Wednesday, April 25, 2007

awdbawllz - Fast Sketch Greeting Card Videos

Rik Maki, a character designer at Disney posts videos of himself making fast, funny sketches that have little greetings. And he does it all by hand... with a pencil. He should make a movie.

Check out awdbawllz
I heard about this at Drawn!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Drawing Comics is Easy! - Book by a 7-Year-Old

Drawing Comics is Easy! Except When it's Hard is a book on how to draw comics by seven-year-old Alexa Kitchen. This kid draws comics very freely and they are really funny. This is totally cool and I hope she keeps making books for a long time. She also has a web site where you can see some of her work.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Frog Princess - Disney Tries Its Brown Crayons

The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to release a 2D hand-drawn feature animation of The Frog Princess in 2009. The movie will apparently be set in Jazz Age New Orleans and feature Disney's first black princess. On the surface, this sounds like really good news. It is also the first time I have been made aware that the U.S. animation industry provides its artists with colors darker than light pink or a light tan. This should be very interesting. Is it noticeable that the entire human cast, except one, of Disney's Meet the Robinsons were all colored pink? Seriously. Here you have a movie about orphans in the present day and the future, and guess what... they are all exactly the same shade of pink! There's one character painted a sort of light coffee tan, who for some reason goes unlisted on the Disney web site. And if you watch closely, this light coffee tan character does not get to go to the future. That's because only the pink characters are allowed to be in the future of this movie. Go to the Disney web site here and look at the cast of characters. See what I mean?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Minus - An Online Comic

Minus is an online comic by Ryan Armand who decided to try drawing a comic strip as if he were doing it for an early 20th century American newspaper. The idea is an excellent one and the results are very charming. The central character of the strips seems to be able to make incredible things happen with her imagination.

Go read Minus

Monday, April 16, 2007

Making an Animated Movie Online

Who is this? I thought you might ask. This is a test image of the main character in my next animated movie. As of now, the movie's title is The Visit. That may change. So might my little main character. In fact, the entire drawing technique might change. That's sort of the point. You are going to be able to follow along as the movie is designed and animated. I'll start an online journal soon. It will have character designs, backgrounds, animatics, sketches, and story ideas. The movie will be made in Flash. I'll try to give you as much information as I can about the animation process. You'll also get to see lots of my mistakes... there are more than enough of those!

Update: the blog is now live. Go read the Make the Movie blog to follow along with the production.

Page d'Ecriture - Animation from Italy

The italian national film school is called CSC. Three students there made this film called Page d'Ecriture. They are Filippo Giacomelli, Fabio Tonetto, and Juan Francisco Correa Diaz. The film combines 3D and 2D techniques. It has simplicity and grace, a sense of fun, and good timing. There is a lot of life contained within the frame. Plus, this film has that sensibility about children, school and imagination that one can only find in Italy. Please make more of these.

Go watch Page d'Ecriture

You can also visit the film's production blog

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Just One More Book - Children's Book Podcast

Just One More Book is a thrice-weekly podcast about children's books. The site has book reviews and interviews with authors and illustrators. The group that produces these shows has been at it for a while and has amassed a library of over 100 reviews. You can even record your own review online and send it to the site's organizers. This is a very useful site that is put together with a lot of style and intelligence.

Go to the Just One More Book Web Site

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sticky Burr, Adventures in Burrwood Forest

Sticky Burr, Adventures in Burrwood Forest is a book that is written and illustrated by John Lechner. The whole thing started out as an online comic that the author created just because he wanted to. It's about a little burr who lives in Burrwood Forest. He plays the ukulele and has all sorts of interesting adventures. The author's web site is full of fun stuff for kids like a Sticky Burr movie, an online journal about life in the forest, a complete map of the forest, a game, and information about all the characters in the story. This is the way children's books should be handled online. It's just perfect.

Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest

Go see the Sticky Burr Web Site

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Drawing for Animation - Disney Artist Instruction

Walt Stanchfield was a Disney animator who wrote handouts for the company on gesture drawing for more effective animation of characters. The handouts are loaded with drawing examples and will keep you occupied for weeks of learning. Just get out a sketchpad, open the PDF documents, and follow along with your pencil. This kind of thing is just great for getting one in the right frame of mind for drawing. We found this over at the excellent Drawn! blog.

Go get the Walt Stanchfield Drawing Handouts

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Flash Animation from China

Here's a really great looking, fast-moving, colorful animation called Sidamingzhu from a company called ItsCartoon in China. I love the way this cartoon flies around non-stop, out of control and totally full of life. I wish I knew what the characters were saying, but it's great even if I don't speak Chinese! I found this posted over at the ColdHardFlash blog.

Have fun watching!

Go see Sidamingzhu

Monday, April 02, 2007

Asimov's - Science Fiction Magazine

I can't believe I've only just started buying these excellent magazines. Asimov's Science Fiction is a monthly that publishes short stories, novellas, novelletes, poetry and editorials. Science fiction great, Isaac Asimov, the author of I-Robot and the Foundation series, was the magazine's editorial director from its inception in 1977 to his death in 1992. Over the years, the stories from Asimov's have won 44 Hugo Awards and 25 Nebula Awards. The price is low and if you are into science fiction you will find a comfortable home here with many of the world's best authors. The 30th Anniversary issue is out now and it is fantastic. I've got a copy right next to me as I write this and I am currently reading a novella by Allen M. Steele called The River Horses.

The magazine has a website that is not very attractive but it has all the information you need to subscribe or just find out what's inside the pages. You can find Asimov's at most newsstands and book stores.

Go the Asimov's website

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Making of Snow White by Men and 'Girls'

In 1938 Popular Science Magazine did a fascinating 5-page article with lots of pictures on the making of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The article is full of technical details on the invention of the giant multi-plane camera that made scenes with great depth and many background layers possible.

Unfortunately, the article is also filled with telling examples of the magazine's and Disney's prehistoric attitudes toward women. All female Disney workers in the article are referred to as 'girls' or 'girl artists.' Here's an example of a caption: 'A girl in the paint department mixes colors to be applied to celluloid by the 140 girl artists. Each tint must conform to specifications.' Hmmm... I think actually that Disney needed more of these 'girl artists' on the job. Then maybe their movies wouldn't have been so boring. Or maybe they should have hired some 'boy artists' since men were so obviously in short supply.

Go read the article about interesting Disney attitudes and techniques