I finally got around to watching After Earth the other day, the sci-fi-fi movie M. Night Shyamalan made with Will and Jaden Smith a few years ago. It just hit me that Will has a unique face, and I instantly felt compelled to draw it. So, with my Dark Brown Prismacolor pencil, I gave it a shot.
UPDATE:I just want to say that I used to be a fan. After the ugliness at the Oscars on March 27, 2022, rather than remove this drawing, it will be left up with the message that I will no longer support Will Smith’s endeavors with my dollars or attention. Defend a punch with a punch. Defend words with intelligent words. Proverbs 15:1-2 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
A few years back, I was having lunch in the San Fernando Valley at a place called Slaw Dogs with my buddy Tom Cain. While eating, a woman walked past us on the sidewalk LOADED with perfume, and her own sense of bedazzled/leopard print style. When I got back to my desk, I quickly roughed out an impression of her from memory. I recently revisited that sketch and worked up this drawing.
Bless you Los Angeles, for all your quirkiness. I call it “Slaw Dog Millionaire.”
Back in June I had another one of those out-of-the-blue, who-would-have-thought, stranger-than-fiction work opportunities come up.
I had already storyboarded a Frank Sinatra music video earlier in the year for the Fantoons studio. They liked what I drew for them, so when they were given the opportunity to animate a music video set to a recording of Irving Berlin’s song White Christmas as sung by the incomparable Bing Crosby, they called on me once again to board for them.
David Calcano wrote a script that set the song around the military at the time of the holidays that had some real storytelling in it. It begins in the late ’60s with the Vietnam War, and later comes to our modern era. It had nostalgia, love of family, tragedy, and full circle resolution – a whole lot of the human experience packed into three minutes.
I love doing caricatures, but just like in the Sinatra video, I was asked to NOT caricature Bing in my boards. The studio was coming up with their design for Bing, which was going through approvals with whomever had to approve. If I drew him my own way, that could have complicated things. So, a generic character in a hat is what I drew (though I did get away with half-lidded eyes and big ears).
So, I had a very busy week boarding the piece. 217 panels later, it was finished and sent off. The drawings above are just a few individual panels of those efforts that the team at Fantoons used as a blueprint for their music video.
And here’s the finished product! Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you get to enjoy a white one!
Last year my friend and fellow cartoonist Jeff Knurek reached out to me to see if I could do some character designs for a comic book project he was involved with. Jeff normally writes and draws the Jumble comic strip/puzzle that appears in newspapers and online, and he invents games (anyone ever hear of Slammo/Spikeball?), but he was developing this comic book that was taking on the world of electrical science with an adventure featuring twin teenagers getting involved in something over their heads.
Since it was a tech story, I got to thinking that maybe the villain should take after one of the big tech bosses from the real world. So, I sketched out these three potential villains purely based on (not actual caricatures of) Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Steve Jobs (Apple), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). They all seemed like plausible villains, right? Which one do you think Jeff chose to draw in his comic book? If you guessed the one inspired by Jeff Bezos, you would be correct.
Incidentally, back in my early days of working in animation, I was in a meeting with Steve Jobs who was not very villainous in person. But that’s a story for another time.
For no other reason than to wish my buddy Stephen Silver a happy birthday today, I’m posting this over exaggerated, um, flattering portrait I created of him.
Back in April of this year, I heard that illustrator Jason Seiler was going to be interviewing animation character designer Stephen Silver (Kim Possible, Scooby Doo and Guess Who?) for Jason’s podcast Face the Truth, and he was encouraging people to send in caricatures of Silver that would be revealed to him during the interview. Silver and I have worked together several times over the years, so I thought it would be fun to surprise my pal with this slightly extreme portrayal.
I’m including a photo of Silver with movie poster illustrator Drew Struzan that I took a couple of years ago. This was one photo I used in working out my pencil and watercolor deviation.
Oh, and if you seek out the podcast (which you can by CLICKING HERE), this shows up around the one hour-eight minute mark. They were kinder to the drawing than the drawing deserved, mostly by laughing at it, which was its intended purpose.