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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Recent Qilin Character Design Sketches 001

I worked on these this month during times I was prevented from working on my animation projects at UMASS Boston.

I HATE wasting time, especially when there's things I'd rather be doing, and wishing them to be done well.

NOw that I've finally gotten these scanned, i can start to move onto the parts I really want to dive into.
But, you can't put the cart before the Qilin!
 Originally, I hadn;t planned on coloring any of these, since they're still semi-rough. But, I was reviewing some animated film references and I think I might color at least 1 of them, to see what I think about it.

Examples of Older Qilin Character Design Artwork 002

My original Qilin animation concept that I came up with several years back, was a part of my series "Eyewitness" (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) which usually involves the lead character, Lively, experiencing something extraordinary that's rather unbelievable. But, it started to somewhat rub my wrong or uncomfortable since Qilin (at the time especially) was a Chinese cultural icon since ancient times. Lively is a mixed ethnicity girl, but generally appears mostly Caucasian. But, it kinda wasn't really working for me.

So, I had to come up with a new character for that specific short story. I was living in China in 2004, and also in 2006, and I often came back to that character.

The character was named Xiao Moli (Lil' Jasmine), and due to a number of stories in the news at the time, I felt it was better to make a victim character, much like old Shirley Temple films, but a lot more realistic like The Color Purple. If you have watched any number of Chinese films from last century, it often involved the lead female character getting raped by the villain. Also, at the time, I used to listen to a lot of Podcasts, watched Oprah's talkshow, Montel Williams, and I used to be very New Age. I am also a rape victim myself.

So, Moli is a totally innocent young girl, whom found herself unwanted, and her caregiver died, leaving her homeless, and then raped, and becoming a broken person.

This would be the strong contrast to her stumbling upon a Qilin, whom blesses her with good fortune afterwards.

I actually had to scrap this story line altogether, because it's JUST TOO HEAVY to start off with. 

I am still rather proud of the original story, because I'd at 1 point even worked out how depict it without overtly doing it. Sometimes drama means you need tragedy. But, It's not going to happen in this this animated short. I want this new one to be less story driven, and more artistic, and more emphasis on making something that's beautiful, light hearted, and appealing to the eyes. Not something that's disturbing.

If you've even watched Fantasia, the animated shorts are less story driven than theme driven.

If you've ever watched the Greek Mythology inspired short in Fantasia, there's no real actual story or plot. It's more "A Day in The Lives of" and transitions from 1 group of characters to another, and is more musical based. the scenery its self is also a major emphasis because it's SO GORGEOUS that the setting is also like a character. You're in a beautiful work among beautiful beings.

Here's another example of a beautiful animated short. At the end of a Care Bear movie, there's this beautiful ending piece that is massive eye-candy!


So, when I say I'm wanting to do something beautiful, and artistic, it's sort of like this.

There are also some Chinese animated films that are just so gorgeous!

Da Nao Tian Gong:

Da Nao Tian Gong is the Shanghai Animation Company's first major feature animated film in the 1960s. There were no animation schools in Communist China, so that fact that this was made is always mind-blowing to me!

I have watched this film so many times that I've lost count.


Altho' Nezha as some VERY heavy themes in it like child sacrifices and suicide, it's probably NOT for children outside of Asia due to cultural differences. My daughter, did however, grow up watching this in China, and so did my spouse.

However, this film is incredibly gorgeous, and the ending is a happy ending (unless you're a tyrant dragon god)

Hopefully, this might fully illustrate what I'm going for. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Examples of Older Qilin Character Design Artwork 001

I would like to run through my older Qilin character designs I came up with back in the GWB era. I also lived in China several times back then for long periods, spending a lot of time there and then coming back here to run seasonal art businesses in malls in which we sold custom made commissioned charcoal & pastel portraits and pop art, when there still was a Middle Class but on the decline.

I had to stop multiple times because of getting pregnant, living in China, the economic crisis, and lots of other things.

Basically,  in traditional cinematic or television character animation, the characters need to at least be somewhat simplified, because it's easier to draw, and focus on the motion, movement, emotion, and too many details slow it down. The more detailed your character design is the less likely it makes sense to really animate it, which doesn't look as good, because it's stiff. I honestly hated learning to animate using a "held cell" at AIPH because my original animation teacher at the Philadelphia UARTS was a graduate of CALARTS and taught the Disney standard style, even tho' Disney does actually use "held cells" in their feature animations they generally didn't. If you watch Japanese animation, AKA anime, their characters often have more details, but they are very choppy, stiff, and don't move very much. They tend to be more like a manga (comic book) that slightly moves and had audio. This is fine if you are producing more quantity over quality.

For my purposes, I need to have the Qilin still look like it has dragon scales, so I need to use simple old fashioned cartooning tricks to infer that it's covering in scales in whole sections of it's body. Some will be in the line art, and the rest will be in the clean-up work, especially the coloring.

As you can see, this Qilin has many many scales, lots of details. This is a NIGHTMARE to animate. It looks great as a still image, or for comics.

So, character designs need to be simplified, and stylized.

Here's a simple technique that tricks the human brain into thinking they are seeing a lot of details, when in fact, those details are merely inferred:

Close-up of my character "Lively" with a spirit dragon. See the textures that are inferred using simple colors and cots, highlights, and shading.

 With just a few lines, blots, or coloring the brain is told to see details that aren't actually even there. Also, keep in mind that THIS DRAGON is a WHITE DRAGON (with gold & silver inferred tones), and yet I have NOT USED ANY TRUE WHITE on it except it's teeth, and slightly on the highlight/reflection on the eye. I used almost NO TRUE RGB YELLOWS either.

Much of this technique is based on COLOR THEORY, but color theory in RGB (digital pixels) is different than working with inks (CMYK), or pigments in paints or pastels.

So, here's a number of my older rough designs for my original story:

I actually drew a lot of inspiration form the film "The Last Unicorn" and referenced it a number of times because I kept finding my detail-minded psyche constantly wanting to put in the details, and it was often tripping me up.

There are so many parts to the film that are stunningly gorgeous! Yet, they also use a number of tricks and techniques that infer details using color, shape, form, and color theory. In melds Western Art & Far Eastern Art. The background artwork is stunningly painted, but also this effect is achieved by the flow of the film moving from beautiful themes to dark and scary ones which heightens the contrasting vibe to each part to the viewer.

Another classic animated film that also blended Eastern & Western Art was Disney's Bambi which was the first animated film ever produced in America that employed a special Chinese artist, Tyrus Wong, to do the background artwork, and to influence the entire look and feel on the production.

I have more to write about on this topic, but I will end this entry here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Examples of Newer and Older Animation Clips

Some more recent animation clips:

They're not all the greatest... I'm really picky. I want to do more, and better.

UMASS Boston 2017

2017 Boston Convention Center 

2016 UMASS Boston

UMASS Boston 2017

Some Older Animation clips:

Art Institute of Philadelphia 1999-2001

AIPH 2000

UARTS Philadelphia 1995-1998 Re-edited in 2001 at AIPH

An Unfortunate Current Reality

I actually have a lot to say about this because I've run into this sort of thing myself, but many many young new artists.

An actual reality for a young artist, or and older life-long artist, YOU ARE NOT EVEN CONSIDERED an "ARTIST" anymore by the Establishment Bubble.

I do NOT believe in this kind of rigidity. I am HERE ON RECORD as denouncing and REJECTING this kind of mindset.

I denounce and reject the frozen, rigid thinking of the establishment.

Part of my INSPIRATION in doing my current & future work is defiance. I BELIEVE in art fundamentals, PRACTICING, studying anatomy, and DEVELOPING SKILLS.

I will be CONTINUING to give out my tutorial, exploratory, and process work FOR FREE to ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD in PROTEST against THOSE whom get paid to "teach" but DO NOT, and admonish those whom are ACTUAL artists that study traditional styles.

I actually DO view many forms of creativity as ART, including photography, video, and even many many forms of Modern Art. But, I PROTEST the dissuading of art basics and fundamentals by those with high price tagged paperwork THAT CAN'T even draw a human figure, and are TOO LAZY to bother trying. When those guys say that i'm NOT and artist, or that I am not good as an artist for doing what really inspired me, and what's ACTUALLY in my heart, THEN IT PROVES TO ME (and to you) That I AM CORRECT and they are WRONG, biased, and closed minded. They became the thing they once rejected.

New Qilin Art Coming Up Soon

I still need to scan the recent work I did. 

I have a lot of things to do this week, every day so far. 

The Qilin GIFs I have here are based on my older original character designs I made back in the GW Bush Era.

The Tumblr for this project is HERE.

I've been discussing some ideas with my friend Drakenhart this week, also.

The Faceboook page for this project is HERE. You're welcome to come join and participate in the process.

I will probably be creating a Folder for this in My DeviantART Gallery soon also.

I was redoing & revamping my Etsy Profile, and My Shop over there, last weekend. 

I will probably be putting REAL HAND MADE "Adoptables" sketches on it this summer.

Here's a recent rough horse animation walk cycle. Not the greatest. But, nobody's perfect the first time, right?
Still figuring out OpenToonz

Monday, May 22, 2017

First Post

Under Construction

My Tumblr for this Project is HERE

Coming up with other graphics soon. 
I'm exhausted.