Saturday, June 30, 2007

Anatomy as design

Last session of the Teen Program provided an opportunity to draw along with the students. The center image was a sketch I created for demonstration purposes, the goal of which is explaining anatomy in a design oriented approach. The ones at each end came later. Click on the picture for a better view.

Internal sketch lines based primarily upon the angle of line in specific muscle groups help not only with the illusion of mass, but with the flow of vision and in explaining form.

As the students of our Teen Program progress, there is less need to be consistently directing them and subsequently more time for instructors to involve demonstrations. The best scenario is when everyone is creating.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Surf's up for Vince Bury

One of the founding students of The Animation Academy is Vince Bury. He was featured before on the blog on April 17, 2006. We heard from Vince recently and thought to share this with our readers. Vince has been designing his own surf boards. Here's his latest which was a big hit with the local Buddhist community since it featured several monks.

Vince provides a great example of the creative application of ones skills to a product, adding value and enhancing marketability even when it's personalized. If you'd like to see more of Vince's work visit his website by following this link:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Matt Chism from the archives

When we're between semesters I like to post artwork that was created here at the Academy from students we've had with us in the past. Matthew Chism was attending classes several years ago and left an impact. Here are two compositions he created during his studies in Background Design and Storysketch Fundamentals.

Matt used graphite on white paper to sketch these intriguing images. Matt found employment within entertainment soon after this and we're hoping to get in touch and reconnect with him. For the time being art from his student days contributes to the legacy of The Animation Academy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Abraham Martinez BG design

Background Design is a basic course at the Academy and newcomer Abraham Martinez did a fine job in his first semester with us in the Adult Program. Here's his latest class assignment which he completed last week.

Abraham used blue pencil to lay out and render his composition of an office. His use of shape with both objects and lighting shows a high degree of sophistication, especially with his avoidance of compositional tangents and in his use of overlaps. By framing different areas of interest and in controlling his tones and line work, he was able to create the illusion of spatial relationships and enhance the perspective and depth of field. This is exceptional work for a beginner in Background Design and we're happy to feature Abraham for the first time on the Academy's blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

David Colman visits the Academy

Last evening at the Adult Session we wrapped up our special guest speakers for the semester by welcoming David Colman to class. David is a former student who went on to become a leading designer and development artist in the industry, with professional experiences spanning from Disney to Cartoon Network to Sony's just released animated feature film "Surf's Up" and more.

David is also an accomplished author whose books are a big hit among artists, students and fans with his latest publication, "The Art of Animal Character Design". Here he is after his lecture and presentation speaking to a group of students gathered around the head table as they take in all the great art in his portfolio and books, as well as development art from David's latest projects.

David gave an excellent presentation and offered valuable advice to our students. He's a model for success and enthusiastically shared his experiences in self publishing, promotion, breaking into the industry and growing within the studio environment.

To see some of David Colman's art and to learn more about his books, visit his website at You can also visit his blog at

We're expecting David to return to class for another visit sometime in the fall. Until then, everyone at the Academy extends a big thank you to Mr. Colman for a terrific session and the creative, educational experience he provided.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Snakebite visits the Academy

The Adult Session last Tuesday evening was an exciting one as we had the pleasure of hosting one of the industry's leading Photoshop artists. Snakebite was in attendance as our guest speaker and what a show he brought with him.

Astounding work that he's created in poster/print form, comics, clothing and apparel design and more. Magnificent artwork that inspired and motivated our group. Here's Snakebite as he fields a question from one of our students.

In the photo below, our students gather to get a closer look at the array of art that Snakebite displayed as part of his presentation.

We're fortunate to enjoy a long standing relationship with Snakebite. He began at the Academy in 1999 as a student, then went on to become our Photoshop instructor for several years. Everyone was thrilled at his visit and we're hoping to see him again in the near future. For a peek at some of Snakebite's art, visit his website at this link:

Monday, June 04, 2007

Demo sketch to color

As I've mentioned before on several occasions here on the Academy's blog, class demonstrations are a valuable assett in helping our students develop their own skills and knowledge base. Here's an example of a class demo I created in a recent session of the Teen Program. Afterwards, I scanned the original sketch (A) and took it into Photoshop to continue the demonstration for our students and visitors to the blog. Click on the art for a better view.

Once the original blue line sketch was scanned, I used it as a foundation to paint the image digitally. The first pass was to establish basic gray scale values (B). I continued by adding color through a series of layers that I set at levels of transparencies to tint the gray tones (C). In my final pass I used the same method to punch out a few highlights and enhance the background color (D) keeping everything simple and graphic.

By combining one's traditional analog skills with a digital illustration medium such as Photoshop, it's easy to create art that will work for your portfolio as well as enhance your online presentation.