Friday, December 19, 2008

Karmann Ghia dreamin'

I'd LOVE for VW to revive the Karmann Ghia, but this time as a mid-engine coupe. The rear deck vents would feed the mid-mounted engine (2.0T or bigger) and would pop up like a 911 at speed and retract to be flush with the rear window. It could use the adjustable ASC from the New Scirocco and the magnetic suspension from the RS4 to allow adjustable ride and handling levels. Anyway here's my stab at keeping the great lines of the old Ghia, just bringing it up to date. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Local-Motors Rally Fighter hits the road!

OK, maybe not yet, but I thought I'd add my rendition of a possible image to inspire the guys at Local-Motors in their first car build. Oh and BTW, I didn't win the Boston competition, but thanks for voting. I'll be entering more in the new year so I'll keep you posted. Congrats to the Boston Bullet for winning this one.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Merry Christmas!
I know it's a bit early, but things get pretty busy so I figured I'd just post it now. :)
Like God from 'above and beyond' us, He came down to be 'with and within' us!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Local Motors - Boston LM Patriot

Check out my submission to Local Motors!

The winner of this Local Motors sketch competition will win cash in the thousands. You can view my design by clicking the link above. Vote for me! If the community likes my design, it could actually be built into a real prototype and production vehicle as early as next year.
Just by putting my designs on the Local Motors site, I'm also competing for a chance to have my car built. I could win $10,000 and participate in the development process for my own design. This means if you like my design, you should vote for it because if this design is chosen for production you could actually DRIVE it and own it.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Oh yeah, you guessed it, I did that! :-P
After over a year and a half of work, the new JJ Abram's Star Trek is done and I had the pleasure to work on many of the designs. One design in particular is the Police Officer's face mask in the latest trailer. I also served as the visual effects Art Director for the film, but that's about all I can say until it comes out in May 2009.... yeah I know, but I have to wait too!... :-\
For now enjoy the latest trailers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

sneak peek update

Just a sneak peek at some new sketches in progress. I'll have the full versions done soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

in memory...Mark Buck

It is with a heavy heart that I recently heard that a co-worker of mine was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to work. Mark Buck was a seasoned rider and was crossing 19th ave near SFSU when the accident happened, according to the report, which is still under investigation.
Mark Buck or "Buck" worked in the ILM modelshop, Skelington Productions and Kerner Optical (Previously ILM's modelshop). He was always a joy to work with and always greeted me with his signature drawn out "Allleeexxx!!". I had the pleasure of working with him on many shows and projects including Star Wars EP2, Mission: Impossible III and most recently Transformers. He also was a very talented artist and skilled builder. He even took time in between shows to illustrate children's books. He was one of those guys who may have looked like a scary brute to those who didn't know him, but was really a big gentle guy who loved what he did and was very easy to get along with. He was truely a humble, funny and positive spirited guy who will be greatly missed by myself and the rest of his co-workers and friends. Most of all by his family, of which I've only met a few times at some company parties, but Mark was always so eager to introduce us to. Mark was 41 years young and leaves behind his wife and 5 year old child.... please join me in praying for them through this horrible time for strength, support and massive amounts of love from surrounding friends and family.
May we remember him in thanks for the joy he brought us, ra ther than the swiftness of his absence.
Mark's IMDB
Mark's Guest Book if you wish to share a few words

For those who wish to leave monetary
condolences which the family suggests in
place of flowers please forward to:
Tom Van Deren
c/o Mary Ann Buck
521 Clubhouse Drive
Aptos, CA 95003

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sleepy Mommy :)

Funny how perspective changes when the possibilities of a child enter your world. As I looked up from my computer last night and saw my beautiful sleepy wife I was thanking God for all the blessing in our lives, one of which is the now 3" little baby growing in her tummy :) ! That's right, we're through the first trimester of our first baby! We're so excited and grateful for this and so as I looked at her sleeping on the couch I had to capture it. So using the most basic photoshop brush I captured the moment in this sketch painting. It has been a while since I've done something like this. But hey what an occasion!
We got to see the little wiggler a few weeks ago, and will get to see 'em again next week. But for now I'll share with you this.
enjoy, God Bless and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for.
and live above and beyond!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Fall on DVD and Blu-ray

YES! My favorite movie just came out on DVD and Blu-ray! THE FALL. If you missed this wonderful epic on the big screen then here's your chance to see it, (hopefully on a decent size TV with really good sound and picture). If you're like me, you bought a PS3 long ago knowing Blu-ray would win the HD DVD battle and can enjoy THE FALL in glorious 1080p HD. Either way go get it, buy it, rent it and watch it, over and over! Please don't download a crappy version or watch it on your ipod, I'll come and personally slap you! This is a film that deserves and demands the best viewing experience possible. It also deserves your attention, so hunker down on the couch, turn off the lights, turn up the volume and don't hit play until you are settled in.

From the very first frame of the opening credits you'll be bathed in some of the most beautiful footage ever to grace your living room. Blessed with the score of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92: II. Allegretto, and amazing performances by the 2 lead characters 5 year old Catinca Untaru and Pushing Daisies star Lee Pace. Let THE FALL take you on it's imaginative journey into stunning worlds (that really exists without special effects!) as Alexandra and Roy share their lives, through stories, intense emotions and a potentially dangerous relationship. Bring your childhood imagination along for the ride and enjoy this once in a lifetime film.
Oh and if you see it, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

vette sketch

Just a quicky lunch time vette sketch...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

VW Golf MK6

In another recent announcement from VW late last week were the release photos of the new Golf (Rabbit/GTI in the U.S.). Of course I had to mess with it a bit, 'Jaeger' it out, so I did a quick p-chop job on it like I did with the Scirocco. Mainly changing the front end to be a bit (or a lot) more aggressive. Here's the original and then my version. I made sure to add in details from recent VW concepts to keep it 'in-the-family' but also added some touches from the Scirocco I did previously.
Wider and fuller front fender flares, changed the cut of the headlamps to a more chiseled edge, changed the slope and front cut of the hood, moved the VW badge from the grille to the hood like the Scirrocco, re-sculpted the bumper and made it deeper in the lower opening 'ala R32, widened the entire rear, turned the rear C-pillar into side air spoilers like on the GTI650 concept, Made the roof carbon fiber, deepen the side skirts, and of course tinted the windows and lowered it a bit :)

In VW's defense the photo they released is of the base model, so I'm sure the GTI version will look better, but I had to mess with it, it's in my blood ;-P Photo from VWVORTEX

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Comicon 2008

The San Diego Comic Con is coming up! Unfortunately I can't attend this year, but I'm making plans to be there in force next year!
If you are planning on going be sure to look for some of my friends and co-workers. Christian Alzmann has a booth this year and will be selling many prints of his work be sure to check it out. Wayne Lo and a few of his co-workers will be selling their new book called Battle Milk at the Lucas Film booth so be sure to stop by and pick one up as well as some others. Derek Thompson will be at the Maverix booth with his new monster annual with 365 new monster sketches. Derek also has a new Gnomon DVD out at the Gnomon School booth.
There will be tons of other great artists there as well as all the cool movie stuff and great books to get, but I'll have to let you enjoy it this year and I'll see you there next year!
Have a good time!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Gnomon talk tank

above the Gnomon final, below a close up of work in progress.

Well, I know I promised this a while ago, but better late than never. Here's the examples I made for my talk at the Gnomon school in LA about making sure the design fits the story, and is not just fluffy Hollywood slick design. So for the talk I made up a sample story in order to establish "the problem". At it's heart that's what design is, problem solving. So in order to design something for a purpose you need to establish 'the problem' and/or design constraints. I'm going to save some of the details for a later offering, but here's the jist of what I came up with. The basic design problem was a tank, that could do nearly 250 miles an hour, go on and off road, carry up to 5 crew and be low enough to fit under underpasses. Armed with some sort of pop-up turret and the ability to smash through road blocks and keep going. So first I started by doing some small sketches and some research to explore some existing tank tech, and find some cool shapes. After a few pages of exploration I weeded out the impractical designs that didn't fit the needs of the story, and combined the ones I did like. Above are some of those sketches and what I had finished at the time of the talk. I've since worked on it a bit more, but I may save that for a later offering...hhmmmmm. :)
OK I hope you enjoy these and Happy 4th of July!
-Think Above and Beyond!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Go see THE!

WOW, I usually don't recommend films but I can't believe that this film hasn't been widely released! The Fall is an amazing fairy tale that will make you remember the whole point of film making... a beautiful art form in which to tell a tale with drama, humor, sadness and breath taking visuals! Not to mention the most honest acting performances by the 2 lead characters, one of which is a 5 year old girl. I'm confused as to why the movie was rated R, because it's not as violent as many PG-13 movies and it has a beautiful redemptive story line. So go search it out, and try and see it on a big screen if you can. It took nearly 4 years to complete it and was shot in 18 different countries around the world, that's right, no blue screens!
Don't read the so called 'critics' reviews, their inner child must be dead, because this movie has heart and a vivid imagination and is a film lovers film, not a shallow popcorn flick like most films these days. I've seen it twice now, and my wife has seen it three times. It is a joy the second and third time because you get to pick up other details you missed the first time.
Go see it and let me know what you thought!
check out the clip "I'm touching one" for a little taste!
The Fall Trailer and clips!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

10,000 hits!

Thanks for all of you who check this blog every now and then and for all of you who have left comments! The Blog just rolled over the 10,000 hit mark! Nothing to brag about in terms of #'s in comparison to other's sites, but not bad considering not that many people know about it. So please pass it on to your friends and thanks again for stopping by! I'll try and post something soon to celebrate, unfortunately my home computer is down and out right now :( , so please be patient.
Thanks again and keep thinking Above and Beyond!
God Bless
- Alx

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dressed up a sketch

So it's been over a year now since I started this blog. I hope to keep it up longer than I did the now defunct 'Sketch of the Day' I had on my website. But no worries, I am still sketching on a mostly daily basis, and have even had a chance to dress up a few of those sketches into more finished pieces. Like this one from May 6th. I did a series of racers and chose to flesh this one out a bit in color. I started with the original sketch and basically re-drew it with a bit more gesture. And cleaned up the sweeps with the path tool in photoshop. I dipped into Painter X for a second to add some smeary streaks and puddles on the ground and also played with a program called Alchemy to creat a splashy background element. It's never too late to keep learning new programs. I love having another arrow in the quiver.
enjoy and think above and beyond!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ye 'olde Pen Sketches from 1993

Hard to believe these sketches are that old already. These were done for a story I wrote back in college while attending CCS. It took place in Detroit in 2073 where C.Y.C.O. (CYbernetics Co.) was making advanced body modifications which then were used by gangs and so forth. The police had to counter the stronger gangs by mechanizing themselves in these power suits, created by who else.... JaegerTech :) So our hero, Sgt. Kyle Anderson is seen here wearing the JaegerTech bluesuit. Much like the Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis it uses display readouts instead of clear glass visor. Each joint is powered by it's own flat-disc motor and the whole suite is powered by a near perpetual motion JaegerTech frictionless generator the size of a small frisbee. The whole story was going to be made into a comic book series but the company I was going to do it for vanished... It was also the start of me moving away from car design and into more concept design for stories.
Originals are ball point pen on 8.5x11 plain old Kinko's copy paper. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


OK, so most people who know me know I'm a VW freak, so when VW announces a new car like the just released Scirocco, I'm all over it. Now the first thing that needs to be said is that this new VW WILL NOT be sold in North America....GGRRRRR!!! That's doesn't mean that it won't ever, but many of us die hard VW fans are hoping for an even better one by the time it hits our shores. So even though the photos have only been out for a day or 2, I had to take a stab at making the US Spec version :P
So at first look I thought, Cool!, Not bad. Then I thought, hmm those head lights are too BMW-ish and the center is oddly long.
But overall decent. So my first attempt was to do what Audi did with the R8, and try and kill the odd length in the center by visually breaking it up with an off-color 'side blade'. And the usual bigger rims and lower stance. I also mildly changed the blend to the taillights.

Then I decided I might as well go all the way to a redesign, so I looked at some old Scirocco and Corrado's and then got to work on slopping the back, flaring the fenders, deepening the side sculpt, reshape the rear, and redo the front for a more aggressive retro muscle car look. Below is the result. I'm pretty happy with it. And I've recieved some good reactions on VWVortex too :).
hopefully we'll see something like this here in the next year or two....let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bitter Sweet Oscar's 2008

Well, the good news is I was invited to the Oscar's this year to support our nominated Transformers VFX crew, Scott Farrar, Scott Benza and Russel Earl, the bad news of course is that we didn't win. Much to our and seeming every one's shock! I think even including the crew of the Golden Compass wich took home the gold this year for "Best Visual Effects". Many have chalked it up to the Mr. Bay boycott, the ILM snub or just that there were more big name actors in 'Compass... Anyway, congrats to all parties.
Before the awards was the most fun anyway, getting all dressed up, getting in the limo and walking the red carpet. It was all very surreal to be there and have bleachers on either side of the road and the carpet full of people taking pictures. Then there was the "oh look there's Dennis Hopper, pardon me Cameron Dias, oh hi Jason Bateman etc...' yeah... that was fun/weird.
The bomb was dropped 4 awards into the show that The Golden Compass won over Transformers and Pirates 3, and I think everyone who had anything to do with Transformers was so in shock or upset that most of them left the theater and never came back in. I went back in and watched the rest of the show, well because I was there! ;-P
Pictures to come Soon!
Anyway, back to regular life.
I've been sketching a bit more these days with the old school pen and paper, as well as a few in the box sketches too. I'll be posting some of those soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

VES ruled by Robots!

The 2008 6th annual VES (Visual Effects Society) Awards were Sunday night Feb 10th. The VES honors mixed media from Film to broadcast TV to Video Games, and is made up of outstanding professionals in those fields. So it was an honor that I was included in the nomination for Best Models and Miniatures in a motion Picture for Transformers, along with fellow ILMer's David Fogler, Ron Woodall and Kerner Optical's Brian Gernand. Transformers won nearly every catagory it was nominated for including Best Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Motion Picture.
It was a fun evening where we found ourselves sitting at a table between Steven Spielberg and Brad Bird, and dozens of other VFX legends like Douglas Trumble, Ken Ralston, Denis Muren, John Knoll and Lorne Peterson. Even Michael Bay was there to cheer us on as well as Megan Fox(Transformers), Patton Oswalt(Ratatouille) countless others. Steven was there to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the VES and did so with a grateful heart.
In the end ILM walked away with 25 statues in 6 catagories!


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture:
Scott Farrar, Shari Hanson, Russell Earl, Scott Benza

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year (Desert Highway Sequence): Scott
Farrar, Shari Hanson, Shawn Kelly, Michael Jamieson

Outstanding Models or Miniatures in a Motion Picture: Dave Fogler, Ron
Woodall, Alex Jaeger, Brian Gernand

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture: Pat Tubach, Beth D'Amato,
Todd Vaziri, Mike Conte

Another ILM project that took home a few statues:
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End:

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture (Davy
Jones): Hal Hickel, Marc Chu, Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture: Frank
Losasso Petterson, Paul Sharpe, Joakim Arnesson, David Meny

Congrats to all! And all the hard working dedicated crews at ILM! Whoo hooo!

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