Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rough of the week#28

I've been on holidays for a week, which means that of course, I'm working even more than usual...
I've been doing bgs mostly, so that's pretty much all I have to show for this week. This one is small but cute and quite like what I had in mind when I envisionned the scene. I can't say as much for the others...
Meanwhile, the great news for me was to see the website take shape. I had been struggling with a layout for months, but as soon as Marc took over, it came out beautifully in a couple of hours.
There's still work to do and I'm not really sure when it'll go online, but I'll keep you posted.
Happy holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rough of the week#27

And here comes my favorite character in the whole thing! He does a short appearance in chapter 2, but now he really comes into the story. It's exciting for me, all the more since I did mostly backgrounds all week, which is not the most fun for me...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rough of the week#26

A bit too many things happening lately to concentrate properly, but I still started chapter 4 and so far I'm quite happy with it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rough of the week#25

In animation, it's not too often we get something done and behind us, but just like that, this week I finished both work on 'song of the sea' at the studio and chapter 3 of Violince at home...
It's a weird feeling, but good!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rough of the week#24

One of my favourite things about moving digital is the ability to animate two characters litterally at the same time and still maintain clarity.
To be quite honest, I'm not sure I would have had the patience to animate this kind of shot on paper...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rough of the week#23

I've been pretty busy this week finalizing the files for chapter 1 before sending them off to be computed (or however you want to call that) into an app.
I hate this as I get to review everything I did a long time ago but am only able to see what is wrong... Dealing with menus and all the things that go around the actual artwork  is quite annoying too but it's pretty much done now and if everything goes well, it'll be released some time in January.
Fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rough of the week#21

I didn't find much time to work this week 'cause I'm a bit tired, but I had developped the animation quite far on this scene in the boards, so all I had to do was to put it on model and make sure I don't screw it up. I'm pretty happy with the result, but I feel like I'm my own assistant or something...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rough of the week#19

I've been struggling a bit to get back into game mode, but I still somehow manage, probably thanks to months of self discipline, to sit down and work.
The few bgs I had to do are done and I'm already deep into a big new scene...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rough of the week#18

This week I finally got to the end of the first sequence of chapter 3, which I realize is a bit of an obscure notion mentionned like this.... Suffice it to say that getting to this point was the main goal of this whole enterprise so I feel a bit proud of myself...!
I also feel hollow.
As much as I love getting things done, I hate seeing everything that's wrong with what I'm left with, knowing full well that I won't have the chance (or most likely the willpower) to fix them... More than ever I wish I could come to my work with a fresh eye and see mostly what's good. I guess it's the curse of the artists; we can never really appreciate what we do.

Anyway, I'm back on still, more comic-oriented drawings for a while, then I will jump right back into the second sequence and animate some more.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rough of the week#17

We've come into crunch time on the animation of 'song of the sea' and I find it a bit harder to get back to work after a very full day at the studio.
I still managed to rough out a scene that I was actually dreading a little bit. I felt it lacked contrast in the boards and unfortunately I couldn't vary the rythm much better this time around. It still brings the action from A to Z and it works... Sometimes tjat's as much as you can hope for...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rough of the week#16

Last night I came back home from work and for the first time in weeks I couldn't get back to my desk after dinner... I don't know what happened but I was exhausted.
It may have something to do with the fact that each scene comes so quickly on the heels of the previous one that I feel a bit like I don't get to spend 'quality time' with the work... It's a weird concept, especially since at the same time in my day job I come out of a particularly long, involved and time consuming shot that felt like it would never end...
Or, I might just be working too much...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rough of the week#15

I've just roughed out one of my favorite scenes on this project! Doesn't mean it's particularly good, but I love the feel of it (and how easy it was to do...) It comes at a good time too because I'm not really happy with the two I did before and it bummed me out a little.
Anyway, back on track for the last few scenes of this big sequence.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rough of the week#14

In the past two weeks I've roughed out the two scenes I was both most anticipating and dreading the most.
It's always really strange to reach these kind of 'landmarks' as I usually spend a lot of time prior focused on that one spot in time and then one day, just like that, it's done and virtually behind you.
There's still a lot to do however and if my experience is any indicator, some of the remaining scenes will prove more enjoyable and better looking than these two...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rough of the week#13

I've been working on really exciting (and therefore very difficult) scenes this week.
It's easy to tell when I'm having a hard time because my roughs look a lot cleaner. the simple reason behind this is that I have to make two roughs...
Still, it looks good in the end, (at least I'm happy with the result) and I'm having fun.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rough of the week#12

No exciting drawing this week but a few exciting scenes. Very short ones that require clarity, high energy and, very new to me, a lot of special effects (smoke mostly).
I think that except a few small exceptions, I have managed to spend a whole career without having to animate anything beyond characters and even though it is a bit daunting, I find it quite exciting overall.
I really adds to the atmosphere of the shot and is well worth the effort.
Plus, it's fun to learn some new skill...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rough of the week#11

I wasn't planning to put linetests in these posts, but all I've done this week was either seen from behind or very small. Plus, I've got to be honest, I really like this short piece of animation.
I learned animation staright ahead and for all its qualities, I find that it usually creates animation that is too soft and sometimes lacks punch. It 's a problem I've been plagued with for many years, so I'm really proud when I get to do something like this, which I find pretty sharp.
The sequence is coming along fine but it's a lot of work...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rough of the week#10

Just a couple of days since I came back from holidays so I didn't have much time to work, but somehow I really like this very rough drawing. maybe it's just me, but at the very least it gives me a good feeling about a scene that is otherwise not so exciting. (it's more or less a transition scene...)
I also made a quick edit of the five or six scenes I completed for this sequence and even though there are a few small hook up problems that I'll have to fix eventually, I like the way it feels so far.

Finally, a big thanks to all who came to visit the blog after I posted the preview! Violince is a lot of work and I need all the support I can get.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I'm back from holidays and as promised, here is the short preview I put online along with a few screenshots.
It's just the first few 'pages' (I don't know how else to call it) of the first chapter, just to give you an idea of what it looks like and how it reads.
Any suggestion on how to make it easier to navigate is welcome.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rough of the week#9

I worked pretty hard in the last two weeks to finish a few scenes before taking off for a well deserved holiday.
I've been working flat out for the last seven-eight months and even though I don't really feel tired, my suspicion is that I really am exhausted and the only thing keeping me together is built up pressure.
I'm purposely going away from my desk and violince, though I will meet up with the friend who will handle all the technical aspect of getting the app online.
Hopefully I will have a short preview online on my return.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rough of the week#8

I use these roughs for two different purposes. First and foremost, they're a foundation for the final drawings, but after I'm done inking, I keep them underneath and touch them up. I find they give weight to the drawing.
I had never looked at these roughs after the ink was done, but today, looking for something to post, I realized I had not saved a prior version and that was all I had left.
Turns out, I think I like this much better. It feels looser and captures the energy of the pose better...
Anyway, the animation is going well and I'm understanding better what works and what doesn't. It's still not quite how I'd like it to be, but I figure it's better to push forward, learn from the next bunch of scenes and maybe, if I find it necessary, come back to these early ones later.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rough of the week#7

Finally some action!
I might regret ever wanting such scenes in a couple of months, after I've spent so much time on them, but so far it's just good to be able to stretch my legs a little.
Funny thing though, this short sequence is really at the heart of the project, both in terms of story and motivation. In many ways, I've written the whole thing around it and just before starting, it's silly to say, but I was actually a bit scared and I did a whole bunch of little things beforehand, dragging them as much as I could.
It has happened to me on a few occasions before, but never quite as much as this one; not only have I waited for more than six months for this moment, (with all the expectation that goes with it) when it has finally arrived, I had no one with a paycheck forcing me to go for it...
Well, I managed to convince myself it was more excitment than fear, I got to it finally early this week and I suddely realized that I'm not too familiar with these type of scenes (see my post about my love of long, un-hurried scenes ) and I'm having a bit of a hard time.
The hardest thing for me is to convey impact and of course, clarity.
Clarity is always of the utmost importance in animation, but I haven't really develloped the tricks to make it work for short scenes yet.
Ah well, doing it and making the mistakes is the best way to learn...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rough of the week#6

I must start sounding like a broken record, but backgrounds have been taking a lot of my time on this project.
Arguably though, most of chapter 3 is more of a short than a comic, so it makes sense I would prepare the layouts all at once.  I'm almost done for the first part and then I will probably only animate for the next couple of months, but the sad part is that I'm sort of becoming better at this whole bg thing and the old ones don't look too good anymore.
There is one in particular that I never liked, but that I had spent so much time on and struggled with so much that I didn't have the heart to redo it. I guess now is the time...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Rough of the week#5


I apologize for celebrating so unashamedly, but this one has been pretty painful and I'm glad to see it go. I'm not sure why; probably because of a long stretch of dialogue interspersed with bits of complex animation just before the end, that never seems to end. In any case it's done and introduces a new character.
I debated keeping him secret, but he will figure so prominently in the next chapter that I figured he would probably show up again in the next couple of months...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rough of the week#4

Again, not much to pick from this week; again, because of those damn bgs...
The best part for me in drawing bg's is that it makes me appreciate when I get back to the characters.
Does it mean that I enjoy drawing characters as much as Francesco seems to enjoy his violin?...
I hope not.

In any case, he's about to be disrupted in a big bad way!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


In embarking on a comic type project, one of the toughest things for me (a character animator by trade) was to create backgrounds. I agonized about that for weeks, trying everything I could to make it look good and get them done fast...
I tried hard, but in the end, I discovered a cruel truth, to make good looking backgrounds, you have to spend the time... Aaargh!!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

violin duel

I was mentioning in an earlier post characters fighting with a violin. It goes something like in these thumbnails.
When I animate, I don't actually do thumbnails any more; I found that it was producing too many ideas and I ended up having to either cram too many things in a scene or let go of drawings I had already fallen in love with.
No difference here, as these are in fact thumbnails I did in preparation for the storyboard.

Rough of the week #3

I spent most of the past week inking and coloring in earlier drawings so I had very few to choose from. And since I felt the other roughs might be telling a bit too much about the story, this was all that was left...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

why violins?

I am not a musically inclined person and one might wonder why I would end up telling the story of a violin maker.

There was a plan, before the end of production on 'the illusionist' to keep the senior crew together to go on and make more movies. (For those unfamiliar with the animation industry, studios are usually created for one production and closed when the film is completed.)
The animation director, Paul Dutton was the driving force behind the idea and some of us even did a few drawings to illustrate some of his story ideas.
One of the projects I liked and wanted to see made was 'the fiddler's pieces', a story loosely inspired by the violinist Paganini, who was rumored to have sold his soul in exchange for his incredible abilities.
I started volunteering more and more ideas, further and further removed from the outline, so much so that at some point I had gone completely off.

One of my favorite idea, (and quite honestly the weirdest) was to make the guy duel with his violin. I know it sounds silly, but I was sure it would look good, so in order to sell the idea, I started making some tests and quickly found I needed context, a short story to set up a fight.
The context that I started writing grew and grew and it became, over the following months,the story I am now spending all my free time illustrating...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rough of the week #2

I spent all week doing this roughs and It's great to get into a flow and just draw ahead, but when I have to go back and ink them in, which I started doing last night, it's a lot less fun. Then again, I really like seeing the drawings finished with the final line.

Anyway, still in the middle of the same scene, getting closer to the end of chapter 2 and Francesco is still not behaving...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rough of the week #1

Every week I'm gonna try to post a rough I've been working on, that hopefully you'll recognize when you read the whole thing. (one day...)

I didn't have much to choose from because until mid-week I was working on bgs for the end of chapter two, but I quite like this one, happening at an emotionally intense moment for Francesco.

It's a bit sad that these drawings do not have the raw energy of pencil roughs, but they act as a good, solid foundation for the final image and it's all that really matters.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Francesco is a violin maker with an attitude problem..
I feel people may actually want to punch him after they've read a few pages. I'm not sure it's a smart choice of character but I guess it's one of the reasons I could write this story in the first place. The thing is, I usually care too much for my characters and I become really reluctant to hurt them, which is not good for story.
I don't really have this problem here as Francesco goes through a whole lot of trouble.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


You might be wondering what that weird-looking violin is... to be honest, I sometimes wonder myself why I decided to focus the story around it; violins are hard to draw!!