Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I promised to put up some of the animation I've been doing on but I'm still having trouble getting it online with the original timing anf framing intact. A friend has offered to help so I guess things'll work out soon. In the meantime, here's a few frame grabs from a recent film, if you can call something as short as this a film..

The time it took to do this? Less than an hour! It's amazing how fast you can go on these little iPad apps.

The key to working fast is to forbid yourself to redraw anything. 

If a line doesn't work, just draw a better one beside it.  

At this point (above) I accomplished what I set out to do...I sat a man down on a chair. All my tiny films have limited goals like that. When the film doesn't seem to be working I just delete it and start another.  If I don't have an idea I just start drawing and hope for the best. It's like doodling with animation.

I still felt like drawing so I added a table and a newspaper.

The man grabs the paper and opens it...

...and lifts it up to read. That's it. You can do zillions of these little shorts in waiting rooms and restaurants or while watching TV.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Sorry I haven't posted for a few days, I just got busy. I do not return empty-handed, however. Here's a couple of pictures of the Texas Avery Award that John K just received at the Dallas International Film Festival. Nice, eh?

The award was the brainchild of Reel Fx and The Dallas Film Society. What do you think of it? I love it. It's nice and cartoony.

The Avery Award reminds me of my other favorite cartoon award design, The Reuben, presented every year by The National Cartoonists Society. That one was designed by ace cartoonist, Rube Goldberg.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Before I get started with what's new, I'll put up this beautiful shot of an erupting Icelandic volcano. It reveals three different kinds of lightning occurring simultaneously.

Most people believe that stars are formed by the action of gravity on rotating disks of gas and dust. That's widely believed but last year two physicists got the million dollar Shaw Prize for proving it wrong. According to them gravity alone wouldn't be able to destabilize the disk and attract matter inward while angular momentum was simultaneously pushing it out.

These guys claim the missing ingredient is magnetism. Apparently not all disks are sufficiently conductive and those that aren't will never form stars. Some disks remain...disks.

Above, the far side of the Moon. It's cratered more than the side facing us, but that's what you would expect of the side facing outer space. What people want to know is how come it's not covered by smooth, dark, volcanic maria (seas) like the near side. The answer appears to  be that the Lunar crust on our side is simply thinner for some reason.

Here's an odd one: a distant asteroid named "Chaklido" has just been discovered to have rings like Saturn. Chaklido is 250 km in diameter.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I love modern art mobiles but you don't see many for sale these days. It looks like if you want that sort of thing you're stuck with making it yourself. My kid's birthday is coming up soon and I think and I'll take a stab at it. I'll come up with something original but I'll start by seeing what ideas are already out there.

The obvious first place to start is Calder but his ideas have been stolen so many times that the whole world has memorized them.

Then there's Miro (above). He had tons of useful ideas. Half his paintings seem like they were made with mobiles in mind. What appears above as lines in a 2D painting could be made of thin black wire in 3D.

What a guy!

Tim Biskup (above) should try his hand at mobiles. His style is perfect for them.

Ready-made ones are available for babies (above). I don't know...maybe they could be altered.

Mary Blair's shapes (above) and colors seem like a useful resource.

It's not too hard to imagine what a character-based Blair mobile (above) might look like. My kid would probably prefer something more manly, of course.

I'll try to resist giving my kid the standard dorm room beer molecule (above) .

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I've been using my iPad mini a lot lately, more so than my desktop. I use it for cartooning (above) and animation. I work on several sketching apps but the one I always return to is "Paper" by a studio called 53. I thought I'd put up a few examples of how different artists use that program so you can get an idea of its range. 

Paper is especially good at watercolor-type sketches (above).  Unlike real watercolors you can dial up the color saturation where you need to and get rich darks that approximate gauche.

People even do acrylic-type pictures (above) on this app, but I'm not crazy about the way they look. In my opinion you're better off using a desktop program for something like that.

Paper seems to work best when it's used for light-hearted, watercolor styles like the one above.

It's amazing how quickly it lets you can draw scenes like this one (above).

You can teach yourself color with it.

Paper doesn't contain any fonts but it's friendly to funky hand-drawn lettering. In a meeting I'd rather have a real pencil and a real legal pad, but Paper's writing could still be useful for other purposes.

There's (above) that 90s light-hearted style again. If you use Paper you may find yourself drawing and painting in that style because the program strongly supports it. If that's not your thing I wouldn't worry about it. Believe it or not, the program's artistic bias actually helps you to define your own unique style. I guess having something to conceptually bounce off of is actually stimulating.

A caveat: Paper is a wonderful app but it has bugs and its stylus, called "Pencil," doesn't always work like you want it to. Face it, none of the drawing and animating apps are perfect. I still recommend it. The basic app is free and comes with their very best brush tool, so you can't complain about the price. If you don't have a stylus you can use your finger. About a third of everything I've done has been with my finger, even when I have a stylus in my hand.

Lots of people have said that this is the drawing app Steve Jobs would have created if he'd put his mind to it. That's high praise.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


The other day I was sitting in a restaurant, eavesdropping on the conversation of what I imagined were two criminals at the next table. They went in and out of some East European language, so I couldn't understand all of what they were saying, but it seemed like the young guy, who looked like a youthful Tony Soprano, was pleading with the old guy (probably not family), to give him a chance to prove himself. The older guy laughed it off and said there was no way he was going to trust somebody that young with that kind of responsibility. Responsibility? Responsibility for what, I wondered.

I had to leave before learning how this played out, but I got the feeling that the young guy was going to get what he wanted.  The old guy delighted in tormenting him with frequent cel phone calls, and you don't tease people that way unless you like them.

What struck me about this conversation was how oddly natural it seemed. A young criminal attempted to make himself useful to an older criminal who apparently liked and trusted him. They both came from similar backgrounds, both were street smart and ambitious,  both knew the value of loyalty.  Not only that but they needed each other. The old one needed the young one's energy and ability to take risks, the young one needed the older one to show him the ropes and open organizational doors. It was a comfortable fit.

How different than the way non-criminals climb the ladder! For them it's done through Human Relations departments, forms, background checks to college, and the like. Criminals, on the other hand,  don't care if you've gone to college, they just want to know if you can get the job done.

Maybe criminals know something we don't. Isn't getting the job done the most important thing? It seems to me that we waste the lives of millions of people who are potentially good and even great at what they do, but who are free spirits who find school and the practice of ticket-punching to be intolerable. They don't like following someone else's agenda. How much schooling did Carnegie, Ford and J.P. Morgan have? We seem to be telling people like them that we don't want them, that there's no place for them. 

I think there is such a thing as a criminal type. Sociopaths do exist, and I believe in coming down on them strong, but are all criminals sociopaths? Aren't at least some of them just part of an alternative economy? Why are we torturing these people? 

Forget drugs and all that, what I'm talking about is legalizing the black market. Nobody should need a permit to sell anything that's not stolen or dangerous, or carried out in a wholly inappropriate place. Starting a business should be as easy as renting a location and hanging out a sign. Health care, Social Security and all that are all good ideas but they shouldn't be the responsibility of the employer

College is so over-rated. When the government began guaranteeing school loans, and students were flush with borrowed dollars, zillions of new colleges sprang up all over the country to get the easy money. There was a race to the bottom as every new school dumbed down the curriculum even farther to please students and rake in the bucks.




EDDIE: "Glad to meetcha! They told me you'd be coming. Have a seat, have a seat!"

INTERVIEWER: "Thanks! It's an honor to meet you, sir. I do interviews for Animation Magazine and they tell me you have stories about every big shot in the animation business."

EDDIE: "Haw! Do I!? If I told you only half the stories I know, we'd be here all month. You name the show and I worked on it. I've worked with eeeeeeeeverybody."

INTERVIEWER: "Really!? Do you know John Kricfalusi?"

EDDIE: "John K? Um, well, not exactly." 

INTERVIEWER: "Mike Fontanelli?"

EDDIE: "Fonta...who?"

INTERVIEWER: "How about Eric Goldberg?"

EDDIE: "Gee, he never answers my..."

INTERVIEWER: "How about Brad Bird?"

EDDIE: "Brad Bird...hmmm, I think I parked in his space once."

INTERVIEWER: "Seth MacFarlane?"

EDDIE: "You don't have his number, do you?"

INTERVIEWER: "Matt Groening?"

EDDIE: "Um, no."

INTERVIEWER: "Pete Docter?"

EDDIE: "Nope."

INTERVIEWER: "Tim Burton?"

EDDIE: "Er...well, not really."


EDDIE: "Well, actually, I haven't...." 

INTERVIEWER: "How about John Lasseter?"

EDDIE: "John Lassater!? How the heck am I supposed to meet John Lassater? He lives in Cuppertino or Emeryville...some place like that." 

INTERVIEWER: "Well how about producers like...someone like Steven Spielberg?"

EDDIE: "Ahhhhh, stop right there. Steven. Now we're talkin'. Yes, yes, I've been over to his house several times. He just emailed me last week." 

INTERVIEWER: "Really? Can we see it?"

EDDIE: "No need. I memorized it...it said, 'You missed the grass near the rose bushes and the front lawn could use a really robust watering this time.' He calls the watering 'robust.' Isn't that poetic? Only Steven would think of something like that."

EDDIE: "Hey, what's that on your lens?"

INTERVIEWER: "Oh, a pebble got under the lens cover."

EDDIE: "Hold still. I have my Swiss Army Knife. I'll dig it out!"