Thursday, December 20, 2007

Influence: Jamie Hewlett

Above: Hewlett's been the main influence on the style of my human characters for years, on right, my main character from the upcoming prison film. on left, cover of "rise of the ogre" a must have book of some fine gorillaz artwork!

Jamie Hewlett is hardly a surprising influence of mine, and many other artists. Particularly, I love his sense of cartoon design, how he shys away from the bulbous cartoonyness or overtly "shaped" designs that dominate animation today. MTV "Downtown" creator Chris Prynoski is a buddy of mine who is also heavily influenced by Jamie, and I can name several other animators whose work is directly effected by Hewlett's drawings. I've always believed that illustrations that rely too much on design are compensating for the inability to draw using the principles of weight and space. Jamie's drawings just look so damn good, a nice balance between detail and minimalism, graphic inks with traces of organic hand drawn line. I got the book "rise of the ogre" for my bday last year, and i'm still picking it up almost daily. it's a bit of a strange read, but worth it for the gorillaz artwork alone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gayest Animation Book Cover ever....

I was shopping for animation books the other day at barnes and noble for Christmas and i came across this gem by Paul Wells. Interesting choice for a cover, don't you think? I couldn't stop laughing, I quickly shared it with all my gay and straight friends alike, and it spread from there like an STD. I haven't read the book, i suppose I'm still shocked by the big naked dudes touching each others man junk on the cover. I've read some of Paul's books before, he's a bit of a intellectual about things that really aren't super sophisticated, but he writes some insightful stuff about animation. (cover art is a still by animator Barry Purves, thanks Brian).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ratatouille Doesn't Work.

I bet these are the first neg comments of Ratatouille, (a movie that really grabbed me at first, i'm on like 4 or 5 viewings now). So can someone explain why pulling someones hair controls their movement to such precision? This is a major part of the story, willing suspension of disbelief ruined! The movie is flawless in animation, directing, and basically everything else (it better be for the budget of these flicks). But why am I supposed to care about a rat that cooks? This is the type of souless, useless fantasy content and scenario that keeps animation chained to children's entertainment, or the ultimate in pukability "It's for the child in us all" (hawarf!), and further and further away from becoming something that can be on the cinematic level of "Godfather" or "Shawshank Redemption". (apples to oranges, perhaps) i'm going to chill on the neg posts for a while, i think the violence in masks is poisoning my attitude.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Rant: I Hate Animation...

Enjoy the punk rock Goya and a drawing from masks while you read my rant. A recent Cartoon Brew post by Amid Amidi (officially now a New Yorker, a fine addition) has reminded me why I want little to do with the Animation Industry. Why are there so many artists overly concerned with getting a "Pitch" through, with the ultimate goal of what? having a "Funny Show on Television", seems like such an insignificant goal. Where are the artists that are interested in moving the medium forward, or carry on traditions of quality, expression, inspiration, and ultimately having an impact on Art History? I'm so sick of hearing about Cartoon Network, Nick, Pitching, youtube, cintiqs and how Lassater is god. I hate the comic geek and social retard influence on such a legit artform. Society and art will always be linked, and when art is made by complete reject geeks that dwell in a world of fantasy and shallow representation or gutless entertainment for the lame child, what should we expect? well, just turn on the tv.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Influence: Fern Gully, a forgotten 90's feature....


Bill Kroyers 1992 feature "Fern Gully" is a formulaic, and annoyingly on the nose film, BUT, it has some FANTASTIC animation in it! One of my favorite characters of all time is the Hexxus (voiced by Tim Curry) when he is reborn with help of a bulldozers smoke stack.

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Handshake" illustrating personal emotion...

It would be timely(regrettably) to discuss my 2004 film "handshake", which is about two people meeting, falling in love, and then one being consumed by the other before casually moving on. The film was made to illustrate the feelings i had about an old relationship that caused substantial heartbreak. "Handshake" has been the best received of any of my films, and i think it's because it illustrates a personal struggle most of us have gone through at one time or another. One of the things i try to tell my students at Pratt is to find that personal story, and illustrate the feelings that make that story meaningful. Too much animation is flaky, light hearted, and stupid. created to entertain kids, or to tell weak, meaningless stories. Animating realistic emotions. that's the stuff. This film is for sale on my site, but for you bloggers, i've posted a high resolution version for free. enjoy.