Taught by a Pro
November 30th, 2013
I'm back from a fabulous business trip in California. I had a blast and a very productive week meeting people from the industry and forging new alliances. A huge thanks to Tom and Tony Bancroft for letting me share a corner of their booth at the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank.
Tom announced his latest project at the show: Taught by a Pro, an online art training program that provides art instruction by professionals to artists in training who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to be taught by professional animators, comic book artists, comic strip artists, illustrators, video game designers and more.
On the press release, Tom states, “Our goal is to give artists in training access to the best professional artists without the expense of art school. Whether you are already a professional artist or an aspiring artist, it is critical that you improve your skills. Taught By A Pro is the platform for improving your abilities and enhancing your portfolio.
The types of professionals who will be sharing their techniques and tips to our students are Masters at their profession and don’t generally teach. These are artists who have honed their craft for some of the most prestigious film studios, video game companies, and institutions in the world. At Taught By A Pro, we are committed to bringing those artists to you!”
I've been working hard at putting together my first class which will deal with animating fire. Making a teaching video has proven to be a lot more challenging than I first thought, but I'm nearly there. For the next two weeks, I will be doing an intense job for Gearbox Software in Texas, and once that wraps (December 6th), I'm going to put the final touches on my class and have the video available on the site. In the meantime, check out what's available already and subscribe to the Taught By A Pro eNewsletter to get the latest updates.
Upcoming CTN Expo
November 5th, 2013
I wasn't planning on attending CTN this year but a chain of events and a collaborative project with Tom Bancroft made me change course.
I will be sharing part of the Bancroft brothers' booth, promoting a project that involves all three of us. Tom will officially make the announcement at the show.
I just mailed two boxes filled with books to my friend's house in Burbank. He'll keep them safe for me until the show. Thanks Bob!
Not sure if I'm going to bring any of my limited edition "Insanely Twisted Rabbits" statues. If you'd like me to bring one, leave a message on facebook or email me. My CTN special rate is $50 each. These are the only two still available:
October 14th, 2013
I was a guest at this year's fifth edition of the Bellingham Comicon, last Saturday. It was a wonderful experience. People were very receptive to my work and Rex is definitely a hit with the kids! There were a lot of great costumes. Here's a picture of my set up as the show started.
Next in line is the Jet City Comic Show on November 2nd. For this, I will be doing a 2-hour talk at 2:00PM on The Saga of Rex: From Storybook, to Graphic Novel, to Animated Film. The rest of the time, I'll be at my table greeting people.
James Taylor, who organizes the con, asked me to do a pinup of the show's mascot, Bomber Girl. After I gave him the illustration, he announced this:
Exclusive Bomber Girl Print by Special Guest Michel Gagné
FREE to the First 200 Attendees
Hope to see you there!
Interview for Psychology Today
September 26th, 2013
Click here to read.
Explorer: The Lost Islands
September 25th, 2013
Just received my comp copies of Explorer: The Lost Islands. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that there's a hardcover version of the book. The whole thing looks very classy. Props to Kazu Kibuishi, Jason Caffoe and Sheila Keelan for editing such a nice volume. Pretty stoked to be part of it!
The book features 7 stories by 7 artists/writers. My 18-page story is an undersea tale called, LOAH.
Explorer: The Lost Islands will be available in bookstores by mid October and on Amazon.com at this link.
Upcoming Conventions and Bomber Girl
September 20th, 2013
It's going to be convention time for me soon. James Taylor, the organizer of the Jet City Comic Show, asked me if I'd do a girl pin-up for his character Bomber Girl. He gave me a link to this gallery as examples. I'm always terrified of doing "girl pinup". It's an artform I never felt I mastered. This one is a bit of a cheat because she's all bundled up.
September 2nd, 2013
Synesthesia is virtually done... but then again, when is done, done? Gheorghe Costinescu (my co-producer and composer) and I have been going back and forth these last few miles over the whole film. It's been difficult, and time consuming, but it's been worth the effort. This is one crazy film.
Next duty, I need to create the various masters (Archival, DVD, HD, DCP) and arrange for the Los Angeles theatrical release.
This film originated when Gheorghe sent me a music track of his 1973 experimental electronic music composition, "Dots, Lines, and Patches" and offered to commission me to do a visualization. It became a perfect platform to animate my synesthetic experiences—hence the title, "Synesthesia".
The Land Before Time
August 24th, 2013
Saw this on YouTube. This is a clip from The Land Before Time directed by Don Bluth. I animated the first minute and a half of character animation in this video (all the way to the cross-disolve). Linda Miller was my directing animator at the time and her prints are all over this as well.
All the animation was done on the musical beat of a temp track. Unfortunately, James Horner's lyrical score didn't sync with the beats. I still think that James did a great job on the overall score, though.
Here's a picture of Don Bluth, myself and James Horner at the American Tail wrap party. Good memories!
I started as an assistant animator on An American Tail (uncredited) and was promoted to character animator on The Land Before Time. So in essence, the animation above is some of my first professional work as a feature animator. I animated several other scenes but this, if I remember well, was the longest uninterupted sequence of animation I got (one and a half minute). Ducky peeling the egg is my favorite of the scenes I worked on in that film. Glad to have a look at it again after all these years.
It's also interesting to note that the film was actually done at the 1:33 aspect ratio. If you saw it in a theater, the top and bottom were actually cropped out.
The Saga of Rex Pencil Test
August 16th, 2013
I thought some of you might enjoy a small peek behind the scene. Here's a pencil test (missing a few inbetween drawings) for The Saga of Rex. The eye blinks are added later at the color stage. Missing from the scene are the ground shadow, special effects and animated background elements.
August 12th, 2013
Here are two more pictures to add to my "Tattoos Inspired by Michel's Art" gallery.
Dots, Lines, and Patches
July 31st, 2013
Almost done with my new animated short, "Dots, Lines, and Patches". This film is a commissioned piece where I'm creating visuals for a 5-minute 1973 experimental electronic music composition by Gheorghe Costinescu. I'm very happy with the results. Here are four images from the film.
The Saga of Rex Part 1 - Abduction
July 15th, 2013