrible, soul-sucking eyes....

God, it's head looks like a Furby after a grease fire.

& the worst part is.... it has a friend. A friend with a unibrow....

If anyone has ANY idea where this thing could've came from, &/or has a picture of this thing when it had all it's skin intact, PLEASE show it to me. I'm really curious. 

Also, could somebody destroy it for me? I think it'll kill me while I sleep.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Sketchbook from September

Besides doing my assignments for SVA, the one thing I've been wanting to do was post my long overdo sketchbook drawings from September up here. I finally had the time & energy to do it, but I did something a wee bit different this time around.

Instead of posting each page individually, I scanned each page into Photoshop, lassoed, copied & pasted what I thought were my "satisfactory" drawings all onto one page. Doesn't sound too bad right? Well... you'll see for yourself.

Since the file is WAY to big to post on Blogger, I posted it on the next best place: deviantART. To see the image, click on the link below & click on the image to enlarge it a little bit. To see the image at close to it's intended size so you can see each doodle up close, click the "Download" button on the left side. It may take a minute or two for the page to load, but hopefully it will be worth the wait for you.

MJR's September Sketchbook by ~FantasiaMan on deviantART

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The School, the Film, the T-Shirt & the Pen...

The first semester of the year is almost through & so far it feel's like I haven't accomplished much. Sure, I've been learning a few new things like compositing in After Effects & a few more helpful tidbits for storyboarding & animation, but other than that it's been pretty lifeless. My segments are complete, most of my homework is done, I've met a few new friends & spent time with the old ones, but I still feel like I'm getting nowhere. It seems like these past few months have gone by so quick yet I can't remember anything of any real significance happening. 

Well, not completely.... I did see a sneak preview of Henry Selick's new film Coraline a few weeks back. Even though I saw only about a half hour of footage, it was a really amazing sight. The animation, the voices, the effects... simply breathtaking. I'm looking forward to seeing it all done when it comes out in February.

Ok, back to SVA... last week, my good friend Pat Woodruff reminded me that this year's SVA T-Shirt Contest was underway again. Because of my busy schedule last year, I didn't have the time nor the energy to participate, but this year I jumped into the rat race. So far, the only other entry I've seen was Pat's, & by the look of his I'll say that it'll be a tough competition this year.


I thought since the shirt is going to be for all SVA students (not just the animation & cartooning majors), I designed a shirt that encompassed a wider audience, so I included snippets of  the other majors in there as well (Film, Photography, Graphic Design, Fine Arts, etc.). I came up with a rough sketch on the spot in about 5 minutes, then fleshed it out later on. 

For inking, I didn't resort to the old crappy microns this time around. Around the same time as hearing about the t-shirt contest, my friend Mirella showed me this awesome pen called the Pentel brush pen. Curious, I went over to the local art shop & bought one to try out for kicks. This pen is a revelation to me! It's durable, it's easy to refill, no real maintenance whatsoever, & most importantly it give me just the right lines I want!  I can't do any real quick ink sketches with it, but it's no big deal now. My pen journey is over! This is MY PEN!

I don't know when the judging/voting will take place, but whether I win or not, it was still fun to draw. Still, it would b nice to win the prize. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some Cintiq Doodles...

While in the computer lab over at the SVA animation studio, I doodled on one of the school's brand new Cintiqs to pass the time. Here's a select few of the probably 50-60 random drawings I did in that hour. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bork! Bork! Bork!

I drew these demented looking Muppets over a month ago & forgot I had them. At least they're new to you. 

(By the way, despite the striking resemblance to one, the one on the top left is NOT a Muppet).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For the Birds to the Dogs...

These last few weeks have been so busy I haven't had any time to post anything. But fortunately, most of the work is finally done with & out of the way, including my segments for $ooPaH NIN10Doh!, which I shall elaborate on soon. But for now, the new main event in my life is this:

This little guy is the star of my FIRST REAL FILM! Until April of next year, I shall be hard at work on a 2-3 minute film here at SVA. I just completed the rough storyboard for the film & presented it to the class, which was accepted fairly well. Now I'm just fine tuning a few bits of the story, & then I'll start production! If anyone would like to see/hear the story, let me know & I'll write it out &/or post a few panels of my storyboard up to check out.

I plan on having the film being almost completely without dialogue (maybe a background voice or two in the beginning, but nothing important to the story). I wanna try doing something without dialogue & to just tell the story with actions, poses & expressions. I already know that it's gonna be a difficult film to animate, but I like a good challenge. I don't do something because I feel obliged or pressured to do it. I WANT to do it! Sure, it'll be a living hell to make, but the payoff at the end when I see it up on the screen is always worth the labor pains.

***By the way, I'm going to be posting my latest sketchbooks bit by bit up here in the next few days & I'd like an opinion....would you rather have each individual page posted on it's own or would you rather have me compile the "good" images all together in Photoshop & post them all on one/two pages? 

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Oh boy.... another shameless plug comin' out of left field!

The good folks over at Dumm Comics asked my good friend & fellow SVA animator Zach Bellissimo to be this weekend's guest artist! Check out his ghastly-fun comic Boogeymen HERE!

& while your at it, take a gander at his blog Snaggle Tooth Salad as well as his deviantART page

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Real People, Real Drawings

Every four weeks, we hire models to come in & pose for our animation class for a few hours. This week, since our usually professor Celia Bullwinkel was out for the day, she invited Ian-Jones Quartey ( to come in & sub our class. A very funny & talented man. 

For the first half, we drew 1-minute poses. I like to sketch things out really quick, so the 1-minutes are always more fun for me than the longer poses. It gives me just enough time to really dig in there & flesh out the shapes (even though my sketches do look more like tangled yarn than actual people). 

Of course I couldn't help doing a few cartoony duck doodles here & there. Nasty habit, I know.

Here was an interesting assignment: Ian told us for one set to draw only the model in silhouette, to help understand clear staging, composition & negative space. 

I originally was planning on scanning these images in, but unfortunately the rings of the sketchbook prevented me from getting a decent scan without a glare, shadow or other problem. So I had to take pictures of them with my digital camera, which explains the uneven cropping. They ain't too bad, but the pictures do get a little blurry when the flash is off. I can't wait to post ALL my sketchbook stuff this way soon!

P.S. Make sure to check out Ian's website at & Celia's site & blog over on the right-hand side!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Since the video won't show here on the blog, click on the link below to see it in action over at DA. Besides, you'll hear the story about it there anyway.

FLASH Dragon Sneeze by ~FantasiaMan on deviantART

Saturday, October 11, 2008


After reading Eric Goldberg's guest post over at Cartoon Brew appreciating the Hubley's Marky Maypo commercials, I thought I'd rewatch my favorite Maypo commercial for old time's sake. 

The great thing about these old commercials is that not only are they entertaining, but they actually make me want to go out & buy the products they're selling.  The way these products were being promoted seems almost like subliminal messaging. They don't have to cut to a live-action shot of milk being poured onto a bowl of cereal in slow-mo, or some kid drinking a soda or taking a bite out of a candy bar & smiling with a "Wow, this is the absolute greatest thing I've ever tasted" expression on their mug. The characters just mention it almost non-chalantly. All Marky says about Maypo is its name & that it taste's like maple sugar candy. That's it. He doesn't go into detail about the consistency of Maypo or how healthy it is or how mom's approve of it. There's no magic or trickery in the promotion, it's just plain ol' oatmeal, but I still wanna go out & buy some!

I remember many years ago when that board game Guess Who? came out... the one with all the people's faces on tiles that you flipped down. In the commercial, the kid's ask the questions & the little cartoon faces on the tiles were animated & spoke to the kids. My sister, being young & easily lured by the magically-possessed game faces this commercial had to offer, begged my mom to get it for her birthday. She waited, & waited & waited until the day finally came. She opened the box & to her surprise... there was no magic. The faces didn't talk & they didn't move. They were just little strips of cardboard with drawings on them. A little girls dreams dashed by false advertising. She didn't hear/comprehend the final statement that the "game pieces do not actually talk", 'cause not only was it sped up to triple speed but muted by the loud cheerful music & the happy laughter of the children blaring over it. Commercials should just say what the products are & what they CAN do. Maypo is just oatmeal. A toy is just a toy. Simple, direct language.

It's a real shame commercials today aren't like the old Maypo ads. Today's commercials aren't really entertaining anymore, just boring & annoying. You see a "story", they interrupt the story to talk about the product's taste, color with added CG sparkles & logos floating around in slow-motion, then back to the "story" for 5 seconds with closing statements ("for a limited time..." "part of a complete breakfast", etc.), cut to black & start all over again.  Sure, there's a few diamonds in the rough these days, but they come few & far in-between. For example, the recent Snickers commercial with the Viking throwing the trashcans at the car was one that made me laugh every time I saw it, but then they had to go & cut it down. 

& that comes to another thing: why do so many of these commercials make no sense whatsoever? Sure the Viking one was funny, but it was completely ridiculous. The ones that really irk me are ones where you see some action, story or landscape, then cut to a product that has absolutely nothing to do with what you just saw. A few months ago, I saw a commercial where you see a guy playing tennis, a girl riding on a mountain bike & some guy playing golf & it randomly cuts to a black screen with Ford's latest car. I'm not kidding!

& when was the last time you saw a mascot that you actually liked? The Nasonex Bee? Ronald McDonald? That snot-looking thing that lives under your toenails? Admit it, a lot of them really suck. Even old-timers like the Trix Rabbit, Lucky the Leprechaun & Sonny the Cocoa Puffs Bird have lost their luster. They aren't appealing anymore, just annoying. You just want the commercial to die so you can get back to the show you were watching. 

Here's a little experiment for you to test: watch TV for one hour & take notice of all the cereal/food/toy commercials you see (excluding all the duplicates). Then go to Youtube or, watch old commercials from the 1950's onward promoting the same exact product (from earliest to most recent) & see if you can notice a change. Go on, I dare you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Some Crap to Tide you Over...

Boy, school really does a number on ya.... I've barely had time to see my own blog!

Currently, I'm juggling what seems like a million things at once. Besides schoolwork (which there's a somewhat decent amount of), I gotta finish my segments for $oopah NIN10Doh! (which I hope to get done by the end of the month *knocks on wood*), save up some extra dough for supplies & start working on my 2 minute film! It's a good thing I always get things done, even if it usually is at the last minute.

Right now, my $$$ is running on "E". I splurged about 3 G's a few weeks ago! No, I didn't spend it all on drugs, but what I did spend it on is equally as satisfying & addicting. I finally got myself a MACBOOK PRO, which I gotta say is the bee's knees. Best 3,000 bucks I ever spent! Hope it last's a while for me to get some good mileage out of it!

Sadly, I haven't posted much artwork in a while due to getting used to the new laptop. My scanner has been offline since I got the damn thing, & I had to drudge through mounds of software manuals & CD cases to find the scanner's MAC-oriented installation CD. I just found it a few days ago & now its up & running. Suprisingly, I've gone through a whole 50 page sketchbook cover-to-cover in less that 4 weeks, so a lot of that will be up here very soon!

For the time being,  here's some doodles n' bits I conveniently had lying around the desktop :

I did this for my mother's class reunion coming up. I don't know if they're putting it in the book or not, but either way I'm happy about it. 

I had a load of fun coloring it, not because I was allowed to put my characters in it, but because I colored it on one of the school's brand-new Cintiq's! The school went all out & bought about 15-20 of them over the summer, just for us animators! Ain't life grand? Now I can never go back to drawing/coloring on my little lap tablet.

This is probably what I'd look like if I were a Boo from Super Mario. Drew this for an acquaintance's DA page, where he's gathering Boo's by different people to form a Boo army. Kinda fits the Halloween spirit, doesn't it? 

I sketched, inked & colored this earlier today in Digital Compositing class. The character is based off an idea I had for a children's book, but never got around to publishing. I may decide to use this guy in my student film this year, that is if I don't go with one of the other 7 film ideas I planned out. Decisions... decisions.... I don't know whether they're worth talking about or not, but if you're interested & want to lend an ear, let me know.

Also, here are a few films I recently watched, currently love & now have on my iPod:
- Whisper of the Heart
- The Cat Returns
- Allegro Non Troppo
- All of Bruno Bozzetto's films
& I'm gonna check out The Triplets of Belleville tonight, so I'll let you know how good it is later.

Well, I gotta head over to Biology class before I become tardy. Ciao!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Shameless plug off the starboard bow, captain!

My friend & fellow SVA-er Chris "Kirbopher" Niosi just finished Part 1 of his Go! Go! Parody Rangers feature film! If you like (or don't like) the old Power Rangers movie, then you'll definitely get a kick out of this.

Kirb'll be posting each "chapter" of the film up on Newgrounds weekly, so make sure to go check it out! *LINK*

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Richard Williams Speaks!

Last Monday, I had the privilege to see Richard Williams speak at the MoMA here in New York. Boy was it a blast! 

I almost didn't get a ticket, but luckily me & a few friends rushed up to the museum a few hours earlier to snag tickets before they sold out. I'm really glad I did, because it was a packed house! Everybody & their mother in law seemed to be there. Even a few of my animation professors were there, including Doug Crane, Celia Bullwinkel, Don Duga as well as the likes of Michael Sporn & Tissa David. It seemed almost like a big animation family reunion.

The house lights began to dim, the curtain opened, the screen appeared & we began to watch:

Even though I've seen it so many times, I can never get tired of watching this logo. I still can't get over how simply amazing it all is, especially when watching it on the big screen with an audience. I could stare at that rubber-hose cat, 40's fox & dachshund animation forever. Simply astounding! 

What a night it was! Not only did Richard Williams speak about his career, but he showed clips of some of the work he & his studio did, including the openings to Roger Rabbit & Return of the Pink Panther (skillfully animated by Ken Harris), the bridging sequences of The Charge of the Light Brigade, scenes from Raggedy Ann & Andy & Christmas Carol, a few of his commercials, footage of him studying walks for a BBC special & a rare trailer for his epic masterpiece The Thief & the Cobbler. He also showed a few sneak peeks at his new Animator's Survival Kit 16-DVD boxset, talking about dialogue & flexibility. 

One of the commercials he showcased was one of my all-time favorites of his: the Long Life Beer ad. After it was shown, I was blown away to hear from Dick himself that the whole 90 second commercial was animated in 2 weeks!

Although I feel a bit guilty about doing so, I snagged a few minutes of the show on my digital camera, just for you! In this clip, Dick & John Canemaker point out animators Tissa David & Michael Sporn in the audience & Dick talks a bit about Raggedy Ann & Andy & animator Emery Hawkins. I apologize for the poor sound & image quality. I suggest you should click on the video & select to watch it in high quality there. It helps a little bit.

Man.... what a night it was!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Have I really improved?...

While down in Florida to visit my grandparents last month, they took out & showed me some old drawings I did when I was little. I must've drawn these when I was around 4 or 5, shortly before I decided to pursue a career in cartoons & animation. 

The big question is.... have I really improved?

(click to enlarge to "Dumbo" size)

Sorry I haven't posted much in a while, but "Back to School" time can be very strenuous sometimes. Everybody's busy doing their class assignments that there's barely any time to even sleep, let along blog. Even Toon Platoon has taken a brief unofficial hiatus! But don't worry, I've got posts all written & ready to be put up here, from new artwork to classwork to Richard Williams. Expect to see new goodies within the next week. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Richard Williams is Comin'!!!!

Monday Night.... 7 PM.... at the MOMA...... I'll be there.

'nuff said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget...

7 years ago today, back when I was only 12 years old, the world suddenly turned upside down. 9/11 was one of those events that change your whole viewpoint, reality bangs on your door & you realize that life probably won't be the same as it used to. For a 12 year old like I was, it's that step from the carefree life of childhood to the harsh, responsibility-ridden reality of adulthood. Everything before now seems unimportant. Who remembers Sept. 10th? 9/11 affected so much & so many, especially those who only live a hop, skip & a jump away from Manhattan. It's still a very vivid memory.

School just started & we all had the back-to-school blues. It was the 2nd period of the day, & I was in Social Studies class. About halfway through the class, one of my teachers ran in telling us that a plane flew into the Twin Towers. The TV was turned on & we watched in complete disbelief. My first thought was " Oh God...kamikazes are attacking the Twin Towers!". After the period was over, many of us gathered in the cafeteria to find out from others what was going on.

We were glued to the televisions that day. To the teachers it was somewhat clear on what was going on, but the rest of us were clueless. The big questions were "Who" & "Why?". Most of us didn't know who or what Al-Qaeda was, or what this Osama bin Laden guy was. It seemed like we were in the dark. Little bits of news snuck out every so often:

"Hey did you hear?... they hit the Pentagon too!"

They were bombing all over the place! What could be the next target? The White House? The Statue of Liberty? Disneyland? Where?! The TV's were blasting, people were talking over them, some were crying, some were calling home, some were praying. So much chaos & confusion. Then everything went dead as the first tower began to fall...

In an instant, people lost brothers, sisters, moms, dads, cousins, uncles, aunts & friends. I remember one kid's face turning almost completely white. I stood there watching in disbelief. To me, watching that first tower fall was completely mindblowing. Seeing this catastrophic meltdown live on TV.... seeing that enormous skyscraper shown on the TV the size of a stack of Legos falling over... "...if it's completely chaotic here 30 miles away, what could it possibly be like for them right there in the middle of it all?" The scale & scope of it all was completely shocking to me. I thought "Please, just let the other one stand... don't fall, don't fall...." Then it did. Two iconic symbols.... gone. We saw all the janitors gathered on the roof. They could see the smoke from the rooftop.

Were were all sent home right after. The TV's at home must've been on for 2 days straight after that. Then watching all those months of cleanup afterwards... it was a life-altering experience for all of us. Some of my sister's friends lost someone that day. Although I personally didn't lose anyone close to me that day, it felt like I did. Could any good come out of all of this?

Besides the paranoia, we all felt a bit closer. We came together & chipped in to help. Hell, some of us even liked Bush for a few minutes. People became kinder, helpful & sympathetic souls... at least for a little while.

A few weeks after 9/11, there still was some grief & gloom hanging in the air. During class one day, I began to doodle in my notebook to keep my mind off. One of those doodles was this little chicken in a straight-jacket. To this day, part of me thinks that Cannibal Chicken was born out of 9/11.

So remember to say "I Love You" to the ones you care about each day, 'cause you don't know what may happen that day. & to never forget....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Face in my Dorm

When I was sittin' on my bed drawin' last night, I noticed that there's a shadowy Easter Island-like head guardin' the front door to my dorm room. He won't go away 'til I give it Ramen noodles & PopTarts.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Skull-astic" Endeavours

So far, my first week of my sophomore year here at SVA has been a blast! Great teachers, classmates & friends (old & new) & some really awesome classes (except for one which I'll talk about further in this post).

One of the classes I took this week was Anatomy class. Andrew Gerndt, the Anatomy professor, is a real swell guy & seems like it will be a great experience having him teach us. For the first few weeks, we'll be analysing & drawing the human skull. When I first saw some of the drawings by Gerdnt's older students, I felt a bit intimidated. But luckily, Andrew helped ease things a bit.
Before starting to draw that day, this is all I knew about drawing skeletons &/or skeletal parts:

By the end of the day, this is what I ended up with:

No bad for a guy who draws cartoon ducks all day, huh? I was surprised I could draw this stuff myself! It's gonna be a fun class!

Now onto the bad...

Being a freshman last year, we had to choose classes left over that the seniors, juniors & sophomores didn't want, since we had last pick. We ended up scrounging through courses that were left at the bottom of the barrel. While I ended up with a few courses I was intrigued with, one I ended up choosing as a fluke was a course called "Aesthetics". I didn't even know what that was... I could walk into class with beakers & sciencey stuff & end up being in cooking class for all I knew. Well today I found out...

I walk into class & sit down at my desk with about 20 others. The professor then walks in, & his first words were:

"Hello, I'm Dr. *****, & welcome to the hardest course here at SVA...-"

A very reassuring introduction...

The course ended up being about philosophy & writings by some dead German smartie-pantses, & you had to read about 20 different writings, with such exhilarating titles such as "Critique of Judgement" & the popular "Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproducibility". After a few more brain-numbing discussions of what the class was going to include (countless essays, vigorous studies & truckloads of homework), he began to take attendence, asking each student what their favorite piece of "non-fiction pro" was... I got up & ran out of the room before he could get to the M's.

Luckily, my great class advisor Jillann was able to get me outta that mess & into a class more suited to my intellectual level: Children's Literature for Illustrators. Goodbye Freud, Kant & Nietzsche... Hello Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll & Dr. Seuss!

I still have 3 more classes to go check out, including Storyboarding with Howard Beckerman & Digital Compositing on Monday (we get to use Cintiqs!!!). This year's gonna ROCK!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bill Melendez (1916-2008)

I just learned from Cartoon Brew & Thad K.'s blog that animator Bill Melendez has passed away. He was someone I always really wanted to meet in person. Another idol gone.

Eight months ago, I posted about Bill Melendez & how great he was to me..... he still is.

So long, Bill.

Ub Iwerks & "Hell's Bells"

In conjunction with Michael Sporn's latest post & the devil picture/video I posted a few days ago, here's a little something you may find interesting for a few minutes:

To me, Hell's Bells is one of my all-time favorite cartoons. Sure it ain't Duck Amuck, What's Opera, Doc? or One Froggy Evening, but it's one of those few cartoons that inspire me to get up off my ass & start animating. God, I LOVE 20's/30's rubber-hose animation! Ub Iwerks ( & company's) loose, lively & fun animation & Carl Stalling's music never ceases to make my eyes fall out of my head & my feet uncontrollably tap to the beat. Along with cartoons like The Skeleton Dance, this is one of those cartoons I can watch over & over again & never get tired of. The scene of the three devils dancing at around 2:38 never fails to make my jaw drop.

& on top of that, it's freakin' bizarre! I mean, what other Disney cartoon (or any other cartoon for that matter) has demons milking flaming milk out of a dragon-like cow, characters getting eaten alive by three headed dogs & Satan himself getting his pants pulled down & spanked by flaming hands, all timed perfectly to music? Exactly!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back at SVA!!!

My Handy-Dandy Shmandy Personal Library of Readingness! Can you spot any of YOUR favorite books?:

Well, I've finally moved back into my old room at SVA! Computer's all set up, my bed is all made, clothes & tupperware put away, my TV's hooked up & my personal library is all squared away on my shelf! All Set! My first class starts in a few hours & I'm totally ready for my second year at the School of Visual Arts!

All except for one thing.... my toilet is leaking. Gotta get that fixed.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Colorin' the Devil

Last night, while on one of my late night drawing sessions, I drew this really funny picture of a devil. I thought it was good enough to color, so I opened it up in Photoshop. But before I started coloring it, I thought it would be cool to record the whole thing with SnagIt!.

This was sped up to triple speed, so coloring it took about 10-12 minutes of my time. I made this using Windows Movie Maker (God I hate that program), but hopefully by next week all my future movies will be made up nice in iMovie or one of the MacBook's decent movie editing programs. Here's hoping, & enjoy the video!:

The final image: