My brother Frank was a huge part of Shamoozal back when we were doing our thing. He’s the reason Crapfest Force and How to Hook up the NES turned out really nice. He did tons of work on the GFGames series. Lots of people think all that stuff was me but there were times when Frank was doing possibly even more animation work on Shamoozal than I was. We were juggling lots of stuff at that point, like running the blog, the message boards, a podcast and god knows what else. It was crazy!
Anyway, for the last few months Frank has been putting some time into his YouTube channel simply titled Frank Summers Animation. There you can find his reels and other highlights of his professional work. However he usually updates it with some sketches that he does live called Wednesday Lunch Live and has even recently started to add Toon Boom tutorials.
When I decided to embark upon my Artistic Journey last year my first and biggest emphasis was on figure and life drawing. I spent the first half of 2015 using YouTube videos for figure reference (there are plenty of great ones like Croquis Cafe and New Masters Academy) and then in the second half of the year I began to regularly go to life studio sessions for the first time in well over a decade. While my figure drawing improved with time, I still felt a little lost. Then I heard about the book Movement & Form by Samantha Youssef. Youssef has amazingly beautiful drawings and years of experience teaching figure drawing. It did not take me long to make up my mind in that I needed to own this book.
I received my copy of the book at the end of December and have since read it cover to cover. Twice actually. Almost instantly I began to work the lessons from the book into my studies. The sessons here require a radical shift in thinking about the way I go about drafting my drawings, but I believe my drawings are starting to have a stronger foundation. I’m finding myself to have a greater understanding of how the body works, where the pieces fit together, and ultimately adding weight and believably to my work. This is of course a work in progress and without having a mentor telling me exactly where and how things work, my improvement comes down to me and my ability to recognize my mistakes.
Usually when I work on a new animated short I tend to keep very quiet about it. I generally like to keep those kinds of things close to the chest. After all, how can I surprise anyone with cool content if they know everything that’s going to be in it? With my next project, I’d like to be a little more open.
What I’m creating is something wholly original and in my mind, like nothing I’ve made before. As of this writing it is being referred to as Wrestlemasters, a name which may or may not be final. Anyway, I’m done with parody videos. I had a good run with Read Only Memory all those years ago now and the 1980s Anime videos literally sucked the life from me, even if I do think some of them had some good ideas thrown in there. It has been a full year since I’ve animated a video, and I suspect it might be another full year until anyone sees an animated video from me again.
For the last year I’ve been on what I’d like to think of as an artistic journey. While there have been improvements to my art over the decade that I have been creating on Shamoozal, the improvement has been very slight. I need to push myself. One thing that I’ve also started doing on this journey is finding particular artists to learn from and be inspired by. The problem here is that the very people you are inspired by can also be your temporary downfall.
We all get jealous. We all envy things that people can do or have. There are times when I go sit down to do work, I load up Twitter, see some incredible pictures and it cripples me creatively. I think “I’ll never be as good as this person” and IF I move onto actually drawing from that point, I’m harsh to judge what I put down. From there I usually go further down the rabbit hole of looking more into the amazing work of said person and feeling not inspired, but horrible about my current ability by the end.
Sometimes we need to step back and begin to filter the noise. The downside to having so much available to us is that there is simply TOO much available to us at any given time. If you’re ever feeling down about your own art after looking at great art, then that is your hint to take a break from looking at art. Choose not to look at great art for a day or more. Don’t allow yourself to get consumed by it. If that means temporarily muting an artist you admire on Twitter or another social platform, then do it. Once you feel better, allow yourself to become inspired by great art again. I’d also suggest not looking at art moments before you saw something that inspired you. Chances are you won’t be able to draw or paint what you just saw as good as the piece that inspired you in the first place. This will also cause you to fall into that pit of despair.
If you follow me on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter you’ll know that I did a Halloween/monster related drawing every day of October. Now that everything is wrapped up, I’m offering a free download of every drawing through Gumroad. The pack contains high res JPGs along with the original PSD files for the images I did digitally. The PSD file contain all the layers, including the original sketches. You can make your own prints or do whatever! Please know that for a week of October I was away on vacation with my family, so those drawings are simply cell phone shots I grabbed of the drawings I did in our hotel room when I was essentially dead from walking through Disney parks all day. I hope you like the pack.
Last night a few of us from the old Shamoozal Radio Podcast got together and reminisced a bit about Shamoozal Radio, the site as a whole, and just kind of spent a few moments explaining where we were in our lives.
Though Shamoozal existed before this date, which was essentially only a forum and the Zoinks teaser cartoon, Candy Corns was the first short starring Grey and Jacquo and also the first short I tried to get people to see. I knew I wanted people to watch my work, but at the time, I didn’t know of any other ways. After doing some searching I found Newgrounds and promptly uploaded the short. The rest, as they say, is history.
Candy Corns is an absurd short, something I put together mostly over the course of a weekend. I’ve written about it before so I’m not going to bother repeating myself. Sadly, I don’t have a new Grey and Jacquo short to celebrate this momentous occasion. Even more sad, it’s been 3 whole years since we last saw Grey and Jacquo in the much forgotten Candy Corns 2. All I have to offer you is the above newly created artwork. I wanted to in some small way tip my hat to the short and these two characters, if only enough to make a handful of people smile. I wanted this to look like the classic shorts, and I sampled nearly all of the colors from Candy Corns. Those colors aren’t fantastic, but I wanted this picture to seem pretty authentic. Of course I did not create it in Flash, but I’m hoping the Photoshop paint job has its own charm.
I will say I was having lots of fun drawing these two again, and while doing so my mind was coming up with all sorts of ridiculous ideas. It would be fun to have another go with these two.
If you’re actually reading this it means you have probably stuck around with Shamoozal for an extremely long time, and I honestly can’t thank you enough for your support. It means the world to me and I’m sorry if I ever let anyone down in regards to the shorts. Thanks for reading, and a big thanks to all the support from Newgrounds over the years and a biiiig Happy 10th Anniversary to Shamoozal!
The last few Thursdays I have been doing Request Nights on Twitter. I usually come up with a slight theme and then ask users for their drawing requests. Depending on my mood, I’ll either spend time on one drawing or a whole bunch of short ones. So make sure you follow me on Twitter and be on the look out for Thursdays. Hope to see your request!