Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Paint.NET - Free Image Editing Software

Paint.NET is a free painting and image editing software for Windows computers. It has lots of special effects, painting and drawing tools, and it uses layers the way Photoshop does.

Go try Paint.NET

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lonely Sea Monster - A Dark Children's Tale

Deanna Molinaro writes very sly, dark, funny children's stories. Several of her works are available on her web site. Lonely Sea Monster shows what happens when a little girl meets up with a perfectly ordinary sea monster. These stories are sort of in the general area of A Series of Unfortunate Events as far as concerns their morbid approach to entertaining young readers. Make sure you are comfortable with the stories before reading them to very young children. The drawings are simple but absolutely top-notch. Thank you to editor John Brownlee over at the Table Of Malcontents blog on Wired.com for pointing this out.

Go read Lonely Sea Monster

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Cat Who Walked by Herself - Russian Feature Animation

Yet another magnificent Russian animation! This is a 1988 feature animation adapted from Rudyard Kipling's story, The Cat Who Walked by Himself. It was directed by Ideya Garanina and made at the Soyusmultfilm studio. It mixes stop-motion and hand-drawn animation with an exuberant freedom that is quite something to watch. The film is beautiful. The more I see of great Russian animation the more I am convinced that many of their animators somehow avoided the great mistakes of the Disney-influenced animation of the West. The greatest of these mistakes as I see them are the assumption that clarity of line and color are important, and the principal of squash and stretch which states that motion is somehow more pleasing and humorous if everything behaves as if made of rubber. The Russian animators are more interested in beauty and feeling than in being understood or getting laughs. This is a full feature available on Google Video because a user made his own English subtitles and uploaded the entire film.

Go watch The Cat Who Walked by Herself

Click here for more info about the film at Wikipedia

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Amazing Russian Animation - Zhil byle pyos

Zhil byle pyos is a 1981 Russian animation from the Soyuzmultfilm company. It was written and directed by Eduard Nazarov. The movie is just wonderful. It is simple and gorgeous to look at. The characters are expressive without that absurd exaggeration that's so popular in Western animation. The story comes from an old Ukrainian folk tale about a dog that is thrown out of his home. His unlikely friendship with a wolf leads to a plan for getting the dog back home and saving the wolf from hunger. The film's soundtrack is all ambient natural sounds and helps create an unusual atmosphere. There are no silly sound effects here. Just a really good, moving story with living characters and a landscape that is stunning. It is just this kind of film that animation studios seem to have so little inclination to make. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because most animation studios are so busy making commercials.

Go watch Zhil byle pyos

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One Mile From Home - Artist's Web Site

Julie Oakley is an artist in Great Britain who has a web site called One Mile From Home. She set herself a challenge to walk one mile in any direction every single day for a year and to make one drawing on each walk. The results are incredible. She is a supreme sketcher of landscapes, people, plants, buildings... everything. The web site is so full of wonderful art that I kind of lost my taste for all the other illustration sites I know about. I think if you want to draw or to be an artist, all you really need is a site like this to visit.

Go to One Mile From Home

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Friday, May 04, 2007

Kid Cartoonists Web Site

Kid Cartoonists is a very simple web site where kids can get their cartoons posted for everyone to see. It's run by cartoonist Bob Weber Jr. who draws the Slylock Fox and Comics for Kids strip that runs in newspapers.

Go to Kid Cartoonists

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Tale of How - Animation from South Africa

The Tale of How is a dreamlike musical animated short produced by a group called The Blackheart Gang in South Africa. It's about a world under the Indian Ocean (at least I think that's right) where some odd sort of bird creatures are threatened by the evil octopus Otto. I really like the extremely layered, misty, illustrative look of the movie. It uses old-fashioned 2-dimensional illustration done with incredible attention to detail and combines this with 3D computer graphics that are very cleverly blended in. Great work. Let's have more.

Go watch The Tale of How

This blog entry comes from CandlelightStories.com

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Learn to Draw Star Wars

Artist Matt Busch teaches you how to draw characters from Star Wars. The video tutorials are fun and good. This particular one teaches you all about how to use light and shadow in your drawings to make them look totally real.

Go learn to draw Star Wars
I heard about this at Drawn!