rare nature

Notes for a young character designer

Dear E. 

Thanks for your email.

I don’t work at Cartoon Network any more. But I’m going to give you a very quick portfolio review in hopes that you find it helpful! Here are some things I noticed when looking at your stuff - lessons I learned from brilliant people while working on AT for two years: 

 1) AVOID SYMMETRY. Humans are organic, randomly shaped animals. Perfect symmetry rarely exists in nature and if it does, it’s conspicuous - it’s the exception rather than the rule. Find interesting ways to throw your characters off-balance. 

Don’t repeat objects in twos - (buttons or rips or whatever) - it feels prescribed - cluster things in threes or fives if necessary. 

 2) AVOID CONCAVITY - I don’t know what else to call this. But it’s those lines that go “in” rather than “out”. You are using inward sloping lines to describe many of your characters. As an exercise, try using outward, rounded, voluminous lines to draw EVERYTHING. Humans are fleshy lumps connected together by other fleshy lumps. Each mass is either in front of or behind other masses and as a designer, it’s your job to tell the animator where it is. As a designer, you are providing a technical blueprint for the location of masses. 

Only occasionally allow a concavity to connect two convexities. Look at the work of Robert Ryan Cory (spongebob), Tom Herpich (Adventure Time) or Phil Rynda (AT / Gravity Falls) - master character designers - for examples of this. If you need to, trace a couple of their drawings and you will see what I mean. 

 3) AVOID GRAPHIC DETAILS - Some shows use a graphic style; it’s very appealing and looks clever when done right. But in animation, everything needs to move in space - so if you use a graphic element - it needs to correspond with an actual 3D thing that can move. Therefore it is better to start with a voluminous style and then revert to graphic elements where appropriate. Art directors will look for this. Do not jump straight to graphic representation if you do not yet know what you are representing.

Look at the work of Tiffany Ford and Jasmin Lai for amazing examples of volume expressed graphically.

 4) STUDY JAMES MCMULLEN - To truly understand volume, and fully respect your subject, you should read very carefully High Focus Figure Drawing by James McMullen. Slow down and think about drawing “around” your subjects. It’s a truly meditative experience when you get there. Think about the weight and mass that your characters, props and effects are experiencing. Many students from SVA - Tomer Hanuka, Becky Cloonan, Rebecca Sugar, James Jean - studied under McMullen’s philosophy and you can see this common richness in their work. 

Jeffrey Smith, a top student of McMullen’s now teaches life drawing at Art Center. These are two of the best illustration schools in North America - anyone who is interested in drawing living things, should probably read his book. Also look at the work of Andy Ristaino or Danny Hynes - two other character designers’ whose work is seething with volume. 

I hope this is useful and I hope you have a wonderful career. 

Warmest,

Matt

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Black-footed cats, Yuna and Sawyer, may resemble your average house cat, but they’re pawsitively unique. As the smallest African species, black-footed cats are naturally rare and considered Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park can get a glimpse of this secretive pair in Nairobi Village next to the fennec fox.

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대세는 백합 (Lily Fever)
↳“There will always be people that don’t like us.  Don’t mind them and do what you can, when you can.”

Pentagonite with Cavansite on Stilbite - Wagholi Quarries, Wagholi, Pune District, Maharashtra, India

Pentagonite is the rare (very much so) dimorph of Cavansite. This means that they are the same chemistry but are actually different crystal forms, and thus different species. As rare as pentagonite is (the first Indian specimens were only found many years after the first cavansites), it is even more incredibly rare to find the two species in close association as on this piece.

Metathénardite

Na2SO4

Location:

Glavnaya Tenoritovaya fumarole, Second scoria cone, Northern Breakthrough, Great Fissure eruption, Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka Oblast’, Far-Eastern Region, Russia

Field of View: 3 mm

Light blue plates of Metathenardite. 

Collection and photo Stephan Wolfsried

Metathénardite is a dimorph of Thénardite. The name applied to a high-temperature, hexagonal polymorph of Na2SO4. Approved as a new mineral in 2016.

i wish that more people would take a page out of miyazaki’s book and actually learn how to deliver a pro-environmental message without coming across as annoyingly preachy or anti-technology and progress

Calciojohillerite

NaCaMg3(AsO4)3

Locality:

Arsenatnaya fumarole, Second scoria cone, Northern Breakthrough, Great Fissure eruption, Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka Oblast’, Far-Eastern Region, Russia

Field of View: 2.5 mm

Collection and photo Stephan Wolfsried

Calciojohillerite is the Ca-analogue of johillerite. Chemically similar to berzeliite; also somewhat resembling anatolyite and currierite.

From Arabic “rahj al-gahr”, powder of the mine. Known as a mineral pigment in Byzantium (essentially Asia Minor and the Balkan Peninsula) at least by the beginning of the thirteenth century and presumably having a name by that time. An old realgar locality on the Balkan Peninsula is found at Allchar, Republic of Macedonia.


System: Monoclinic

Colour: Dark red to orange-red

Luster: Resinous, Greasy

Hardness:1½ - 2