New Characters

I don’t like to talk about things that aren’t done or finalized, but I also like to keep posting. By that I mean that I’ve been doing a lot of drawing, but the blog doesn’t reflect that all the time. I’ve been working on an animated sitcom based party on my days in New Brunswick, NJ.


So here’s Ben, our hero, and Amy and Evie, the two abusive shop girls of the Liquor Palace.


Ben’s girlfriend Liz is fed up with his behavior.

28 days Later (Not the movie, but the freelance gig)


My entire month of July was consumed by a project for Wiley Publishing. Yes, the same Wiley that publishes the “…For Dummies” books. But this project was for their textbook division’s annual national sales meeting. To honor their top five sales people, the good people at Wiley contracted me to create a one minute animated film that was loosely based on the intro to the TV show “Sex and the City”.

Each sales rep was shown in some aspect of NYC activity, with the first rep in the role of Sarah Jessica Parker. Each rep is pleasantly surprised when they find their name and sales stats are part of the fabric of the city.

The entire project took 28 days straight. Sometimes fifteen hours long. Hand drawn characters, finished in Flash, composited in After Effects. The files were a whopping 1024 x 760 because the final was brought into Power Point. It was lots of work, tight deadlines, but a lot of fun. It also helps when you do work for an open-minded client that trusts your instincts. No wonder Wiley is so successful.

Sorry, but for contractual reasons, I can’t post the video. Here’s a few stills…


While my real passion is character design, I must admit, I really had fun drawing places like Yankee Stadium.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I’ve been working on character design for an educational project. I signed a nondisclosure agreement so I can’t post anything until product is released by the client. Stay tuned.

I’ve also been writing a long article on traditional animation combined with Flash. A guy named Hayk Manukyan, from Glendale, Ca. has a site called where he gives video instruction on his process. I’ve definitely learned a few things from him. The article appears in next month’s aNYmator, the newsletter of ASIFA East, the NYC metro area’s animation association.

Rat Bastard Drawings

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on Roscoe and his cohort on a consistent basis. In my old life as Rat Bastard illustrator C.J. Huja, I had a certain naive idea of what Roscoe and the inhabitants of his world should look like. They looked like whatever came out of my pencil — there was no real development. A few sketches and there was Roscoe.Most characters were never more than one or two sketches before they were finalized. I had no real understanding or training in character development.

When Imagine Entertainment optioned Rat Bastard for a TV show on UPN in 2000, I saw other artists’ interpretations of my characters. Being in awe of those who worked in animation, I was impressed when they took Roscoe’s ears, and move him to the side of this head, much like The Secret of N.I.M.H. or some of the Disney characters. They made him more realistic, his ears being more like the way a rat’s ears actually sit on its head.

After the option expired and Imagine’s efforts pointed elsewhere, I continued to study the character designs of Roscoe. He looked very much like he could be a character from “Batman The Animated Series”and I tried to incorporate the look into my own new, improved version of Roscoe. He was more angled, more animation friendly in some way. But the more I tried to force his ears to the sides of his head, the more I felt something was missing.


At some point, I started drawing my original design, with a more exacting animation friendly line work, but kept the playfulness. After all, Roscoe was the sum total of all my cartoon experiences as well as comic book inspiration — Mort Drucker, Looney Tunes, Terry Toons, Don Martin, Al Davis, and many others. I wanted an element of shear goofiness. I wanted Roscoe’s eyes to be uneven, his posture unheroic, and his ears to sit on the top of his head like Mickey Mouse. I’d always loved the notion of Big Daddy Roth’s “Mickey Rat” and Roscoe was my Mickey Rat. A gun-toting rodent, the anti-Mickey.


Lucky Leo Model Sheets


Lucky Leo is a a story about a guy who goes to hell, and later gets a chance to get his life back. All he has to do is put the devil’s brother back in the box he escaped from. The devil’s brother, Larry, had turned portions of the world upside-down. Outrageous characters sprang up overnight. The criminals were the most fun to create. My favorite was Jimmy The Wig, a murderous mobster, whose obsession with his hair is so off the charts, that he never wears the same wig twice. My favorites are The Mighty Thor and Dee Dee Ramone wigs.


Equally obsessed with his mane is the 70’s walking cliche, Freddie The Fro. Sworn enemy of Jimmy The Wig, for no other known reason than coif-envy.