Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"ASOCKOLYPSE!" Storyboards for Indy Film Reveal Missing Socks

I recently finished storyboards for the Indy sci-fi- comedy film "Asockolypse!" Boarding the feature length script was a blast, with over one-thousand storyboards featuring character designs, environments, spaceships, and funky alien props. Partnering with director Carrie Schoenfeld and her talented team has been one of my favorite experiences as a story artist. 

As socks around the world disapear at an alarming rate, our cast of characters find the culprit is an alien race who use washing machines and evil squirrels to steal socks to fuel their advanced ailen technology. 
Check out the early trailers for "Asockolypse!" at

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tekserve's Official Wacom Cintiq 13HD Release Party

Prounounced "Wah-Kum"
New York City’s Apple Specialist store Tekserve hosted the Official Wacom Cintiq 13HD Release Party last night. The bench mark for interactive pen displays, Wacom (pronounced Wah- Kum) Intuos pads and Cintiq interactive pen displays have been the art entertainment industry digital standard for many years now.  Many illustrators, photographers, editors, and designers have embraced the tool for enhanced productivity, flexibility and integration reasons. 

Tekserve hosted the after-hours free presentation for ticket-holders only, including an impressive spread of food and drink that I rarely see at such events. Attendees mingled, munched, networked, and test-drove the Cintiqs and other models on display. Marvel Comics fans were happy to see Marvel CCO and favorite artist Joe Quesada as one of the guests who generously shared his Cintiq workflow with the audience. The standing room presentation was comfortable, as the absence of seats felt informal and flexible. I was close to the stage, but a big screen and other monitors broadcast everything throughout the store, enabling guests to watch and listen from anywhere in the shop.

Wacom Cintiq 13HD 
Lots of food for hungry guests

It was interesting to see Quesada’s workflow. He uses the Cintiq for layout purposes mainly, sometimes sketching concepts directly on the screen, other times working from scanned pencil/pen doodles on paper. He manipulates Google Sketch-Up models of cars, buildings, and other props as desired until he finds the right angle. Then he brings a screen shot into Photoshop to draw over this reference to satisfy his final layout. He often will drop in shading with a big broad brush, and if I understood him correctly, he will sometime ink his work using Photoshop’s pencil tool instead of the brush tool (which he feels is too unpredictable in line quality). Although I was a bit confused with his flow at times, he clarified that he will work the layouts up as pencil on paper drawings for the final art. After that I was unclear if he produced the final black lines in analog or digital form. Quesada mentions that many comic-book artists have not abandoned the pencil and India ink final art pages because of the demand for after-market original art sales they may enjoy. However, since sharing a lot of his finished BW and color art, I gather that Quesada is comfortable using both methods.

Joe Quesada draws a crowd
In my experience Tekserve has been a great resource for my Mac needs.  I bought my tower from them a few years ago, and repaired my laptops’ motherboard at the same time. The wait for the repair counter can be somewhat long and inconvenient depending on the time of day. If you need a repair inquiry and have the luxury of an open schedule, earlier in the day seems best. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, and has helped me make some great decisions regarding hard drive products and performance.

If you need Apple products, Cintiq’s, upgrades, audio devices, repairs, or want to check out some of their events, visit Tekserve at 

"Being Human" Drives a Subaru

Here is a commercial I boarded for a Subaru/Being Human cross promotion.  Fun characters and premise, which are a take off-on the supernatural characters from the SyFy show. The full-up can be seen here:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Niia Bertino's Debut Video Single with Storyboards and a Twist

Doll with a Vengeance
Some of us remember when music videos were a novelty. Back in the early cable TV days, when HBO had its “Video Jukebox,” I would record the half hour show on VHS in hopes that something unique and memorable would capture me. The results were hit and miss.  Sometimes a mediocre song would be elevated by a great video, while others had lackluster content. Few had both great music and great visuals, and those that did not only helped sell vinyl records, but also became visual trademarks. As the music industry started to decline with the growth of sharing sites like Napster, the role of music videos as a marketing tool became less important.

Now, thanks to the “On Demand” feature of my local cable box, music videos air from A to Z. I occasionally view the latest pop videos from today’s “sensations.” For me, these are more “miss” than “hit.” Videos run the gamut from conventional storytelling to abstract performance clips; performers range from the vocally talented to the vapid computer-enhanced singer.

Motel and factory voyeur
Occasionally there is a true vocalist, brave enough to stand outside the mainstream, while talented enough to circumvent the industry nonsense. Niia Bertino has a rich velvety voice that takes its time. She sings with discretion not born from a marketing strategy but from an honest talent. No digital synthetic boosts, no layer upon layer of background noise, just straightforward and confident singing, delivered at its own pace. The lyrics languish, then intensify; resonate, then satisfy.

“Made For You” is Niia’s debut single.  The video has the two essentials – a strong song and a strong visual timeline. As I storyboarded the short for director Tony Kaye (American History X), I had access to the most unusual source images that helped develop the macabre story. Under Kaye’s direction, the rubber doll factory is a haunting place. Filled with eerie voyeuristic shots that show dissembled fabrications of women, along with a main narrative where the antagonist debases the female form, the video clashes reality with perception. The dénouement is a striking reminder of the power not just of the femme fatale, but also of any woman’s vitality and strength.

You can view Niia’s sensitive song here, but be advised the video is intense and contains mature subject matter and graphic images. Children should not view it.