I am officially a part of the Sketch Zone Podcast!
I’ve been a long time listener, very active in the live chat on YouTube, and helped in person at conventions. They were kind enough to invite me in officially. I Also have been helping them out with their Discord channel here and YouTube videos here. I have been editing the full-length podcasts down into more manageable bite-size pieces. Here are three clips under 10 minutes. I added some subtitles to emphasize some points I thought particularly important.
Your Attitude Matters
Can’t Teach a Good Attitude
Organizing Your Portfolio
Here is one episode that I joined in on when we interviewed Elizabeth
Hisel, who won an award for her animation.
Here is a new avatar I made a little while back. I’ll link the process video here.
I used a free program called Storyboarder to make this board. 2 years ago it was unusable for me but recent updates have made the drawing more stable on my laptop so I decided to give it another try.
(Click on the picture or here, to be taken to the YouTube video)
I started with reading the script! When I read the script whatever popped in my head visually, I wrote down or drew a quick thumbnail so that I wouldn’t forget any ideas.
One of the best features of Storyboarder is that it will Import a Worksheet. Above is a blank worksheet. This is where you can print out a template with about 15 panels on it. Then you can draw traditionally on it and then take a picture of it on your phone. It will separate out each thumbnail into its own panel automatically. It’s really cool. The idea is that drawing traditionally, and in such a small thumbnail size will let you get out ideas quicker.
I did this! Except I turned it into a jpeg and put it into Procreate, so I could draw digitally on my iPad, lol. The DRAWING IS JUST SO GOOD on the iPad!
I used a really large (Sharpie-type) brush so that I wouldn’t get lost in the details. This worked really well. I even tried zooming in for details but it was too pixelated! This kept me speeding through the panels. However, I may print it out next time and put Post-It notes where the panels are so that I can move groups of panels easily in the beginning. It’s quicker that way than copying and pasting digitally, especially in the Storyboarder program
Once the thumbnails were uploaded to Storyboarder, I did another rough pass of the script on my laptop. Did I mention that this was a class assignment? Well it was, and I presented it to the class for feedback. Parts that “bombed” I took out and I wrote down any feedback.
I went back and did the second pass and added more details. Drawing in Storyboarder on my laptop makes me feel like I am using a crayon in kindergarten sometimes. It’s not very precise and it’s evident in my drawings! I finished the second pass. It was still very rough, but the story was pretty clear. I presented it for feedback and took notes again.
The third and final pass through these 100 panels was using Storyboarder again but I cleaned up everything in Photoshop. Storyboarder has a feature where it will open up any panel in Photoshop and sync any changes you make to the panel in to Storyboarder. Great huh!? Well unfortunately there’s a lot of lag but regardless, it did work. It did slow me down quite a bit though.
What do I mean by “cleaning up?” I defined the backgrounds with value. I added clouds that moved. I added grids on the sea to define the horizon. I drew the characters expressions clearer. I added wings flapping and made it look like (some) of the characters were hovering in air (bobbing up and down slightly) Stuff like that. Admittedly, some of this was forgotten in some frames so don’t look closely, lol.
Free is great, right!? Well on the whole, it’s a solid program but I find it’s support to be a bit lacking. It does get updated frequently but anytime I have an issue I have to go to the Facebook group and search or ask for support there. Often times, questions go unanswered by the group and Wonder Unit. Searching through old posts on Facebook is time- consuming and often times does not produce helpful results. Also, the program still doesn’t have layers. Technically, it does but they are named Ink, Pencil, Fill, Tone, and Reference. That’s it. You can’t add anymore and it’s difficult to copy and paste between them and other frames. (I honestly can’t figure out the Lasso tool and copy and paste functions.) I gave up and just did everything in Photoshop.
Despite these pains I do recommend you try Storyboarder if you are a student or cheap like me. It does a great job of organizing the images, action and dialogue. It will also export as an MP4, GIF, PDF, and some other file types. However, this was another place I felt it was lacking. I exported a movie and there was no dialogue. (That is just not an option) So I exported a GIF but then I had to convert it to an MP4 anyways so that I could do the timing. Admittedly, there is a way to do timing in Storyboarder but I honestly didn’t think about that until this moment, lol.
You can download it at https://wonderunit.com/storyboarder/ It is for Mac OS and Windows. I use it on my Windows 2-in1 laptop. I’ll admit my laptop is a few years old now, but I added another 8 GB ram last year (16 GB total) so it has a lot of multitasking power. (Storyboarder was really the sole reason why I did this. It EATS UP MEMORY.) Unfortunately, my laptop is kind of an orphan. It’s a Sony Vaio and in 2015 Sony sold its PC division off. There is little to no support for this computer so it’s hard for me to place all of the blame on Storyboarder.
Get out there and make YOUR magic. I look forward to seeing it.
I made some stuff for print-on demand sites like RedBubble recently. I started with some short term goals I wrote on paper... iPad paper.
I started with a watercolor illustration I made a few years ago. I love space, sci-fi, and Mars seems like a popular enough subject that I might make sales to randos xD
Soon I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do next, so I got inspiration and education from YouTube videos. I made a list and prioritized it.
I exported my Adobe Illustrator Draw vector file from the iPad to a PSD in Photoshop. It was converted into a smart object so I could scale it.
Then I added textures using Kyle’s Brushes and my own custom textures I made with the Adobe Create app from photos taken during a hike through Griffith Park and the Old LA Zoo.
I added embellishments and played with different fonts and layouts for designs using Photoshop. Illustrator is above my pay grade, lol, so PS works fine for me in this situation.
Here are some of the designs I came up with and some copy I wrote for each design. It was fun to come up with a little story for each one!
So with one 3 year old illustration I was able to turn that into 5 separate designs to go on 30-plus products to be sold.
Speaking of which, if you want to support me, you can by clicking on this link and buy yourself a T-shirt or something.
There is more to come.
Well… what a year! I have been pretty inactive on social media and here on my blog but I can tell you that my life has been full of activity!
I moved a little over a year ago and I started 2018 in La La Land. It’s so big! Hollywood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Westwood, Studio City, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Koreatown, Mid-City, Downtown, Los Feliz, Pasadena, the Valley, Silver Lake, Glendale, South LA, Inglewood, Echo Park. There’s too many neighborhoods/cities to list but I’ve been lucky enough to explore them all. My days and nights as an Uber driver have led me down many narrow alleyways, beaches that go on for days, and stop-and-go traffic the likes you’d never wish on your worst enemy.
Here is, more-or-less, a list of all the places, people, and animals I've seen this year, through the art I created:
I stopped in the King’s Head pub in Santa Monica and met Anthony Hopkins.
I saw the morning light from a beach near the Pacific Palisades.
I explored the streets of Glendale on foot.
I drank lots of coffee at lots of different coffee shops!
I met many kinds of people from all walks of life. Los Angeles natives can be a rare sighting and those from the valley can be strange...
… while business travellers from different countries lead to interesting conversations for me. Sometimes, I learnt more about myself than I did about them.
I designed characters for a video game.
I went to the zoo. A lot.
I discovered the little oasis that is the LA river and Griffith Park.
I took a Character Design and a Storyboarding class.
I went back East to see friends and family.
I went to Walt Disney Animation during their Open House program. It was actually the last "class" with Peter Paul! They showed us how they made Ralph Breaks the Internet. I saw their in-house iPad drawing app for storyboard artists, among many other ‘secrets’ they had, haha. Not exactly, secrets but certainly interesting stuff. It would be AMAZING to work at a place like that with people so passionate and skilled at storytelling.
Also, they gave us stuff! I will cherish that Walt Disney Sharpie forever!!! xD
I’d be lying if I didn’t mention there were bad times. I’ve slowly realized I am now a little fish in a big pond. There is a lot of competition out here, and it scares me.
Also, I’ve seen some stuff driving with Uber. I ran over a kitten with passengers in the car. I couldn’t do anything to stop it from happening and it made me quite sad. Julia helped me through that though :)
I witnessed a hit-and-run. A lady crossing the street got hit by a car making a left turn in front of me. She was knocked to the ground and her leg/foot appeared to be run-over. Luckily she had a friend with her that grabbed her and probably saved her life.
I had a drunk guy vomit in my car at 7:30pm on a Friday night. I got money for that. $150 to be exact. It could have been a lot worse, as most of it went out the window but the 30 minutes-plus of driving with vomit-stench was not very pleasant. In fact, it seemed to linger in my nose for days afterwards, haunting me like the ghost of vomits'-past.
But, all in all, it's been pretty great and I look forward to continuing my journey out here. I hope to share more with you, too! Thanks for all the likes, comments, emails, and support!
Best wishes to all for 2019 :)
My friend Jack has a cool project I wanted to share with you. He's been really helpful in my transition to California living, and so I wanted to share some of the cool things he has been doing. He is a host on the previously mentioned Sketchzone Podcast and works at DreamWorks TV on a show called Spirit.
The project is called the Pirate’s ArrBCs and is based on a book that he published recently.
Please, please, please check out this teaser trailer. It is amazing!
Here is a general link to his Pirates website:
He is looking for investors so feel free to check out the following link if you’re interested:
I also want to update you on what I've been up to out here. I just celebrated 1 year in California and while I am still working as an Uber driver, I have met a lot of great people and learned a lot about the animation industry. I am now enrolled in my 2nd class out here. Intro to Storyboarding with Peter Paul. I can walk to it, which is awesome!
Here are some sketches from a character design class I took a few months ago with Ron Velasco. I decided to create a character with the idea Future Renaissance. There was a number of different versions. The top right includes a collar for catching crumbs from his chips he always eats. I ended up with the final version at the bottom with half robotic arms.
I have been following the guys on Sketchzone podcast and have been involved with their community for more than a year. They finally (j/k) asked me to be on the show and I graciously accepted xD
Each week they do a livestream on Youtube and post the audio on various podcast outlets. They talk about art, technology, and popular culture each week, and usually invite various guests to interview.
I had a great time, despite me butterflies beforehand, haha.
They also do a weekly drawing prompt that I sometimes participate in. Last week's was 'racoon, softball player, tip-toeing' Below is what I came up with for it :) Click on the picture (or here) to be taken to the Youtube video of me on their podcast.
What an amazing trip we had!
Sorry for the late post! I wrote most of this in September but just have been busy settling into a routine here in Southern California. Now as February 13th, 2018 we are definitely settled, haha! My goal is to continue posting once a month here. I missed January :( but I'm not giving up yet! What follows is the original post I wrote in September and I'll be sure to update you on what's been going on in the last few months shortly.
Here’s a list of things we experienced:
Airplanes, rocket engines, aliens, buffalo, texas bbq, st. louis bbq, frozen custard, zoos, Bearizona, the Grand Canyon, shooting stars, forests, farms, deserts, mountains, and plains. Superhighways that intersected to create strange roller coaster-like ramps. Mini tornadoes of dust. Tumbleweeds exploding off our car.
It was long, but worth it.
We are now enjoying the heat in L.A. We just came back from a ‘work’ lunch and bought coffee from a jean shop. Yeah... that’s a thing here. Lots of businesses just sell coffee for no apparent reason. It was good though!
From Washington, D.C. to St. Louis. Dallas to Roswell. Flagstaff (Grand Canyon) to Glendale. We made it. :)
Now let the real fun begin!
As I write this, it is August 7th and I have 3 more days left at a job that I have thought is my own personal hell.
YES, that’s overly dramatic but oh, so true. I realized that sometime around 2007 or 08 in the parking garage at Foxwoods Casino. If the Devil him/herself chose my means of suffering they could do no better (or worse??) than having me park cars for all of eternity while enjoying small-talk with strangers about how [OBVIOUSLY!!!] hot hell is today. And yesterday. And the day before. I KNOW ALREADY! Can’t you see I’ve been OUTSIDE FOR THE PAST 2 MILLENIA!
Well, I’m super excited to NOT have to work outside in New England anymore. It’s not the weather that bothers me, it’s the TALKING about the weather that really rubs me the wrong way. I already know that Fall is… well Fall is just FREAKIN’ FANTASTIC! Isn’t it? Winter is ALWAYS LONGER than it was last year, Spring is JUST around the corner, and Summer? SUMMER??? WHERE THE HELL DID SUMMER GO?
So, all you New Englanders, don’t let me stop you from talking about the weather, CARRY ON! Just leave me out of it ;)
Seriously though, I am really HAPPY to be leaving this job and moving forward with my life! Here’s hoping that my checkered past does not follow me to California, otherwise I may wind up parking other people’s cars….again :/
However, signs are promising and since it’s been over ten years since I’ve been in trouble with the law (and 8-plus years of sobriety) I am keeping my fingers-crossed that I’ll be fine.
UPDATE: We're in DC now on the 16th staying with a college friend :) A few days here and back on the road!
I am starting to do some of these "diary comics" to help with my storyboarding practice. This is just a little clip from my daily life. Hopefully, I can do about one a week for now.
I can see that limiting myself to traditional means of pen and pencil compared to the limitless options digitally is helping with my practice. I love color but it's just not for me right now, and I can't seem to not color/render when I do something digitally! I have to thank Cassie Soliday for inspiring me and answering my question on the sketch zone podcast. That led me to this technique. Draw it very small at first; draw it a little bigger, with less lines; and then one more time, with less lines; then ink.
Check out this YouTube link to hear Cassie's answer to my question on the podcast:
Here's the latest update from the fundraiser/art sale:
"WE DID IT!!! Thanks to you :)
As of Monday night, July 24th we are at $640!!! That's ALL of our gas money (for 2 cars), or ALL of our hotel nights, or 106 lattes from Starbucks (at $6 a piece) That's a-latte mullah! And that's a really bad pun
Thank you everybody for getting us over the goal! Because of that everyone will be getting an extra gift with their donation! We still have art to sell so if you haven't already, go and check out the fundraiser. It will be up until the last day in July!
We will be shipping/delivering things after that and on August 15th we will be headed out on the open road."
Here is the link to the fundraiser again!
Thanks and talk to you soon!
I really like this idea of just dumping a whole six-month supply of sketches on you! I hope you like it too ;) Maybe I'll make it a regular feature of the blog.
This is pretty much every sketch I did on my phone. Some are from travels to LA in January. We went to the zoo and some museums. There is a lot of Starbucks sketches and some digital plein air sketches from the West Haven beach. See if you can guess which painting isn't mine! One of them is a ten-minute copy of a Joseph Mallord William Turner (JMW Turner) painting at the Yale Center for British Art.
REMINDER: Julia and I are moving in one month and we'd love your support. We have a fundraiser/sale where you can buy some artwork at very low prices! You can also donate if that's what you'd like to do!
Here is the link to the Generosity.com fundraiser. Supposedly 100% of your donations go to us (no fees involved) Julia and Landon's Next Journey We are close to the $500 goal and if we get to it I will be giving out a special surprise with each purchase. :)
Landon R. Wilson
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