Healdsburg Plaza Painting

downtown healdsburg california
A lazy sumer afternoon on the Healdsburg Plaza.

This afternoon I found myself with the rare bit of free time on my hands and decided to make the most of it by making this little painting.   My toddler had fallen asleep in his bike seat while we were ridding around the Healdsburg plaza so I sat down on a shady bench with my iPad.  It was a lovely warm summers day and the plaza was full of tourists up for the weekend wine tastings.  A trio of local kids were jamming blues riffs on their guitars and kids were playing in the fountain.  I couldn’t be happier, it was a really nice day.  Silas and I got ice cream after he woke up and then rode the long way back home through the vineyards.

Sea Serpent Drawing

Moster of the Ocean deap
Sea serpent attacks boat.

I was up late the other night and made this sea serpent Photoshop drawing. I wanted to use it as the background of my twitter page but now that its done I don’t think it fits well over there. That said, I will probably take it off-line in a few days to put something better up. Still, for what it is worth this is a fun little drawing. I always liked sea serpent stories and they are a pleasure to draw.

Room with a View Painting

room with a view
Inside wakefield’s underwater house.

I just got off a flight from Hong Kong to San Fransisco. I had the iPad, Artrage, several long hours to kill. This depiction of Wakefield’s living room was the outcome.

One problem that I’m running into while painting on the iPad is color quality. Most of the time can’t tell where I am in color space. Is it blue or is it turquoise? It’s rather impossible to tell for instance when the lamp behind you is yellow or the walls are red… that sort of thing seems to happen a lot on the iPad. When the brightness slider is adjusted making color choices really is nothing better that a wild guess. Back home I had to readjust this painting in Photoshop to more closely match what I thought I was seeing on the plane. I wonder if the ipad screen can use the camera to detect lighting conditions? That would be pretty useful when you move between different environments. These problems aside, its still pretty amazing to have a portable digital canvas.

The White City

Wakefield in a bathtub
Wakefield sails his bathtub to the white city

Above is an painting I have been working on for the last few days. Not Steadily but in short little busts. It is exceptionally nice to have the ability to paint anywhere I go. I think over the last few days I put in a minute or two on this work in all sorts of places; On the train, in the car, restaurants, shoe stores, shopping malls, children’s parks and of course cafés.

I must say I do like ArtRage, It’s so handy to be able to paint on a whim. The Ipad still doesn’t replace the power of a sketchbook but I think that day is steadily approaching. Pressure sensitivity and a some sort of precise pen is greatly needed but until that day comes it does the job pretty well.

The one thing I that has been puzzling me is saving files for the web. Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to find an apps that can optimize .jpgs so even though I can create art on the ipad I still have to process it all through my desktop computer. This is rather annoying to say the least. With book you just have to close it and keep it dry but all these digital mediums come with the ball and chain of file management, ugh. Its a real time waister.

color and character test

Dragon Character Designs

Below are some exploratory character designs from the “Dragon” project. Most of this designs are about four years old and where made right after I finished up my time working on Space Chimps. The script was finished by then but because of Space Chimps reception all of Vanguards projects were put on hold or outright shelved. It was a frustrating time for me so I started drawing Dragon art whenever I could, hoping that some fresh designs would help push the project forward.

This didn’t really work but it did open the door to a bigger movie and what was once just a little tale began to grow into a romanticized epic adventure.


Thesis Art

I had a pretty clear visual idea of what i was going to make and jumped straight into the animation. There were a few pieces that I did make, some colour tests and a few character scribbles.

logo title

Cub Scouts Pack 213

We spell scouts S-C-O-U-U-T-S which makes us a completely different autonomous organization.

This was my masters thesis from USC Animation. It is an improvised comedy about the woes of scouting in the middle of urban Los Angeles. Scouuts came into being when I realized that my original thesis proposal was far to ambitious and needed to be scrapped. It was late in the semester and I needed something fast and so I turned to my best friend Devin Westberg, who just happened to be an improv comedian, for help. Devin gathered a talented group of friends from the Improv Olympic over in Hollywood and brought them down to the USC sound department for a two hour session in the recording booths. it was free form and fast and within an hour or so we had Cub Scouuts Pack 213 in the can. It was a bit to long so I cut the audio down a little which give it a bit more structure and punch and then spent the next two months animating.

For this project I did all the animation in Toon Boom Animation, which at the time was pretty new and was lightning fast compared to the tradition pencil and paper method. It allowed me to completely bypass a dozen steps and be one of only a hand full of students to finnish their thesis on time. The b&w vector art was then exported as an image sequence which I coloured in Photoshop and composited in final Cut Pro. This was a brave new digital world and compared to the three years it took me to make my earlier film this one only took five months start to finnish.

Improv by: Devin Westberg, Tom Warren, Jimmy Zerda, David Ury, Ben Tolpin
Directed, Animated and Produced by Sterling Sheehy

This project is dedicated to the memory of my friend Jimmy Zerda, who passed away not long after we made this film. He was the scouut with glasses, avery talented comedian and a friend. He will be missed.

mike hanfling drawing party

Sketchbook circa 2002

This sketchbook was made while I was a student at USC Animation. It is dated 2002. There are a lot of figure drawings and surfing doodles in it which is very fitting since that is all I really did back then. It is a notable book as it was in this sketchbook that I first started to develop my own style.

portfolio nzkfq

Wakefield Art

I really should have a lot more work to show for this project. It has lived in my head for years. I really love it. I’ll leave the story for a future post but expect me to write a good deal about it in the future. Its my baby and I love it. Out side of friends and family this is the first time I have put any of it up for others to see.