When I’m not running around (and I do a good deal of that these days) I pick up a pen and brush and try to catch up on my commissions. Yeah, it’s true. People actually want an original pencil sketch or color sketch by me. Surprise, surprise. And, I thought only the good artists sold their work. Anyway, I’ve been busily catching up on several commissions. You can see some of my art on my Disney drawing table where I work “Old School” with pencil, brush and water color. Yes, there’s a 24 inch Cintiq tablet next to my drawing board, but sometimes it’s fun to go analog and give the digital stuff a rest. Besides, many of my friends and fans in Europe actually prefer a hand drawn original when compared to a crappy digital print out. Actually, the digital stuff looks good. It’s just that it’s - digital. Some people simply prefer artwork that’s created by hand rather than another print out from PhotoShop. As you can see, my drawing table is filled with color sketches from The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Toy Story and Roger Rabbit.
I had the opportunity to visit Bento Box, an animated production facility located in the fashionable San Fernando Valley. I always thought the studio that brings you, “Bobs Burgers” was a teeny, tiny little boutique studio in Burbank. Surprise, surprise, yet again. Bento Box has grown in size considerably and rather than call it Bento Box - it’s more like Bento Shipping Container. The production facility is hardly the little start up it was only a few scant years ago. It was fun to pay a surprise visit yesterday morning and find a number of my old pals employed there. Like most studios today, I find it still reminds me of an accounting firm with hard working employees creating cartoony stuff in their cubicles. To their credit, the studio still manages to create a cartoon like atmosphere and it felt like a fun place to work. However, as I said in my last post, animation studios today still lack the special ambience of the eighties and nineties where cartoon animation was created in rather scruffy facilities and the studios had more of a zany vibe. I recognize that the way cartoons are made has changed and that certainly affects the look and feel of the production facility.
In the meantime, I’ve returned to my drawing table and I’m hard at work trying to knock out more Disney sketches before some other assignment pulls me away. I’m delighted to turn off that damn Cintiq Tablet and pick up a real pencil again. Of course, occasional accidents happen and I cannot simply press, “Command Z.” But, that’s cool, because my pencil, paints and brushes never crash. Like those two old geezers from “The Incredibles” wisely said. “There’s no school like the old school.”