Friday, June 29, 2012

Head Sketches

Thursday, June 28, 2012

People Sketches

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cheatin' Production Blog - Episode Four

Cheatin' Production Blog Episode Four - Layout from Bill Plympton on Vimeo.

In this episode, I discuss how I use my storyboard panels to create layouts. Rough as they are in comparison to those used in Hollywood features, they play a vital role in how I compose my scenes.

Woman Caricature

Monday, June 25, 2012

Merto Design for Cheatin'

Friday, June 22, 2012

Carlos Nine

Ok, you're about to read about one of the greatest bits of animation I've ever seen--
I recently returned from the Annecy Animation Festival in France, which I attend every year. Since I've been making animated features for over 20 years I like to see what's going on in feature film production rather than shorts.

Some of these films never get major distribution even though they're brilliant (ex. "Grendel, Grendel, Grendel", "Mind Game") so this may be the only chance I get to catch a diamond in the rough. Well, I found one! It's called "Anima Buenos Aires". It's a compilation of various animated shorts dealing with the city. The recently deceased Caloi has a wonderfully imaginative and funny section about the denizens in a local bar.

The real highlight for me for a short sequence by master illustrator Carlos Nine. A few years ago, Peter DeSeve turned me on to him, and I'm glad he did! Carlos usually sticks to graphic novels and illustrations, so this may be his first real foray into animation.

Not from the short, but example of his black and white style:

Wow, I'm still stunned thinking about his short. What a tour de force of animation! The story starts out in film noir live action as a gangster gets gunned down in the sordid streets of Buenos Aires. As he lays dying it turns into black and white animation (just simple brush style art) to describe this guy's life and loves before his demise.

But what a show! Mr. Nine has his own particular world and style that's unlike anything I've ever seen before, yet it feels so familiar and compelling. The people, buildings, and cars are extremely distorted, yet they are so real!

As I sat in the audience watching his delightfully beautiful animation, I felt like "Why even bother making animation, this guy is way beyond anything I could ever create"" And it's not that the screen is packed with beautiful art-- in fact, the screen is fairly empty -- just the simple characters and designs of his imagination.

Pat Smith and I are planning a Drawn Animation Festival on August 23rd at the SVA Theater (it's free!). I'll try to get a clip of his film for the spectacular show of hand-drawn animation from around the world.

See you there!


Man face sketch

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shadow Sketch

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Peter Siskind

Monday, June 18, 2012

Epic Sketchbook: Mariel Sayuno..

Mariel is one of my students at Tisch-Asia Graduate Animation program in Singapore, and she's one to watch! Consistently some of the strongest animation and drawings of her class, here's some of her sketchbook from this summer (swiped from fb).. I couldn't help to notice the "wire frame" type of drawing that Milt Kahl talked endlessly about!   rad stuff.

Larry Kardish

Friday, June 15, 2012

Costume Design and the Story..

Mark Kennedy nails it about costume/story.. I will give anybody props who ref's the graduate:)

One of the most famous examples of evolving costume comes from the first three "Star Wars" movies. In the first movie, Luke wears all white. This seems to fit him well, because he's an idealistic guy who sees everything in simple terms. He's pure, naive, and innocent.

In the second movie, Luke begins to question everything he thought he knew. He realizes there are deeper meanings to a lot of what he's learned and that things are messy, not simple. Good and bad are less well defined than he thought before. He wears a grey outfit through much of "Empire" that seems to reflect his new thinking: muddy and uncertain.

In the third film, Luke appears in a black outfit. The major dramatic question of the movie is: will Luke give in to his father's wishes and become evil? Since black is the color most associated with his father,it makes sense to put him in black throughout the movie. It's a visual way to raise the question in the audience's mind: is he becoming his father? Is he going to give in and become evil?

Going from white to black is a great idea for showing how the character has altered and changed along the way since he first began his journey. If Luke wore white in "Jedi", I don't think there would be a lot of dramatic tension in the audience's mind. Subconsciously, the audience would know that Luke is nothing like his Father because they look like opposites. But when they both wear black, there's a lot of tension created around the question of whether Luke has turned into his Father or not.

Another one of my favorite examples of how to use costume in film is "The Graduate". In the film, the main character, Benjamin, feels disconnected from the world. He feels adrift and isolated from the people around him, particularly his mother and father.

The film does a great job of showing this idea in visual ways. For example, in one scene he sits in front of an aquarium. You can't see the edges of the fish tank and it makes it look like Ben is floating underwater and it makes him seem adrift and unconnected (this isn't a costume example, but I like it nevertheless).

Another one of the ways the film makes this statement is with costume. In the film, Ben's parents give him a scuba suit as a gift. He puts on the suit and tries it out in the family pool.

The scene begins with him wearing his scuba suit in their kitchen. That's such a great way to reinforce what the whole film is about: that Ben's out of place and feels like he doesn't fit into his environment...obviously, a scuba suit looks ridiculous and out of place in a kitchen.

As he awkwardly plods towards the camera in his flippers, the point of view shifts to what Ben is seeing from inside his scuba mask. The view out of his mask is, again, a great way to both "get inside his head" and show his isolation. As his parents gesture and talk to him, the viewer feels very separated from them...not only by the "window" of the scuba mask, but also by sound. They're talking and trying to communicate with Ben, but he can't hear them. All he can hear is the sound of his own breathing (and there's no other way to do this than to cut to his point of view, it's worth pointing out).

Ben eventually jumps into the pool and then tries to climb out. But his parents push down on his mask, forcing him underwater, where he is (again) separated from them by the water between them. This is such a great metaphor for feeling separated from them and isolated.

He sinks to the bottom of the pool and the camera pulls out to see him alone and adrift, surrounded by water, alone and apart from everyone else.

I love how this sequence uses visuals (and the unique costume of the scuba outfit) to describe the way the character feels. Costume is one part of it, but obviously all the visuals are working together to tell the same story.

So always think about ways to tell your story as effectively as possible, and how to use the visuals to communicate what the story is trying to say. And don't forget that costume can play an important part!

Face sketch

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Epic Sketchbook: Pete Skully..

Great images of London by Pete Skully, enjoy... 

 Temple Station  

 Prince Henry Room  
 Essex St

sketching Fleet Street 


Ella and Woman Character from Cheatin'

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Epic Sketchbook: Dhar Cedhar..

This entry on urban sketchers really tested my bahasa indonesian skills:) rad to see an indonesian posting such amazing stuff.. Dhar calls these simply "unskilled laborors" enjoy..

Bill Plympton Day

Hey everyone! Guess which animator had a day dedicated to himself in Oregon...? Moi!!

That's right, May 26th in Oregon was "Bill Plympton Day"... which is kind of odd, because I was IN Oregon one week earlier to kick off the 6 city tour of "Adventures in Plymptoons" which was playing in select areas throughout Oregon. I was there for opening night at the celebrated Mission Theater and pub in Portland. It was a star-studded event. Animation guru Dennis Nyback, Portland's unofficial poet laureate Walt Curtis and celebrated animation producer Will Vinton. Of course, the director Alexia Anastasio was there to introduce the film, along with PR genius Steve Tenhonen.

Then the Mayor's proclamation of Bill Plympton Day was announced -- pretty weird!

 I presented the Simpsons couch gag short, and introduced the wonderful documentary. After the thunderous applause at the end, we brought up a lot of the participants in the documentary. It was fun to hear their thoughts and comments right after watching it. Anne stated something very interesting -- of all the great film directors to come out of Oregon, I'm the first one to get a full-length documentary about me. Wow!

 For all those in the East Coast who missed the chance to see the film, I have good news -- it's having a big gala premiere at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art on June 21st. If you're in the area, please come check it out! Details and ticket info here.

We're having a gaggle of celebs there, so I hope you can join me! And of course, everyone who comes gets a free Bill Plympton drawing. See you there!

Ella Design

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Epic Sketchbook: Virginia Hein..

Great drawings from a festival in Scotland by Virginia Hein.. Enjoy..
Scottish  Festival 2012 #1

Scottish Festival 2012 #2

Scottish Festival 2012 #3

Scottish Festival 2012 #4

Scottish Festival 2012 #5