// desertscape //
Drawing inspired by a recent stay in the southwest, and a color study.
I associate even and odd numbers with colors. (see above)
I couldn’t figure out why for the longest time, but I have some theories. One is the Counting/Pattern Block Theory: in school we had these plastic blocks that stuck together—my teacher may have assigned some even/odd color thing…or I made it up myself. It’s very strongly imprinted, either way. Even numbers feel like red, green, and blue. Odd numbers are yellow, lime green, purple and gray. Orange is a color that sits somewhere in between… the more red it has in it, the more ‘even’ it feels. White is completely neutral, but black is not.
Additionally, these same sets of colors convey ideas of good and evil (and by association, so do the numbers)…which is where the Transformers Theory comes into play—Autobot color palettes vs. Decepticon color palettes. They sort of align…think Optimus Prime compared to Megatron or the Constructicons, but this is a less perfect theory. Still, odd numbers have always felt a little evil to me, and so does this pairing of colors.
Does anyone have anything like this kicking around in their brain, or is it just me?
// Jelly Kid Forever //
You guys have seen the latest episode of Bravest Warriors, right? If not, look over here. Jelly Kid has a special place because he was the first character I designed for the show to really take off—quickly eclipsed by Catbug.
On a tip from Breehn, I ran into this amazing fan theory about Jelly Kid, or more scientifically, Luxogelata Filius. Read it; it’s awesome.
sgtsquishy said: Hey Bob. I like in a small town where it's almost impossible to break into character design which is absolutely my dream. Any advice on how to break into it?
It’s funny that you ask this because I’m not sure how I broke into it myself, aside for being recommended by some truly awesome friends when they heard the show needed a designer. I’m also not sure I’m the best person to give advice. Most people would probably tell you to build up your character portfolio with life drawings and turnarounds, move to LA if you want to get into design for television… but I currently live in Boston, and I got to where I am by drawing weird cartoony things and putting them on the internet.
I actually work on Bravest Warriors nights and weekends. I have a great and rewarding full-time job as Director of Art and Animation at a company called FableVision, where we create educational and play-oriented games for mobile and web, animated shorts, books, all that fun stuff. I write and draw my own comics—SpongeBob comics, too. I went to school for illustration without any aspiration of getting into animation until I was introduced to Flash. I’ve learned on my own about the process of animation since then.
I’ve always doodled characters, but I didn’t know character design as a profession existed until somewhat recently. I sort of think it odd to specialize in something so specific, because I consider it a part of the whole narrative package. It’s important to give a reason for your characters to exist. I enjoy developing worlds and writing stories. I’ve found my way into character design because I like participating in story creation. I would encourage you to definitely practice drawing characters (tons of them, in all sorts of varieties), but think about ways to wrap them into an animation or comic, and execute on that as well.
Also, the fact that you live in a small town shouldn’t discourage you at all. That’s what the internet’s for! Get connected with like minds and make a statement with your art—funny, stupid, heartfelt, philosophical, political—whatever interests you. Find your voice, and exercise it.
With 2013 winding down, I’ve decided to put my Brain #1 mini-comic online. You can read all 44 pages in full here. I put my heart into this bugger. Took a week off from my job at FableVision to complete it in time for MeCAF (May). One thing for sure in 2014: you’ll see more in the way of comics from me again. I miss writing and drawing stories with my own characters.
—> Brain #1
above: the various colors I printed the book in
I still have a few more print copies, here.
Here’s a bigger version of the Catbug doodle sheet where the design really came together. You can read more about that process in the question I answered over here. (For some reason tumblr posted the images small in the question/answer format.)
gabe4turtlecreeper said: Why did you decide to make a cat mixed with a bug? (Catbug)
It’s my understanding that the idea to mix a cat with a bug came from showrunner, writer, and director, Breehn Burns, and you can read a little of that history over in a reddit AMA he did, where he describes an earlier version of a teleporting critter called Time Pug. So, you’d have to ask Breehn, but I notice off hand that Time Pug rhymes with Catbug (ha). Also, Breehn names Impossibear and Beth as some of his favorite characters from the show…those happen to be my faves as well! (Catbug a close third)
What I can share with you are some of my early sketches. To begin, Breehn sent me Sam Lavagnino’s first audio record (which was bonkers adorable), and pointed me to an early group shot Natasha Allegri illustrated which includes a flying catlike bug. He thought it would be interesting to explore a ladybug/cat hybrid. This was in April of 2012, and was one of my first assignments designing on the show (around the same time we were developing new characters like Impossibear and Plum).
Breehn liked the ‘hanging-open wing pose’ at the bottom of this set, so from there I explored another set of drawings, where I think his personality starts to show through. I drew more standing-up poses, as we knew he wouldn’t be flying all the time. My goal was to keep the design as simple as possible—to keep him chubby and cute like a baby.
From this page, I boiled it down to the 4 drawings which I later inked and colored up.
So yeah, that’s how the design for Catbug came to be, as best as I can recall. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for asking!
luna-dreamer-5 said: What gives you the inspiration to draw the new Bravest Warriors characters?
Often I’ll get a short description, some kind of characteristic to loop in (Jelly Kid is made of jelly … Impossibear is some kind of space bear: GO). I generate pages of doodles and pick out my favorites. More often I’m just making up creatures and aliens, which is the most fun, because that’s what I’m drawing all the time anyway. I get inspiration from forms in nature—anything weird I can find.
For awhile I was digging on undersea creatures, ancient lifeforms and bizarre organisms, but lately I’ve been studying plants and flowers. What first sparked that idea was when I visited the Natural History Museum at Harvard a few years back and was absorbed into their glass flowers exhibit. Seeing plantforms blown up to 40 to 200 times their size makes you realize just how alien they are. I’m drawn to all variety of organic shapes—the aesthetic code of nature—and I try to think of ways to combine and transform them through simplification. I was just visiting the southwest and even the rockforms out there are full of life. On a show like Bravest Warriors, its often a matter of putting some interesting shapes together and adding a cute face to it. Ha. But yeah, that’s where I look to most. That, and learning from my favorite artists—old and new. Watching lots of cartoons, reading a lot of comics.