George Berlin’s Art Blog

Delving into the mind of one of those weird artist people

Archive for January, 2009

Construction Vehicles Collections! (part 2 of several)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 31, 2009

Continuing from last time’s entry on Construction Vehicles and dogs and dinos...

Here’s the finished steamroller from last time:

Looks a lot different from this, eh?

That last doodle, with the stegosaurus in it, looked WAAAAY too much like some sort of
jeep with monster truck tires on closer inspection. So I had to consult some resources
and do some redesign.

Steamrollers have a whole lot of real specific detail stuff that just
clutters things up too much. So I’ve simplified it a bit.

I was trying to avoid putting roofs on these (makes it a bit harder to have a really
big-headed character inside) but here I think it’s necessary for readability. Dang.

Here’s a painting I did a month or so ago of the T-Rex in his vehicle. Apro pos, no?


Cuz let’s be honest, the only thing that can do more damage than a T-Rex, is a T-Rex
in a bulldozer. He wrecks your house, and THEN he eats you.

Or judging by this guy’s happy demeanor, perhaps he’ll just drive up and invite you
out for ice cream or something.

Next time- my favorite dino… Triceratops!

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Construction Vehicles Collections! (part 1 of several)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 30, 2009

Here’s some sketches for one of the collections I’m designing
for my art licensing stuff  (which I mentioned in this post).

Well, actually, it’s going to be several collections- one of just the vehicles,
one with dinosaurs driving the vehicles, and one with dogs driving them.

Here’s some squiggles of them with dinos in them.


I’m trying to pair the particular critter driving it with the ‘personality of the vehicle’. A stegosaurus in a steamroller
seemed like a good choice. I think when I have the dog driving it, I’ll use a bulldog sort of pooch.

That guy with the club on his tail is just there because I thought he was pretty awesome looking.

Anyway, I put the brontosaurus in the crane because I figured hey, you’ll want the guy with the long neck
operating the machine where it goes really high up, right?  Here’s a more final version of that..


Along that same line of thinking, I put the weiner dog in the crane for the dog collection.
He’s about the longest dog I can think of, personally…


I have this doggie construction team vision of all of them, building doghouses, planting lots of trees, digging
big holes to bury their bones, and definitely laying pipe to lower in lots of fire hydrants.

Gotta take care of the important stuff when you’re a dog…

Next time- the steamroller, and what I have the T-Rex driving…

Posted in Art in Progress, Art Licensing | 2 Comments »

“The Bee’s Knees” my next short animated film (part 3 of a bazillion)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 29, 2009

So, here’s some more about my next project, “The Bee’s Knees.”

Here’s part 1 and part 2…

This is a bit more of the ‘chase scene background design, as well as the some working
out of how the bee would look turning this way or that from the back…

I want to show the chase from slightly behind the bee, who can’t quite catch up to the car he’s chasing, so he
continually comes around corners or out of tunnels or over hills, etc to see yet another obstacle in his way.
I want him to miss a turn, then go around the hill and see the car on the next curve or coming out of a tunnel and so
on.

The landscape will be a character in and of itself, essentially.

Here’s a view more behind the car, with some of the bee’s expressions and working out positioning, etc.
He’s got that sort of determination you see on Mickey Mouse- not angry, but he’s gonna get it done, dernitall!


That and he needs to sweat some. I mean, c’mon, how does a bee catch up with a car, after all?

Then we have this. A little more of the car, from some other angles and a closer look at the hills when we’re in the
chase. Also, I want the bee to get reeaaally turned around at the end of the chase, spin out of control and land in
the grass somewhere- lost and exhausted and seemingly defeated- only to see the car then pull up to a driveway
right nearby.

So here he is like a dog who just played fetch for three hours straight (and a little bigger then he’ll be later…)

And, yes- these were doodled on the bottom of a page of some sort of very important work related email printouts and
then torn out and taken home for my records!

More soon…

Posted in Animation, Art in Progress, Short Films | 2 Comments »

“The Bee’s Knees” my next short animated film (part 2 of a bazillion)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 26, 2009

So here’s a little more about my next short film “The Bee’s Knees” (part 1 was here)

This is some of the background design. First, a general view:


I want this to be a sort of kooky, hilly area, with lots of houses set apart a bit, and very colorful and bright and fun.
Sure, some bee gets his heart broken halfway through the film, but it’s more of a ‘sad clown’ sort of sadness
than just outright heart ache.

Also, there’s a fun chase scene near the end where the bee has to pursue his darlin’ down these winding roads,
through tunnels, over bridges and around hairpin turns so I designed it be a little “Suessian”

I sure do loves me some Dr. Suess. Mmm-hmm.

The feel of the world was taken a bit from this painting I made last summer, called “Paradise City.”


This is my strange little idea of the Garden of Eden. And it’s named after a Guns ‘N’ Roses song.
Says a lot about me, I think…

Here’s a closer view of the hill where the bee lives in a hive on the tree, the windowsill where our darling Daisy
lives in her flowerpot, and the house around which it all takes place.


I wanted a ‘country farm on the label of a can of tomatoes’ feel to the hills. And I like the fact that he lives on a big
curvy hill.

This is the little guy who lives in that house, and some sketches of his car. I spent quite a bit of time designing
that thing- I wanted an exaggerated look that fit its occupant nicely.

I had a lot of trouble designing a seating area that would fit his really big head, yet look funny and still fit the rest
of the car. I really like the way this one turned out.

It was also the inspiration for my Police Car design in my Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles post a couple of posts back.

Posted in Animation, Art in Progress, Short Films | Leave a Comment »

“The Bee’s Knees” my next short animated film (part 1 of a bazillion)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 25, 2009

So, due to the smashing success of my previous foray into short animation for kiddies, “Lullaby”,
I’ve decided to work on a new film called “The Bee’s Knees.”

The idea got started based on this painting of mine:


Which, in turn, was based on the design of a pair of scrubs I saw a nurse wearing

at the Chicago Ave. ‘L” train stop. Funny how that inspiration thing works, eh?

Anyhoo, it’s your typical boy-meets-girl story. Although here, it’s more like a
bee-meets-flower story.

This painting got me thinking, y’know, I guess when you’re a bee, the flowers
are all sort of like girls. Here’s a drawing of their first meeting. She’s going to
be the flower to beat all flowers. How can he resist?


As you can see, while all of my computery work animation stuff is cooking up
on the machine, I tend to do a bit of doodling. I like to doodle a bit at a time- beats
sitting down at the ol’ drawing board and saying, okay- time to get inspired!

He’s singing her a song here because, well, it’s classic film wooing technique.
I figure his voice in this film will be entirely kazoo.

Then there’s the kids:

What? They just met and they got kids already?!? These will show during the
final credits- to imply that everything worked out in the end (standard cartoon
resolution, I think…) Oh yeah, you can see the ‘confidential’ tag on the corner
from some ad agency email I doodled this on. Hehe.

This last little guy is my favorite.

Long story behind him. You see, I was trying to think of a song that he could
sing to her when they first meet and I said, duh how about that song “Daisy”?
(she IS a daisy after all) Which, it turns out, is also known as “A Bicycle built
for two.”

So I figure during the credits the bee and the flower can ride through on
a bicycle built for two, with this little guy trailing behind, and maybe a few kids on
bigger bikes, or one of those thingies that attaches a kid bike to a grown-up bike.

And he’ll definitely ring his little bell when he goes through.

: )

There’s a bazillion more parts to this… I have pages and pages of sketches.
And I haven’t even started the actual film yet!

Posted in Animation, Art in Progress, Short Films | 2 Comments »

“Lullaby” my film festival debut! (part 2)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 24, 2009

So, I showed you “Lullaby” in my previous post.

Go watch it again to get an idea of what I’m talking about in this post.

I told you a little about its inspiration. Now for some of the design of the
characters and animation.

There’s a little skinny pink guy all the way on the left who sticks his tongue out
and goes “blooolooloo” (just next to the big lump who says “blaah”).

He was inspired a bit by this one guy I used to work with, back in my grocery store
night crew days who was so insanely energized and juiced up, we used to call
him the Roadrunner.

He’d stand there while we were all getting work assignments literally twitching to go
do the work. Wasn’t even drugs or anything- he was just fired up. I think he went into
doing lighting for a local TV station newscast (honest!).

Some of the other characters I just based on the noise they make. Like the “Blahh” guy.

The little blue guy in the back who says “bing” I based on a chicken (especially the
way he sleeps by tucking his head into his chest). The pink one all the way on the
right who says “brrip” was inspired a bit by a cat. I think that one’s a girl, too.

I made the tall skinny purple guy have the deepest voice in homage to the Oak Ridge boys
and all of the barbershop quartets throughout history where the skinniest guy has the booming
voice and the alto is the big burly dude.

He was originally gold but, as I suspected they would, people thought he was a french fry.
On a an intentional food reference note, I made the guy who says “boink” look like a pear on
purpose. Also, the little green guy lower right who says “wahwahwahh” is based on a pea.

Quite a tasty cartoon, eh?

I had to find some ways to reference real things in their design, since they’re all just
floppy blobs and I needed a good idea for each to distinguish them from one another both
in my mind and the future audience’s mind.

So there you are. Also, yeah, that’s me snoring. I recorded about 20 minutes of
that during an audio session for “Getting to Know: John Adams” that I was doing for work.

The recording engineer and my producer were rolling on the floor. Snoralicious!

Next: some behind the scenes on my upcoming film, “The Bee’s Knees” – a little love story
between a bee and his favorite flower!

Posted in Animation, Short Films | Leave a Comment »

“Lullaby” my film festival debut! (part 1)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 23, 2009

Here’s my film “Lullaby” which showed in the Chicago International Children’s Film
Festival back at the end of October 2008.

Now, for a little info about it. Because I’m sure after watching it you’re thinking- hey, where the heck
did THAT weird thing come from?

My darlin’ Marie and I went to Ravinia way back in the summer of 2007 to go see LadySmith Black Mambazo
this really awesome African acapella group. Very nice. They had Sweet Honey in the Rock opening for them.
Oddly enough LadySmith Black Mambazo is the all MALE ensemble, and Sweet Honey in the Rock is the
all FEMALE ensemble. Huh.

Anyway, the dudes did this cool “sound poem” if you will of their impressions of a night in the jungle. Just ticks
and whooshs and pops and bug noises and stuff. I really liked it, laying on my back on a cool night in the grassy
knolls of the ‘burbs with my darlin’.

Then a week or so later, while working away the day animating kid’s educational art videos (my day job),
somebody at the office put on some funky world music that I was really digging. It was a little more
clicky and poppy and dingy than the concert and I thought, hey, I could make a bunch of goofy noises like that!

So anyway, at some point in the next few weeks, it was 2 in the morning (don’t things like this always start then?)
and I recorded the silly song you here in the film. One boink at a time, once each sound and then
I sequenced it to make what you hear.

I got the idea while scoring the piece that the story would be like when we were all kids and going to sleep
was a punishment worse than death. You know how it was. You’d rather read comics or sing songs or just
play under the blanket with your action figures than go to sleep.

This film was made in about a week (for the animation) and maybe another week or two for the music, credits, etc.

Whaddya think?

Posted in Animation, Short Films | Leave a Comment »

Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles sketches (part 3)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 22, 2009

Here’s some of the Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles sketches I posted earlier-
but in finished form:

Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles art George Berlin helicopter
This one’s my personal favorite!

I really like the big windows (modeled after those 25 cent supermarket rides)
because they imply big-headed occupants, which is always funny to me.

That and the siren lights on the front really toot my horn for some reason (though my
girlie likes them because she thinks that red one looks rather like a Rudolph-style nose).

Here’s the police bike:

Motorcycle Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles art George Berlin
I can hear the CHiPs theme already. I was a bit worried that the seat looked like a random
loaf of fancy French bread sitting there, but I think it adds some much-needed organic-y shape
to an otherwise purely round and curvaceous form.

Last, and definitely not least, here’s the police car which started all of this:

Police Car and Fire Rescue Vehicles art George Berlin

It’s actually based on a the design I started for the antagonist’s car in my forthcoming short
“The Bee’s Knees,” which I’ll be talking about on here in a bit. Look for those entries in
a week or so..

I really like the blobby, exaggerated look to all of these and the huge sirens and
stylized shields on them all.

I’m still working on the firetruck– it’s a bit of a special spot for me so I want it to be just right.
It’s kind of rough making a vehicle that’s known as really elongated into a short, stumpy thing.

I almost forgot to mention- these were painted digitally (with Painter) . Could you tell?

Posted in Art Licensing, Finished Art | 2 Comments »

Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles Sketches (part 2)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 21, 2009

So here’s some more of those Police and Fire Rescue Vehicle sketches I
started last time…


This is the 4 x 4 pursuit vehicle, and some others.

Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles Sketches George Berlin

I don’t know how many of you have seen these, but I grew up partly in Albuquerque,
New Mexico so they always have a few of these on the force there to curtail
illegal dirt bike riders on public land, and various other rowdy types in the middle
of the desert.

I modeled the police motorcycle a bit on the same idea that I built Ghost Rider’s bike on
from this earlier post
.

Chubby tires and short. That and I added the siren-on-a-stick in homage
to having watched way too much CHiPs on TV as a kid (and, ashamedly, rather enjoying it).

As for the weird little guy on the Police Horse, well… not all of my ideas work. I thought
to myself, how far can I push this whole “Police Transport” idea? Too far, apparently.

The guy looks a bit odd, and the horse got his mane cut at the same place as Wayne Newton.

Here’s four of the collection together, to see how they all fit.

Police and Fire Rescue Vehicles Sketches George Berlin

The boat’s a little weird still (the colored front looks a bit ‘toucan-like’) but I like all the
rest. I kinda dig the old skool police car- like you’d see in all them old movies.

Finals of some of these in the next post…

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Police and Fire Rescue Vehicle sketches (part 1)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on January 20, 2009

Here’s some police and fire vehicle sketches I’ve been working on lately, in this cool new
tiny sketchbook that my (future) bro-in-law got me for Xmas!

First-a little background.I’m working on getting into art licensing.

Essentially, this is designing “collections” to license (basically, selling the
rights for a manufacturer to put them on products like paper plates, wrapping paper,
blankets, etc for a certain product for a certain amount of time)

One of the many I’m working on is these little kiddie fire and police rescue vehicles.
C’mon, you know you want one on your lunchbox, right?

Police and Fire Rescue Sketches
These are sketches of the fire and police car- I’ve got a few hundred sketches of their
development, but I’ll try not to bore you to tears with those. I’m going for a short stumpy
rounded look to everything- with really high “readability”

Police Helicopter  sketches

These are some of my early Police Helicopter drawings. Real police choppers
aren’t very cute, I found. I wanted a sort of bulbous look, with big pontoon
style “feet” and a shorter tail. Sort of a weird mechanical hummingbird.

I ended up modeling a lot of things in this collection after toys of the real thing.

This final helicopter below was inspired a great deal by, of all things, those little
helicopter rides you see out in front of the supermarket where you put in 25 cents
and it goes up and down for three minutes.

Which I LOVED as a kid. I just get stuck in them now. Darn.

Police Helicopter sketch
The one on the right is just the one on the left with a little more “stuff” that says
“Police chopper” to the untrained eye (and by “untrained” I mean a 3 year old’s).

More vehicle sketches (and some of the collection together) in the next post.

Posted in Art in Progress, Art Licensing | Leave a Comment »