Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hi all, here's a little Christmas gift. Its a song from a Christmas CD my siblings and I are making for our family:

Angels We Have Heard on High by Josh Cotton


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Finally Postng some DRAWING again :)

Aloha from BYU,

This week I decided to do a bit of catch-up posting. I've been drawing a lot, but most of my blogging time lately has been spent editing videos, so I haven't had time to scan or post images. But I have a little bit of time tonight, so here goes! :)

The Savior enduring the mock- adoration of the Roman soldiers. The crown of thorns was meant to sting, but they couldn't know they truly crowned a king.

A Nephite warrior mid-strike

Aaron in prison. Aaron was a missionary to the Lamanites who was captured and imprisoned; later on he was freed and allowed to preach to the king, who was converted

The idea here was kind of a Nephite Herald. The trumpet is based on Aztec designs. Oh, and the sword is kind of fun. Its hilt is carved out of an antler, so it's curved like Count Dooku's lightsaber from Star Wars :)

You may recognize this drawing as Lehi from a previous post. Just goofing around with digital painting, lol :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Replica Plates

Hi everyone, a quick update on the Trailer-

David Baird, traditional metal craftsman and owner of Historical Arts and Casting, Inc. was kind enough to allow us to borrow a hand-made replica of the Gold Plates. Brother Baird is an expert metal worker and has studied for years the firsthand accounts of the people who actually saw the plates. His replicas have been used in various exhibits and professional film productions, including Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration.

Above is a rough version of the final shot at the end of the trailer, accomplished Using Brother Baird's replica plates and Adobe Aftereffects software.

Joseph Smith (played by Joey Lestarge) with the plates

The same shot after color correction

As a final note, above is a test render of the opening shot where the Savior descends over Bountiful. The model is unfinished, but I really am starting to like the mood and the way the cloth is moving.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meet the Sims- Book of Mormon Trailer Update

Simulated cloth, simulated hair, simulated fire, "Sim Cities"- this week has it all. At least in progress. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taking shape!

I started conceptualizing this shot about 6 months ago for a different project, a concept art assignment drawn in 2d for Cynthia Hogan's animation class (see below). It's finally taking shape as part of the Book of Mormon movie trailer :) Basically what is happening is a scene in Helaman chapter 5 where two missionaries have been captured by an army in hostile territory. They are imprisoned, and eventually their captors come down to execute them. Instead of being executed, however, they are saved by a pillar of fire that comes down from heaven and protects them. God's voice speaks from Heaven and convinces the captors of the error of their ways, and the would-be murderers become missionaries themselves :)

The shot isn't done yet, it needs people and some more tweaking. But I like it so far :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fire and Ice and Cardboard

Aloha Folks and Folkettes, this week marks Dust-Speak's first ever video blogcasts! Funfun. Incidentally, I initially thought the term "Video Blogcast" was one of my own coining, but a cursory web-search revealed that it had already been discovered. I found it on with a flag sticking out of it and an attendant conquistador laying claim on behalf of her majesty the queen :) In any case, it's a first for me, so I hope you enjoy!

A test fire for the destruction of Zarahemlah



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prison Concept/ Model

Hey folks, Just a quick post. This is a scene from the Book of Mormon trailer I'm working on, which comes from Helaman chapter 5. The Drawn/ Photoshopped concept art is a piece I did for a class last spring, and the 3D one is my rough model to actually create the shot. The image comes from one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon. Nephi and Lehi, 2 brothers who were serving a mission among the Lamanites, were captured by an army and imprisoned. After being starved and beaten for many days, Nephi and Lehi watched as the evil king of the Lamanites and 300 of his men marched in to see their execution. Just as they were about to lay hands on the prisoners to kill them, something incredible happened. Fire came down from heaven to encircle and protect the missionaries. More miracles followed, and all the people who came to witness the prophets' execution were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

On a completely unrelated note, I was digging through my old study journal and found a poem I wrote during a rough time. I feel like it applies to me now just as much as it did then, and I hope maybe you can find some inspiration in it as well:

The Ember's Glow
by Joshua Cotton

I run my fingers
Through the ash
A house of dreams
Now layed to rest
At my touch
It blows away
So easy
So light
I watched it crumble
Through the night
Blackened by
The fire's light
What a war once
Could not think to shift
Now is carried in the wind
And through a dark magic transformed
Into black sifting sands
Now all that is left
Is to plant
For the ember's glow
still warms the soil

Come, let us till the ash

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book of Mormon Trailer First Shoot!

Hey folks, this is Josh checking in for the weekly update. Actually, it's been two weeks, but that's beside the point lol. We have lots of fun stuff to cover, so lets get started!

First off, as our nifty title suggests, principle photography for the Book of Mormon movie trailer started this week. I am so pumped.

We went up to a place called Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, which was beautiful beyond beautiful. Here's a taste of what we got:

Above: This one is lightly photoshopped, he was standing in the shadow to the right but I moved him a bit. Beautiful shot though, this was taken by our DP Aaron Allsop

This One's kind of fun- it's based on the characters Joseph copied down from the original Golden Plates that were inscribed with the book of Mormon. So what you're looking at is actual reformed Egyptian, as it appeared on the original plates.

This is the original sketch I took from the picture of Joseph's original sketch from the original. (I guess then it would be "sketch the 3rd" and not original lol. That's what it looked like anyway)

OK this isn't from the movie, just my sketchbook lol. Experimenting with Nephite costume ideas

Ditto. I kind of like the face on the right, he's based on Tony Robbins from a show I was watching

More Captain Moroni. Hardcore.

This is Ammoron, evil Lamanite King, mourning the death of his Brother Amalickiah who was assassinated by Teancum.

Anyways, that's it for now, I have a lot more sketches but no time to upload them :( Maybe next week. Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Hey, guess what? You remember how I said last week that I had been drawing lots but procrastinating the scanning? I just spent 4 hours scanning, cleaning up, and uploading them, so hope you enjoy, lol.

First off (above)- Some friends and a are starting work on a short film for the LDS Church youtube video competition. The basic idea is that we are doing a movie trailer of the Book of Mormon. The first costume test is above, with my roomate Justin as General Moroni. More updates to follow!

Helaman's Stripling Warriors- (The Book of Mormon)

The Stripling Warriors, also known as the 2,000 Sons of Helaman, were a group of young men who had never fought before, but were able to save the Nephite nation through the miraculous intervention of God

Zarahemnah- (The Book of Mormon)

(above left) An evil tyrant general, Zarahemnah was one of the first great enemies of Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon. He and his men invaded the Nephite Nation, fought a sore battle against the Nephite Army, then found themselves surrounded. Moroni told them they could depart in peace if they made a covenant not to invade again. He wanted to preserve the lives of his enemies almost as much as he wanted to preserve his own people; he said, "We do not desire to be men of blood." However, sadly, Zarahemnah refused his offer of peace. Those who would leave with a promise of peace were allowed to go, those who would not stayed and were destroyed.

(Above right) Kind of a cool sword based on a design I saw on Prince of Persia lol

Captain Moroni- (Chief Captain of the Nephite Armies, The Book of Mormon)

Okay, so I meant to talk about Zarahemnah above but ended up really telling about Captain Moroni. So, I guess see above :)

Sketchbook page-

okay, I'm gonna divy this one up-
-Teancum (Left)- A Nephite captain and legend in his own time, Teancum was famous for slaying the Lamanite kings Amalickiah and Ammoron with his spear. Sadly, he himself was killed in the second attempt
-Kishkumen (Top)- Assassin and founding member of the Gadianton Robbers
-Aztec Jaguar Knight (Bottom)- Not Book of Mormon, but I've been studying the Aztec culture for reference, as many Native American cultures have strong influence from the Book of Mormon peoples.

Scythe and Bowl- Yeah, pretty much self-explanatory. It's fun sometimes to try to imagine what kinds of tools the people used, what foods they ate, the world they lived in. The decorative runes are based on the Reformed-Egyptian characters Joseph copied from the original Book of Mormon plates.

The Creation (Jesus Christ)-

There was a really cool painting by Walter Rane of Jesus Christ (then known as Jehovah) creating the world. I loved the style t was so kinetic, is felt like the Creation was an artistic act of pushing and pulling as a sculptor would mold clay, and rhythm as a dancer would put into motion. I wanted to catch a similar sense in these two drawings. I don't know what the actual creation looked like, but it's fun to imagine and to draw.

This was my Bishop (Above) a few Sundays back. I dont' know, normally he's a pretty confident, outgoing guy, but I guess I caught him deep in thought.

Lehi- (The Book of Mormon)
I feel like a lot of times people get one iconic image of a scripture character in their head, and decide that's how they looked. In reality, we have no idea how most of them looked. That's why oftentimes I like to try new takes on scripture characters, just to kind of break the icon for myself and free up my imagination a bit. Above are a few different takes on Father Lehi, patriarch of the Nephite Nation.

King Benjamin-
(The Book of Mormon)
A couple of different takes on King Benjamin. Benjamin was King of the Nephites and could have lived off of their work, but instead chose to labor with his own hands for his support. He understood that his position was not about getting pampered, it was about service. As the Prophet Thomas S. Monson once said, "The mantle of leadership is not the cloak of comfort but the robe of responsibility".

Lamanite Captain- (The Book of Mormon)

A Lamanite captain dual wielding Macuahuitl, or Aztec Glass-Blade Swords. Just kind of goofing around on this one, not entirely satisfied with the armor. I need to do some more research.

The Angel Moroni (Different from Captain Moroni)-
(But the same as the Moroni in the photo at the beginning of this post. Confused yet?) General Moroni was one of the Last survivors of the Nephite Nation after it was destroyed in a great and final war with the Lamanites. He was also the one chosen to protect and conclude the record of his people known as the Golden Plates or the Book of Mormon. 1,400 years later the Lord chose Moroni as the messenger to deliver the record to Joseph Smith.

Priest of Amulon- (Book of Mormon)

The priests under Amulon were the evil cronies of King Noah, who I believe you will find 2 posts back. Amulon and his brethren, so-called "priests", sat under Noah in power and lived lavish lives off of the labors of the people. You know, fancy clothes, fancy houses, and anything else that tickled their fancy. Then one day, the Lamanites invaded and put the city into subjection (fancy that! I know, lame joke :)). Noah then got his just desserts at the hands of his own men, and the priests had to find a new source of caviar. But just in case you're still rooting for them (why you would, I don't know), no worries. They manage to escape and stir up trouble elsewhere. You can read the rest of the story in the book of Mosiah :)

The 10th Leper- (The New Testament)
On Sunday the Prophet Thomas S. Monson spoke, and told the story of the 10 Lepers who came to Jesus asking for healing. 10 were healed, but only one returned to give thanks. Sometimes I think I'm too much like the nine ungrateful lepers, given so much but not thanking God or those others who are kind to me. The way President Monson told the story was so powerful, and made me want to change. This was my attempt to try to capture the look of gratitude on the face of the leper who returned.

The Apostle Boyd K. Packer-

President Packer came to BYU to speak a few weeks ago, which was a great experience. I took this sketch in the Marriot Center.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

An actor's perspective (Dallyn Vail Bayles of Liken the Scriptures)

I stumbled across this on youtube, and thought it was really neat. Actors who play scripture characters have a unique opportunity to get inside the heads of the people they play, and try to understand them. It's neat to me to listen to how Dallyn Vail Bayles prepared for the role of Alma.

You and I may not be acting in the next big Liken the Scriptures movie, but I think maybe we can learn something from the way an actor prepares to assume a persona of a scripture character. I know I could stand to think more about what the people were thinking and feeling, why they did what they did, and how they became who they were. And after all, are we not all striving to take on the persona and attitude of Christ? Perhaps as we read, we can think about how we can "act" more like him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oy'm not dead yet :)

Hi folks, this is Josh again. Contrary to popular rumor, I have not been captured and enslaved by the Priests of Noah. I have merely been procrastinating. Drawing plenty, scanning some, but procrastinating actual factual posting. I stand sorely in need of repentance. So here goes:

King Noah- (The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 11»)
(different Noah from the one in the Bible) Wicked King, destroyed Church in land of Nephi, persecuted the prophets

Speaking of King Noah (who may be hereby absolved of kidnapping charges), this is a drawing I did of him a few weeks ago on a camping trip. The proportions are a bit wonky, but I like how it turned out. It's kind of a different take on King Noah than artists normally do. The story describes him as a wine-bibber, greedy, living off the labor of his people, etc. Thus traditionally Noah has been depicted as heavy-set with lavish clothing decorated in jewels, gold, and feathers. That's the stereotypical, iconic depiction we owe to the late (and great) Arnold Friberg. I thought here, though, it would be fun to try something different. I made Noah instead a man of taste- a connoisseur of the best of everything, but not gaudy. For this Noah, only those "in the know" would actually know how ridiculously expensive his tastes were.

Elder Robert D. Hales-

Trying to learn digital painting lol
This I painted earlier this afternoon listening to an address by the Apostle Robert D. Hales on BYUTV.

Nephite Fort

The sketch on the bottom I took on the same aforementioned camping trip. I was looking at some rocks and thought they looked like a really cool Nephite fort. On top is what I got colored this afternoon before my stylus broke :)

Alas, broken pen tablet pen . . .

. . . I searched internet how too fix it

Dr Google prescribes Superglue. No Joke.

I knew I shouldn't have practiced surgery without a licence.



Huh. Pen guts.

Until next week, though likely it's going to be mostly plane jane sketches until I can get a new stylus :( Thanks for following!