Inktober 2017

Inktober 2017 is upon us. For a quick recap, Inktober was created by artist Jake Parker in 2009:

Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.

I created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.

Anyone can do InkTober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.

-Jake Parker on Inktober

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Explosions, Fire, and Environmental FX

Around this time of year, after we’ve started the animation project, I often begin to get questions from students about explosions, fire, and other environmental effects. I will continue to update this post with interesting examples I come across that could be used as reference or inspiration for animation (in the fall) and comics/illustration (in the spring). Note: You might also want to check out a similar post on water effects.

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Alexi Worth on Jack Kirby

Born Jacob Kurtzberg on the (then) squalid streets of New York’s Lower East Side, Kirby was a James Cagney-ish figure—a short, tough, talented kid who never finished high school. In his early 20s, Kirby turned bitter memories of ethnic street fights into the idealistic anti-Nazi pugilism of Captain America, his first comic book success.4 Only a few years later, he was drafted and sent to battle actual Nazis in France. After the war, Kirby weathered the ups and downs of the comics industry, finally triumphing in the glory years of the early 1960s, when he and writer/editor Stan Lee created a string of wildly imaginative characters and plots—the Marvel superhero universe.

Genius in a Box by Alexi Worth (Art in America, January 2016)

Check out examples of Kirby artwork below the fold:

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Staging & Blocking

In a previous post we had a great explanation of clear staging in Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas’ book, The Illusion of Life:

“Staging” is the most general of the principles because it covers so many areas and goes back so far in the theatre. Its meaning, however, is very precise: it is the presentation of any idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear. An action is staged so that it is understood, a personality so that it is recognizable, an expression so that it can be seen, a mood so that it will affect the audience. Each is communicating to the fullest extent with the viewers when it is properly staged.

At his blog Temple of the Seven Golden Camels, Mark Kennedy explains blocking:

The term “blocking” means the same thing whether you’re talking about film or theater. Basically, the term refers to how the characters move through the scene and how they interact with their environment, including props, furniture and whatever else can be helpful in telling the story.
When blocking is used well–especially in conjunction with good staging (and by staging I mean the placement of the camera)–it can make the difference between a series of events that are merely shown to the audience, or a powerful story that unfolds in an emotional and dramatic fashion.

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Quick Links for Fall 2014

Reed Art Title Card Logo 2014_15

Welcome to another school year at Walter Reed. This website is not a very complicated affair; if you’re on a mobile device the menu tab at the top of this page will open up options including information about the art supply list while the student tab will show up on a conventional desktop browser. Or, you could click on the link below:

Art Supply List

Remember: You don’t need anything fancy or expensive to bring to class. All the required art supplies are pretty standard issue fare. If you feel like you’re having trouble getting ahold of some of these items let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help.

Donations Page

Walter Reed families have always been so incredibly generous; if you’d like to donate supplies to the classroom we have a Donations Page that outlines the type of things we need in class right now. For instance, we’ll be using a lot of regular white 8 1/2 x 11 Copy Paper for our animation assignments and we are in desperate need for printer ink.

Our Classroom Printer Needs Ink


Looks like we’ve run out of printer ink in room 132. If anyone would like to buy some replacement ink for the classroom printer, it would be greatly appreciated. Reed families are awesome and generous!

Our Canon MP640 all-in-one that uses this type of ink:

Canon 221 Ink Cartridges: – Black, Magenta, Yellow, Cyan
Canon 220 Ink Cartridge: – Large Black Ink Cartridge