7 Days of Color - Week 1 and 2

A couple of weeks ago I had an idea where I wanted my instagram feed to look like a RAINBOW~ So I started #7daysofcolor where every day starting on Monday we do a painting or photo of something for the color theme of the day. On the one hand, this has prevented me from posting a lot of random stuff, but I did in fact achieve my goal of a RAINBOW feed! Here are collections from the first two weeks.

We've got one more week left, so feel free to join in! Just hashtag #7daysof color! Colors go 

Monday: Red

Tuesday: Orange

Wednesday: Yellow

Thursday: Green

Friday: Blue

Saturday: Indigo

Sunday: Violet

Entering the heads of your characters

A week ago, I was privileged enough to attend a conference by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. One of the keynote speakers was Judy Schachner, author of many character driven books including "Skippyjon Jones." She talked about her process of thinking about her characters and coming up with great stories and one of them was very familiar to me and really intriguing. 

Judy Schachner Image credit to Iza Trapani's Blog 

Judy Schachner Image credit to Iza Trapani's Blog 

She creates "Character Bibles" for all of her characters. 

Judy brought a ton of examples of Photographs of her Sketchbooks which were super inspiring to me and my ADD addled mind. 

Judy brought a ton of examples of Photographs of her Sketchbooks which were super inspiring to me and my ADD addled mind. 

For those of you in animation the term "Bible" may seem familiar, it's a term we use when we're pitching new ideas or communicating with a crew about what our films are about. For Judy, her bibles focused on just one character and they were incredibly exploratory. She used collage, photography, drawing and notes to develop each character or their stories. 

The other reason that this intrigued me was because I had seen another character bible in a similar vein before too. 

My "Lovely" Mentor Claire Keane! 

My "Lovely" Mentor Claire Keane! 

When I was just starting at Disney Feature Animation, my mentor, Claire Keane, showed me this amazing book she made. It was a sketchbook full to the brim with watercolor drawings, notes and sketches that she created for just one character. That character was Rapunzel, who feels more like a fully fleshed out real person than most animated characters. 


According to her blog, Claire kept this journal and kept track of her day and imagined what it would be like if it was Rapunzel living out her day. 

Rapunzel, being a bit of an odd duck (how do you get into the head of someone who's been essentially trapped in one room for 18 years?) was a challenge for a lot of people to understand and Claire's sketchbook was a great way to communicate and explain what kind of person Rapunzel was and how we could use that for her design as well as her acting. 

A lot of great actors use something called 'Method Acting' to get into the heads of their characters, and when we see them use these methods we are often rewarded with characters who feel especially real and more than generic. 

When we design characters in Entertainment, employing this type of thinking can also be a great way to get into the head of who you are designing. Even if you can't sit down and create a whole BOOK one one single character, take the time to get to know your person. What would they order at a coffee shop? What kind of places make them comfortable or nervous? These types of details are what make your characters more than drawings and give them a life beyond the page.  And hey, if you've got the time, why not make a little book about your one character or story? It could be a great fun way to explore and maybe come up with great ideas!! 


Images for Judy from Iza Trapani's Blog 


SDCC 2014

it's almost that time of year again! Our biggest show is right around the corner and we're psyched to see everyone! We've got lots of fun new stuff that we can't wait to share! 


We often would get requests for our comic con print to be smaller so this year we decided to make a set of postcards! This set of 6 postcards will be $20 and will come Pre Stamped for your convenience so that you can drop them off into our postbox where we will send your well wishes to friends and family! 

Another new print will be our Hall H poster! We've joked about doing Hall H for a few years now and here it finally is! This will be a full size 12x18 print

Our City Poster set is also getting the postcard treatment, now you can get the other 6 cities (Seattle, Los Angeles, Paris, New York, London and San Francisco) As postcards! Also pre stamped 


And one last treat for the nerds, An INVENTORY bag! Who doesn't love looking at their inventory when playing a game? Now you can proudly show off your full tote with our newest grocery bag!

Find us! With al of our new stuff at booth 1734! We're right behind the Peanuts booth! 

Zip Up Bags- Donuts and Dogs? Oh My!

Our Summer line is coming together really quick and we wanted to share some photos of some new and some restocked items! 

One of my favorite things that we make are these little zip up bags, they're great because you can just toss anything you need into them, band aids, lip gloss, a Nintendo DS, the possibilities are endless. 

We have a new design this year too, Dogs and Donuts! These are some good puppies who wear their donuts around their necks like good boys. They made me laugh as I painted them and I hope they make you smile too 

On Sketchbooks

I got into a conversation with someone on Twitter about Sketchbooks and how to work in them. 


Personally I've got a long and fraught history with Sketchbooks and like many difficult relationships in my life, it took years to finally get to a place where the Sketchbook and I could be friends who fight fair and make each other better. 

When I was a kid in High school, I had a ton of sketchbooks. I had no fear and just filled my cheap spiral bound whatever purchased from Wal Mart full of drawings. I was proud of almost all of them (blessed that naive ninny) and never had a problem filling them to the brim. 


As I got older and started engaging online with artists communities, I found myself pushing to create better work and this caused me to start realizing that a lot of my sketchbook drawings were (gasp) actually quite terrible. I started getting self conscious when I was around other artists or when I was sharing my work online. 


I remember the first time we had a meet up of our artist community at San Diego Comic Con. It was amazing to meet all these great artists who I had gotten to know online in person! (I also met my future husband here, but we only said hello and didn't actually 'meet' until two years later) But I was so nervous about my sketchbook. These events were all about passing around your sketchbook to show other people and to have them do a drawing for you in yours, so it was very nerve wracking to see these professional full time artists looking at my high school sketchbook. That book was very thin because I just kept tearing pages out of it. This was bad because not only was the book thin, it was also obvious that I was a very self conscious artist. 

After this I actually abandoned sketchbooks entirely. I chose to draw only on copy paper so there was less pressure. I would walk around with the pages on a clip pad so that if one was bad I could just toss it and nobody would be the wiser. 

I would start sketchbooks, but would never get further than halfway through before I abandoned them. I would go through a lull of not drawing and then the drawings would just show a skill level so far away from where I was I had to just get rid of them from the shame. 

It also didn't help that I had a weird hoarding tendency with sketchbooks. I used to travel a lot with my family and would bring back blank books from all over the world. I had some from Nepal, Japan, Germany, and all of them were beautiful and perfect. 

I was too afraid to touch them. I knew that the drawings wouldn't all be good and I couldn't ruin this one book that I had. This led to me having a whole shelf in my house of blank un used sketchbooks. 

It wasn't until we did our first Kickstarter, with Curiosities, that I sort of got over that way of thinking. I started to realize that this project that we were working towards could be good, could be bad, but we had to finish it. If it wasn't perfect, that was okay, we were learning and we would do better next time. With our next project we could always show improvement and have people remember the good drawings/paintings rather than the less than stellar ones. 

This philosophy got us to finish a project that I couldn't have imagined that we would have done if I had still been that insecure high schooler tearing out pages from the sketchbook. It's incredibly important to move on and just keep moving forward even if those mistakes are embarrassing. 

After this, I started to think about my sketchbook in the same way. If I did a bad drawing, I just had to do a better one next. People don't tend to remember failures only successes, so even though my book isn't totally full of great drawings, people walk away only remember the decent ones. If I had torn out a bunch of pages in the book, I don't think that I would have been able to finish any of them.

The year to date, I've finished two sketchbooks. A huge acheivmenet for myself. I feel like I finally broke through a wall that had been haunting me since high school and now I'm able to move more quickly learn from my mistakes and get better fast. 

Even Hayo Miyazaki, the legendary film maker, feels the same way about his films Acorrding to his new book "Turning Point" Miyazaki says: 

Making films is all about—as soon as you’re finished—continually regretting what you’ve done. When we look at films we’ve made, all we can see are the flaws; we can’t even watch them in a normal way. I never feel like watching my own films again. So unless I start working on a new one, I’ll never be free from the curse of the last one. I’m serious. Unless I start working on the next film, the last one will be a drag on me for another two or three years.
— Hayo Miyazaki

And that's the way we should feel about our sketchbooks, we know that there are flaws but we have to keep moving, share it with the world and make the next one better.