My first experience in animation was pitching in on some test animation for the comic-book character Nexus. I’d grown up much more a comic book fan than an animation fan — I think I saw one animated film as a kid, and for long stretches my boob-tube hating father kept us without a TV — but I could reread the few comics I got until they were tattered. Later I befriended stellar comic book artist Steve Rude in buying some of his original art. Back around 1991, at the San Diego Comicon, Steve presented some rough (very rough!) pencil tests for a proposed Nexus animated series. I was enthralled.
I volunteered to help him finish those scenes, despite knowing virtually nothing about animation. At the time I had no inkling that I’d eventually work in the industry, and the beauty of the year I spent doing this was that I had the chance to struggle with the basic animation principles before I’d had any instruction.
I’ll post more about those experiences in the future, but for now I wanted to advertise a new book, Steve Rude: Artist in Motion. Anyone who’s spent a little time with Steve knows the pleasure of paging through some of his amazing sketchbooks. Calling them sketchbooks is a disservice, because they’re so much more than that. This book contains some nice selections from those sketchbooks, but even better, it contains a chapter on the Nexus animated project (for which I wrote the introduction). I’ve posted a couple of the pages here (click on the thumbnails to see larger images), and one of these days I’ll dig out some of my copies of some of the artwork from my time on the project. Till then, give the book a look-see.