Friday, March 27, 2009

Pan Pacific plussed

Here's a new version of the Pan Pacific layout. I made a few corrections, like darkening the forground elements and adding some hilights. I actually got some art direction from none other than David James, the art director for "Monsters vs. Aliens", which is out in theatres in the U.S. this weekend. (for more on David, scroll down a few posts).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The title of the thread refers to a couple of animation related events I had the pleasure of attending at Samuel French's Theatre Bookstore in Studio City recently. Samuel French is best known as a publisher of play scripts, and these were a couple of book signings for animation and "Art of" animation books. This first event was last Thursday. It included Disney animator/producer Don Hahn, signing copies of "Alchemy of Animation" and legendary animator Eric Goldberg, signing his instructional book "Character Animation Crash Course"(a catchy title that only Eric would think of). Here's a window display in front of the store. If you don't know the alligator character, you soon will. He's Louis, Eric's character from "The Princess and the Frog" opening later this year around the holidays.I apologize for the focus, or lack thereof in these pictures. My digital photography needs some work. Anyway, here's a picture of Don Hahn examining the "Art of Monsters vs. Aliens" book, from the upcoming Dreamworks movie. Don has another book of his own, a retrospective of the notes of Walt Stanchfield, which is supposed to be hitting the shelves on March 28th, the same day that MvsA arrives in theatres.

Here's Eric holding a book which I think is about music in animated films. I think he actually ended up buying the book.

Eric: "With my foolproof system outlined in this book, you too, can become an ace animator, or you can just work in the front office!"

One of the unusual things about this event was the low turnout. You could pretty much count the people there on one hand, and that's almost counting Eric and Don! I ended up giving a member of the staff urls and info for and ASIFA Hollywood so that in the future, they can tap into the huge pool of enthusiasts in and around Los Angeles. In the meantime, I got a little one on one time with Eric.

It is really something to meet people face to face whom you mainly only knew from DVD special features, specials, etc., and to find them to be really down to Earth and easy-going in person. That is the case with Eric and Don. See the people outside the window holding scripts? There is a casting agency in Ventura right next door to the bookstore.

Eric and Don were kind enough to autograph their respective books. If you visit Samuel French's in Studio City (not to be confused with their Hollywood store on Sunset), they may still have some autographed copies available for purchase while they last.

A sign of a truly great artist, Eric is drawing one of his signature characters, the Genie from "Aladdin" which he created almost two decades ago. And with a sharpie! (i.e., no rough sketch first).

"We're Hahn, Gold & Goldberg, and we'll fight for you!"

The same venue, but with a slightly different vibe...

Just this past night, I returned to Sam French's for another event, a book signing for that "Art of Monsters vs. Aliens" book that Don Hahn was perusing. Here's a shot of the films art director, David James. To hear him speak about the film go to, go to "behind the scenes", then to "the crew", then click on "David James", then click on "watch the interview". You got all that?Here's David with Linda Sunshine, who wrote the text for the book.

Here's a shot of the cover. The jacket artwork was created specifically for the book, and the size range of the characters supposedly made for quite a challenge to show them all in a group shot.

As you can see, the turnout was little higher this time, but it still made for a very intimate evening. (i.e. it certainly was not Comic Con).

This is a movie I'm really looking forward to. It was nice of Samuel French to hold two animation events over the course of less than a week, and very nice of Don, Eric, David and Linda to be so generous with their time. As they used to say in my Navy days, "Bravo Zulu"!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Bygone Classic...

This has always been one of my favorite buildings (L.A.s "Pan Pacific Auditorium) that is no longer with us. I had this idea to show it from a high angle, and from behind, with those flagpoles and art deco things in the foreground. Here is a reference photo, probably taken in the mid 80's. (the building was closed in the 70's and destroyed by fire in 1989. It lives on though, in movies like "Xanadu"). This is a rough sketch from my sketchbook which I did at the school in Burbank where I am an instructor. ( is a more refined version. It's a basic 3 point perspective, with the flagpoles, light posts and other strong verticals, going to a third vanishing point below the picture plane.+

And below is the "cleaner" version, with some tone I added in photoshop. I'll be refining that in the future, as well as adding some figures (I may set the scene in the 60's). For the cars, I researched classic "Woodies" as well as "Edsels" and the Ford Fairlane.

A Classic lives on...

Visitors to Los Angeles looking for the location of the old Pan Pacific wil find this Rec Center in it's place. You can see the influence of the design of the original.And if you've been to Walt Disney World in Florida, you may know this place. You can see how th imagineers borrowed the design for the entrance to the "Studios" theme park (originally "Disney/MGM Studios").