Maybe is a sweet little, 2-minute, “Eco-piece” by Sam Chou of Toronto’s Style5 animation boutique. Chou says the work was inspired by a frustrating conversation he’d had with a friend. The film asks fundamental questions about human nature and our relationship to the environment, and uses a combination of techniques: from the traditional, hand-drawn animation, rotoscoping, to full on digital painting and compositing.
Sorry for the last minute notice, but our friend Joseph Games (Chogrin) says a full-length preview episode of Adventure Time will air TONIGHT (Thursday, March 11th) at 8:30pm Eastern (5:30pm Pacific) on Cartoon Network.
With so little originality in TV animation these days, I’m really rooting for this series to catch on. It’s not “Spumco” or the cookie cutter standard we’ve come to expect from CN, Nick or Disney. Pen’s got a fresh new take that TV cartoons desperately need. His art style it isn’t everyone’s “cup of tea”, but I love it – and we need more artists and creators like him.
The show’s official premiere will be on Monday, April 5th. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, visit Pen Ward’s website, read the production blog, watch the original pilot and check out the cool tribute art by The Autumn Society.
The artists behind Tim Burton’s new Alice In Wonderland film will make a one-time appearance for a panel, Q&A and book signing this Saturday afternoon at Alhambra’s Gallery Nucleus.
The event will begin at 2pm and run all afternoon, Saturday March 13th. Nucleus will also be the first and only location for you to purchase a copy of the ‘Art of’ book, Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, before its release date (March 30th). Speakers in attendance will include character designer Michael Kutsche and concept artists Dylan Cole, Scott Lukowski, Steven Messing, Daphne Yap, Christian Gossett and Jim McPherson. For more information, visit the Nucleus Gallery website.
Michael Sporn has posted an amazing article about Harvey Kurtzman’s animated work for Sesame Street. There’s a lot of rare artwork in the piece alongside info on how he collaborated with Phil Kimmelman and Associates to make the cartoons.
In particular what stood out to me is this unbelievable page of animation drawings by Dante Barbetta. Loose, free and funny animation–it’s what shows like Chowder can only dream of being.
Here’s the finished piece:
Direct from District 9:
Amid brought me a gift from his recent trip to Singapore – a package of these Tom & Jerry Prawn Crackers. Hey, don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it… but I don’t see this coming to the Whole Foods Market anytime soon.
How do I love thee, let me count the ways: this isn’t so much a book review, but a book RAVE. Craig Yoe’s massive new tome reprinting the comic book art of Milt Gross (IDW/Yoe Books, 354 color pages, $39.99 or cheaper on Amazon) is an absolute must-have by everyone reading this blog. Buy it now. Gross was the dean of funny cartoonists, influencing everyone from Bob Clampett and Harvey Kurtzman to R. Crumb. He pioneered what we call today the graphic novel, worked in animation, wrote songs, coined slang, had a long running newspaper comic strip and directed two insane MGM cartoons in the 1930s (I’ve embed one of them, Jitterbug Follies (1939), below).
Yoe’s new book reprints Gross’ rarely seen comic pages for Picture News magazine and for the American Comics Group (ACG) from the 1940s. He precedes this with a 38 page detailed history of Milt Gross, loaded with rare cartoons, advertisements, still photos and frame grabs that are worth the price of the book alone. A Foreword by Herb Gross (Milt’s son) and a clever “Fold-INtroduction” by Mad’s Al Jaffee set the zany tone. The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story; To paraphrase both Jack Kirby and Milt Gross: Dun’t Esk, just buy it!
Now online: Runaway, a popular short from last year by Cordell Barker (The Cat Came Back). And kudos to the NFB for making so much of their animation library, past and present, readily accessible online.
(Thanks, Warren Leonhardt)
It’s not often that I plug an animated short that isn’t finished yet, but I can’t resist this time. Slim Pickings Fat Chances is an almost-finished short by David de Rooij and Jelle Brunt from the Netherlands. The film makes no pretensions about being anything other than a funny cartoon (dialogue-less to boot), and it reminds me of a 1950s Tex Avery short in the best way possible. The timing is sharp and spot-on, the animation is funny, the characters are appealingly drawn, and the backgrounds have a delightful Paul Julian vibe. Usually, whenever artists try to capture the animation style of a bygone era, they fall short in some area or another and the effect is ruined. It’s rare when all the cogs are in place like this cartoon. It reaffirms my belief that there are superbly talented young artists working in animation today, and even when the mainstream industry doesn’t provide them opportunities, they create their own. The filmmakers have a production blog with concept art, animation tests, character designs and more. Keep an eye out for Slim Pickings Fat Chances when it hits the festival circuit later this year.
(PS: I found out about this short when David de Rooij won the caricature contest on the Brew a few weeks ago and told me about his film. A silver lining in a difficult situation.)
I had a wonderful time in the City of Orange yesterday, guest speaking at Bill Kroyer’s class at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. While there, I visited a few antique shops in town and came across this vintage public school reader, In The City and On The Farm (1940). What caught my attention in the book was a 3-page chapter (thumbnails below, click to enlarge) about going to the movies to see a cartoon – Papa Penguin. It’s rare enough to find any acknowledgement of animated films in American culture at the time, even rarer in an elementary school text book. And this one sort-of predicts the spate of Penguin films to come (Happy Feet, Surf’s Up, et al). The third page even illustrates, via film strip, how the cartoon tells its story through pictures – just like a storyboard. I bought it (cheap) and decided to share – enjoy!
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the title Tangled isn’t the only thing being changed about Disney’s production of Rapunzel – it’s repositioning the film to attract a male audience.
From the article:
The makeover of “Rapunzel” is more than cosmetic. Disney can ill afford a moniker that alienates half the potential audience, young boys, who are needed to make an expensive family film a success.
Concluding it had too many animated girl flicks in its lineup, Disney has shelved its long-gestating project “The Snow Queen,” based on the Hans Christian Andersen story. “Snow Queen” would have marked the company’s fourth animated film with a female protagonist, following “The Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled” and Pixar’s forthcoming “The Bear and the Bow,” directed by Pixar’s first female director, Brenda Chapman, and starring Reese Witherspoon.
Since the release of its first movie, “Toy Story,” in 1995, Pixar has uniformly featured male leads in its films, including Buzz and Woody; Mr. Incredible, the middle-aged superhero in “The Incredibles”; and Lightning McQueen, the stock-car star of “Cars.”
Disney’s Tangled open on December 10th, 2010. Below is the latest teaser:
Quick, watch the first five minutes of this
before the Academy removes it from You Tube Oops, too late. Watch the clip here.
(Thanks, Matthew Gaastra)
The Help the Hodges charity auction, which we wrote about last December, is still continuing on eBay. As explained earlier, the money raised will support animator Tim Hodge whose son’s car was struck by a train last August. His son, Matthew, remains in a coma today. There are plenty of primo pieces including a lot of production and pre-production artwork from animated projects as well as illustration art, toys and books. New items are being posted to eBay regularly, and full item descriptions can be found on HelptheHodges.com.
The Oscar winners were announced tonight.
UP won two Academy Awards: It won for BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM and Michael Giacchino won an Oscar for its musical score.
The winner for BEST ANIMATED SHORT was LOGORAMA.
The highlight of the broadcast was a segment featuring lead characters from all five nominated animated films, Coraline, Mr. Fox, Louis the Alligator (from Princess and the Frog), Aisling (from Kells) and Carl & Dug from Up talking about being nominated. We’ll post this as soon as it’s online. In the meantime, congratulations to Pete Docter and Pixar – and let the talkback begin!
(illustration above by Oscar Grillo)
Speaking of the Oscars (isn’t everyone?), when I attended the Academy Feature Animation Symposium the other night I briefly met Bevin Carnes, winner of the 2007 Student Academy Award for Animation (Silver Medal). She made her prize winning film, A Leg Up, while a student at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and recently posted it on You Tube. Since winning the award, Carnes has since worked for Rhythm and Hues, Disney (on Bolt) and at Blue Sky, as an animator on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinisaurs. Here’s her film: