Friday, 28 December 2012

The Rejects!


With the end of the year just around the corner and my blog activity being non-existent over the past few months, I decided to post something before the new year of drawing commences!
 The subject matter relates to a character design commission that kept me busy for a short while on a project that I am unable to disclose. However, these drawings were not selected for the final designs and exist now as redundant rejects on the scrapheap of character creation. Forever doomed they shall remain as jpegs in the commission’s folder on my desktop. Thus their disclosure is quite fitting for an end of year post as in out with the old, in with the new - Hey they made it onto my blog at least!



Thursday, 27 September 2012

First bit of animation in a year or so!




After publishing my first ebook AMB's Advanced Animal A to Z I have been hard at work making a short online commercial for it. I decided to revisit my traditional animation days of old and put into practice my rusty traditional animation skills that have been sadly neglected in the past few years whilst working as a storyboard artist. The line test above is only a small taste of the commercial which will be a minute long - though most of the animation will be at the start in the form of the above character. The animation was done entirely in Adobe Flash CS6 using my new Wacom Cntiq 12 WX tablet - I decided to get the smaller model for portable purposes as I need to take it abroad often. I put on my very best Brian Blessed impersonation and voiced the entire commercial...I experienced a little trouble syncing it up in the final comp as Flash slowed the audio down by 8 percent or so thus I think I will break the audio manually in a dope sheet next time as opposed to animating whilst scrubbing..I will post more updates on the developments of the ebook commercial as and when they happen. My book is available for Kindle reader and Kobo with an iBooks version to follow. The links are below for those interested.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Animal Alphabet book!

Those of you who regularly follow my blog posts may have been able to deduce through all of the cartoon animal images which I have been posting of late that I was working on an animal alphabet project! I am pleased to announce it to be complete! After a short self-taught course in e publishing I have assembled it together so that it is available for the kindle reader that has applications on mobile devices also. I am currently developing a version for other e book devices and it will be available for them shortly. You can read more about the book and sample a few pages here http://ambartist.blogspot.co.uk/p/ambs-advanced-animal-z-for-ages-3-to-8.html

Here is the front cover art!

GET - UK PAPERBACK      GET- UK KINDLE 

GET -  US PAPERBACK     GET - US KINDLE

Here are some reviews from people who purchased the book from amazon.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book - lots of talking points 10 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I recently purchased this book for when I visit my nephews; I loved the Disney-style of the drawings and wanted something to read along with them.

Aside from the lovely illustrations, this book is constructed in such a way as to have multiple tiers of talking points - so you can initially talk about letters of the alphabet, then animals, then adjectives like "angry" or "clever" and then on to more complex concepts.

I firmly believe that at this young age, kids are taking in a huge amount of information - so there is no point in limiting that process. If a kid needs to ignore something, they will.

In this way, the author has designed as book that can be used again and again in different ways.

It's fun to walk through the book, looking at the pictures, asking the kids to say the words, describe the drawings and their relationship to the words - it really opens them up to talking about their experiences and helps them to tie their experiences in to the language they are learning.
As your child grows concepts like warm blooded animals, reptiles, mammals, omnivores, nocturnal etc. are there for the discussion. So I've genuinely had fun reading along with my hyperactive 8 year old nephew Kyle and my little 5 year old princess nephew Shania.

I don't think you can go wrong with this book - the drawings alone are worth the price; but the opportunity to expand young minds is priceless.

Well worth it.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 24 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I know there are a lot of Animal Alphabets around, but this one is really above the rest. The drawings of the animals are very well done, very professional and the child might even associate a few of them with the animals from the movie Madagascar, which gives them a sense of recognition and familiarity.
I bought it for my little girl who wants to be an artist. She is nearly 10 and she wanted it for the drawings, to try her hand.
Also, you have some little snippets of info on each animal, which I thought was a nice individual touch.
I think this book has a place on your Kindle but it must be viewed on a tablet or a computer, because of the colours. I think this book is very inspiring and a .... happy book!
My only wish is that it would be available soon as a paper book, there is definitely a place for it on my book shelf and my budding artist could refer to it anytime.

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully presented and illustrated ebook for children, helping them to learn the letters of the alphabet in both lower and upper cases - which is really useful.

Excellent value and provides additional words against each letter to assist with letter recognition and a short description, so it more than just a letter and a illustration...like you can find in some other alphabet books.

A must buy for parents - can't recommend it enough!

5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully illustrated!! 17 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book! Certainly an ideal gift for the little ones who will love the fun, quirky, colourful illustrations, and help them with their school work as they grow- a must have for all those children out there who love to learn and have an inquisitive mind!

5.0 out of 5 stars A.M.B's Advanced Animal A-Z 10 Nov 2012
By Muppett
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
A beautifully illustrated guide to the alphabet.
My little girl loved going through this again and again, making me play the part of each animal.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Animal Update!

This instalment of cartoon animals contains a cartoon Zebra, a Vixen, an Umbrella bird,  a Skunk, an X-ray fish, a walrus, a Tiger and a Yak! They complete my collection of animal character concepts for my forthcoming e book and application. I will post more information when the products are at a completed stage! 




Saturday, 18 August 2012

Rough Story Boards (very rough!)

Those of you who regularly follow my blog or are well acquainted with my work know that I like to present it in the most pristine manner possible. I make no apologies in spending more time than what is required for some of my storyboard commissions and I like to get the drawing as close to a finished state whenever time permits. There are times however, when time simply does not permit and one such case was on my role as head of story for the animated feature Sokator 442. Indeed I am sure that many of you who follow this blog have encountered some of my story art on this project (and others) and found it to be finished to almost layout style proportions. There was a demand for me to work especially clean on this project as there was no budget for layout and my boards had to be blown up and interpreted. However there were times when my work load was far too great for me to take the board beyond a slight reworking of my thumbnails. In this post I share with you some examples of that process. Hopefully one can look beyond the ill proportioned scribbles and see the the essentials of storyboarding in tact such as flow, composition, staging and mood. I am particularly pleased with this little scene and actually prefer it as a piece of nuts and bolts boarding to some of my more laboured efforts!








Monday, 16 July 2012

Wacom Drawing: Character Design in Real Time

Here is a character design I sketched for progressive Metal band Training Icarus.
The music band is fast rising in the world of rock and metal. At one stage they approached me to animate a video for them - The character was designed for that video but production has been put on hold while the band continues to establish itself. The video below is an example of how the character was designed and created. I listened to the music for inspiration and tried to capture the emotional spirit of the songs into the design.
You can listen to more music from Training Icarus at their official website: http://www.trainingicarus.com/
and find them on facebook also: https://www.facebook.com/trainingicarus

Monday, 9 July 2012

ACTION SEQUENCE from Sokator 442

This is a sequence from the animated movie Sokator 442 that I am very proud of. As the head of story on the production my role also involved revising the script and building upon elements within it. There was a section in the script that was less than thorough, it involved a large tank that the protagonist had to do battle with. The lines were short and not very descriptive. I cannot recall exactly what they said but it was a very A, B, C style affair.The director at Zoo films came to me and asked me to beef the scene up so I designed a Tank that was like a large swamp creature and changed the environment setting to the outer marshes of the villains castle. I thumb-nailed the whole thing in a day and shown it to the director who absolutely loved it.
The dwindling quality of drawings in my board is apparent as I began detailing them for the overseas studio to utilise as lay out drawings but ultimately my duties were required elsewhere on fixing other scenes and revising older boards so in the end my thumbnails were used as story boards. The whole sequence taken four days and was extremely enjoyable to do. Because this was the first draft and due to the nature of the deadline it went through for production in the form of my post. We revised the final cut in edit with a few inserts to help the flow a little better and some additional dialogue to keep it moving.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Disney style Princess: Cancer Campaign

Artwork developed for my Company A.M.B Animation as a proposal for a Cancer awareness fund raising campaign that will tug at the heartstrings of potential audiences and aid in raising finances towards a very worthy charity. The campaign will draw attention to the emotional hardship concerning children and the process of chemotherapy during their battle with cancer.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Animal art continues!

What does a Hippo a Goat a Frog and an Elephant all have in common? They are all part of some of my cartoon animal development art.

You can find this Artwork in print or on your kindle in my book here! http://bit.ly/1al9a2O 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Book Preview: How to Draw a Pretty Cartoon Girl.

This is a mock up of the cover of my forth-coming book titled 'How to draw a Pretty Cartoon Girl'. The book will give readers an insight into character construction and breaking anatomy into simple manageable shapes using an easy to understand step-by-step approach. It is due out in the last quarter of the year. Below the image is a preview of some excerpts from the author’s introduction and chapter on how to utilise the book.



Excerpt 1 Authors Introduction.
   As a young artist eager to improve my abilities I would often watch my seniors, as they would draw well-constructed appealing poses of characters. I would gaze in amazement as in a matter of minutes they would construct a drawing of far greater appeal than anything I could have produced in the duration of many hours.The drawings that these experienced animation artists would make had a professional edge to them and even in their rough unfinished state they contained that certain something that I knew my fully finished drawings lacked. Even after having worked in the business as a professional for a year or so I never felt satisfied with my efforts. There was a clear distinction between my work and the work of those whom I admired and in spite of the many hours I spent practising as well as reading books for guidance my work continued to fall short of the mark. I spent months drawing from life just as I was advised to do so by the many books and professionals I valued and still those few simple, intuitive strokes of the pencil created by some of the artists around me would continue to possess the very quality that I desired to be contained within my work.
   Eventually I started to progress and my drawings began to mature, in part because of my continuing to practice and following the advice of those whom I respected, but also because I truly began to understand the process of drawing and the methods used to create those particular drawings. Though I had worked in the industry for a good few years it was only then I could personally feel that I was at a professional level. If you have ever felt this way about your work than this book is dedicated to you!

Excerpt 2 Authors Introduction.
I have thought about the progression throughout my career and have written the kind of book that the younger over eager version of my self would have greatly benefited from. It would be a great deception to write a book claiming to cover all aspects of drawing and character design as the field is extremely vast and varied. Although there are plenty of fantastic books that give an excellent overview, my book is designed to give an element of precision focus to the reader and take them on a journey from beginning to end concerning the creation of just one particular image. The experience will be as though the reader is looking over my shoulder as I draw and asking a question about almost every line and shape that I make and receiving the answer.

Excerpt 3 How to read and use this book.
The step-by-step presentation of this book will take the reader on a journey into the artist’s mindset as he tackles certain problems that confront him when drawing the character. To the beginner the methods of construction put forward can at times appear a little overly technical and seem unnecessary for the drawing of certain body parts. However, it is important to understand that a confident artist draws freely and without hesitation due to having a full understanding of the subject matter. So for example, whilst it may be passable at times to draw two simple lines connecting the head to the body to represent the neck, if one does not understand how to properly construct a neck they may be at a loss when attempting a more challenging angle. As the familiar saying goes – Knowledge is power so it is important to follow every step through in its entirely. It is also a demonstrable insight as to just how much hidden knowledge is stored at the back of an artists mind even when making the simplest of shapes.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Using the iPad for Character development.


After playing around with my iPad and exploring different drawing apps such as Skethbook pro and Photoshop touch I came to the conclusion that though it was a lot of fun I would not be able to utilise it towards my professional work...Or so I thought! The other day I was waiting for my train home and an idea for a character popped into my head. the image was so clear and strong that I had to make a sketch in case I would loose it. So I scribbled something on Sketchbook pro and taken it as far as I could. Knowing that I would have to revise the image - I emailed it to my self and opened the sketch on my work station where I later made the relevant corrections and alterations and thus completed the drawing. I have put up the original sketch done on the iPad along with the evolutionary process of the character. I will be working this way a lot more in the future!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Traditional Animation in Flash!



This was a short personal project I was attempting to complete whilst doing some storyboards on Horrid Henry back in 2011. I wanted to see if I could produce a piece of animation and achieve the same results as I would with paper and pencil using a Wacom tablet and Adobe Flash. I would do a couple of frames of an evening… I think I somewhat succeeded in my goal. But I found the whole process very arduous and lengthy –thus extremely pointless - It would have been faster and more natural to have done the whole thing on paper…Then perhaps I would have completed the little sequence as opposed to just having done only half of it. I decided to clean up the half I had done and leave it be as I have so many other far more creative personal ventures to be getting on with. Maybe I’ll come back to this one-day and finish it but for now I’ll just leave the line version as an interesting post for my blog!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Angry Alligator

My first piece of serious drawing in 2 months - I felt like doing something fun!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Back with some Boards - Jungle Junction

Having enjoyed my 2-month break from animation and with my recent wedding and honeymoon behind me I am now able to post some boards I did for Spider eye's wonderfully successful TV show Jungle Junction. The show has been bought by Disney and recently aired on Disney Junior. I storyboarded the entire 10-minute episode titled Big Little Adventure. Though the project is pre school I was able to approach it with a mature sense of camera staging particularly as the plot involved the characters being shrunk down to the size of a fingertip. I had to factor in other issues like texturing and rendering of certain elements and what would keep the budget and render time in tact. I had a lot of fun on this one!