This is the animation from my book "Mindy Indy's Daily Misfortune and Flip Book!" I realized I hadn't posted it yet. It's also on the mindy indy YouTube channel :) There, that's 3 ways to watch the animation! Although it's even better when you can flip it yourself in the book :) Yeah I need to get that online store going :P
I've been working on a very special project - a Misfortune Cookie Animation! I love doing hand drawn animation and use a light table to see through the drawings on paper. It takes longer than animating on the computer, but I want the drawings to look like how I drew the comic. The animation is part of a larger project, which I'll reveal in the next few weeks :) Part of my plan to get stuff ready for the Baltimore Comic Con that I'm in September 8th and 9th!
TNH, the animated short I worked on with Kyle Baker, premiered on MTV Geek recently! (NOTE: There is violence and swearing, so if you're a kid, don't click the links.) It's more of an "adult swim" kind of cartoon. I mainly animated individual characters in Blender, After Effects, and Photoshop. Some scenes I animated are: The funny looking crowd watching the pole dancers, close ups of legs dancing, a LOT of the komodo dragon scenes, the glass shattering with girl screaming, some of the stairs chase scene, the peep driving the car, the baby animals looking with fright, the bunny flying in the air, and the cooked chicken, among others. There's too much to say in one blog post about the process of animating, but please watch and enjoy!
It's been such a crazy weekend! MoCCA Fest 2012 for Saturday/Sunday and the ASIFA East Animation Festival Sunday night! They were both super awesome, and the flames of inspiration have been rekindled in me! I met so many wonderful people and got to reconnect with friends too.
Saturday I went to the Dare2Draw event held inside MoCCA Fest - it's figure drawing, but with models that pose dynamically like a comic character would, and they have comic-like costumes and props (Wolverine claws, for example). These and other figure drawing events, like drink-n-draws held throughout the city, have seriously helped with how I draw Aer Head.
I came across the Bronx Heroes Comic Con booth, and later on SIGNED UP FOR A TABLE! Yes, MINDY INDY will actually BE EXHIBITING and SELLING some Aer Head mini comics, new Aer Head stickers, and a brand new short comic I'm creating right now. I learned from vendors at MoCCA Fest that they were pretty successful with short stories in mini comic form and in anthologies. I need to jump on this! I've been kicking around some shorts in my head (wow, that sounds like I'm a washing machine... or a dryer...) and will start bringing them to life! Of course I'll still be creating Aer Head, my main epic series, but the short comics (like 6 pages or so) are great to get mindy indy's name out there! I was also inspired to make sure I draw for at least an hour each night, even when I'm tired. I've done it since Saturday each night to far, and it's been pretty successful. That little bit DOES add up, and that's how I will make things happen! GO TO the Bronx Heroes Comic Con on Saturday May 12th, from 11AM to 6PM. It's at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse on 165St., Bronx, NY 10456. Hope to see you there!
This week I've been learning a lot more about creating the 3D characters in Blender - a bit more tricky that animating them (I guess it depends who you ask!) The above image is a character from a new 3D comic of Kyle Baker's. He needed to make lots of gangsters, so he gave me the file of this basic gangster (above) and wanted me to change their clothes, hair, skin tone, etc so it would create many individual gangsters quickly.
You can not only change the color of a character's clothes, but "map" a texture onto it. This was my favorite part! Above, the black+yellow striped square was an image I found online and modified. I picked all kinds of funky textures for the different characters, to which Kyle said "What kind of gang IS this??" see below:
That's what happens when you put me in charge of outfits :)
Wrapping up the TNH animation. It's in the final editing stage. Above is a screen shot of me animating the chick, Officer Peep, driving a car. Yes, it's a cartoon so s/he (we haven't decided it's gender) really can drive that way! See the animation in the TNH2 link from last week's post.
In other news, drew more Aer Head yesterday (finally!) but that's for another post. I also don't have a scanner at the moment.
It's been awhile, but mindy indy has been pretty busy! Since the NY comic con, I've been all over the place. Took a figure drawing for graphic novelists class back in the fall, got another small comic coloring gig, moved apartments. Coloring on Marvel's Deadpool Max ended, but I've still been working a lot with Kyle Baker on lots of stuff. Mostly, this animation called TNH (Tortoise and Hare). Take a look at some clips:
Learning 3D was tricky at first, but luckily Kyle had faith in me. We use a program called Blender - it's free online.
There is too much to say about everything that went into this in one post. I'm also going to keep my posts shorter so it doesn't take forever to do - maybe I'll post more often that way :)
As for Aer Head, the figure drawing class really helped, although I'm drawing some parts over and fixing some things. Lately, I've had lots of inspiration for the comic series I'm doing after Aer Head, so I've been sketching that a lot. When inspiration strikes, you just gotta go with it. It's good to have multiple projects going at once. Anyhow, things are still in the works, but I'm all over the place with projects!
Some of you have been telling me "I want more AER HEAD!" I know - I do too! My freelancing has been picking up lately, which is great news for me, but it also means that AER HEAD takes a back seat for a bit. When I was making a page every other week back in the fall, I was also unemployed :/ I wish I could work on AER HEAD full time and somehow get paid for it, but in the meantime, I'll keep trying to find a good balance between work projects and personal projects. But I'm excited to say that I'm getting comic and animation work:
Recently, I became a colorist for Marvel! I'm an assistant to Kyle Baker, who draws some of Marvel's comics. I just colored DeadPool Max #8, which should be out next month. (#1 is shown above. All DeadPool Max characters © Marvel 2011) It's so crazy - I never thought I'd be working for Marvel because our styles are so different. But I can color in any style! Kyle draws in Photoshop and sends me the files, and I do the "flats," which are the solid colors. Then I do some shading, send it to him, and he touches it up with his personal flair. You can see an example of a panel I colored here.
I've also gotten an animation gig, animating the end credits for Heart of a Doll, the film I was an art assistant for (see last post). One thing leads to another :) I'm so glad things are finally starting to come together for my career, after a year of being in NYC. What will the future hold? Only Aeryan knows ;)
To which I cringe, because while I love and have been greatly influenced by anime and manga (see my Inspirations post), I am actually trying hard to make my comic NOT look like anime! I'm trying to emerge my own unique style, and I don't like it being categorized like that when I know there are differences between my style and anime style.
"What about it looks like anime?" I sometimes ask. The character's eyes aren't showing on the card, so it can't be huge typical anime eyes. People are usually stumped here and say "Um, it just does!" One guy said "The mouth looks like anime!"
When I invented my AER HEAD characters years ago, though, the style was VERY anime:
Those eyes are GINORMOUS! Now THAT looks like anime, no doubt about it! That's a screen cap from an animation I did in 2004 called "Cute but Deadly." Btw, the character on the left in green (Andy) is the same one on my business card.
But even now, when I sketch characters really quickly, the style tends to look anime-like, maybe because it's more simplified:
But to me, my final comic pages these days don't jump out at me and say "anime."
There is probably the underlying anime drawing style still there, and as much as I try to change it, it still shines through. One of my professors said that sometimes you just have a certain style, and nobody can beat it out of you. But hey, maybe the anime-like style will attract some anime fans :)
Many animations, comics, tv shows, movies, places, people, and other things stirred around in my brain to form AER HEAD. My main inspiration is Daft Punk's animated music video of their Discovery album - "Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem."
I already loved Daft Punk's music and was totally amazed when I saw this anime-like music video in 2003. I can't even begin to describe it's awesomeness, so watch the animation here. I love the style of the characters and how colorful everything is! The film was produced by Daft Punk, Cédric Hervet and Emmanuel de Buretel along with Toei Animation, under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto. Interstella 5555 © Toei Animation 2003.
Another influence is Colleen Doran's "A Distant Soil" graphic novel series. Isn't that picture so beautiful and sparkly? I LOVE Doran's work! I'm mainly inspired by her vivid color schemes, fluid coloring style, and collage-like page compositions, where panels can be any shape and meld into one another. I even got to meet Doran one time at last year's New York Comic Con! I totally geeked out :) A Distant Soil is published by Donning/Starblaze © Colleen Doran 1989.
Another visual inspiration for AER HEAD is the light of late afternoon summertime. Not quite sunset yet, but like 5 in the afternoon. When it's super hot out, the sun is blazing and casts a golden light over everything, reducing objects to wavy silhouettes. This is why I love to use so much yellow and shadows in AER HEAD! It definitely gives that summertime feel.
Also, I took this picture looking at Coney Island from Brighton Beach. That old Parachute Drop ride even influenced some buildings on page 1 of AER HEAD. That structure looks so sci-fi! Doesn't it look like a space ship that just landed there?
AER HEAD's story is greatly influenced by Lost, or the first few seasons anyway. I got busy with college and work and stopped watching all TV, and just never got back to the series. However, I was very intrigued by what I did see early in the series. For those who don't know, Lost is a sci-fi drama of plane-wrecked survivors' mysterious encounters on an island in the middle of nowhere. I loved all the bizarre things that would seemingly happen without explanation! Like the random polar bear on the tropical island and the mysterious hatch. The writers of that show were excellent story tellers that mastered the art of suspense. In terms of AER HEAD, let's just say that things are going to get weird. Very weird :) Lost © ABC Studios and Touchstone Television 2004-2010.
Those are the main AER HEAD inspirations, but there are many others like outer space, manga creators Rumiko Takahashi and Osamu Tezuka, the movie Inception, and even Scooby Doo! And I already mentioned San Diego's influence in my second post.
Oh, there is another major influence... but I can't reveal it yet because it may take away some of the surprise later on ;)
This week I've been drawing page 5, which you'll see next week!
Yes, I DID draw that pic just for this subject ;) Storyboards are a series of pictures used to visualize a movie or animation. They are usually based off a script and are an essential step before filming or animating. Comic books are storyboards in themselves (which is part of why there have been so many comic book movies out recently - the storyboards already exist!). I'm using my own kind of storyboarding process for the AER HEAD comic.
AER HEAD is a very long story. Before this, I had done short stories of 6 to 17 pages, so tackling this was pretty overwhelming at first. I've sketched these characters for years, and attempted to make the first part of the comic before (I'll post that after this version catches up ;) ) but I realized the big picture had lots of plot holes, I didn't know how characters would get from place X to place Z, the villains were unclear, and it didn't have much character development, so I put the story on hold. For awhile I still had all these half baked ideas floating around in my head, but this summer I realized if I don't do the comic now... when will I do it? Next year? 5 years from now? No, carpe diem!
So first, I looked through all my sketchbooks (about 12) to remember what I had sketched about the story over the years. I had totally forgot about some things! Which is why sketching them down is so important. Then, I wrote pieces of the story on index cards and put them on my wall. That's how I was taught to do it in animation classes in college. I drew images for the college storyboards, but I wrote for AER HEAD because I was still in the general concept stage and didn't want to worry about committing to drawings yet. The index cards allow me to easily switch parts of the story around, take parts out, and add parts in. I hung them in a time line like fashion to help me figure out what needed to happen between place X and place Z and other places. This was really helpful and I kept thinking of more and more things to happen!
One time I was talking with a cartoonist friend and he said he drew small thumbnail sketches of his whole story before doing the real drawings. Thumbnails are really small, like a couple inches high. They help to get the basic layout and pacing of a comic. So I was like, "All right! I'm going to draw the WHOLE THING out!" Which didn't last long... I kept getting stuck, was thinking way too hard about it, and underestimated the amount of time it would take. Sometimes the creative process is organic and you can't force it, and what method may work for one artist doesn't necessarily work for another. So take my crazy process with a grain of salt ;)
I started sketching some whole pages. I don't like drawing small, and I invent the dialogue as I'm drawing, so I used regular typing paper to fit everything in. Here's a close up of the storyboards for the first 2 pages:
I mentioned that storyboards usually come from scripts, and while I didn't write one for AER HEAD, I read many screen writing books to help me "write" visually. Some of them were:
Robert McKee: Story
Madeline Di Maggio: "Screen-Writing" Insider Tips and Techniques to Write for the Silver Screen
Peter Dunne: Emotional Structure
I didn't read them all through, but definitely the first couple chapters and skimmed the rest. There were some other "writing for TV" books that I had to return before I read them, but I forgot their names... but just look in the library and they'll all be in one place. I also looked at Scott McCloud's "Making Comics." All these resources combined helped me to move my story forward, cut things out, create conflict, and develop characters pasts and inner desires. I also learned about things like character arcs vs story arcs, the difference between plot and story, and technical terms like archplot.
I went to the New York Comic Con this year and they had a panel called "Writing Character Driven Stories," where I learned about the impact character, holistic vs linear thinkers, and mental sex - like if a male character thinks like a female (which my male characters might turn out to be like, since I'm female and can just guess how guys think. Gotta work on that mind-melding technique... mindyindymindmeld!!)
Ok, so that's a lot of info to digest! I'm still storyboarding as I go along. All the pages you see here...
...are probably like 1/20th, or maybe 1/40th, of the whole story. One of the fun things about writing as I go is adding stuff that strikes me at odd moments like "Eureka!" A potential drawback to writing as I go is if I want to add more info to past pages, I run into problems. But at this point, I don't want that to hold me back. It's important to JUST DO IT.
PS: Yeah I know I said I'd post page 3 this week, but lots of crazy things happened and I didn't get to watercoloring yet. I'll have it for next week!