Pixar Post - T.J.

To kick off 2014 we wrote a post about inspiration and how it is motivating a few changes to Pixar Post. Well, throughout the year we check several websites for inspiration and we want to know what inspires you...leave a comment below with an image, a link to a website you find inspirational or a comment that fuels you.

Let's all share in the collective wisdom of each other and fuel our inspiration beyond the beginning of the year!

To get started, I often check several websites for inspiration and they are:

  • Pixar artist, Austin Madison's website - I consider Austin's work to be incredibly original and whether it is easy for him or not, he sure makes it look that way!
  • Pixar artist, Paul Abadilla's website - I love Paul's work and although he doesn't post frequently, I still love to see his great works when a post does pop up.
  • Photographer, Joe McNally's website - I consider Joe to be one of the greatest instructional photographers of all time. Many photographers are able to take pictures but the ability to articulate how they did so is missing from so many others. I appreciate the time Joe takes to discuss his work as well as his incredibly artistic eye.
Those are a few of the sites I check daily/weekly for inspiration. Use an RSS reader and start compiling a list of sites to keep tabs on and like I mentioned, let everyone else know a few sites you watch for inspiration as well! 
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My Pixar role models are, John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton.
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I have found inspiration in a number of different places, many of them related to Pixar. First would be all the Pixar "The Art of <fill in the movie name>" books! They are filled with such great art and stories. I just remember looking at the first Art of Toy Story book and though how cool it was.

Another book I really enjoy and look back at often is "Three Trees Make a Forest" by Pixarians Ronnie Del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa and Tadahiro Uesugi. I am a huge fan of Ronnie's drawings of "Nina"; I just think there is so much emotion hiding below the surface. And I enjoy the drawings of both Casarosa and Uesugi - I love the urban drawings by the latter, and I'm sure Enrico's paintings and artwork were heavily influenced by living next to the sea. I have another Del Carmen book, "And there you are", which is all about Nina, just love it.

I also get quite a bit of inspiration from the management style at Pixar. I have learned more about their creative culture through many sources such as the YouTube video of Ed Catmull's speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, plus articles I have read interviewing John Lasseter, Brad Bird and others. Plus, there are books like The Pixar Touch and To Infinity and Beyond that are full of great information on how Pixar has created such a creative culture, and it inspires me to try to create that type of culture where ever I'm working. I'm definitely looking forward to Catmull's upcoming book on creativity! Another great source is the special features Pixar puts into their home video releases. I remember watching over and over the special features on the Monsters, Inc. DVD!

I've been doing photography lately and have found inspiration from Pixarians like Danielle Feinberg. Many of her images I would say are of somewhat ordinary things, but what she does with the lighting and composition just blows me away. No wonder she's been director of lighting on films like Brave - she obviously has an acute sense of lighting! I've been focusing on sports photography lately so have been looking at sites like pixoto.com.

I'll probably think of more as soon as I click submit! Great topic!
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Rachel Cranor
When I first saw this I was confused, I had no idea what it meant. I thought it was just another cheesy New Years thing. Now I know and there are just too many things that inspire me to fit into a small text box. I animate and put things on Youtube, so I'll do a video of what inspires me with what inspires me.
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Pixar Post - T.J.
Rachel Cranor wrote:
I animate and put things on Youtube, so I'll do a video of what inspires me with what inspires me.

Great, can't wait to see what you post - I'd love to take a look at some animation! Also, yeah, I guess the way we positioned the article could come across as a cheesy New Year's thing - I'm not a fan of those as well. It's really more of a motivation thing and an update on what we're going to be bringing to our readers/listeners for 2014!

ThisDayInPixar wrote:
Another book I really enjoy and look back at often is "Three Trees Make a Forest" by Pixarians Ronnie Del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa and Tadahiro Uesugi. I am a huge fan of Ronnie's drawings of "Nina"; I just think there is so much emotion hiding below the surface.

Wow, I have to check out "Nina" now when you say something like that! I've seen that book a few times but haven't checked it out before. Also - yes, yes, yes, I'm excited for Catmull's upcoming book on creativity as well. Plus, I have to second your comment on Catmull's speech from Stanford - if anyone hasn't watched that they need to!!

Also, from a new motivation standpoint (caught this today), Pixarian Daniel Arriaga is going to be teaching a course at The Animation Collaborative soon about creating maquettes and although I can't go to the course, I love looking at the write-ups for the classes since it can give you insights into what professionals in the industry and looking for, plus they include amazing sample Pixar artwork as a reference as well. For instance, Daniel did a great character design for Mr. Pricklepants that I am so in love with. The more I look at it, the more I get a sense for how detailed the character design is - I love this stuff. Plus, the maquettes always blow my mind with how detailed they are. The info on the course can be found on the Animation Collaborative course with Daniel can be here, but in general, I check out the descriptions for a lot of the courses on by hovering over the Sessions button on the homepage and clicking through the upcoming courses. Images © Pixar Animation Studios.

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Wow, those sculpts are amazing! That's so cool. Wouldn't it be great to some of those courses?

I did think of one more book, actually it's a series of 3 books called Round Robin. I only have the first book. The books were written by Jennifer Chang, Daniela Strijleva and Katy Wu (all 3 have worked at Pixar, Daniela is still there). These are books of illustrations done as a word game. I'll try to explain but it's probably best to check out the description on their website. Basically, 1 artist thinks of a word, the second artist thinks of a word to go with the first word. Then the 3rd artist has to do a drawing using those 2 words. This continues for 15 rounds; the second round starts with one of the artists using the 2nd word from the first round and comes up with a new word, like:
A + B, B + C, C + D,  D + A

Talk about a creative way to create illustrations! It's quite a fun book, and for creative people (or people who just like to draw), it would be a fun game to play!

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I am inspired by other art! I see a painting, and I immediately have to go do something, anything, that releases creativity! I am also inspired by my own previous artwork and want to go do something because I know I can. Yesterday listening to episode 23 of the Pixar Post Podcast I was inspired by T.J. and Julie talking about being inspired! So I went and started drawing some Toy Story fan art. I try to always have a project going, so I know I'm using the "creative juices" and am making something that in the end, I will be happy with myself.
Nice topic!
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Pixar Post - T.J.
mac95 wrote:
Yesterday listening to episode 23 of the Pixar Post Podcast I was inspired by T.J. and Julie talking about being inspired! So I went and started drawing some Toy Story fan art.

Wow, how cool is that! Thanks a million! I'm glad the chat about inspiration inspired you!

I also happened to come across a great artist on the DesignStack website and couldn't help but put an image here. The artist, Seong jin Kim, uses this really cool "short stroke" style which totally reminds me of Carter Goodrich's work (who has worked with Pixar many times...and who's work I drool all over since I love it). check out some of his work on the DesignStack site.


Check out that crazy detail in the coat!! This is easily today's inspiration for me! I (very slightly) did some of this when I was working on my King Fergus drawing (on his hair and beard) but now I think I'm going to have to work on an entire piece that uses these short strokes.

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