Saturday, January 29, 2011


At the first animation studio I worked at, when a shot was approved it would be given a pink colour in the edit. There was bonus money if you got a lot of animation "pinked" in a week, so pink has always stuck in my mind as a good thing. Whenever I finish a shot, I say in my head, "PINK!"

I just finished cutting in the HD renders of my film tonight. All 108 shots. (The spreadsheet on the left was what I used to track my shots throughout the process. Some of those bastards took weeks to do.) That means I'm officially finished everything from my end of things... if you exclude the next 18 months of marketing and festival submissions.

I've sent out the film to one festival already, and I'm super impatient to send out to others, but I really should wait until the colour correction is done (next week), and the sound is put into Dolby Surround (in two to three weeks). That means I'll miss two festivals that I've won at in the past, but I can always wait until next years' deadline for both of them.

That wasn't much of an art-y image, so here's a daily coffeeshop sketch:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

short but sweet.

Sketch from a meeting on the island today. I like small-town meetings, especially when they're in pubs. Such a variety of people of all ages, and we all find a way to get along together.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

lash of the turk

Hey bike riders - do you get streaks of popped tires like I do? Seems like I'm fine for a year, then I'll have a couple weeks of tire-popping bullshit. Is it just me?

. . .

Check out this scene on the bus today, on the way back from Vancouver. I swear, every time I'm in that city something like this happens:

While shifting his position, the guy sitting next to me turns and burps right in my face without covering his mouth. He was clean-cut, but judging from his greasy face and the smell of his breath, he was up drinking until the wee hours of the morning and hadn't yet brushed his teeth.

Jay (weary): "Duuude. What the fuuuuuck."

Burper: "Oh sorry man, sorry, I have a bad mouth."

Jay: "You just burped in my face, man."

Burper: "I know I know... I'm sorry. But I covered my mouth, I covered my mouth."

Jay: "No you didn't!"

Then he got up and moved to the back of the bus. Fuck, man. People should just not be living that close together.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

typical B.C. weather

Spent the day up on the mountainous backbone of Vancouver Island, among the low-hanging clouds. The mist was so thick it felt like you were drinking with each intake of breath.

Spectrum of Salal colours, on the way up from my favorite stream bushwhack. I love that white misty backdrop.

Springtime in the clearcut. Every year I'm amazed at how quickly the buds appear on the trees around here. There's only about a month of real "winter" in my mind, where everything really feels still and lifeless. Already there are long bright green chutes poking through the underbrush and fresh tips on the evergreen branches. Shit don't stop growin' 'round here!

8 pages

The last few days were 0% art-making, so all I've really created is a bunch of ideas in my sketchbook. Here they are.

0% art-making, but a lot of art-showing. Man, it feels good to finally be showing stuff after spending quite a while just making. That's half the point of art, ain't it? Showin' it?

Next up is an illustration gig, website stuff, and film-festival-submission-mania. This time around, I have a better idea of how the festival thing works. There's kind of an order of festivals you're supposed to hit, because some will only take your film if it's a premiere, and if you get into THIS festival, then THAT festival will almost certainly take it, etc etc.

But I decided today that I'm not going to do it the "right" way.

While making this film, my priority has always been to tell something honest, to share an idea, and to make something I'm proud of. I was always wary to not think about "doing well in festivals", because that's something completely out of my control. After screening the film to some close friends last night, I realized that I made the right choice with my priorities. I've ended up with a piece that I can share with pride because it's really an honest part of me, so I'm not relying on festival acceptance to justify all the work I've done.

So I'm going to send it to places that have meaning for me, and to everywhere else I can, but my submission plan is going to be based on my own priority, which is sharing with as many people as possible.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

make eye contact and look away

Back in the city. Art show opening tonight (5PM at the Roundhouse, if anyone's interested), and finishing up the sound for my film tomorrow.

I'm feeling the usual city-sadness and frustration. Try to make eye contact - if someone senses you're looking at them, they'll intentionally look away. Public space in the city is incredibly lonely, sprinkled with rare bits of niceness when you share a laugh with a stranger.

Going over the Cambie Street bridge into the downtown core, I was shocked (again) at how fast this city is growing. You can almost see it expanding. It reminded me of some satellite views over China's coast:

You can actually see the surface of the planet drying up and dying. Road networks look like disease spreading through veins. We dominate nature, make our ultimate priority "human and economic growth", and become a planetary virus.

A bus stops in front of me. It's packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people with blank faces - emotionally "turned off" to deal with the close quarters. A gloomy-looking passenger stares out the bus window, through the coffeeshop window, and sees me. I smile and he looks away pretending he didn't notice.

Friday, January 14, 2011

diggin it

I'm diggin' the looks of my studio room at the moment. Lots of technical stuff. I like how quickly things change depending on what I'm working on. Makes me feel like a mad scientist.

I spent way too long photoshopping that image up above. It was one photo exposed to the monitors (so all black except for monitors), and another photo exposed to the light outside (so the monitors were bright). I got tired of fucking around with it so the laptop monitor looks like shit. Next time I'll turn off the monitors for the second photo, which will make things look more real.

I recently realized that most PC-using professional computer graphics people use a dual monitor setup. Because of that, I'll probably never do it just to be a dick. I will also say reactionary things like, "I like it oldschool", and "Single monitor setups are like having thumbshifters on your bike. That shit keeps you real."

More News:

There is something very nice about walking through a quiet mist and getting a whiff of woodsmoke from a nearby house. Especially when it's mixed in with the smell of the ocean at low tide, or the sound of lapping waves.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

vancouver memories part III

All the photos are done. Thirteen years of travel and memories in there. I have to colour correct the shit out of this to get the colours all spanky.

Last realization about Vancouver - there are three places I've always liked, ever since the start: Wreck Beach, Third Beach, and the Downtown East Side.

The power was out for a good part of last night and today. Nice and quiet house for a while with no humming fridge or anything. I had a one-man party last night - went down to the beach with a couple beers to feel the snow and hear the waves, then came back and wrote by candlelight until 5 am. I was super stoked about whatever I wrote, but I haven't had time to read it yet. Guaranteed its at least 75% garbage.

Just looked - here's one thing:

"I can't wait to see some documentaries by Iraqis about whatever has happened over there. It's gotta happen."


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

vancouver memories part II

Up until 4:30 am last night pounding through more memories (see previous post).

So far, all of my really bad memories are about breaking up with someone, dealing with the police, or being dangerously injured. The theory (thanks A!) is that you retain bad memories for survival - so it makes sense that injury and arrest are retained memories. But why breakups? Maybe it's a propogation-of-the-species type of instinct. If we all thought it was great to end a relationship, there wouldn't be any babies, and/or the dude might take off and not help provide / protect, etc.

I think as you get older you get really tired of them breakups. All those bad memories pile up in a steaming mess until you just don't want to do it any more. When you're younger, there's not enough bad memories yet, so you keep goin' for it.

I think the same applies to physical risk / injury. It takes a certain amount of negative experiences for you to instinctively go "okay, there's like a 25% chance I'm going to get road rash and tear my jeans if I do this. Not worth it."

Conversely, my negative experiences with the police have not taught me to abide by the law. They have only shown me that many laws are ridiculous and over-enforced by barbaric dickheads who have absolutely no mandate to be fair or just.

Jumped in the ocean today - while drying off, I watched an eagle swoop down and make a try for a duck. He dove down far away from the duck to gather speed, then soared horizontally about a foot off the surface of the ocean. I guess he's had success with the low sneak attack before? He was about 6 feet away from the duck before it dove under the water.

Monday, January 10, 2011

vancouver memories part I

I'm trying to do 2-3 years of Vancouver Memories every night. I have to do it after dark, otherwise the sunlight coming through my window changes the colour temperature as time goes on, and you see all kinds of distracting colour changes throughout the animation. So I'm writing down memories in the day, and working from 6PM until 2-4AM on this. It's taking a long time because I'm being really accurate about where I went and what happened.

My two biggest realizations so far:

1) I spent a lot of time at the University of British Columbia, a beautiful campus on a forested peninsula somewhat removed from the city. Even after I graduated from the school, I would go back there a lot to bike in the forests and swim / party at Wreck Beach and Tower Beach.

2) Possibly the biggest single thing that changed my life was getting a bike in 2nd year University. Choosing to ride a bike instead of a car opened up a world of exploration, and kept my ass fit over all these years.

It will be interesting to see how much of the map is left uncovered by the end of this process. I'm really interested to see how the stop-motion animation turns out. I've decided not to put the animation together until I'm completely finished.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

retracing steps

Here's the next project for my overhead stop-motion camera rig. I'm doing a map of Vancouver, retracing all my movements and memories of the city from when I first moved there in September 1992. It doesn't look like much yet, because I just started, but by the time I'm finished most of the map will be transformed into a wash of colours and a mess of lines. The animation will be purdy interesting as well (I hope).

This is a very exciting and powerful exercise - to run through every memory I've had in that city in the last eighteen years. Listening to music and remembering my awkward days as a young adult.. lots of fiery and exciting times. So far the memories are mostly good. I don't know if a person blocks out the bad stuff or what, but the only bad stuff I can think of is extreme and uncommon, like getting beat up and hospitalized.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

thoughts on a trail to the village and back

why do we try to project ourselves
into the future
trees fade into the mist

behind fake wood
her earrings match her sweater

the colour of coolness the drifting wet on deep green

the leather will go bad

If you can figure out what the hell that writing is about, I'd love to know.

Today I procrastinated until 8:00 pm, then worked like a buzzard for 4 hours and made up for the lost time.

Listened to Black Metal - the darkest shit you'll ever wrap your face around. Good winter music. Makes you want to rip your shirt off and drag your torso across hard snow until you bleed, howl at the moon, gnaw on bark and bleed a little more.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Illustration for a buddy's stonework / masonry company. The legs were tough because he's kind of bending at the knees, and with perspective... but I think it works. I have to clean up an inkblotch or two, but that's easy enough.

I had the use of a car for the last 4-5 weeks, but I'm back on my bike again. It partially sucks to slog through wet rain, but it partially kicks ass. It's nice to feel the weather on my face. I already feel more healthy and energetic, even after 4-5 days of biking.

I have so much fucking art to do in the next ten days, I'm gonna need that exercise to keep the stress off. I'm loving the work though.

Monday, January 3, 2011

back into it

After some good days off, back into the art. I took about 600 photos of this painting as I made it, now I'm trying to make those photos into some kind of interesting animation. So far my progress includes 15 minutes of animation, a 2-hour nap and some kind of problem with colour-correcting all those photos.

Nice and cold days on the island. Sat next to a trail in the frost this afternoon and listened to a raven for a while. The crisp blue sky was slowly washed over by grayness from the West. Perfect sky for ravens.

I haven't been in the water lately but I think it's time to get back into that daily swim. I have a full-body wetsuit now so I can do longer swims when I feel like it.

That's it for now. I hope everyone had some good holidays n' stuff.