If you can dream it, you can do it. -Walt Disney
Quality is a great business plan. -John Lasseter
Let's make some funny pictures. -Tex Avery
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. -Howard Zinn
When critics sit in judgment it is hard to tell where justice leaves off and vengeance begins. -Chuck Jones
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? -Jesus
A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney
What's most important in animation is the emotions and the ideas being portrayed. -Ralph Bakshi
Once you have heard a strange audience burst into laughter at a film you directed, you realize what the word joy is all about. -Chuck Jones
Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. -Buddhist Proverb
Showcase your drawings, illustrations, video and media.
My name is Charles Zembillas and I train great artists.
That's how I introduce myself whenever I begin a session with new students, whether it's at The Animation Academy in Burbank, California State University in Northridge, or anywhere else.
I really enjoy showcasing my students' work. Mostly because of the huge improvements they make in a short period of time as a result of focusing on what I stress more than anything, and that is fundamentals.
Here's a fine example of just how much my students can improve in a short period of time.
This is the work of Lynn Murphy who just wrapped up her semester with me at Cal State Northridge. To the left is the first drawing she created in class during the first session on January 24, 2011. To the right, a design she came up with on February 14, a mere three weeks later.
She ended the semester on a very strong note, with a solid portfolio in hand.
Here's another dramatic comparison.
The artist is Candace Leon, a student in the same class as Lynn Murphy at Cal State Northridge this Spring.
On the left is what she was doing on February 9, on the right, just three months later as she finished up the course.
Candace is an outstanding student who dilligently applied herself to the assignments she was given. This is what happens when you work hard, stay committed to your art, stick with the direction you're given and strive for excellence.
Great job Candace. Congratulations.
This is the work of Raquel Martinez, another student I had the pleasure of teaching at Cal State Northridge this Spring. It was her second semester with me and she also attended class at the Academy during this time.
These images were created in a Visual Development capacity. Her assignment was to create a character and then take it into a series of facial expressions, whereby the images would be embellished by a light source. She was directed to divide the light areas from the shadow areas through distinct shapes and render the images with a sensitivity towards tonal relationships.
Raquel did an exceptional job. I'm happy to have had her as a student.
I emphasize the importance of good basic drawing when I work with students, and it's rewarding when they respond with results like this.
Tina Nguyen was very conscientious in her efforts to design her characters with solidity and draftsmanship. She established a foundation for her character, building up the composition from the inside out. Notice how she developed the anatomy of the figure first, then introduced the design elements she wanted to include, topped off with a natural pose that was consistent for the character she created.
Way to go Tina!
Continuing with work my students are creating...
Fundamentals is a major part of what I teach. Trough an animation oriented venue, emulating a production situation, I get great results from even the youngest of artists.
take for example Kiana Mosser. She's only 14 years old, and in her initial semester with us in Character Design I, this is the first character rotation she's ever done.
This is her second...
Now she's wrapping up the class and getting ready to move onto the next level of training.
At 14 years old and creating artwork this solid this early on, imagine what she'll be like when she's 18.
Among the many talented students I've had the opportunity to work with, Einav Deri has made a huge impression.
Check out her Before & After work. On the left is the very first drawing she ever did as an enrolled student at the Academy. On the right, her latest character oriented work.
Einav's progress is indicative of the advances my students make. In the case of an artist as dedicated and focused as Einav is, that progress becomes even more apparent.
Einav came all the way from Israel to study Character Design with me in Burbank. Today she's a standout student at the Israeli Animation College in Tel Aviv and gives the Academy credit for the big strides she made with her art.
You're welcome to follow her blog.
Earlier this year Richard Gaines relocated from Florida to Burbank. An aspiring character designer, he enrolled at my school and it didn't take him to long to hit his stride.
This is an example of his work, an assignment involving expression models for a character he developed in class.
This is the work of Marietta Semardjyan. She's been a student of mine since last year, enrolled in the Academy's Teen Program. These blue pencil drawings are from a class assignment in Visual Development. She's only 15 years old.
Joel Valdez came to Burbank from Tucson, Arizona to embark upon his art education for animation at the Academy. He's a character centric artist until recently, when he progressed to Background Design and Perspective with his instructor, Robert Gold.
Robert is an excellent teacher and does great things with our students. Joel had no experience to speak of regarding BG Design and took to the subject like a fish in water.
Here are his first series of concept sketches in perspective that he's created for the class recently. Keep in mind that he's never drawn backgrounds before and these are concept sketches from his imagination.
Thought I'd revive this topic once again as I've got some new student work coming in that I'd like to feature.
Here's concept work recently created by Joel Valdez, the same artist that did the BG designs above.
There's some incredible stuff in here! And the improvements are occasionally mind boggling. Especially this one:
I'm no where NEAR CA, do you offer any lessons/workshops/help online? I'd love to see an improvement that drastic in my own drawings! I'm slowly progressing towards more solidity, but I feel like I must be missing something...
Animator Island: A resource for animators featuring weekly tips, tricks, and secrets of animation
Whoa! -- This is very impressive. Not only do i see improvement, but i can see how their ideas and how they manifest are also maturing. As if their choices are more carefully thought through and chosen. Art is so beautiful in the sense, that as an artist grows and matures, is not only represented in their skill -- but in their style and emotional connections to their work.
This makes me think. Perhaps, Art of purpose may stir the artist inside. As to myself, chance of true inspiration might be more internal than i thought...
Thanks for your comments JK and creative.
In answer to JK's question, I was conducting online classes in Character Design last year, temporarily postponed them, and am now getting back into it again only through a different process. Conducting sessions through Skype one on one with select students as my time will afford.
Here's another example of some recent student work. This is by Jessica Willis Trousdale, a talented 16 year old who's been with me for a while now. She's the niece of famed Disney feature film director Gary Trousdale. This is an exercise / assignment in the Visual Development class whereby she is illustrating a range of expression poses while rendering in gradient tones with graphite. Her dark tone rendering has created waves in the paper on her images so take that into account for the quality of the scan.
Tucker Joneson is the cartoonist for his local high school paper here in Burbank. He enrolled last month. On the left is the first drawing he did in class. It's his obligatory teddy bear which is where all new students start so I can gauge where they're at artistically. On the right is a design he created in class last night.
A newcomer to the Academy, Romney Vasquez successfully finished Character Design 1 and is coming back for the upper level follow up class in the subject. Here are some samples of what he created in class. A few head design concepts and one of the 5 pose rotations called for in the course.
Romney is very talented and is already working as a freelance designer and illustrator, picking up a book illustration project during his time with us so far.
Here's a look at his website... http://www.freelanced.com/romneyvasquez
Joel Valdez continues to do some nice work. These drawings are from class recently. He was directed to develop his characters utilizing tonal shadows to help describe form and depth of field. He did a good job.
He's from Tucson, Arizona and will be an intern this summer with Philip J. Felix at Red Sky Studio. He's also been interning with Snakebite at Petra Gallerie in Beverly Hills.
Wow, its great to see such improvement. I wish I had a mentor to guide me with my skills when I was younger. Now at 24 I feel like my art is behind what it should be for that age. However I still enjoy it.
If I could relocate to CA to get some lessons in improving my drawings I would would in a heart beat.
Thanks for your comment Archie.
Here's something recently created by Kristen Robertson, a student currently enrolled in Character Design 2. Kristen's developing a project which she plans on taking to levels beyond just a class assignment. A graduate of the animation program at Cal State Northridge, she's enrolled at the Academy to continue her creative endeavors and further develop her skills. She's doing a fine job with her latest work, a five pose rotation of one of her characters, handled in a slightly unconventional manner by having the 3/4 front view precede the full front view. Clicking on the image will give you a better view.
Notice how Kristen differentiates between her blue line drawing, which focuses on the anatomy of her character, and the red line aspect of the design which is the costume she placed on the image. Very well thought out and very suitable for animators and modelers to understand what's happening with the form.
To see more of Kristen's work feel free to visit her blog at this link.