Some Thoughts on My Drawing



The drawing process, for me, is essentially an adventure and an exploration through line, rhythm, tone, shape, dimension and especially composition – making sure all the parts are singing the same song. I respond as much to what I feel as to what I see. As much to the mystery of the drawing journey itself as to the logic of how and where it leads. Maps are helpful of course but what’s interesting is going off path and exploring new places in new ways. In my drawing it’s not so much about technique but about communicating with my subject and presenting that through visual story. I seek to find the vitality and energy which elevates my subject from a board game existence and highlights what’s vital to the life of the work and to life itself. Without it, the drawing remains inert and academic. All artists, of course, hike differently pathways. This is where I am currently hiking.





Karl Gnass has been teaching drawing for over 45 years and in the early days worked for Sid and Marty Krofft in story and character development. Karl started with their landmark children’s 1969 television series H. R. Pufnstuf, followed by The Bugaloos (1970), Lidsville, (1971), and Sigmund and the Sea Monster (1973).


Karl Gnass PuffnStuff
Karl Gnass, Diane Wilson, H. R. Pufnstuf, and Vern Wilson. (20th Cent.) 


Karl Gnass and The Mayor of Living Island out on the town.


Karl has storyboarded for Coca Cola, Saban and Fox Entertainment’s Peter Pan and the Pirates. He worked on story development at Disney Television Animation and storyboarded for Gargoyles, Aladdin, Darkwing Duck and The Little Mermaid, as well as some storyboarding freelance for Direct To Video (DTV) for Disney. He later developed character expressions with anatomical breakdowns for Stuart in the feature Stuart Little. Other Sony Imageworks projects include Hollow Man and Harry Potter, with consulting on the Sci-fi Thriller I Am Legend starring Will Smith and Watchmen with Billy Crudup.

Steve Houston, Karl Gnass, Glenn Vilppu, Vern Wilson and August Hauboush.


Over the last eighteen years Karl has been teaching classical life drawing, animal drawing and storyboarding in many of the major studios in So. California: Disney Feature Animation, Disney Television Animation, Sony Imageworks, DreamWorks, Rhythm and Hues, Nickelodeon and Warner Brothers. In 2004, at the suggestion of Glen Keane, Disney animator and director of upcoming Tangled, Karl developed a ‘Dynamic Figure For Maya’ class to help computer animators understand and arrive at authentic movement with the new technology. He occasionally does seminar workshops and lectures outside the Los Angeles area, such as his special Drawing Dynamics and Essense of Story Seminars given at Kapi’olani Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii and lectures and classes and class consultations at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

In 2005 Karl published the first of three books on drawing. Entitled Spirit Of The Pose, it is 9″x12″, and is 178 pages of sketches done in the classroom environment. It has 500 drawings from Karl along with some pertinent drawing advice given to his classroom students. This book is used by some schools, such as Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, as a reference text book. A second book of sketches, Spirit And Force in Figure Drawing  has been published and will be available in late April, 2014.  The Third book will be a complete tutorial in the spirit of Karl Gnass’ work with students and will be published in 2014.


Tequila Sunrise.


Annually, Annie Awards trophies are awarded as the highest honor for excellence in animation and Karl has been an active participant as an Annie Awards judge for both feature and television storyboarding for the past eight years.

Also, check out his public drawing seminars with Sony at Siggraph for the past years. You’ll find it on the Home page.

From 3DMagazine:

“We tried to do the facial muscular set of a mouse, but we quickly found there was no way to get the kind of facial expressions we needed. Unlike humans, mice don’t do much facial communication…We worked with Karl Gnass, our life-drawing instructor at Sony, who has a tremendous knowledge of anatomy along with a strong artistic sense.”

-Kevin Hudson, 3D sculptor and lead animator for Stuart Little



Performing first cowboy smile.


 I am Hoppy.

I am Hoppy.

KarlattheDetroitZoo_56AlteredaDancing Bears Detroit Zoo


Karl,Cindy,Gary,MaryHanging Out; Karl, Cindy, Gary Kerr, Mary


Couriers: Bill Sanzik, Grayson Damron, Sam MacMillan, Karl Gnass.


My second bike.


MudFight_2Students from Art Center College Of Design circa 1964:We prepared a muddy lot on Franklin Ave. for a Tug of War between the Advertising Design Majors and the Illustration Majors


TheVDubThe V-Dub

Karl still working the cowboy smile with mentor: Harry Carmean.


With Neutrina.


Olden days.


Dancing Bears_a different day

Last laugh.