Sunday, December 14, 2008


A Pirate for a sunday. And yes, I still haven't finished the promised ballonist story. It's coming...yikes. I wish life was a little less busy. In the meantime I'll post the rough colour key...

Back to storyboarding!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Der Lavender Baron

Meet Erich Von Schmeck, AKA the Lavender Baron- A WW1 flying ace whose main instrument of war was a not a fokker triplane, but a hot air balloon. His first mission ended in disaster as he was unable to return to base due to lack of appropriate wind direction. He drifted aimlessly for some days before touching down on the Cornish coast, only to be speared by a local farmer.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

German ace

Adding to the previous doodle, I'm preparing a story about the German hot air balloon aces of WW1. Needless to say, their careers were short.

I'll post the story by the end of the week.

you're excited, aren't you?

French Policeman

Monday, November 24, 2008

On storytelling

Comics doodle, flash and photoshop.

I sat in the park at lunch break and finished Carlos Ruis Zafon's The shadow of the wind. Initially put off by the whiff of queasy gothic romance, I have to admit this book stole me completely.

Set in Barcelona during 30s, it is the story of a kid who finds a book, the last remaining edition by an unknown author. After discovering that someone has been systematically trying to burn every copy of work by this author, the kid is compelled to find out story behind the book. The ensuing web of intrigue and coincidence, evil, misfortune, and love, is exquisite.

I'm in the business of telling stories, and I'm not sure I'm that great, but the one thing I do know is the most valuable asset you possess is the mind of your audience. Depending on your art form, every member of your audience is willing to give you at least a few seconds of their undivided attention- A precious snatch of time with which to hook them- and then release the next hook- and the next- until the end.

That's all storytelling is- the release of information.
Our goal is to know our characters and events so well, that our only priority is how to release the information- how to coerce, to manipulate, frighten, humour, enrage our audience. Leading them to invest themselves in the story.

As I read, I realized Zafon's book is a Masterpiece of this skill. How gently he nudges his audience into his traps, until we realize how each character and plot component suddenly begin to clarify, to fuse together, fuelling an inevitable climax. We realize he is too good at his craft to question it, and just have to buckle in and find out what happens.

Please read :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pigs and planes

I always dreamed of playing in a place like this when I was a kid. Hold on, I still do.

Colour version on the way :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just screwin' around...

Charcoal, coloured pencil, oils, photoshop.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Illustration friday.... wise

Wise guy. I'm cheating with this one, you may have seen it before, but it seemed to fit the week's topic.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Nothing like the closing stages of a project- increased pressure, sure, but increased energy too. As we finish our renders, our sound, and now compositing- we're getting there.

The little critters will fly.

Of course, I can't show you anything of the final animation. That sucks. Hope that changes soon.

:) JP

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cowboys and sketches

A fairly crumby elephant, but fun for warming up- charcoal.

We had my sons' birthday party this weekend. A wild west theme, that by the look of living room laid to waste at the end, was a success. I told the kids an improvised cowboy story with drawings, and my wife made the most awesome cake in history. Noah, in red, was immensely proud.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oily critters

Sometimes, there's nuthin' like oil paints. Some use them to paint portraits, landscapes, abstracts. I am still at the level of cheeky, bipedal rodents. We're currently in a bit of crunch animating these characters, which will be Cg/live action mix. I just got a bit pixel sick over the week so threw some paint around to relax. Consider this a sneak preview.

I'm going to wash off the caked sand from a volleyball match. I was told I jump like a frog. Oh well.

Note to aspiring oil painters. Do not organise your colours like this. You will end up fighting mud. I just get excited and throw down some colour everywhere. Do it properly. Hey, check out empty easel for a few good tips.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


A paintover of one of yesterdays' sketches- clearly attempting to channel the spirit of Alessandro Barbucci-

And the skateboard is by Alberto Cerriteno. If you don't know his work yet, GO. A stylistic rinsing of your eyeballs will ensue.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Been a long time

Sorry, both of you, for the long gap between posts- had a crazy trip to LA, ostensibly to sell and promote projects- some of which was fun but mostly a bit crazy. That was followed by a fun three days in Austin, Texas- I like that town! Stayed in a hotel and storyboarded a lot with my work partner Alex, trying to win a big project. Sheesh. Work. Hurry. Lately I've been pretty stressed- wondering how animation, of all things should be stressful- but it's pretty hard work making it, right?

Lately I've been in a 'letting go' frame of mind. It helps a ton. So I'm not yet where I want to be- so I my work needs to improve- so I need to pay debts... ah well. Life is still good. I have an awesome family and food on the table.

Above, meeting sketches from this morning.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Or, big guy in kimono. I'm reading shogun on the train to work at the moment. It's awesome.


Friday, September 12, 2008

raiders of the lost chickenshed

It seems that my default doodle is chickens. Watercolour pencil.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gurus, thousands of them

To be a top class guru, a top class set of dreads is in order. Pastel, ink, digital.

I'm just putting off the 100 storyboards I have to do.

...Must ... procrastinate....

Allright. Dammit. I'll get back to work. Have a good day. My daughter is the happiest person I know, so I hope she can cheer you up if you need it :)


Sunday, August 24, 2008

what's with the beehives?

I love beehives and especially when they are matched with horn-rims. Comes from reading the far side endlessly as an acne-ridden teenager. The lady on the right is watercolour. Her design got out of my control but I feel she's somehow more satisfying than the digital lady on the left. If you can be bothered, tell me what you think.

Off to turkey for 5 days of floating on an air mattress, with a beer of indeterminate origin in my hand.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

jelly doodle

A quick doodle while I wait for Toon Boom storyboard pro to download. Any one use that software, by the way? I'm trying to fix a decidedly wonky work pipeline as we work on 5-6 animatics at the same time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Crazy busy at work.... Still enough time to draw monkeys on the bus, though.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I was working at my desk last night and my two year old came in looking like a reject from a sacrificial ceremony.

There goes my new tube of red gouache.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Slowly slowly

I realised one thing talking to my wife last night. I am so freakin' impatient. One of the reasons why why my work never reaches the levels I want to get to. But we're all in the same boat, right? Constantly wanting to push to be better, facing discouragement, learning somehow to deftly sidestep it, -or not.

That's why, I'm deliberately taking my time over this silly painting. Just to see what happens when I do.

It's Friday morning- I love this time of the week more than any other. The community rushes out and shops, eats breakfast in the cafes, cleans house, and then the calm of friday evening descends, to prelude what should hopefully be a day of rest. Sometimes it is restful, sometimes the rest is elusive. I try to to practice one thing in particular on Saturdays. (maybe it's a sunday for you?)


The rest of the week can be for succumbing to the drive to push on for better things for me, my family. But what's better for them is that I learn to be content. So I practice, every Saturday.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

work in progress

Thought I'd indulge myself in a little detail. I haven't used a ballpoint pen in years- using one today reminded me of being a teenager in English Lit classes, drawing excessively detailed margin drawings of blues men, random creatures, and comedy deformities. Will post the final, and you will be blown away.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jaffa sketches

Met up with two studio friends and sat on a hilltop in Jaffa on saturday. Thought I'd break out the brush and ink. Apart from the fact you've got to carry water, ink, and toilet paper for all the ink spills, it's a fun, fluid sketching medium. I liked laying down a light wash then defining it with some nice blackness.

Jaffa itself is a fantastic sketching area, mixing tasty chunks of ancient urban decay and architectural details with a slightly sketchy atmosphere, teetering on the edge of the sea.

This lady stood in the middle of the fountain, and made for a nice living statue as she looked out to sea.

I didn't get much architecture in, but worked on tree shapes for a while. These people are cooking something tasty on their grill. A national sport here.
Lastly, some middle eastern dude, sketched at home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Loving watercolour at the moment; I thought I'd put up a sketchbook page, with the tourist guy here. I must say design owes a heavy debt to the art of Sylvain Marc, particularly this post: if you don't know it, do yourself a favour, have a look. Here's somebody who use all the tools at his disposal to create work that is witty, tender, loose and beautifully designed.

Oh, and one more thing; all you Israelites that like to draw. (Yes, you two lurkers out there; I know who you are!) Join me in Jaffa this saturday for drawing crumbling ancient buildings and crumbling ancient tourists on the beach. 5.30 pm. You have my email.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The guru is IN

Brush, ink, and photoshop.

Hey, anyone know how Wall-E ends? I discovered my 3 year old daughter has the endurance to watch only 90% of a pixar feature film. So we sat outside, while my wife and son watched the rest. Parenthood is awesome.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Met some friends in Jerusalem who are working on a feature up there, for a bit o' beer and sketching. we wandered about checking out the colorful, complex array of Jerusalemites passing by- Ethiopian orthodox priests, a group of female soldiers, a tramp with a bad cut on the head, strung out 'seekers', and all the regular folk too.I sat on a pavement and sketched but got defeated by the wind flapping my pages about. We gave up and drank beer in a bistro style courtyard place off Jaffa road.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

really cute

I don't usually do this kind of schtick, but I wanted to do some texture experiments, and zombie monkeys are as good as any place to start. I think deep inside there's a wannabe game designer in me. He's actually very friendly. Watercolour and photoshop. If you are interested, my almost favourite illustrator of all time, James Jean, has made some of his photoshop files downloadable so you can geek out over his use of the program to make gorgeous work a lot more gorgeous. I dig very much.


The quiet woods

Only tenuously related to this week's Illustration Friday topic, 'sour'. Hm. Sour, sour...sour berries? Berries are eaten by, uh- bears?
Anyone who's owned a dog know how funny they sound and look when they have to throw up. My German Shepherd sounded like a cross between a ufo, a moose and a vacuum cleaner. This Bear is in homage to him.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

She's trouble

I'm getting a kick out of collage-y forms, slapped together with rendered, textural areas- like her face. I'm trying for as much simplicity as I can.

Here's a detail;

I was up in the hills around Jerusalem this evening. Gorgeous light and air redolent with pines n' stuff. Makes me want to do some landscape, someday.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Don't move his bowl

It's chihuahua week at my place. I thought this might turn out funny, but he turned out a bit meaner than I planned. Don't be scared though.

On another note, my studio is in cahoots with Aardman to storyboard half of the second series
of Shaun the Sheep which I'm excited about. Looking forward to getting buried in story again. If you don't know the show, check it out- Tons of visual comedy within a very simple, typically quirky setting.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Quentin the Chihuahua

I was up at 5, testing the notion I might be more productive in the early morning. The streets outside did have an ambient stillness that helps your mind get loose. Sadly, I didn't get much done, except the chihuahua. His ears need some more work. Oils and Photoshop.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back in da holy lan'


Glad to be back, LA was a ton of fun but rather hectic. I remember a lot of running out of meetings onto the next meeting trying to figure out who the hell we're pitching to next...I'm back at my desk sketching again, trying to nail down a look for a this comics project I have sitting in my brain. This is pencils and digital colour. What do you think? I sometimes wonder if I'm far too obsessive about style and I end up producing *squat*. Going to try and change that. :)

Talking of Pencils, do yourself a favor and check out the gorgeousness of: Jorge Gonzalez,
delicious marks and atmospheric tones....


Monday, June 16, 2008


one of the most fun happenings in Florence was doing some sculpting demonstrations. I decided to make a simple little pig guy and go through some of the things I picked up at Aardman, mostly about mouth shapes, sculpting eyes and brows, and creating expression. nothing fancy, but so much fun.

I'm going to La now, no posts for a week, take care.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Forgotten Dodo

Now this piece ain't up to much in the final analysis, but I had a lot of fun doing it. Check out making of action below. Throw a lot of charcoal around, give it a simple slap of two tone colour and presto! A dodgy dodo.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hey there toucan

This dude has a knowing smile. I like toucans with knowing smiles. It's coming up to the weekend, and I really should be doing a lot of storyboarding, and less painting of tropical birds.

Anyway, this guy is going to be used for an after effects test. When I get the time.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What's on the painting table tonight then?

'Tis a yellow bug. Will post when I'm done. Getting a bit computer sick, so time for some old fashioned mess. JPX

Wrestlers nativity

This one almost broke me. Must've drawn and redrawn 5 or six times, and colored it every which way (with extremely mixed results) until I've finally arrived at something I can put up here.
Doesn't always go easy, does it?

It's their first baby.