Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Canadian in Australia

Here are some photos of my first 2 weeks in Sydney, Australia! (They were taken from Nov 24 - Dec 2.) I've been pretty busy since arriving. I've been working on my film and doing lots of sketching during the day and wandering around with Steve on the weekends and we make tasty meals each evening. I'm trying to do lots of new things. Been getting lots of our new camera as well as some fun toy camera aps on Steve's phone.

Getting here turned out to be a bit of a mess. I wasn't given a boarding pass for my connecting flight at the Los Angeles Airport. That combined with my flight out of Toronto being an hour late due to strong headwinds, ended up causing me to miss my connecting flight to Sydney! A rep at United told me to head over to Air Canada (on the opposite end of the airport) and when I got there, found that all the agents had gone home for the night. (This was at 4am local time, 7am for me) I returned to the United desk and by then, all those agents had left for the night! So at 4am, in a foreign country, with no cel phone and only $20 American... I was pretty confused and stressed out on what to do. I ended up using my credit card to make calls from a pay phone which with help from mom and Steve, eventually ended up with me having a flight booked the next day and a hotel for the night. So it technically took me 46 hours to get from Toronto to Sydney! Ah, the airport. I got to sleep in my hotel around 6am (9am for me) so it was a good while without sleep. But it was essentially helping me get used to what would finally become my new time zone anyway...

Got up at 11am L.A. time and had a good breakfast. I was very happy for some coffee!!! I told the waiter who poured me a cup that it had been so long since my last one and he said "Oh, where have you been?!" and I replied that even a day is a long time to go without coffee for me. Since then I have been on a quest to find good espresso/coffee in Oz. That is another post I think.
On Thursday December 2nd I went with Steve to his work Xmas party at the Cruise Bar at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay. I wore my sparkly gold dress that was a little too long for the crowded venue but still fun to wear. Steve wore formal on top and blue jeans on bottom with some rad laceup boots that I wish fit my feet. It was pretty fun and I got to meet a bunch of Steve's workmates.

The first day I got here, Steve had the day planned. We went to a nearby florist and bought a little pineapple tree. It's small enough to sit on my desk. We went to a sushi-go-round for lunch and hopped on a subway train to get downtown where we wandered all around and visited Hyde Park and the Elizabeth Shopping Centre.

The next couple days I didn't leave the house when I was smacked down with a cold and then a massive migraine. But by the weekend I was ok to do more wandering. We visited Bondi beach (20 minute walk from home) after sunset. The water was cold! It was warm/cool the first week or so that I was here but it's decently warmed up.

I have a little office set up in the sunroom of our apartment. We named the pineapple tree Albert (pronounced french; "al-bear" after Sheeni's dog in Youth in Revolt). He sits with me while I work and the other day I adorned him with gold tinsel for Xmas. I'm not very much a Christmas fan to be honest. I prefer Halloween, New Years or Thanksgiving. Just spending time with friends and family and having a great time is my idea of a joyful holiday.

Since getting here I've done a bunch of sketching and storyboarding for my short film; Pickled, which I intend to document the making of on it's respective blog. (Will need to update that soon as it's fairly out of date right now!) I've done some gesture drawing and went to life drawing last week and it was the most interesting life drawing session I've ever gone. The studio it was held at was the working studio and home of the artist holding said session. Paintings, sculptures and books crammed every available free space in the room and after about a half hour of drawing we stopped to hear the artist (Tony Johansen) give a half hour talk about Cezannes great impact on art. (I plan to scan or photograph some of my life drawings in the near future and put those up)

Some random interesting Australian facts and myths that I can think of:

-Eggs are sold on a shelf, unrefrigerated. This is completely normal and safe, because the egg's natural antibiotic coating is not sterilised away like it is in North America or refrigerated before they are sold, so it's ok to keep them at room temperature. However, once refrigerated, the protective natural coating on the egg will dissolve and they must be kept refrigerated
-Wine is very affordable, lovely to drink and plentiful
-'Ketchup' is 'tomatoe sauce'
-Aussies love to eat meat! Meatpies are for sale all over the place and within just a block of my house is a specialty butcher and a seafood shop. Not to mention countless takeaway restos and even a place to get roo burgers.
-Aussies are talkative and friendly. One even took my umbrella out of my hand while walking down the street with Steve so he could carry it for me, he also offered to carry my shopping bags and cheerfully and amusingly yammed at us all the way home
-cockroaches are certainly not in our home... or any establishment I've been in. I've seen a total of 3 of them, they were all big but outside. That's a hell of a lot less than was in the home I last moved into in Toronto :P
-Everything is generally a little pricier here, and many things come in smaller packages; homes, cars, products...
-tax is included in the price of everything, tipping is not expected
-I can't find a single pad of newsprint for sale nor any animation art supplies
-There are a hell of a lot of cupcake shops here
-'mall' is 'shopping centre' here
-Rice Krispies are Rice Bubbles and Burger King is Hungry Jacks

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nicolas Marlet Online Workshop

Mike Dolan commented on the Character Design Blog that those CGMW guys have balls selling this (workshop) for $25!” I kind of agree... It was great to watch Nicolas Marlet do his thing but it was hardly a workshop on character design. It was a video of Nicolas sketching out and beautifying an illustration. No dialogue. Either way, I took notes throughout the video and took some photos and video of it while it played on my laptop. It felt refreshing to watch someone drawing and see how they go about it. Often artists get uncomfortable at the idea of someone watching a drawing in progress. There have been times where it bothered me and times where it didn't, it seems like something you just have to get used to but you can get unused to it again, strangely enough. Just my opinion, I don't think it's good to feel too uncomfortable to have someone watch while you draw...

Nicolas uses a pencil, a grey marker, a black pencil crayon and white paint to create this illustration.
the rough sketch
filling in areas with marker, going more heavily in some areas for more opacity
filling in areas with a black pencil crayon and defining lines
sweeping across the page to define lines
adding texture with the black pencil crayon

a view of the nearly completed illustration

Here's a short clip of Marlet sketching away:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2 Minute Microwave Maple Vanilla Abomination Cake

My mom is a fabulous cook. For real. She loves to bake and cakes must be her favorite thing. She runs a small (and growing) business selling cakes to ravenous clients with impeccable taste. She has been writing more blog posts than usual recently and one of her recent posts inspired me to write one of my own on baking! I myself am a magical wizzard of baking. Recently I made a couple of delicious single serve cakes... in the microwave! I call them... 2 Minute Microwave Maple Vanilla Abomination Cake. My microwave cakes are of the vegan kind so you won't find any silly eggs or such nonsense here.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:
vanilla extract (I'm lucky enough to have some homemade vanilla extract my mom made!)
baking powder
baking soda

If you have cocoa powder, raisins, walnuts, dried fruit, extract of whatever (rum, lemon etc.), cinnamon, peanut butter, strong coffee or maple syrup kickin' around... You're in luck! You can have chocolate cake or a combination of any of these.
Mix these ingredients together in a small bowl, enough for one person. You've made cake before... You can judge when it seems like a good mix! As long as you don't skimp on the oil or sugar and it gets that slighty 'cripsy/foamy' texture when you stir the mix due to the rising agents, you're good. Use a non-stick spray to generously coat the inside of your favorite microwave safe mug and spoon in the batter. Bake in the microwave for up to 2 minutes, then let cool. It will be hot!

Maple Icing Ingredients:
icing sugar
almond milk
maple syrup

Stir these all together. If you're into a runny icing that will soak into the cake like a sponge, use more milk. If you're into a thick sugary icing, use more sugar, maybe even regular granulated sugar instead of the icing type, though you might be slightly out of luck as well unless you're willing to whip some butter in there. If you want chocolate icing, use cocoa instead of maple syrup. If you want cinnamon icing, add that. Et cetera. Another fun idea is to use jam for cake topping, such as raspberry or strawberry. Stab your cake with a fork, you might even want to give it a 'light fluffing' with the fork since it's so hot and that will help cool it down quicker. Stabbing your cake will put some little holes in it for the icing to seep into. Pour the icing onto the cake.
The fun thing about this cake is that it turns out different everytime since I can't be bothered with measuring! Eat it out of the mug with a fork and you will only have 1 mug, 1 small bowl, a spoon and a fork to wash! Enjoy :) Next time I will reveal my secret Bachelorette Style Bean Ketchup Peanut Butter Recipe! (For when you eat by yourself at home or have little time to cook)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not much... Still in Pre-Pro on Pickled

Not much to report except promise of future posts... I've been working a lot recently, making as much extra $ as I can before my sabbatical. I've been doing everything I can, pre-production wise to ramp up for my short film, Pickled. I'll continue to document the making-of over at the production blog for it. I really need to make a new graphic image for the title there... (I think I thought Pickled Perfection was a good title at some point and thus the title of the blog and the header image there but it's driving me crazy now.

The music is coming along beautifully. My singer/songwriter is Larra Skye. She had the #1 bestselling indie jazz album of 2006 for national retailer HMV and is soon to release her new album. As I write this she is in Seattle on tour! You can listen to and purchase her music at CD Baby. Can't wait to her her final version of my song!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Time for a change... and a move...

I know it's been awhile, I've been busy and I've let myself be busy. I've got some news... I'm going to be moving to Australia! Life is going to change substantially. I'm ramping up on a short film, pre-pro for now...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Spline Doctors Walk Entry - Confident 70's Walk

Here is my final entry to the walk contest held over at Spline Doctors! I didn't have time to finish the cleanup, and I don't really feel bad about that... Dirty laundry animation is the coolest. Vimeo is also very cool. Great place to post HD videos.

Confident 70's Walk from Andrea Haid on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

woman walk pencil test - further WIP

Please ignore the Winnie the Pooh drawing... I reused some old animation paper!
Otherwise, comments welcome :)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Stick a fork in it!!!

It's done! Here's my final cleaned up Winnie the Pooh animation. You can check out my entire demo reel in HD here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

latest pencil test - animation complete

A couple of frames are missing from this test but it takes forever to shoot it! My webcam is not fixed.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Waking Sleeping Beauty Trailer

I saw Waking Sleeping Beauty when Don Hahn and Peter Schneider came to The Toronto International Film Fest this past September to promote it. Don came to Sheridan College that week as well to give a lecture which was so inspiring. Even got him to sign my copy of Drawn to Life Vol. 1! Geeking out here. The film is a must see. It's very inspiring and emotional. It's a look behind the public face of Disney during 1984-1994 and all the footage in the film is from that time. No new footage was shot to put together this documentary.

Watch the trailor HERE.

Go see it and make good films!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

another test

My most up to date work in progress on Pooh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Acting in Slow Motion is frustration

This little part of my animation has been the most difficult part for me. It's not actually done yet, (you can see that the third last drawing is unfinished and doesn't follow the arcs properly). On my first pass I was finding this bit of action technically difficult. Then after thinking about it some more and retiming, it was more emotionally difficult. I don't have a director to ask 'what would Pooh do'. I was going to animate Pooh following the (invisible right now) butterfly going over his head and side-stepping while doing that, but I thought that might look ugly and clumsy. So I decided that a quick step and arcing his head down into the turn would be aesthetically appealing and natural physically. I've shown the test to Stephen and he was the one encouraging me to have Pooh follow the butterfly overhead while stepping because he thinks it's what Pooh might do. So... arugh! I don't know. I think I'll just keep this action and finish the shot and see what it looks like and what people say afterwards. It can always be corrected later... Or just learned from for the next time.

I find acting out 4 seconds in slow motion over a month in my spare time so frustrating. If I was a live action actor, I would just get into character and step. Right? Or in everyday life, you just step, you just 'do it' and you aren't analyzing yourself. You wouldn't be thinking about it and redoing it and fracturing it for days. That's why I can really appreciate art that is made in a short period of time. You create something emotional and don't obsess over it until it's flat.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

where do ideas come from?

Ideas can come from anywhere... A storyteller or idea person must have their radar on and be open minded at all times. Having a notepad or sketchbook on your person is such a good idea. (I have a sketchbook and a notepad at work, a mini sketchpad in my bag at all times in case the opportunity to do some gesture drawing arises or an idea pops up and sketchbooks and oodles of paper at home.) I have recently regimented the practice of having available paper at all times in my daily life and I'm trying to keep my mind open.

Something that I don't always remember to do but when I remember I do - is not only write down my ideas - but how I thought of the idea! It's interesting once your mind starts churning and the train of though can bring out more and enrich existing ideas futher. I am sometimes confused at myself when I come up with an idea that I think is compelling but for the life of me I can't remember how I thought of it!

Ideas can come from life experiences, daily life, observation, listening to people or podcasts, the radio, reading the paper, reading a book, poetry, from looking at magazines, photos, fashion shows, art shows, museums, websites, blogs, from memories, hearing a single word, while sketching, from nature, food and objects, watching animals and children, while watching TV or a movie... It's not good to copy ideas but to be inspired and let events/people/places/etc. fuel your train of thought.

Write those ideas down! I like to take a bit of paper to my bedroom at night if my brain has been going, oftentimes a lot of ideas and visions come to me as I'm falling asleep and my mind is on fire. I also write down every single idea. I remember in elementry school being taught the idea of 'tree brainstorming' and to write down everything. It gets information out of your mind and can jog ideas later. A 'tree brainstorming chart' is where you are writing ideas down and other ideas 'stem' from that.

It's also a good idea to be organised. Sometimes I write down a thousand things, all crammed quickly and messily onto a single sheet, that way when I glance over it later it's hard to focus on any one thing or even read my own writing. Organisation and clarity are very good for the artist.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Dinner

Vday this year for the hubby and me was very relaxingly spent at home. We made a meal together, a puff pastry crust 'pizza-tart' topped with salmon, anchovies, olive paste, black olives, thyme and sautéed onions. We got the recipe from a great cookbook, One Pot French by Jean-Pierre Challet, given to me by the delicious chef that is chez catherine.

After dinner we snacked on strawberries and pineapple for dessert and played flow, (a cool game for the ps3). There aren't a lot of games I like to play, but I really like this one. Oftentimes I am happy to watch when Steve plays something like Metal Gear or Assasin's Creed.

Pictures of the chow:
black olive paste - replaced the traditional cheese n' sauce
yum! anchovy fillets! I picked out all the bones.
there are the fillets... bones plucked. I am studying the recipe...

Monday, February 08, 2010


another one - the jump

I've been doing a lot of reading, will have to review some animation books soon.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Drawing Emotionally

I scrapped the beginning I had before... Pooh was already in the shot and in mid action - but to get that to read I was holding on this 'mid action' pose for a good amount of time and it was bad/unclear. Now I've got him walking into that first bit of action and it is much better. It's important to think about where your character is coming from and going to... How does the character enter the shot? How does he exit? How do you cut between shots and why?
You'll notice that there is a lot of anatomy in there already... My initial pencil test was all about staging and timing and feeling... But very loose and general. Pooh is a trickier guy to draw than one might think... Technically and emotionally. Since he is 'stuffed with fluff' and has only buttons for eyes, he must be animated in a certain doll-like way. He can't form an S curve with his body and can't really bend over forward or squash or stretch much. To get a look of squash in anticipation, one must take advantage of his soft legs and get him down really low. There was one pose I was working on (not included in the above test) that worked ok in a really ruf test but when I got to tying it down, I just couldn't get it to look right. It was a pose of Pooh being a little mischievous in his happy way and crouching down just slightly, bringing his paws to his face and bending over slightly with his legs close together. How un-Pooh like! His actions are usually very simple and innocent. I changed the pose entirely and was able to get the same feeling that I needed, but I had to think like Pooh to get there. He is a lot more belly than butt and his belly is generally what leads him, he will stick it out often with happy expressions of how he is feeling.
His emotions and attitude make him difficult to get into emotionally as a character as well... Getting into a character's head is tough when they are described outright as having 'very little brain'. Pooh's range of emotions are pretty much happy, confused, thoughtful, hungry. He always tries to look on the bright side of a situation.

I found a post awhile back on an animation blog about 'drawing holistically'. I can't find this post again right now and I'm not sure if I know exactly that drawing/animating holistically are but I've been thinking a lot recently about what I think drawing emotionally is and how to do it. I think the idea is to draw from the gut, and with emotional source and intent. In the case of animation, forget about anatomy and the rules for a time and draw the essence of what you are trying to communicate. Kevin Koch has a great post about animating from the gut and Eric Goldberg talks about drawing the essence of a pose first and adding the anatomy afterwards. See page 55 of his book Character Animation Crash Course or listen to his podcast interview with Clay Kaytis at Animation Podcast.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

ruf ruf pencil test

Like I sed, it's ruf!
I think I picked up the habit of writing 'ruf' instead of 'rough' from DQ...
The weird spelling of other words is all me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Florida Snaps

My mom, stepdad and sister are enjoying their second last day in sunny Florida right now! I like to think about the sand and sun they are enjoying as we have none of that around here. Hopefully I get at least a postcard and maybe some wooden parrot earrings out of the deal. Here are some snaps of their fun times:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

15 Second Gestures

I bought a mini 3 x 5" sketchpad and a couple of nice blue pens the other day so I can take them on the streetcar and sketch people. Sometimes the big sketchpad feels awkward to carry around and sketch people in while in such a public place. Though I would like to take it to some cafes or other non public transit places soon enough. I want to do a lot more life sketching.

Seems everytime I go to sketch someone they get of the streetcar or someone steps in front of them. These two I got in on the way home last night and took about 15 seconds each.