Animation director-designer Gabe Swarr has launched the first designs in his new T-shirt line called Value Meal. “I like food,” says Gabe when asked about his inspiration for the series of shirts. And I really like these new shirts: simple yet bold and a delightfully “cheesy” sense of humor. I proudly wear Gabe’s earlier Big Pants Mouse shirts, but next time you see me around town, I just may be sporting a Beefy shirt. Additional details and ordering info at Value-Meal.com.
The summer of 2005 will go down as the animation artist’s blog renaissance. Artist blogs have been cropping up at an unbelievable rate this summer, and frankly, it’s exciting as hell. The animation industry may be incapable of recognizing and properly utilizing all the amazing talent at its disposal, but now the world can see for themselves just how incredibly talented today’s animation artists are. These blogs shouldn’t be confused as simply a second-generation incarnation of the traditional artist portfolio website. Portfolio sites have a tendency to be stagnant, an all-too prim and proper selection of artwork pieces that offer limited insight into both the artist and their work. Blogs, on the other hand, are a far more flexible and expressive form of communication, not to mention a more casual and inviting affair.
The effectiveness of blogs is evident in the wide variety of ways that animation artists have been using them so far: as a place for sharing quick sketches and gag drawings; production journals for their personal films (such as Tennessee Reid Norton’s blog); to offer personal reminisces about their animation experiences (see this great story by Uli Meyer about his time on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT); discuss techniques and approaches to the art form (look no further than Seward Street); show artwork by other artists who have influenced them; and perhaps most importantly, create a dialogue with other artists and fans through the comments sections of their blogs. As the animation blogging community expands exponentially, what new ways will artists find to use blogs? I can’t wait to find out.
There’s a lot of new blogs that I’d like to mention, but I’m going to list only a handful so as to not overwhelm readers. I don’t know how often I’ll do this, but I’ll try to do a roundup of interesting animation blogs every once in a while. Here we go:
Uli Meyer – feature animator/owner of London-based Uli Meyer Animation
Hans Bacher – art director of MULAN
Stephanie Choi – character designer on FOSTER’S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS
Marco Allard – animator on Disney’s TARZAN and LORENZO
John Nevarez – TV storyboard artist at Disney and elsewhere
Ryan Larkin, the celebrated wunderkind of 1960s Canadian animation whose downfall was the subject of Chris Landreth’s Oscar-winnning short RYAN (2004), is attempting to make a comeback. He is currently working on a new film, SPARE CHANGE, which will be his first animated film in many decades. To help raise funds for the film, Larkin recently created a silk-screen poster (pictured at right) celebrating the 100th anniversary of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a famous street in Montreal; Larkin has long been the street’s most celebrated panhandler. For details on the film and info on how to support its production, visit RyanBango.com. (Thanks, Heather Harkins)