What a Story Artist doesRead More
Recently, my closest friend growing up had her own first child. She asked for prints of some of my other summer watercolor work for the babies room, but I was inspired to create some new images. As I thought of all the ways we played and spent time together, I realized I was making a "day in the life." Summer days when you play every possible game, swim, bike, sit around saying "What do you want to do?" " I don't know what do you want to do?" "Now don't start that again!" (Yes, we had seen The Jungle Book a few times.) The images are represented as different days, since I created them separately as 5"x5" paintings. Combined in Photoshop the image is about 16"x20". I've always loved the work of Norman Rockwell and his genius of story-provoking images. Here are his "Day in the life of a Girl" and "Day in the life of a Boy."
Did you ever play the hand clapping game "Miss Mary Mack"? If you were ever an eight year old girl in America, you probably did. I suddenly thought of hand games the other day and found myself singing "Miss Mary Mack" in my car. Then I had a realization: This is the strangest song! What the heck is this about? Which is what I think most of us realize, as adults, when we stop and think about the lyrics of most oral-tradition children's songs. Ring-Around-The-Rosie is about the black plague, London-Bridge-Is-Falling-Down is when London Bridge literally fell down, houses, people and all, killing many. So where did "Miss Mary Mack" come from?
Who is Mary Mack and why does she smoke a pipe? Well, the internet says (via Wikipedia): The origin of the name Mary Mack is obscure, and various theories have been proposed. According to one theory, Mary Mack originally referred to the USS Merrimack, a United States warship of the mid-1800s named after the eponymous Merrimack River, that would have been black, with silvery rivets. This may suggest that the first verse refers to the Battle of Hampton Roads during the American Civil War
What the hee-ha? Thats my very own backyard!... of sorts (not that I had any ancestors there at that time..but) I grew up in that area! And of course the internet is never wrong (*wink).
None the less, it still doesn't make any sense, or answer any questions. Its just fun. The lyrics are silly. So while I mulled over them, sitting in bay area traffic, I thought up some illustrations. Here is my interpretation of "Miss Mary Mack" for you all! Pencil on paper. (I had the intention to watercolor them, but decided not to for the time being.)
Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons [butt'ns]
All down her back, back, back.
She can not read, read, read
She can not write, write, write,
But she can smoke, smoke, smoke
Her father's, pipe, pipe, pipe
She asked her mother, mother, mother
for fifty cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
they touched the sky, sky, sky
And didn't come back, back, back
Till the 4th of July, ly, ly!
I meant to post about this a few months back when it came out. We were all so excited about this book in the Story Department. The nature of our job is to help develop the story, through drawings, ideas, opinions, thoughts on structure and yes storyboards. What we do informs everything you see in the film, yet those initial pieces, the millions of drawings created to build the film, are rarely seen. This books a glimpse at not just the art, but the minds behind all those gags, character moments and bits of magic that make these movies ones you love to revisit. Its a fun one to check out! ( I also got a few drawings in there *wink)
Yep, my causal drawing in this book, literally took 5 years to get to the halfway point. The best part is looking through the book as it fills up. Its still a fun and challenging sketchbook to fill. Here are some of the images from the past few pages.
Waves is a short film idea I pitched, while working at Pixar. You may have heard, and its true, that pitching shorts is an open process. I have pitched short films twice in my about 8 years. Three different ideas each time, so a total of six. So far, none of them went any further than a pitch. So I had them legally carved out, and have been piddling around with the idea of doing something with them. For this idea, I loved the possibility of what it could look like in CG animation. No other medium would do it justice. The bubbles, the fractured light, mist and movement! Though because of that, its a little out of my realm to personally make it a film, considering the computers, money and man power it requires. I had a lot of fun doing the concept paintings for it, so I decided to go ahead and post the development art.
The concept is a young surfer, who decides to take on the big waves. She is confident and strong-willed, but they just keep taking her down! The waves are personified as a hand, swooping her up, pushing her down, tumbling her around! She fights them, trying to do everything her way, but ultimately has to learn the art of 'going with the flow', to find harmony with the waves. She finds herself guided and lifted by them in the end.
It was thought out enough to have a theme and concept, but story details hung in the air. I played with the idea of dolphins taunting or guiding her. Also whether or not she was an amateur or experienced surfer. I toyed with the idea of a face in the waves, though felt hands were interesting and strong enough as an image. Plus, if you have ever been pummeled by a wave, you know it feels like someone is jostling you around and pulling your under! The images below are a variety of beat boards for the short.
I grew up, fairly close to the ocean and loved riding waves. Usually body surfing or boogie boarding. The ocean is its own character and life force. I was also really inspired by the incredible footage of surfers out there. I hope your imaginations can fill in the blanks of how amazing this idea would be in motion!
I couldn't be more excited for this movie to come out! I worked as a Story Artist on Inside Out for about 3 years. People are often a bit confused about what Story Artists do. At Pixar we get this great opportunity to work closely with the directors to help develop the characters and the story, along with drawing the storyboards. We put our hearts into figuring out these characters, and often a bit of ourselves. It is thrilling to see the world fall in love with them and their story. The reviews are stellar! You are in for a treat. Hope you all love it!! Congrats to Pete, Ronnie, Jonas, Josh.. everyone for pulling it off!!
With the Box Trolls coming out today, I've been seeing a lot of boxes on Twitter. They make me think of this interactive project I did for Lolly's Box, years ago. I drew some variations on what different peoples "boxes" might be. Here are a few of them. Click on the right or left of the image to see different ones. What would your box be?
I love drawing activity books. The kind that teach drawing but also inspire creative thinking. So I decided to make one of my own. Originally the theme was a time-travel through the 20th century idea. Stopping in each decade. It is not set in stone, but right now it is less of the time-travel element, and more a "style through the 20th century" theme. The working title is "100 Years of Fashion and Fun, a girl's drawing activity book". I am refining it now and figuring out publishing. Here is a glimpse at some of the pages. It will consist of how-to pages, along with activity/creative pages.