Saturday, March 29, 2008

What I Did Last Summer..

Hello again!

Well, seeing as the "Will & Dewitt" cartoon is now airing episodes regularly on both YTV (Canada) & Kid's WB (United States).. I thought it'd be safe for me to post some of the BG Design work that I'd done for them?
After a particularly distasteful experience, working at 'CORE Digital' on their "Iggy Arbuckle" series.. I started looking for new work at some of the other local Toronto animation studios.. Sending out a few Resumé/Portfolio samplers, here and there. As I happened to be in the area,-- I dropped one off personally, at 'Two Presidents Productions'..
I did not know Michael Carter, previously.. But was somewhat acquainted with Alan Kennedy, the other co-owner.. I knew Alan a bit, back when he ran his previous studio: "Canuck Creations"; which was located inside the 'A Space', at the corner of Spadina/Richmond.
Thankfully, he remembered me too.. And promised he'd keep me in mind, should any new Layout or Design work arise.. And in mid-July of last year, asked if I could do some BG Design work on their new "Will & Dewitt" cartoon, for 3-4 weeks..
Well, fortunately for me.. 3-4 weeks quickly turned into a much longer 6-month stint!
And I'm happy to say that it was a very satisfying show to work on.. Not only did they allow me to work remotely, from home. And upload the finished artwork to their FTP and CAS (Client Approval System) sites.. But they allowed me to work traditionally (pencil-on-paper), too.
To my knowledge, all of the other artists were working digitally, and in-house..

The show is a very simple Flash cartoon, aimed at a preschool audience.. They're half-show episodes (2 x 11 minutes/half-hour). Featuring a boy named "Will". And his magical morphing Frog friend (named "Dewitt")
; who acts as a kind of conscience/advisor/life coach, to young William..
It was directed by Paul Riley. With the Design Supervision, ably handled by Andrew Hickson..
My good buddy Dave Pietila, served as my main 'contact' during the production.. He engineered & managed the Layout/Paint/Setup system.. And kept me busy with Shot Lists to work on, for each episode..
For the most part, my role was to "fill rooms with stuff.." for the Layout crew. Who would take my drawings.. Vectorize & tweak them.. And send them over to the Painters. My layout drawings here, all feature hard pencil "holding" lines.. But if you've seen the show, then you already know that the "look" of the BG's is much softer, with a color-to-color finish on them.. Which makes the character poses stand out, a lot stronger.
The 4 layouts (above), were for an episode that took place in a Library.. As "Dewitt" morphs into a Cowboy, Spaceman, Pirate, and Dinosaur.. The bookshelves on the BG also transform into the appropriate Settings, around him.. All of these, needed to be designed upon the same Template, re: shelf positions..
More examples of "stuff" crammed into the BG drawing.. Toys, this time!
I know it looks quite crowded, as is. But much of it eventually gets changed by the Layout crew, working in-house.. Where they work their Photoshop "magic" on it.. Removing stuff they don't want. And/or shifting elements around.. My main responsibility, is to ensure that every part is drawn using the same Perspective scheme. Otherwise, things can really start to go awry!
Here's one of the last shots I did.. An episode about the importance of Ecology. And how polluting a community creek, really sucks!
If you've got small children in the house,-- I'm sure they'd find the cartoon appealing.. You can find the show's "Official Website", by clicking here! There's a Preview to watch. And (I think) a number of online Games to enjoy, too!


Suzanne Dargie said...

Well, of course you know, I worked on "Will and Dewitt" as well....on storyboard revision, through "Story City". John Lei was my supervisor and he worked closely with Paul Riley. They loved your BG designs and it was a cute show to work on.
I especially loved the voice actress they had for Will's little sister, Kate. She did the BEST voice I've ever heard for a child character. She sounded like a real 3 year old who could act! I was told she was actually around 8 years old, but her voice was perfect! Her character was my favorite!
In regards to your BG's, I especially love the outer space one you did in the library, that you said was a nod to Wally Wood!

Dominic Bugatto said...

Nice to see some new work.

Thanks for sharing.

Kieron O'Gorman said...

Hi Rich,

Wow! Great stuff! Things seem to be going well with you. I've beenkeeping busy myself and have some stuff posted on my blog too. Will you be at any cons this spring summer?

Rich Dannys said...

SoozyPie --
Thanks! It's nice to hear my work was appreciated.. I enjoyed working on this show. And I'm glad you noticed the Wally Wood stuff in the Space pic..heh
I forgot to mention that, in my Post.. Sharp Eyes you gots!!

Dom -- Thanks, man.. Nice of you to drop by!

Kieron --
Thanks! Yeah, things WERE busy.. Now, I'm back to lookin' for my next Job..

Plenty of Renovation work to do on the new House, in the meantime.. You can check Suzanne's blog, to follow our progress.. She's better at Posting about that stuff, than I am.

Actually, I doubt I'll be doing any of the Cons, this year. I don't have anything "new" to Sell or share, anyhow..
I'm shooting for the 2009 TCAF. Hopefully, I'll have something else published, by then..

the doodlers said...

Hey Rich! We just added you to our blog links!

Nice to see your work here.

ryan said...

damn dude you are ridiculously good at drawing backgrounds

Rich Dannys said...

John & Arna --
Nice of you both, to drop by.. How are things with you?
I've returned the favour of adding you to the "Links" section.. Thanks!

Ryan --
Thanks alot, man.. I'm lookin' for more work, if you got some? hah

Seriously though, I always give your Blog a visit each day.. You & Gemmill are some of the very FEW "Young Turks" that I can still appreciate.
I always enjoy the artwork you guys come up with!

Percy Pernell said...

What we had there was an ideal situation. I just wish that it could last longer! I hope we didn't butcher your bgs too much ! I always love seeing your work Rich, it was an exciting part of my day to get the latest drawing in me email!
Let's do it again.....

R.A. MacNeil said...

Wow, these are some really tight bgs Rich.

Rich Dannys said...

Dave --

Always a pleasure working with you, buddy.. I haven't seen enough of the show, to be 100% sure.. But I'll assume that your Team did a bang-up job on putting all of the Layouts together.. The paintings that I DID see, looked exceptional!

Hopefully, we'll get a chance to repeat the experience again, very soon? Keepin' my fingers crossed!

Ryan --

Thanks, for the kind comments..

They kinda needed to be very tight, so that the Layout guys could extract details from them.. And also build additional "new" BG schemes, from my existing drawing..
Which is why the Perspective had to be very rigid & consistent, too.

How are things at Copernicus going?
Good, I hope!