Category Archives: Eric Machmer

Eric Machmer: Kanon (花音) “flower sound” Nomad Jellyfish Rider from Taiji (太地町)

(click for full image)
“You don’t have to solve all the world’s problems. Pick out one that you feel
especially close to and concentrate on it.” (Seeger)

This is Kanon — which in Japanese means “flower sound”!  Isn’t that wonderful?? : )  She’s a proactive energetic hermit crab from Taiji fed up with misguided humans polluting her cove with blood from murdered dolphins. She’s headed out to drum up support — she’ll get it!

A serious flaw in “The Cove” was the lack of native Japanese anti-whaling and animal rights spokespersons. Disrespectful, angry 40 year old adolescents with soul patches from Malibu were offensive, embarrassing, and lethal.

Cetaceans are saved by including criticism of European killings in the Faroes, Iceland, and Norway — and dolphinariums throughout the world — rather than treating all Japanese complicit in Taiji murders.

This is the first in a series of characters associated with animal rights. Jaquita the Vaquita will be next — she’s a hoot!  Vaquitas (“little cows” in Spanish) are the rarest and most endangered species of marine mammal. There are only about 240 in the world.  They’re little tiny super cute dolphins which exist only in the upper Sea of Cortez in Northern Mexico.

The Mexican government has created a nature reserve covering the upper part of the Gulf of California and the Colorado River delta.  Our hope is this reserve will be extended southwards to cover the full known Vaquita range and that net trawlers will be completely banned from the reserve.

Eric Machmer: Illuminated Dancer (contextualized logo)

This quick image may contextualize the ecstatic dancing figure used as our logo. Background story: an old general who had been in charge of organizing events behind a city’s walls dances to distract children gathered around a fire as defenses fail. In such a situation there may have been unaffiliated, retreating, or front-line enemy troops more dangerous to stranded residents than the opposing army. Innocent persons unable to escape — street children, handicapped, elderly — might gather together in a public setting with an elderly official. As debris rains around them they would be protected in no-man’s land by persons such as this dancer.

Check out what is not on the little guy’s right foot, but his head — this was sculpted near Kunming China 1,500 years ago! Imagine him also in a peaceful setting dancing around a hearth, entertaining kids and village folk who have stayed up late to hear his stories.

“Happy Dancer” is the most ‘important’ sculpture ever created by a human being (in my humble opinion)…it is not violent, does not celebrate a state, nationality, or ruler — neither is it conspicuous ornate decoration or even utilitarian…it is human and fun. I LOVE this sculpture. It was created by a Fellow Spirit, a comrade-in-arms, an ancient artist whose name has been lost but whose attitude resonates.

“Happy Dancer” may be seen in a nondescript corner of a display case among shelves of statuettes in the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming China. Some day it’s value will be celebrated. It is the Mona Lisa of sculpture.

(Well, maybe not THE most important, but, one of the most important…allllthough,
if forced to choooooose!! –I LOVE IT!!)

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Angela Monet

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes,
we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”
Albert Einstein

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

“There are short-cuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.”
Viki Baum

“If I can’t dance – I don’t want to be part of your revolution”
Emma Goldman

Eric Machmer: Commercial Work: Keebler Picnic & the 1st Female Cheerios Bees!

Concept designer Feng Zhu uses a $150 Wacom tablet rather than a $2,500 Cintiq. I found this — first, hard to believe — then (for students and artists in developing countries) revolutionary.
These frames were created last weekend to test a tablet workflow. Now I prefer working on a bright large iMac with a tablet…my Cintiq is used in an elevated contraption above a treadmill (see post below). Hopefully story artists in less developed countries will learn to draw on inexpensive tablets.  It has been liberating to realize we can work anywhere.

When starting most digital artists think: “Shesh this tablet sucks! God please I need a Cintiq!” Once comfortable with Cintiq workflows we remain conditioned to tolerate Wacom’s massive eighty five pound twenty-five hundred dollar desk anchor. Don’t buy a Cintiq — it won’t help. Practice, pay off your credit cards, and travel — with a laptop and tablet.

Update: yes, these bug-eyed bees creep me out. Fortunately HNC will be around for a while…first attempt, long-term project.

During a recent visit my toddler nieces ate Cheerios straight from the box like velociraptors — with no side-effects from sugar (second ingredient). These fun, commercial, personal side-projects help me relax when I freak about today’s economy — hopefully Keebler will have a vegan line and artificial milk with sugar free cereal will be commonplace — in the meantime….

The hero of this blog Dr. Seuss advertised mosquito repellant. Standard Oil kept him alive during the Depression. When Theodore Geisel finally published children’s books late in life he was still known by fellow illustrators as “the Flick guy.”

For more commercial work by Theodore Geisel see UC San Diego’s thorough online archive:
Relevant conversations among artists on Twitter as the economy became part of our public discourse (first conversation initiated by Ward Jenkins @Wardomatic, second by Molly Crabapple @mollycrabapple):

saw that someone left a comment on that Life of a Freelancer link: “you can always say ‘no'” – umm, not if you’re trying to pay the bills.I find artists that claim not to care about money usually have parents who pay for that attitude. And not if you’re trying to keep your two kids from starving & not if you’re trying to keep from getting evicted from your rented home, etc. Exactly. It’s not always possible to pick & choose, especially during a recession. The flip-side is there is an opportunity cost in working with asshole clients…the worst part about shit work is it takes away time from giving 110% to good clients. 1 of 2: There are a lot of people doing great creative work that give advice like turn down a client that offers a rotten deal 2 of 2: most people handing out advice on being a creative pro are NOT 100% freelancers-they have a job that pays the bills
—- Another: At the start of my career, I was often accused of spending more time promoting myself than I did focusing on my art. While it might have been 50/50, or 60/40, or 40/60, this was probably true. I did ALOT of art. But also a LOT of business. And never slept. Now, that I have a crew of amazing people that deals with my schlepping, hauling, calling, invoicing and emailing, I’m 90% art time. Conclusion? Devoting yourself to your art is a fucking luxury, and no one should ever criticize a young artist for being a scrappy hustler. Cause the business stuff- someone has to do it. Before you’re making enough bank to support an assistant or gallery, that person will be you. Me and @KimBoekbinder have talked about how the lie fed to artists is the same at that fed to chicks… that if you’re good and pretty and nice enough, some man or gallery will sweep you off your feet …and if they don’t come, well it’s positively vulgar to get out of your tower yourself, you whore It’s something I think about alot now- how much having cash and a crew frees me to do crazy, ambitious dream projects. The stuff I got criticized for doing when I was starting out still gets done. But it’s considered less vulgar to pay someone else to do it. Considering hustling and business stuff vulgar is just another way of saying people who want to transcend their station are vulgar.

Started on Twitter by Emma Coats (@lawnrocket): #framegame

The funnest game EVER was invented Thursday afternoon September 23, 2010 by @lawnrocket!!  If you are a story artist or just interested in storyboarding check out Twitter hashtag #framegame every Friday ( ).  Anyone can join in — either sketching or guessing.

My first entry in #framegame; final scene in my fav cartoon.
(23rd September 2010 the start of #framegame in storyboarding history!)
Update: All 24 minutes and 49 seconds of Lorax goodness can be seen in its entirety thanks to Google Video, here: 

Eric Machmer: Storyboard Scene from “The Secret History of the Mongols”

In the 12th century text “Secret History of the Mongols,” commissioned by Genghis Khan, a scene is described in which a warrior hit in the neck by an arrow is brought back to camp by a fellow solider. Mongols often used poisoned arrows, so, it was customary to suck the blood from arrow wounds — in this case the second person supports the first while sucking and then spitting out his blood. This scene must have been startling enough to have been included in the History.
[storyboards are  fast greyscale sketches; as a key shot this one has a few more details]