Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The History of DaniJones.com

Website8

I was going through my archive of old site designs the other day, and I was amused and appalled. I thought it would be fun and educational to share them here, even if there is a slight risk of embarrassment.

I have had a pretty brief illustration career – under 4 years – but in that time I’ve had eight website designs. Eight! That is not something I would recommend, and if I were to go back in time I would have exercised a little more restraint. However, I learned a lot about web design, which has been an invaluable skill for showcasing my portfolio, building blogs, and marketing myself on the internet.

So, here it is – the history of danijones.com. If you’ve been following my work for a while, you might even recognize some of these. I hope you are able to learn from my successes and failures.

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Book of the Month: Making Comics

This book is several years old and tons of artists and websites have recommended it already, but I’m going to put in my two cents anyway in case you happened to have missed this gem.

Making Comics by Scott McCloud is just what the title suggests – a book about making comics. What makes this book especially fun is that entire book is written and drawn in a comic format.

Even if you’re not interested in drawing comics, it still has a lot to offer about storytelling and basic art principles. Any illustrator can learn a ton from this book. McCloud explains all the topics simply, yet interestingly, and includes different exercises and techniques to help the reader absorb the concepts along the way.

You can get a good idea of the format of the book on Scott’s website where he has posted a small sample, called Chapter 5 1/2. It expands upon Chapter 5 in his book “Tools, Techniques, and Technology”. It includes a tutorial and notes that cover optimizing color art for the web.

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Book of the Month: Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel

Drseussmrgeisel

In 1936, Ted Geisel wrote his first children’s story, called A Story That No One Can Beat. But he had trouble getting it published.

Twenty-seven publishing houses rejected Geisel’s story, deemed “too different” for children’s books. Frustrated and fed up, Ted started walking back to his New York apartment and decided to return to his career as a magazine humorist and cartoonist. He planned to burn the manuscript when he got home.

That’s when he ran into an old colleague from school who just got hired as a juvenile editor three hours earlier.

A Story That No One Can Beat was subsequently published as And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, the first in a long list of children’s titles from the legendary Geisel – aka Dr. Seuss – a list that includes The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears A Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Along the way, he completely transformed the face of children’s publishing and became the best-selling author in the field ever.

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Book of the Month: The Art of Kung Fu Panda redux

Artofkungfupanda2

Well, it is now past the midway point in June and I just realized that I never posted a new Book of the Month. So, I would like to take a moment and reiterate last month’s recommendation, The Art of Kung Fu Panda.

Since my original post, when the book was only available for pre-order, I have purchased the book for myself and have seen the film for which it was made. All I’ve got to say is this…

THIS BOOK IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!

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Book of the Month: The Art of Kung Fu Panda

Artofkungfupanda

This month’s recommendation is The Art of Kung Fu Panda because I am so excited to see the movie this summer. I don’t really have a lot more to say except nerdy stuff like the character design is really cool and the animation looks awesome – two good reasons to look into getting this book, which is set to be released on May 13.

The movie itself comes out on June 6, and you can be sure I will be there opening weekend – hopefully in an IMAX theater. I haven’t been a fan of some of the recent Dreamworks movies, but my hopes were kindled by early praise from animation expert Jerry Beck, who shares some of my opinions.

Links:

“Prepare for awesomeness!”

Book of the Month: Creating Characters with Personality


Like last month’s recommendation, this is one of the few books that have caught my eye in the sea of art books that are available. This book is unique because it features not only sketches from the author, but also interviews and images from other artists from a variety of fields. You will find snippets from such people as Glen Keane, Peter de Seve, and Jack Davis.

The author Tom Bancroft works in the animation industry and founded Funnypages Productions along with Rob Corley. He is most known for his work in Disney’s films Mulan and Brother Bear, and the Veggie Tales. You can see examples of his artwork and sketches at the Funnypages Productions Blog.

View Creating Characters with Personality on Amazon.com.

Book of the Month: How to Draw and Paint Crazy Cartoon Characters

Crazycartooncharacters

There are tons of drawing, painting, and cartooning books out there, and only a handful of them really capture my attention.

Well, I just ordered How to Draw and Paint Crazy Cartoon Characters. It contains tons of great artwork and includes tips, history, and advice that will truly help all you animators, children’s book illustrators, comic book artists, and caricaturists out there.

The author Vincent Woodcock has worked in the animation business as an animator, director, and character designer. His credits include films such as Space Jam and The Tigger Movie.

Buy on Amazon.com

Spec Work and the Pixish Debate

Pixish

Earlier this month, a site called Pixish popped up on the radar of illustrators everywhere and has ignited a lot of criticism and debate.

The problem? Spec work. When I first heard of this website, it was the first thing to come into my mind. But Pixish has denied the claims. I’ve waited to write anything about the subject so I could do the appropriate research and really gather my thoughts, but after all that, I’ve found that my original gut feeling was not too far off.

I know many of you readers are students and amateur illustrators. If you do not know about the issue of spec work, I would encourage you to take a moment and familiarize yourself. In this article, I’ll give you a little review, and also let you know why Pixish worries me so much.

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A Sketchbook History

Sketchbooks

100 pages. Twelve years in the making.

I wanted to digitally archive some of my old drawings, and it turned into a huge sketchbook scanning bash. In this post, I’ve collected 100 pages and laid them out chronologically. It was a great project, and I ended up learning a lot; it’s probably more fun for me than for you, because I get to walk down memory lane a bit, but hopefully you’ll gain something from my little experiment.

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Book of the Month: 100 Days of Monsters

Dailymonster

I just ran across Stefan Bucher’s 100 Days Of Monsters. Stefan runs a popular blog called Daily Monster where he draws, you guessed it, a monster a day. The best part is he records the making of each one in a series of very well-done and fascinating videos.

Along the way, the Daily Monster started to attract fans and many of them created backstories and histories to go along with his monsters. The extra participation has made Stefan’s little project widely popular. Now, his book featuring 100 of these creations and their stories is being released at the end of the month. Included is a DVD with all of the corresponding videos, plus some cool extras.

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Book of the Month: Dream Worlds

Dreamworlds

When my sister was looking for a Christmas present for my other sister on Amazon.com, she ran across Hans Bacher’s Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation. Neither of us had heard of it before, but upon reading the description we decided it would be a good present for our sister, who is a big animation art fan.

Hans Bacher works as a professional artist and production designer. He had a major influence in such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Mulan. The book spans his work in these films and more.

When I finally got to look at a copy of this book, I wasn’t disappointed. I’m a big fan of “Art of” books, and it was great to see great artwork from a variety of different films in one volume. And in the text, Bacher delves into the role of a production designer specifically, which you can’t really find in any other book out there. You don’t have to be an animator to appreciate this stuff either — his views on color, design, decision-making, and research are useful for anyone loves to draw, paint, and sketch.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the “Unproductive” section near the end, which highlights a bunch of funny doodles that he and his co-workers made during boring meetings. What artist can’t relate to that?

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Question: What Do You Want For Christmas?

Wacom Cintiq 12WX

What is on your holiday wish list this year? Are you looking for small but dispensable goodies, or big drool-worthy toys? Is there something new that you can’t wait to get your hands on? Is there an art book you must add to your collection?

If you know of something cool that other art/illustration/technology geeks who read this blog would enjoy, please let us know in the comments. Read on to see what I’m craving this Christmas season.

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Book of the Month: Elfis

Elfis

Looking for a great holiday gift? Try Elfis, a great Christmas picture book that was digitally illustrated using many of the techniques outlined on this website.

Yes, this book was illustrated by me. But it is the holiday season, this is a holiday book, and this is my website, so I think I’m entitled to some shameless self-promotion every once in awhile.

I really appreciate everyone who decides to buy this book, so to show my gratitude, I’m going to be offering a special gift this month only. If you buy a copy anytime in December (or if you’ve already bought the book), I’ll send you a signed bookplate for free. Please read on for full details.

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