Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Camp Quest

My friend Samantha is the director of Camp Quest UK, and she's asked me to come up with a poster for the camp. Camp Quest is a summer camp for children of parents with a naturalistic worldview - athiests, agnostics, humanists, and so on. Everybody is welcome as long as they're willing to think freely. It's a great alternative to other more popular and well known recreational groups for children that discriminate or exclude on the basis of faith (Church camps, Boy Scouts of America). For more info, and for a more comprehensive explanation of the camp's activities, enrollment, principles, etc. go to:

There's also the original North American Camp Quests, for those of us across the pond:

So this is what I've been working on. I'm going with sort of a "tree of knowledge" thing. It's very different from what I normally do. I'd say this is more strictly design, and less of the straightforward, narrative, work I'm used to doing. But I think it's a good fit, and it meshes better with some of the artwork already created for the camp.

The sketch I'm working from is on the left, and the in-progress is on the right. You can tell it's coming along well because I'm giving the thumbs up. I'm working on a big clayboard with ink. In some areas I'm scratching into the ink, in some areas I'm laying washes, and in other areas I'm laying down flat blacks. Just another day or so and I'll be done.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been working in a couple of different styles for my DP, and yesterday I took a break from flash and painting to do these for a montage that happens in the first "episode." There's 7 in all. These three aren't in order, because I can't get blogger to cooperate, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

DP Intro

Here's the (95%) completed intro for my DP. A bit of foley, some corrections to do in flash, and it'll be done.

The theme song was composed by Joachim Knoph, and produced by Magnus Murel Siverten and Joachim Knoph. Joachim was a huge help, a pleasure to work with, and (this should be self evident after listening) a talented composer. Check out his website here:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This is where the Magic Happens

Oh! Come in, come in, I almost didn't hear you knocking! I guess I was playing my records a little too loudly... I do enjoy my light jazz. Here let me turn it down a little... there. Divine, isn't it? Would you like a cocktail? There's a wet bar, just there by your elbow. No? Well I guess we'll just cut to the chase, then. I can guess why you're here. You see, I get a lot of people that come for the very reason you're here now - you want to see where the magic happens, don't you?

She's beautiful isn't she? That's an RCA drafting table, I got her second hand from a salvation army. It used to be adjustable, but the back is broken, so now it's at a fixed angle. It was a little boring, a little too sterile for the decor, so I've been decorating it these past few years. Every now and again I'll scrawl a little notation here and there. You see this here? That's a name I wrote down of a rude representative from Capital One, for whom I was going to write a nasty letter, but I never got around to it. And this right here is a tabulation of what everyone wanted to order for takeout one night during my sophomore year of college. General Tso's chicken, three vegetable rolls... say, are you hungry? I've got some stuffed crabs in the ice box. No, I understand, you're too enthralled with my workspace. Let's just continue.

Those speakers there I use to play music through my computer. The CD player part of it stopped working some time ago. I was fascinated with it when I bought it, because it spun the CDs vertically, but now it has the unfortunate habit of dropping them. No matter. I mostly listen to old radio shows through it nowadays. Mostly National Public Radio. WHY YES! I am sophisticated, thank you.

On top of the left speaker you can see the head of a cartoon dog. It's actually the hood from a pair of footy pajamas I bought at a thrift store. I cut it up some time ago for use in a costume (it consisted of the happy puppy on my head and a sash that said "Mr. Osh Kosh B'Gosh..." I won't tell you what the theme of the party was). I was going to get rid of it, but ran into a moral dilemma. I could see the child who used to own the pajamas out there somewhere, perhaps walking down the street of his suburban neighborhood. A trash truck rumbles by. A bag rolls out, and splits wide open. The child looks down, and there in the gutter is his beloved footy pajamas. No, he realizes with sinking horror, it is just the top. It's been cruelly decapitated and thrown out. A banana peel is draped gaily across his head, and coffee grounds smudge his white fur. The child sinks down, the knees of his corduroys scraping on the hot asphalt. An unearthly scream starts to fill his lungs.

So you see, I really had no choice but to hold onto it. I keep him there. His cold eyes boring into me, reminding me of my folly. Sometimes at night he keeps me company, telling me stories of his past life. The truth is though, he doesn't have a very deep well of experience to draw on. For most of his existence he was in a drawer, and for the rest of the time he was wrapped around a sleeping 7 year old boy.

I keep those rulers and that T-Square on my wall because it makes me feel like a professional. The same goes for the calender. I never write anything down, but I greatly enjoy the pictures of playful kittens.

Finally we have the radiator down there on the right. I had it commissioned specially, because I was tired of all the other radiators I've dealt with in the past. Either they were completely quiet or provided a white noise. Not this one. It either sizzles and spits out water, with a sound like a cat that's been partially run over, or erupts in a volley of startling hammering sounds. Even by radiator standards it's loud. It serves as a nice complement to the noise metal my delightful upstairs neighbors like to play at inappropriate hours. That's really the advantage of living in this glorified Boston University dorm. It keeps me young and on my toes.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour. Gerard my manservant will show you out. Ta-ta!

Friday, March 13, 2009

None-of-your-Business Cards (none-of-your-beeswax cards?)

My degree project's been taking a backseat to the stuff I've been doing for portfolio lately. Here are some of the ideas I've been having for business cards (I made more, but these are the better attempts) - still unsure of what I want to do. I like the idea of bees for some reason. I don't know where it came from or if it makes any sense (actually I do, and it doesn't.) But my middle initial is "B," so maybe there's a connection I can make there. And then I'll be able to justify the use of my middle initial in my domain name ("" is taken already, but stephenbeedavies? Still free. Not surprisingly.) I have very mixed feelings about all the designs, and I'm just unsure about the whole thing. I'd rather be working on my other projects where I've already planned everything out, and can plow through without so much thought and hesitation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Header

Finished this recently for a black and white illustration assignment. As you can tell, I modified it to use as the header for this blog, too. I like to think that one day I'll be the new Lisa Frank, and can mass produce these in full-blown technicolor for little girls' trapper keepers. Do kids still use trapper keepers? I don't even know anymore, I'm not around children much anymore as per my court order.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Degree Project Process

So, I've just finished animating my first teensy-weensy clip for my DP. It's only a couple of seconds long, but I've got more frames painted and waiting to be shot. I thought I'd put up some videos to show my process, since it's kind of convoluted.

First I take my puppets and take a video in front of a white wall, of whatever action they're doing in that scene. Mostly it's talking, in this case it's eating. Then I take that footage, bring it into final cut, make it a multiply layer, and throw it over a drawn background I scan in, so that it looks something like this:

Then I export that new video to Flash, where I draw in guides for pupils, arms, legs, and mouths:

Then I export that video as an image sequence, print them out, and paint over the characters:

That's it... it's a lot of work, but since my storyline doesn't call for a lot of action-packed sequences, I can get away with a lot of cycling.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Puppets Painted!

Over the break I worked on creating these puppets for my degree project: "The Armchair Detectives." They're constructed of a separated body and head (made from a light air-drying clay), which I'm using as a base to rotoscope over, so I don't need them to be very articulated. Anyway, I just finished painting them. I made the Russian boy awhile ago, sometime in October, and he doesn't fit in with the others as well as I hoped. I didn't put as much thought into his color as the others, and his construction isn't as solid, since he was the trial. But overall I'm pretty happy, especially with my fat, French girl.

The African girl is bald at the moment (I'm still working on her braids), so she's looking a little frightening right now.

When people have asked me what I've been up to, I've been telling them I've been spending a lot of time in my room braiding hair for my puppet-doll. So the termination of this segment of my project will hopefully bring a sense of relief to my loved ones. Don't worry everyone, I still have a ways to go before I become some creepy, loner puppeteer like John Cusack in Being John Malkovich.

Unpainted Puppets

"Ivan," my first puppet, on the left.