Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New LAAFA Costumed Gesture Drawing Class (starting 01/29/2011)

I will be teaching for anyone outside of the studios starting in the new year, 2011. The class is the same class I teach at Disney and Dreamworks condensed into a very dense amount of knowledge for a 8 week session @ LAAFA. The class will be held on Saturday from 2:00 P.M - 5:00 P.M. . . . . (coffee provided)!


All my best to everyone,


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mark McDonnell: "MAC Sketchbook Sessions" 03

Here is an all new video which is the THIRD of my How To Draw In Your Sketchbook that I'm calling the "MAC Sketchbook Sessions" for the Animation and Entertainment Industry. It's an over the shoulder view of my flipping through my third of many personal sketchbooks and giving commentary. This book's goal was the use of black and white to control values as well as the eye's interest in the contrast between the two. The pen's used were the Gelly-Roll/Pentel Stylo and a Pentel "Water Brush" for the thicker lines and darkest darks.

I hope it's enjoyable.




Just wanted to give a big thank you for those of you who came by the CTN Animation Expo and were kind enough for letting me flip through your portfolios, purchasing my book and artwork as well as stopping by and chatting with me. From Mobius to the Disney crew and on to the amazing talent that was on exhibition . . . thank you and I was so happy to be a part of Tina Price's AMAZING show.

(Pictures to come!)

And for everyone in the States, have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING with family and friends . . . and for those around the Globe, have a nice weekend.

All my best to everyone,


Monday, November 15, 2010


Hey guys,

It's that time of year again and I'm happy to be a part of the 2nd CTN ANIMATION EXPO, with so much more to offer than last year . . and last year was an AMAZING event! Come on down and experience the show first hand, it's going to be a showstopper AGAIN!

All my best and I'll be at Table T-14, right by the front door!



Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quite An Honor!

I was lucky enough to open an email from the folks at Online Colleges and Universities wishing me congratulations as my blogsite and YouTube site was determined to be an essential part of our resources, and has received ourTop Learn Animation Blogs award presented by Online Colleges and Universities!

Pretty cool.



Monday, October 11, 2010

New LAAFA Classes now ONLINE & Streaming LIVE!

Hey Guys,

I was just given the okay to invite you to join in on a new interactive teaching experience for all of you that asked for it:

LAAFA has an array of Illustration and Entertainment Classes this Fall.  We are thrilled with our new line-up of talented working professionals from major entertainment studios.
Entertainment and Illustration Classes
8-week classes starting from $410
Special Bonus:  Enroll by October 15th and receive $50 off of a 8-week class!


• I Just wanted to let you know that a new edition has been added in a Beta Test for taking my class online for all of you that were interested in taking my class but live to far away or the large amount of folks that happily live in International Waters. This is your chance and I'm happy to invite you to take my class and interact with me on the fly in this Live Online Streaming Classroom setting with LAAFA (which is The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art). I will be doing many demos each session and invite you along to watch me critique and lecture during the classroom session. You will also be welcome to write in and ask questions on the fly. This is the initial test for this new classroom experience so please bear with me and the amazing folks at LAAFA so we can bring you what you have been asking for for quite some time now.



Monday, September 27, 2010

An Interesting Note -

• I got an interesting email from a very talent student of mine (from my Union class) and thought I would share:

Generally I don't put down a lot of lines not that I am against this, it's just as important if the overall statement is answered. I think through the forms but what I ALWAYS need is the life or the fluidness of the feeling of how the character is acting. The rest can be added onto or refined without the auidence really knowing there are under lines. This is especially evident when I use a pen. Just want it to appear cleaner and . . . if it's a female character, then the lines are ALWAYS kept to a minumum. I do think of shape, but more of inside out first then the shape adapts to resolve itself. The shapes can always be refined and make more designed . . . but the feeling or idea behind the action should be first and foremost.

- "Are you thinking a little more of the contours of the character while gesturing as well? I know in past figure drawing classes, you hear about capturing the gesture/attitude first and THEN build your geometric forms on top of that. But in your case, are you almost combining the two into one step? "

- YES! I'm thinking through and the draftsmanship will come out and save the drawing if need be. The drawing I did for you last time was not a great drawing but I saved it with rythem and acting in the face. The forms are 3Dimensional but the overall design reads and brings you into the face. It's a combination of rythem/gesture, design and composition! You can jump ahead but hopefully not to loose the overall feeling or flow/rythem/gesture/life-force that you're going for. I don't encourage this as it's a very easy way to get yourself in trouble. Glen Vilppu always said to me: Gesture, Construction, Anatomy then Technique. But after throwing around lines for many years they eventually work in a symbiotic way and become an amobic sense of drawing. Meaning it all happens at once when you have put in the time to honor the craft. But the end goal should always be . . . the STORY! Afterall that's really paramount and the whole reason behind why we draw and design really - it's story! Story of life, story of what's happening in the panel, story of what will happen - what was before, during this shot and most certainly after. It should have a sense of place and purpose in time knowing that when we leave this character, he/she/it will continue on and live their life and obtain their quest (however GRAND or moment to moment that might be). It has to live on. That's what being TIMELESS is all about. It's another life/world/place in time that will continue while we live ours so we may think about where their at or at what moment we want to relive in our heads before bed.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Under the Influence . . .

Recently I have been asked quite a bit who some of my greatest influences are artistically. There are so many and new one's created almost daily thanks to the internet and the blogging world. But there are some staples that still mean a great deal to me for many reasons.

1. Marc Davis
2. Frank Frazetta
3. Mort Drucker
4. John Singer Sargent
5. Glen Keane
6. Hans Bacher
7. Rein Poortvliet
8. Paul Felix
9. Claire Wendling
10. Berni Wrightson
11. Brian Froud
12. François-Auguste-René Rodin
13. Jack Davis
14. John Nevarez
15. Marcelo Vignali

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


My buddy and all around creative funny guy Allen Mezquida has created a new character - written, animated and composited - the one, the only . . . Smigly!

I've known about it for quite some time, but as I was reading the Daily Beast yesterday, there he was front and center . . . Smigly. In all of his glory, a modern day Charlie Brown . . . Full Frontal.

Check it out:



• To see more quality goodness, check out:

Today is the 1st day for my New UNION Class!

" . . . stay Sassy San Diego."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

For Frank . . .

Frank Frazetta was, as we all know, an artist that left a great amount of impact and inspiration to many of us along our artistic way. I was lucky enough to take a look at a few originals during Comic-Con 2010 this year and was inspired and happy to pay tribute (in my own way) to someone I will always be inspired by.

Enjoy your new battles buddy . . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mark McDonnell's Cre8tivemarks @ COMIC-CON 2010 - Table "C-9"

Well the greatest show on Earth is about to roll into beautiful downtown San Diego. I'm lucky enough to be in my own booth this year and I'll be @ "TABLE C-9."

• I'll have new copies of my book: THE ART AND FEEL OF MAKING IT REAL based on my teachings as an instructor at Disney, Dreamworks and many of the Art Institutes around California as well as ORIGINAL ARTWORK and EXCLUSIVE LIMITED EDITION PRINTS - especially a new Comic-Con Exclusive Print "In The Beginning..."

- My book will be discounted to $40 this year so come on by and say hello and bring a book if you already have one I'd be happy to sign and personalize it with a sketch.

Best to everyone and I hope to see you in the Carnival of COMIC-CON 2010!



Comic-Con 2010 was AMAZING!!! From seeing fellow artists to enjoying new friends and fans -
A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came out and took the time to stop by . . . cheers!

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Video: "MAC Sketchbook Sessions" - 02

Hey Guys,

I just posted an all new video which is the SECOND of my How To Draw In Your Sketchbook that I'm calling the "MAC Sketchbook Sessions" for the Animation and Entertainment Industry. It's an over the shoulder view of my flipping through my second of many personal sketchbooks and giving commentary. I hope it's enjoyable.

All my best,


I'll be back in a minute . . .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Model Studio . . .

A shot taken after a session of instructing at Dreamworks Animation Studio with the "How To Train Your Dragon" Crew.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Chaman" - Annecy Film Festival

This is an AMAZING bumper for the Annecy Film Festival from the students at Gobelins. Chaman is directed by De Théo Boubounelle, Chloé Bury, Jean Baptiste Cumont, Claire Fauvel and Vincent Nghiem. It focuses on “a curious child who discovers the magical world behind the ritual of the shamans of his tribe.”



Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New LAAFA Class (Starting 07/12)

I will be teaching for anyone outside of the studios again this summer session after taking a bit of a break for travel and such. The class is the same class I teach at Disney and Dreamworks condensed into a very dense amount of knowledge for a 10 week session @ LAAFA. The class will be held on Monday nights - 7:30-10:30 P.M . . . . (coffee provided)!


P.S. - I will be also giving a demo 06/19/2010 @ 11:00 A.M. if anyone is interested in seeing me work as well as ask any questions you have.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Female Figure Drawing: Corner Doodle

Here's a really quick corner doodle where I enjoyed the swing of her movement.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Inspiration: Figure Drawing

Recently in a figure drawing session I took a break from using watercolor and was inspired by the recent Rembrandt exhibit at our local J. Paul Getty Museum. There is one particular image that stuck in my head and lead to the inspiration of looking for a way to get the feeling of an ink wash using a pen and PrismaColor markers. In no way was I looking to repeat another's success but rather use it as inspiration for a new way of seeing. (At the bottom of the post is the image that led to this experiment. Simply Masterful.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Marker Rendering (Part 01 and Part 02)

PART 01:


PART 02:

Here are two new videos that are PART 01 and PART 02 on the topic of MARKER RENDERING for the Animation and Entertainment Industry. These videos talk about how and why markers are such an important medium to use in the quick paced world of the Animation and Entertainment Industry. Whether for a concept design project or for sketching on location, here's some tricks and tips.

All my best,


Monday, May 10, 2010


The amazing and visionary Frank Frazetta has passed away at 82.

When I was around 12 years old, my parents were kind enough to see I had an aptitude and artistic talent and enrolled me in a class after school with a teacher who showed me one painting that changed the game for me, little did I know it was Frank Frazetta. Oddly enough it was the Atlantis piece which still, along with many others, inspires me today.

Thanks Frank.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Video Posted - TONAL SKETCHING 02

Here's a new video that is the second in a series on the topic of TONAL SKETCHING for Costumed Gesture Drawing purposes. This time due to the overwhelming feedback from my fellow artists and fans, I have created an audio track explaining my process. Thanks for the feedback guys and let me know what you think when you get the chance.

Best to everyone,


Calgary Fan Expo - April 24th-25th

I'll be showing at the Calgary Fan Expo in Canada this weekend! It's one of my favorite show and defiantly is in such a nice area.
If you're around or in the area stop by and say hello as I will be debuting new prints!

I will be at Table F17, hope to see everyone there.



Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WonderCon 2010 - Table D09

Hope to see you out there . . . I'm looking forward to it, this is my first year attending.

I'll be signing and personalizing sketches, selling all new and exclusive prints and have plenty of original artwork for sale as well. Hope to see you out there.



Monday, March 15, 2010

Elephant - Character Development 01

This is a character development piece that I did for a project that unfortunately didn't make it as is the case from time to time. I was looking forward to finishing him off and painting the rest of the background but never got the time as the project was put on the shelf.



Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Video: INTRO to "MAC Sketchbook Sessions"


New Video: "MAC Sketchbook Sessions" - 01

I have just posted two new videos, one is an introduction to these "MAC Sketchbook Sessions" that I will be doing and the second video is of me flipping through my first sketchbook and talking about what was important about many of the sketches and what I am looking to accomplish along the way. This will be the 1st of many sketchbooks that I will go through and talk about my process or what I was thinking and looking for in many of the sketches.



Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New Video Posted - TONAL SKETCHING 01

Here's a new video that is sped up showing the process of sketching tonally for Costumed Gesture Drawing purposes. This was a 5 minute sketch that was slightly elaborated on as I was talking during the process. At the end you will notice how I emphasis using the rhythmic flow of things to keep you inside of a design letting the eye recirculate throughout the drawing as to not loos your audience who's watching.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Figure Drawing - Female Nuddies Too!!!

Here are some recent figure drawings in a new sketchbook fresh for the start of 2010 where I can try some different things to change up the routine.

Best to everyone,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

HELP THE HODGES - Animation/Art Auction

Hey Guys,

I just wanted to let you know there is an amazing Animation/Artwork auction happening at - HELP THE -

There will be many amazing pieces of artwork through the day being released on ebay to benefit a friend of mine's son who was injured and is in a coma at the moment. Please feel free to drop by HELP THE HODGES to see the whole story and why this particular auction is of such high importance as well as high HIGH level of artwork. I was happy enough to donate a few pieces with signed books to accompany them.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Tutorial Video: 01_Setting Up Video

Hey Guys,

I have just completed an introductory video to how and what I teach for the purposes of allowing others not-so-near to the Industry (or Studios) to gain access to some of the practices and techniques of Costumed Gesture Drawing and how it is used in the Animation and Entertainment Industry. Let me know what you think and if you think it's helpful if you find a moment some time this week.