Thursday, May 9, 2013

Radio Silence

Check out Nick Keller's new single "Radio Silence" with cover art by yours truly! Available now for download on iTunes.

Inspired by classic video games, Nick composed the piece, based on another track he made on the soundtrack for Dick Figures: The Movie! which has some of his best work yet! Keep an eye out for that, coming soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Monda nights are sketching nights. It's important to have a schedule ... Did this little sketch as a warm up while my wife and daughter got caught up on Season 3.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quick Lunch Sketch

Waiting for my next batch of shots to be assigned at work, I took a few minutes to do a quick sketch of a still frame from Game of Thrones. I'm not sure why I keep drawing stuff from that show. To be honest, I still don't even know all the characters names yet. John Snow is one right?

This one was one of the daughters of some dude in a town that looks cold. The King(?) of the town marries his daughters? This one's trying to get away with John Snow's fat friend in the episode.

Friday, March 1, 2013

But, I thought them Avatards were Blue?

   I don't normally write or support posts about protests or complaints, but this is personal.   
Many of you may have noticed the recent facebook profiles shifting to an annoying shade of solid green. No, it's not Tax Season ... those are artists in a non-violent protest. Pissed off artists.

This year's Academy Awards proved to be more disrespectful than usual toward the Visual Effects categories. During the Awards show, Robert Downey Jr. was interrupted when praising just what exactly Visual Effects artists do for film - hastily for time's sake, one can only assume. After that, the receiver of the award wanted to say a few words about the hard times the industry is going through right now and was played off the stage. They literally turned the mic off. This was punctuated by Ang Lee, who won for a movie that was largely CGI, saying he just wishes VFX wouldn't take so long and was cheaper. 

All those green avatars are part of the "green-screen movement". A green screen is the key tool in visual effects, and honestly in most movies these days. Companies like Digital Domain, Dreamworks, Sony, Pixomondo, Zynga and many more have been forced to file bankruptcy or issue major layoffs. Rhythm and Hues, the company responsible for Life of Pi has also filed for bankruptcy.

The VFX Industry is suffering and Hollywood is giving it little support, despite relying heavily on them. I don't want to go too much on a tirade about all of this, but ... people are losing their jobs in an already highly competitive field. Friends of mine, and more, the people that you rely on so heavily to help bring you that bit of joy on a Friday night when you just want to get away. Now VFX probably makes you think of worlds like these, right?

The Hobbit
Alice in Wonderland
Star Wars
The Avengers
But it's more often than not you are being whisked away to worlds you think you see every day ... but bet you didn't know they're filmed in front of a green screen:

Down with Love
Ugly Betty
CSI: New York
The Five Year Engagement
Book of Eli
The Proposal
Source Code
There are honestly too many to post. Take a look at these videos to see some of the hard work that goes into creating these worlds. These teams of artists have gotten so good at what they do, it's often times overlooked because it's done so seamlessly:

I think you may be fairly hard pressed to find a production that HASN'T used VFX in some way -- be it the creation of an entire background, some special effect added on top of live action footage, or even entire characters, props and other elements in the frame created entirely by visual effects artists.

We live in the digital age. Every one of those shots, no matter how mundane, require a TEAM of Visual Effects artists to help bring it to life. This isn't anything new, either. When film first started out, they'd paint real backdrops or overlays, or make miniatures. It's all basically the same, it's just faster and even CHEAPER now to do it in the computer. Yet we are still running into problems like these. 
Green and Blue screens (Chroma Key) help bring worlds to life. Please be aware. Spread the world and do what you can to help.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Animating Dick Figures

Featured today on the Dick Figures: The Movie making of blog is a picture of me in action, animating the infamous Raccoon! It's been fun to animate on this show. It's so limited and simple. You're basically animating the line of action - it's more than just crappy stick figure animation. Believe it or not, we strive for some semblance of quality on Dick Figures.

But then again, the show is called Dick Figures ... so ...

The Raccoon has the most limited movements of all the characters, no fingers or elbows, no head turns or even eye blinks - just a flapping mouth and cut-out shapes like an old Terry Gilliam cartoon, yet he's one of the most beloved characters in the series.

It's fun to do this sort of work, sometimes - rather than full blown traditional animation. Monty Python was one of my biggest inspirations as a child, and I recently had the opportunity to animate on a spot directly inspired by Gilliam and the Pythons - an episode of "Fringe". Animating Raccoon is very much the same mentality and bag of tricks!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Adam and Dog

Last year, I had the great privilege to help out on my good friend and fellow CalArtian Minkyu Lee's short film "Adam and Dog". The film turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined, has won an Annie Award and is now nominated for an Academy Award.

It's just beautiful. Visually, Emotionally ... it's an astounding and deep film that celebrates the power of hand drawn animation. The film was animated by Minkyu, with help from the legendaries James Baxter and Glen Keane as well as my other CalArts buddies, Matt Williames, Mario FurmanczykAustin Madison, and Jennifer Hager ... as well as many other great friends and alum.

I cleaned up and colored a few shots for the film ... but all credit goes to the genius mind of Minkyu. Great work, buddy. You deserve the Oscar and more!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Emma Lillian Dusenberry & Update

I have a very good excuse for not updating over the past month or so. Her name is Emma and she's my brand new daughter and she's ADORABLE!!!

See? Told ya so. She was born 8 lbs, 19.5" last night, January 31st, 2013 - just one day shy of her mother's birthday. It was a life changing experience and I love her with every fiber of my being.

Somehow between the very little time I've had to sleep, I've moved to a new place and set up her nursery. Whilst purging tons of old artwork I found in boxes from CalArts, I re-discovered several gems I'll post here in a few -- development stuff from my films -- a lot of which i never ended up using, studies, as well as some decent digital sketches.

On the other creative front; Writing: I've put "Book of Paige's" on the back burner, as I am very close to finishing the first draft for my zombie novel, now titled "Wonderful World of Zombies". Hopefully, it'll be complete and available for purchase by the solstice.

And of course, Duke of Fancy is ramping up for it's season premiere. The success of our first episode has left fans craving more. At Six Point, I've also been busy animating something for Sony's "Cloudy 2" ...

... as well as "Dick Figures: The Movie" as a supervising animator and board artist. You may also hear some of my voice talent sneak into the final cut. 

More to come soon!
Busy busy busy busy ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Duke of Fancy - The Fight Before Christmas

Christmas comes early this year ... 
Prepare yourself to finally meet the DUKE OF FANCY!

Zack and I decided we really wanted to make a fun, festive, snowy, winter holiday episode ... longing for some semblance of the holidays in another Southern Californian year without a winter. Even though the Duke will be on extended Christmas vacation until February ... this show is SO goddamn fancy we simply HAD to start it out with a Christmas Special. This is our first episode called "The Fight Before Christmas" and we had a blast making it.

All of the animation was done by myself, as well as the voice of Santa. Zack voices the Duke, and of course the multi-talented Ed Skudder plays both Tiny Tim and Scrooge. The music is all original compositions created by the supertalent Nick Keller. Duke's Christmas theme is slowly becoming one of my holiday standards.

This is the first of ten episodes that will premier throughout 2013 on RugBurn. We've opened Pandora's box ... this is only the beginning. Without further ado ... I give you, the first episode of "Duke of Fancy"

Friday, December 7, 2012

RugBurn Launch in 3, 2, 1 ...

The YouTube channel that my new show is on was officially launched today with the premier episode of AxeCop! a playful, humorous show, charmingly written by a five-year-old. Literally. Please check it out and stay tuned for much more content from the good folks at RugBurn.

Our first episode rolls out Tuesday! Until then, please enjoy these articles featuring Duke of Fancy and RugBurn. We've been featured on Animation World Network and New Media Rockstars

Animation World Network:

New Media Rockstars:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Duke of Fancy - Teaser Trailer

Just one week away from the very first episode of my new show "Duke of Fancy," Zack and I have cooked up this little teaser trailer for your enjoyment.

"Duke of Fancy," is co-written/directed by myself and Zack Keller

Be sure to check it out and subscribe for more videos, including our very first episode and Christmas Special airing next week! 

Along with "DogSnack", created by Ed Skudder and Lynn Wang (fellow Dick Figures crew), we are part of a new YouTube channel run entirely by artists called Rug Burn - a partnership between studios Six Point Harness and Titmouse. Lots of amazing, original animation is heading to the channel soon so be sure to subscribe!

Lemur Doodle

My first Cup O' Doodle sketch ... haven't uploaded to the official site yet, going to be adding some color to this little guy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Duke of Fancy - Romney Rhymes with Money!

It's time you all finally meet ... the DUKE OF FANCY!

For the past few months I've been working on a new web series with my good friend and writing partner, Zack Keller, co-creator of the hit series Dick Figures (now set to become a full length feature film). I'll be storyboarding and animating on that project as well, but in the meantime ... we've released a teaser video for The Duke of Fancy! The show follows the exploits of the world's richest man, who makes the world's poorest choices.

Enjoy the Duke's endorsement of his favorite candidate: Mitt Romney. Of course, as democrats, Zack and I had a lot of fun with this little political promo for the show. More to come soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days of Halloween, Part II

Catching up a bit on this challenge. In the great plan I had to post these regularly, "Life found a way..." SO!, here's old Oogie turning into bats:

OOGIE BOOGIE, from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Monday, October 15, 2012

Latest Reels!

JD DemoReel FLASH from John Dusenberry on Vimeo.

Some of the work I'm most proud of is actually development stuff from DreamWorks for "Kung Fu Panda" and "Shadows", or work that hasn't aired yet. C'est la vie.

I've been working exclusively in the Flash/TV world the past few years, but the itch to do something more traditional (even tradigital) still pulls at the fibers of my being. Here's my old reel from CalArts:

JD DemoReel Traditional from John Dusenberry on Vimeo.

Cowgirl sketch

This drawing is from a while back, I've been trying to keep some of the principles we discussed in mind while doing my new work. Re-posting this as inspiration to myself to keep up the Halloween series this month. I have several nearly ready to post, just doing final color. I may just start posting the sketch > final color:

I've been consulting my good friend Minkyu Lee on improving my drawing skills, something he is forever in search of doing, himself. I really admire his theories and thought processes on drawing, the way he'll approach a drawing and not settle for less than his best. I think there is always something to be learned no matter what stage of your career you're in ...