Friday, April 28, 2006

Bill Peet

Here's a great site about legendary story artist, illustrator and children's author, Bill Peet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

RTS/Screen Yorkshire careers event

Animation censorship

Here's an absolutely fascinating article about censorship in golden-age Hollywood animation. I've giving this article from the letterbox and widescreen advocacy page a rant alert but it's well worth a read.

There are plenty of articles about "Tom and Jerry" and "Song of the South", but I never knew that the pastoral symphony in "Fantasia" was cropped and digitally manipulated to remove black centaurs in typically racist caricatures from the time. I understand why Disney feels the need to remove these for a family audience today, but as a piece of cinema history it is a shame it's not available to see in another version. However some of these clips are available. Click on the still to see a clip of the black centaur polishing the white centaurs hooves. I find it a disturbing scene but I'm not sure that means we should blot out the past. As the author says, if we do not learn from the past, we are condemned to repeat it.


I've just discovered this website from French ex-Disney animator Raul Garcia. If you've had fun animating and are wondering how you to make it that bit better, this site has some good tips and tutorials from an animation master. It's also has art galleries featuring drawings and cel paintings from classic animation history.

It is a shame that some of the lessons, like the man getting up from the chair, suffer from some classic mistakes (like twinning) when Raul Garcia knows much better. Nevertheless, it's still a very good site. I've added the site to my links.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Louis Labeck

I managed to find some time over Easter to knuckle down and do some character design work for what's probably going to be my next short film about a mime artist. The inspiration came from a brilliant 1 minute theatre play by Jack Goodstein which I saw at the 'Write On' 05 writing festival between Harrogate Theatre and Brooklyn College, New York. I think I like the (top) design, but please do comment. After all, that's the joy of blogging, right!
The sketch above was one my fist drawings. I like the rhythm and flowing lines but I've tried to achieve a more cartoony sense of caricature, particularly in the face.
I like the head in this concept (left) but I decided that definite bones, instead of 1920's rubber-hose arms, would make for clear poses. I've also settled for more minimal clothing which I think emotes a more impressionistic design. And I wouldn't want to get bogged down in all that CGI cloth!

Much more on this film over the next few weeks and months.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Live Music at Harrogate Theatre

My friend Mark, of Pumpleton Sonic Landscaping fame, has sent me this message. His work has contributed to the variety and vibrancy of the arts at Harrogate Theatre and is well worth supporting, wherever you live.

Hey up everyone. As you may or may not know we've been stopped putting music nights on at Harrogate Theatre. Please show your support by signing this petition to get live music back in the Theatre's programminge, and please pass it on to as many people as possible. This is as much about supporting grassroots live music as it is about our specific cause.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's a small world after all!

I've just got an email from an old friend from animation college at Bournemouth. Andy Grisdale, who now works as an animator at Blur Studios in LA, saw my blog and got in touch. Fantastic!

The last time I saw Andy was in London when I was working on "The Tigger Movie". It was the opening weekend of Star Wars Episode 1 and everyone was hoping it might be good. Tickets sold out in Leicester Square for the show, so I went to idle some time away, get an ice cream and sat under a tree in one of London's parks - and bumped into Andy and some other friends by complete chance! Weirder still, they just happened to have a spare ticket for the very Star Wars performance I wanted to see. Crazy! We had such great day it took another viewing of the film to decide it actually wasn't very good!

Andy has a fantastic website and blog with some brilliant short films. Well worth a look.

Monday, April 03, 2006

John Paul II remembered

I was listening to the news yesterday about the 1st year commemorating the death of Pope John Paul II.

I was in Lithuania last year when he died so and I've found these photographs.

It was extraordinary and really very moving to be in Lithuania at such an important moment for so many people in the country. It was at that moment that Lithuania stopped being merely a place of cultural interest and actually became something incredibly powerful and tangible. It's one thing to do the tourist thing but it's quite another be caught up and be part of a national experience. Some of the images I will never forget.