Friday, December 29, 2006

Rich Lynes wraps it up

Let's see out the old year by featuring some special art that's come in recently. You may recall an entry to the Academy's blog on July 17 that showcased Rich Lynes and the posters he illustrates for the Walt Disney Company. Rich is a former instructor of ours who stays in communication with us. Here's his latest. A line up of Disney beauties water skiing. Click on the picture for a better view.

Rich created the art for this Disney poster in Photoshop. Rich is meticulous when it comes to detail as is evident in this work. It's great to enjoy an ongoing association with Rich Lynes, and this latest piece of his is a great way to wrap up 2006 and welcome 2007.

To see more of Rich's work, visit his website:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ho Ho Ho, Artshark !

The Holidays are a great excuse for Artshark to dress for the occasion, and here he is doing just that. If you've been to the Academy's home page during the month, you've seen this version of our mascot. Here's an insider look as to how the latest version of Artshark came to be. Click on the image below and you'll get a better picture.

On the left is the rough concept sketch in blue pencil. In the center is a blue line clean up of the drawing. On the right the finished version digitally colored in Photoshop by yours truly and ready for uploading to the Academy's website.

Coming up with a new version of Artshark is always a lot of fun. There's been more than 60 renditions of the character since I first dreamed him up in the early days of the school. Mascot characters are a great way to brand a property and in the case of The Animation Academy, Artshark has been our best friend in that regard.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season to all !

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Levon Margaryan's landscapes

As part of their ongoing efforts within the Academy's normal curriculum, our students are encouraged to continually create during the time they're not in class even if what they're doing is not directly related to the assignments they're working on. Such is the case with Levon Margaryan.

Although Levon is studying Character Design, he finds the time to create these enchanting background images. Click on the artwork for a better view.

Levon bases his compostions upon some of the places he's visited during his travels. He imbues his artwork with a surreal atmosphere by using white or colored paint on black paper, sometimes touching it up with color pencils. The magical touch he gives his work also involves his skillful use of a dry brush technique in certain instances. His activity in this area will be very useful once he moves into Visual Development, and will also help in diversifying his presentation as he further develops his portfolio.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thirla Alagala's sketches

A new student to the Academy's Teen Program this past semester, Thirla Alagala had a good start and made a strong impression with the designs she was creating. Thirla spent most of her time in class focusing on drawing female characters. Here's a sample of a few of her designs. Click on the picture for a better view.

Thirla has a delicacy to her work that creates an appealing aspect to the images she comes up with. In the examples above, she renders her characters with a gentle hand while establishing strong tonal relationships in places where it's needed such as the hair and shadow areas. Her subtle control is commendable.

Thirla shows a lot of promise with her art. Looking forward to what she'll be coming up with in the future.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ariel Acosta shows process

Here's something beneficial to students looking to see how the process of going from a rough concept sketch to a finished colored design can work. Thanks to Ariel Acosta for providing this sample. Ariel's been featured previously on the Academy's blog on September 20.

Ariel started with his blue line drawing of a character he's created that serves as a mascot character for him. In drawing 2, he's develeoped a clean up sketch and scanned it as a digital file. In 3, he's established a gray tone shadow layer. In 4, he's colored his original clean up drawing and in 5, combined the color with the gray scale shadow layer. In 6, he established his highlights. Click on the image for a better view.

Ariel did a fine job with this demonstration and I thank him for making it available for our students and visitors to enjoy and to learn from.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Greetings from Amy Paulson

One of the most memorable students we've had this year has been Amy Paulson. Amy enrolled in our Adult Program in the summer and made remarkable progress with her art. She's been featured on the blog on August 2 and October 16.

Amy sent a Christmas card she created herself from class art she digitally colorized. She included a sentiment intended for all involved with the school.

"To everyone at The Animation Academy. Wishing you the best Holiday Season Ever." Best Wishes, Amy Paulson

Click on her greeting card below for a better view.

Amy maintains a website through which she offers use of her artwork by permission. To see more of Amy's work, click on the link and visit her site.

Thank you, Amy for your warm greeting and best wishes to you for the Holidays and for the coming New Year from all your friends and colleagues here at the Academy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Philip J. Felix from the archives

One of the most powerful and beloved artists we've had the pleasure of an association with is the great Philip J. Felix. I met Philip in Kansas City when we were working at Hallmark Cards. Not long after that we found ourselves in Los Angeles working in animation.

Here's a class demonstration he drew while teaching at the Academy a few years ago. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.

Philip is the oldest of the three Felix brothers. All of them went on to great careers in animation. Paul Felix is among the Walt Disney Company's top visual development artists for their Feature Animation division, and David Felix went on to work as a staff artist on the Simpsons before his tragic death in an accident in 1995.

Today, Philip operates his own art gallery in Tucson, Arizona as well as his own tattoo business where he is in big demand for the designs he creates. Philip continues to be an inspiration to many artists.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lauren Finn steps it up

The result of Robert Gold's instruction in perspective and Lauren Finn's talent. Lauren has been creating increasingly impressive compositions and at 14 years of age, there's a lot more on the way. In this drawing, she's come up with a surreal yet whimsical subject within an urban setting. The sketch was done from imagination. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.

Lauren has been featured twice before on the Academy's blog. The first time on April 26 and again on July 27. Check out what she was doing at that time and compare it to her latest work above. She's growing in skill and in compositional sophistication. Watch out for Lauren. She's just getting started.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Robert Gold lays it out

Here's what it's likes to properly structure a composition in two point perspective. This sketch is by Robert Gold, the Academy's instructor in perspective basics. In the class demonstration below, Robert set up his elements according to the horizon line and vanishing points he's established. After he's got everything working, he then places characters within the composition. Clicking on the image will give you a little better view.

Robert started with us as a student back in the early days of the Academy and has stayed on as a perspective and background layout instructor. He's also worked on special projects that come to the Academy for production. His expertise in perspective is a big benefit to our Background Design students.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jessie Davis returns

Featuring yet another student who started with us as a teenager and returns to The Animation Academy as an adult.

Jessie Davis made an impression with her work in the Teen Program a few years ago, and she continues to impress with her latest designs from the class project she's developing. Here's a sketch she created from our most recent session of the Adult Program.

In the drawing above, Jessie explores form through the use of cast shadow and tonal rendering with blue pencil and graphite. She's also captured an intriguing expression with her character and framed the experience in design symmetry. Jessie carries on the Academy's legacy through the strength of her emerging skills.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Steve Montenegro returns

The Animation Academy is unique in the relationship we enjoy with our students. We've had many young artists grow up with us. Such is the case with Steve Montenegro who was enrolled in our Teen Program several years ago at its beginning while early in his time at high school. Today he works locally in banking and finance and has returned recently to pick up classes in the Adult Program.

Here's a sketch Steve created this semester.

Steve is starting to develop his own style in character design and is working on his visual development skills. His continuing participation adds to the positive atmosphere of the Academy and energizes our sessions. Looking forward to more from Steve Montenegro.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mercedes Milligan class demo

It's always a pleasure to present the work of successful students from the Academy. Mercedes Milligan started with us when she was 15 years old in high school. Today she's a young lady on staff with Animation Magazine and creates editorial illustrations for the publication. She's been featured before on the Academy's blog this past July 3.

Mercedes has returned to the Academy is now an assistant instructor in the Teen Program. Here's a demonstration she created at last Saturday's session. Click on the image for a better view.

Mercedes began with a blue line sketch of her concept and proceeded to complete the drawing in color with her skillful use of markers. Mercedes is an exceptional talent and we're very happy to have her back with us in an assistant instructor capacity.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Heeeere's ArtShark!

It's always fun to work up a new version of the Academy's mascot, ArtShark. He's been around for almost as long as the school has been in existence. In his latest appearance he's dressed as a pilgrim and all set to greet visitors to the Academy's main website in anticipation of the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US.

I've included the concept sketch and the final line drawing in this presentation. Click on the image for a better view.

Drawing "A" focused on the formation of the idea and ArtShark's compositional pose. The sketch began with blue pencil then shifted to red pencil to further refine what was developing. In drawing "B" a blue pencil cleanup was done over the rough on a light table using the red line in "A" as the basis. The cleanup was scanned and digitally colorized in the final version at bottom.

Be on the lookout for more of ArtShark soon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Noah Amrani before and after

Showcasing student work on the Academy's blog is most effective when we publish art from the beginning of the educational experience and compare it with what the student is doing now.

Here's something recent from Noah Amrani, a student enrolled in our Teen Program. On the left is a sample of what Noah was creating about the time he first started taking classes with us last summer. On the right is what Noah is currently creating. Click on the image for a better view.

In the before drawing on the left, Noah struggled with his symmetry, design elements and some basic drawing issues in general. Although he created better drawings than what I'm posting here as the before sample, I'm using this particular one to exemplify the range of his growth. In the after sketch on the right, his skills are showing much stronger and everything comes together for a successful and more appealing design.

Noah is a dedicated student that is making significant strides in the development of his artwork. We'll be seeing more of his creative efforts in the future.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Alan Simmons from the archives

The Animation Academy is distinguished by its long list of successful students, associates, instructors and professional colleagues. Alan Simmons has been an avid supporter of the school and what it stands for ever since our inception in 1997.

Mr. Simmons is a veteran designer in the industry, renowned for his work on the Batman and Superman productions at Warner Bros. TV Animation. He is currently a designer at Disneyland Entertainment. Below is a grayscale marker demonstration he created for the Background Design class he was teaching a few years ago. Clicking on the image will provide a better view.

Alan Simmons is an Oxford educated artist with a passion for great design and architecture. His influences include Frank Lloyd Wright. He embraces social issues that affect the human condition and is active in the community in regards to these issues.

We're scheduling an appearance by Mr. Simmons at one of our adult sessions soon. Hopefully this semester in our Background Design class which all of our currently enrolled students will be welcome to attend.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New from Kevin Poythress

In the most recent session of the Academy's Adult Program, Kevin Poythress created an imaginative sketch which he's since taken to color. Kevin has been featured twice before on the blog, on August 11 and June 12. Click on the picture below for a better view.

In his initial drawing on the left, Kevin developed the sketch with blue pencil and then went on to black line. On the right, Kevin has scanned his artwork and completed it with digital color.

Kevin has his own website which you're welcome to visit.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kris Anka going strong

It's hard to believe that Kris Anka is only 17 years old when you look at his work. Here's a composition in progress he was touching up the other evening during the latest session of the Adult Program. Click on the image for a larger view.

Kris started with us as a youngster by enrolling in the Teen Program a few years ago. He currently attends our adult classes as part of the assistant instructor crew. He continues to challenge himself and kick it up a notch with each new work he creates. Kris is dedicated to his art, is very productive and seriously studies his craft. This is the result when backed up by an intuitive talent.

The new semester for adults will be starting Tuesday, November 7. Contact the school if you're interested in joining us.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Brandon Andersen goes macabre

And just in time for Halloween. Brandon Andersen started with us years ago at a young age within the Academy's Teen Program. He continues his art education at his high school during the week and attends our Adult Program even though he is only 17 years old. Click on his art to see it larger.

In the composition above, Brandon does a good job of distorting human anatomical features to achieve something unusual and unique within his design. Combining organic and inorganic elements as well. The somewhat forced perspective he positions his subject in adds interest to the viewing experience.

Brandon will be graduating high school this coming spring. Looking forward to what the future holds for him creatively.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ronan Relosa gets to basics

No bones about it. Here's an example of some miscommunication that put Ronan Relosa down a new creative path.

Ronan is enrolled in our Character Design I class. As he was working a basic rotation for a character concept he was developing, he interpreted the emphasis I was placing on structure as direction to establish the skeletal foundation of his character. The result was what you see below. Clicking on the picture will provide a better view.

Ronan did a great job at showing what could realistically be happening within the anatomy of a form based entirely upon fantasy. Like the skeletal framework he drew, the additional work he created for his assignment revealed a deeper dimension to Ronan's skills. It'll be interesting to see the unusual approaches he comes up with in his future projects.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Amy Paulson revisited

If you scroll down the Academy's blog to the August 2 entry, you'll see the first post published featuring Amy Paulson. Amy was a new student in Character Design I. Compare what she was doing as recently as a couple of months ago to the work she is doing now. Here's some of Amy's latest assignments from her Character Design II class. Clicking on the image will give you a larger view.

Amy continues to make significant progress with her art. It's remarkable how quickly she's picked up on her fundamentals, making a real difference in the quality of her drawing. Students like Amy continue to build upon the legacy that The Animation Academy enjoys.

You can see more of Amy's work from her classes at the Academy by visiting her website. Click on the link below.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Manny Aguilar's twist on it

Don't just stand there. Do something. Inevitably, your character has to come to life. In this recent sketch by Manny Aguilar, the figure he's designed is animated and enlivened. The twists and slight distortions he included in this work, along with his commendable blue pencil rendering, helps lift her from the page.

Manny assists students prepare for their Character Design II curriculum. He's a versatile artist and has been featured before on the Academy's blog this past April 12.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Let it flow

During the last session of the Academy's Teen Program I sketched this demonstration emphasizing the importance of the flow in a drawing. Flow is an integral aspect behind leading a viewer's eye within a composition and in helping to create design appeal.

Class lectures are always more effective when backed by a demonstration. The Animation Academy encourages creative productivity while class is in session, even from our instructors.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Chance sketch

At the last session of the Academy's adult classes, Chance Raspberry was in attendance. Chance is a former student and is currently working as a staff artist on "The Simpsons" TV series. Here's a quick sketch he created as a demonstration.

Chance was showing the proper use of blue pencil sketching in the Character Design I class. By establishing a composition in blue pencil first, it's much easier to extract forms once the final medium is utilized. In this case, graphite pencil. The character Chance sketched out here is a design of his own creation.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Model rotation by Viet Nguyen

Working professionals find the program offered at The Animation Academy a challenge and they rise to it once they get into the heart fo the course. Here's a class assignment from Viet Nguyen. He created these three poses of a character rotation at our most recent session of Character Design I. Clicking on the image will give you a bigger view.

Viet is employed at a major toy company in Southern California. He enrolled at the Academy to further develop his commendable skills. Viet came up with this design of a ninja monkey and once he worked out the details, proceeded to prepare his design as a production model. Well drawn, balanced and very suitable for the animation medium. Another excellent example of the exceptional work created by the first rate students we have with us.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Danny Picar's design layout

Continuing with Visual Development and the creative criteria for this subject, Danny Picar came up with this interesting background layout design for the project he's developing in the Vis Dev class. Danny started with us last year and returned to the Academy this semester to pick up where he left off. He's done so impressively with his latest work from our most current session. Clicking on the image will enlarge it slighlty.

Danny worked this design to function within the parameters of one point perspective for depth of field while enhancing the design elements contained within the shapes of the structures he's established. A noteworthy class assignment.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vis Dev from Ariel Acosta

When an animated project is prepared for production, every aspect of it has to be designed. Nothing is left unattended. This process is called Visual Development and is closely associated with production design.

Ariel Acosta has been studying at the Academy for some time and has focused on Visual Development. In this recently completed sample, his assignment was to design a bowl of fruit that one would find in an alien household on another planet. Clicking on the picture will give you a better view.

Ariel used blue pencil to sketch out his concept and render the tones. His approach was interesting. Although the fruit may not be appealing to Earthlings, that wouldn't necessarily be the case with an alien civilization. Ariel got a good start with this aspect of his project. We'll no doubt be seeing more from this talented students of ours in the future.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Micah Martinez revisited

Staying creatively productive between semesters is important in maintaining progressive growth in one's skills. Micah Martinez was featured on the Academy's blog on June 19. This is something he did recently while waiting for the Teen Program to commence.

Micah used markers and color pencil to create this dynamic and intriguing work. It's definitely a step up from his previous endeavors. For a 16 year old he did a fine job. Micah is building his portfolio and this composition will make a nice addition to it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Making it to a Happy Meal

A true pinnacle in the business of designing and developing for animation is when characters you worked on in the past make it to a McDonald's Happy Meal. That's the case in this special feature I'm presenting here on the Academy's blog.

Last year in the summer of 2005, I discovered that Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, popular video game characters I developed, were both on Happy Meal packages. I celebrated the good news by getting a Happy Meal of my own and scanning the package art for posterity. Here it is below, with Crash and Spyro sharing space with Ronald McDonald as the Happy Meal box appeared in the USA.

Later, I received an email from an artist in Europe letting me know that the Happy Meal packages over there had Crash and Spyro on them as well. Here's what the two sides of the European Happy Meal looked like.

The Animation Academy approaches the art and craft of character design in a way that makes our program unique, with an emphasis on the animated character as a franchise. The Happy Meal packages are an excellent educational example of how character based intellectual properties can be utilized as a powerful marketing device.

If you haven't as yet seen the Origin of Spyro development sketches on exhibit at the Academy's website, you're welcome to follow this link for the presentation:

For the Crash Bandicoot fans out there here's an added treat you can look forward to. You'll soon get a chance to see never before published artwork and read the story behind the origin of Crash Bandicoot on an upcoming feature coming soon to the Academy's blog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Penaranda / Snakebite collaboration

The semester break provides an opportunity to present some archival work on the Academy's blog. Here's something that I'm happy to feature. This is a collaborative effort on the part of Byron Penaranda and Snakebite.

Both were enrolled as students at the time this artwork was created. Byron was an advanced student taking the Visual Development class. Snakebite was in the Concept Storysketch class. Byron's assignment was to come up with a composition that had a distinct light source and play that light source off of his compositional elements to help describe form. Snakebite, on his own initiative and with permission from Byron, took the drawing and rendered it in digital color using Photoshop. The result is what you see below. You can click on the image for a better view.

Both Byron and Snakebite are remarkable talents. Shortly after this, Byron went to Germany for a few months on a professional assignment. Snakebite went on to leave his mark on the comic book industry with his outstanding work on "The Red Star" series. He also became our Photoshop instructor and trained many artists through our program. Both Snakebite and Byron are doing well and continue to astound the public with their work.

You can see more of Snakebite's color work by visiting

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ruben Arroyo from the archives

A well balanced artist can always be counted on to create a variety of subject matter in multiple disciplines. That's what we experienced when Ruben Arroyo was attending classes at The Animation Academy a couple of years ago. Ruben was a strong character design student and that strength played well into his assignments in Background Design. Here's a sample of his work from that time.

Ruben created this drawing with blue pencil. It's an excellent early attempt of his at establishing environmental composition through the use of tone and substance. Ruben wound up assisting in the Character Design class as a result of the progress he made while attending the Academy. Although we haven't had the opportunity to catch up with him to find out what he's been up to lately, he's well remembered at the school.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Edgar Recinos returns

It's not unusual for students from the Academy's Teen Program to progress with their creative education once they've graduated from high school. In the case of Edgar Recinos, he went on to Woodbury University in Burbank, California where he is currently attending college as a third year student majoring in animation.

Edgar returned to the Academy this semester enrolling in the Adult Program and reconnecting with Character Design I. Here's a sample of what he came up with at our most recent session.

Edgar's class assignment involved the development of action/attitude poses for the character he created. Although there's still some attention to detail that is needed in these sketches, he's making an impression this semester with the overall quality of his work. We're very happy to have Edgar back with us and excited to be a part of his artistic growth once again.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kevin Poythress progresses

In a post from June 12, the class work of newcomer Kevin Poythress was featured on the Academy's blog. Kevin is now taking Character Design II and is developing well with his art. Here's his latest creation as of this week's session of the Adult Program.

Kevin created this shark man design from his initial studies involving the adaptation of the human body form to animation character design. As part of this specific assignment, he gave the end result an imaginative hook by assimilating shark elements into the end result.

In a similar manner, Kevin has assilimilated well into the Academy's process of creative development. His future endeavors look to be strong and we anticipate more exciting art from Kevin. As with many of our students, there's much to look forward to.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Arnold Doong revisited

We enjoy continuing communications with many of our students even after they've gone on from the Academy to other things in life. Recent correspondence with former student Arnold Doong has prompted me to feature him once again here on the Academy's blog. To see the previous post that featured Arnold's work, scroll down for the May 11 entry.

Arnold has strong illustrative skills which he utilized effectively in his studies in Character Design, Background Design and Visual Development. Here are more samples of his work. This is from his first class in Visual Development. Arnold used markers to render these two designs.

Arnold created the fantasy land below in his first experience with our Background Design course, incorporating the rendering skills he developed in Visual Development with what he already had in his artistic arsenal from his previous art education at other area schools.

To view more of Arnold's work feel free to visit his online portfolio by following this link:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Introducing Amy Paulson

A new student to the Academy's Adult Program this semester, Amy Paulson has quickly established herself as an artist to watch as far as her initial improvement is concerned. Here are three images she's created from her time in the Character Design I class.

Image "A" on the left is Amy's very first drawing in the first session of the class. In image "B" in the center, Amy has shown significant improvement by the end of the very same session. In image "C" on the right, Amy really hit stride at a skill level that can be constructively worked with. This image is from her second class session.

Students like Amy continue to build the Academy's legacy and enhance the school's excellent industry wide reputation.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lauren Finn's perspective revisited

Some of Lauren Finn's perspective studies were previously exhibited here on the Academy's blog. Lauren is enrolled in our Teen Program and has recently turned 14 years old. This is a sketch she created outside of class. It was drawn from her imagination without reference.

Her latest work, although still needing attention in certain areas, shows a lot of confidence and growth. Compare the above art with what Lauren was doing three months ago when she was just beginning to explore perspective and background composition.

Lauren's got a good head start on mastering a complex subject. We're looking forward to what she'll be attempting next.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Class sketches from James Brown

Every once in a while there's a student that emerges from the pack who not only exhibits strong fundamental skills, but has an abililty to communicate and share procedural information when it comes to their art. James Brown is one of those students. Here are some samples of his work. Clicking on the image will give you a slightly larger view.

James (not to be confused with the soul singer) has grown to become an assistant instructor in the Academy's Adult Program. He has a strong sense of design, especially when it comes to the male and female form. James helps out with the students who progress into Character Design II. He also assists students in the prerequisite Character Design I class as they evolve into more complex design assignments.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Disney poster from Rich Lynes

Here's a great example of the level that many of the artists associated with The Animation Academy operate at, both in terms of quality and clients and/or employers. This is a recent poster published by the Walt Disney Company's consumer products division. The composition features Mickey Mouse in a situation reminiscent of the Who's rock opera "Quadrophenia" from the 1970s. The artist is Rich Lynes. Rich was previously the Academy's instructor in our Background Painting class. He is also a veteran of Disney Studios and Warner Bros Animation. Clicking on the graphics will provide a bigger view.

Rich used Photoshop to create this fantastic art worthy of the Disney Company and Disney fans. Rich tells us that the file size was so big that it took as many as 20 minutes for his computer to save changes to the file as he approached completion of the job. We're very happy and proud to enjoy a continuing relationship with Rich Lynes. To see more of his work, visit his web site.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Alexis Arciniaga work in progress

The summer session of The Animation Academy's Teen Program began last Saturday and Alexis Arciniaga got off to a strong start. Alexis has been with us for several months now and is exhibiting a high level of sophistication in her work. All the more impressive considering that she recently turned 13 years old. Here's an example of what she is currently working on in class.

Alexis shows a lot of maturity and confidence in her drawing, design and compositional skills for her age. Imagine what she'll be doing in the future as she continues to progress.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Production art from the archives

The Animation Academy has been frequently commissioned to produce animation or develop a project, which provides a professional opportunity for our qualified students and instructors. Here's something from our production archives which I'm happy to feature on the Academy's blog.

This layout was created by Philip J. Felix for a pilot episode of a project produced for the VH1 cable network. It was colored in Photoshop by Snakebite, our Photoshop instructor at the time. Philip was an instructor with us as well, conducting Concept Storysketch.

It's always a fun challenge when the Academy is in production on a project. It's a positive experience for everyone involved.

Keep in mind that our next semester will begin this coming Tuesday evening, July 11. For more information, please visit the Academy's main website. Here's the link:

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mercedes Milligan and Animation Magazine

We were forunate during the course of the Academy's Teen Program to have as a student Mercedes Milligan. Mercedes is an exceptional young lady who made a very positive impression while at the Academy.

After she outgrew the Teen Program Mercedes spent some time with the adults. Today she is on staff with Animation Magazine. On the occasions when a spot illustration or an editorial cartoon is called for, we can always expect to see something from her in the pages. Here's her latest editorial illustration published in the July 2006 issue of Animation Magazine. The subject concerns government legislation dealing with children's programming.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chris Tezber from the archives

A couple of years ago we had a student enrolled with us by the name of Chris Tezber. Chris left an impression, especially with the work he was doing in the Background Design class. Here's a sample of a class assignment he created while enrolled at the Academy. Clicking on the artwork will give you a better view.

Chris used blue pencil to establish and render his composition. One of the methods he utilized for enhancing the composition and adding interest to the visuals of his work was his use of contrasting tone. For example, take a look at the jazz club he has featured in this scene. It's easy to find since it's the area of the composition with the lightest tonal values, giving the impression that a light source is focused on the subject. By surrounding this area with darker controlled values, Chris was able to further define it as the compositional center of interest.

Chris came to the Academy from the School of Visual Arts in New York City where he had achieved a Bachelor of the Arts degree. We often have students with a previous art education enroll with us to build upon what they've experienced beforehand, as was the case with Chris.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

James Brown / Kris Anka collaborate

Students at The Animation Academy frequently work together in collaborative creative efforts. In this example from the Adult Program, James Brown (not to be confused with the godfather of soul) and Kris Anka whose work has been previously featured here on the Academy's blog, have combined their skills resulting in this presentation. James created the design for a ninja girl and Kris digitally colored his drawing in Illustrator.

Collaborative teamwork like this is part of the process of working in animation production. Some artists will focus their skills in one aspect of the process while others who specialize in a different discipline will pick it up from there and carry it further down the line towards a final result. That's one of the exciting aspects of working in the animation industry. It's a group endeavor requiring the contributions of many talented people striving towards a common creative goal. James and Kris have accomplished this in a small but significant way. Nice job, guys.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Micah Martinez makes his mark

Another student who's making an impact at the Academy's Teen Program is Micah Martinez. Micah is 16 years old and has been dilligent in his time with us. Here's a few samples of class assignments he's worked up. They range from his earlier sessions to more recent ones. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.

Micah is the kind of student artist the Academy attracts that helps contribute to the school's continuing creative legacy. Looking forward to exciting things from Micah Martinez in the future.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Alex Madrigal from the archives

Through a chance coincidence, I had the opportunity to catch up on what's been happening with Alex Madrigal. Alex enrolled at the Academy when he was a teenager. He made an impression with his work, to the point where he assisted the instructors with the class as he matured. Here's a sample of what Alex was doing several years ago back when he was a student in the Academy's Teen Program.

Alex went on to continue his education. He is currently in his last year at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) where he is studying character animation. Alex has his own blog which I'm happy to refer our visitors to. Check out more of his excellent artwork by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Joshua Pina - emerging talent

It's always a pleasure to present the work of the Academy's students, especially when the presentation comes from someone like Joshua Pina. Joshua's art has been showcased here before on May 4 in a post entitled "Two more from the Teens". This drawing was created last Saturday during the Teen Program.

What distinguishes Joshua's sketch, aside from its quality, is that he is only 14 years of age. Joshua started with us when he was 11. Now that he's entering high school, his educational experience at the Academy combined with his current skill level has his school's administrators considering him for special placement in their arts program. If he's doing work like this at 14, imagine what we have to look forward to by the time he graduates and is ready for college. Joshua is a talent to watch.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Kevin Poythress 3D rotation

Whether you're working in 2D or 3D, character rotations are an important part of the production process in animation. Character design rotations drawn by hand are often used as templates for digitally modeling a character in 3D once the design has been approved. This example was created by Kevin Poythress during the last session of the Academy's adult program. The image will appear bigger if you click on it.

Kevin recently relocated to the Burbank area from Modesto, California to study at The Animation Academy. He got off to a good start and has been steadily improving in Character Design I, meeting the challenges presented by the class. This particular character rotation of his was developed with 3D modeling in mind.