Ada Lovelace Day!

As usual I’m a bit overcommitted at the moment with Things That Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time.. my drinking buddy Suw came up with some cockamamie scheme for Ada Lovelace Day, and next thing I know I’m doing this (click on the image if, god help you, you want to see it larger):

lovelace comic page one

The goal of this worthy enterprise is to celebrate women in technology… corrupted by myself to the goal of fooling around. Ada Lovleace, as I’m sure you all know, came up with the first theoretical program for the first imaginary computer, thus ushering in the Age of Steampunk making her an inspiration for all us girls messing around on computers in later centuries!

Insanely I actually have a few pages of this but to get in under the wire of The Day Itself I’m posting that up for now.

Teaser for the NEXT THRILLING EPISODE:

ada lovelace

Dorking Out at the Medieval Festival

Last weekend I went to the medieval festival at Herstmonceaux Castle, where a fabulously geeky, if damp, time was had by all. Pictures of me in a fairy princess getup have most unfortunately all mysteriously disappeared.

The amazing thing about this festival are the dozens and dozens (hundreds, maybe?) of re-enactors who don’t only spend the weekend in meticulous period dress, but camp in period tents and cook over period fire eating period food– and fight some pretty serious battles in head-to-toe period armour!

I did masses of drawings but only a fraction of the ones I wanted to, with the amazing costumes and scenes and horses and objects everywhere! Mostly I focused on the costume for this trip, here’s a couple of pages:

Things I Draw When I’ve Had a Few

I got back from the Annecy festival a few weeks ago.. don’t have any Deep Thoughts but a couple of film recommendations and some sketches.

On the whole I found the films kind of a let down (I’ll never brag about having film in Annecy again.. ) but it was worth it for one film, I think the best short film I’ve ever seen: Skhizein, which won the audience award. Very funny for 10 minutes, then turned suddenly incredibly sad; on a rare subject, and I’m still thinking about it weeks later. Catch in on the festival circuit if you possibly can; I suppose it will come out on the ‘net when it’s done touring. Also excellent was the feature Peurs du Noir. Not normally much of a horror fan but really inventive graphics in this one:

Anyways we all really go to Annecy to drink and socialize and stock up on graphic novels at the fabulous comic shops, all of which activities I thoroughly covered. Having a glass of wine or ten with fellow-Narnian Caroline, I couldn’t help noticing how ideal her features are for fast drawing; and then there was a random guy sitting behind her with classic French-comic-book-hero chiseled cheekbones, so I drew this:
fee et brooding 1
And then I thought, obviously, HOW MUCH COOLER, not to mention more French-comic-booky it would be, if Caroline was a fairy:
fee et brooding 1
and Mr Brooding noir hero could solve crimes featuring ogres and witches, but dark! and French! and brooding! It looked pretty fantastic on a bottle and a half of cheap red and a week’s all-graphic-novel-and-animation diet.

I promised Caroline I’d put it up so here it is… I was kind of fancying mocking a cover up in colour, because that’s the sort of thing I waste my time on, but I’m shockingly paralyzed by the death of my Toshiba tablet. I’m a lot more dependent on Photoshop than I’d really like for polishing stuff. No one seems to make tablet PCs with decent graphics cards anymore so I’m ogling Cintiqs now, which I can’t really justify as I’d mostly use it for doing things like covers for imaginary comic books.

spine2_small

Cat Anatomy Notes– The Spine

Just got back from teaching a few weeks at the always relaxing and inspiring Animation Workshop. I agreed to do a short course in animal animation in 2D before I remembered that I haven’t animated on paper in three or four years– yikes!

They tend to ask me to teach something with animals when I go, and this time around I thought I’d have the students all do cats. I think I kind of overwhelmed people with anatomical information, which is a particular geekery of mine! When I saw people trying to get in each individual muscle in their ruffs, I tried to do a streamlined version of how to think about the anatomy for animation purposes. It’s pretty rough and random but I figured I might as well put it up here in case anyone missed the handouts.

Click on the image to get to the large version, but these are formatted for printing so they’re really huge…

There’s a few more pages, click on the “continue reading” link. At some point I should clean these up and make them make more sense! I have notes on the legs as well, if people are interested I can put those up here (at least I could when my laptop gets fixed.. motherboard, ouch! ). Read More…

Long Time No Post

Yikes it’s been ages since I’ve posted.. very tiring production; also, the dailies room where I’m working is really terrible for drawing in. I got only a few drawings of the folks around here (click for larger, resemblance to persons living is entirely coincidental):

Dailies

meetings

more meetings

Underground

underground sketch

I had a resolution this year to do a drawing every day on the underground on my way to work. Unfortunately it turns out that in order to draw I have to be able to move my arms, which isn’t possible on the Jubilee line at 8:30am. Fortunately a late evening at work lets me keep my hand in.. click on the image to see larger.

Masked Theater and Animation

I’ve been in Denmark at the sooper-cool Animation Workshop these last few weeks teaching a crash course in transitioning to CG from hand-drawn animation. Everyone who has worked with me in CG can now be reduced to hysterical laughter at the thought of me trying to teach someone how to do constraints, cope with breaking rigs, etc. etc…

On the last day of the course just for a change I talked a bit about animation as a stylized theater– before I studied animation I did a degree in Theater History. I was particularly interested in masked theaters, such as Noh or Commedia del’Arte, and as I got more into animation I started to see it as obviously part of this tradition– an animated face, after all, very much resembles a mobile mask:

Masks
It isn’t so easy to find good reference about this sort of thing and it helps to know your way around some theater history lingo so I promised the class I’d collect some stuff and put it up on this website. You could write several large books on this subject so this is going to be more like a Rough Guide to Abstract Theater with a lot of YouTube links:
Read More…