Tuesday, September 21, 2010

D.C. Drum Circle

One of the best things about being in D.C. in the Summer is being able to experience the Drum Circle in Malcolm X park. Every Sunday (weather permitting) for the past 40 something years, percussionists of all walks of life have gathered while others look on, dance, and play. It's an amazing spectacle.

I was finally able to get out and shoot it.

D.C. Drum CIrcle - Canon 7D from Jose Saenz on Vimeo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trying out new brushes...

...drawing based on my cousin. She's been asking me to do one for her for a while now. I'm trying to learn how to use brushes more efficiently in Photoshop, so I took this opportunity to play around a bit. I'm really getting into it. I think I'm done with the boring old round feathered brush. Creating my own brushes is so much more fun.

BTW, when I was done with the drawing I noticed that her hand, the one that's lowered, has a very Chris Sanders feel to it, I think. Hehe, funny how that kind of stuff just sneaks up in your drawings.

Monday, August 02, 2010

An Afternoon with Ken Duncan

Although I wasn't impressed by Comic Con in San Diego this year, I have to say that there was a major highlight in my trip to California. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting a true Disney legend, master animator Ken Duncan, and getting to spend the afternoon with him. He was nice enough to invite my wife and I to his studio in Pasadena and have lunch with him.

Ken and I had exchanged a few emails back and forth within the last few months and so before I flew out to L.A., I reached out to him and asked if he would be available to meet. Honestly, I just wanted to shake hands with the guy and tell him how much of a fan of his I was. I didn't expect for him to be so gracious and generous with his time.

It was an amazing experience. He showed me a bunch of work that he and his studio had/are working on. Among the clips he showed me was a pencil test of his famous Jane scene in Tarzan:


Looking back, I probably should have asked him a billion smart questions on how he achieved that performance, how he was able to make those drawings appear as if they were really thinking, but as he scrolled through the frames, I was like a kid in a candy store with a grin from ear to ear. It was hard for me to think of anything else except how masterfully done the scene was and how surreal the moment was. He gave a brief explanation of how x-sheets work, something that I mentioned to him that I admittedly had always had trouble grasping. He also explained how x-sheets are utilized within their cg production pipeline in a new system they've pioneered. I could imagine myself working for Ken and soaking up SO MUCH. I learned more from Ken in one day than I have working on my own as a freelancer for months. Ken, my wife and I then headed off to a Brazilian restaurant where we had lunch.

He gave me great insight as to what feature animation is like now vs. what it was like in the mid-late 90s.

I walked away with two major attributes about Ken. 1. He is extremely creative and is enthusiastic about embracing new looks, styles and genres within animation...in any medium (2d or 3d). That says a lot, especially from someone who was in the big studio system for as long as he was -a system that hasn't always embraced change or ingenuity. And 2. Ken exemplifies a characteristic of a certain breed of animation artists that I've been so fortunate to have encountered on numerous occasions in my career -a successful artist with the willingness to share information and extend a hand to other up and coming artists.

My afternoon and lunch with Ken was something that I'll never forget. I can't...he picked up the bill, so I owe him lunch next time ;).

Comic Con Cons

So I went to SDCC and I have to say, I have mixed feelings about the event. Mostly, I was disappointed. I thought it was a mess. It was as if the Entertainment field threw up on San Diego...too many people. It was virtually impossible to catch a lot of the panels unless you waited in lines for hours before hand. Moving through the crowds was a chore and exhausting. The artists alley was almost sad to walk through. They've been pushed off to the side. The only other time that I went to SDCC the artists were still in the middle of the exhibition floor...and you could still walk through the aisles relatively easy.

On the other hand, you can never put a price on the people you actually do get to meet...and even though it was a bit sad to see how the artists have been pushed off to the side, it was still awesome getting to see them and buy their books. I myself was really looking forward to shaking hands with Kevin Dart, who's one of my favorite illustrators and biggest artistic heroes. His seductive espionage book was a must buy: http://yuki7.bigcartel.com/product/seductive-espionage

So in conclusion, although I'm glad I went to SDCC this year, I don't see myself going back anytime in the near future. I do have high hopes for the new Creator Con concept that's making its' rounds around the web though.

Monday, July 12, 2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010

So I'm finally going back to San Diego for Comic Con! It'll be only my second time attending, but I'm very excited! I had such a good time the last time I went in 2005 and I've been dying to go back. I'd love to hear any suggestions of must-see panels, events, or shindigs. I'd especially like the inside scoop on any great animation artists that will be selling books, so if anyone knows of any, don't hesitate to share.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some New Changes

Hi all,

Some of you might have noticed some new changes around here. I finally got around to putting together a website. It's nothing special, but definitely a lot more organized than just having floating images here and there like what I've had for the past few years. Now visitors to my blog will have access to the rest of my work (ie. Photography & Videos) and vice versa. Visitors to my site will have access to my blog. I'm using a service called Smugmug.com. I've only been using it for a few days now, but I'm blown away by how great its' gallery features are, in particular how fantastic the videos are streamed and displayed. I'm even more impressed by how easy it is to customize your site. Of course though, I can't ever seem to make anything THAT easy for myself. If you really want snazzy features, like integrating your blog into your site (as I've done here), well then you have to get your hands dirty with CSS and HTML. This basic little site might not seem like anything special, but MAN have I been knee deep into code for the past 4 days! My brain's fried and I'm spent...so for now, this will have to do. It's time to get back to creating.

Oh and now that I'm able to designate a page to just my illustrations, I'll be blogging a lot more, utilizing my blog to showcase my photography as well as talking about other interests and topics. I hope you all enjoy the new format.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Night Fury

Well I haven't had the chance to see 'How to Train Your Dragon' yet, but I wanted to show someone my design and color process and how I would reinterpret an already existing design. I thought Night Fury would make a good subject since it's current...plus, you're never too old for fan art, right?

Unfortunately I also have not had the chance to buy the Art of book yet either, so as far as my reference material, I had to make do with the couple of images of Night Fury that are available on the internet.

What do you all think?

-Jose S.