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A change in the wind

A change in the wind published on No Comments on A change in the wind

I’ve been absent from my website for a few months now, mostly out of discouragement and confusion, and I suppose it’s time to figure out how to carry forward.

As mentioned below, I have some problems with my eyes that put a pretty heavy damper on my visual work. In short, looking at things close up for a long time causes me to have severe double vision, motion-sickness, and blurriness. If I were to continue on my previous course of drawing for hours and hours each day, I would eventually go legally blind. For more details, feel free to ask or read my earlier posts.

Before I say anything else though, I do want to again say Thank You to everyone who supports me–both in my creative work and just in general. I really, really appreciate it.

There is one big problem that trumps any other as I make the next decisions. It is that I am, at some point in the future, going to be a father. When that will be, I don’t know, but being a father is more important to me than being an artist or author. And a key ingredient of being a parent is the ability to provide basic necessities.

Since I was 17 I have wanted to be a professional, full-time visual storyteller, and up until January of this year it filled many, if not most, of my waking thoughts.

However, in January the problem with my eyes became too much to ignore; a visual storyteller without reliable eyesight would have a remarkably difficult time providing for his children.

Much as I would love to brazenly persevere as an artist in the full-time, professional, visual creative industry, hoping to make some heroic epic of overcoming impossible odds, I am not going to do so. It is both unbalanced and irresponsible, in my case.

So, for now, I have begun the process of learning another skill set that will enable me to be a reliable provider, even if my eyes go bad. It is a skill set that I hope to use in a way that is as close to the visual storytelling industry as possible, but without putting the strain on my eyes. Come August of this year, I will be an MBA student at Carnegie Mellon, learning the art of teamwork.

So…finally…with all of the above stated, don’t think for a minute that I’m done being a creative person. There are still dozens of outlets of creativity available. Right now, I have finally fulfilled my six-year long wish of finding a good tai chi teacher (the martial art form practiced by Li, my webcomic character) and am practicing daily. There’s also the possibility of creative writing for movies and games. One more thing worth mentioning is that the technology behind virtual reality and augmented reality may provide relief for my eyes, which would enable me to get into 3D drawing and sculpting. I follow this latter option obsessively, and while it is not quite there yet, I believe it’s about three years away.

For now, in summary, I am officially a full-time MBA kind of person, and a part-time/hobbyist artist/author. Bittersweet, and excited for the future.

All this, of course, leaves the question about what I intend to do with my website, and also with my social media accounts.

First of all, if you keep your expectations at zero with me for now, then at least you won’t be disappointed if I never update the website again!

However, seeing as how the actual address of the website here is just my name, I suppose it’s general enough that it should transition into a place to share whatever new adventures await. I’m not sure what the future holds, so it’s impossible to say what will be posted here. It could simply become something like a repository for whatever hobbies I’m up to, or a regular blog with stories, or something else.

Either way, thank you for following along. Good luck and God bless in your story.

034_Oct19_2009

A little help needed

A little help needed published on No Comments on A little help needed

So, a little help needed.

I’d like to make my webcomic, Peter and Li, a daily thing. But, as it’s not earning money (and don’t worry, not asking for money), it’s quite difficult to find time for it. Here’s my request:

What should be the punishment if I miss a day? Can y’all help me pick out a (family friendly) disastrous downside to missing a day? Should I have to shave my beard? Take a bath in jello? Drink a gallon of milk? Dye my hair pink and leave it for at least a week?

Be creative. If we can come up with something, I’ll make a promise to stick to it.

UPDATE: Here’s the list that my friends came up with (from many sites–Facebook, Reddit, etc.)

Shave the beard, dye hair pink, shave head, shave eyebrows, glue a lego to my toilet seat and leave it there for a week, eat durian, and eat marmite, loudly sing a Britney Spears song in a public location.

By the way, what happened to 100 Vines in 100 Days?

By the way, what happened to 100 Vines in 100 Days? published on No Comments on By the way, what happened to 100 Vines in 100 Days?

As much fun as we can find in six seconds

You may remember that a while ago I started a project wherein I planned to do 100 6-second moving-illustrations in 100 days, and then post them to my Vine account.

Long Distance Travel, by Bryan Beus
Long Distance Travel, by Bryan Beus

It was really fun from the outset, and I regret that I can’t finish it.

I absolutely hate having to leave a project before it’s done, but when I get going on a time-consuming project that turns out to be far, far, far away from the big picture of my storytelling goals, I really don’t have a choice.

Good, better, best thing to do

As any good businessman in the world, I have big goals and dreams about what I’d like to accomplish. Concerning this subject, there are two.

#1 – I’d like to finish illustrating that book I’ve been working on for years.

It’s almost done! All that’s holding me up is that it’s hard to find time to work on it. In an ideal world I would like to take ten weeks off of commissions/teaching/etc. to focus on this.

That said, my publisher and I are getting really close to making some announcements with it.

#2 – I’d like to ultra-simplify my storytelling.

Pure Philosophy, by Bryan Beus
Pure Philosophy, by Bryan Beus

I’ve gotta admit…it is hard—too hard for me, in fact—to build a career in both creating written-word novels and illustrating at the same time. Either one of those careers can easily consume ten to fifteen hours a day. Try doing them both at the same time? Good luck…

But what do you do when you love them both so much that, no matter how hard you brainstorm, pray, fast, and wrack your noggin’ you can’t find a way to cut either art form out of your life?

…Mix them together?

Storyboarding and graphic novels: writing with pictures instead of words.

That was the original intent of the 100 Vines idea—to bring together illustration and time-based storytelling. My hope was that at the end of the 100 Days I’d have a good amount of storyboarding experience under my belt, and would be ready to make some really fun longer graphic novels for you.

The problem is that, while the six second idea is really really really fun, it’s so limited that I found myself animating instead of storyboarding.

Need for Speed, by Bryan Beus
Need for Speed, by Bryan Beus

“Animation” is really fun, but it’s not what I’m going for right now.

And it’s not to say that you can’t make some brief storyboards with a six-second time limit (…in fact, now that I write these words, all of a sudden my brain is bursting with things I could have done in the storyboard sense instead…), but this wasn’t what I was looking for, either.

And to spend a third of a year doing it when it doesn’t meet its purpose?

Ummmmm…not wise.

So, now what?

Well, there’s some big things in the works with goal #1 listed above, and I can work on these while I rethink my strategy.

I’m dipping into my savings as we speak in order to take some time away from commissions and get this book finally illustrated.

You’ll be hearing more about the book soon—real soon. In fact, any day now it should probably be taking center stage on my blog.

While it will be a while still before all the interior illustrations are done, the cover is underway.

And it is going to be awesome…

Once the cover and the interiors are done, the plan in my mind right now is to come back to the goal of storyboards and graphic novels.

We’ll see what happens when the time comes!

In the meantime, how about some cheerfully pointless animation?

Heaven Surfing, by Bryan Beus
Heaven Surfing, by Bryan Beus

Thieves (All Six Parts) and Desktop Downloads UPDATED 09/20/12

Thieves (All Six Parts) and Desktop Downloads UPDATED 09/20/12 published on 4 Comments on Thieves (All Six Parts) and Desktop Downloads UPDATED 09/20/12

NEW: All parts posted. Scroll down for Part 6.

 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

 

Part 6:

 

I put this six-part video series together in 2009, wasn’t sure what I’d do with it, and forgot about it until recently. Hope you enjoy it:)

When I finished the film I deleted the high-res video files (who knew there’d be such a thing as internet HD?) because they were so large, but below you’ll find some ways to see the painting in full detail.

If you would like to share the images please link to this post. Please do not link to the images directly. Thank you.

A medium-res version of the full painting with options for prints:

Detail Crop 800 x 600:

1024 x 768:

1280 x 1024:

 

Hopi Indians

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Core Knowledge Foundation commissioned me awhile back to do some illustration sketches for an educational series on the Hopi Indians.

Archaeologists think that the Hopi descended from the Anasazi Indians, who were famous for abandoning their pueblo dwellings without any sign of why they left or where they went.

Eventually the Hopi settled on the land around the rim of what is now the northeastern rim of Arizona and northwestern rim of New Mexico.

John K. Hillers did a fantastic photo expedition in 1906 to document the Hopi way of life.

One of the things that fascinates many people about the Hopi Indians is the kachina dolls they create.

The dolls are meant to represent the kachina spirits, which are spirit gods that rule the earth and influence life. For example, in the sketches above the one on the upper left is a clown kachina and the one in the middle is a warrior kachina.

The spirituality of sketchbooking

The spirituality of sketchbooking published on 2 Comments on The spirituality of sketchbooking

Over the years of sketchbooking I’ve noticed a few things about sketchbooking.

The main goal of sketchbooking is to increase our ability to observe the world around us (A common misconception is that a sketchbook is a place to increase your drawing ability. While you may find yourself increasing your drawing ability as you go, save that focus for another time).

Catching the simple, everyday things with which we are all familiar, yet take for granted is a part of our impetus for being artists in the first place.

Yet, that’s not far enough. I’ve seen a lot of sketchbooks and art that captures unusual or thought provoking scenes, yet the art still leaves me feeling depressed. I don’t want to look at art like that. There’s too much great stuff going on around me to voluntarily import depressing thoughts and feelings into my life.

Some of the most uplifting things happening are found in the darkest, most frightening places: the ex-convict who returns to prison to teach other convicts how to overcome their addictions; the orphan who marries, and then loves his or her spouse and family; the war-torn refugees who still love their country. There’s magic everywhere, yet we have to tune ourselves into it.

A sketchbook isn’t just a place to observe: it’s an opportunity to observe beauty.

Review: The Wind in the Willows

Review: The Wind in the Willows published on No Comments on Review: The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful tale!

Every character in this story is distinct, full of life, and their voices leap out of the page.

The scenes are simply beautiful. There’s a dreaminess to the pacing that sets you back a hundred years or more when people in the Americas used to share their food and talk at great length with strangers.

One particular scene that stuck out to me was the one in which Rat and the Mole are searching for the lost otter child, but hear the call of mysterious music, forget what they are doing, and go searching for the source instead. They come to an island and, traveling inwards, come to a cool-green meadow where the music seems to come all around them with no particular source. Rat says, “…surely, this is where we will find Him,” in awe, and both animals take off their hats and stand silently as the sun rises. Suddenly, when the sun does rise, the animals forget what they had just experienced and remember they were looking for the young otter child. The otter turns out to be just a few yards away from them and they take him home, but Mole drags behind a little, trying to remember, but failing to remember what they had experienced.  I think I liked this scene because when we feel a divine presence or have a wonderful dream, we forget thereafter all of it in its details and only have a taste in our mouths to remind us that it happened.

Toad is hilarious –– definitely one of my favorite character portrayals of all time.

I did have one problem with the story, and that was that Toad never really did anything to redeem himself after all his picaresque harassment on society.

Five stars!

View all my reviews

Collection of Studio Ghibli Background Paintings

Collection of Studio Ghibli Background Paintings published on 1 Comment on Collection of Studio Ghibli Background Paintings

The following YouTube video is a montage of backgrounds by Oga Kazuo painted for animated films produced by the Japanese production house, Studio Ghibli.

Animated backgrounds are an art form separate from plein air painting (painting landscapes) in that they must read quickly and then fade away from the viewer’s eye in order to allow the characters to step forward. The background painter has to maintain the entire progression of the film in mind so that each individual backgrounds may contribute to the overall pacing and mood.

Oga Kazuo excels at creating scenes that show contrast between human architecture/civilization and environments produced entirely by nature.

YouTube video posted by user foo9883

Studio Ghibli
Oga Kazuo on Imdb

Conte Animated – Fine Art Show

Conte Animated – Fine Art Show published on No Comments on Conte Animated – Fine Art Show

Conte Animated – A Fine Art Show by Ryan Woodward

A week or two ago I posted a film entitled Conte Animated, directed by my former professor, Ryan Woodward.

This Thursday Ryan will be presenting a fine art show representing a selection of the hand drawings created for the film, roughly 20,000 in all.

For those of you who are local to Provo and can attend, the address is:

Gallery 303 – HFAC
Brigham Young University, Provo 84602

Ryan was my first professor in the animation program. I consider myself very lucky to have watched his style and talent develop. The show will surely be one not to miss.

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