Scribble Addict

Christopher Birnbaum is The Scribble Addict

Animator/artist, blogger (Animation Force), filmmaker, writer, AV Tech, professional pizza eater (turtle power).

Find me at: Art Blog, Portfolio Website, Vimeo, Beehance, @greenclock on twitter, and my inspiration blog: The Animation Kid

Recent Tweets @TheAnimationKid

Sketches.

Finger Trap.

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a commission involving detailed digital portraits of people like Steve Jobs. That’s been taking most of my time and energy. I have, however, had some time to work on some of my own stuff.

Recently I’ve been getting back into comic books in a big way, remembering my roots in The Flash and X-Men which were some of my favorite heroes growing up. My father had a considerable collection of comics he bought for a dime a book growing up in the 60s. He mostly liked DC, so I grew up with Batman, Flash, and Superman, but also a decent number of Spider-Man from Marvel as well.

Getting back into comics, a friend recommended Impulse to me, which excited me because he’s an interesting character, and he’s related to my favorite line of comics: The Flash. Excitedly I went to the local comic book store and bought myself Mercury Falling, one of the collections of Impulse’s 90s run. This book collected some of the comics from the 60s issue range. 

Overall it was an excellent miniseries, and I also loved the incredible art. It had some of the most dynamic inking, with impressive blacks, very purposeful laying down of spots of complete black, and lots of detail. The artists (Ethan Van Sciver, Eric Battle), also added in some nice exaggeration. Since Impulse is a kid his head and feet are very large, while his body is relatively small. Along with the animated posing, and dynamic composition, this made for a very enjoyable visual experience.

Reading Mercury Falling, I was very inspired. I wanted to try my hand at both the interesting character design of Impulse, and also the unique inking style. So here I’ve included the penciling and inking of a pretty tame pose of Impulse standing up so I could try something simple for a first attempt. It was also a great example of the inking style and of the character’s proportions. It’s not a perfect first attempt (some things are a little off), but it is a first attempt, and I’m happy with how it turned out. It was also very fun to draw.

Lately I’ve been drawing a ton. I can’t remember the last time I missed a day of drawing, but it’s been somewhere around a month. I’ve made this challenge for myself: I must at least do some rough sketching with basic practice everyday, if I don’t have the energy to do something better. I’ve found that doing a warm-up of practicing lines, basic shapes, and gesture drawing both keeps you practicing and getting better, as well as getting you started drawing before you have a chance to be intimidated and never start.

I’ve been adding to a pile of drawings which I call my sketch stack. It keeps me motivated because I like seeing how big the stack is getting and also enjoy looking through it and remembering what I’ve done. Some of the stuff is pretty good even though it was mostly just for practice or warm up.

Here are some of my sketch/practice/scrap pages from the last week.

My name is Christopher Birnbaum, and I’ve been working hard at my dream of becoming a professional storyboard artist, character designer, and animator for a while now, but I’m just now starting a blog with my work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been posting elsewhere, such as on my website, here on my tumblr, and social media. But I thought it might be a good idea to have a blog as well so I could be a bit more personal with my sharing, and I also like having everything dated when I post it. Gives me a some security and claim to my work. I want this blog to be completely devoted to my art and journey as an artist.

With that, let me post some of my best work so far to get my blog rolling. This is work I’ve done over the past year or so.

-Chris

animationforce:

The official teaser trailer for the upcoming Sly Cooper CG-Animated film from Blockade Entertainment and Rainmaker Entertainment. Breaking into Theaters in 2016! Directed by Kevin Munroe, Produced by Brad Foxhoven and David Wohl

I’m shocked. This is the first I’ve heard of this. That makes two big video game franchises from Playstation coming to the big screen (the other is Ratchet & Clank). As a big fan of this series of games, I’m excited about this! Great, fun characters, with a fun spy theme that doesn’t take itself too seriously, very much incorporating a comic book and cartoon style, this could be a great film. And it seems they have the characters spot on. The designs are a bit different, and Sly in particular looks a little bit more realistic than I’d like, but the movement and personality all seem to reflect the original fun of the games.

I’m nervous to get excited about this, but man, do I want this to be great! Guys, I can’t wait!

-Chris

animationforce:

My initial reaction to Frozen trailers in early 2013 were tarnished by the fact of its similarity to Tangled. As positive reviews began to bubble on the internet my approach shifted and I became more keen on discovering what the film had to offer. 

(Spoilers below)

Now I’ll admit my opinion of the film is a bit biased because I saw it in a theater full of animation students. The jokes and animation were exceptionally appreciated and laughs were very strong. So when the screening ended I had a rather positive reaction to the film and that may have been slightly different had I seen it with another audience. 

Frozen is unapologetically a musical. So if songs aren’t your deal it is probably best to pass this film on by (or watch it once at least just for the animation). The songs have became rather popular and there is plenty of coverage on them so I won’t say too much. Except that I enjoyed some of the lead ups into them and that the lyrics were well crafted.

The number one thing that stood out to me was the animation. I am not sure if it is simply due to my studies but the quality really stood out. The nuances in the characters captivated me. I really felt that the characters I was watching were real and had distinct traits. These characteristics were communicated beautifully through the expressions, shoulders, posing, and hands. So much that I my eyes were glued to the screen- there were times I would laugh to myself during the film because I just couldn’t believe how effectively the characters were animated.

Of course the story is the thing that will be held under the scrutiny by most. Parts in the middle feel moderately “box-car” and conflict seems to spring out of no where to drive the story along at points. Anna and Kristoff’s romance feels silly after Kristoff himself points out how ridiculous it is to fall in love so quickly. Hans’ villainy was a twist; but maybe a tad to pushed of one (I think that if during the scene where they storm the ice castle if they had him see the crossbow pointed at Elsa and then did nothing (he mentions later that he wants her dead anyways)- this wouldn’t even require a devious expression but it would have been a short little clue that would have made the reveal more believable). Yet, to me, the strengths were more significant than these flaws. Not having a typical disney villain was a refreshing change. The beginning had a real tasteful set up and the relationship between the sisters felt tactile. How the characters interacted with one another felt plausible except when it wasn’t supposed to (“Love is an open Door). However what sold me was the moment of truth that transpired on the giant plain of ice- the camera work and dramatization of character was mesmerizing.

This leads back to the Tangled/Frozen comparison. Here and there I’ve seen multiple comments on how Tangled is better/or how Tangled is a film with more re-watch value than Frozen, and so on. Tangled most certainly has an artistry to it’s film that is hard to follow. Frozen makes it even harder on itself by adding a character like Sven, which in my opinion pales in comparison to Maximus. However, I thought here I would be one voice to the contrary and say that Frozen has a higher ranking in my preferences. In Tangled, Flynn and Rapunzel felt as if they were both tugging for the main character roll; and with Rupunzel’s place of naiveté she honestly just didn’t convince me as well as say… Anna- who is in a way a very similar character. In Frozen, there seemed to be more of an attempt to drive the characters through story based on the tangible decisions that they made; as opposed to Tangled where I felt the characters were more pigeon-holed into archetypal choices. However what is the largest deciding factor for me is the comparison of the ending situations. Both have character’s who die and revive; but the advantage Frozen has it is the main character who sacrifices herself to save another character- and after doing so she reaps the consequences that were enacted by the sister she just saved. That is a very compelling concept. In Tangled, at the final moment mother Gothel is painted as a complete villain- which is necessary as what happens to her is horrific. However since you are not meant to care for her; you are only left with Flynn’s sacrifice to empathize with. As opposed to the moment Elsa has at the end where she also is mourning because of the loss of her savior- but is deeper because she feels responsible for the ailment that she caused her sister- also there is the additive benefit that Frozen sets up that Kristoff is going to save Anna but it ends alternatively. As opposed to Tangled where the archetypes all play out there role in that final scene and things happen predictably. 

Film finds everyone in a different place; depending on your experience how you interpret the characters on screen your reaction to a movie could be completely contrast another’s interpretation. Trying to create a film in general is difficult, and attempting to develop something for international audiences of all ages is even more so. As an aspiring animator, it would be easy to sit with my arms crossed and judge a film to death; but I try to latch onto the positive. Sure, there may be things that I think could make a movie better but who knows I could be just as flawed. Frozen is what it is; no one’s opinion at this point is going to change the film- so learn from the mistakes that you think are there- but most of all consider the things that you appreciate about the film.

~ Oh and if you are nerdy like me; just watch out for the subtleties of the animation in Frozen- really amazing!

Isaiah

animationforce:

This is a VFX breakdown video of Thor: The Dark World, from Blur Studio.

-Chris

animationforce:

Rio 2 Teaser

Rio 2 premiers April 11, 2014 in US theaters.

animationforce:

Welcome back, (CG) Audrey!

If you haven’t seen this commercial for Galaxy chocolates—also known as Dove chocolate outside of UK and Ireland—you need to give it a closer look. This commercial filmed in Italy’s Amalfi Coast area boasts incredible visual effects, including its actress. 

Oscar-nominated (Gravity) visual-effects company Framestore (as well as work on Skyfall, RoboCop, and Walking With Dinosaurs, to name a few) spent months developing a full-CG Audrey Hepburn for this advertisement, working with UK ad agency AMV BBDO. Read more about the extensive process on Framestore’s website.

It’s no surprise that her iconic eyes and smile were the most difficult parts for the team of four animators, but I think they really captured Hepburn well.

-Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

animationforce:

Here is a trailer for an anime movie that just opened in Japanese theaters last month. It’s title is Majokko Shimai no Yoyo to Nene and is animated by the animation studio ufotable, who have animated many works including Fate/Zero and Kara no Kyoukai/The Garden of Sinners.

The animation and art style in this trailer really appeals to me, with its bright and vibrant colors along with some fluid movement. Hopefully this gets licensed and brought over to the west in some way.

Synopsis: “The “traditional magical fantasy” from the anime studio ufotable follows sisters who are magical girls. Yoyo and Nene live in a forest where they run a famous store for magic spells, and the two are quite skilled despite being young, but for some reason they always cause an uproar.”
(Source: Animenewsnetwork)

-Josh

animationforce:

robminkoff:

New Clip out for #MrPeabody…

http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-news/-mr—peabody-and-sherman-exclusive-clip-pits-time-travelling-dog-vs—greek-warriors-210022409.html

"Shermanus"

Everything I see about this movie makes me want to see it more. Director Rob Minkoff posted a link to this new clip from Mr. Peabody and Sherman last night; check it out on Yahoo—it’s a huge step up from Yahoo’s usual “Are Pies the New Cupcakes?” garbage…

-Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

animationforce:

rufftoon:

mukasfilms:

[Poster] Ernest et Célestine

It is now announced as coming out March 14th in the US. I don’t know how widely distributed it will be, but do keep an eye out for it. I don’t know if there will be a lot of advertisement about it. Will make sure to do a little reminder the weekend it opens.

I have been looking everywhere for info about this film and seeing it in the US. I’m excited about this!

-Chris

animationforce:

Sequels often get immediately approached wish scorn and distaste. 

I suppose this is earned- perhaps not always intentionally. Creating a film is not an exact science and recreating the elements that constructed a world and characters that captivated audiences is a mighty feat indeed.

However, sometimes a film comes along and surprises you. Monsters U did that for me; but probably because of little Mike Wazowski. That little guy who was everyone’s last pick and a dreamer had an honesty that rang true about it and was also something that connected to me personally. 

The story also took a risk of a rather unhappy ending and making a character not get what they want; which was a gutsy move for an animated film, but again it held a truthfulness that could have been shallowed greatly if an alternative route had been taken.

Compared to it’s predecessor which conversely lies chronologically in the future Monsters U is perhaps less appealing conceptually. The ideas of monsters going through doors that are magical portals for energy is clever and compelling. However, to me Monsters U felt truer to original Pixar storytelling and made me excited to see upcoming projects in the future.

Isaiah