Monday, August 7, 2017

My Storyboarding Process

Happy Monday folks!
I've been wrestling with story for awhile now and I thought I'd share what it's like for me these days. As you can see, my process is definitely fueled by steaming hot, delicious, hazelnut coffee.

"Story is painful as all get out. We have to put all of ourselves into it.... What are you willing to fight for? You better believe in what you're fighting for."  - Pete Sohn

Story is challenging, you guys, but you gotta keep those boxing gloves on! Check out my Patreon for more story sketches and art videos!
What's the story process like for you? 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

πŸ‘‘πŸThe Little Queen Bee's Patreon has officially launched TODAY!πŸπŸ‘‘

This 'production blog' has a series of TUTORIALS + WIP + insight into my short animated filmmaking process.  I'll be posting a ton of content this month, then easing into a steady workflow as I continue to create the film.
As Patrons of the short animated film, the Little Queen Bee, I'll be taking you along the journey while sharing every step of the filmmaking process- from pre-production like scripts, storyboards, characters and developing the look and feel to animation and sound design and post-production like film editing and festivals. Yes, I'm going to share the easy and fun parts alongside those lousy, bumpy parts from beginning to end.
GINORMOUS THANK YOU to everyone who've already joined me on this crazy animated adventure!  You all are the bees-knees! (ok, i’ll stop with the bee puns….Lol!) And I am ever so grateful for the support and can’t wait to share the filmmaking journey with you all! 

#littlequeenbee #drawingwhilecaffeinated #patreon #shortfilm #animation #honeybee #tutorial #arttips #howtodraw

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

Project Neverland: Origin of Fairies

I thought a gilded floating frame felt right for this piece, don't you?

Logo designed by Anika Orrock:

Thanks to Nicola Hwang for this snapshot from the show:

A few sketches are also available:

About the show:
"A follow-up to CSG’s popular “Curiouser and Curiouser” show, which I featured here for Print, “Neverland” presents bold new visions by forty professional artists working in film, animation, illustration, and comics. Each produced their own, unique takes on J.M. Barrie’s original 1911 novel, using a variety of styles, techniques, and media, including watercolor, sculpture, and digital painting. And the exhibit will be up until next Sunday, June 11th..."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

CTNX Recap (a little overdue)

Here’s my big breakdown looking back on CTNX 2016 and forward to 2017.

When considering whether or not to attend/exhibit at CTNX 2017, ask yourself what’s important to you to get out of the event?
Networking? Education? Portfolio feedback? Exhibiting? Fun stuffs? Exposure? Hanging out with all the amazing folks in the animation industry? Snagging some juicy-one-of-a-kind-art pieces? Demos?

What would make CTNX better?
Less emails, more organization.

If you are participating in CTNX at all, you know one thing...there are a bajillion emails (about 200 in 2016 alone.)

It would be great to have an exhibitor packet with all deadlines, exhibitor specific schedules, requirements  and any additional information such as table sizes, electricity availability, and basic event expectations.

Sleeping Arrangements:
The Marriott is by far the most convenient place to stay during CTNx. It’s also pretty expensive and books up super early. I’ve stayed in the Marriott, the Courtyard, AirBnB and on friend’s couches. AirBnb is always a gamble. This year we gambled and lost.
There’s a new CTN Facebook Group that helps connect participants looking for housing and opens up quite a few options.

The CTN Village aka the “Tentopolis”:
  • Honestly, I found the tent a positive change from previous year’s layouts. As both exhibitor & attendee I enjoyed the spacious aisles, the spacing between exhibitors, the ambient music and atmospheric lighting on the trees. It had electricity, A/C, carpeted flooring and was easily navigable. Best of all, it was PACKED with artists who brought out all the stops. And every single one of them (us?) was accessible to chat with and support their work.

  • Sunday’s rainstorm. Tentopolis sprung several leaks, dripping/pouring all over people, art, lights and frying electronics like the sound system (similar to the devastation of 2012’s New Talent Tent, just on a much BIGGER scale). CTN staff closed off the tent to attendees, shut off the interior lights and we waited impatiently in the darkness for a few hours until it was time to pack up. Many exhibitors just packed up early and left. Breaking down and running to the car would have been considered a water sport. It was so wet! The parking lot was riddled with puddled, thunder and pourin rain.  
  • Entrance/Exit availabilities: In a poor attempt to direct traffic, the CTN volunteers created a panicked traffic jam.
  • Air Conditioning, although A/C was preferable over passing out from the infamous 2015 heat exhaustion, it made me appreciate the one scarf I packed in my luggage. After awhile, it was a sore topic for most bemoaning the coldness.

  • Having spent most of my time at my table, I didn’t get a chance to attend many of these. With that said, I would warn that if you are attending these, looking for a magic formula to be the most amazing cartoonist/artist/animator/designer ever, you won’t find it. Instead you’ll find out that every pro says the same thing: Hard Work on your Craft, Perseverance, Networking & a tad bit of luck.
  • If you are a huge fan of animation and want some knowledge bombs then absolutely attend all the panels/screenings that spark your interest. Hearing about Floyd Norman’s life, or how Tonko House designed Moom, or listening to Eric Goldberg talk about the beauty of 2D animation is an amazing opportunity that you can only get at CTNx.
  • Advice for the youngsters attending these panels/Q&A’s: Unless it’s a recruiter, do not ask how do I get hired at [insert studio name here]? Ask specific questions that pertain to the person on stage. Talking to a story artist? Ask about camera angles, or their experience working with a certain director, when they are assigned a scene, how do they start? What’s their process?

  • Same thing applies here too. If you are looking for a magic formula from artists, you won’t find it. Will they have some good advice? Absolutely! Will you walk away even more inspired than when you arrived? Yes!
  • How could you not be inspired to test out pastels after watching Nic Gregory paint a beautiful LA sunset? Or get inspired to sculpt after listening to Aaron Blaise discuss sculpting while actually sculpting right in front of your face?! It’s things like this that make CTNX unique and worth every hard earned penny.

Selling & Exhibiting:
  • Don’t expect to pay for a trip to Hawaii on your CTNX earnings.
  • Quite frankly, if you broke even for your trip to LA, pat yourself on the back.
  • In my personal experience, art books, original sketches, or unique items like enamel pins are in demand. Sometimes, you get lucky if an angel wants an original art piece.
  • Sales are also heavily dependent on table placement. There are great spots, and there are lonely spots. It’s probably the same case for many conventions, not just CTNX.
  • Prices vary, and change every year. In special cases, CTN has been known to sponsor artists' trips and exhibit tables.
  • The exhibit hall itself is a great chance to snag some unique art pieces from your favorite artists and get some face time with those creators.

  • Hands down CTNX is the most amazing opportunity to meet animation folks from high school students to 50 year veterans.
  • From the elevators to the hotel diner to exhibit hall, you can bump into amazingly cool people and bond over a love of all things animation related.
  • Each year this is one of the best parts - seeing and catching up with my amazing old & new friends that come together once a year at CTNX.

  • CTN updated their websites and they look pretty nice. You can check it out here:
  • Raise the Bar is a great opportunity to make your portfolio the best it can be by a specific date. At the actual recruiting events, this is an opportunity to make connections, and get some portfolio feedback.
  • I’ve heard a lot of (and experienced some) good & bad things about the CTNX recruiting events.
  • In my personal experience, just you put your best self and some elbow grease into your portfolio, submit it to all possible options, and someone will notice.
  • If you go into each possible meeting knowing exactly what you want to get out of it, then hopefully each meeting will be a successful one.
  • If you’re good & lucky enough get a meeting, here’s a few tips:
    • Check in with the volunteers early in the day to confirm your meeting times/names (I've learned this the hard way & try not to panic when things get switched around because they will, and sometimes it's for the best...sometimes not.)
    • Research the studios beforehand to be informed when you walk in
    • it’s best to actively listen to feedback, and ask solid questions regarding their work and how to improve your work
    • bring something to write notes with (not your phone!)
    • Always leave a business card or resume so they can contact you in the future.

Expect to pay for parking, no matter how you are affiliated with the event. They do not give out special Exhibitor Load in/out Parking passes, so you could easily only spend 1hr unloading supplies be charged $10.00+.

If you have any additional questions, just keep in mind I'm not a CTN employee & don't really read blog comments.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Auntie Claus

Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to design for a feature film project by Athena Studios titled Auntie Clausbased off original story by Elise Primavera. Below is a selection of my work.

A very early idea I pitched about how mail gets to the North Pole and the styling of animals.

Mr. Pudding is the head elf at the North Pole and Auntie Claus's right hand. I had fun designing for his uptight, law enforcing hall monitor type character.

This character was the villain of the story, Ted.  
Don't be fooled by his jolly exterior, there's darkness just underneath the surface.

The Yule Lads are a ragtag group of Icelandic trolls who wreak havoc on the North Pole and help the main villain carrying out his schemes. They lie, cheat and steal and have a blast doing it.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Curiouser & Curiouser part 2: Queen of Hearts

My Queen of Hearts piece was a complicated one. I love this crazy, bossy, regal and quick tempered character from Alice in Wonderland.

When starting a character design, I first start with reference. You can check out all my reference for the whole show & my personal pieces on my pinterest board:

It's good to cast a wide net at first, then narrow it down. Here's a sample of my reference:
I like to find historical reference first, then branch out to art history, fashion designers, films, etc. It's important to branch out of just looking at animation & illustration and pull from solid reference & make it personal if you can. My Queen's expression is a spot on representation of a particular family member (who I won't name publicly) who's got this fierce look when something's out of sorts.

Once I have some reference I start sketching. And sketching. And sketching some more. Don't be precious, this is the step to go down all the rabbit holes and extract what makes you happy. Here's a small sample of my sketches. I always keep a sketchbook with me, but if I don't have it, I'll use whatever's available- post-its, napkins, Starbucks cups, toilet paper. haha


Once I found a design I liked, I did a final sketch on tracing paper and used it as my template.

Once I planned out the layers & colors, I began cutting, painting and gettin' messy.

 Here's a detail of the painted face. This is about the size of a quarter...maybe slightly bigger. I'm a mixed media artist, so I like to mash up watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil & ink.

After my paper layers are all painted, I paint the background of my box, let dry and start pouring resin as the first layer. This way my character will cast a shadow and feel more dimensional.

Can't forget to seal the painted papers pieces! The resin will drastically change the color of colored paper. Modpodge seems to work fine for me for now.

Keep layering paint, paper, and resin...

Then after weeks and weeks...the final result is a resin portrait of the Queen of Hearts.

(It looks so much better in person.)

I'm still experimenting with this medium, so sorry I didn't recommend any specific products or get too specific with my process. I've tested many, and found the longer drying resins seem to be the clearest. I've discovered that patience is the key word for this medium.

Thanks for stoppin' by!

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