Friday, December 31, 2010

WoW Hurst & Blaine (Completed)

One last post for 2010. Here's Hurst's WoW-themed commission, completed. Happy New Years, everyone!

Thanks again, Hurst!


Thursday, December 23, 2010 Site Headers

FYI for those interested, toonbots Animation and Illustration, the same awesome Michigan based studio collaboration whose demo reel I features in the last post here, also now has a spanking new web presence at! The site features demo reels, work and bios from multiple members of the toonbots crew - definitely worth a look.

One of our fearless leaders, Chris Carden, was gracious enough to include some of my artwork for the site's  many colorful headers, and I thought I'd share them here with you as well.

For more schnazzy artwork by a slew of wonderful folks, be sure to check out the site!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

toonbots' Demo Reel Premieres!

The Premiere demo reel of toonbots, an animation and illustration company based in Detroit that I am thrilled to be a part of, is now online. Included is the work of Michigan-based talent Steve Stanchfield, Chris Carden, Michael Winn, Niles Bontrager, Patrick R Stannard, Jared Hart, VanAndy Prevalus, David Bentley, myself, and more!

toonbots is an animation and illustration company based in Detroit. We love story, character, color and line. This, our debut reel, shows where we've been and what we can do. We love what we do, and hope you do, too!

Thanks for viewing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Private SNAFU DVD Cover Progression

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently had the opportunity to illustrate the DVD background for Thunderbean Animation's latest release of "Private SNAFU Golden Classics," to accompany Eric Goldberg's wonderful character illustration of SNAFU himself.

The cover background itself was a nod to yet another World War 2-era cartoon, "The Spirit of '43" starring Donald Duck, posted below (see around 5:02) The original incarnation of the background closer aped its inspiration's color palette, while subsequent revisions became lighter brighter, cheerier, and pushed far closer to the good ol' red, white and blue.

It was an absolute joy to create a cover in collaboration with Mr. Goldberg, as well as to be able to have a small part in such a wonderful DVD production. Thanks again, Steve!


Private SNAFU Classics DVD on Amazon!

After tremendous effort and a myriad of fantastic collaborations, my friend and mentor Steve Stanchfield has completed "Private SNAFU Golden Classics" - a gem of a new release through his Thunderbean Animation Studio.

On the DVD itself:
The hilarious 'Private Snafu' cartoons hold a unique and unusual place in the history of American animated films. Originally produced during World War 2 as part of the Army/Navy Screen Magazine, they remain the most entertaining series of shorts never intended for general audience. The series was idea of Frank Capra, with many of the early entries written and supervised by Ted Geisel (Dr. Suess). They feature some of the finest work produced by the Warner Brothers/Schlesinger Studios in the early/ mid 40's by directors Chuck Jones, Friz Freling, Frank Tashlin and Bob Clampett. Over 60 years since the last of the series was produced they remain fresh and entertaining.

Thunderbean presents this special collector's edition, beautifully restored and resmastered almost entirely from the original 35mm elements! All 30 'Snafu' cartoons are included, counting his four appearances in the 'A Few Quick Facts' series. Special Features include a four page illustrated booklet about the films and their creators, still galleries featuring rare original production art, and commentaries by cartoon historians Mike Kazaleh, Jerry Beck, Eric Goldberg, Mark Mayerson and John Kricfalusi.
The DVD was graciously featured on Cartoon Brew on two instances recently by animation historian Jerry Beck, who also provided his wonderful incite to the DVD's special features. Below is a preview of the DVD's special features, narrated by Mr. Beck himself.

The DVD also includes a title sequence animated by Mark Kausler (cleanup by Steve, and my good friend Patrick Stannard) As well as cover character art by Eric Goldberg. I was honored to have the opportunity to illustrate the environmental background for Eric's wonderful drawing of SNAFU for the DVD cover - process of which Steve has kindly granted me permission to share with you all in a post to come.


Monday, December 13, 2010

WoW-Style Blaine & Hurst (WIP)

WoW-Style Blaine & Hurst (Flat Colors)

Sorry I've been so quiet as of late, everyone. Life's been hectic - I was fortunate enough to get hired on as a Storyboard artist for a feature-length animated film, and it, as you could imagine, has consumed the majority of my time as of late. It's been an excellent experience, however, and has produced a massive amount of work. Hopefully one day down the line I'll have the opportunity to share some of it with you :)

I had some time off over this past weekend for the first time in a few months, and was able to get a large way through one of y commissions: This time, a WoW-themed image for Hurst and his other half Blaine's wonderful character personas. It's been a great time so far - I look forward completimg the colors on this one - hopefully being able to stay fairly true to the wonderful sorts of textures usually seen in-game for WoW.

That says, above are the beginning-stage flat colors for the image, giving a very general idea of what I'm leaning towards for feel, and below, the live art.

WoW-Style Blaine & Hurst (Line Art)


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sneaky Snow - Complete

"Sneaky Snow" now fully rendered! I've begun what will undoubtedly be a very long and intriguing process of starting to learn to utilize custom photoshop brushes with this image - already I'm really digging the result.Thank you for the commission, Dana!

Coming soon - Hurst's WoW themed commission of he and Blaine's original characters. It will no doubt be a fun one! Also, I will be responding to new commissar offer related emails soon. Thanks for your patience in waiting for a reply to everyone who have generously offered me new commission work - this  work and life combined have had me swamped this past week especially. I'll be replying to you soon.

All the best,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sneaky Snow Progression

 Here's the progression on the commission I'm currently working on - Snow, a sleuthy kitty-lady created and owned by Dana Jock. I'm hoping to have this particular commission completed by the end of the week, alongside my current storyboarding madness.

 The final line work.

The initial ideation sketch, as well as the revised sketch that followed soon thereafter.

 Flat colors, as well as some simple gradients to begin to fiddle with light source and direction.

More soon,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back from Ottawa 2010

 Another year, another wonderful stint at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. While I admittedly felt that the selection of films this year was a slight bit more timid then in years previous, it was an excellent time none the less, and the films that did stand out were stellar, as always. It was a great event, with great people - I met so many awesome animators - professional and student alike - caught up with old friends. As always OIAF delivered, and good times were had by all. I thought I'd share a collection of photos taken form this year's flimapalooza. Enjoy - my mates and I sure did! :)

1) The Television trolley markers returned again this year, rebuilt and schnazzy as ever. 2) How I spent the majority of the festival this year - screening dozens of animated short and feature-length films. 3) Niles and I enjoying breakfast at the fabulous Cora's.

1) Ottawa being positively lovely at dusk. 2) Heading into the bustling Byward Market late-afternoon.

1) I was fortunate enough to snag an interview slot with Disney during this year's Animator's for Hire event. 2.) My pass! :)

1) My roommates were also, consequently, my hotel roomies for this year's festival, which was great fun :D Niles, Patrick, and Kerry! 2.) How animators start their morning: Doodles and a hot cuppa Joe.

Disney Feature Animation's Patrick Osborne talks about his work on Tangled.

 1) Myself and my other half - OIAF 2010 gets official Nerd Approval. 2) The latest addition to our animated household. 3) Niles and Patrick, and a whole lot of silly to go around.

I also wanted to mention that I was fortunate to get pulled into a studio feature project recently, and it will have the brunt of my attention over the next few weeks, so my posts here may slow just a bit. However, commissions are back on and in-progress, so keep an eye out for those as I start posting those up once again!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MMA Vlog 001: Portfolio Madness!

My 150th post to this humble little blog begets its first video blog post. Do excuse my intensely haggard, under-slept appearance/voice here - it's been an impossibly busy roller coaster of a past few weeks in general, and the lack of rest is definitely whooping my butt by this time of the morning. Anyhow! Here's a quick update on what's going on at the moment (Swimming in portfolios! Eek!) and what'll be coming up soon. It may also be an interesting look into self-promotion for animators/artists, as I know I've got quite a few art students watching. :) I hope this is helpful.

This Vlog mentions:

Cheers (And I swear, I'm going to go get some sleep now),

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mel Miller's Demo Reel

Here's my current Demo Reel as of 10/15/10. Thanks for viewing!

Music has been made available through Creative Commons Liscensing by Kevin McLeod of

Reel Break-Down Information:

Mel Miller


Shots 1 through 3: “Cabin Cat” (2008)
Description: Kitty rolls his eyes as Trucker cries, “Well maybe none of this is really true...”
Contribution: Animation, Layout, Character design.
Additional Credit: Audio clip from HBO’s Six Feet Under.

Shots 2: “Riot Eye Shot” from ARMSmasters (2010)
Description: Riot glances up menacingly.
Contribution: Clean Up Animation.
Additional Credit: Rough animation by Mike Winn. Color, Compositing and SFX by Niles Bontrager.

Shots 3: “Aeslyn" from ARMSmasters (2010)
Description: Aeslyn Head Turn.
Contribution: Clean Up Animation.
Additional Credit: Rough Animation by Mike Winn. Tie Down by Patrick Stannard.

Shots 4: “Tyr” from ARMSmasters (2010)
Description: Tyr hammer swing.

Contribution: Clean Up Animation.
Additional Credit: Rough and Tie Down Animation by Mike Winn.

Shots 5 through 15: “Caravan” (2009-2010)
Description: A selection of completed shots from my short film currently in production, “Caravan.”
Contribution: Direction, Animation, Concept Design, Layout and Background Illustration, Color.
Additional Credit: Compositing and SFX by Niles Bontrager.

Shots 16: “Nanmia” (2008)
Description: Nanmia peers about warily.
Contribution: Animation, Character Design.

Shots 17: “Pup Romp” (2008)
Description: A floppy puppy run test.
Contribution: Animation, Character Design.

Shot 18: “Something Terrible” (2009)
Description: Basic Man does a double take, spotting something terrible across the way.
Contribution: Animation.
Software: Autodesk Maya.
Additional Credit: Rig by Dale Myers.

Shot 19: “Not Chinese” (2009)
Description: Basic Man recieves some shattering news from his off-screen friend.
Contribution: Animation.
Software: Autodesk Maya.
Additional Credit: Audio from Season 1 of Showtime’s Dexter. Rig by Dale Myers.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mini Portfolio 2010

This year's Ottawa International Animation Festival is quickly approaching - next week, in fact! So, as per every year, being a repeat attendee of of this awesome event, I'm compiling new versions of everything - Business cards, portfolios, and demo reels alike. Below is the mini-portfolio I'll have about half a dozen of to hand out to interested parties.

More soon,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Prints for sale!

It's official: I now have a myriad of my artwork online and available for sale as prints! If you'd like to own some of my artwork by aren't yet ready for commissions, or you are simply awesome and would be kind enough to help a gal out, please check out my new PRINTS galleries at Imagekind, which include both illustrations & photography!

Prints, framed and matted artwork, and greeting cards are available.

Prices start as low as $9.50 and & $11.40!

All proceeds go to helping me buy food/keep from living in a cardboard box, and are genuinely appreciated!

ALSO, if there are any pieces of mine that you would like to be made available as a print that is not yet seen in the gallery, please feel free to let me know! All print requests can be sent to I'm sorry, I cannot legally add fanart to this gallery.

Thank you for your support! 
It helps more then you could know ♥


Friday, October 8, 2010

Color Design & Snack'em Back'em

The Bloomies Return!

Patrick recently doodled a sequel to the original "Bloomies" drawing of his that I lent color too, so once again, I'm having some fun with this drawing as well. How could I resist? He drew three quarters of our household as their favorite critters! I make a mighty cute penguin too, if I do say so myself.

This time around Pat did flat colors himself for me to start with and gave me open reign to tweak them as I saw fit, which actually ended up being an extremely interesting exercise. It's interesting to see how two different brains approach similar color patterns of the same image. Thought you all might find the comparison intriguing as well. Oh! I also started to build kitty-Niles a viewable cat ear and whiskers, to hopefully push the fact that he is indeed a kitty a little bit further, as opposed to a squirrel or a lemur or any other myriad of things he could be otherwise. I'll be finishing the colors to both this and "Waking the Big Dogs" soon, amidst commissions.

Also! Since I really do enjoy the "Snirf and the Snack'em Fox" background as its own stand-alone piece (One I'm planning to place in my environment/layout portfolio soon) I thought I'd share it here as well.

Currently, I'm working on Dana's commission of her elegant leopardess, Snow. I'll have more to post on that quite soon, no doubt. Thanks for viewing, everyone! ♥


Friday, October 1, 2010

Snirf and the Snack'em Fox

Epic Nomming in 3... 2...1...

A fun, colorful, rather whimsical commission this time, of the perpetual cat-and-mouse antics of Snirf the Coyote and Big Blue Fox. Unfortunately (Or fortunately, if you ask the dastardly Snirf) little Blue is about ready to lose this game big time.

The chance to use animated poses and such lively colors completely made this project for me - I love it. I'm also quite excited to note that I'll be doing another image of these two lovely characters again in the near future. Definitely looking forward to that! Thanks again for the commission!

As always, I am currently open for multiple different types of commissions, including these full-color full-body character illustrations with environmental backgrounds. Detailed commission information can be viewed here. Folks interested in commissioning me are welcome to contact me at melmillerartATgmailDOTcom. Thanks so much!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Charity & Snack'em Fox Progression

"What, that hurt? Good."
Ren52's Charity

Above is a line-art commission of my good buddy Renee Atkinson's wonderfully hard-edged character Charity. I went ahead and colored it, both because I adore Ren, and because it makes for a nifty example of this type of commission. These fully-colored character busts run for just $35 a pop. Anyone interested in this or any type of commission are welcome to contact me at melmillerartATgmailDOTcom and I'll gladly set you up on the waiting list that'll be sure to snag you a commission slot as soon as they become available.

Speaking of commissions, I'm on to a rather cute one at the moment that I'm thoroughly enjoying illustrating: Karsten's characters Snirf Coyote and BigBlueFox, in their perpetual game of cat and mouse. I'm amidst final color in it now, but thought I'd share some progression images meanwhile.

More again soon,

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Prince of Parkour

Flippin' Fun with Eric Bell

Another commission, this time for my good friend Kat Bongard of her time-controlling Parkour pro character, Eric Bell. Eric's ace Parkour skills were an opportunity to illustrate a pose one would rarely have any reason to draw otherwise, and that in itself was tremendous fun. I also made it a point to utilize a color scheme I've scarcely touched before - starkly combining bold blues with salmon and purple tones definitely hit that mark.

As always, I am currently open for multiple different types of commissions, including these full-color full-body character illustrations with environmental backgrounds. Detailed commission information can be viewed here. Folks interested in commissioning me are welcome to contact me at melmillerartATgmailDOTcom. I look forward to working with you!