September 18, 2011

SKETCHTRAVEL – the luckiest sketchbook in the world

Filed under: Out of Picture — Mike @ 11:12 pm

For the last five years, a sketchbook has been making it’s way around the world passed from one artist’s hand to the next, in the hope that it would one day be auctioned off to benefit people in need somewhere on the planet. Now that it is filled with the work of no less than Hayao Miazaki, Peter de Sève, Carter Goodrich, Rebecca Dautremer, Bill Plympton, Carlos Nine, Enrico Casarosa, Greg Couch, and dozens upon dozens more, it will be sold to the highest bidder at some huge auction house in Brussels on October 17 and all the proceeds will go to Room to Read to help build a children’s library in Laos! My dearest friends Gerald Guerlais and Daisuke Tsutsumi conceived and orchestrated the entire project, and all their insane hard work is about to pay off. In addition to the auction of this one-of-a-kind sketchbook, a limited number of beautiful reproductions of the book will also be sold to benefit the same cause.

Please visit their website to find out more. It’s an amazing book (I was fortunate enough to hold it in my hands on a couple of occasions to gawk at it in person). You can also find information and interviews with several of the artists on their site as well.

Click here to see an animated short about the project. It’s a lot of fun.

This is was contribution to SKETCHTRAVEL…

May 27, 2011

Busy, busy, busy…

Filed under: Blue Sky — Mike @ 10:55 pm

I’ve been deep in the wilderness of pre-production for the last year and a half at Blue Sky, so I haven’t had much artwork that can see the light of day (for the time being), but for anyone who is interested in character design and the 3d animation process, I wanted to post a link to the panel discussion I was involved in at the Society of Illustrators in Sept 2009 that I mentioned in my last post – a year and half ago (how embarrassing!). Peter de Sève (Character Designer), Michael Defeo (former head of sculpting at Blue Sky), Tony Maki (former Story Artist from Blue Sky), Galen Chu (Animation Supervisor and co-director of the short Surviving Sid) and myself gave a talk about the creation of the character Buck from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. We discuss the character design process, the sculpting process, the fur, materials and animation processes, as well as the storyboard process that helps shape a character, and finally I go through the entire process of creating a sequence involving Buck from an art direction standpoint. It gets pretty in-depth, but provides a rare look inside our work and thought processes.

Here’s the link:

Just scroll down to September 24, 2009
A Blue Sky Evening: Creating Buck, Star of Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs

There’s a treasure trove of other lectures there as well by the likes of Bill Plympton, Gary Baseman, Seymor Chwast, and many many more. Check it out!

September 23, 2009

Never saw this coming…

Filed under: Blue Sky,News — Mike @ 11:14 pm

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is now the third highest grossing film of all time overseas!!! It’s at #17 on the worldwide all time list (that’s U.S. domestic plus overseas box office).

Box Office Mojo’s article (click here)

Absolutely incredible… It must have been the beautiful set dressing. That always packs ‘em into theaters. Yep – ground cover. Can totally make or break your movie. Just a tip for the aspiring filmmaker. That one’s free.

In related news, Peter de Séve, Galen Chu, Tony Maki, Michael Defeo and myself are doing a talk at the Society of Illustrators in NYC tomorrow night – Thursday, September 24, 6:30 to 9:00 PM – about the development of Ice Age 3′s new star Buck. We’ll be talking about how his character came to be, what motivated his design, personality and performance as well breaking down the sequence which tells his backstory. Probably my favorite sequence in the film, and definitely one of the most fun challenges I’ve had the pleasure of working on in my artistic career.

We’ll be showing tons of artwork, animation clips, and examples of how a character moves through Blue Sky’s pipeline. This will be a great rare opportunity to peek behind the curtain of how Blue Sky works. Here’s the link:

August 31, 2009

OOP 2 Art for Arludik

Filed under: EuroTrip,News,Out of Picture — Mike @ 5:45 pm

At the last Paris show at Galerie Arludik, because so much of my work on Out of Picture 1 was purely digital, I didn’t have very many original pieces of artwork in the show. I had to exhibit mainly giclee prints and just a few rough sketches. For Out of Picture 2 I made sure I had more physical artwork to show for my efforts. I thought I’d share some of the drawings that will be on display in Paris on thursday.

August 29, 2009

Book to check out

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike @ 11:08 pm


Last year I was invited to partake in an interview for a book called Secrets of Digital Animation. I discussed a few things such as the early creative process in pre-production, thoughts on character design, and the differences in my experiences as a designer and an art director. The book really runs the gamut of techniques, 2D as well as 3D digital animation, and the countless steps between starting and finishing a project from the perspectives of many different artists of diverse backgrounds. The book just hit store shelves a couple weeks ago. Check it out!

Back to Paris for OOP 2!!!

Filed under: EuroTrip,News,Out of Picture — Mike @ 10:27 pm


I am SOOOO excited to announce that next Thursday, September 3rd, Galerie Arludik is opening their exhibit for Out of Picture 2! Many of our artists will be there – myself, David Gordon, Jason Sadler, Vincent Nguyen, Peter Nguyen to name a few! – so if you happen to be in the area PLEASE stop by and say “Bon jour!” Arludik had a show for OOP 1 three years ago, and it was one of the most fun experiences in my artistic career. It felt more like a street party than an art opening, and everyone was so incredibly friendly and receptive.

July 14, 2009

Scientific American on Ice Age 3

Filed under: Blue Sky,News — Mike @ 10:08 pm

A month ago, Steve Mersky – one of the writers from Scientific American – came to Blue Sky to interview our R&D department regarding how science influences our artistic and technical processes at Blue Sky. Ironically, he also spoke with me about how our creative thinking and research is impacted by science. The first two episodes feature some of Blue Sky’s smartest and most brilliant minds explaining the history of the studio, and the amazingly diverse backgrounds they all came from.

In the third episode, IA3′s co-director Mike Thurmeier and our Head of Lighting Andrew Beddini chime in on their experiences, before which you can listen to me try to sound like I have any idea what I’m talking about. So sad…

Click here to check it out.

Thanks, Hugo, for pulling this thing together and for inviting me to take part. It was fun even if I was ridiculously outgunned.

Back from the dead

Filed under: News,Uncategorized — Mike @ 9:45 pm

It’s my first post of 2009! How sad is that?

Well, in my defense, I’ve been keeping busy with Ice Age 3 up until a couple weeks ago, but now that that’s no longer a valid excuse, I thought I’d share something I did for a very special project a friend of mine is putting together…

It’s called The Picture Book Project: Monsters and it’s a coloring book illustrated by many fantastic artists who work primarily in the animation industry which will help send money to orphaned children across the world who need financial help. The topic, of course, is monsters and each artist did a black and white sketch for the kids to color as well as a colored version of the same image.

It was refreshing to be able to work on such a fun and simple project. Definitely needed something simple after wrapping up Ice Age 3. Here’s my contribution…

Mike's Monster pencil drawing

Mike's Monster pencil drawing

Mike's Monster in color

Mike's Monster in color

Here’s a little preview of the book. Click here to take a peek…

Keep an eye out for this one. A lot of great artists and friends have contributed to this project, and it’s certainly for great cause. It’s a really fun book. Hopefully they’ll have publishing dates/info soon.

December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike @ 1:50 am

This is an oldie, but a goodie. Enjoy!

Rabbi Claus

Rabbi Claus

November 21, 2008

Hello? Anybody home??

Filed under: Blue Sky — Mike @ 12:10 am

Man it’s been quiet around here. 

Well, I’ve got a pretty good excuse – I swear. Other than being completely addicted to spending time with my one year old daughter and just being completely baffled at how quickly kids develop, I’ve been pretty all-consumed with getting through the rush phase of pre-production on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. We’re still in the middle of it with about one solid month of pure insanity left for my design team, but I wanted to come up for air and say hi to anyone who still checks this blog occasionally. 

This particular Ice Age has just hit a major milestone in that our first official trailer has just been released on Apple’s website, and – Yay!!! – it is a classic Scrat trailer. I won’t spoil anything, but you can see it here… 

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Poster

We still have months of work to go to get the film finished, but the movie’s coming along nicely and I’m really excited for it. I think audiences will have a lot of fun with this one. For me, the design process of a film is the most grueling (it’s kind of like drawing, algebra, sprinting, and chinese finger traps all mixed into one), and as that phase nears its end I hope to update the site more often and get back to my own personal artwork as well! Provided I have any energy left, that is.

Oh well, that’s enough run-on sentences for one night. Until next time!

- Mike