Friday, December 22, 2006

No Santa Today - A Stop Motion Movie Shot on a Desk

A guy named Paul Corrigan decided to make a movie. So he made a sock puppet and a little wooden horse and shot them during his free time... on his desk! Then he made a little Christmas movie. You know, I'm getting tired of all those animation companies making their little 'Christmas card' movies that are just advertisements for their services. Man! They're all over the place. Like a plague. Just stop it now! But if you want to make a movie on your desk... well then, please, by all means, carry on.

Watch the totally cool 'desk movie.'

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jonny Crossbones - Online Comic

Les McClaine's online comic strip, The All-New Adventures of Jonny Crossbones, gets updated by the artist every Tuesday and Thursday. The current adventure is Dead Man at Devil's Cove. The strip is inspired by the Tintin comics of Belgian artist Hergé. If you like those old comic adventures that feature all sorts of locals and pseudo-scientific fun, you'll like this stuff too.

Read Jonny Crossbones

Thursday, December 14, 2006

'Pirate Jack' Book to be Published

Candlelight Stories is preparing to start a small press. It will probably be called Candlelight Stories Book Publishing. The first book offered for sale by the new imprint will be the novel, Pirate Jack. A more official announcement of the book and publishing operation will be coming along in a few weeks. We will start by offering high-quality paperback novels and hard-cover children's illustrated books. We think that by offering writers the opportunity to sell their books on a well-known and highly-trafficked website we can establish a small press of distinction.

Feel free to contact us with inquiries at

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Frosty the Snowman - 1954 Animation

In 1954, before the Rankin-Bass version, came this short Frosty the Snowman cartoon. It's just a cheerful, dancing, musical Christmas card.

Watch Frosty the Snowman

Monday, November 20, 2006

Making Comics - by Scott McCloud

This is about the coolest book I've ever seen on comics. No wasted pages here. Not a wasted frame. Mr. McCloud lays out all the fundamentals of writing and drawing comics. You read along, wondering how he could have possibly done it, then you come to the chapter breaks where he presents exercises and practice tips. You realize that this guy really wants you to learn this stuff. I love his clear, logical presentation, his understatement, and his ability to give you an appreciation for the form while learning its techniques. And his drawings are wonderful too. Every time I pick this book up I want to make my own comic book.

Check it Out on Scott McCloud's Web Site

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NY T imes Best Illustrated Books of 2006

The New York Times Book Review has announced its selections for the top 10 illustrated books of the year. They have a slide show of illustrations and information about the books.

See the Slideshow

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Disney Haunted Mansion Halloween Audio Treat

Doombuggies, an unofficial fan site devoted to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride, will premier a new audio production that tells the story of how the Haunted Mansion got haunted. The file will be available on on Halloween day! That's October 31st in case you didn't know.

The mythic, haunting history of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion will finally be told by voice talent Kat Cressida, the artist whose performance as the gothic "Black Widow Bride" was added in early 2006 to the Disneyland version of the Haunted Mansion attraction as part of park-wide enhancements made to the attractions during Disneyland's 50th anniversary festivities.

Visit Doombuggies site to get the audio.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Single-Handed Feature Animation!

Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss is a 77-minute feature animation by former Disney animator, Phil Nebbilink. He spent 4 1/2 years animating the entire film in Flash. It is the story of two star crossed seals from warring families that fall in love against the wishes of their parents.

This is where it's at folks. When a guy can animate an entire feature alone using readily available software and his own drawing and storytelling talents, well then you've simply got the future of 2D animation right in front of you.

Visit the film's web site and see a trailer

Thank you to Cold Hard Flash for originally posting this.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Making of a Comic Strip

42 pages of excellent how-to stuff all about Lynn Johnston's For Better Or For Worse daily comic strip. There's tons of information and images about the strip's writing, drawing, inking, toning, and final delivery for printing. There are specifics on what tools are used and how character poses are rendered using photos for reference. Really cool stuff.

Go Learn About How the Strip is Made

Thank you to The Daily Cartoonist for originally posting this.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Miniscule - An Amusing Action Short About Bugs

A blend of live-action with CG animation, Miniscule is a short action film about bugs that's very amusing. It is from a French production company called Futurikon and serves as the first episode of a new Disney Channel show coming soon.

Watch 'Miniscule.'

Thank you to Cartoon Brew for posting this.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Little Critique - Flash Animation

Animator Sam Chi has posted a new film that he made in Flash. It is a quiet, unrushed film with fluid movement and a nice setting.

Watch 'A Little Critique.'

Thank you to Cold Hard Flash for posting this.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ook the Book - The Making Of

Artist Shannon McNeill has posted a web page about how her new book, 'Ook the Book' was made. Plus there are plenty of illustrations and greeting card designs on her site.

Thank you to Drawn for posting this.

Sparkle Friends

Here's an animation from New Zealand animation studio, Mukpuddy. It's called 'Got Gunge?' and stars the Sparkle Friends. It's sort of nutty and colorful and does video game stuff and has goofy sounds. And lots of green slime!

Watch it here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Zip and Li'l Bit in the Upside-Down Me

Trade Loeffler writes and draws an online comic that is updated every Thursday and Sunday. It's about a brother and sister and a mysterious upside-down character. It looks very nicely drawn and has that quiet charm and subtle humor that is somewhat lacking in many comics and animations.

Read the comic here.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Strawberry Pie - CGI Animation

Here's a great little film by a university student named Antonio Reyna. It's about a boy on a hilltop who tries mightily to welcome his new neighbor.

It is a charming little tale and it looks very good. You know, with all these incredible university animators around there should be enough entertainment available to save us all sorts of money we might otherwise waste trying to watch movies about talking Chevron cars.

Watch the film here.

Tenggren Illustrations for Grimms' Tales

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has posted illustrations from a 1923 book of Grimms' Tales by Gustaf Tenggren.

You can see them here.

I do believe the one to left here is from Hansel and Gretel. Look at those big wondering eyes on the children. And I think Gretel has just dropped the piece of the gingerbread that she was eating. It's never a good thing to be caught eating someone's house.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth - Global Warming Movie

Former Vice President Al Gore has been presenting a talk and slide-show around the country on the extremely serious problem of global warming. That presentation inspired the making of 'An Inconvenient Truth.' This movie presents information that the vast majority of the world's scientists say is accurate. They agree that global warming is a global catastrophe that can only be averted through immediate action.

Usually, when the vast majority of world scientists say something is so it is so. When the vast majority of scientists said we could land on the moon, we did. When the vast majority of them said we could split atoms, we did. When the vast majority of them said we could fly faster than sound, we did. The guy standing there arguing with them usually ends up as a historical joke. I am going to trust the vast majority of scientists on this issue.

Go see this movie. Take the kids. Watch a trailer for it here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sébastien - Another Gobelins Animation

'Sébastien' is another student animation from the Gobelins school in France. I like this one's idea about creativity and its excellent backgrounds.

Watch it here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Thief and the Cobbler - An Animated Masterpiece

'The Thief and the Cobbler' is an animated feature film by three-time Academy Award winning director Richard Williams who was the animation director for 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit.'

This film was made over a 25-year period and was never released in the form intended by its maker. This version has been restored by fans and posted on the YouTube service in 16 parts. It incorporates some of the original scene sketches in place of missing parts, but the majority of the film is here and it's just fantastic.

It is obvious in the first five minutes that this thing is one of the great animated films. It far surpasses Disney's 'Aladdin' which obviously owes a lot to this film. As soon as the film begins, you know you are in the hands of an absolute master of the medium. It's not often that Candlelight Stories gets to recommend something this great so enjoy it while it's available.

You can watch the entire movie on YouTube by clicking here.

By the way, I originally found this via Xeni's post on

Friday, June 09, 2006

David's New Snail - A Flash Animation

Here's nice animation by Mike Adair. It stars his son's voice as the main character. The movie has great character touches and a nice simple design.

Watch it here

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Classic Animation Book Online

The Hollywood Animation Archive has posted a complete copy of an excellent book on animation. It's called 'Advanced Animation' and it was written by Preston Blair in 1947. Blair used the characters he had been working on for Disney and MGM to illustrate his examples. He goes through all the requirements for animating, from drawing heads, hands, and complete characters to animating walks, runs, dialog and emotions. It's amazing. You can follow along and draw all the sketches yourself and you end up having taken a complete course in animation!

Go see it here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Badgered - An Oscar-Nominated Animation

'Badgered,' a film by Sharon Colman that was nominated for an Academy Award is done in a simple illustrative style. It tells the story of a badger who just wants some quiet time but can't seem to find it.

The film takes its time telling its story and has a very effective audio track.

Watch it here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Big Win - CG Animation

Studio AKA made this 1-minute CG animation that is supposed to be a commercial for the lottery in the United Kingdom. It's called 'The Big Win.' It is a really gorgeous little movie about a guy who gets a duffel bag full of smiles and plasters them on other people. It was directed by Marc Craste, who made a short CG film called 'Jo Jo in the Stars.' Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the tip.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Astérix Feature Animation

Here's a feature animation that looks like a lot of fun. It's called 'Astérix and the Vikings.' It was produced by A Film in Denmark. They have put together an English-speaking cast but, so far, there is no release scheduled for the U.S.

Astérix is a very popular French comic book character, created in 1959 as the hero of a series of volumes of comic books by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). Uderzo has continued the series since the death of Goscinny in 1977. Astérix is a small but fearless warrior who lives in a village of ancient Gaul, surrounded by Roman legions. He gets superhuman strength by drinking special potions brewed by a Druid. The comics contain humor that appeals both to children and adults.

The movie has a great web site (all in French) with lots of pictures. You should try watching the really cool trailer for the movie. If you want to know more about the Astérix comics, check out the official Astérix web site.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Heron and the Crane - A Russian Fairy Tale

This 1974 animation is by Russian animator, Yuri Norstein. It uses paint and cutouts for its characters. Norstein also used painted glass panels that he could move in order to give a feeling of depth to his scenes.

You can find a Norstein DVD for sale here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Machinima Film of 'Dracula's Guest'

I had to do it. This is my movie of Bram Stoker's Dracula's Guest. It uses the technique called 'machinima.' That's when you use the graphics engine from a computer game to make the scenes for your movie. This movie was hard to make because it has a lot of shots that needed to fit seamlessly together and it uses a subtle sound track that had to be made from scratch. I hope you enjoy it. I'm posting it here mainly because I love the way the YouTube service streams the video so easily.

Musical Animation Combines Puppetry and 3D

Here's a fun little movie that combines puppets with computer animation to create a sort of old-timey, musical movie that just revels in itself. It's called Graveyard Jamboree with Mysterious Mose. It was made by an animation company called Screen Novelties.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

First American Animation from 1906

In 1906, James Stuart Blackton created 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces,' the first animated American film.

Blackton, along with his partner, Robert E. Smith, had already started the first motion picture studio, Vitagraph Pictures, when this animation was made.

It uses a simple chalk-board technique, but provides an excellent glimpse into the excitement and experimentation of the time. And, frankly, it is so early that it completely avoids the overbearing Disney invention known as 'squash and stretch.' There is so much about 'squash and stretch' that obliterates all attempts at seriousness and artistic expression. It is interesting to watch early animators who had no knowledge of that technique. Try, if you will, to imagine how animation might have developed if it had bypassed Disney.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Edmund Dulac Illustrations of Poe Stories

If you want to see some absolutely stunning illustrations, head over the and look at Edmund Dulac's illustrations for The Poetical Works of Edgar Allen Poe (1912). This is about the best there is anywhere.

By the way, the International Animated Film Society is creating a virtual archive of animation. They plan to digitize thousands of animated films for public access and research. The Animation Archive site is part of that effort. If you want to know why someone would create an archive of animation, read this.

Posted by Alessandro at

Thursday, February 02, 2006

'Quiet Please' - Brilliant 1940s Radio Suspense

Oh wow! Here's something amazing. An old radio suspense series from the late 1940's. It's called 'Quiet Please.' The shows were written and created by Wyllis Cooper. The main actor was Ernest Chappell. It was played on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1947 through 1949.

It is widely regarded as one of the greatest radio dramas ever created. When you listen to these you will see where TV's 'Twilight Zone' found its inspiration. You can't beat this stuff. Now I want to go out and buy an old radio just to listen to these.

I'm giving these shows a good, thorough listen while forming ideas for Candlelight's own suspense audio stories.

You can get a huge listing of 'Quiet Please' episodes from a site called, '' Turn out the lights, disconnect the phone and let your computer play these brilliantly frightening dramas for you.

Posted by Alessandro at

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

'Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot' - A Sundance Short

Here's an animated short by David Chai that was part of the Sundance Film Festival. It looks like the best one to me. It's called 'Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot.'

It's a charming, funny story, with excellent drawing.

Posted by Alessandro at

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wallace & Gromit Behind the Scenes

Dreamworks has a fun behind-the-scenes clip in QuickTime format about 'Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.'

It's not long, but it has shots of the miniature sets and plasticine figures used to make the movie. It's fun to pause the film and look at the clutter of cool stuff the Aardman animators use.

Posted by Alessandro at

Sunday, January 29, 2006

War of the Worlds Comic Online

Dark Horse comics has a free online comic book of 'War of the Worlds.'

I like the way they have kept the comic in the same period setting as the H. G. Wells novel.

Posted by Alessandro at

Saturday, January 28, 2006

'Le Piment,' an Animation from France

There's a French school of animation called Gobelins and the students there produce some extraordinary animations. These animators consistently create films that get worldwide attention and play at the Annecy festival.

This one's called 'Le Piment.'

Posted by Alessandro at

Comic Artist Posts Tutorial

Comic artist Kazu Kibuishi has posted a complete tutorial on how he draws his 'Copper' comics. He covers penciling, lettering, inking, and coloring in Photoshop.

You can also see a bunch of his completed comics.

Where did I hear about this? A great site called Drawn!

Posted by Alessandro at

Vintage 'Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp' Cartoon

Another Ub Iwerks cartoon from the early 1930s. This guy invented everything that made Disney famous and when he left to start his own studio, Disney was not able to recover the spark of irreverent genius that Iwerks had lent the company.

Click Here to Watch 'Aladdin's Lamp'

You'll need a player that handles MP4 video files. Quicktime does this.

This video file comes from the Internet Archive, where you can find thousands of public domain movies.

Where did I hear about this? A great site called Vintage ToonCast. Check them out.

Posted by Alessandro at

Vintage 'Jack and the Beanstalk' Cartoon

Ub Iwerks made this early 1930's cartoon of great fairy tale. Iwerks invented Micky Mouse for Disney and then left the studio to start his own company.

Click Here to Watch 'Jack and the Beanstalk'

You'll need a player that handles MP4 video files. Quicktime does this.

This video file comes from the Internet Archive, where you can find thousands of public domain movies.

Where did I hear about this? A great site called Vintage ToonCast. Check them out.

Posted by Alessandro at

French Animated Film - Les Ailes du Papillon

'Les Ailes du Papillon' is a French animation by 24-year-old artist, Benjamin Gibeaux. I first learned of the film by seeing it posted as Cartoon Brew Film of the Week over at the excellent animation blog, 'Cartoon Brew.'

The film is quiet and powerful, with excellent ink-drawn animation. The film has a depth of meaning that is unusual but very welcome.

Posted by Alessandro at