Monday, December 19, 2011

Blendigo: Year In Pictures

I started 2011 fresh off the contrails of Retrovision's To Dance On Air and the motion of Dancetown. The themes of dance were and continue to be my artistic interest. Like life, not standing still.

I took a moment in the approach to 2012 to think about all the images that I created for the project scenes. I pondered the characters and presentation. A world created without the confines of reality, constantly reminding myself that these are pixels who look like people. A digital world of escape, A world that does not have to be as it is, but as I wish.

That's animation.

2011 saw new discoveries in digital painting. Fresh uses for creating art with text. A faster way to create 3D worlds. Also, my latest love, the traditional comic book look that I hope to present in the incoming year.

New challenges in my world of real and what seems unreal.

The story of Candle Dance became more in focus until it's become so clear it plays like a theater screen in my head. I hope to capture it to the smallest of details.

Discovering the difference between writer's block and writer's brakes. That is wanting to write about something, but not quite willing to and blaming it on lack of focus. Not planning on that route in 2012.

Mistakes. Yes.

Greater depth and determination. Yes!

The above images that I created span the year of 2010 and 2011. I wanted to include more, but I will have to present them in another format.
A special thanks to all of you who inspire me. I wish I could put into words what your support means to me. Thanks so much.

Here's to an exciting 2012!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Before taking a little time to enjoy the season, I created a format for pictures to what I call "ArtSwirld." I think it will make it a bit easier for me to present a montage for each story clip. It's not set in concrete. I'm bound to do something really different. Thinking "freestyle."

Holiday Sweets

Think of it like this, everything in front of you is speaking at the same time.

The holidays seem to give each of us a written excuse from focusing on the normal routine. It doesn't just calmly hand you the pass. It demands that you take it. Sure, you try to ignore the ringing in your ears. Forget it. It's a "Jingle Bells" moment. Imagine trying to have a serious conversation with "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" playing in the background. Best to choose another time.

So, that's ONE reason why I have my thoughts on "slow down," and one eye on new works to come.

Post holiday treats, I hope.

Enjoy the season. Looking forward to presenting new stories and animations soon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall Back In...

Artist's thoughts,

I hope you enjoy the picture that I wanted to share with you this week. I'm hoping to be able to fall back into a regular schedule of creating soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Candle Dance Video

Candle Dance....

The streetlights blinked on without having to compete with the stars of a clear night, as it had been quite rainy most of the day. But the usuals were not daunted by the downpours. One by one, or two by two they made their way into the Coney Island, claiming their seat. Creatures of habit. No one dared to venture to a different table or seat at the counter, even if the the creature who claimed the spot was absent.
   Feather, one of the new cooks was in a fist fight. But no one moved a brow as the helpless mound of dough took punch after punch.
   Clara, a constant, finally spoke up. "Feather, you mad at somebody? Geez."
   "He's training to be the next 'feather-weight' champ." That was Wilmer, jumping in from the corner table. It was like that with the Harley night crowd. Easy-going chats. Only winding-down conversations. It was as if everyone silently agreed that the night was too late to get all worked up over someone's words.
   They would save that for the morning coffee crowd that dragged in and burst out with the bright sun and a caffeine jolt.

   Jandalene got the ice cream parlour side whipped up. Another newbie. She and Feather became fast friends, but neither would admit that the opening for manager position had them in competition mode. Should have been obvious. For every praise that Feather received, Jandalene would give an attention getting throat-clearing, and, "Oh, think I'll check the inventory...again."
   Vinton, the owner, loved organization. After all, the restaurant was his 'child.' And, if the 'child' was not happy, the whole house heard about it.
   Feather had dreams of his own. Two of them sat as caged cubs in a situation they did not understand. It would be up to him to salvage any of their remaining hopes to be a family again.
   Jandalene came in like Feather. A little by chance. A lot by circumstance. She appreciated Vinton's approachable managerial style, still she kept the novel of her life inside. Her blank stare didn't always mean a blank page.
   At The Pound Dog, across the street, Minerva stands eyes focused on Harley's through the thick glass door. She turned the open-closed sign. Her daughter put away the last of the dishes, sighed, and was glad the day was done.
   Minerva just stood there....
By B.Arnold

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

SOS For A Friend

Artist's Thoughts,
I was going through the afternoon headlines on a newswire moment ago and found a moving and very serious story on a tech entrepreneur. His name is Amit Gupta and he has recently been diganosed with acute leukemia. His need for a bone marrow transplant match is urgent! Amit is South Asian. There is a Twitter hashtag:ISwabbedForAmit.

I read that the New York tech community is hosting an event on Friday for an opportunity to donate. Amit's story is on If you can, please get the message out to help Amit. Thank you so much.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting It Write

Artist's Thoughts,
I keep a journal that I also sketch in. Although, there are times when I may not completely work out what I intend to say, sort of just go with the flow, I guess. For me, that's the 'highwire' style of writing.

I was thinking about the etiquette of mentioning names of authors, artists, ect. I got on this subject because, there I was at the library reading this wonderful article in a writer's magazine and failed to note the writer's name. I will find out, of course and give the proper notation. The writing has left such an impression on me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Candle Dance Scene

Artist's Thoughts,
This is a scene from the upcoming animated film clip of "Candle Dance." I am volleying between multiple projects to catch up on so much time away.

As I have been letting the visual side lead the way, it's kind of let me short of words. Among other things. I did however manage to sketch some thoughts in my journal to get back into the writing side that I enjoy so much. While at the library, I read an article in a writer's magazine. It was a very inspiring story about a writer who wrote about getting back into writing after experiencing grief.

Staying in the vibe. Until next time....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dancetown Pict

In this scene the animated character, Parker V. from Hero City Beat and Peppermint Village appears in the continuation of Dancetown. Also in this still are two mechanical beings from the story.

Artist's Thoughts,
Every story begans with a searching of the heart. What to say? How to say it? My approach to this continuation of Dancetown started with a series of visuals that soon helped to pin down the meaning. I had the premise for a long time, but was not sure as to how it would work. Once I established the tone, which is energetic, lots of movement, dancing, but also with the storyline of an artist being true to their call, more scenes continued to unfold.

The keyword here is "unfold."

I like to select different characters to play the lead roles. There are many unusual characters in Dancetown. "Parker V." the lead in the picture above, is one of my favorites.

It's good to dance. Gotta stay in motion.

Looking forward to sharing more with you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vibe Alive

Artist's Thoughts,
I just dropped in to say it's good to be back in the animating mode. I'm currently creating some new scenes to Dancetown and will also be presenting some clips from Candle Dance.

Keeping the vibe alive!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Landing

Artist's Thoughts,
Greetings everyone. Now that sounds like a salutation from another world. And, so I am. Because keeping up with you is very important to me, I wanted to share a few new developments with you....

First of all, the vision is alive and well, despite some foggy moments. In my new location, for the moment, I have to rebuild, or better stated, upgrade the things that have seen their day. It is a challenge, but I am enthusiastic about all the possibilities. The wrestling match I had with myself over the summer is over. I told myself to sit down and let me write the stories I really feel in my heart. I call them stories I've been too afraid tell. Okay. I'll have to leave it at that. For the moment. Some have more of a graphic novel look. I see an "art mash"

Most everyone I know loves, or likes there hometown. There may be a few exceptions. I keep mine in my heart and will not forget it. There is something that I noticed about being in a new place. The sky is always the same. Although, the landscape is unfamiliar, when I look up, I feel connected to where I am and where I've been. Then, the people seem like where you're from in a positive way. Allow me to get  'corny' and say, though it's true, a smile is universal.

I'll keep you posted on this wild new journey. You are my inspiration.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thank You

Artist's Thoughts,
I spent some my Saturday catching up on some of my favorite music artists. It was nice to get updated on some of their goings on. I was even surprised to see new life on a long-time-quiet page of a friend. I would like to mention names, perhaps in the future when I learn the proper etiquette.

Anyway, I would like to say "J.. You're not alone. Perhaps, you 'feel' alone. As long as there are people around you who love you, you're found."

I'm giving out my own medicine.

While reading my friend's blog, I figured out what has been troubling me for the past few months. This 'problem' greatly affected my work, but not in a great way. I'll tell you. At some point, I was trying so hard to be professional, I got a board room chill. That professional distance that rarely works for artists. Why? Because art is emotional.

This is great news for me,. It means I can go back to being myself. That means not perfect. But having fun anyway.

Thank you, all of you, for believing in me. I'm looking forward to what we can accomplish together.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In Motion

Artist's Thoughts,
I realize, there has been some lag time between my posts. It's "in motion" time. So, in this process of moving around, I apologize for the delays. I created this picture to share with you. I've been spending time pondering color themes which I really enjoy. The more detailed a piece becomes the more time it takes to complete. I hope to be back on my regular schedule of jumping in at various times.

After every valley, there's a new view of the landscape. At times, when there was no momentum, I had to think about what moves the vision forward. It's good to stay in motion. Thanks for keeping me going.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Time Like Fireflies

Artist's Thoughts,
I have a thing for scenes that have a lot of atmospherics, like how there's a shine after a rainstorm. I created this picture and wanted to share it with you. It's called "Fireflies."

I also forgot to give the title of the book I mentioned that I was reading in my previous blog. The book is called Drawing For Older Children And Teens "A Creative Method For Adult Beginners, Too," by Mona Brookes. I'm not sure if the book is still in print, but I absolutely love it. It's a great refresher for those who may already know how to draw, too.

Thanks for letting me cry in my soup every now and then.

Sometimes the human side just takes over. That's a good thing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Candle Dance Picts

Artist's Thoughts,
Some artists like to create in a linear style, that is, beginning, middle and end. I've discovered that I prefer to create in a non-linear mode. The reason for this is, I tend to see different parts visually, at different times. I'm quite excited about this new approach to design.

These are some clips from "Candle Dance."

I look forward to sharing more scenes with you, hopefully soon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Repeat: I Repeat

Writer's Thougths,
Yes, I did notice that I occasionally may repeat something I've written before. When I do that it's called 'searching for something to say.' This simply means, if there's been a lag between posts and I want to drop in and say something, but OMG, it's not significant, it's just saying "hi."

Wait a minute. I wrote about this before....New thought.

I've been pondering my story Candle Dance. Okay, it takes place in a Coney Island. Then, I thought what about a fruit stand? But that didn't seem to fit. How many animated  films are there where food is a major part of the scenery? I can think of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Ratatouille...
Yes, fruit and vegetables are really good. Really.

I think about things like this when creating scenery. It's a decision of realism or idealism. The world as we see it, or the world as we dream it. I think it was Anton Chekov, who said something to this effect. In all fairness, I don't want to give any carrots a bad rap.

I will however, in the design process of this story, tone down what might be considered too high calorie. The only problem is I may not be sure of the caloric content of every image...:)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brand New Day

Artist's Thoughts,
I got back into animating a short while ago. Not a long animation, only time consuming. One day it took roughly two hours to complete 2 seconds of animation. Like I've said before, it's a labor of love.

Over the past few months the lessons seemed to come in downpours. You know when you have too much on your plate when you feel some enthusiasm going out. Well, I'm happy to be back on course. My original plan was to create short short films, or pixeltunes. I have longer stories in mind and it's okay, but this may not be the time, as far as trying to animate them. Sometimes it's a clash between vision and resources. Sometimes it's constantly revising until it's just right.

Another reason for staying with the original plan, has to do with the whole point of maintaining a blog. I mean, I could wait until a project is totally finished which could take several months. Or, keep things in a format to stay in contact on a regular basis.

My last blog was about keeping things simple. Going without a set menu, for the summer, gives more freedom to explore ideas, and keep the fun revived.

I can't go without mentioning the you factor. You keep me inspired to press on.

It's a brand new day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dancetown Revisted

Artist's Thoughts,
I was having some fun with some new backgrounds and characters one day. There is an art to creating characters beyond human figures, which is something I've never done before. I started with the simple 'primitives' as they are called. Theses are squares, circles, triangles. It was fun, but not really my realm. So, it's back to earth...

Animating music is something I enjoy the most, whether it's a piano melody I've composed, or fast-driving loops. I love it. Especially, at this time. Every artist has their moments. I think what we try to do is continue around events happening in our lives.

I'm really into 'calming' colors. Classic. Warm. Warm colors in the hot summer? The menu will continue to revolve and evolve. Welcome to process...

I learn new things every day. That keeps things exciting. Animating is always new because every scene is something that has not been animated before.

Until next time. Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Dancetown Video

Artist's Thoughts,
Along with the new Artiscape Journey video, I also posted a new piece to Dancetown Arcade. Please check it out.

Artiscape Pixeltune

This is a simple pixeltune created in what I call 'moving art' because of it's painterly effect. In animation the style is called anime. What I love about anime is the ability to use traditional art methods, such as, shading, tone, blending colors.

The story is the common metaphor of life. Riding the waves. The ups and the downs. Moving forward. The idea came to me on a day that I needed to slow down, reflect, and regroup. I composed the music for this piece during a time that I was very much into the film music scene. A scene I still love today.

I hope you enjoy this pixeltune.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Video Coming

Artist's Thoughts,
I did plan to post a video today, but most of my time was on the design side. However, I will have a video ready  for you soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Entertaining Friends

Artist's Thoughts,
"Entertaining Friends." I've been thinking about this focusing line quite a bit lately. It's the most important thing for me to remember. It's what drives me.

I really enjoy watching cooking shows. Even though, it may not be about a meal I'm preparing that evening, it's the fact that cooking is an art. I love the arts. One of the things that I find fascinating is the chefs are "all into" what they're doing. I enjoy how they explain their process in such an entertaining way.

Art includes the presentation, in this case culinary arts. Yes, the taste, but it's television, so the visual is very important. I'm not an expert on the methods, just speaking in terms of creativity.

How does it inspire my work? I desire to present the best art that I possibly can. And, as long as I keep the focus ENTERTAINING FRIENDS, it's such a joy. I'm trying to be more aware of negative thinking. Every artist struggles with it from time to time. What is my positive reinforcement? You.

This is a heart-on-sleeve moment...

It is important for me to let you know that you matter. As I stated before, I will say this many times, what is this without you?  Thank you friends.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Simple Greeting

Artist's Thoughts,
  For the next few weeks I will be devoting more time to writing. I will be thinking about you, of course. I appreciate your support.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Candle Dance Picts

Artist's Thoughts,
You may or may not remember the story I introduced to you a while back called "Candle Dance." It's one of my favorite stories. As the process sometimes goes, rewrite, rewrite. What I also decided to do was recreate more scenes in 3D. Here's a few picts.

Composing the music for this story is really challenging. It's a mix of modern and classic styles. At first, I felt out of sync working on multiple pixeltunes, but I'm starting to get into a creative zone. This method works for me. Process can sometimes appear random, but at some comes together. I'll share more of the story as it reaches it's finish.

Ten Favorite Animated Films

Artist's Thoughts,

I am really excited about, and looking forward to seeing the new animated films showing this summer. I thought about some of my favorites. Here's my top ten at this time.

1. Polar Express
2. Toy Story (All 3)
3. 101 Dalmations
4. The Incredibles
5. The Prince Of Egypt
6. Spy Kids (R.R. Rocks!)
7. Finding Nemo
8. Ratatouille (Spelled right?)
9. Cars (Previews of the sequel looks great)
10. Alice In Wonderland

I know I could add to this list tons of awesome animated films. But for the sake of time, I'll stop at ten. Kudos to my fellow animators!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Music Side

Artist's Thoughts,
My approach to music is to start with a rhythm track, which helps to keep the beat, of course. From there, I either work out the chord progression, or a bass line. Adding feeling to a song comes when I imagine who or what I am singing, or composing about.

I enjoy writing out the notes to each instrument's part.

There are a lot of stereotypes of artists. However, I can say that many creative people that I have met tend to be on the quiet side. I think this has to do with the process of creating. Some say, we are 'deep thinkers.' Imagine seeing a pearl on the bottom of the ocean and diving in to get it.

That's us when we get an idea. I believe the term is "in the zone."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Character Shuffle: Czardas

Artist's Thoughts,
I have created a number of characters. In this imaginary world it's quite easy to take characters from one story and blend them into a new one. I call it "the character shuffle."

With the video I posted last week, there's already 'talk' of a character shuffle. My crash-landing character from the video, most likely, will be replaced by another that I feel is more suited for the role. How do I know their roles? Animated character chemistry? Okay. Let's go with that. The character being replaced will happily return to the revised "The Heart Of Czardas."

"The Heart Of Czardas" has revamped cinematic visuals, additional characters, and more action. I've given extra attention to the overall look and feel of Czardas. I'm also taking a closer artistic look at the other animated stories. In this story, Czardas is the name of a city.

A few thoughts on the video I posted last week. I had the most difficult time coming up with a title for this story. Is it paradise or paradox? The town the character lands in is a mixture of both.

In film, we look for the most interesting way to open a story. It's amazing all the things that can come to mind. Night. A diner. Will she binge on pancakes?

I'm giving more thought to titles, names, and scenes. I know there are some writer/artists who prefer an emotionally distant approach to their work. Although, some things do happen without an awareness, I aim to write from the heart.

Hope to share some clips from Czardas with you. Thanks for hanging out with me today.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Animated Video: "The Crash To Paradise"

Writer's Thoughts,
Here's an intro to my pixeltune called "The Crash To Paradise." I Hope you enjoy it. I will show more clips along the way and also share a few samples of my new instrumental song compositions. I'm really into this story. It has a lot of classic-style scenes and settings that I enjoy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Photo Oops?

Writer's Thoughts,
I saw it and I had to laugh...It was a Friday project that went into Saturday. Saturday is one of those days when you may rush a project to get to what the day is most known for, relaxing. I was building my animated downtown piece by piece. Sign by sign. Car by car.

When I finished, my tired eyes saw nothing amiss. Actually, it was probably a snack attack, that sugar-rush that rushed me to end my session. Come Monday, I took a look at the photo of my downtown scene and to my amazement there was a streetlight or pole in the middle of the car hood. They were the same texture and color which added to the difficulty in perception.

Someone had to take the blame....Whoever was driving that animated car should have been more cautious.

Everything is okay. I'm learning to go a little easier on myself...I wasn't the driver. Or, was I? Besides that, from time to time, I get that "I'm human" reminder. It's a good check. Although, not always easy.

In the downtown scene of my previous post there are some puns in the theater signage. You know the saying is "All's well that ends?"...Well, anyway, this is no ordinary city and funny things do happen. When it comes to names, they're either on my heart or in my head, subconscious, random.

 I have corrected the car-streetlight in the picture below. The scene on the left is also part of the story and in the video I will be showing. I have a few titles for the 'downtown' story. Still deciding....

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Writer's Thoughts,
First off, I mentioned in my last blog a word that I got stuck on for a project title. That word was "neon." I have a story that is in a Times Square-like setting. Currently titled "Team Neon." At times, we may use a temporary title for a story.

 This story has a downtown vibe...If you live in the country, taking a trip downtown can be a major adventure. Such was the case, back in the day. I wrote before that I have a fascination with some very stylish metros. What's my attraction? You guessed it: The designs, colors, movement and energy.

This story will be on the DVD project, which is going really well. Once again, it's a fictional city. I love creating animated scenes. Building this city has sparked my interest in the origins of a lot of things we take for granted, or have just become immune to because they are such a part of our everyday lives. Okay, who came up with the parking meter?

Here's a scene of my animated city.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Upcoming Projects

Writer's Thoughts,
I have been working on a few projects this week. I will present a video montage of them coming up soon. Of the many new stories, there is one that I've been struggling to title. The problem is, I've gotten stuck on a word that I feel should be in the title. So, I spun it a thousand ways, it seems, still without a decision. That project may need to cook a little longer.

Speaking of cooking, or something along the lines of food...Have you noticed that some restaurants have seasonal menus? Taking a hint from them, with the number of projects that I have, I will present my new stories over time. Meanwhile, I look forward to presenting my video montage.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Animations...

Writer's Thoughts,
First of all, I would like to say, "Happy Cinco De Mayo!..." I have been hard at work all week with new designs and animations. When I converted my blog last October to being more animation and music focused, I learned a lot along the way. Let's just say, I felt a few hard lessons. But that's journey, isn't it?

I am very excited, despite the longest, most rainy April, I can remember. I kid you not, I barely remember a sunny day. I think, it affected me, in some ways. Sunlight and art. They go good together.

Here's some things I'm pondering...
Naming characters...So far, my approach has been really random in naming. Art, being non-verbal, makes it a bit more challenging. But I think, if I give it more thought, I can match the names with more meaning. Does it matter? I think so, because memorable names really stick with you. I like the names of most of the characters I've created. However, with a few, maybe going alphabet soup style is not the best way.

Character Fashions...Yes, you see lots of black. Here's why. Depending on how complex the background is, results in my choosing a color that makes my character stand out. A simplistic approach. Now that I'm going with color schemes, this will help me to keep my animated character from getting lost. Also, it's cool for secret agent types. RetroVision being retro, only tinted, made contrasts necessary.

Artists...This is an odd pondering, huh? Actually, I'm re-reading some of my favorite books by Betty Edwards. A wonderful writer who gives a clearer insight on the artistic thought process. Why would this matter to me as artist? Well, her writings remind me that.. I'm not crazy after all.

Math and Science...Math and Science are artists friends. The artist envisions the bridge and Math and Science build it. One is not more important than another...This came up as I was reading more about artists. Sounds strange.

I'm still in the design mode, creating new graphics, and composing new songs. I will write more about the new animations soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

RetroVision Refresher Montage

Writer's Thoughts,
I was thinking for anyone who may not be familiar with RetroVision "To Dance On Air," here's a little montage...In this story one of the main characters, Emily Monroe, dreams of becoming a dancer. The other main character Roy S. Vera dreams of becoming a pilot.

In the current part of the story, Emily gets the part from a dancer that had to leave the show, but is struggling to get the routine. Meanwhile, Roy is ready to take his first flying lesson.

Here's a pictorial montage...Roy pondering his decision. Emily taking on the dance routine. New friends at the Cafe Jazz Theater and the dream voyage.
New video from "To Dance On Air" coming soon.

"To Dance On Air": Meet Roy

It was the stories of aviation heroes past that filled his dreams. That historic transatlantic flight of Charles Lindberg was etched on the monochrome screen of his mind.

Roy stood outside the fruit and vegetable market that his grandfather passed down to his father. Now, Roy was next in line to take over.
"That's my father's fruit basket." He said to his mother. "I'm going to fly."
He begged her not to tell. He would tell his father when the time was right. Roy let many 'time-was-right' moments pass.

How could he tell his father after that long, tender speech of how his grandfather built the business? His father's muscles flexing, eyes tearing. Such moments were rare. Roy knew this was something that ran deep. His decision would change the course of the river.

To fill his dreams, or, try to fill his father's shoes?

Just getting his father to let him work part-time at the air delivery port was hard enough. It happened one day, Mr. Crenshaw asked Roy to pick up some coffee from the Cafe Jazz. As Roy entered the cafe, he could hear the sound of music coming from the stage. He watched three figures dancing in sync. Well, almost. Two of the dancers were obvious professionals. The other appeared to struggle to stay in step. Who was she? He wondered, almost forgetting why he came. He lingered awhile. She continued to miss cues. He stood there, silently hoping for her to get the steps.

On the way back to the air delivery port, Roy continued to ponder the odd figure on the stage. The scene played over and over in his mind. A thought came to him. "She has the courage to prance around on stage like that. Surely, I can get the courage to tell my father...I'm going to fly." He would have to return to the cafe to cheer her on and say, "Thank you."

Blog Redesign

Writer's Thoughts,
As part of the spring thing, I've been designing some new graphics for my blog. It started out quite simple, just redoing the top mast, or header. I landed somewhere between fun and sophisticated. These two words are usually mutually exclusive.  I mean, have you ever tried to have fun in a sophisticated way? Shout, quietly?  Make a mad dash, with style? Kinda tough. With my method of redesigning, one turn led to another. Out of the eight or so new headers, I have in mind...another. One idea was a ship for friends. A friend-ship. Get  it?

You'll be happy to know, progress is being made...I have new RetroVision "To Dance On Air" animated stills coming up.

I also wanted to show a scene from Czardas that I did not include in the previous video. If you saw the video, you may recall the trio of strange aircraft flying above the city. It was the aircraft that caused the character to fall off her flying board. When showing clips of a story, deciding which parts to edit in or out can make a huge difference in understanding the scene.

I'll get back to the projects, and get back with you all shortly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Better Photo

Writer's Thoughts,
Here's a clearer photo from "To Dance On Air." I will be posting more photos this week. Also, a new video will be coming up later.

This photo is titled "Emily Takes A Step." It's a scene of her first dance rehearsal. As I share more photos, I will write more about the upcoming scenes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Things For Spring

Writer's Thoughts,
Every season brings it's own particular list of things to do, it seems. The trademark of the start of the spring season is that wonderful time known as "spring cleaning." Well, maybe "wonderful" is a bit over the top.

This spring, my focus will be on animated music videos in a storytelling format. This will free me to concentrate more on the writing phase of the projects that I have started. Such as, "Candle Dance," among others. These are longer, more involved animated stories that are beyond my range to complete myself. If only I could be "Limitless!" Of course, my biggest love is creating pixeltunes.

I took another look at the "Herocity Beat" project and it's possible that I may take it the route of "To Dance On Air." Meaning, the characters may be in color. It's about striking a balance between the characters and their backgrounds. For example, in "To Dance On Air" I use more blue. The reason is, so the figures stand out. Looking forward to sharing more of these stories with you.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, April 8, 2011

RetroVision "Herocity Beat" Video

Writer's Thoughts,
This is the video from the RetroVision series "Herocity Beat." When I created the first version, I noticed that the tones that should have been more gray, were actually more green. So, I added a bit of tint to correct that problem.

"Herocity Beat" is somewhat different from "To Dance On Air." Style-wise, the look is more of a traditional 'cartoon' format. But I like mixing up the collection. The adjustment in the work process is like riding a motorcycle a mile, then, hopping on a bicycle, and back and forth. From monochromatic to full on color. Challenging and different, to say the least.

If you are familiar with Pop Art, it's a style that is known for it's use of graffiti. At times, I flow in a Pop Art vibe.

Here goes....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Going With The Heart

Writer's Thoughts,
I absolutely love all styles of music. From R&B, Country, Rock, Jazz, and everything in between. Lately, I've been in a musical mode.  Okay. I'm always in a musical mode. Telling a story musically, to be more exact. I've also been 'jammin'' to some George Gershwin. Just like that, this week, I heard "An American In Paris" in my head.

After a long conversation with a trusted friend, the end affect was, "Go with your heart." I love so many different arts. Blendigo. It's hard for me to box myself in with a narrowly defined style or approach. In other words, artistically, story-wise, I can be all over the map. One day, images of running through a field of flowers. The next? Images of running through a maze of metal. See what I mean? I guess, that's mixing it up a little.

The 'coach voice' says, "Focus." The 'teacher voice' says, "Visualize." So, between the teacher and the coach, I'm focusing on what to visualize. So glad love is in the mix. It's not a matter of confusion. It's a matter of menu. You know, standing in line, looking up at all the flavors. Despite my method, the puzzle is showing a recognizable direction. Complete picture...coming soon.

I have been working on my RetroVison series of stories, and I'm very excited about the progress. The image I created above is from a story that chronicles the fictional lives of a group of musicians who decided to help save their city. I created this piece in more of a cartoon style. It's meant to be entertaining with a retro vibe. These guys can dance! You can check out the video I uploaded earlier this week....

Thank you for hanging out with me today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Animated Still From "Czardas"

Writer's Thoughts,
I wanted to share this animated still from "The Heart Of Czardas" with you. This is my action-adventure story. This story has been "rolling around in my head" for quite some time. It went through some rewriting. I've finally captured a good amount of imagery during the drawing board process. I really enjoy graphic novels and "Czardas" has that look and feel.

'Image-catching,' as I call it, is the reason why I work on multiple music and animation projects. There are days when the imagery for one project is flowing like a river. I like to go with the flow because it means my heart will be there and ideas don't have to be 'forced.' That's an artist's sweet spot. Key phrase: In the zone.

I've also noticed, I have more of a leaning toward projects that have some sort of color scheme. Perhaps, because color sets the mood and tone of many visual stories. I think of many movies that have such a wonderful thematic color.

You might notice the same character from "Island." Actually, "Island" serves as a back-story to "Czardas."

I hope you like the animated still I wanted to share with you.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Video Posting Soon

Writer's Thoughts,
I spent most of the week working on the "Island" animated video. The animation turned out to be a bit more involved than originally planned. The animation is what I call Pop Art in motion, as it has many visual references to popular culture, and yet each visual is part of the overall story. I will be posting the animation shortly. Meanwhile, here's a still from the project.

In this scene, my character has to chase down her cat who often sneaks out when she opens the door.

Video posting soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Built A House...Almost

Writer's Thoughts,
I started out the week with several things on my list. I got to most of them. Today was out of the ordinary, as my thoughts were on a major happening.

 Here's the "how it's made" that I wanted to share with you. It's a house I built in 3D. I must say, after I finished this project for an upcoming animation, I had a much deeper respect for architects and those who build. Not that I ever thought less of the professions. My new level of wonder of their work went...through the roof.

Each of the elements in this very realistic looking house started from basic shapes. That is squares and triangles. The most difficult part was getting the correct scale. I had a lot of 'do overs.' I began from the 'ground' up. The house is actually hollow on the inside, like a doll house. I was able to place lights inside which created a nice glow, adding to the realism.

On the other projects, the music video montage I will show next week, and the work on the island story is going very well. I am looking forward to sharing it with you. As I was working today, I had to laugh at myself because the story projects I'm working on are so different from each other. But that's how I roll.  I call it "image catching." When an artist envisions something, we try to capture it before it gets away. Ideas can be like butterflies, if you don't go after them now, look how fast they disappear.

I hope you enjoy this little look at "how it's made."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Animated Still From "Island"

Writer's Thoughts,
I wanted to share a new animated still from "The Island On Ocean Ave." The animated short is going very well and I look forward to sharing it with you soon.

In the scenes above my character has just started the first semester of college and is facing all the challenges of being far away from home. Suddenly she feels lost on an island that is quickly turning into a jungle. Will she find paradise and get un-stranded?

Stay tuned....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank You!

Writer's Thoughts,
I wanted to start off the new week with a "Thank you" to all of you who follow my blog and my work. It's hard for me to put into words my gratitude. I know, I've said this before, but it bears repeating many times more. "Thank you." I feel inspired to press on.

Coming up this week, I have a montage of some new music videos. Also, the current island story is still in the works. I also have some "how it was made" stills to share with you. I wear many hats, not because I'm an egomaniac, but because sometimes you have to just jump in until other pieces come. More on that later.

I hope you enjoy this animated still I created to share with you. Doesn't this picture give sort of an "urban island feel?" That's how my character feels. Stranded. Her car has died and she's new in town. This story is a one-clip animation. I have a fascination with rain, so you will see it in my stories from time to time. It's not a morbid fascination. I'm not into downpours, or violent storms. I think it's the reflections on the surface that I like so much, because they remind me of impressionist paintings.

Thanks again!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There Will Be Food...

Writer's Thoughts,
 As you can see, I use a lot of graphics in my work. In this short animated film project "The Island On Ocean Ave," I just wanted to let you know...there will be food. Since this clip takes place in very social environments, around people...there will be food. It would be very strange for there not to be. Right?

When I designed some of the scenes, I had to create signs, ads, and commercials with food themes. At the time that I'm creating all this imagery, I'm also reading about Pop Art. Ironic, for sure. I'm familiar with the mode of Pop Art, but as one who doesn't cleave to definitions, artistically speaking, I never realized how much I love the style. Described as a mode of art that derives its influence from mass media, comics, movies, etc. My interests.

Andy Warhol, of course, is the first name that comes to mind when Pop Art is mentioned.  However, it is not uncommon for artists to have 'overlapping' styles. Because even the avant-garde moment that came before, affected Pop Art. So, you can see how styles past influence styles present.

I had to think in terms of colors that 'speak' food. In this scene of the smoothie shop "Smooth E's," I feel these colors convey strawberry, orange, banana, and cherry. Because they are the colors of strawberry, orange, banana and cherry...Actually, creating the 'ad' was most of the challenge and the layout of the shop.

Art is creating something out of nothing. There are times when a blank page can be so intimidating. One scene can have a myriad of tiny things that need to be created. Which is why three minutes of animated footage could have taken forty hours to create. Sometimes longer. (Depending on the number of people in the process).

I love to read and rediscover things I thought I knew. Rediscovering the nuances of Pop Art, and other expressions makes me feel like a kid in a candy store...I mean, a kid in a carrot store...Like I said, there will be food.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Kudos And Congrats!

Writer's Thoughts,
 I would like to give a kudos and congratulations to the creators and animators of the Disney animation "Toy Story 3" for their Oscar win. As one who loves animation, it's always a joyful moment when those in the field receive such a high honor. The work on the film was nothing short of amazing! I also would like to recognize the other nominees. Dreamworks, "How To Train Your Dragon," and another creative film "The Illusionist." There are so many great animators out there that I admire.  I'm also excited about some new animated films coming out soon that I can't wait to see. Thanks for inspiring me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Characters: Meet Emily Monroe

She appears quiet and somewhat sullen, but deep inside Emily Monroe burns a passion for her dream as vibrant as her flaming red hair. Her life, curiously juxtaposed between her unreal reality and everything she desires.

A landing forced by unusual circumstances, Emily finds herself grounded in the most unlikely place for a would-be dancer-a stuffy office that has given her a terrible cough. But she is determined not to be out-tapped by the finger pounding typewriters and there brain numbing rhythms.

Strangely, a glance outside her office window reveals a giant billboard of her secret heart-throb, Ace Rogers. The host of "Dance Your Own Dance." The distance of the billboard, somewhat poetic, for sure. She can almost see the sparkle in his eyes...

The story is set in the city I always love. New York City. The word is "street car" rather than trolley.  I got it, now. Thanks.

You could say that Emily, a name that stuck with me like glue for her, is the classic archetypal daydreamer. The hopeless romantic. The determined performer. I can relate to her on many of these fronts. Of course, as the writer, I know her motivations. She is the embodiment of the emotional experience of many artists. Intense. Quirky. Dare I say, temperamental? But please, not 'flighty.'

Animating Emily is a study in emoting. The look in her eyes. The challenge of animating her expressions to convey what she's thinking, feeling. Also, I enjoy animating characters that are not a "mini-me." Emily's dilemma is "Is there ever a good time to chase a dream?" She must deal with fears on many sides. But are dreams pursued out of convenience? Rarely. Perhaps, mostly out of necessity. Like Emily, I've learned, the fish-out-of-water experience makes a dream...oxygen.

Meet more of the characters along the way....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life Animated

Writer's Thoughts,
I took some time off today to regroup my thoughts. I usually do this after projects that have required a lot of energy. A little heads up. I do keep the projects in rotation. This actually helps me to gain focus on the projects that I'm not focused on, at the time. I know, it sounds strange. What's on the menu? "Life Animated." The first from this work is "My Island Story," which I will present in a couple of weeks. I must make a retraction. Reality can be 'fun' to animate. Because in essence, every story real or imagined starts with a vision.

Some stories require a lot of imagery, and it doesn't always depend on whether it's long or short.

Please enjoy this animated still from "My Island Story." And oh, if you do, and need to ease your conscience,...You might want to pile on the veggies.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Writer's Thoughts,
I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day, and to express my appreciation for all of you. Your support means so much and has not gone unnoticed. When I say, "You Spin This Swirl," I really mean that. Hey! It's Valentine's, so I can be 'extra mushy.' Group hug!

I hope everyone enjoyed the sneek peeks into "To Dance On Air." What happens next? One of the lead characters, Emily Monroe, does get into the big show, but is it ever that easy? The beauty of animation is being able to be as wildly imaginative as one desires. The story is a mash of fantasy and 'history.' It's my 'fantistory.' Reality?...Well, that's not too fun for me to animate.

Coming up soon will be Life Animated, which is a series of animated works that are not part of a larger project. Spring is around the corner, and I look forward to sharing with you some of the directions and developments. Once again, have an awesome Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

"To Dance On Air" Scene Two

Writer's Thoughts
I am pleased to introduce the next scene of the RetroVision story "To Dance On Air." This scene picks up the story from the first video as the main characters begin to step out toward their dreams.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's In A Name?

Writer's Thoughts,
One of the challenges in character creation is naming them. No, it's not one of those things to stay up all night over, but it can have it's moments. Here's why. There's a ton of names to choose from. Situation. Which ones to choose?

Akin to naming a child, you want the name to fit the character. It's an 'art-of-the-mind thing.' I'll clarify, not "out of my mind thing." As the writer, the personality of the character is already established. So begins the hunt to get the name that matches. What approach to take? Do you go with a name that has a hidden, deeper, or poetic meaning? Passion Heart. Sonny Day. Hope Fields. How about a "looks like?" Muscles. Sharky. Spike. Foxy.

Then there's the character's role option. Cabbie. Cook. Doc. And, the wordplay choice. Such as, a character who dreamed of being an actress, but never took the stage. Ida Benn Goode.  There's heroic names. Hector. Michael. Smart names. Gregory. Frederick. Honest names. Frank. Candice.

What is my ultimate name search method? Well, it has to 'feel right.' I've been known to take the songwriter's approach. The sound has to flow like a ringtone. When you hear the name, you know it's them. How do you know? You can't change it for anything. It gets stuck in your head. I've changed adored names before, only to mysteriously go back to the original. Then down the script, I'm wondering why I have two different names for the same character.

I take my chosen names through a series of questions. Is it the name of any relatives? Close friends? Friends? My close friends, friends? Famous people living or dead? Once I've made it that far, I feel fairly comfortable making a selection. This is the realm of fiction. It can have it's strange complications, at times.

As you can see, there is some thought that goes into naming characters. What's in a name? A statement. A first impression. Yes, names are often forgot in the initial conversation, but once they're taken in, they're hard to forget. Scarlet O'Hara. Flash Gordon. Clark Kent. 

New animated video coming up shortly. You spin this swirl!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Daze

Writer's Thoughts
It happens every year and it still catches me by surprise. The annual 'big one.' The monster snow storm that leaves one in a blanket of confusion, both literally and figuratively. When I heard the storm was coming, I prepared for a snow daze. That's when I can't work because I'm mesmerized by the falling snow...Wow. Falling snow...Falling...Snow.

I finally managed to get back on track toward the end of the week...Recap last week. I thought about the term 'film noir,' and felt I needed to clarify. "To Dance On Air" has a look and feel of noir, but does not follow in the genre. One reason, I'm a bit free-flowing when it comes to genre. Although, perhaps, it is somewhat poetic. I also gave thought to "retro." "RetroVision" is my way of having fun with the decades. But this is 'art swirl'd.'So it's retro with a twist. And, musically speaking, it's a collide-o-scope of past and present. I do think there are many films, music, fashions worth revisting.

How deep is "To Dance On Air?" Deep is not a subject I dive into intentionally. My heart has to be in it. Animation has come a long way. It's not just for kids anymore. Still, I like to keep it level. I once did a serious-themed animated story and my friends wanted to know if I was alright. Gotta love em. Those sweet fixers. I, like many other writers do write from experiences. The song that opens to "RetroVision" in the first video, I did compose after a very sad break-up. A little behind the scenes.

I've got a new video clip coming up next week. Meanwhile, please enjoy this animated still from "To Dance On Air." Thanks for dropping by. You snapped me out of my snow daze.

Friday, January 28, 2011

"To Dance On Air" Video

Writer's Thoughts,
Here is the video clip I had promised a week ago. You may recall, I mentioned getting stuck on a technical glitch. I've finally settled on the look and feel, as far as the colors go. The style is more of a "film-noir." Which I love. Not all of the music is the final score. I hear more cinematic themes. Ennio Morricone. My wish list.

Basically, I wanted to share with you some of the behind the scenes process, and I look forward to sharing more. Glad you dropped by today and I hope you enjoy this clip.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Retrovision: Method Or Madness?

Writer's Thoughts,
Speaking of my RetroVision Stories. Why retro? Why now? Is there such a thing as peddling backward for forward momentum? I believe, yes. (I see blank stares and hear the sound of crickets). Let me explain the method or the madness.

It all began when I saw some characters in my mind's eye after waxing nostalgic over some classic black and white photos. This sounds strange, but I felt like I knew these characters...How do I silence the crickets? I began to wonder who these people were living in an era gone by? In retrospect, I had a RetroVision.  It's been said, every creative endeavor begins with a question.  If the question is intriguing enough, a passionate pursuit will follow. So, you see, we don't start with the answers. We chase them down with a good question.

Because these characters came to me from the past, I wanted the colors to convey that. However, there's a twist that weaves the story to the present. I think, this came about because of my constant sliding into full-on color. In other words, I just had to have the doughnut. The color wheel in all of it's splendor. I could have colorized the retro scenes more intensely, like the method in many black and white classics. Hint. I have some tint.

Here's what I know so far. It's a relationship story. The main characters are what I call "realist-romantics." Meaning, they don't deny the reality of their situation, but at the same time, they don't accept it as final. They wonder about a world beyond them and take steps to get there. Against this backdrop is the constant threat of war, fears, and families that don't understand. It sounds dark, but It's got a lot of light moments. This can be attributed to my 'Rockwell-ian' bent.

Please enjoy the animated still I created above. The animated video clip, I apologize, for this week, got hung up on a complex scene, in technical terms. I hope to have that worked out soon. If this is madness, gotta love the method. The creative journey. Your space is reserved. Thanks for being in my swirl today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stories In RetroVision

Artist's Thoughts
All things retro. What is it about the decades past that fascinate me? The music? The dances? The fashion? Yes, yes and yes. One of the most fascinating periods of creativity, in my estimate, was the 1940's. Undoubtably, quite a few decades left their artistic mark. I think, what impressed me about the 1940's was the sheer determination of the people to rise from a difficult previous decade.

Jazz was huge, as well as the theater. Times were tough for many, but people found a way to laugh, dance and sing.

It's not uncommon to think about the future. Back 'when,' Orwell pondered 1984. A popular singer sang about 1999. MGM created 2001:Space Odyssey. Time is a classic subject. It can even be timely. I too am fascinated with time travel. My monochromatic project that I call RetroVision allows me a creative ticket to my favorite decades.

These are fictional stories and not created for historical reference. Every story has a setting. Sometimes things appear so real. I ask myself, "Was Jack and Rose really on the Titanic?" Don't laugh..."Were they?" The wonders of technology and awesome writing as demonstrated by so many great producer/directors. My inspiration, even though I'm in animation.

The animated still above, I created as an image to kickstart my visual gears. I discovered creating in black and white, is not the same as filming in black and white. Certain elements get lost without the film and have to be added. I created the city in all gray tones with a purple-ish sky. When I put in a character, and colorized to match the scene, their tones went a gray-ish-green-ish. I freaked out. This isn't Frankenstein City. All was not lost. I discovered something I liked even more. I'll share this with some stills and an animated video clip next week.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Classic Vibe

I love working in color. But in the back of my mind, I always wanted to do something in black and white. Shades of grey are also included. I began the background work to my classic look project this week, and wow, what a challenge. But I love it. A classic monochromatic vibe. Below is one of the scenes I created with a hint of tint to keep the contrasts from going too flat.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Project Updates 2011

Artist's thoughts,
One of the things that I'm sure everyone does at the start of a new year, is look back at the previous year to find what worked and what didn't.  During 2010 I had some stories that I loved at the onset, and a few I had to alter dramatically.

This is all okay. It's all "Part of the show," as they say. A few stories had titles change, for various reasons. Some I had to put on the shelf for a later date. Now, that the stack of story scripts is slimmer, the focus gets tighter. I'm grateful that this is my love. Long hours are but a sigh. A gasp until morning. Poetry? Uh, no. But how sad it is to say goodbye to a character you created. The cool thing is they find work in another story quite easily. I seldom have to convince the others to take them in. The interesting thing is the "Rewrite Phase." It's a head-banging-heartfelt thing. An inner knowing when it's finished, and a bold nerve to release it.

The animated DVD music project, "Candle Dance," "Dancetown," "The Heart Of Czardas," (formerly UNEX1), are already well underway and going well. "Dancetown" was/is tricky because the scenes were/are very labor intensive. My 'classic-theme' story has yet to be titled.

So, 2011 is ready-set-go. But remember, I'm right-brained. Before It's all done, I may have added an additional ten stories. The beauty of pixeltunes is they are short story form. With the exception of a few that absolutely need to be large team-oriented because of their full-length. The main thing is to keep things fun and hopefully entertaining. That's art swirl'd. Thanks for hanging out with this artist.

Kickstart Into Animating

Artist's Thoughts
Before the end of 2010, I began the storyboard work for the animated musical that has a classical look and theme. It takes place around the late 1930's to early 1940's. The scene I created below shows a dog that had to get in on the act. Animating the dog was tricky, as I do not have a pet. I had to carefully visualize it's movements. Thankfully, a neighbor's dog was a good 'stand in.' Dance continues to be one of my favorite themes. It's an amazing art in itself.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Back To Work

It's good to be back to work. The holiday season has come and gone. Managing to pick up from the last written line, or brush of color can be a bit challenging. Having been here before, I've learned, it's best to go easy in the new year, and not confuse the lack of momentum for the lack of motivation. It's the creative 'treadmill effect. One must clear the mind, and the dessert table. Let the ideas gel. Sort of like that green Jell-O mold with red cherries. Yeah, like that.
Every animator has 'pet' projects on the side that are created as a means to explore random artistic thoughts. These actually help the focus on the works in progess. I look forward to showing a few of these clips, as well as the current. I have an ever evolving menu.