2014 Monster Month: Day 22 – Christmas Tim

While he is small, this is NOT Tiny Tim. This particular Tim was a piece I created a few years back when I was trying to get a short cartoon off the ground with my friend Brian Joseph Ochab. Narrated by Sir Christopher Lee, it was going to be a magnificent stop-motion tribute parody of Tim Burton’s early short film for Disney called “Vincent”. Through various efforts to get it off the ground, our “Tim” did not happen, but some fun artwork was left behind. This is a piece I never shared here before.

If you would like to see more of my development art for our short and even a video of when the project was talked about on TV, CLICK HERE!


evil Christmas tree
You be the one to water that tree. Not me.



Return tomorrow for our grand finale piece in this year’s MONSTER MONTH!

2011 Monster Month: Day 14 – Wonder Motion

My good friend and neighbor Brian Joseph Ochab formed his own production company called Wonder Motion Studios. Under this banner, he is developing some wonderful family entertainment. In fact, one of the projects he is working on is TIM, the Tim Burton inspired animated short film that I am co-producing with him. (CLICK HERE if you’d like to be up to speed with that project!)

In starting Wonder Motion Studios, Brian wanted a fun logo to get across the whimsy and imagination his projects have. He enjoyed my creatures from previous Monster Months, and wanted me to create one for him. After a few different ideas, we settled down with this purple balloon-loving mascot onto which Brian later incorporated his typeface.


Monster Logo Art
He may technically be a yellow-bellied cyclops, but I dare you to be the one to tell him that.


Come back again tomorrow to see a monster entrepreneur at work!

2011 Monster Month: Day 10 – The Ugly Bug

About a month or so ago I went to see the amazing exhibit of Tim Burton’s personal artwork at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and came home totally jazzed about drawing and painting weird creatures for MONSTER MONTH.

A common motif in Tim’s work seemed to be stripes and swirls, and for days after soaking up all that creativity, I was bursting to do a piece of my own. So, after a quick sketch in my sketchbook, this little ugly bug character came flowing out. I quickly redrew it quite large (24″x18″), inked it with my brush pen, and then watercolored that sucker with as much energy as I could put into it.

I really loved how it turned out – it feels really spontaneous for me, which is good. So often in my daily job I am being very analytical when drawing characters because they are for the mechanical CG animation world. I shoved all those rules aside and just had fun. I hope you enjoy it, too.


Tim Burton Creature
He may be an ugly bug, but don’t think of a tiny gnat – think Mothra. Then imagine how big that bug zapper would have to be. Oog. (Click on image to see it even larger.)


Since I have been helping to develop a Burton-themed short animated film this past year, it was fun getting my Tim Burton on again. If you’d like to see more of my art inspired by Tim Burton, CLICK HERE. And if you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to check out the Burton show at LACMA. It will be there until October 31.

Tuesdays with “TIM” – As Seen on TV!

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you a version of the news below. Now that the video file can be embedded within the blog instead of being posted just as a link, I thought I’d share it once again…
A few months ago I was regularly sharing updates with you about the short animated film TIM that I have been producing with my friend Brian Joseph Ochab. Back when we went public with our fundraising efforts on Kickstarter.com, a relatively new cable channel (Reelz Channel) was talking to us about running a spot on their Hollywood magazine show Hollywood Dailies. Well, earlier this month it aired!

Hollywood Dailies did a real nice job capturing the spirit of our Tim Burton tribute film, including some interview footage of our narrator Sir Christopher Lee! The piece is littered with my artwork right from the get-go, and if you don’t blink, you’ll see some shots of me in my home studio along with some shots of Brian and me in Brian’s garage studio.


Reelz Channel – “Hollywood Dailies” from Wonder Motion Studios on Vimeo.


If you know of anyone with the resources to invest in a great film project, let me know!  Kickstarter was NOT our answer and we need financial assistance if we are to get this great short project made! I can be reached at:



TIM the Movie Videos

Tuesdays with “TIM”

Yes, I know. It’s Monday. Our fundraising effort for TIM ends in the wee early hours (12:42am to be exact) of Tuesday morning for some of you, so I thought I’d post this week’s Tuesdays with TIM column today to give you one final look at some of my art created in the development of this short film before donation time runs out. For my Pacific coast friends, our fundraising on Kickstarter ends at 9:42pm TONIGHT!


Today I offer you an insider’s look at one of my illustrations showing Timothy Todd moping about in a cemetery dressed like his hero Tim Burton. The purpose for this development piece was to show the dichotomy of Timothy’s world. On the right, you can see the world he actually lives in. It’s a bright, cheery, and very straight-laced version of suburbia not unlike that portrayed in Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. The cemetery reflects the imagination of little Timothy Todd – an imagination that sees a dark, muted and skewed environment such as is common in a creepy Burton world.


Tim Burton kid
Timothy Todd ponders his youth well spent, while sitting atop the grave of Vincent.


In looking at the evolution of this illustration, you can see that I hadn’t quite figured out the two worlds. In the first drawing below, both the world of his imagination and that of his real life were depicted as eerily creepy. In looking at Tim Burton animation projects, it is hard to find a straight line anywhere in the creepy scenes. I had my “eureka” moment when watching The Nightmare Before Christmas – in the “real life” world where Christmas is celebrated, straight lines abound!


Tim Burton tribute
This was the first drawing that made Timothy Todd’s home look too creepy.


Having a different look for the “real life” world is necessary for our story not only to create the separation between Timothy’s life and his imagination, but it also helps you as the viewer to relate. Even though Timothy’s real world is cartoony, by having it be more straight and suburban, it reminds us of the suburbia we all see around us. So, in this next drawing, the house is made a bit more boring, and the picket fence was changed to define the yard. The car was just in the way.


Tim Burton parody
This second pass worked much better in showing the difference between the two worlds.


And then we get to the final watercolor & colored pencil illustration. Really, the only changes here are the addition of curly branches in the cemetery trees (which was always the plan), and a little dog in the yard. While it may be tough to tell in these scans, the tombstones all reflect past Tim Burton projects. Of course, little Timothy is sitting atop the tombstone for Vincent, the short animated film Burton made in the 1980s that we are parodying with TIM.


Tim Burton tribute parody
You can almost hear the voice of Christopher Lee, our wonderful narrator, speaking over this image.


This is your LAST day to lend us a hand by pledging some money to make TIM. To make this film become a reality, we need to hire professional puppet builders, miniature set builders, animators, and many other creative people. Stop-motion animated films require many different talents pooled together to make something special. You can click on any of the images above to go right to Kickstarter. Here is our promo video one last time:


Thank you so much for taking the time to look at these Tuesdays with TIM updates over the past two months. Even though our Kickstarter fundraising ends tonight, I’ll continue to have these updates periodically should we proceed with making TIM.

Tuesdays with “TIM” BONUS!

Yeah, yeah, it’s Wednesday. Consider this a bonus issue of Tuesdays with TIM! The Tuesday thing still applies because the video I’m about to show you was filmed yesterday which was (drumroll please)….TUESDAY!

Well, since Brian and I are in our final week of fundraising on Kickstarter, we wanted to make you an offer that is harder to refuse! We really need your financial support to help us make this film. If we don’t reach our total goal, all the money pledged thus far will revert to its respective donors. So, between now and the end of our pledge drive next Tuesday, March 29, if you pledge $500 or more to us, I pledge to do an ORIGINAL drawing of our lead character TIM! The only catch is that we have to make our full Kickstarter goal before I start wielding my pencil for you!

The type of drawing you can expect will be like this one…

Tim Burton tribute
You can get a similar original drawing such as this one if you take advantage of our new offer! Click on the image to go to our website!


Each drawing will be unique because each drawing will be drawn by hand – my hand! In addition, with your pledge you will be entitled to any other rewards we are offering on Kickstarter for the level at which you pledge! Does this sweeten the pot for you? If you need further convincing, check out the video below that we just put together for your amusement:

TIM Video Update 3 from Wonder Motion Studios on Vimeo.


Thanks for your support! We are down to just a few remaining days in this fundraising endeavor! Come help make TIM a reality!

Tuesdays with “TIM”

We have now entered the LAST week of fundraising for TIM through Kickstarter. The only way we can make this cool stop-motion animated Tim Burton tribute starring Christopher Lee is if our friends, fans, and the occasional passersby offer to pledge their financial support by going to TIMtheMovie.com.

Each Tuesday during the past two months I have been sharing with you updates and artwork from the making of TIM thus far. If you have missed any of these posts, you can see them all by CLICKING HERE!

Well, today is yet another behind the scenes look at TIM. To further inspire your financial pledges, Brian and I filmed a video update last week in which we reveal our puppets for the film which you can view below…


TIM Video Update 2 from Wonder Motion Studios on Vimeo.


(If the embedded video does not play for you via an RSS reader, Facebook, or another source, you can access all our video updates at http://vimeo.com/21151171 .)

If you are among those who have been waiting for the final lap to pledge a little something to help us make this short stop-motion animated film, that lap has just started! If we don’t reach our goal 100% by March 29, then none of the pledges will be realized. So come lend a hand TODAY!

TIM the Movie Videos

Tuesdays with “TIM”

First, let me extend a hearty THANK YOU to those of you who may have given TIM a financial pledge in the past few days on Kickstarter! Over the weekend, we jumped up over $5000 in pledges!

Today I wanted to share some thoughts with you about the art that has been the face of my film from the beginning. Appropriately, it was also the first painting I did in the development of TIM. My producing partner Brian Joseph Ochab and I needed something that could very quickly say what our project was all about while invoking the spirit of the animated projects of Tim Burton.


Chad Frye Illustration Guy
Chad Frye at his drafting desk working on an original watercolor painting for “TIM”.


Anyone familiar with those Burton produced films can easily see in this piece the influence primarily from The Nightmare Before Christmas. While it may feel as though it is directly out of that movie, I was careful to put my own hand in it. Brian and I did sit and watch Nightmare together, and while sitting there in front of the television with a sketchbook in my lap, the following extremely rough drawing spilled forth:


Burton-esque Cemetary
1. The first rough sketch. Notice the double moons? I was undecided on how large it should be and where it should go.


Drawings such as the one above are quick brain blorts of mine. It was probably whipped out in about a minute or two just to quickly get a visual idea on paper. That image mulled in my head for a few days to the point where it felt like there might be an idea there needing to be developed further. So, I grabbed my sketchbook again and did the following drawing:


TIM cemetary gate
2. The second pass at this idea, still just a sketchbook drawing.


It still wasn’t quite right, but that was it! Later I sat down at my drafting table and worked on a large tight pencil drawing on tracing paper choosing a low vantage point looking up at the cemetery gate and moon, add in a couple of jack-o-lanterns, and finesse the whole scene. You can see that originally I intended to include even more jack-o-lanterns than what appeared in the final, but later while working on the painting, they just felt excessive.


TIM the movie pencil art
3. The final actual size pencil drawing with all the details worked out.


From that final pencil drawing, I created the watercolor painting with a limited creepy color palette. That low vantage point was intentionally designed so that your eye is guided right up there to the title of the film, but also the use and placement of color and lighting was to achieve that same end result. Colored pencils were used to further tie things up and accent other details.


TIM development poster
4. The final watercolored painting along with the tagline direct from our script.


When I go to a museum to look at paintings, I love getting my nose up as close as I can without setting off alarms so that I can really see the details of what the artist had done. With that idea in mind, here are a few close-ups of the final painting. Enjoy!


The angel statue is a direct homage to the angel that “catches” Jack Skellington in Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas.”
You can really see how the colored pencil was utilized in the piece from this close-up.
And a close-up view of a jack-o-lantern showing every gritty paint and pencil stroke.


TIM is still very much in need of every pledge small and large if we are to reach our goal by March 29. If we don’t reach that goal, then all those fine and generous pledges will not be able to be fulfilled. The fate of our film is in YOUR hands! Click on any of the images above to come support TIM!