Monday, December 30, 2013

NEw YEAR, New Skills!

Happy New Year Folks!
I hope 2014 has lots of creative things in store for you.

Speaking of creative things, there are a number of fun and exciting workshops happening at TAIS ( Toronto Animated Image Society) starting in January. If you are an animator or just an animation enthusiast who has has always wanted to try their hand, now's a great time to check it out.

These workshops are taught by some very talented and experienced animators (if i do say so myself) who are all in demand in their fields which means they don't' give these workshops very often. Be sure not to miss out on this opportunity!

info below!


To register:
Space will be limited to 8-10 participants per workshop.

Classical Animation on Paper: 101 with Bryce Hallett
2 days: Sunday January 12 & 19, 2014, 11 am – 5 pm
$160 members (2 days @ $80 per day), $210 non-members (2 days @ $105 per day)

This two-day crash course will cover the fundamental principles of animation, including timing, facial expressions, movement flow and simple walks, etc. This is ‘old school’ animating with pencils on paper for beginners or simply those who’ve never had the opportunity. Participants will be given some work to try out at home to be reviewed on the second day. Materials and peg bars will be provided for use.

Instructor Bryce Hallett is an independent animator with 14 years of experience working for clients in Canada and around the world but always in his pajamas. He is perhaps best known for the "Ranger Gord" animations on the Red Green Show, and as the illustrator of the book Animation Unleashed written by Ellen Besen. Some of his other works can been seen on his website

Simple Silhouette and Paper Puppets with Lynn Wilton
Sunday January 26, 2014, 11 am – 5 pm

$75 members, $90 non-members

This introductory course will cover an alternative method of construction using easily found materials for simple silhouette (under-lit) and top-lit paper puppets followed by an opportunity to get under camera and animate. Materials will be provided and everyone will get the opportunity to see their puppet come to life.  Please come prepared with a design idea for a character that could be found in a jungle environment.  We’ll be making our puppets to be roughly 5” on their longest side.

Instructor Lynn Dana Wilton is an animator/designer/artist and former board member of TAIS.  She took a diploma in Classical Animation at Sheridan but also holds a BAAID from Ryerson.  She trained classically but, commercially, has principally animated stop-motion for television series & specials including “Glenn Martin, DDS”, “Rick & Steve”, “A Miser Brothers’ Christmas”, “Lunar Jim”, “A Cape Breton Ghost Story”, and “Henry’s World".  She’s had her experimental short, “(Re)Cycle”, show in festivals internationally.  Find her at

Dragonframe Workshop with Evan DeRushie
Sunday February 2, 2014, 11 am – 5 pm
$75 members, $90 non-members

Dragonframe is the world's leading stop-motion capture software. It's used on feature films, commercials, and most importantly: at the Toronto Animated Images Society. Working with digital SLR cameras, the software is a swiss army knife of animation tools, and can be used to plan and capture your animation with precise control. In this workshop you'll learn the basics of the program, such as project management and camera control. You'll also learn some more advanced features, like sync sound, frame editing, and more. Whether you're shooting a stop-motion short film, or previewing your hand-drawn animation, Dragonframe has all the tools you never knew you needed.

Instructor Evan DeRushie is a professional stop-motion animator. He has animated for broadcast TV series, and commercials for Kraft, Tim Hortons, Indigo and Lays. His independent film "The Fox and the Chickadee" has played in film festivals around the world. More info at

Puppet Building Workshop with Carla Veldman
Sunday February 16, 2014, 11 am - 5pm
$75 members, $90 non-members

This workshop is an introduction to different types of stop-motion puppets and their armatures, including wire, aluminum, paper, and ball-and-socket.  Topics covered will include puppet-planning, materials used, tie-down types, and mouth replacements. Participants will be able to fabricate their own wire armatures during the workshop (materials provided), and puppet examples will be available for reference.

Instructor Carla Veldman is an animation film-maker and stop-motion artist. A Sheridan graduate and lover of stories, she enjoys the tactile and textural world of puppet animation.

Motion Control Workshop with Greg Boa
Sunday February 23, 2014
11 am – 5 pm
$90 members, $120 non-members

In this workshop we will go over the DitoGear motion control system for use with Dragonframe stop motion software, and how to use the equipment stand-alone with DitoGear hardware controllers. We'll cover what it is and what it can do; set-up and take down; previewing and adjusting camera movements in dragon; shooting animated, real-time and time lapse shots, and of course safety concerns along the way to protect the camera and the rig from damage. The equipment we will use will be TAIS' DitoGear OmniSlider, OmniHead, LensDrive and DragonBridge interface - a very fun and powerful motion control system for precise moving camera shots.

Instructor Greg Boa is a graduate of Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts and the former film tech for the Film, Video and Integrated Media program at Emily Carr University in Vancouver. For six years he years he worked as a Technical Coordinator at the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, and has worked on films by Bruce Elder, Isabella Pruska Oldenhof and Madi Piller, among others. Greg has a great deal of experience with camera systems, both film and digital, and extensive experience teaching workshops and classes. Currently Greg works for Niagara Custom Lab.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Weather Forecast Dec 18,Toronto: Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs.

Next week's Animatic T.O. event:
Dec 18th! Kris Pearn in Toronto.

Director, Story Artist and certified Canadian Kris Pearn will discuss his exciting journey from head of story on the original Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to taking on the challenge of Co-Directing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Find out what it takes to build, destroy and rebuild a story until it becomes a box office success! Twice!

$10 at the door (Cheap!)

@ The Rhino - 1249 Queen Street West
(West of Dufferin on the South side)

Doors 7pm
Talk Starts 7:30pm

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Want to learn 2d hand drawn animation but not sure where to go?!

Hello fellow humans,

While i was at the CTN Expo this year, i ran into a number of people who were interested in learning and/or improving their 2d animation skills and their life drawing skills. Some of them were students trying to find a good school others were professionals like myself.

There are of course plenty of books and schools offering to teach animation these days and it may be difficult to choose. ( I'll happily recommend some of my favourite books. Just email me and ask). Another option you might consider however, especially if your time is at a premium, is taking a course online. A number of professional animators have taken to teaching online in their spare time at places like iAnimate, Animation Mentor and others. Many of these teach CG animation and VFX animation and do a mix of video tutorial and essentially teaching a class via skype ( or similar) and one on one critiques.

If you are like me though and are a fan of 2d animation there are fewer places to go. However, one online place i can recommend is Studio-Technique.

I'm not affiliated with the school at all, but i did have the chance to take a master class with Disney animator Andreas Deja  at their studio in Montreal a couple years ago.  I have also taken their online life drawing course this past year, taught by Samantha Youssef. I really enjoyed it and felt it was a good addition to my regular life drawing practice.

Most Studio-Technique classes are taught by Samantha Youssef, who is a Sheridan College grad and a former Disney animator. She also consults and teaches animation to larger companies ( especially video game companies) to help raise the level of their animation quality. So she knows of what she speaks.

 Personally i've found that while i do go to a lot of drop in life drawing and have a large collection of books on the subject, the drawing style is more geared to illustrators and fine artists. Which is fine but it's not quite what i'm after as an animator. Often the results are too stiff. At least for me.
What i liked about Ms. Youssef's teaching style is that she is coming at it from an animator's perspective    vs an illustrator's.  She also brings her knowledge and experience as a ballet dancer to the work as well. The result is you are focused more on creating drawings that flow, that have motion and character and energy. Drawings that relate closer to what we do as animators.  It also results in drawings that are considerably less stiff but no less solid. For me at least this is very helpful.

Anyway i'm always trying to get people interested in classical animation so if this interests you here's a
link to class registration.

I don't get a commission or anything to tell people about this course, I just like to share and spread the word when I find cool animation related things. That's partly why i have this blog. So hopefully this is useful info for you and if so then that makes me happy!

On a related note, if you are in the Toronto area, i will be doing a two part workshop in January or Feb 2014. It's an intro to animation workshop, sort of a crazy crash course in hand drawn animation where i'll throw way too many concepts at you and you'll get a taste of various classical animation techniques. And it's totally old school retro style of animating ( or classical if you will ). You get to draw on paper on animation discs and we shoot pencil tests which you can then keep and review for yourself ( bring your own usb key)

It's happening at TAIS ( The Toronto Animated Image Society) . Keep checking back here or at the TAIS website for confirmation of dates and other info.


Below are a couple of photos from the masterclass in Montreal in 2012.

photo of me learning things and stuff from Andreas Deja

photo of Andreas giving me a sketch. What a nice fellow.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CTN Expo 2013 in Burbank

Recently  returned from the Creative Talent Network Expo ( CTN EXPO) in Burbank California.

Lots of amazing talent there and great workshops. I particularly enjoyed BJ Crawford's talk (via Bluesky Animation) on  using 2d animation drawing techniques to explore character and animation for the film EPIC. Basically he showed how they used 2d hand drawn classical animation techniques to develop characters that will be modelled eventually in CG for the film. Great talk and inspiring to see. BJ has basically created a new type of job in the CG feature film pipeline. Maybe a potential avenue to look into for all you hand drawn animation fans out there looking to work in feature films?

I also really enjoyed Eric Goldberg interviewing Eric Goldberg and giving us a an over view of his life and career in animation. Really funny. I highly recommend his book Character Animation Crash Course for those of you interested in character animation.

this was some of the art promoting the MWP booth i created based on the artwork from "Animation Unleashed".

In previous years i spent part of my time working at the table for Michael Wiese Productions , the publisher of Animation Unleashed. This year I just went as a spectator. If you are a professional or a student of animation looking to network with studio artists and freelancers alike, it's a pretty excellent conference to attend. Everyone is very friendly and plenty of people to talk to and exchange cards with in line.

Perhaps i'll see some of you next year!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Check out TAAFI this weekend and "Kaj Pindal: Master Moves"!

If you're in the Toronto area, I highly recommend checking out TAAFI ( the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International). It's a great Animation festival with plenty of screenings and workshops including screenings of works by Ray Harrhausen, new works by world renowned animators and new animators alike. Talks with Simpsons creators, animation artists, know what just go check out their website and you can see everything they have to offer.

If i may make a personal recommendation  though , check out "Kaj Pindal: Master Moves", an interview and retrospective of Kaj's work. Kaj will be interviewed by Ellen Besen (Author of Animation Unleashed) about his career and especially diving in to one of his most well known works "What on Earth" which will be screened there as well.


Definitely worth checking out.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Original Life Drawing Sketches on Display at Ben Navee Gallery!

I'm excited to be a part of this show. A number of very talented artists, plus myself, have gotten together to display some of our sketchbook drawings from the various life drawing sessions we have around Toronto.
There are 11 of us displaying works from our sketchbooks and the group has all levels of talent. From students to seasoned professionals. This is the first time many of us have displayed our work in public.
Our sketchbook works I mean. Obviously those of us who work in comics, tv, film animation etc etc have other works out there in public. Everyone is a smarty pants. geez. heh

Anyway i'm excited to be a part of it and if you are in the Toronto area come check it out.
the exhibit will be up until July 15 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Walking Driving Dead

Here's some character designs I created for the Zombie level of "Left Lane Looey".
Zombies are fun to draw. I've been enjoying the comics and tv  series " The Walking Dead" a lot lately so it was fun to draw a zombie themed level for the game. The idea of the "Driving Dead" just makes me laugh.





Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hilarious hillbillies!

I had a lot of fun designing these silly Hillbillies for "Left Lane Looey". A game for ipad and Android that came out last fall. (it's free go check it out. I don't own an iPad or an Android device so you'll have to tell me what you think). Thought i'd share some of my favourite characters. One of the things that was fun for me was doing these really cartoony designs. They're pretty loose and quick but i think that ads to their charm.





Here's some animated gifs of them in action.
  hillbillie-banjo.gif        hillbiliie-spin1.gif