Friday, March 30, 2007

The Golden Goose - Audio Story


Here's a children's audio story from the free Sound Story podcast at It's called The Golden Goose and it comes from the collection of Brothers Grimm stories. It concerns three brothers, one of whom is a simpleton. When this simpleton finds a golden goose opportunities and complications seem to meet him at every turn. Enjoy your listen!

The illustration is by Leslie Brooke and is from a 1905 book entitled, 'The Golden Goose Book.'

Duration: 00:09:58

Gerald McBoing-Boing - Classic Cartoon

Gerald McBoing-Boing is a 1950 UPA cartoon that won the Academy Award for best animated short. It is about a little boy who communicates through sound effects instead of talking. It was voted one of the 50 greatest cartoons of all time in 1994 by animation professionals. It uses abstraction and caricature in an effort to move away from the Disney style of animation at the time.

The link below takes you to a YouTube version of the movie. There may be material at YouTube that is not appropriate for young viewers. Parents, use your judgement.

Go watch Gerald McBoing-Boing

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Havoc in Heaven - Chinese Animation

Havoc in Heaven is a 1960s feature animation from China. It was directed by Wan Laiming and produced by the Wan Brothers. It is a literary adaptation about the Monkey King who goes to heaven to stage a rebellion against the Jade Emperor of Heaven. The movie is absolutely stunning, with fantastic balletic motion, incredible characters, gorgeous settings and a spinning pinwheel of color that is incredible to behold.

The link below takes you to a YouTube version of the movie. There may be material at YouTube that is not appropriate for young viewers. Parents, use your judgement.

Go watch Havoc in Heaven

Tales of Pirates - Online Adventure Game

Tales of Pirates is an online pirate game that is currently in beta testing. You can sign up to play their latest beta version this Friday. It looks like it's got all the pirate essentials along with an anime graphics style. Have fun!

Tales of Pirates

Digital Doodle - Draw and Share Online

Digital Doodle is an online time-waster for all of us. Each week a new theme is announced and you try to draw your best picture and submit it for voting by viewers. You can select your colored pencils and draw anything you like.

Digital Doodle

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pirates Don't Change Diapers - Illustrated Children's Book

In this new children's book by Melinda Long and David Shannon, plucky young Jeremy Jacob is reunited with Captain Braid Beard and his crew of buccaneers in a follow-up to the bestselling How I Became a Pirate. This time, Jeremy clearly has the upper hand: he won't let the pirates dig up the treasure they buried in his backyard at the end of the previous book until they help him placate his cranky baby sister, Bonney Anne. -- Publishers Weekly

Pirates Don't Change Diapers

Minushi - Animated Feature Made in Flash

Tyler Gibb has finished his feature-length animation, Minushi. It's an action-packed futuristic story about an orphan who sets out to find her older brother in a world that is under martial law. The film was released as a web serial over the past four years. It is very well animated and has an excellent soundtrack with effective voice acting from its cast.

Go to the site for Minushi

Meet the Robinsons - Disney's New One

Well it looks like Disney may have made an animated movie that I might actually and shockingly want to go see. It involves a brilliant inventor, his memory scanner machine, a time machine, and a dastardly thief. It is directed by Stephen Anderson who apparently is not one of the folks from Pixar. This may be a good thing. The movie looks really cool and I like it's colors, its wonderfully cartoony characters, the cityscapes, and all the goofy retro future machinery. Also, it does not seem to be about a group of toys or animals that get lost and try to find their way somewhere. That's a welcome change.

Go to the site for Meet the Robinsons

Adobe Creative Suite 3

We are big fans and users of Adobe's Flash software around here. Creative Suite 3 is the upcoming release of just about everything Adobe makes in packages customized for different types of users. The package aimed at animators and filmmakers contains Flash 9 Professional, Photoshop Extended, Premiere Pro, After Effects Professional, Illustrator, Soundbooth, and Encore.

Go read about Adobe Creative Suite 3

Zita the Space Girl - A Web Comic

Ben Hatke makes this charming web comic called Zita the Space Girl. It's loopy and fun and has a nice loose style of drawing. I like the way Hatke takes elements from Japanese anime, like the big feet and spiked hair, and turns them into nice easy, expressive character designs. This comic is great for all ages. We hope to see more of this one.

Go read Zita the Space Girl

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sprout - A Hand-Drawn Storybook Game

Here's a really nice storybook adventure game where you try to make a little seed pod cross an ocean and a wild landscape by making it grow into different kinds of trees so that it can send out airborne seeds or produce fruit. It's all done in a very nice sketch art style and it really makes you use your brain. More games like this please!

This game was made by CustomLogic.

Play Sprout

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Triplanetary - A 1934 Amazing Stories Novel

In 1934 the pulp magazine Amazing Stories published a serialized science fiction novel called Triplanetary by E. E. Smith. It is an action-packed space opera with lots of spaceships, battles, weapons and wild galactic sci-fi ideas.

Project Gutenberg has made the entire novel available in HTML and plain text versions for free download. You can also get the illustrations that went with the novel.

This is one of those surprising finds that make the Web so completely cool.

Read Triplanetary.

Here's the link to the images.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dr. Suess Animation from Russia

This 1986 film called Welcome, is based on a 1948 Dr. Suess book called Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. It was made by Alexei Karayev using a painted glass technique instead of ink and paper.

It's a nice blurry, flowing, messy, painted, sloppy and beautiful film with a lot of meaning hidden just beneath the surface.

Watch Welcome.

I heard about this from Cartoon Brew.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Paprika - Japanese Anime Feature

Here's a trailer for an upcoming Japanese anime movie called Paprika. Satoshi Kon directed it. The trailer looks very interesting and very pretty. I have trouble with anime though. Most examples of it that I have seen tend to wear thin on story and character development very quickly. I must admit that I have never been able to stay awake beyond the first 30 minutes of a Miyazaki movie. They are extremely repetitive with almost identical characters, stiff, jerky motion and an almost unbearable, heavy-handed fixation on flying. I find that these movies work well as trailers, but do not have enough in them to last for 90 minutes. However, this trailer does look nice. One interesting thing about anime - it looks to me like Japanese animators have almost completely dispensed with that odd American Disney technique called 'squash and stretch' animation that makes everything look all noodly and soft. That is probably a good thing. But it remains to be seen if a Japanese anime can keep me awake.

Watch the Paprika Trailer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Neo-Mickey: An Animated Tribute to a Certain Mouse

Matthew Cruickshank, a London animator, has made an interesting tribute to a certain famous mouse. The short film has no real story; it's just a strange journey of the imagination. I like it's easy-going nature and its simple rendition of a bizarre landscape.

Watch Neo-Mickey.