Monday, August 04, 2014

Short Peace: Farewell to Weapons Book

Gah. I cant say enough about the last story in Otomo's latest film "A Farewell to Weapons" It is the best thing Ive ever seen.  An APC with a mobile infantry team exploring a post-apocalyptic environment, with an elaboration of all of todays current military hardware. These guys stumble upon a GONK- the movements and anti-RPG armor screens are unmatched of any other mech Ive seen animated. Argh there is so much cool detailing in this short- Im freaking out just thinking about it even though its been months since I last viewed Short Peace.
Well this is the art book for Farewell to Weapons. It has all the original designs (both drawings and kitbashed models) that appeared in the comic as well as Otomo's monograph, Kaba. And all the model sheets for everything you see in the short are in here- I had the hardest time editing it down to my usual 800x1600 book review format. Painfully hardtime.
I paid about $45 for this at Kinokuniya and its worth every penny.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thomas Salad Spinner

We did a bunch of Salad Spinner technology pitch stuff for Thomas- I just stumbled over the folder that went to Fischer-Price with this one, one posted far below, and a few others with some confidential proprietary tech features that should be kept under wraps. Ill just throw these up here for archiving, Ill have this blog for as long as blogger is around, which is a whole lot longer than how long this hard drive will last.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hot Wheels

I cant remember if this sketch actually was pitched to Hot Wheels, might of been shot down prior to pitching because of potential costs for the product- but the thing I loved about Hot Wheels while I was a kid, and even now, is creating a cinematic view of the car, like my eye is the camera along side the driver side window, or next to the wheels, or over the hood as you do crazy stunts and Hot Wheels maneuvers!
My idea was to have an articulated arm and on one end put a tiny car mount with an adjustable camera, the camera is tethered to your mobile device which serves as the display and simple editing bay where youd create images or movies and upload them to the rest of the Hot Wheels community. You could add some stickers of flames or whatever, maybe even some simple effects. Ahh I still think this is a good idea actually- digital cameras are getting cheaper everyday, and Im sure Ive seen arms like this before- 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Race set

Found some pitch sketches a colleague of mine was pitching at his inventor meetings. Theres a mechanical feature under the hood that made it pretty unique and since its not described in this rough concept sketch- I think its pretty safe to post, but get a heap of this kind of pitch work. If theres an interest we usually take the feedback and re-pitch tighter with color etc etc.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Art of Elysium

Ahh Elysium, where do I start- well this art book is probably one of the best of 2013- the preproduction of this movie was so bad ass- I was pulling my hair out in excitement and then I dont know what happened. Blomkamp shoulda stuck to his guns cause this movie was on the verge of groundbreaking, but once it was executed the original idea, the original brilliance was unfortunatley completely lost. Odd because that wasnt the case with District 9- Id imagine the pressures of the people with the money are unimaginable- and sadly Elysium became one of my biggest disappointments of the decade. 

But Good News!!! The Art of Book documents the all the awesomeness of the Blomkamp project. An East LA flavella and futuristic, genetic Santeria following MS13 gangsters, Cybernetic SWAT teams and that crazy Safa guy from District 9 all hulked up and psychotic looking flying around in an awesome dropship with his commando team. They pulled in Syd Meads studio in who developed the off planet satellite gated community which I didnt include in any of my favorite shots above because most of them were 2 page spreads and Im always reluctant to try and capture an image on a spread. Those designs are almost entirely 3D as well, it would be really super to see the original sketches- but its some of my favorite 3D designing to date. So much cool stuff to look at in this book- gang tatoos, guns, corporate logos etc etc.
Such a refreshing take of Sci-Fi, so if youre a fan, definitely, DEFINITELY get this book.

Art of Elysium
Mark Salisbury
Titan Books (August 6, 2013)
176 Pages HC
ISBN-10 1781162476
ISBN-13 978-1781162477
11 x 12 x .08

Friday, November 22, 2013

Alpine Team

Super fun project quite a while ago designing some playsets for an unannounced title. I was listening to At The Mountains of Madness audiobook while working on these (perhaps Ill post the other pages some other time) - if you havent listened or read that story, I cant recommend it enough. It gets a little crazy and hard to follow towards the end when they start encountering C'Thulu-ish habitants up in the lost city, but up until that point and especially the first half is absolutely incredible. Discovery of lost cities is probably the most compelling topic ever. At least to me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sketching tugs at South St. Seaport

I've been trying out the video recording feature on Instagram to record some sketching. It doesnt always work out because you need to get it right all in basically one take, but I imagine it's super satisfying when you nail it.
Anyone recording any sort of sequential art on instagram? Give it a shot and send me a link!

 Starting out with everything you need and a nice location is the first step.

Some blue pencil action,

Drop a quick in a quick value with a watered down brush pen,

Ink it with a .5 Hightec,
Another value over the top letting that ink layer bleed.

Erase the blue pencil and lay in a background,

...a little white goauche and done!
10-15 minutes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kazuo Oga Exhibition Catalog

This guy. This is THE guy. I came to know him first from all the backgrounds from the Studio Ghibli films but after seeing this catalog from his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2007 (and touring Japan 2008-2010), it turns out he was also a background artist on countless OAV's from the 80s and early 90s. Demon City, Harmegedon, Dagger of Kamui to name just a few. Oh man, Demon City freaked me out back in 89. So fascinating to reminisce about how niche these videos were back then. Videos as in vcr tapes. Anyways, this catalog is pretty cool- to be honest besides the old 80s oav stuff,  and there's not a ton, I've already seen just about every background in this book from either the Studio Ghibli Art of Books, or the two volumes of Oga Kazuo Art Collection- but its nice to have everything all together in one rare exhibition catalog- plus Im just a huge fan of his so I had to pick it up. Ordered from Japan for a little over $100.00 I think.

A Ghibli Artisan - Kazuo Oga Exhibition - The One Who Painted Tototro's Forest
(Jiburi no Eshojunin Jiburi no Eshokunin - Oga Kazuo - Totoro no Moki o Kaita Hito)
TMW Publishing
268 Pages (SC)
ISBN-10: 4-88660-431-5
8.5 x 11.5 x .75

Friday, November 15, 2013

Magnetic Travel Games

About a year and a half ago I helped rebrand these Magnetic Travel Games for Barnes and Noble and I'm going to share some of the process.

Here is one of the games- there were four of them, Hangman, Chess, Checkers and oddly enough, Tic Tac Toe (which I recall was the best seller of the 4- which still comes to a shock to me).
As you can see just about anything I would do would be better than the existing art.

Since they're are of a set, the backgrounds would change but the foreground element would stay the same.

Planes Trains and Automobiles was WAY too busy, so I simplified down to just the car.

I also thought there was an opportunity to add another dimension to the game by giving the players an opportunity to mix and match attributes of the person they're hanging- there's plenty of room on the die to add character parts- this all turned a little tricky cause no one wants to hang a nice guy. Everyone hates zombies so I first considered making a couple different zombies you could hang instead of the stick figure of the original version of this game.

At this point the feedback I was getting was we needed more of a "travel character", the car wasnt character enough so I started generating a series of possible character designs to present to the client.

What says Magnetic Travel? A magnet? A globe?

Can we change the accessories to fit that character into each of the game types? 

Not a great response on the Magnet guy, so I came up with a few more..
... and picked the ones I liked and showed how they would translate across the different game types.

Not a great response on the kids, not saying travel enough apparently, so we settled on going back to 
the family car out on vacation.

Each of the Games needed its own unique font colors, so thats when I did a series of color combos for each game and font- here above are some of the options for the Hangman.
One thing that came up at this point was the needed to add a Chocking Hazard Warning label which is actually pretty specific in how big it needs to be and where its displayed. Pretty tricky trying to figure out which Government Department handles those regulations but figured it out and attempted to decipher the legal documents guidelines. Would of helped if I had a law degree but managed to decode what they needed to have. Like I said- it was very specific.
Ack! Totally messed up our composition adding that! Everything was fitting well until now. No biggeee though- we just did what we could to fit it in, besides with our manufacturing deadline quickly passing us there wasn't time to go back and get all new artwork approved.

Still hemming and hawing over who the characters we were going to hang were going to be. When my sister and I were kids we would draw a hangman game on paper and customize the characters- it was the best part of the game. These are a few of the characters -and also just making sure the parts would fit on the playing board. which was the inside of the game tin.

And heres the final Hangman art- the other 4 games, Chess, Checkers and Tic Tac Toe are all on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, $8.95 I think- so next time youre wandering the game isles at Barnes, take a gander. They came out looking pretty slick with the blister backing and fitted plastic blister- at some point I will update this image with an actual photograph of one of the games, but it looks almost exactly like this!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Art of the Croods

Art of the Croods! I don't think I saw the end but I thought this feature had a great art team. The character animation was super good- lots of action happening in the background away from the spotlight. The environments, which this book highlights quite well, had a great sense of scale, were all very pretty, lush and imaginative. This is definitely your standard "art of book", character designs (man, Carter Goodrich must have a character design credit for EVERY animated film in the last 10 years) and background paintings, with the weight leaning towards background art. Im a big layout fan so I really enjoyed this book.

The Art of The Croods
Noela Hueso
Titan Books (March 26, 2013)
176 Pages (HC)
11 x 10 x 1 inches
ISBN-10 1781164118

Well worth the $24 on amazon

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pirate and Princess prompt

todays concept challenge

Monday, October 14, 2013


Couple years ago now I made a bunch of assets for a digital Color-Forms (remember those?) project called StoryPlay for the Intel store- these are a couple of my favorite ones.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Art of Journey

Holy moly been forever. We moved- the lighting in my office is a bit dark and its been hard to get good shots easily with my phone- then I got a new phone this week and shoot- still hard to get shots!! Anyone have any tips?- even with a diffused bulb I catch the glare of the page and no way do I want to start scanning everything.
Anyways- "The Art of Journey" I kinda am calling this THE book of  2012. I love this character- all the versions that are shown in the book (theres alot) I like. and theres something so compelling about desert ruins and monuments lost to nature and time. Tons of great Level Design concept art in here which is something you dont see very often. A very nice making of a game book.
Cheers to Michael Nava and the That Game Company team. I believe this game won plenty of awards and its all well deserved.

The Art of Journey
Matthew Nava
Blue Canvas Inc (2012)
188 Pages HC
ISBN-10: 0985902213
12.5 x 9 x 1 inches

Theyre selling them for some insane prices on Amazon but you should be able to pick this up for under $60 US.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Maschinen Krieger Graphix Vol2

Well here is Vol 2 of the Maschinen Krieger Graphix series collecting articles and photographs from the Model Graphics magazine out of Japan between 2002 and 2005. If youve been to this blog before you know how much I gush about this guy so I wont bore you with the who and hows of Master Kow Yokoyama, but as far as this edition goes you have to be a real Ma.K. SF3D freak to pick this up. Most of the good stuff is found in Mashinen Krieger Vol2 Chronicle and Encyclopedia which is a much nicer book and presentation but theres some good stuff in here and I had to complete the set- but in all honesty the picture of those two kids in the bottom left hand side of my collection of images from the book cracks me up so much everytime I see it that I had, I just had to buy this. Lookit those guys- such great characters. Haha, Im still laughing....

Maschinen Krieger Graphix Vol 2 2002 - 2005
Hiroshi Yokoyama
Dai Nippon Kaiga (2011)

11.6 x 8.4 x .07 inches

Pretty pricey but I imagine youre gonna pay about $70 US for this volume

Monday, January 14, 2013


Anyone on Pinterest? Previously when I found something on the internet that I liked, a website or a bit of photo reference I would put it on my Tumblr, but it was impossible to organize and catalog those things, you just post them and there they are. So I started using Pinterest which is pretty cool, I can access it anywhere and you can organize everything into folders, with those images linking back to the source, all with one button on my tool bar. Its probably 3 or 4 clicks when its all said and done but its more convenient than anything else and its free. You can make private boards now which I guess was a problem for some people but ef it mine are public and you can look at all my reference all you want.
Check it out and let me know your Pinterest handle so I can reciprocate and check some of the cool stuff your finding out there on the internet.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Maschinen Krieger Graphix Vol 1 1999-2001

I reviewed Vol 3 of this series a little in the past so here is Vol 1. It collects editorials and articles found in Japans Model Graphix magazine from Feb 1999 - Dec 2001. Im a huge HUGE fan of master Kow's design and kit bashing, so of course this volume was a must have for me- but I would recommend Vol 3 found in one of my past reviews (link here) if you're just getting into his work or just want to buy ONE of these books. They're imports and probably about $80US, which can be considered rather pricey for a book. Dont get me wrong though- this is packed with photos of Kow, his studio, Ma.K. modeling how to's, and all the awesome photographs and dioramas you would come to expect from a Ma.K. book, along with quite a lot of editorial articles all in Japanese. Like I said, it's a must have for me and I'd hazard a guess if you're checking out my art blog, a must have for you too.
I think I bought mine through Hobby Link Japan but you can also find it on Amazon or even better prices can sometimes be found on Ebay.

Maschinen Krieger Graphix Vol 1 1999.2 - 2001.12
Hiroshi Yokoyama
Dai Nippon Kaiga (2011
253 pages (SC)
11.6 x 8.4 x .07 inches
ISBN-13 978-4499230476

Saturday, January 05, 2013


We were brainstorming some concepts a month or so ago and one night while using the salad spinner I sparked an idea of a spinning background viewer. The static character would be viewed through a prism onto a screen- you could select from 3 or more different backgrounds that the static character would move through by way of you pumping the salad spinner pump. You could get the background moving really fast, plus its fun just pumping those spinners as hard as you can anyways. I also thought you could put a transparent film with foreground elements; trees, telephone poles, etc and that layer would spin around infront of the static character creating a type of paralax effect. Neat idea, someday when I have a shop Ill build stuff like this... speaking of which- have you gone to the Miyazaki museum in Mitaka outside Tokyo? How were all those hand crank animation flippity machines downstairs?... and the ones with the strobes..? Ridiculously cool and satisfying to operate those things.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Alert: Century of the Child

This is the catalog for a the 2012 MOMA Show in NYC "Century of the Child", definitely my favorite show ever seen at the MOMA. The books consists of illustrations, photographs, video stills and nicely photographed pictures from a wonderfully curated collection of toys, children's furniture, children's books, animation, educational aids and playground equipment from the 20th century. The show was really great and in fact this book is equally great and a super informative documentation of the evolution of design for children. 

I grew up in a time when skate parks and what might of been described as dangerous playgrounds and toys were being torn down, recalled, and phased out due to a society with an astoundingly itchy finger for lawsuits. The photos and sense of nostalgia of those playgrounds and the raw creativity they generated makes me realize when and where the pinnacle "play" was at.
Here's a photo and description from the show that's a perfect example of the most amazing playground;

"The 'Model' (name of the playground which was installed in a Stockholm museum) was dense, chaotic, and exuberant. An extensive wooden structure- part jungle gym, part tree house, part construction scaffolding- provided various heights from which to jump into a pit full of foam blocks below. There were ramps and slides, rope swings, water chutes, tools and building materials and endless art supplies. Completely unfettered, the children played, built, and painted the walls in a chaotic tangle of raw energy, complete with loud speakers pumping music from turntables operated by the children themselves. Few adults dared to enter this creative anarchy...(1968)"
Now that is the description of the pinnacle of play, and something we will likely never see again. 
Besides pointing out that playgrounds were initially built to discourage children from playing in the burnt out military equipment and bomb craters of post war Europa- this book tracks an entire history of playthings, from early montessori educational aids, through legos, to the Pee Wee Herman show and into some of todays most advanced robotic toys- this book is nearly complete history of Toy design in the 20th century. An amazing collection of history and reference in here for anyone interested in toy design or design for children. Highly recommended!

Century of the Child; Growing by Design 1900-2000
Tanya Harrod, Medea Hoch, Juliet Kinchin
Museum of Modern Art (August 2012)
264pgs (HC)
ISBN-10 0870708260
12 x 9.8 x 1.1

Listing for about $40 bucks on Amazon !

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I had the opportunity to present a handful of Octonaut toy concepts- here are a couple that did not get accepted. This one started as an underwater bath toy but they changed it to a bubble toy and then it was passed up on during later meetings- and right into the circular file of my art blog

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spiral Ramp

Had a couple product sketches presented today, they were interested in a couple to move on ward with, but not interested in this one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


rough fresh branding

Coffee on the Brinkley's Bench

Getting chilly but still some warm sunny spots to drink my morning coffee at.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

24th and Madison

Its that time of year where you really appreciate the soft air and warm sun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Last Express on iOS

Amused to see that they ported The Last Express to iOS. This was my first fulltime paying job after art school and really some of the funnest days in my life. 2 shifts of 4-6 animators packed into a small room rotoscoping characters 5-7 days a week. I had the night shift (4pm-12am) and became good friends with Dreamworks Consumer Products Legend; Lawrence Hamashima. Im pretty sure we were using a mouse to clean and paint all the frames, which from the comfort of my Cintiq, I find hard to imagine doing. Jordan was already pretty famous from his original Prince of Persia and for the time the entire project was really innovative and smart- and felt sort of like a punk-rock-do-whatever-you-gotta-do-to-get-it-done little studio on the edge of Telegraph Hill in pre dot com San Francisco. Ahh man, best of times, best of times. By far my favorite character I was assigned to animate was Kahina, who was Kronos's female bodyguard. Check her out! So cool. I could go on and on about those days but perhaps thats better left for a different post.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Art of Mass Effect

Here's The Art of Mass Effect Book. Pretty good look at the development process of a large Sci-Fi franchise. Lots of environments, aliens, vehicles and weapons. A lot of familiar design cues for Mass Effect mass appeal. I like this book though and the art is all really good even if its exactly what youd expect. Theres a lot of the same drawings slightly altered but thats definitely part of the process of developing something of this scale. Ive posted a few of my favorite pictures from the book above... As you can see I particularly liked the white guns. Such a great color for a gun.
Worth it for 25 bucks on Amazon

The Art of the Mass Effect Universe
Casey Hudson
Derek Watts
Chris Helper
Dark Horse Books (February 21, 2012)
184 Pages (HC)
ISBN-10: 1595827684
9 x 12 x .90

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Home away from home @LaColombe

Thursday, October 04, 2012


You maybe shocked to hear that there's an entire industry of Christmas, while on this job I met people who work on Christmas all year round. Like full time, major trade shows around the world and everything. Here's one of the sketches from a project with the Christmas people. It's a good possibility that this ornament or one similar to it is on sale at Macy's this year.