Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Neals

Merry Christmas everyone! Here's my finished art for the family Christmas card. It's a mite better than the Pokemon-style one I hacked out in Crayola pencils when I was thirteen. This time I'm using Prismacolor pencils, so it's bound to be classy, right? Honestly, though, I love my Prismacolors, even if they do break every time I sharpen them. They just give me so much control and are so creamy and vibrant on the paper. Well, here's me and the fam. Merry Christmas - a little early - from my family to yours.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What the Dickens

Happy Christmas, everyone! I thought I'd kick off December with some sketches from the Dickens Fair. Twas a festive gala, with men in top hats, ladies in full skirts, and everyone in the mood for Christmasy fun.

Cheerful strumpets at Mad Sal's dockside alehouse

A musical performance at Mad Sal's
Couldn't make out the words over the din of the crowd,
but it looked like a fun song

A reveler at Fezziwig's Christmas party
How I longed for a pretty dress to waltz in,
not that the lack thereof kept me from waltzing my heart out

A special dance performance at Fezziwig's

A sprightly Irish dancer

These dapper gents treated us to an Irish softshoe number
 and the Highland Fling, respectively

A tiny girl sparring with her father at the sporting club
Easily the most adorable fencing lesson ever

An onlooker at Fezziwig's Christmas party
More men ought to wear tails; they make even the most
 average gent look very spiffy indeed

A darling girl in a spectacularly full skirt
What the sketch doesn't capture is that she had
 sparkles woven into her hair, in tiny braids and ringlets

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just for the Faun of It

I've been drawing fauns lately. No particular reason, except that I enjoy drawing the big, fluffy legs and dainty little hooves. That, and I've had a crush on Mr. Tumnus since I was six, so I guess somewhere deep down inside I wish I was a faun.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to Basics

I've been making art for a long time now. Well, proportionately long. I decided to devote myself to the study of art at age fourteen (because I wanted to work for Disney, and they all seemed to be really good at drawing.) I just turned twenty-seven, and have been feeling a bit drained lately. I've been focusing on production art and self-promotion, and as important as that stuff is, the practice of drawing is important, too. I've decided it's time to refresh my commitment to basic "good habit" drawing excercises, to practice intentionally, as I did when I was first learning to draw. So it's off to the coffeehouse and the zoo with sketchbook in hand!

Watercolors at Porto's Bakery in Burbank. The waiters started to give me dirty looks the third time I got up for another free cup of water.

Drama students putting on makeup. The assignment was "Trans-gender Makeup," so the girls were giving the guys eyeliner-application tips.

People waiting in line at Porto's. The apple strudel is worth the wait.

Hefty gals are fun to draw!

I've been trying to push my shapes lately. This lady had such fun hair.

Performers in the aisles at Cirque du Soleil's Iris.
Zoetrope skirt: why didn't I think of that?

More Cirque performers and their dutiful security guard.

Sleepy red pandas at the Sacramento zoo.

Mmm... giraffes love to nibble on wooden posts!

More from the Sacramento zoo. Giraffes are weird.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Looking Back on a Summer at Disney: Part 2

So, I'm at Disney as a Summer Associate, along with thirteen other young'uns and we're given the assignment: create an animated short in six weeks. We're free to make whatever we want, provided that it uses both 2D and 3D animation and is done in six weeks. Panic ensues.

As the only story artist, I felt obligated to provide a brilliant little gem to build our short around, except I couldn't think of anything, frozen as I was with fear. Thankfully, the team stepped up with an array of concepts, from my bizarre "ghost in a teapot," to Anna Bron's poignant "ice boy loves fire girl," to Alex Curtis' epic adaptation of the "Chinese paintbrush" myth. Below are some of my sketches for ghost/tea and Fire & Ice.

All work is the property of Walt Disney Animation Studios, 2010.

Ghostea was too weird, Chinese Paintbrush was too ambitious, and we couldn't figure out a satisfying ending for the star-crossed Fire and Ice sprites.

Finally, Nick Orsi helped us narrow the field to "A child draws something and it comes to life." We all did takes on this concept. Mine featured a little girl playing hopscotch on a hot summer day. When she hops into the last square, she is plunged into an underwater fantasy.

  The idea was that the real world would exist in 3D and the fantasy world would be a 2D chalk drawing. I wanted it to look like a child's imagining of the ocean: full of naive wonder.

At this point, our little sunburnt girl had evolved into an African American girl thanks to some designs by Nick Orsi. I thought the concept could work just as well.

After a few days of exploring, I was able to convert our chalk fantasy into a cohesive storyboard. Here's the animatic we made from my sketches, edited by Craig Peck.

Then a few weeks that blurred by. We were all dazed from lack of sleep. At some point, I painted some color keys to help get the lighters started.

I also painted the mural that comes at the very end of the short, based on fantastic fish designs by Andre Medina. Sadly, I don't have a copy of the original file (it's somewhere in the Disney vault) but you can see my work all over the sidewalk at the end of the movie.

And here, six weeks after we first got the assignment, is the finished short. Huzzah for the Disney Associates of 2010!

And now for the legal bit:
Materials produced at the Talent Development Summer Associate Program at Disney Animation 2010. Property of Walt Disney Animation Studios (“WDAS”). No use or reproduction without the prior written permission of WDAS. © Disney. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looking Back on a Summer at Disney: Part 1

Hi friends. For those loyal few who followed me as Casey Neal, I'm going by my first-and-middle name these days. My grandma called me "Casey Robin," and so I am. With a new name, I thought I should have a new blog.

To start, I need to backtrack to summer 2010. I spent that summer in the dream factory: Walt Disney Animation Studios. One of fourteen Summer Associates, I studied, drew, painted, and grew. The first four weeks of the program were spent in mentor-led excercises.

First came story excercises with mentor Michael LaBash: A Simple Character Expressing Emotions (shown below: Eager, Puzzled, Defeated, Irritated, Content.) Based on a design by Michael LaBash.

All work is the property of Walt Disney Animation Studios, 2010.

More story excercises: Waiting at a Bus Stop

Next came character design with mentor, Bill Schwab. He asked me to choose a story. I chose The Nutcracker. Then he asked me to reset it against a wildly different backdrop. I chose Bollywood. I would pay so much money to see a Bollywood Nutcracker!

Around Week 3, we Disney Associates were starting to get antsy because - gasp! - we were supposed to start a group short Week 4 and we had no clue what it should be about. As the only Story person, I was first up to bat. I was terrified.

But that's another post.

And now, the legal bit: Materials produced at the Talent Development Summer Associate Program at Disney Animation 2010. Property of Walt Disney Animation Studios (“WDAS”). No use or reproduction without the priorwritten permission of WDAS. © Disney. All rights reserved.