Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Floating Right Along

Found this interesting image online when looking up "men's beard styles" on Google. I'm not even sure some of them are possible! Super Mario? Really?!

Between finals and leading a busy life, I was still able to get together another Jonah head for Luke - this time with a front view. Even though I like to draw, and even though I most frequently draw characters, I still don't draw turnarounds very often. I think I should do this more often because nothing challenges your own idea of what you think you just drew than having to draw it in another orthographic view. I haven't been able to develop the fish character too much farther, but I did do some additional sketches that taught me a few things. Turns out its difficult to draw a large fish, that's not a whale, that's self-conscious and insecure!

Thanks again :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Batman: The Animated Series Storyboards

I usually try to make sure that the work that I post on this blog page is mine (after all, the name of it is "The Art and Animation of Kurt Hartfelder"), but this one was too good to pass up. I've been taking a storyboarding class this summer as part of my MFA degree here at the Savannah College of Art and design and recently rediscovered the Batman Animated "art of" book that I had bought with a gift card to Barnes and Noble while I was in high school.

The storyboards above are the original production boards for the series intro. The camera work, screen design, transitions, and compositions are fantastic - and the infamous Batman music playing above it all really tops it off. I knew that this show was great when they were still producing episodes for it back in the early 90's, but after looking at this book again, I have a whole new respect for the artists who designed it and the producers who made it possible.

It's amazing what can be done with few gray scale markers, isn't it?


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shave and a Haircut

Luke really liked one of the "Jonah" heads I sketched up for him in class, so I decided to elaborate on the design by playing around with different hair and beard combinations. In addition to different hairstyles and beards I also gave him slightly different noses too. It's amazing how much these few details can change one's perception of the character. A few of them stand out (for better or worse) to me already:

#3 looks like a SCAD student I've seen around
#8 looks like he's got a bad toupee on
#9 looks kinda like an art professor I had in undergrad

Thanks again for visiting my blog.


Sounds Fishy to Me

So it turns out that fish are not only good for you, but also a lot of fun to draw! I have not seriously taken to drawing a fish since I was obsessed with sharks in 5th grade, but recently another fellow classmate of mine, this time Luke Brewer, asked me to do some concept art for him. Luke is making an animated version of the story of Jonah from the Bible for his MFA film and is retelling it from the perspective of the fish with the appetite. I drew these sketches over the course of the afternoon today and shot them off to him in an email to see what he thinks. I'm excited to hear what he has to say . Drawing is always fun, but I find the give-and-take of character design even more engaging since it's a collaborative process.

Oh, and the reason there is only one whale drawing is because he specifically didn't want a whale, but a rather large fish (not a mammal). The drawings are posted chronologically, so you can actually tell how my brain (and hand) started to get in a groove and pick up steam by the third or fourth page. Also, the numbering system makes it a LOT easier for discussion via email or phone concerning character designs since you save a lot of, "no... the fourth one down on the third page... the one with the tail that's fan shaped but not rounded at the bottom..." descriptions when referring to a specific example - learned that one the hard way!

Thanks again for visiting :)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tree Test

Here's a little animation exercise in simplicity. I am trying to play around with different ways to make plants grow using simple techniques in Maya. I have been noticing on Vimeo that there are a lot of animators and filmmakers out there who are making beautiful work using very simple, "low tech" techniques. Don't get me wrong, ornate characters with sophisticated environments and detailed textures can be beautiful too, but these types of projects are often made with much larger teams with substantially larger budgets and time frames than a graduate student living in an apartment can compete with. It's fun to keep it simple and graphic-design oriented and to enjoy the process and avoid the many technical problems and challenges that can frustrate and derail you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Old Men Concepts

Friend and classmate of mine, Eiad Dahnim recently asked me to draw up some concept sketches for his thesis film character. Eiad is a wizard when it comes to modeling and Zbrush, but asked me for some help sorting through potential face shapes and personalities. I often just doodle faces for my own practice and amusement, developing characters rather haphazardly. I've already noticed that drawing for someone else's character development is a little different because you need to draw enough variety to help create some direction and dialogue when you meet with them next. Often, it's more about elimination for them - they may have only an obscure idea of what they want the final character to look like, but they probably already can identify pretty easily what they do not want.

Plus, I admire Eiad's work, so it'll be interesting to see my sketches leave the page and become more than graphite on paper!