Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ben: A Redesign!

Time for a project update!  I've been really busy lately with a redesign of the game.  After looking at some of the things that I liked and didn't like, I came to the conclusion that it would really benefit from a restart.  What would I do different if I started over?  The characters would be built with Cut-Out/Skeletal animation (mostly), the art would still be retro, but at twice the size, the levels would be built with repeatable tiles, and the controls would be streamlined.

Well, I can show the first couple of changes.

After getting some flack on the internet for the original design basically being Superman, I decided a redesign was in order.  I took a bunch of unflattering reference photos of myself and got as far from the last design as I could (except for the cape).  Another problem with the original design was the short legs.  It looked tolerable standing up, but tipping him on his side while flying was a little ridiculous.  Those tiny legs just didn't hold up. 

With the new design in place, I built the character up in pieces from both the front and side angles (additional angles coming).  Then, I started rigging the bodies with a skeleton so that they could be animated.

Skeletal Animation rigged in Toon Boom Animate Pro
With the rigging in place, I animated a simple "idle" loop and attached a cape animation.  I did the two separate to break up the cycle.

Idle Animation next to Original Design (Left)
Next, I started rebuilding the backgrounds.  I reworked my first "shop" in a more simplified design to keep my file size down.  The new version is bigger and only 12kb.

There is still plenty more to do, but I thought I would show some of the new changes.  You can see much more at my personal blog:


Original art and after derezzing in Photoshop

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Knight in Gotham

Hey...Rev here.
My piece for the upcoming Carol and Johns Comic Shop Batman 75th anniversary party this Saturday the 26th curated by good friend and outstanding fellow artist Ryan Finley. If you were to boil Batman down to his basic essence....take away all the hype....all the crazy nefarious boils down to one thing. Batman is just a man. Just a guy that dresses up in a bat outfit. Driven by a relentless desire, a need to avenge the death of his parents who died tragically at the hands of a criminal. Wrong the wrong time. That being said....all he has is his money (being a billionaire and all), his wits and his training.
So I envisioned what it must be like for him at the end of a night, after running around and stopping as many crimes as he can. Muggers, rapists....robbers...taking on all these in one night...only to come home, mend his wounds and go back at it again the next night. washes, red ink...and white paint marker. I wanted a really wet look to this as Bats comes in from the I worked wet. Well....not me personally, but I kept the paper wet as I worked and allowed it to dry before wetting it again.

Batman: Quick & Dirty

Original Recipe
Artist extrodinaire and all around good dude, Ryan Finley is curating an art show this weekend at Carol And John's comic book shop around everyone's favorite orphan. My dadding and drawing schedule keeps me busy, but I squeaked this fella out during lunch breaks.  While it's a faster style than I'm used to, I can see working this way again. Particularly for sketch covers.
Some Photoshop Embellishment
The original will be on display this weekend at Carol And John's comic shop, and red (and pink and blue) prints will be available for purchase as well. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

A worthy exercise

Hi all, so last weekend I too part in Bay Art's 5 hour, monthly life drawing and it felt great!  It's been a while since I've done a pose longer than 20min and I didn't know how much I missed it until I did it.  I'm not 100% happy with my efforts (but honestly who is ever 100% about their own work) but as a return back to academic drawing its a good start.  I plan to go to as many of these as I can.  So get back to class if you can, it's good for ya!!!!

 Favorite part of this one, her shoulder.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ben: The Monster At The End Of This Book

I was recently asked (months ago) to participate in a gallery show at Bay Arts by my friend Erin Schechtman.  The general theme of the "Old Friends Gallery Show" was to reference a beloved childrens' book.  I immediately knew I wanted to do something for Grover in The Monster At The End Of This Book, I just had no idea what.  Having planned on doing it at the last minute, like all of my projects, I had plenty of time to ponder my approach.  The more I "pondered" the less I thought about the story and more about the title.  "Monster At The End Of This Book" taken out of context sounds much more like a classic pulp novel than a children's book.

And that's sort of what happened.  Here is my Pulp/Film Noire version of Sesame Street.  Work in Progress at my personal site :  


Monday, July 7, 2014

If you go out in the woods today you better not go alone...

My Father was a music teacher and many of the books I got to page through as a kid were the music books he taught from.  I remember reading the lyrics to "Teddy Bear Picnic" way before I ever heard the song and it always struck me sinister. 
 "If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise
 If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise."

Why do you need a disguise? What would the teddy bears do to you?  The answer I suspect is the title, what else are they going to eat at the picnic?

"If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today but safer to stay at home
For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
Because today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic!"

This is one of my entries in the "Old Friends: 20 Illustrators Pay Tribute to Beloved Children's Books" show at Bay Arts.  The opening reception is July 11th and from what I've seen of the work so far its not to be missed!