Character Design Lessons in Israel for Limited Time!

Me and my friend from my hometown are now offering private Character Design and Fine Art lessons in Israel. I offer Character Design Classes for limited time since I'm in Israel for a visit and going to move to Germany soon to start working in the video game industry! Check out our lessons workshops and prospects! We call ourselves 'the ARTeam.' You're more than welcome to 'like' us on Facebook guys! the ARTeam. - Official Facebook Page

A Nickel for Your Thoughts

The Canadian pennies days are numbered and I for one am rather blasé about the whole thing.  I honestly can’t recall the last time I’ve even spent a penny and as I rarely use cash I also don’t receive many.
When I do get a penny what happens is it gets dropped into the change jar and forgotten.  They aren’t worth the time or effort to do anything more with.  All pennies do once they end up in the jar is to get in my way while searching for a loonie.
Hmmm ok so then why am I talking about this if I don’t care? Oh yes, what has intrigued me is the absolute uproar in the papers and on the news about it.
I mean honestly #CDN_Penny is now trending on twitter and I can’t believe how many people are just so incredibly angry about it.  I’m also surprised by the fact that most of the arguments I hear to keep the penny are also factually wrong.
The top two arguments I keep hearing/seeing over and over are that stores will make it so the final tally always rounds up and that the government should just find a way to make producing pennies cheaper.
Well no one asked for it but here’s my two cents on those arguments.
I’m no mathematician but if you bought one item for $1.28 it would round up, if you buy two that total ends up as $2.52 which would round down.  3 up,4 down……and on and on to infinity.  Now unless a store can now predict exactly how many of each item someone will purchase during every transaction rounding to the nearest nickel is of no benefit to either consumer or store.
As for producing pennies cheaper, pennies are already made as cheapely as possible. They are made mostly of steel and still cost about 1.6 times their worth. The process of making a coin regardless of the primary metal is simply more than one cent.
If mean honestly if you’re going to argue the penny should continue being produced at least do it with a bit of common cents.  No one has to lose their head or go jump in a fountain over the matter. Let’s just face facts; the penny has gone bad and perhaps it's just time to move on.

Character Design

The Wolseley Elm-100 word History

A number of old Elm trees line Winnipeg’s streets and one of these trees has an interesting tale. Deemed a traffic hazard this tree which grew in the centre of Wolsely Avenue was to be removed. When city workers attempted to remove it they were met by women of the area forming a protective chain around it.  Thanks to their efforts the mayor decided the tree would remain.  A year later however residents were awoken by a loud bang. Leaving their homes they found this 100 year old Elm split in two. Dynamite was suspected.  I wonder who done it.

Character Design

Character Design

Quick Sketches

Emily's Filming Debut March 2012

So...this blog has been resurrected, temporarily anyway. Even though my days are still full, not being employed allows for some time to do a post here and there...

During the first few days I was home, I broke out the FLIP to capture some fun had by Allie, Anna and Emily. And, at some point, one of the girls asked if they could take some video. I agreed so they each had a turn.

Emily's view of the world was pretty amusing:

Workout log: 3 miles on the treadmill this morning.

Things the girls say: Allie to Sarah while Sarah was reading to the girls at bedtime said: "Why is Daddy making a face?" Apparently, while hanging out listening to Sarah read, I had a odd pensive look on my face.

Picture Day, Spring Flowers

Spring has sprung at the conservatory. 

The New Swingset Has Arrived!

The girls' birthday gift was delivered and installed the second weekend in March which, in most New England years, would be at least a month before it could get significant use. NOT THIS YEAR!

The two weeks which followed had an abundance of spectacular weather. The word "hot" was also used a couple of those days.

The girls LOVE their new "playground". Here is a few clips of them enjoying it:

Foot note: the Monday after the swing set was installed I was unemployed. Go figure. More to follow.

Rock of Iwa

As the cab came to a stop Rhea grinned this was what she’d been waiting for, time to shop.  After 4 days of being dragged around by Paul and their boys she certainly deserved it and shop she would.  

She walked into the market area with a smile and looked around at the dozens of brightly colored stalls lining the streets. Bits of silver jewelry, brightly colored skirts, gorgeous silk scarves and of course the mandatory junky souvenirs as far as the eye could see.

Rhea set about the market picking up the odd little item here and there enjoying haggling with the owners of the stalls and delighting in each small purchase.

After a few short hours Rhea was loaded down with goods and ecstatic about the many unique finds she’d collected. She was about ready to head back towards the hotel when she noticed a narrow alleyway with a few small stalls she hadn’t yet seen.

She glanced up as she walked into the narrow alley as the sun high above slipped behind the clouds bringing the already shaded area into near darkness. She jumped as a man shuffled by her mumbling to himself. 

Perhaps she should head back to the main area Rhea thought as she came up to the first stall. It appeared this place sold a variety of dried herbs and spices, baskets ranging around the stall held an odd assortment of materials one of which she was fairly sure included bits of bone.  

The man who had shuffled by her when she entered the smaller alleyway said something to her sweeping an arm across the stall. It had sounded to her like he had said something about serving the spirits.  

She backed away from the stall shaking her head and decided this was maybe a little too far off the beaten path for her liking. She turned towards the mouth of the alley and began to head towards the brighter light when a flash of colour caught her eye.

She stepped closer to the stall on the other side of the alley and picked up a flat palm sized piece of rock.  It was incredibly heavy for its size and streaked with the most spectacular of colours. As she ran her fingers across the remarkably smooth surface a shiver raced down her back.

She looked up at the shopkeeper “how much?”

“It is not for sale.” He responded

“Then why display it if you won’t sell it?” Rhea asked

“I sell but not to you” he answered

“A thousand Goud” She asked he shook his head”two?” He shook his head again”how much to sell it to me?” buying this rock was suddenly the most important thing in her life, she absolutely had to have it.

The shopkeeper looked at her with a sigh and said”Must you? It is said to have belonged to a lwa.  It is very powerful magic indeed. Magic that I’m not sure is hot or cool” He looked at the rock tightly gripped in her hand and back up to her face. 

He realized she had no intention of walking away without it. He sighed once more “I will sell to you for 5 thousand, but only if you promise to bring it back if it is as hot as I expect it to be. I will return your money if so”

“Yes ok” Rhea placed the rock in her purse and removed her wallet paying the man.  Sure it was a little much but Rhea knew she had to own it. She rushed back toward the main street before he could change his mind.  

When she reached the main street she pulled the rock back out of her purse examining it more closely.  It was amazing, it felt warm in her hand and the colour seemed to shift and move in the brighter light. She felt a burning need to keep it held in her hand as she left the market.

She didn’t believe in voodoo it would prove to just be a pretty little thing to look at.  A very pretty thing, she thought as she hailed a cab.


Vis Dev

Vis Dev

The 10,000 Hour Rule

I’m not much for rules and numbers but this is one which seems to stick with me. The idea that one would need to practice around 10,000 hours to master pretty much anything.  I’ve also heard it said as ten years but ten years can mean a lot of different things so I prefer it as 10,000 hours. After all one can study something for years on end without really putting very many hours or effort into that study.
Take learning a new language for an example.  Let us pretend you were trying to learn French and spent a couple of hours a week studying it.  After a year it is unlikely that you would be able to speak it that well. However if you had moved to say Montreal or Paris and been totally immersed in the language hour after hour you would likely have a much better understanding at the end of that same year.  
Why because more hours were spent on its development despite the same period of time passing. Hours and not years makes a big difference.
When I first made the rather odd decision to learn to play harmonica I was terrible.  I did however carry that first hohner special 20 with me everywhere and I blew on it every chance I got.  Sitting in the park, waiting for a ride, reading an article basically any spare moment in which I was standing still I had it in my mouth.  Within 6 months I’d blown half the reeds from playing so often.
What happened from all this practice is I got better and I got better fast.  I didn’t believe for a moment it was some hidden natural talent. It was the hours of practice I spent playing.  Eventually I reached a level I was content with and although I still play fairly often it’s not nearly as often as in those first few months. 
Not surprisingly I’m also no longer able to see such marked improvements in such short periods of time. I’m still getting better just not as fast and it all comes down to the hours I play.  My talent for harmonica hasn’t reached some pre-determined peak, I know I can still get better and I know it all comes down to the time I put into it.  
It’s like that with all things.  The effort and time you put in makes you better at whatever you are pursuing.  Sure there are people who seem to have a natural inclination or “talent” that others don’t have but perhaps it isn’t actually a talent but a passion. 
Passion which leads to hours and hours of practice in their chosen field and so they excel not by nature but by nurture.  Personally I choose to look at this rule as meaning we can all master something if we choose to put in the effort and work hard.  It may not be the most romantic of notions, hard work rarely is but I see it as hopeful.
Sure the first time, the first few thousand times in fact that you try to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix, act like Tom Hanks, write like Ernest Hemingway,  dance like Anna Pavlova, or play a harmonica as well as Buddy Greene you may not be able to but it doesn’t mean you never could.
It is up to each one of us what we become through our own efforts and not some pre-determined level of talent.  The 10,000 hour rule means we can indeed do anything but only if we choose to pursue it.


I see a lot of information offered on what I as a parent can teach my children in life but rarely do I see the idea presented that sometimes your children teach you just as much as you teach them.  After all nothing has taught me more in life and about life than being a parent has.
I’m not talking about the everyday learning of how to soothe a squalling baby or how to remove grass stains, or even the concepts of 7th grade math.  When it comes to those things I certainly know more than my girls do but what I’m talking about is the more abstract things that having children can teach.
Being a parent reminds you of the wonders and perspective of childhood that as an adult we’ve long forgotten.  Perhaps all of the things that having children teaches us we did all know at some point but it was left behind with our own childhood.
Children teach us, or perhaps remind us, of the value of new experience.  Children love to explore and learn and they serve as a reminder that we ourselves still have a lot to learn about the world around us.  A child can teach us (or remind us) that learning is fun perhaps even something to love.  
They also tackle new things without the same fears that often stop us as adults from exploring them.  We’ve learnt to be cautious and to fear the unknown.  While some fear and caution is certainly prudent we should not fear them simply because they are unknowns.
Remember for a child everything in life is a new thing. Imagine if never having seen or heard of snow in your life you did. Imagine walking out your front door to see such a dramatic change, the world completely coated in a substance you had never seen before.  
What do you suppose your reaction would be?  Certainly not to go out and explore this new found wonder, yet this is exactly what children do day after day.  Much of the world is unknown to a child yet they continue to explore it without fear.
Take also that absolute wonderment in the world that children see.   My children have taught me to be curious about the world again, to look at the bugs and plants and creatures of our shared world and amaze in it.
They have taught me to play again, to not worry what anyone else might think of me, to love unconditionally, and to love myself in any way shape or form.  They have taught me to adapt on the fly, to do things spontaneously to be creative and just have fun.   
So while I take them by the hand in order to teach them I will also try to remember to watch for the lessons they still have to teach me.


Great news!!! A few days ago I got back from a job interview in Karlsruhe, Germany. I got the job!!! It looks like I'm gonna move to Germany soon and start my career in the video game industry! I'm so excited!!!

Studio-Sidekick here I come!!!

Gonna start a character design & visual development internship in
the next few days! This is a dream coming true for me. I've been a fan of their work for a long time. I'm really excited about it and feel so blessed. I'm gonna learn from my favorite character designer of all times so it's really awesome.

Other than that, check out my new IMDb page guys!!! This is so exciting! Click here to check it out!
And, my Animation & Visual Development Reel! Hope you enjoy! These stuff are really old. I'm gonna upload some recent stuff soon.

A Daily Mirror of Encouragment - 100 Word count

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, well how about a mirror? This is my daughters mirror, each of these little pink slips of paper has a word on it.  Each morning she wakes up and sees her reflection and these words starting back at her.  I think I’m raising a pretty smart girl.   

Some of the words she’s written:

Stars, suspense, wonder, happy, paint, peace, courage, study, relax, write, feel, smile, learn, cook, draw, create, cry, alive, read,  bold, soccer, friends, style, strength, words, sports, live, love, health, laugh, Canada, family, dance, discover, listen, beautiful, elegant, heart, try,  

Picture Day - White Black Bear

This is Maskwa a bear who lives at the Winnipeg Zoo. Maskwa is a black bear.  Her fur colour brought about a lot of attention when she first appearread with her mother in 2004 near Chemawawin Cree Nation Northwest of Winnipeg.  Visitors to the area who had come to see the white cub began feeding the bears bringing them into even closer contact with humans.  In a not totally unexpected turn of events her mother was then hit and killed by a vehicle and Maskwa was left orphaned.    

It emphasizes the importance of avoiding contact with these beautiful animals. if not for the interference of those who attracted the bears to the highway she may still be living her life in the wild.  Even though conservation officials were able to capture and relocate her to the Winnipeg Zoo where she at least survives it is not the life she was meant to live.