This film was just picked to open the redhookfilmfest.com/!
See the next film in the series: vimeo.com/30244195
A few months ago I decided I wanted to make a series of films about illustrated journaling. Not a how-to, step-by-step sort of thing but films that capture the adventure of drawing, the discovery, the spirit, the fun. I hope they will inspire you to make drawings (and films, if you want) and to keep an illustrated journal as a regular part of your everyday lives.
My 17 year-old son, Jack Tea, has joined me in this project and together we have worked through lots of technical obstacles to make films that look as good as we can make them on no budget. Our inspiration comes from the Cooking Channel, from Etsy's vlog, and from too many decades of loving movies.
We shoot on our Canon 7D, rent different lenses (in this case we relied heavily on the 100/2.8 L IS Macro) each weekend, use Jack's skateboard as a dolly, and rope our friends in for help and opinions.
Our first film is called "The Art of Breakfast". You can see it at vimeo.com/26850647
Here's the newest film in the series, a portrait of my great friend, Tommy Kane, as he rides around his neighborhood in search of something new to draw. Tom is a great traveller — he regularly posts sumptuous journal pages made on his vacations and business trips. His favorite home-away-from-home is Korea and he has made many amazing drawings on its streets and in its markets.
This time, we decided he should travel through his own neck of the woods, see it anew like a visiting stranger and capture a mundane little corner and fill it with his particular brand of magic. Normally Tom works mainly on site, dragging out all of his materials onto the pavement around his little folding stool but instead we decided to expand the scene and show you some of Tom's home and studio and incidentally some of the wonderful big paintings he's done on canvas.
When journaling, he works in Uniball, watercolor and pencil, sometime in books, sometimes on loose sheets of bond or watercolor paper. He is a meticulous crosshatcher and spend hours on some of his drawings. When we draw together, I invariably start to chafe at the bit and beg him to finish at home as I am tired of sitting in his shadow, my own drawing long finished and yellowing on the page, glazing over as he crosshatches more and more details.
We shot the film in two days — on the streets of Brooklyn and in Tom's home where his lovely wife, Yun, made us lunch and watched our obsessiveness with a bemused smile. It was the height of a baking summer and storm crowds rolled in and out, marring our continuity.
We shot an extravagant amount and it took a month to wade through it all and pare it down. The first cut was twice as long as what you'll see today, but we resharpened our blades and ruthlessly trimmed back to the bare essentials. We tried to retain the essence of how Tom works, the way he layers media and adds detail. It's fascinating to see how his drawing builds and builds — when you see the final result, it's often hard to figure out how he got there. With this film, I hope you'll share in how the journey unfolds.
Starting the day with a bagel and tea, ink and watercolors. Featuring Danny Gregory. Directed by Jack Tea Gregory. Moral support from Tommy Kane. Music by The Dissociatives.
Every Monday through Friday morning for the past 4 years, I have gotten an email from my friend, Pascal. In fact, I have an entire folder dedicated to Pascal Campion with over 1,000 e-mails. And in each email is an attached image. It's his "Sketch of the Day (SOTD)." Every SOTD is a story that Pascal tells with his amazing talent.
Pascal has thousands of fans following his SOTD, but if you ask him, he'll tell you that they are not fans, they are all his friends. That is just the type of person he is.
This video is a glimpse into his process and his insight. Watch as he translates emotion into art.
Thanks for watching!
Directed - Anthony Vu
Music - Esther Wong (ywwonglp.wordpress.com)
Production Assistant - Nimalee Wickremasinghe
Editing Assistant - Marcus Valerio
Special Thanks - Josh Tran and Michael Shu
We just completed the next sketchbook film —it's about Butch, my pal who's a famous photographer, then became a 3-D illustrator and then, a couple of years ago, took up watercoloring in a small book. He excels in every medium. See more of his work here: butchbelair.com/
Tommy Kane and I have gone on a few sketchcrawls with Butch. I generally finish up my drawing in half an hour, Tom keeps crosshatching for an hour, but Butch can just sit , hunched over his books for a solid day and the come back the next day to keep going. He's a monster.
You may remember Butch from my last book, An Illustrated Life. When I interviewed him he said:
"I usually draw alone in my car. Very few people know I am doing it. I think I may be hiding somewhat, in the car. Having people watch while I do it would be a bit of a buzz-kill. Don't tread on my zen, man.
Sometimes I will drive to a place that has caught my attention in the past. But usually, I just get in my car and try to get lost. When I see something that has a story to tell, I stop. I try to record what it is that I see, and somehow fuse the feeling of being there in my memory.
I tend to view these places as stage sets, just after the Play has been performed. In science, there are certain phenomena that cannot be seen or directly recorded (black holes for example). Scientists only know they exist by observing their effect on the objects that can be seen. For me, people are one of these phenomena. Actors that have left the stage. I may be attracted to the evidence in the details of buildings, or an arrangement of structures that would suggest the people or generations of people, that have passed through and made their mark.
Finding a place to park is also very important in selecting a site.
And the light. Light is also very important to me. Representing the quality of the light in a scene is something I struggle with. It is probably a big part of what attracts me to a place, so learning how to achieve this would be very satisfying. Learning to do it quickly would be a huge conquest for me. Even when I feel I am onto something, more often than not, it takes me so long to do one of these sketches that the light has changed drastically by the time I've finished."
Butch is usually a man of few words and his paintings remind me of Edward Hopper, so we trued to make the film feel like it was made a long time ago, a hard-bitte time when New York city was strung with elevated trains like this one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Tom and I planned this film out for a couple of weeks, discussing the look of the film, lenses (we ended up using a 14, a 50, and the old trusty 100 macro), locations, and the best way in which we'd capture and condense Butch's marathon sketching sessions. The weather toyed with us a lot too, but we were blessed with a perfect morning and managed to get the film in the can by early afternoon of the first day of shooting.
Here are our shooting boards. wp.me/p15klY-11m. We deviated from them a fair bit but they were a really helpful road map.
Unfortunately, my boy and usual collaborator,Jack could only consult from afar. He had to take the SATs on the morning we shot. He was very helpful through post-production, as was Tom and my friend JJ. They all helped curb my tendency to make things fancy and we ended up with a taut little film I really like.
I hope you enjoy it too.
Another Sketchbook film. And another one about Danny.
Filmed by Jack Tea Gregory and JJ Wilmoth. In New York CIty, on Memorial Day weekend.
It was hot and rainy and we were constantly negotiating with nature.
I drew in a Fabriano book with a Lamy Safari pen, filled with Noodler’s Black Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink.
We filmed with a 7D, a 50 mmm, a macro, and a bunch of crystal paperweights. Cut on FCPX.
The Music is called "Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite" performed by Michael Collins and Michael McHale.
If you like it, you'll love the rest of the Sketchbook FIlm collection: vimeo.com/channels/sketchbookfilms