Viliam is Veronika Obertová‘s graduation short from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. The handmade papercraft technique fits nicely with the theme of obsessive artistic creation at all costs. I was also impressed by Obertová’s satiric styling and how she subverted the crisp and safe paper sculpture shapes with quasi-grotesque character designs comprised of dangling noses, freakish mouth shapes, spoked-wheel eyes and heavy black outlines.
For more about Animated Fragments, see this earlier post.
Promo for Canal Brasil by Sergio Yamasaki (Brazil): “The idea was to tell the audience that the twitter of the channel had changed due to a virus.”
Lip sync exercise from Roman Holiday by Deanna Trudeau (School of Visual Arts, USA)
“Leo Fisher” lip sync exercise by Marie-Margaux Tsakiri-Scanatovits (Royal College of Art, UK)
Anagrams by Phoebe Halstead (Kingston University, UK)
File No.4 by Patrick Doyon (Canada)
Haven’t posted a book review in a while, and I’m pleased to report I have several new acquisitions that are well-worth talking about.
First up, another great Craig Yoe IDW hard-cover comics compilation that I’d be raving about even if I didn’t write a brief introduction for it or have my picture in it. Popeye, The Great Comic Book Tales is a perfect companion to the excellent Segar Popeye volumes presently available. This book takes a look at the other great Popeye cartoonist, E.C. Segar’s successor, Bud Sagendorf. These are selected comic book stories from 1948 through 1957 and they are what I personally consider Popeye in his prime. That may be because I grew up reading this Popeye, so I have a particularly soft spot for Sagendorf’s version – which comes off as a combination of Segar, Fleischer, Famous Studios and a unique brand of lunacy that was Sagendorf’s own; the fact that he was a terrific cartoonist and hilarious storyteller only adds the fun. Stories here include Popeye’s battles with Jetoe (“The Champeen Fighter of the Planet Mars!”), The Sea Hag and the “Misermites”; The time he ate “Shrink Weed” and washes with “Spinach Soap”… and years ahead of Seinfeld, Sagendorf places Popeye in a story about “Nothing”! As usual Yoe starts off with 15 pages of unique one-eye sailor man introductory matter which includes rare press material and photographs – and the book itself is a beautiful production, a pleasure to look at, hold and display. It’s really good – and has my highest endorsement. Get it today!
I am a huge fan of this year’s Oscar-winning short, The Lost Thing. Scholastic has just released Shaun Tan’s original short story from which the film was based, along with two other tales illustrated by Tan (originally published separately in Australia between 1998 and 2001) in a wonderful new hardcover book. A girl finds a bright spot in a dark world; a boy leads a strange, lost creature home; and a group of peaceful creatures lose their home to cruel invaders. Three brilliantly visual fantasy tales, and a book that is itself a dazzling work of art. See for yourself – here’s a sample spread. The book is called Lost & Found and its a genuine winner.
Didier Ghez‘ ongoing series of Disney artist interviews, Walt’s People, is one of the all-time great projects of animation history and Disney scholarship. In each edition, Ghez rounds up a dozen-or-two interviews with the animators, writers, filmmakers and other Disney collaborators, famous and infamous, in published or unpublished pieces by noted historians, self-publishing a 300-plus page paperback loaded with new information and insights. His latest volume, just out, Volume 10 contains over 40 interviews by Bob Thomas – conducted in researching his 1976 biography of Walt. Interviewees include Ub Iwerks, Dick Huemer, Wilfred Jackson, Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl and on and on, including Disney himself, all in their own words. Jim Korkis provides additional insights and Diane Disney Miller contributes a Foreword. These volumes are vital to all who care about animation and how Disney created his world.
And finally, I want to give a shout-out to two animators who have just published new books that will certainly enrich their target audiences:
Celebrated animator and now educator Tony White preaches the gospel of 2D hand drawn every single day. He’s written several “How to” books and his latest is a bit different, but just as practical. It’s called Jumping Through Hoops, The Animation Job Coach and its essentially the primer for the aspiring animation artist. How to choose a great school; How to build a portfolio, find your first job and how to keep it – these are the topics Tony explores and discusses in frank, realistic terms. If you are just starting out – you should read this book.
Animator and character designer Brianne Drouhard (Batman Brave and Bold, Ben 10, etc), aka potatofarmgirl, has her first children’s book just out: Billie The Unicorn. It’s filled with gorgeous drawings of the type that used to be animated – this would have made a great TV special 25 years ago. In fact, it would make a great kids special or short childrens film today. I hope Brianne can figure that out – but until then, her new book will keep you and the small ones quite entertained.
Eric Dyer‘s The Bellows March is a sublime way to end our unintentional zoetrope week on Cartoon Brew. I first saw Dyer’s film when I was jurying the Ottawa animation festival a couple years back. The complex visual patterns and rhythms in his short have the dual qualities of mathematical precision and natural organic beauty. Even after watching the film multiple times, it still boggles my mind how Dyer, who is a professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County, planned and choreographed the production. Below is a video with a behind-the-scenes look at the circular sculptures, dubbed cinetropes, that were made with 3-D printed parts:
Max Hathaway, who sent me the link to the film and who assisted Dyer on this short, is working on his own zoetrope-esque animation with stop-motion armatures mounted on an animation rig. He’s documenting the production of the short on his blog.
Chicago based Tom Barrett shares this fan-made music video he made for the indie group, Neutral Milk Hotel, a decade ago. “Done over a 6 month period, in my spare time, using Maya 3D, Photoshop and After Effects. Everything was made from scratch for this video.”
Who needs drugs when you can watch (or make) films like this?
Danny Madden and his partners Jonathan Silva and Will Madden (collectively known as Ornana Films), created this hand drawn masterpiece at Rising Starr Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia.
“Nuclear Boy Has a Stomachache” explains the nuclear crisis in Japan through animation. The cute scatalogical analogies illustrate the power of animation to creatively summarize complex ideas, but the positive spin on the situation reeks of propaganda. It would be interesting to learn who commissioned the piece.
Here’s an unaired pilot from a few years back for an update to Hanna Barbera’s 1968 series, Wacky Races. It features the sons and daughters of the original cast and heck, its pretty good. How do I know its good? Cartoon Network didn’t pick it up.
(Thanks, Matthew Gaastra)
I was surprised to run across The Indescribable Nth, an odd curio from 1999 directed by Steve “Oscar” Moore and produced at Character Builders in Ohio. Moore, who lives in New Jersey nowadays, is also the director of Disney TV Animation’s Redux Riding Hood, a 1997 Oscar-nominated short that, as he notes on his site, “has since never aired on television, never been released on video or DVD, and has not been shown publicly since 1998.” One would assume there’s something seriously wrong with the film for it to be buried so unceremoniously, but its only crime is that it’s fairly funny and well made. Below is a clip from Redux Riding Hood.
Experimental – and cool. Chunkothy was directed and animated by Celyn Brazier at London-based Nexus. The track is from the new Wagon Christ album “Toomorrow”. Brazier created this amazing 2D music video in Photoshop, inspired by Norman McLaren with “multiple frames exposed and overlaid creating spontaneous and mesmerising patterns”. Indeed… consider me mesmerized.
Celyn Brazier – directing, deigning, coloring, animating
Beccy Mccray – producer
Steve Mcinerney – editor
Bali Engel – coloring, animating
Margot Tsakiri-scanatovits – assistant coloring
Manav Dhir – assistant coloring
It’s cartoon time on Stu Shostack’s Internet radio show, Stu’s Show. This week, Stu welcomes animators Jerry Eisenberg and Scott Shaw! – with Hanna-Barbera writer/historian Earl Kress as co-host – to discuss the golden age of Hanna Barbera’s TV cartoons.
If you’re a fan of Ruff, Reddy, Huck, Yogi, Fred, Barney, T.C., Wally Gator, and Magilla Gorilla, this is your chance to hear how they were all conceived, drawn, and animated by television’s top cartoon company! Jerry Eisenberg actually began with H-B while they were still at MGM and then became one of the regular layout artists for “The Flintstones”, plus many other 1960s classics. Scott joined H-B in the mid 70s, and worked on many series, but he’s also a genuine Flintstones buff – up until recently, he drew and animated practically all of the Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles commercials. Cap it all off with notes from H-B authority Earl Kress and you’ll be getting a dynamite couple of hours that are not going to be nearly enough…at least it’s a start.
And you can join in, too. If you’d like to ask these experts anything about the good ol’ days of Saturday morning cartoons, send an e-mail to comments-at-shokusradio.com – or call the station during the live broadcast today at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific. This show repeats each day at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific, 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific and 7am Eastern/10am Pacific.
And next week, yours truly Jerry Beck will appear with two full hours of DVD news and cartoon history. Tune into the discussion here!
“N.Y.C. (No York City)” by Rick Liss is a deliriously energetic pixilation tour of early-Eighties New York, where crime was rampant and mimes infested Central Park. A lot has changed since then, but the city’s relentless, wired bustle remains thankfully the same. The jarring electronic score, an inspired auditory complement, is by Laurie Anderson.