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CGMA Character Design Week 05

Posted on May 30, 2012 
Filed Under Drawings | 2 Comments

This week, we were asked to design two characters interacting on a park bench. The designs were supposed to support a storytelling moment.

Here is what I came up with. I felt the need for a title as I wasn’t too sure people would understand what this is about…

Related post:
CGMA Character Design Week 04

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The secret to becoming a better artist

Posted on May 29, 2012 
Filed Under Drawings, Education, Portfolio | 4 Comments

I was browsing this kid’s blog the other day http://devon-stubblefield-interview.blogspot.fr/ and something he left in his comments section struck me.

I think he said he regularly fills up one sketchbook per week., granted they are only 100 pages, but still…

Anonymous asked: How big are the sketchbooks that you fill weekly? and like what kind of paper?
I use either a “Strathmore Sketchbook (green book) 100 sheets, 9×12 inches” or “Strathmore Windpower Sketch (blue book) 70 sheets, 9×12 inches.” The sketchbooks contain recycled sketch paper (fine tooth surface) (

In term of hours, he said that’s about 4 to 7 hours a day ;-)

I never believed in talent so this only confirmed what I always thought. Success comes with dedication and drive. The more you want something, the more likely you are to reach it.

For the little story, the guy is only 17 years old, he already interned at Disney and is now heading for a summer internship at Pixar with my friend Pris and Richie…

Since I attended Animation Collaborative with a bunch of crazy artists (I will post about it as soon as I can), I have also started carrying a sketchbook and mechanical pencil in my hands at all time. As soon as I find myself waiting or idling, I open the sketchbook and start drawing. This is a great way to improve and also to remember situations and events.

Here are two of my latest sketches drawn while waiting for my friend Sebastien and an other one on the Ferry between France and England. I was really surprised to see that guy on the second drawing with a pen in his hand, I thought he was also sketching but he seemed to be composing some music. Nothing like pen and paper I am telling you! ;-)


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CGMA Story Week 04

Posted on May 29, 2012 
Filed Under Education | 2 Comments

This week Steve asked us to analyse some movie sequences in thumbnails, I chose one of the first sequence from Akira Kurosawa’s very graphic movie Ran. I could have used some tones but I am not very good at that yet. Instead I went for clean sketches. This exercise is very interesting as it makes us really pay attention to the kind of decisions directors take. The use of long lenses here is very unusual.




The second assignment was to get acquainted with camera lenses and different type of cinematographic shots. I now a thing or two about camera lenses so instead I decided to do some sort of tutorial. The panel 03 (Change of lens with moving camera) is probably the most interesting. For that one, I wanted to show how flat the picture can look when using long lenses. It is a great trick when you want to frame two character of different height or if you want to make the distance between two characters seem smaller.






Related post:
Story week 02

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CGMA Character design week 04

Posted on May 22, 2012 
Filed Under Character design, Drawings, Portfolio | 1 Comment

This week we had to design the head of three librairians. I finally got around to create a Photoshop brush I am happy with. Not too clean and not too rough. I did a quick colour pass just for the sake of it. Nate showed us his painting technique this week so that is what I will be using in the future.

Till the very end of the week I wasn’t happy about the roughs I came up with. Only few days later I finally saw how I could make those designs more appealing and more cartoony. They still lack some acting Nate will probably say, let’s see.

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CGMA Character design week 03

Posted on May 18, 2012 
Filed Under Character design, Drawings, Portfolio, Tablet PC | 1 Comment

Here is this week’s assignment. Nate asked us to create a line up with three pirates with contrasting shapes and proportions.

As usual I had a lot of fun exploring different shapes and silhouettes. Clean up was the most difficult part as usual. I had started with the Wacom tablet and fancy line work like Nate but I ended up reverting to pen and paper as I wasn’t getting anywhere.

If Photoshop wasn’t the industry standard for portfolios, I think I would stick to pen and paper. Mind you, I just saw some of Carter Goodrich’s sketches from Brave and he doesn’t seem to be bothered with modern design pipelines.

Anyway, here is what I did this week. Here is the final line up, a rough personality sketch and my research. The final cleanup was eventually done on the poor man’s Cintiq and Photoshop. Great progress compared to last week but still a long way to go before I can reach Nate’s great line work.

Related posts:
CGMA Character design week 01

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Brave new trailer in French

Posted on May 11, 2012 
Filed Under Animation | Leave a Comment

I am guessing an English one will follow shortly, in the meantime, here is something for those who can’t wait. Too bad we lost a lot of the whimsical feel the Japanese trailer had. It still looks fun though.

via Focus on Animation

Related posts:
Pixar “Brave” Japanese trailer

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CGMA Character design week 01

Posted on May 11, 2012 
Filed Under Character design, Drawings, Education, Painting, Portfolio | 4 Comments

This is my assignment for the CGMA Character Design workshop. We were to design a monster based on a basic circle, triangle or square shape. It is a similar exercise to what we did at the Animation Collaborative. Those three shapes are the basic foundations, the building blocks of strong character design.

Here is what I came up with. The line work and painting job are a bit poor for the moment. Nate will help us with those in the next few weeks so expect a new version soon. The bottom picture are explorations that I first did with pen and paper then cleaned up in Sketchbook pro.

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Story week 02

Posted on May 9, 2012 
Filed Under Comics, Portfolio | 1 Comment

Sorry for the lack of updates lately but believe me, I was REALLY BUSY. As a side note, I cut down my Facebook use DRAMATICALLY, as in, I only open Facebook to check my mails twice a week and I am way more productive now.

Anyway so, after few weeks attending the Schoolism Gesture class, I grew more confident about my drawing skills and when a friend told me about the CGMWA Character design and Story classes, I knew I couldn’t pass on those rare opportunities, especially seeing who the mentors are.

AnimC has a great character design class with Chris Sasaki this term and an awesome Storyboard class with Louis Gonzales but moving back to San Francisco for three month is not doable at the moment, and summer coming, I am better off being on the French sunny sea side rather than cloudy/cold SF.

CGMWA is offering two great classes this term with the incredible Character Designer/Vis Dev guy, Nate Wragg and Dreamworks story artist, Steven Mac Leod.

I have been following Steven Mc Leod’s blog since he was at CalArts and always found it inspiring, the class is said to be for beginners but we are already creating some solid portfolios.

As for Nate, I discovered his blog by Googling the Ratatouille End Credits and immediately bought his first video lecture when it came out. I love the way he paints digitally as it looks like real brushes.

When he announced he was starting a Character design class, I loved his first video so much that I HAD to enroll. Now, I get to pick his brain and watch him work every week.

The CGMWA classes are only 8 weeks but they are pretty cheap compared to whatever is out there and certainly cheaper than CalArt that both mentors graduated from.

For the Story class, we had to submit few pages of sketches on the first week and this week was about creating one picture gags. I was busy moving house so I only did one which I used for both Character Design and Story. Clever hey!

This week’s Character Design assignment was to design a Templar. I am never really short of gag ideas, let’s see if that one makes sense!

Forgive the rough line work, I am very new to Photoshop for clean up and still have to find a good brush. I am getting there though. I will post something more worked out in few days.

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