[x] Back onto the bandwagon...

I've been MIA for a couple months what with the wedding, work becoming increasingly erratic with the unstable economy, and, of course, the holiday season. But, fortunately, I have some time freeing up and I'll be able to get back into the game of freelancing and painting and drawing and all that... art... stuff. :o)

First project is the "Bully Banks" freelance project - an investors consultant group based out of Alameda County. Second, is to dustoff some projects that I've started and have yet to finish - namely, the Gnomes in the Shed project initially conceptualized by my good friend, Tony Nguyen.


[x] The Random Doodles of a Restless Mind

Heh... It's been far too long since I've posted any personal project progress, but that is in part (a huge part) because of my friends' wedding that I was a part of. T'was a grand affair and a lot of fun. But now that it's over, I can focus on catching up with all the other awesomely awesome artists out thurr.

Although, I have nothing recent, nor substantial to really post, I'll post a few random sketchbook pages that I've accumulated over the past six weeks or so. These sketchbook pages are nothing more than the ramblings of my mind in sketch-form.


[x] Gnomes in the Shed

My good friend and awesome artist, Tony Nguyen, did a rather nice sketch of gnomes escaping a shed based off of an assignment in Ruben Perez's visual development class at SJSU. Although a good sketch and very cute story moment, Ruben thought that it could be simplified. Tony went back to the drawing board and I asked him if I could go ahead and digitally paint this piece rather than let it become buried and forgotten in the fray of his extremely busy academic schedule (something that happens very often with many sketches, drawings, paintings and such, not just in school but during any intensive work schedule; sometimes we get so busy that even some good ideas get shelved and forgotten). Anyway, so rather than let that happen, Tony let me finish it. This should prove to be a very fun piece to paint. This be fo' you, homie. :-)


[x] Odaiko Drummer

Here's a quick 20-minute painting sketch I did of an odaiko drummer. Over the years, I've had this attraction and fascination to the art of taiko drumming. There's something about the forms and the rhythms of taiko that's just so captivating.


[x] Rock With You

Near the end of the short-film production by Professor Dave Chai, a couple of the animators (ahem Corey Tom and Andrew Harkins) tweaked a simple second of animation of their particular scene to the beat and rhythm of some music. I can only guess how much productivity time this ate up, but good lord is it hilarious. So hilarious that I had to share it with everyone (with Corey's permission, of course). :-) Enjoy. Again... props to Corey and Andrew. :-)

[x] Totoro Forest Project

I had the opportunity, earlier this month, to partake in the awesomeness that is the Totoro Forest Project auction at the PIXAR campus in Emeryville. It was... Mecca, Heaven, ultimate level of spiritual enlightenment, and an artgasm all rolled into a hug from Jeebus. Heh. It was incredible. Just from walking in the door, I started recognizing different artists whom I've heard and whom I've admired throughout my academic career - Bill Cone, Steve Pilcher, Khang Le, John Lasseter himself, Bill Presing, Kei Acedera, James Jean, Bobbi Chiu, Peter De Seve and so many more... I also saw some alumni from several classes before me - Noah Klocek, Tim Heitz, JP Balmet, Martin Kau, and of course our esteemed advisors Courtney Granner and Bunny Carter. T'was an incredible experience. But of course, PIXAR is strict on cameras so unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the actual event. I had to scorch it into my memory. :-)

Being a gnat amongst the giants, it didn't occur to me to be a complete dork and ask for these artists' signatures on the pages of the Totoro Forest Project book that we got with our tickets. It wasn't until Courtney said "When's the next time you're going to see this many industry artists in the same room like this?" Well, I grabbed a pen and sheepishly started asking for signatures. "Umm... excuse me... Mr. Lasseter? Will you sign my Totoro book?" HAHA.


[x] 'A Work in Progress' - complete

In the interest of the other projects, I've decided to call this one "done"... now on to one of the other projects that I've started and have yet to finish...


[x] 'A Work in Progress' - The Next Step in Human Evolution

So I've been working on a number of pieces here and there. My attention span has been destroyed by the marvelous wonder that is the Internet, video streaming, DVD's and what have you, so I rotate among upwards to six projects. Here is one of the ones that is closer to finish than the others (although, I'll be posting those relatively soon):

This is based off a very old sketch I did when I was going to school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I was sitting in one of my classes listening attentively (shocking) to the students and professor debate back and forth amongst each other on technological progress and the next stage of human evolution and if the two may overlap at some point. As we talked about it, I doodled in one of my sketchbooks, which happened to also be my class notebook.

Recently, when I was digging through old school stuff, I came across the sketchbook and found the sketch inside. Anyway, I decided to revisit the concept and started painting it. It's very much a work still in progress. I'll post up the final one up when it's done. :-)

[x] DUCK!!

I had the opportunity in joining a good number of my fellow minions of the Shrunkenhead at D-Structure in San Francisco for a gallery reception put together by fifteen awesome alumni. Such incredible artwork was on display... a true testament to what discipline and dedication can do to your skill level. These guys were and continue to be an inspiration, even though I only know a third of them personally. The rest I only know through their well-deserved art reputations.

As you can see, it was an incredible turnout. The crowd outside was just as hefty. Not to mention it was bloody hot inside. Thank gawd for the complimentary booze. :-P [ I took pictures of the artwork too, but 1) the photos don't do the actual artwork justice and 2) the artwork is not mine to display. ]

It was incredible to see such different styles of work coming together. If you guys happen to find yourself in the Haight/Ashbury area of San Francisco, you guys should check out DUCK!! on display at D-Structure. It's located on Haight Street @ Fillmore.


[x] Water Tribe

A freshly baked batch of whatever cookies you desire if you can figure out which geeky cartoon inspired this sketch... :-D

=== Aug 06 ===

=== Aug 12 ===

I got some critical feedback from D-Rock, T-Dawg, and Charlene the Airbender. Charlene was pretty quick to point out that the piece lacked a distinct and clear light source and Derek similarly suggested that there would be some reflected and caustic lighting on the figure bouncing off the water. So I'm gonna get crackin' on that.

Tony also suggested that I should build an envir
onment around the waterbender so that the place tells more about why he's doing what he's doing and where he's doing it. Turns the illustration from a still image into a story piece. He and I also thought that it'd be cool to do a sequence of images... how his forms start and how his forms follow through.

Heh... Originally, however, I really didn't think I'd be putting this much into the piece. When I first drew it, I was pretty much geeking out during the series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender. However, when I threw some color onto it, I quickly found myself painting it - attempting to bring it to a level of finish that I'd yet to accomplish during my academic career.

Anywhoo... based on the three of their suggestions, here's what I have (Tony's environment suggestion has yet to be completely fleshed out). I hope to be done with this one by week's end. Heh... maybe I'll do a piece for each of the other elements. We'll see. :-)

===Aug 15===

===Sept 07===
I stopped working on the waterbender for a while to start a few other personal projects. I only just recently re-opened it to tweak some stuff and call it a day, so to speak. I don't want to spend much more time on it as I really didn't expect it to progress this far beyond the sketch I just doodled in my sketchbook while geeking out watching the series finale. Heh. :-) So, here's where I'll be leaving him...

By the way, he doesn't have a name... Any suggestions? :-)


[x] Sketchbookings

Happy 4th of July, everyone... Just uploading some sketchbook stuffs from the past four weeks or so before I head to the beach for the day. Have a safe holiday weekend, everyone!!



quicksketch around Pier 39

DeYoung Museum Cafe - Golden Gate Park


Colma - Italian Cemetary


The Hermit of the Abbey
[x] The Ruins

Over the last few weeks, mostly before my final semester came to a close, I've been getting a lot of incredible feedback from different artistic peers for the various environment concepts for my story about the hermit and his abbey. Much thanks especially to my buddy Brendan, Lawrence, and fellow Shrunkenheadman Gus Dizon.

Gus made a few helpful suggestions with the ruins design and was kind enough to take the time out of his own day to do a paintover of my piece. He essentially expanded the canvas to push the hermit and his alter out of the center while at the same time creating a little visual appeal beyond the foreground pillar.

I attempted to recreate what he had painted and I went ahead and kinda re-oriented the canvas to adjust the "tilt" in the perspective that other peers said they were feeling. I'm not sure if doing that helped or hurt the revision suggestions that Gus had made. Here's my revision...

And here is Gus's paint over:

[x] The Cottage at the Waterfall

Brendan and Lawrence gave me some good feedback for the waterfall piece. It's still a work in progress, but at its current state, B-boy suggested I put in a path on the left hand side - like a set of rock stairs along the cliff face to lead down to the waterfall, behind it, and back out at the ledge where the cottage/cabin is. Both Brendan and Lawrence also suggested breaking up the large shape of the waterfall with other rock formations just to break up the space and perhaps help leading the eye as well. Brendan's paintover is a little more successful than my revision shown here, but then again, this is still a work in progress.

[x] The Orphanage

No, not the Guillermo del Toro film... haha.

I also started thinking about the hermit's childhood... where did he come from, how did he come about to being at the abbey, why did he stay when the rest of the clergy and congregation moved on to other parishes?

I started to think that the hermit was an orphan who had run away from an orphanage on the border of the woods not too far from Vienna. He came across the abbey in its prime and the clergy took him in and let him stay provided he serve the church as an alter boy and assist the aging monks with chores such as cleaning, cooking, dishes, etc.

However, as the years passed, the church was swallowed up by the woods, eventually forgotten among the general city population. The clergy opted to move to other parishes, but the orphan now a teenager old enough to make his own decisions, decided to stay. He grew up, tending to his duties of maintaining the abbey as best as he could over the decades but it eventually started to fall into disrepair beyond his abilities to fix. With no where else to go, he continued to grow up and live in the ruins of the abbey.

Occassionally, he would venture back to the orphanage that he left to see what had become of it, and I pretty much envisioned it to be abandoned by the time he had grown up. All that was left was the brick/mortar deserted structure.

I started with a very simple Maya mockup to help me play with placement and camera angles, and then I did a basic grayscale painting in Photoshop and then started to apply color. This piece is less photoreal, having almost no phototextures in the piece. I wanted to try to do more of a conceptual painting before I did a photoreal matte painting.


Now that my collegiate career is finally over, I'm taking advantage of the down time to work on sketchbook paintings and such. My gawd, do I need practice. It's jarring just how stunted my traditional skills are since I've been focusing on digital skill development; but at the same time, it's good to get back in the swing of things.

Went with Tony, Derek, Charlene, Jamie and a few others down to San Juan Bautista to chill and paint. Here are a couple of the images that came out... decent.

I have a habit of acquiring numerous sketchbooks before I fill up the current ones that I already have. As a result, I have a lot of started-sketchbooks, but few finished-sketchbooks. One of the books I dug out to use for drawing/painting down in San Juan Bautista happened to be a sketchbook I started using for Barron Storey's 'Conceptual Illustration' class. Heh. I found one of the early collage assignments we did in his class...

Anywhoo, that's all for now. Will be posting a lot more frequently now that I have the time. Stay tuned!!!


Wow... wouldja look at that... TWO entries within five days of eachother. Unheard of. HAHA. Heh, I was offered a freelance job for an independent band in New York. Basically the album was a parody off of the Transformers and I was asked to design a CD cover with the Autobots done in chibi-anime form.

It's definitely not an art form I'm accustomed to doing, but it was fun to branch out into a different style and tinker around with it. I had a little bit of trouble trying to make the characters still feel like the Autobots while at the same time stay within the cartoony, simplistic style of chibi-anime. I had to remind myself it's all about simplification. Heh... after one or two characters, I started to have a lot of fun with it.

Anyway, here's a montage of the characters I was asked to draw. I was also given the opportunity to design a series of chibi-formers similar to the Constructicons, but for this project, they would be called the Acousticons and would have been made from various instruments. Heh... Unfortunately, they're not in this lineup.

Guess the Transformer and win a quarter! Hey... that rhymes! :-P


It's roughly a quarter past 4AM on a Saturday morning and I think it's safe to say that I've lost any productivity momentum for the evening. But before I journey back to my habitat, I thought that I should update the bloggie. My photoshop sketches/paintings for my Hermit story concept are progressing nicely, albeit slowly.

In addition to those pieces, I've also been putting in a considerable amount of time in turning my Veldt illustrations from last semester into a 3D environment in Maya. Jules had the idea of letting me do one of my own vizdev pieces for my Maya environment final rather than an image I picked from a magazine. Right away, I thought of the images I did for The Veldt by Ray Bradbury.

Anyway... here's the original sketch and what came out of it in 3D land...

As always, comments and suggestions by my artistic peers are welcome. As well as the random philosophical musings that are inherent to our late nights in the dungeons of our labs and studios.

So... tell me... How are you?


I have a moment to breathe... I know, shocking! So before the moment runs out, I shall update the bloggie.

Continuing progress on the "Hermit of the Abbey" concept, I've torn down my original matte painting of his quaint waterfall cottage.

This was the original matte painting I did. Actually, now that I think about it, this is my first matte painting ever. Over the past several months, I've been growing increasingly curious as to the process of digital matte painting and photo-compositing. Over the past spring break, I decided to give it a try based on a few tutorials and matte painting forums I found online. This was the end product.

I guess my initial mistake was just throwing photo elements over my original drawing without fixing a lot of the perspective issues that I had. When I drew the image, I was trying to give it a fish-eye effect, however I failed to convey that with a wonky perspective on the house on the ledge. With such a dynamic upward angle, for example, I shouldnt be seeing that much of the rooftop. But live and learn, yes? This piece went through a series of harsh crits and was only received on a mediocre level at best. Gia was the harshest of my crits, but probably one of the more motivating in terms of starting over.

Taking everyone's critiques into consideration, I went ahead first setting up my scene in Maya and then doing a basic block-in of values in Photoshop. As it progressed I moved into the color painting layers and later started compositing photo elements into the piece. Here is my basic process and the piece thus far:

As far as the progress on this matte painting goes, there are some things that I need to immediately address... the shape of the cliff on the left and the waterfall are too similar in size and shape, horizontal, and too much like the original Maya geometry. I need to go in and break those shapes up but not too much where the shapes compete for focus. Brother Paul made suggestions about the left cliff-face and Brother Don gave me some pointers to break up the waterfall and make it more 'beautiful'... I just hope I don't mess it up. Heh. I was quite surprised and please with myself with how well the waterfall came out.

Anyway... any additional comments, suggestions, philosophical musings? Feel free to comment, everyone. :-D


With graduation quickly approaching, I've put off putting together a blog long enough. So... here's my first entry and what I'm currently working on right now...

Hermit of the Abbey

This particular project spun off of the Beethoven project of the BFA seminar. I took several elements of my research - Vienna's rich religious culture, Beethoven's private hikes through the woods, and ruins left over from the Napoleonic wars - to develop a story of a hermit who lived in the ruins of an abandoned abbey/cathedral.

This is one of the first layouts I did and I had alumni Gia Luc take a look at it. He was brutally honest, which is what I hoped for and he pointed out some things that I needed to fix. First he pointed out that it was compositionally boring, indicating that everything was pretty much in the center. Second he also said that my perspective was getting lost and that the hermit seemed to be out of perspective with the rest of the environment. Third he pointed out that the atmospheric perspective was lacking.

Unable to fix the first issue without starting over completely, I opted to make adjustments based on his other points of critique.

I pushed the atmospheric perspective more and I fixed the perspective angle of the hermit. Hopefully it's reading a little better.

At the same time, however, I wanted to try a new composition based on Gia's crit, and this is one I came up with. I initially tried about 9 other compositional setups, each based off of a different camera angle on a Maya model I had built. After receiving some feedback from Derek Brand, I settled on this one. It's still in progress, so we'll see how it pans out in the next few days.