Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blog EXCLUSIVE!: My very own Animator Portrait!

So, I realized that I've been doing these Animator Portraits for over 3 years now, and the one person I didn't have yet was- yup, yours truly.

Well, I thought it over for quite a while- how would I do it? did I even want to do it? would it count as a portrait?- and finally, I came to the decision. I wanted one. I just didn't know how the hell I was gonna take it. I thought about setting up a tripod, etc., but I know me. I HATE being in front of the camera. I like being safe and sound behind it! (And there I shall stay!)

So, I ended up talking to the Institute Photographer, an AMAZING photographer named Scott Groller. Annnd- long story short (TOO LATE!), we decided he would shoot me for my portrait. The date kept getting pushed back, but the week of Thanksgiving, Scott came into the cubes and shot me. (That always sounds so painful- haha!)

I am BEYOND happy with the photos he took. So many I love for so many reasons! But, as we all know, there can be only one. And I am presenting it here only.

Presenting- my Animator portrait.

I picked this particular shot for so many reasons. One- I look fabulous. Two- it emphasizes everything that I love about what I do and who I am. I love my hands, the way I hold my head when I draw (which I know isn't correct, but it's so me!), and I love 2D animation. Lastly, it is exactly what I aim to capture in every single portrait I take. It's the kind of photo I can send to my folks and they can be like, "Oh, look! There's our kid, working away at college." I know that may sound stupid, but it's the aim of this project for me. Because it's NOT a selfie. Because it's not taken on a cell phone. Because it's not taken at an arm's distance away. Because maybe it doesn't show me at my absolute best angle. But it's REAL. There's no pose- at least, not intentional. It's just me, the way I am.

I hope to continue this series for years to come- even after I leave CalArts. I hope to take Animator Portraits of my friends at studios and in their work spaces. This series is truly a product and work of love. And I am thrilled to now be included in it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Yes- blog title is correct. I am pretty sure there are more grey hairs on my head, but I've no time to inspect them. I am just assuming they are there at this moment.

The killer assignment this semester is Bruce Block's Film Grammar "book". We all breathed a sigh of relief the world has never known when he emailed us to tell us that he would NOT be requiring us to make a film this semester as well!

The book was to make 60 different pictures of the principles taught in class. Yes- SIXTY. Six of each. After the first week, when I tried to Photoshop it like everyone else, I got an email from Bruce informing me that I had to redo four of them. After that, I decided to *&^% Photoshop and the entire freaking day it took me to do all that- and I picked up my beautiful, faithful, trusty Rebel xTi. (< That's a camera.) Bruce said we were allowed to use photography if we so desired and I so did!

It ended up saving me a lot, but it ended up hurting a lot too. I am still bound to the campus for the most part (no time or car), so I was limited with what i could do, but DAMN! If I say so myself, I am pretty freaking happy with a bunch of these! Enjoy!

My ETERNAL gratitude to my models- Lexy, Phillip, Elizabeth, Aaron, Alexandra, Gavin, Clare, Onion, Sean, the reluctant Mirae, and the even MORE reluctant Rose!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kyros Sculpture- Almost there...

"Almost there... alllmost there..."

God, I cannot tell you how badly I wish to be FINISHED with this sculpture! I am SO CLOSE! I mean, I can friggin' taste it! Okay, well, not really... unless I stick my Chavant-covered fingers in my mouth- but that's just GROSS!

I am doing last touch-ups on this sculpture for my grad review. Basically, making sure all his sides and stuff are smooth and even and stuff... yeah. That means raking. And if I had guitar wire of my own, he'd be done now. But I only have really thin wire. So I will have to finish him on Tuesday- PLEASE GOD- LET ME FINISH HIM ON TUESDAY!?!?!

In other news, saw Captain Phillips today. Nice movie, but the shay-cam nearly made me ralph. *shakes head* I will never understand the over-use of that stuff.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kyros sculpture: progress

I am getting very close now to completely finishing my Kyros sculpture- which is a very good thing, seeing as how I have my grad review in a little under two weeks. I am absolutely thrilled with how he is looking.

I think a little more work on the arms to bring them back out, fixing the other elbow to have those neat old man skin wrinkles above them, clean up the waist fold of his chiton and then a polish down of the fabric and I think he'll be completely done! After all that, I'll clean and stain the base. I am thinking maybe Greek design motifs in it! EEEEEEE!!!!! *is getting excited* Maybe I could do that on the hem of his clothes too? Your thoughts?

I can't believe how well he came out. He basically looks exactly like I wanted him to- though I didn't know it when I started. I originally intended to keep 100% faithful to the animation design her has- very graphic and shape oriented, but I like this 3D version of him very much. It's nice to see him in a different mode.

In other news, as I said- grad review is coming up. Also, I am starting to look at job postings. I have more film studies for you, but that will have to wait for another post. Love you guys!

Friday, November 15, 2013


Sometimes I wonder about whether or not I should post my thoughts on this blog... Everyone I go to school with has a blog... most just post artwork. They never say anything. Now, I ain't sayin' that I have truly intense, moving, powerful, or truly though-provoking things to say... but I have thoughts and feelings and those inform my art, so they are an important part, right?

I have recently been having problems in that- I no longer feel like I have a "life". Yeah, check out that quote on the top of my blog. "Animation is about creating the illusion of life. And you can't create it if you don't have one." That is starting to concern me. I have no life.

I don't mean some sort of unattainable, unrealistic version of a life, involving traveling the world and eating baby rabbit, dipped in duck's tears, after nailing it to the garden roof and getting to work with the blow torch so it has just the right texture to match the squash you made that morning using just your elbows... I'm not saying that! I mean the kind of life where- I have WEEKENDS! Like one a month! Maybe a vacation every two years or something. A week off, or a holiday where I am not still holed up somewhere working- ALONE! A life where I have friends and SEE THEM REGULARLY! Where Facebook isn't so much a place where I see all my friends are having lives and enjoying them, but more a "oh yeah... look what so-and-so and I did last week! That was great..."- is that SO much to ask?

I dunno. Maybe it is. Maybe I am making this out to be bigger than it is. Honestly, Facebook is the devil. But when I leave campus, even for a few hours!, and suddenly feel like a "real human", something is wrong! Something is seriously wrong when I feel normal doing menial things like... driving. Or having lunch with a girlfriend- NOT in the Caf.

I want to live again. I want to not feel so... run down all the time. Both physically and creatively. I want to find that lively, vivacious woman that I know is deep somewhere, trapped in all the stress and anxieties of my fourth and final year at CalArts.

Also, I want a cat.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Film studies

Just posting a few of these. I've fallen behind. Been doing these every week and I am enjoying them immensely!

The films I've drawn from are Upside Down (2012), American Beauty (1999), and To Kill A Mockingbird (1962).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I've figured it out! HOLY CRAP!


Lord, help me! Why did I decide to do this?! I haven't even started yet and I know I am going to regret this, but holy crap, I'm gonna do it!

I am so totally pumped!

...... by the by... does anyone know how to make someone look like a badass?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

He finally has a face!

So, I'm not sure, but I might have missed one update on the Kyros sculpture. Whatever! Here's the update. After class last week- and for the long weekend- I decided to really have a go at Kyros and try to move him along since we were starting a new sculpture this week.

I worked on him for almost 9 hours!? (How the EFF is ~THAT~ possible?!?!) Anyway, now he has a face! Both feet. And a hand. He's only missing details in the face, the other hand and his top portion of his chiton, along with the fibulas. After we finish this new sculpture, I will go back and finish Kyros for good. I must say- I am very happy with how he has come out.

He always looks so funny from high up to me.

And I really want to find a way to make the gaps under his arms better... I hate the weird gap they leave. Like it's too big or something....

I also must say- I could not be happier with his profile.

Lookit that gorgeous hand! LOVE that hand! Must make the other look just as good.

Also, just as the stupidest "SNEAK PEEK" ever- here's the beginning of the next sculpture!

Doesn't that just whet your appetite!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Back in the Display Case!

Whoa... This is in the hall this week.

This is the most artwork I have had in the cases in... three years! Part of me is THRILLED! The rest of me is going, "WTH?! My class makes some great work! Why is mine in there?!"

I am seriously loving my Illustration and Sculpture classes with John Mahoney. I don't know if I am doing anything spectacular or anything, but what I ~am~ making in those classes is making me happy. And honestly- isn't that enough?
Speaking of Sculpture, I have made a little more progress on Kyros.

He has feet now as well as some ankles. He still needs calves and thighs. Hands are a WIP. They are also going to be one of the most difficult parts, I suspect.

Granted, he's not where he needs to be for me to finish him on time, hence why I plan to attack him like a maniac on Monday (holiday! YAY!). Basically, if I can have EVERYTHING done on him except maybe the hands and his clothes, I would be BEYOND happy!
I want to be ready on Tuesday at class to start on the next piece- a live model is coming in. I am actually totally pumped about starting another piece. I want to bring in a serious element of the surreal/supernatural to the human pose. Either by giving her a crazy pet or making her half-something, etc. I have seen some amazing sculpture pieces that I would like to keep in mind when I make her. Essentially, I want to go out of my comfort zone.

Beyond that, I sent in a progress file of my third year film. What's animated is animated, what's not- is... not. I'm not happy about it, but I am proud of how much I have done. So- blah!

Animation is hard. It takes a lot of time and work and dedication. If I hadn't had the life I had this summer, it might have been more complete, but then again- it might not have been worked on at all, if I hadn't had some of the amazing opportunities I had. I am grateful to those who made that possible and I do not regret all of the things I had to miss out on due to my promise to this film. I have had to say no to a lot of offers to go out and hang out and have fun because of my responsibility to this film.

I'm not saying that I didn't have ANY fun this summer- I did! I went to Disneyland, I saw the Getty for the first time and I learned a lot about myself. I have grown- maybe not because of this film- but certainly WITH it! Besides, I will finish it someday. It's my baby. I am still in love with this film.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Film Grammar with Bruce Block

So, I am taking the amazing Bruce Block's Film Grammar class this year and it's kind of taking us back to the basics and pushing us forward (in huge, giant, humungous leaps) all that the same time.

Did I just use three adjectives that all mean the same thing? YES! Wanna make something of it?!

Anyway! We were working on Space. He asked that I redo four of the six pieces requested for the homework and rather than kill myself with Photoshop (which, I have discovered, that I have gotten very out-of-date with?! WTF?!), I decided to switch to photography (which I am enjoying more and more and, honestly, I feel I can control better). The results are very much to my liking. I tried to create a story with each one.
What do you think? What's going on in your opinion?

And all of my characters/models are basically volunteers- whom I can never thank enough.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kyros Sculpture: Update

Here it is! Week 3!

Decided I would do a quick little update before I head to bed. Had Sculpture class today (I so look forward to this class, even when I feel as rotten as I felt today) and got to start refining Kyros' body. I really need to start working on that poor face!

I am REALLY glad with the way he is coming out. I don't think I want to smooth out his muscles. I really like the stringy look. I will consult with John as to what to do for the final. I finally got a guitar string from a guy here at school so I can make my own rake. I am SO stoked!

ENJOY the pics!

My Kyros with his live-action model, as you can see. Notice the hunched back, the long ears, the beard. Yeah, I am truly thrilled at how I am able to capture the resemblance... XD

I am guessing it is pretty obvious where I spent the majority of class... I LOVE how this is coming out.

I also love the sunken in chest. I love how it feels and now how it looks. It's a shame I will have to cover it with his chiton. Though I am chomping at the bit to maybe do some fabric wrinkles in it, even though his film design doesn't have it.

I am so happy- he finally has wrists!

NIGHT, all!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Triumph and Olympia layout studies

Okay- first off:


The following images may be considered offensive/distressing for some of my viewers. Please understand, I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter of the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)- or Nazi party. I am violently against their beliefs and their crimes against humanity.

These images were drawn from two films- Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) and Olympia Pt.1. These films were assigned to me by my independent study project leader to study the shots that the director, Leni Riefenstahl, used to create these racist German propaganda films.

Triumph of the Will

I think the thing that actually struck me most about all of these shots is actually how WELL they are shot, framed, composed. Riefenstahl really knew how to manipulate the viewer into thinking that this was the most glamorous political party for Germany. She showed repeatedly how massive and all-encompassing the military was and really made the individual soldiers appear to be the best and the strongest and the pride of their country. She also showed their "humanity" by showing them goofing off at their training grounds and lots of smiles.

Further investigation into this film, however, proved just HOW manipulative this Nazi ***** really was. She used multiple cameras for so many angles AND- shot the parade multiple times to get them all. Once, at least- with a camera in the car with Hitler (the Nazi sh*t-head) and at least once without. (Honestly, try to imagine being a person watching the parade, watching them do it once then having to do it again with the same enthusiasm!) Also, it is mentioned that her "arrangement" of the activities and even some of the landmarks of the parade are NOT in order! Meaning, she manipulated it even further to build up and release the viewers, per her "vision". So rather than me even believing that this is a 'documentary' of the 1934 Nazi Party rally, it just feels like pure fiction now.

Olympia, Pt. 1

So, the Film Library's only copy of Olympia was on VHS- which you can't really Pause... So much tracking lines! XD So I didn't do a lot of studies from it. One, there weren't too many shots that I would have redone. It's a bunch of athletes doing athletic things. Or maybe watching the Olympics so many times in my life, I didn't see much of anything "original" or something. (Except the opening, which features mostly naked athletes doing athletic things like they were the original Greeks! VERY cool if you like Greek stuff... like a certain fourth year I know...)

I also learned something interesting though about Hitler's authorized taping of the 1936 Olympics. Riefenstahl actually resisted the typical documentary style previously used of filming the Games and went for her own idea, which is the basis for how the Games are filmed NOW! She recreated the 'genre', I guess. Sick, no?

Overall, I come away from this just feeling so much sadness and sorrow for the people who died under these people's influence and the people who were romanced into believing that they were in the right for the sake of their country under that psycho and his devotees. Also, I really hate that I found so much beauty in the director's choices. If only she'd used her talents for ANYONE other than the Nazis, I think she would have made an amazing contribution to the art form. However, seeing as how Triumph of the Will is considered one of the most infamous "documentary" propaganda films of all time, I'm not sure she could have surpassed that...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kyros sculpture progress

So I am FINALLY enrolled in John Mahoney (seriously, he's the man. He is. AMAZING!) Sculpture class after- oh, only three years of threatening- I mean, promising! to do so... And already I am remembering how much I love sculpture. I mean, I sculpted the heads of both of my characters last year, but I ALWAYS wanted to do the full body, but just never got the chance, you know? There was always something else- "more important"- that I was supposed to be working on....

Like animating my film....

So here I am, in class, sculpting my final design for Kyros, the old master. I am. THRILLED! Here- have some photos of my progress.


I finished the armature only in the first week. I was sad, but I got to class a little late because of my meeting before and I had to go and buy a lot of the supplies. I wish I had unlimited funds- I would buy everything I could every possibly need! Including Dream Wire.


The plan going in to class today was to heat up the Chavant, while that was going on- to wrap the body with aluminum foil to lighten him up a bit, then THROW the Chavant on it as quickly as possible. I wanted his rough shape roughed out before the end of class. Needless to say- I did it!
Now I want to get some references of some good strong anatomy of old people (think senior citizen Olympians!) and really make a lot of progress next week. I find myself looking forward to this class more than almost any other.

I am reminded though of the last time I made a sculpture- in high school. The bust I called 'Misery'. For every reason that just popped in your head- it was accurate! The assignment was to make a bust portrait kind of thing... And what did over-achiever-art-student-Amanda do?!?!?! Why- a slightly larger than life-size bust- complete with two ARMS!!!! When wet, it weighed about 40-50 pounds. It lightened up to maybe 35-40 when complete. It also destroyed my mother's brand new teak dining room table when I took it home to work on it. Lugging that bitc- uhhh, art piece home should be adopted as a fun new version of torture!

Now imagine me during the first firing... I had spent WEEKS on this bitc- uhh, girl. (One day, I had even asked if I could stay inside during a fire drill because 1) I was in the middle of a great streak and 2) I was covered to my WRISTS in clay! I was forced outside in the Texas heat, where I first looked like a psycho doctor who had performed some horrific surgery on some poor victim, then the clay hardened on me and I was an encased sculpture.) I was TERRIFIED that she would bust open. If I'd encased any air bubbles in her, she would explode. She was also so large, that my teacher couldn't fit ANYTHING ELSE in the kiln! (And it was a BIG KILN!) Thankfully (or was it?!), she came out mostly unscathed.

When I was asked how I wanted to glaze her- I wanted to stay as far away from traditional glazes as possible. I knew what I would do with my lousy color sense. I would RUIN IT! So my teacher, the PHENOMENAL Miss Moore, suggested that we smoke her with a firing process called 'raku'. Of course, I was down. However- you must realize- most sculptures made by my class could have been smoked in a coffee can! But NOT Misery! We needed a oil barrel to fit her in! So after I spray painted her a metallic gold, we threw (read: had to carefully lower a 35 pound sculpture down from the lip of a tall oil barrel!) her in the bottom, filled it with newspapers and SET! IT! ON! FIRE!!!!! MWA-HAHAHAH!!!!!!

Sadly... she survived. I will never forget "uncovering" her face in the oil barrel. I had to brush away ashes from her eyes. She looked like a face frozen in agony from the Pompeii volcano! It was AWESOME!

Actually, she came out so well, my teacher made me take her to a local art competition. (Please keep in mind, most students going to this competition had one art piece... on a piece of paper... or cardboard. I HAD THAT FREAKING 35-POUND BEHEMOTH!!!) I got a first place, then got selected to represent our region at the STATE level. SO I had to drag Misery on a BUS to Arlington, TX and lug her to the freaking building! GOD, how I hated her by then! I seriously just wanted to drop her on the walk in to the building... I ended up getting a perfect score at State.

I still hate that freaking sculpture....

Monday, September 16, 2013

Layout Studies

No one comments, but I have 22,400+ pageviews... which is more than I did last month. So SOMEONE is looking! So I'll post art for you guys! Here are some storyboard studies I did on a 1920 silent German Expressionist film called The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Later this week, I will be doing my own original layouts for some of these shots. Not to make them "better", per se, but how ~I~ would have made the shot, trying to keep in mind what the director was trying to say, the mood, etc. I hope to post those later.

WARNING!: Spoilers abound! (Especially if you speak German.)

That first one just HIT me and I had to draw it. I think that room is just perfect.

I loved the tall freaking chair for the Town Clerk. Had to draw it just because of that.

There's Alan's chair again. I think it almost stole these scenes for me.

Again, I had to do the funeral because of that amazing gate! Wow.
Pardon the stupid blob of marker on Jane's face... marker decided it was a great time to go BLOOP.

The rooftop scene is spectacular.

This shot is simply perfect in my opinion.