Saturday, December 31, 2016

Where did 2016 go and where will 2017 take us?

Everyone always says that "(blank year) just FLEW by". I wish I could empathize, but I cannot with 2016. This year was, for me, filled with a great many things and events and joys and losses, none of which I can truly forget. Also, my status of still being without a permanent residence of my own has done nothing but add to the feeling that this year dragged by. Not to say that that, in and of itself, is a bad thing, but it certainly didn't fly.

The year started off in the most unbelievable and unimaginable way. I found myself working on a Simpsons Cough Gag with Mr. Eric Goldberg. To say that 2016 was "just a complete crap year" is an injustice to this one fact. I will NEVER forget the serendipitous series of events that led me to this one project. And I will also never be able to thank Eric enough for allowing me to be a part of his team. However, this most joyous event was tempered somewhat by the news that my last grandparent, my Nana, passed away on January 9th. I was actually working with Eric when the call came. He and his dear wife, Susan, were absolutely wonderful during this time for me. Though they offered to let me go to grieve, I went back to work. Some people may think it is callous of me, but I get through difficult times best by digging back in to work. True, I cried a bit on a few of the inbetweens, but Eric allowed me. He talked with me and I was able to share with him some of my memories of my grandmother. I only wish I had broken the one Golden Rule of working in this industry and told her what I was working on. She died before I was allowed to say anything of the Simpsons. I know that she must be aware now, but I wish she could have died knowing that, even in a small way, I had finally achieved what I had always dreamed. (I would have said so that she would have died proud of me, but I am not a fool. I know she was proud of me.)

Some very dear friends and I celebrated my birthday on January 14th at Disneyland- a very bittersweet day indeed. Every happy moment was chased by thoughts of my grandmother. I was taken straight to LAX after we closed down the park and got on a plane to attend my grandmother's funeral on the 15th. No one in my family remembered my birthday- but I cannot blame them. (They say life imitates art- haha. Well, my love of the film Sixteen Candles finally caught up with me.) The funeral was devastatingly sad, and yet... had strange surreal moments of humor. Anyone who thinks they can't laugh at a funeral has never been to their technology-impaired grandmother's funeral when the computer projecting the slideshow has to do a system update in the middle of the service.

In 2016, I got a new job to help finish an independent animation short, I quit a separate job that was doing nothing but hurting me, and I was offered another film opportunity- as a painter/designer for the animation sequences in the documentary film, Iron Will: Veterans Battle with PTSD. Having so many dear family members who have served our country in times of war and of peace, this film holds a special place in my memory as well.

The number of friends who have taken me in in 2016 has truly humbled me. I could never have imagined that I would still be floating after nearly 2 years of not having a place of my own. I have stayed with some friends for quite long periods of time, others only a couple of days. But each one of these friends are so very dear to me for opening their doors, couches, floors, and hearts to me. Regardless of everything else, I must say that 2016 showed me how truly blessed I am. Among these friends, I was able to watch two of my best friends get married (to one another) and the arrival of their dear sweet baby boy. I became an "auntie".

Lastly, there is a very important and significant point I came to realize in 2016. I won't go into deep details, but several events have made me analyze what it is I want in a career. I apply for any job that I believe I can competently do, but during a particularly intense moment of self-reflection this month, I made a startling discovery. While I can do MANY jobs in this life- and HAVE to keep food/gas/necessities of life coming in- when I truly asked myself, my answer was immediately, "I am an artist." To have that so clearly solved has made me look at things a little differently. Before I applied to CalArts, an accident nearly took the tip of one of my fingers from me. A very dear friend had an accident less than a month later that nearly severed his dominant index finger. He could not use his drawing hand for weeks. The scare of never being able to draw again is partially what drove me to dedicate myself 110% to getting into the animation industry. My life was too short to lose my ability to draw. And yet, as any loyal followers of this blog know, I do not draw as much as I should. I blame a lot of this on my not having a studio, or sometimes even a DESK on which to draw, but I cannot allow this flimsy excuse to prevent me any longer. 2017 will be the year of art. Sketches, studies, paintings- whatever it takes. I will strive to draw every - single - day! I will try to post here as much as possible. I just cannot let another year got to waste when I want to be in this industry so badly. And I had to admit, the fault is Mine. I am the one to blame. I do not make time for art, though I claim that art brings me so much joy. Perhaps the real reason I felt 2016 was such a sad year was because I got too far away from the thing I want more than anything.

So- I enter into 2017 as an artist. I go forward with a new attitude. I refuse to allow myself to sink into my own pit of pity and self-despair. I wish you all the very best in the year to come. I believe that life is (usually!) what you make of it. So I will watch out for you all in the coming year and hope that you will be along with me on this amazing ride!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Hey guys. Finally had a little time to work on some personal art. At life drawing a couple of weeks ago, I drew one that I liked a lot. Wanted to ink and finish it. 

Played with gold paint pen. No reason except I wanted to. Thanks to Mom and Dad for educating me on how people stored their LPs in the 60's and 70's!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

John Mahoney's Zentropa Life Drawing Jam!

Center Stage Gallery hosted a life drawing jam in honor of John Mahoney's Zentropa book. Had to go support the teacher/boss, so I made sure to attend. Had a GREAT time! Tried to draw in a John-esque style today. Was a little of a challenge, but totally enjoyed it!

Looking forward to turning these into latex! Gonna play with them some more.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

How NOT to Pass A Storyboard Test!

I debated whether or not to post this, but as I claim that this blog is a record of my journey into the animation industry, I feel it only right to post this. So, in homage to my largest ever post on this blog, "How to NOT Get Accepted to CalArts!", I present "How NOT to Pass A Storyboard Test!".

Several months ago, I guess it was January, I applied to a great little studio out here and was granted a storyboard test. (For those of you who don't know- a storyboard test is what a studio gives you to apply for a storyboarding job. They care less about a resume- for a story job, it's ALLLL about the test!) I have taken a couple at this point. Never been very happy with them. Usually, I stress myself out so much that I just flail! (Really should stop over-thinking everything...) This particular test was cool in that I got to try to board a short story out of Walt Disney's life. A little known story, I guess. I liked it right away. I had one week.

SOOO MUCH PAPER later and SEVERAL uhhh, complications including running a friend to the hospital and catching the flu, I had what I guessed was an okay test. There were sections I was definitely happier with, and several, I was just NOT! But- I turned it in and hoped for the best.

Long story short- I did not get the job. It happens. You apply, you get rejected or you just never hear back. (Still can't decide which of those is worse.) BUT! One great thing came out of taking the storyboard test. When I got to the studio, I saw that they were also testing for Inbetweeners! (I later took that test as well! Felt MUCH better about that one! Still didn't get it, but not because of any failing on my part, I was assured.)

Saw this video posted on Facebook a while back. It is from the company AND it just happens to include several storyboard tests. Once of which happens to belong to yours truly. Now, I'm not going to come right out and say which one is mine, maybe you can figure it out yourself, maybe you can't, but there is some GREAT information in here for anyone else looking into storyboarding for the animation industry!

I couldn't believe he named the video that- it IMMEDIATELY reminded me of my blog post from 6 years ago!

I took down all of his notes for my reference next time. Glad to have the input. I hope some of you can find something useful to apply to your work too. (Sorry the video is so long. He really does break down a lot though!)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hillbilly Heaven!

Just gotta keep drawing!

You never know when something will suddenly click. Backstory: We have a model who comes to CSG and I've seen him before, and we just did not click. I disliked the poses, I disliked the character he dressed as, I just didn't get anything from him. I eventually left early. The rest of the evening went unbelievably horrible.

But on Wednesday, he came back. I was immediately a little hesitant. Would it be another bad night? Would I get anything I could use? Then he put on this wig... This wig was the worst wig ever- the cut was uneven and choppy and man, I just FED ON IT! I made the hair cover his eyes and suddenly, I had a little character! I drew the guy for the rest of the night! Sometimes I drew him taller, sometimes shorter, but I liked him either way.

Okay, so I seriously need to work on my rabbits, but whatever!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Drawing through the pain

Life drawing last night was the incomparable Daniella Traub. This woman can hold some FANTASTIC poses! Plus, she's all leg- hahaha! She came dressed as some sort of 60's mod girl or something, and the first thing I thought of was a 60's alien girl, which eventually rolled a little into 50's carhop. Anyway, it was fun! With the exception of some bad pain in my right (read: drawing) elbow from a long and hard work week, everything was great.

However, by this point in the night, the pain in my elbow had become immense. Instead of quitting and wrapping up for the night, I shifted to my left hand and finished out the night. I put all of the left-handed sketches together in chronological order so you can see- as I did- how my hand started to cope quickly.

Would love to play with some of these later and see what happens. Keep drawing, guys! <3

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pirates, Pirates everywhere!

(Also titled, Why we love John Tucker!)

Went to life drawing again. It was the wondrous John Tucker last night! He was doing his pirate thing. I was doing my "I've been working on a really amazing project that heavily features non-perfect and clean lines, so I am going to try that tonight" thing. Most of these drawings are basically one line drawings, never lifting the pen off the paper. I am delighted with some of the results.

I also did two great little sketches of one of my friends in class, drawing, but she has forbidden me to post them. Color me not happy. *pouts*

Also, odd little tidbit of trivia. It's been so hot down here in LA, that the glue holding my sketchpad together MELTED! My sketchpad is no longer a neat, squared off pad, it's more of a "I'm ready to flip this animation shot with perfect flippity" angle. And yes, I did just say that.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Think fauns, centaurs- THINK!

Okay, so at life drawing last night, the model wore these huge horns. And while I know she was trying to channel a little more "Maleficent", I tried to go the faun/centaur route. I don't know how successful I was, but I would like to go back to these soon and try to spin them a little in the direction of Freddy Moore/Manu Arenas. If you don't know who Manu Arenas is- GO LOOK HIM UP NOW!

Okay, admittedly the main reason I may want to turn her into a faun or centaur was because I couldn't actually see her legs through all the people at drawing last night. I never sit in the front. But I think this could be a fun game. We shall see.

Also, not sure why I avoided her hands all night... That's not like me at all! Admittedly, I was REALLY far back...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Back to the Zoo on a lovely LA day

Hey, blog readers.

I met one of you the other day. I was supremely awkward, yet again... hahaha! (Sorry, Lindsey.) I do apologize to any one else I have ever met/will meet. I don't mean to be awkward, but I seriously forget that there are people who actually READ this blog, so when I suddenly hear someone else mentioning it, it weirds me out- hahaha I will strive harder to be cool or whatever.

Today was an unbelievably beautiful day in Southern California, so I had to head to the LA Zoo again for some sketching. Didn't get many animals in. Spent a lot of time with the gorillas. Considering what has been happening in the current events and news and such with Cincinnati, it felt right to sit there. I love to watch how smart they are. And absolutely abhor to see the short bursts of violence against the glass that the gorillas display when all of the people/kids who walk by slam on the glass to get their attention, then get upset that they get the same disrespect they give.
I sat next to two or three separate gorillas, quietly sketching, and they never displayed any sort of anger against me. God, they are such magnificent creatures! I am simply in awe.

So here are some sketches I did. For funzies.

I think my favorite thing today was the feet. Their feet are so fantastic. And the gorilla sitting and playing with his toes was the perfect thing for studying how their feet actually work.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sketching at the LA Zoo

Went to the LA Zoo yesterday to sketch. Haven't been in a bit and with the weeks my boss has given me off, I have to find something to do with myself!

Never know what to expect on a weekday at the zoo, pulled up and saw at least 10 school buses, so figured it was gonna be pretty bad... Sadly, however, it wasn't the kids who bothered me so much, but the ADULTS! The adults who make menacing noises to the giant predators that, if they had their way, would devour these idiotic people. The adults who attempt to feed animals while standing in front of signs that explicitly say to NOT TO! and the adults who then immediately demand photos of their children with the animals. I'm sorry- I started ranting, didn't I?

Here have some art!

I should go back again. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Help When It's Most Needed

I wanted to post this yesterday, but I was so exhausted that I needed to pass out. Plus, I am still trying to put my thoughts together on this subject.

Last night was the 2016 CalArts Character Animation Producers' Show. It was a night of many emotions. Our amazing, stupendous Martha Baxton announced her retirement, effective at the end of the year. The department will never be the same without her! There were tears, a standing ovation, and a general sense of "What will we ever do without her?" Martha is the chocolate-loving faerie godmother of Character Animation. Many of her long-time coworkers are absolutely in a state of denial.

On top of this, I realized that it has been two years since I graduated from CalArts and, while I have recently been able to share one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me, I am still not where I wish to be in the general terms of my life and position. I won't say I am ashamed of my current situation- on the contrary, I am exceedingly honored that I have found so many friends to help support me out here when all else fails- but as a fiercely independent woman (and a stubborn-headed Southern one, to boot!), there are things that I want in my life that have not yet been attained. My loving and supporting family's response to this period of trial in my life is to suggest that I return to Texas- an option that I have staunchly refused. However, in recent days, the option has been gaining ground.

Then, last night happened. Our guest of honor was Rich Moore, the Emmy Award-winning, Annie recipient, and Academy Award nominee and co-director of Zootopia. His speech was brief and fun. He kept it loose and light, even when dealing with a very deep topic. He spoke to the graduating animators- warning them that life was about to get very rough. And to the students not graduating, he warned that life would be tough for them in a few years, too. He told about how when he first graduated, he struggled and clawed and wasn't seeming to "make it" in the industry. Then, slowly, bit by bit, he got little jobs that led to other jobs, that led to others, and now here he is!

Sitting in that dark theater, thinking about my current situation, I felt that he was speaking directly to me. And he told us to not give up. He had a friend that had given up after just a few years and returned home, but Rich endured and because he stuck it out, he got the opportunity to work on the Simpsons (another strange coincidence, n'es pas?). He said it had such an effect on him. I felt that, to my very core. Because I was in a rough spot two years ago, I was offered a chance to drive for Eric Goldberg. Because I drove Eric, I was offered the chance to work with him on the Simpsons Couch Gag. And because I refuse to leave California and Los Angeles, I was in that theater last night and I heard Rich Moore tell us to stick it out.

Other people have told me almost the exact same thing, but for some reason, it had a significant power coming from someone like Rich. Perhaps it is because he doesn't know me. Perhaps because he is a complete stranger, I don't feel like he is just telling me things to make me feel better.

This blog has been a very strange documentation of these past few years of my life. When I've read my first posts in the past, the naivete and optimism I possessed is embarrassing! I had the highest hopes! I had huge dreams! The most of which did not come true. (And for a blog called Making Dreams Come True, that is a painful admission.) But then I can look at all the crazy things that HAVE happened to me! I've gone places and done things that I would have never dreamed. If you'd ever told the old me that I would work on a Simpsons opening with Eric Goldberg, I would have thought you completely out of your mind. And while it sometimes still seems like a crazy alternate reality for the real me, I am immensely proud for my part in the Couch Gag. It is one of the biggest highlights of my life. So far...

So to anyone still reading this blog: Life may not turn out as you plan. Life may deal you blows that you think you will never survive. Life may give you more than just lemons. But you have to not just look at that. You need to look at the positives in your life, too! You need to see that though you aren't where you wanted, maybe you're where you NEED to be so that other great things can happen to you. And you have to GRAB THEM! When those opportunities come at you, you must be ready! You must follow that dream. Be strong.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Working with Eric Goldberg on The Simpsons Couch Gag

Another long silence from me. Things have been rough- still looking for solid work that will enable me to consider myself finally "in" this industry. Not gonna lie- it's as rough as a few teachers tried to warn me...

However, some good news! On Sunday, I was FINALLY able to reveal a secret I've been hiding for quite some time! I got the opportunity of a LIFETIME to work with the legendary Disney animator, Eric Goldberg (of Aladdin's Genie-fame, also Hercules' Phil, Princess & the Frog's Louis, etc.) on a Simpsons Couch Gag! I helped peg all of the backgrounds and did the rough inbetweening of the Lisa Transformation sequence, animated by the amazing Dale Baer. It was an AMAZING experience, one that I will never forget and probably one that will never come around again. I am forever grateful to Eric for allowing me to be on his team.

It aired on Sunday, but was posted to Cartoon Brew somehow on Friday. So- presenting for your viewing pleasure: Eric Goldberg's Couch Gag!

This project will always have a very strange emotional tie for me. I was working on this project when I got the call about my grandmother passing away. I only wish I had told her about it before she died. She would have been so proud.

My friend Samus caught this photo of my name in the credits. So there it is- otherwise, I might never have believed it myself!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

365 Days + One to Grow On

365 Days + One to grow on from Amanda Candler on Vimeo.

Presenting my One Second A Day video! I started it on my birthday last year and finished on January 14th. What a year it has been.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Little sketch night post

I'd like to keep working on the third one. Think it could have some potential.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Still playing

Found these wispy things on my walks with dog. Decided to try to dry/press them and monoprint with it in watercolor. Very happy with the results. Plan on doing several more.