In celebration of season 2 of Green Eggs and Ham being released on Netflix today, I created this new piece I call Sammy’s Angels featuring Sam I Am, his superspy mother Pam I Am, and Guy Am I.
The show is traditional (hand drawn) animation, so why not a hand drawn illustration? This was made with watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil.
Has anyone started to watch the episodes yet? Since everything Guy seems to invent explodes, in the storyboards we made some of the explosions have a blast cloud that looked like Guy’s hat which is why I painted this explosion that way. Hopefully that detail made it into the final show.
Hope you all enjoy our hard work on the show! Soooo many people were involved to bring it to you.
By the way, I realize something funky is going on with my blog. After a normal post I made last week, some of the look of the blog went haywire. In my attempt to fix it, I think I made it worse. So, for now, it looks strange. My profound apologies.
Any of you Netflix subscribers out there excited about this Friday? According to Netflix’s website, Season 2 of Green Eggs and Ham is still supposed to be coming out on April 8! Since I don’t personally have Netflix, I’ll just have to wait to hear the sound of all the Whos down in Whoville singing and cheering – er, maybe that’s a different Dr. Seuss story.
Don’t be disturbed by the above image. Sam I Am didn’t go through a re-design for the new season. I drew myself as ol’ Sam, and had this as my door sign at Warner Bros. where we designed the show! He was furry, my face is furry. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Do me a favor. Since this season took a good four years or more to make, don’t binge it. Spread it out and absorb it in tasty bites!
Back in August of this year, I was hired to storyboard a new animated Christmas music video for Capitol Records’ recording of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as sung by Burl Ives. You remember ol’ Burl, right? He was the narrator of the original Rankin-Bass production of Rudolph back in the 1960s.
Well, this new production was accomplished by the Fantoons Studio using computer graphics, but they did a great job making it look like stop-motion puppet animation. Here’s the video as it appears on YouTube:
Okay, I know you are all wondering, so let me set the story straight – why doesn’t Rudolph have a red nose in the cartoon? Well, despite Capitol Records having the ownership of that recording, they don’t own the rights to the visual of a reindeer with a red nose. That right is likely owned by whoever owns the actual song, thus my director’s invention of the floating red orb.
Storyboarding is not always a very glamorous art form. You don’t always have the time to make frameable pieces of art. My drawings for this were fairly simple sketches due to only having about three days to board the whole thing, but in that time, I whipped out about 260 drawings based on a written outline from director David Calcano. What IS important is what those drawings communicate: composition, camera angles and movements, transitions, sets, props, costumes, indications of lighting, acting – basically all those aspects of filmmaking that you see when you watch a movie or TV show.
Thought I’d share with you a few of my storyboard panels, followed by the corresponding final frames from the video. I was really impressed with how the artists who came after me really used the boards as inspiration for what they did in the final video – I especially was tickled to see how faithful they were to my portraits of the other reindeer at the beginning, yet rendered so beautifully. (Coming up with those silly portraits based on the reindeer names was most definitely a “chadism.”
I also created character facial expression sheets for the animators on this short, which is usually a function of the character designer (a job I have held many times in the past). The director thought I should do the expression sheets for this short on their final character designs (which I did not have at the time I boarded this), probably because of all the acting I had put into the boards.
I thought the team did a fantastic job, especially considering that starting in late August for an animated Christmas project is cutting it close!
When I first met him a number of years ago, he went by Bill Wray, and was working on painting backgrounds for Nickelodeon’s show The Mighty B. His work was well-known in the animation industry having had a tremendous influence on the look of The Ren & Stimpy Show among other films and TV shows, and he contributed to comics over the years, including MAD Magazine.
Besides being a brilliant cartoonist, Bill started doing incredible fine art painting where his subject matter of choice is primarily urban landscapes, and he started going by his more formal name. He seems to get so much emotion with what seems like minimal paint strokes in his work, but as any artist knows, it takes YEARS to hone such skills to know how to lay the paint down, and how much to leave out. In short, whether cartooning or fine art painting, William Wray makes my jaw drop.
Back in 2018, I got my first in-house gig at Warner Bros. TV Animation as part of the story team for the Netflix show Green Eggs & Ham. (Hopefully our Season 2 gets released soon!) I really didn’t know who all I might have known was already at WB, so on my first day I went down to the commissary alone to look over day 1 paperwork while I ate. Who should I bump into but William, who promptly welcomed me to WB and joined me for lunch. Turned out that he was working downstairs from me as the Art Director for the Harley Quinn show.
As I learned over the year that I was at WB, William loved to sketch folks at lunch without them knowing it. It’s a great way to stay sharp by observing people and their behavior, and I do it from time to time, but William was a fiend for it. What a treat one day to find that I had become one of his subjects from across the dining area!
Earlier this year I heard that great illustrator Jason Seiler was going to be interviewing William as a part of Jason’s podcast series Face the Truth. Jason often invites fans to send in drawings of his interview subjects, so I thought it would be fun to contribute something to his talk with William.
Well, there you have it. Artists drawing artists. It’s what we do, and sometimes we fall prey to each other. One way or the other, it’s always an adventure.
Walt Disney – “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a…”
Today’s the day! After church, all you Disney fans in the San Francisco Bay Area should head on over to Mouse-Con in Concord. You can meet me, my pal and another former Disney artist Rick Law, the voice actors I mentioned in Thursday’s post, lots of other special guests, and lots of dealers with Disney merch!
Rick and I will actually be giving a talk together at 1pm on one of the stages telling stories of our times at the House of Mouse!
Does anyone in the San Francisco area like Disney? On November 7 (this coming weekend), I’ll be a guest at Mouse-Con, a fan-organized Disney-themed convention taking place in the town of Concord, CA. I’ll have a selection of original art available that I’ve created over the past few years like this watercolor and colored pencil piece of Mickey and Goofy!
What’s kind of fun is that I’m actually looking forward to meeting a couple of other of the invited guests that will be there such as Irene Bedard (the voice of Pocahontas), Terry McGovern (voice of Launchpad McQuack in the original DuckTales and Darkwing Duck shows), and John Morris (the voice of Andy in all the Toy Story movies).
Interesting side note – I did a couple of Toy Story coloring/activity books back when the first Toy Story movie came out. In light of that early association with Pixar, it’ll be really neat to meet “Andy!” Should I have him sign the bottom of my shoe?
Oh, and for those of you who are new followers of mine, yes, I’ve worked for Disney off and on over the past 30 years whether in publishing or animation. Come on out and say “hey!” if you are in the area.
I wanted to let you know that this original watercolor and colored pencil piece is currently available as part of an online auction to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital sponsored by the National Cartoonists Society.
I was a member of the story crew for the upcoming season two of Green Eggs and Ham that airs on Netflix, so the art is not just some random fan art. And this scan is way more accurate than the blown-out scan on the auction’s website. So bid with confidence!
If you like the show, or you have been wanting a piece of my art, here is the unusual opportunity to try for one. The auction ends in TWO days (this Wednesday)! Happy bidding!
UPDATE:Thanks to everyone who placed bids. Whoever the winner was got a special deal with the final price coming in at $240, $200 of which goes to St. Jude. (The other $40 the auction house claims as their own.)
Well here’s something different in this month-o’-monsters – an actual bonafide monster job! Back in July I was hired to work on this advertisement for the Disney+ animated series Monsters At Work.
The agency had already written the ad, and another wonderful artist had illustrated it and laid it out (that means the graphic design part of it), but then two things happened: 1. it went through changes, and 2. the other artist had to go out of town and didn’t have the time to make the changes. So, I filled in as needed.
So, what you see here is a true team effort. I illustrated all the characters except three monsters in step 5 and Mike Wazowski (which are all by the talented Liz Masters), and then I re-laid out the steps and bottom info with all the new text following the look that Liz had already established. It was a super fun gig, and obviously I love drawing monsters. Happy to have had a crack at the Disney/Pixar creation all thanks to Liz for pulling me in on it!
Oh, and Disney+ tweeted this out back in July just a few days after I had finished it. Quick turnaround to meet the launch date of the new show!