Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hellboy jr.


I made this painting of Hellboy jr. for San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum's fundraiser. They are auctioning many artists interpretations of Hellboy throughout the summer on their eBay shop: http://www.ebay.com/usr/cartoonartmuseum

The page for my painting is here

Here's a brief process video 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Drawing L.A.

The last year in sketches. . .


 Sandwich box doodle

 Clifton's

 Washington Blvd.

 Marina Del Rey




 Venice Beach



 Sunset Strip




Warner Bros NYC back lot

 On the Paramount lot

Monday, May 15, 2017

Studying BLADERUNNER 2049



On his blog Joscha van Deijk transcribed my notes from the videos:

Screen-grab the new trailer …
Make a template to match the screen ratio of the film
Don’t TRACE the images. Try to match the composition by EYE
Holding down SHIFT while drawing snaps your brush to the horizontal (or vertical)
Simple gradient to suggest atmosphere
GAUSSIAN BLUR filter to add depth
High angle- the extreme perspective distorts the ATARI logo
The perspective lines draw the eye to the moving element
The film-makers are not afraid to have the moving elements of a shot TINY in frame
Horizon line placed just below the center of frame
Many of the wide shots in this trailer are symmetrical while character shots are asymmetrical
Again, the point of interest, the figures, are TINY but read because they’re placed at the point of HIGH CONTRAST
Again, a symmetrical composition with the horizon line just below the center of frame
No need to draw EVERY step- just SUGGEST steps
Isolate background and ‘knock it back’ by blurring and reducing the opacity
Use light grey to highlight those figures
Use white for the highest point of contrast: the female figure
Blur background elements and bring down opacity so the character has the highest contrast values
Again, the character is framed off center, high angle and close
Off centered framing & minimal background focuses on the character
VERY minimal background; it’s all about the character
Symmetrical composition, horizon line on lower third of the frame. Surreal image; reminds me of Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’.
For perfect ellipses use the ELLIPSE tool!
Again, character framed screen right with VERY minimal background
High angle, over the shoulder, fore-ground figure ‘owns’ the frame
- - -
Rough in perspective lines as a guide
Establish foreground element (heaviest black)
Establish character (focal point of shot)
Elements in background are lighter
Always remember CONTRAST in values
Background elements should not be distracting
Distant lights can be simple
Sci-fi establishing shot! Amazing architecture
Rough in the perspective (high angle)
Block in tonal shapes
A suggestion of background buildings adds DEPTH
Blur gives more depth
Low contrast in this shot since it seems to be obscured by weather
2 shot but focused on foreground character
Background detail sparse and blurred
Block in the lighting simply
Insert shot, high angle- over the shoulder, close on gun
Focal point of shot is the hand and the weapon
Foreground shoulder & background blurred. Shallow depth of field
Deakins uses simple highlights to bring elements forward
Single shot, high angle and close
Very simple background elements
Block in simple tone
With linework think about drawing SHAPES and PLANES. Not overly detailed.
Keep lighting simple and clear
Establish perspective. Wide shot, low angle
This is a vertical camera move so the cropped holographic ballerina looks a little odd here
Use blurring and lower opacity for simple hologram effect.
Horizon appears to be almost on the actor’s eyeline
Also, a shot behind an actor’s head strangely puts us in their shoes
Deakins loves to use silhouettes!
Again, keep background elements simple.
Use shapes, contrast and overlapping forms to suggest DEPTH.
The BLUR tool is your friend- as long as it is used to contrast with something in SHARP focus
It doesn’t take much to SUGGEST figures. Umbrellas help too!
Wide shot. Horizon appears to cut the frame in half giving a symmetry to the shot
Rough in a perspective guide
Block in main planes: foreground, mid-ground figures
I tend to always use grey as a base color for most boards
Again, the background only needs as much detail to SUGGEST an environment. Don’t distract from the point of interest- the FIGURES
Adjust scale of figures. Deakins is not afraid to have tiny figures in frame
Notice all lines of perspective lead the eye to the characters
Same scene. Medium shot. Horizon central but technically a low angle.
Block in the shapes- it’s easy in silhouette!
Background can be loose. Focus is on the characters.
Linework just needs to communicate ‘two figures look at each other’
Silhouette but there is some detail in there; subtle light on the faces
Subtle highlights to bring them forward

 

Sunday, May 07, 2017

How I approach Gesture Drawing




 In the video you'll see how I follow these steps:
-a quick study of the LINE OF ACTION
-a SILHOUETTE study
-placement of the MAJOR FORMS (rib cage & pelvis)
-rapid gestural sketch
-how to use the pose as inspiration to suggest STORY and CHARACTER

My digital book collecting all my sketches from Gesture Drawing Class at Pixar is available on Gumroad here

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Café sketches eBook now available!


I put up another collection of gesture sketches on GumRoad.com - drawings made as warmups before work during my years living in France. Here's the purchase & download link:

Buy my product

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Exhibition!

March 24th sees the opening of my solo show at Center Stage Gallery, Burbank. It runs to April 30th. I have 100 gouache paintings from my travels around the US on show. All art for sale plus a book, prints and postcards will be available. More details here 
All the work can be previewed and bought online here

On Instagram I created nine special video collages featuring some of the paintings in the show and the locations in which I made them. Check them out here

"Jones Paints America" the art of Matt Jones now online and available for viewing and purchase. Use your arrow keys to navigate the carousel. Hover over an image in the carousel to display the size, medium and price. Call 818 259 1598 or email hello@centerstagegallery.com to purchase. The gallery ships both in the USA and Internationally.
Or come into Center Stage Gallery 
Mon thru Fri 12 - 8, Sat/Sun 12-6 
847 Hollywood Way, Burbank CA 91505

Thursday, March 02, 2017

St. David's Day Doodle!



I was honoured to create a doodle to celebrate my homeland Wales. Here's the Google Doodle blog entry on it:

"Today’s Doodle depicts a Welsh Lovespoon in honor of St. David’s Day, a commemoration of Welsh culture, marked by festivals, parades, feasting, and music. As far back as the seventeenth century, young suitors carved ornate symbols (like anchors, horseshoes, and hearts) into wooden spoons. When the spoons were completed, they bestowed these gifts on their love interests as a sign that they could provide for them.
Lovespoons weren’t the only storied piece of Welsh culture considered for the St. David’s Day Doodle. Our guest Doodler Matt Jones also fiddled with dragons, choirs, corgis, castles, and harps as possible Doodle subjects.
Early dragon-themed Doodle concept drawings
In the end, the lovespoons just seemed like the best fit. “There's nothing quite like the love spoons in any other country,” Matt explained. “I think it's something worth teaching non-Welsh about. The lovespoons historically are a chance for the wood carver to show off so I wanted to make a Doodle with similar panache.”




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Gesture Drawing book-digital edition

Now available on GumRoad. Go here to check out the page.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Imagine FX

The new issue of Imagine FX magazine is an animation special. I put together an article on story-boarding. It's on news-stands now and available digitally. More info here . 
Storyboards aren't often published because of copyright issues and studio policy so I put together a personal assignment I set for myself to get me thinking 'outside the box' on a feature project.














Thursday, January 12, 2017

Redesigning the Emoticon

Back in 2012 I was approached by a team at Facebook who were working on a new set of Emoticons to address bullying on social media. They were consulting the psychology dept. at Berkeley led by Dacher Keltner who is a protegée of Paul Ekman- both of whom advised Pete Docter during the research phase of Inside Out. It was Pete who recommended me to them after I did an exercise for him to design some emotional icons for the control panel in Inside Out.


We were to 'evolve' the traditional emoticon so I began brainstorming emoticons that might be 'more emotive' than traditional emoji. I would come to realize just how difficult it is to improve upon something so simple and entirely functional already. But with my animation background the FB/Berkeley teams were pleased with the expressive characters I was developing.




Dacher gave me breakdowns of how our expressions change across the emotional states as defined by Darwin (which Ekman had realized are universal).


I sent dozens of sketches which the psychology team ran experiments on! They chose specific drawings which they thought best communicated a particular emotion and they were found to be all recognizable.











They published a scientific paper on their findings and the research was even mentioned in an article in TIME magazine! The project got some attention in online media too, in particular an article on BuzzFeed which was picked up by many other sites including the Verge.



The project was ultimately combined with the Facebook Messenger app and we developed an animated version for the sticker store named 'Finch' after Darwin's finches. They were expertly animated by my friend Sam Hood, top story artist, animator and designer. See more on his site here or go download the emoji on Messenger- it has been sent 100s of millions of times worldwide apparently!


We created a set of new emoji with enhanced expressions informed by Darwin and our animation skills but essentially I don't think we improved the emoticon or discovered a sufficient new language to communicate online which was the original goal. We had hoped to progress further and add sound to the emoji but the project stalled. Although since then Facebook have added several key emoji as alternatives to their 'thumbs up'. All the other tech companies are in a race to create some form of enhanced virtual emoji being that can communicate 'for us' after learning our behaviour and thoughts!

A couple years after that Vodaphone approached me to help design the visuals for a video they were assembling also dealing with social media bullying.

 It was about how anyone can become the target of online bullying which overwhelm and lead to distress and depression.


Dacher and I partnered again on a proposal for the Kahn Academy to create a film promoting awareness of compassion which Dacher has written about extensively. This was a fun opportunity to visualize anatomy, the brain and the nervous system but the project never went further.




I was happy to volunteer on all these projects; it's fascinating to be involved with the tech world's race to improve communication and I think artists with animation skills are those most able to create characters that can emote and with which we can empathize- it's what we do every day ;)


Here's more on 'Finch' from an article by Radiolab