This is going to be a LOOOOOOOONG update post!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a status update on the various happenings of my life, and since I’ve been getting some inquisitive emails and comments, I thought it’s about time I clue everyone in.

As some of you have noticed, I haven’t been very active on my youtube channel over the last 9 months. One of the reasons being that It’s just been a massive year for me. I’m currently finishing up the largest chunk of work I’ve ever had to do in such a short time, and I’m eager to clear my plate and begin working on my next independent project for youtube.
I’ve been thinking more about how to showcase my freelance work on the net. With the various social media sites I use to communicate with fans, the relevancy of tarboy.com in its current format doesn’t serve a whole lot of relevancy any more. In the near future I’ll be redesigning the site and moving away from it as a central location for my youtube videos, and more towards something that better displays my commercial work from the last 5 years, which none of my closest fans have even seen yet. Though that’s not to say my future youtube work will be getting less attention, I’m planning it will be the opposite.

There’s been dramatic shifts in my creative goals over the last year, for several reasons, including my separation from Hania, who was my wife and composer for many of the films I’ve been involved in. Bit of an odd topic to be discussing on a blog post, but considering that our online identities have been tied so closely together, and that much of our individual audiences overlap, I figure it’s worth clarifying to the people who’ve been asking about it. I know a lot of you are bummed about the situation, but I’m still doing animation, and Hania’s still doing amazing music through her new site and youtube channel. It’s a big change, and from an artistic standpoint, I’m more sorry about losing such an inspiring creative partnership than anyone. But I know this is best for our individual progress as artists, and I can’t wait to hear and see the incredible work she’ll produce in future.

As I mentioned earlier, my creative priorities have shifted over the last year. I’ve become restless with my current skills, style and the subject matter of my work. I’m on a massive creative high, and am hungry for new ideas. I don’t know where it’s all going but for the first time in years, I’m excited to just let the creative drive and inspiration take me where it wants to.

As always, thank you all for following my work, sharing it, commenting (yes, even the relentless questions about Tarboy 2 ;) and simply just watching my videos. Living life as a conflicted artist is much easier having kickass fans who back me up. Love you guys!

ILLUSTRATION!

It’s been a productive year for my illustration work so far. Typically, animation eats most of my creative time, but this year I’ve focused a lot more on getting some still art completed. During the lengthy times between video updates, this is what has been keeping me sane. It’s been a great creative outlet just having something that I can complete in a the space of a few hours. Here’s some of the better ones. For all the latest updates on my illustration work, you can follow my Facebook Fanpage.

For some of these, there’s a desktop wallpaper version, which I’ve linked to below each image.

wallpaper:http://imgur.com/PvQhKfF

wallpaper:http://i.imgur.com/cxncMvR.jpg

wallpaper: http://imgur.com/hCDCpiK

 

Nolwandle’s Story

I recently completed a collaboration with Amnesty International to produce a documentary-animation. The piece is narrated by a Zimbabwean woman name Nolwandle, and her struggles as a human-rights activist. It’s one of the more ambitious commissioned works I’ve done recently and it’s a huge honor to have been a part in such an important cause.

Johnny Hollow Crowdsourcing Video

 

 

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with ‘Johnny Hollow’, a talented group of Canadian musicians and one of my favorite bands. They posted an update on their Facebook page requesting a comic-book artist for their new job, and I eagerly put up my hand. I produced all the Flash animation in the above video. It was a huge buzz to work with them and one of the most enjoyable freelance gigs I’ve had in a while!

Batman Hates Bronies

Check out our latest cartoon ‘Batman Hates Bronies’!

This one took quite a bit longer than my Pregnetheus cartoon. The ‘rough’ style actually took more work than my typical cleaner style oddly enough. I was initially thinking of doing something more in the style of Dark Knight Rises, but just decided to do my own style anyway. I’m happy with how it turned out, though I’m eager to get back to something tidier and simpler.

We hit a creative roadblock in the last few days of production. We couldn’t come up with any music to fit the first half. In the end I came across some Star Wars music (the Emperors Theme) and thought “screw it, lets just parody that”. So that’s how we ended up with a Batman/ My Little Pony / Star Wars crossover parody thing….

Hania worked her butt off on the score for this one. She did about 5 different versions of the first half, which was my fault. I was like “Needs more DUNDUNDUNDUN dun DUHHHH” and then “Can we pull back the “DunDunDun dunnn?” and then “……Maybe we should get rid of the DunDunDunDun….”

Jazza did a fantastic job as usual as Batman. It was my first time working with Josh Tomar (as the voice of the Brony), and he completely nailed it from the get go, I can’t wait to work with him again.

The bulk of production was done in Flash, for character animation. I used a lot of Photoshop for the BG art, and composited in After Effects to add some glows  and filters just to soften the look a little.

I’ve got a couple more ideas for some parody stuff, but we’re going to throw in some original stuff soon too just to even it out a bit more.

Pregnetheus

 

WARNING: It contains a lot of gore.

I saw Prometheus a couple of weeks ago and despite some clunky plot points, I loved how it looked. I haven’t really done much parody type stuff, so I thought I’d see what I could do with my own rendition of the cesarean scene. I’ve been dying to do a medium size animation for a while now, so here’s the result of two weeks of work. We wanted to get it out in one, but there were too many issues that extended the deadline. We’ll see how we go for the next one.

James Lee Animation on Facebook!

I now have an official Facebook fanpage. While there are already a couple existing pages for Tarboy, I really needed something more centralized to communicate with fans via Facebook.  Hit ‘Like’ to receive facebook updates from me about my new work and upcoming projects!

https://www.facebook.com/JamesLeeAnimation

 

I’ve just submitted my film ‘Short and Sweet’ to my various online channels! The original plan wasn’t to create this for Valentines Day, but with the themes, we decided to hold off and put it out on the day. Admittedly, this has been sitting on my hard drive for a long time, so I’m happy to finally have it out. You’ll probably recognise the style of the characters from 24 in 24. They’re from a series we have on the backburner called ‘Wods’ and we’ve got a whole universe of these characters planned out. Hania did a great job on the music, as always. Eric Gusky (who also did voices for Tarboy and Make Snacks not War) took care of all the characters’ little noises.

You can also view the Flash version of  Short and Sweet on my Newgrounds page here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/590038

Mike and Christie’s Animated Wedding Proposal

I’m still yet to upload the full body of my client work, but one of my recently completed projects just went viral in the last day or so.  It was a small project I completed for  a client (Michael Reid) who wanted an interesting way to propose to his girlfriend Christie. He contacted me with a script he wrote, and I animated this little piece.

The video has been viewed on Mike’s personal Vimeo account nearly 200 000 times in the last day or so, and shot strait to the front page of Reddit. People are really interested in the personal story behind the piece. Congrats to Mike and Christie and all the best on their Wedding preparations!

24 in 24 Twenty Eleven is finally uploaded.

We’ve finally finished compiling and uploading 24 in 24 Twenty Eleven.

It’s been a pretty draining couple of weeks. We only got to our 20th animation on the day before we completely burnt out and couldn’t go on any longer. Over the next few days I was determined to finish off the remaining 4, but it was so draining even trying to completely a minimal amount of animation. I’m noly just recovering from a pain in the upp shoulder that I developed over the day from using the mouse for such a long period.

It’s a bummer that we couldn’t get them all finished in the allocated time, but we’re overall happy with the quality this year, even if some of them turned out rather cringe-worthy. Josiah Brooks did the male voices for the Toast and Cloud series, and he did a fantastic job. We used some of the left over audio to create other animations such as Gross Nyan Cat. Hania Lee did the voice for Toast’s daughter, Katie. We’ll probably do an extended version of Fez Guy at some point.

Doing this project was a reminder how much I need to start getting out a few smaller projects in between my larger films. Getting one film out per year lets me really focus on quality, but it’s not exactly sustainable in the long run unless I’m continuously growing my fan base by periodically releasing content.

I’ve separated out some of the videos from 24in24 and made them into their own submissions on youtube. One video contains only the episodes from Toast and Cloud, and another is just Gross Nyan Cat. They aren’t really substantial enough for my to post them as individual submissions on Newgrounds I don’t think. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s beneficial in the end.

Thanks to everyone who tuned into the live broadcast to contribute their ideas!