All Summer in a Day

Really excited to share some of the art from the graphic novel adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day. You can find some of the pencil roughs on my site here. And I’ll include the cover sketch I worked on today.

summercoversketch

In general, I’m happy that I’ve found more of a voice artistically. I felt so trapped  in past months thinking about what content I should explore and draw, thinking that all art industries were fair game. But lately, I’ve just been responding to things I like, and not necessarily thinking about what might make me marketable. Thinking in that way just trapped me in creative block. Then, to mask my embarrassing lack of original material, I would just copy lots of stuff. But I’ve realized that you never find out who you are as a visual artist until you start making your own individual art.

So maybe I don’t draw like my art heroes, but I can keep drawing and I will end up drawing in my own way.

 

Hansel and Gretel concept sketches

I posted my first scene of boards for a Hansel and Gretel story. As I finished up my last story, I was struggling to think of another one. That’s a major issue with me, as I would like to work more, but usually I can’t think of stories to tell and it’s frustrating to set aside time to work every day and you’re struggling to find ideas to work on.

To break the creative block, I thought about fairy tales. Even if they’re all well known, it’s a great exercise to try to tell them visually. So I picked Hansel and Gretel. Really I was most fascinated by the setting of the story (famine torn Europe) and the measures that people resort to in those crises. So that was exactly what my first scene ended up being about. I’m still not super sure how the rest of the story will be told, but I think it will be an ongoing process where I continue to revisit the story amidst other various projects.

Below are a few drawings I did for concept art. I would love for a short film to have the look of an Arthur Rackham illustration, and that’s the look I was going for in these sketches. I’m making several other sketches, trying to imagine the world a little more fully. In storyboards, I want to simplify the look, but this is a good chance to put on an illustrator’s hat and give it a more concentrated treatment.

HGdrawinghouse

HGcage

HGshove

Some story beats

Working on another short story, though this one is more of a noir ish vein. I decided that I need to work more on figuring out composition and story beats. I also wanted to work with some tone this time. I’m hoping to get all of the boards for this project to this level.beat1 beat2 beat3 beat4 beat5 beat6

New website

I am going to move most of my recent work here on to a personal website, brandtwong.weebly.com. It was free and easy to make, and I think that it is much easier to see images, especially large sets of boards, in a slideshow format, than clicking, going back, finding the thumbnail, finding the next one, clicking, etc. Not everything is up yet, but I’ve put much of the work that I think is decent up there. I guess wordpress isn’t ideal for image viewing, but it’s been nice to have, and it has served me well.

I can’t just move all of my blog posts there, so I’ll keep blogging here. See you on the other side!

First Jessica boards

Here is the first set of boards on my little adaptation of Kevin Henkes’ Jessica. It’s been a lot of fun and very challenging, even with source material to rely on. I think the hardest part has been figuring out how to preserve the feeling of the story even in this different medium. I ended up writing a bunch of dialogue and I hope I haven’t killed the story along the way. I’m not a writer and I don’t pretend to be one, but I tried. It really makes me question if I’ve done the right thing; I know that many shorts don’t use dialogue, and the scarcity of dialogue in the text scares me into thinking that I’ve killed the economy and the “quietness” of the children’s story. It also makes me wonder if I could tell a story without words and I think I’ll try to think of a silent story to adapt next.

The biggest problem I foresaw was that I wasn’t going to rely on narration, but rather I was going to try to use a scene to tell us who Jessica was, especially to audiences who had never heard of the story, and hopefully surprise them when they realize she’s imaginary, set up the situation of the night before the school starts (that’s what I picked for the starting point), and hopefully capture some of that anxiety that children feel. Or at least I felt as a child.

I ended up reboarding parts of this, and I think it’s better because of it. Boarding is really hard, and the hardest part is trying to get past the angles and the compositions, and hopefully get at the feeling of the scenes and really capture the characters even at this early stage. I’d imagine it’s kind of like directing, where you block the action, tell your actors how you want to see things done, and hopefully telling that story to maximal effect just through your camera work.

 

openingseq1 openingseq2 openingseq3 openingseq4

 

UPDATE: this whole sequence is going to be scrapped I think. I decided that, while I love the idea of a child playing hide and seek with an imaginary friend, it’s kind of stupid of me to try to use this much time. I wanted to give a surprise, even with how Jessica is revealed under a carpet, but what’s the point of creating this confusion for the first 20 percent of a short? I should get to the heart of the story quicker, and thus probably start later.

New Short Term Project

I finally decided that, rather than complain that I can’t find a project to do boards on, I should just make one myself. So I’m trying to come up with ideas, and one of the first ones was to board a possible short, based on a children’s book, where the story and character are rich, but definitely not in the mold of a screenplay. I figured that the best way to learn is by doing, so here’s my first project: a treatment of Kevin Henkes’ Jessica.

I love Henkes stories, and I always thought that the idea behind this one was really good: a child who has an imaginary friend and little contact with outsiders, who struggles through her first day of school only to find a friend who happens to have the same name as her imaginary friend.

First of all, I wanted to pin down a design for the character of Ruthie, the main character (and the friend’s name is Jessica).

I’ll be boarding the whole thing in the next two weeks, so stay tuned to see what I come up with!

Ruthiesheet

Year in Review

Upon examination of the year, 2013, I realize that it must have been very boring for whoever does read my blog. Recapping the year, I realize that I was very indecisive after May, and as a result, my output was quite infrequent. I’d like to say that I was drawing all of the time and that I just didn’t post every bad drawing I did, but the fact is that I was often confused about what to draw and stuck in a creative pit.

I tried to give myself projects. I tried some digital painting, though I didn’t make nearly the strides I should have, and I explored new art online a lot, just looking for some field that might catch my eye and seemed plausible. Should I get into comics, graphic novels, book covers, random freelance gigs? What aesthetic did I want to have. I felt so stuck after abandoning an animator’s path and tried very hard to entertain non artistic futures.

But here at year’s end, I’ve felt a renewal of that artistic desire. I wrote earlier in the year that I felt ambivalent about animation, but just recently I watched Frozen and felt tremendous exhilaration in that theater. Even if there were flaws in the movie, there were certain moments of such singular beauty and poignancy that I couldn’t help but think, like I used to, that working on a Disney film must be a lot of fun.

And here I’ve been for months, looking for another art form that would be fun or exciting. But nothing could even come close to how I felt about watching this newest Disney film and how thoroughly I enjoyed myself.

So here goes. I’m not necessarily going to be an animator, but I want to get into that Disney world one day. And this time I don’t have the deadline of the end of my college days to make it; I have quite a bit of time. Though hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.

I’m going to start studying storyboarding I think, and I will sign up for Kris Pearn’s storyboarding class for schoolism. I’d like to think that my drawing style suits storyboarding, and the chance to be more involved with the actually story telling seems like fun to me. And when I watch a lot of movies now, I can say that I’m studying.

Final Card

And here’s the final card. The card is 3 2/3 inches x 8.5 inches and it folds so that pages two and three are on the interior and the fourth page is on the back. Some of the cropping on individual panels is kind of funny, but I think the final card looks alright and I really enjoy the writing(which I didn’t do). I do wish I had the time to color it though.

Now what should I do? The inanimate term is starting up again and it makes me wonder if it’s time to pick animation up again, but more on that later. Hopefully I post more frequently in these next few months.

UntitledUntitledUntitledUntitled

Christmas card project

I know I’m supposed to post more often, but I’ve actually been working on projects recently and I didn’t want to share until I was finished.

I was surprised to be asked by a cousin of mine to help him with his family’s Christmas card this year. I was quite nervous about the challenge, but I was eager to see what I would do. I didn’t think I was qualified to do anything for anyone else (my opinion of my work drops by the day), but for selfish reasons, I wanted to give it a shot.

The clear instructions really helped, as I was basically given a description of each panel and what had to be happening. Over the first few days, I just copied photographs, trying to familiarize myself with faces, and then I started sketching out the panels at about 1.25 times the size so I could work a little bigger, but still get a good idea of what the print might actually look like at its final size. Sketches were approved and I went on to final, tighter drawings and then, decided the drawings would look much better if inked and then pencil lines erased. I utilized a free and easy to use comic software called Comic Life and imported all of the panels, and typed in the text boxes.

Here were the final inked panels, all (except the first one) is on about 3.5x 4.5 inch boxes with Faber Castell Pitt pens.

N_cardfrontN_hero_avaN_hero_kateN_hero_sophiaN_lastpage_girlsthinkingN_lastpage_lastpanelN_rest_avaN_rest_kateN_rest_sophia.

A couple things I relearned and remembered during this short project were:

1. think about the intent of the project. If I’m working on a cute Christmas card, I shouldn’t try to show off how dynamic a pose I can create, but rather on what makes the most appealing pose.

2. think before drawing. Any good ideas about props in the room help enormously with story telling and help us believe in this tiny environment we’re setting up.

3. consider size. After I produced a first draft, I realized that some of the panels were TOO busy, especially for only being about 21/2 by 3 inches. I need to make the image more simple for reproduction that small.

Some things I’m happy with/not happy with:

1. the level of fun I had doing this. I have rarely had the chance to enjoy drawing as much as I did on this project. While I’m not 100 percent happy about the results, I can’t argue with the experience I had doing it.

2. I set up schedules for myself and made deadlines

3. some of the hands and faces are pretty decent. And I was particularly happy with how I handled the boots on the Ava panel where she’s resting in a beanie bag. Most of the posing I think is pretty good. I wish I could push the faces more, but it was hard to take liberties and maintain resemblance. I just wish I could draw for once!!

4. for the first time, I thought I sought out and used reference a little. I wanted to draw varied costumes, I wanted to look  at what a stadium actually looked like structurally, I looked up images of cameras, iPads, books, holly, fireplaces, pretty much every thing that shows up. I rarely copied anything, but I did want to avoid making things up.

5. I think I could have done different things with the hatching, like on the couch and the car. I’m still debating whether I should have filled the doorframe on the final panel with hatching.

If I managed to draw these girls even half as cute as they are, I think I’ve done a decent job. It was a joy to draw for this and I’m proud of some of the work I did on it.