Saturday, September 26, 2009

Love Remembered

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #123 for September 25th, 2009

The house lights dim, the curtain goes up… you’re on.

Love Remembered

I can't think of what to say.
I forgot my lines, and everyone is staring at me waiting to see what I'll do.
My scene partner says "Ray what the hell is wrong with you?" In an annoyed, frustrated tone. I begin to improve the scene with the first thing that comes to mind.
"'re fat."
Her eyes widen as if she was a cat whose tail had just been stepped on.
"How dare you....How dare you call me fat. You're stupid!"
"I hate it when we fight."
"Me too."
"I love you."
"Are you sure you wouldn't be happier with someone else?"
"I'm lucky I have you."
"Where's that coming from?"
"I'm a failure. I don't know why you married me."
"Please don't talk like this. You are talented."
"No I'm not. I'm stupid remember?"
"I didn't mean it. Come on let's have a drink and watch a movie honey."
"Yeah. A good drink will kill the pain."
Then we hug for what seems like an eternity. Her hair spray smells like coconut. I'm in love for real now.
"I love you."
"I love you too.
We kiss. Then I say "scene."
The crowd applauds, and what was once an anxiety attack is overcome by a sensation of excitement and accomplishment.
I had forgotten my lines, and had put on the greatest performance of my career.
After the show a fellow actor/friend approached me and said "Joey, your performance was outstanding! Would you be interested in trying out for the part of Dr. Drake Remoria in "Days Of Our Lives?"
"Ha ha..Good one Jim!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fiction Friday Challenge #122 Picture Prompt

Fiction Friday Challenge #122: Picture Prompt: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

It was a calm sunny day that dwindled away they way ice cream melts in your bowl. What was once solid and full of texture became a sweetened liquid stagnant without motion. All the townspeople turned off their lights, and tucked the young into little beds. Just as Papa closed his eyes to rest for the night he heard a howl of wind rush up against the windows. It whistled and rattled around the house like an angry demon looking for a way in. One by one, the lights of the town turned back on illuminating a soft yellow glow from each of the little houses of this once sleepy quiet town. The wind danced and raced around the stars and through the sky like wild kittens at play. The towns people watched from their windows with growing curiosity. The dogs barked and a child's frightened eyes peered cautiously out from under the shelter of his mothers arms held tightly around his fragile body.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stanimation Productions New Update

On July 24, 2009 a heavy metal band from West Virgina messaged me on my Youtube Channel, Stanimatorblue to request that I collaborate by using their music in my animation. I recently responded by creating an animated music video to the song "Bl99ding Into The Sunset" It's a song about mortality,and the perpetual angst of not knowing what the purpose of ones life is.

On September 2, 2009 I entered an animation into the Aniboom/History Channel People Speak Animation Competition. The voting process has begun. The winner gets a cash prize of $35,000, and a further development deal with History and Aniboom. So far, my entry, "Brother Can You Spare A Dime," has a two star rating, and 68 views. Your vote could really help me out here, so please watch and vote. Than you!

On Labor Day, 9/7/09, I was invited to the Congregation B'nia Shalom Labor Day BBQ to draw caricatures. My wife video taped me doing one of the caricatures of a little girl with her parent's permission of course to be part of a series of video demonstrations of my drawing talent.

These videos can be viewed on Youtube on the Stanimatorblue Channel.

My wife and I also found a great book called How To Draw Dragons And Other Mythical Creatures by Emmett Elvin, available at Barnes & Nobel $7.98.

I have never seen a better book on the subject matter for such a great price. Emmett explains how to draw different kinds of dragons, a centaur, a chimera, Medusa, a phoenix, and many more classic mythical creatures using a step by step process that is illustrated in detail. The first step of drawing a dragon is to draw what is called the"line of action." This is like a stick figure only it should be drawn in the pose that the dragon is going to be in the drawing. Then he draws basic shapes over that. A sphere for the head, a cylinder for arms, and cone shapes for claws, etc. Then Emmett explains how to draw the details of each part of a dragon's anatomy.
As a caricaturist I draw with a sharpie marker; without the ability to erase. Emmett's process seemed counter intuitive to me at first, because I have always just drawn what I vision in my minds eye without all the planning and the construction lines. Using a number 2 pencil, I followed along with the exercises in this book. My first dragon drawing looked really messy, and I thought "This doesn't work. I'm going to just draw it my way." Then I ran into the problem of losing the pose. With caricatures all I draw is the face, which is far simpler than dragons. In fact, a caricature of anything is far simpler than the style of illustration Emmett demonstrates in his "How To Draw Dragons And Other Mythical Creatures," book. I found myself having to draw the line of action, and the construction drawing before adding in the details in order to get the super detailed look for the dragon drawing that makes it look convincingly real. I have uploaded my dragon drawings to Flickr here:

Then I used tracing paper to clean up my lines before scanning it in to Photoshop CS. The magic wand tool allows me to select all the negative space around the lines, so I can create a PNG file to import into Flash Professional 8. There's something about Flash that I find far superior to any painting/design application I have ever used before. The pencil tool has three modes: curved lines, straight lines, and freehand mode. Using the curved line mode makes each line so precise, you would think I used french curves to draft them in. The paint brush tool has a "paint behind" feature that will paint behind lines and brush strokes as if they were on a separate layer. Sections of your work can be grouped and pushed back and forward within layers. All of these features, not offered in Photoshop saves hours of time.
After importing my PNG of the cleaned up illustration of my dragon attack scene, I created a new layer and traced over the PNG with the pencil tool. Then I locked that layer, and made a new layer to add in color. The fire spraying out of the dragon's mouth lights up the knight's shield. Making the fire a "movie clip," allows me to access filters where I can blur the flames make them look more convincing. The knight's shield casts a shadow over him. Making the knight a movie clip, allows me to adjust brightness. Toning his shiny armor down gives me the look I'm searching for in this illustration.

You won't find this exact illustration in Emmett Elvin's book, because I have used the lessons I've learned from it to create my own original illustration. I have a hard time with just copying a drawing out of a book, unless it's my first time drawing in a new style. It took several attempts to achieve this level of proficiency in this illustration. I intend on developing my skills more with an ambition to use my skills to draw for role playing games online and children's book illustration.

I am always trying to hone my creative talent into something that will have commercial and public appeal. When you have a wedding how do you proclaim your love for your solemate so that it's perfectly clear to everyone how deeply in love you are to each other? A caricature can exaggerate the expressive features of your face such as eyes, lips or hair, but especially the nose or even the ears! Drawing these features in a way that says who that person is makes it clearer than it could ever be in any photographic medium without computer aide. When you have a caricaturist perform at your party event, you get to see the magic of the artist's creative process.
How do you show your grandfather how much you appreciate the fact that he is still alive on his 80th birthday? Giving information, music selections, photographs, and family video footage, I can create your very own custom 2D animation. This is like a caricature, only it comes to life on camera to tell everyone your grandfather's story or any story for that matter. Animation is the best way to show someone what's on your mind.
Stanimation Productions aims to provide all of these services (caricatures, custom illustration, design, and 2D animation) to help you reach your goals with your family and at the workplace for affordable prices that compete with the more well known studios in your area.