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The journal of an aspiring animation filmmaker. Inspiration, Film Analysis, Animation Art, Student Work, Book Notes, Book Store, Composing Pictures, and much more!

Apr 10, 2006

Student Inspiration

Usually I would expect this kind of work from established veterans in the industry, but this gang of Sheridan students has managed to leave me completely inspired. No doubt they've all got bright futures ahead of them.

Great work guys, I need to draw more!


Apr 9, 2006

That Was Fun!

(Bill Peet: An Autobiography)

What a wonderful book! A must read for anyone into animation. Not since you were a kid will you have had this much fun reading a book, let alone an autobiography.


Apr 5, 2006

The Library: You'd Be Surprised!

I forgot to mention this in my last post on life drawing: Another positive that came from getting back into life drawing was that I discovered a new library. The nearest library to my house is quite small and therefore quite lacking in any sort of ephemera that would interest the wannabe animator. So it gave me quite a schock that not only was this library across the street from my life drawing group, but it also had a lot of the books on my "Books to Get" list "In Library".

Scouring the shelves, some of the great books I found include:

Before the Animation Begins
Building a Character
An Actor Prepares
Technique of Film Editing
Bill Peet : An Autobiography
Making Movies
Three Uses of the Knife

To my complete and utter astonishment (sorry for the drama, just finished reading some Mamet) I actually found some old Disney Sketchbooks as well! At my local library...In suburbia...Mind boggling!

Combine all these reasons with the fact that they also carry a huge selection of classic movies and nearly all the old Disney DVDs I don't have, and, call me a nerd, but I know where my new favorite hangout is!

So! Get down to your local library, you'll be surprised what you'll find!


Apr 4, 2006

Eighty Pages, Large Print

If you have an hour to kill, I'd recommending picking up "Three Uses of the Knife" by David Mamet. This book is catergorized as Drama, but it's more like philosophy. David Mamet sure has a way with words. I don't know what entertained me more, the way he writes, the brevity of the read, or the actual content.

I can sum up my recommendation of this book with the following statement: I would consider the knowledge herein as essential to the animator/filmaker/playwright as Sun Tzu's, "The Art of War", is considered essential to most businessmen/lawyers/etc. It certainly grounds you, and while you don't have to agree with all of it, it is nonetheless an interesting perspective. I'm glad I read it. Here's an excerpt that hit home:

"...Joseph Campbell calls this period in the belly of the beast - the time which is not the beginning and not the end, the time in which the artist and the protagonist doubt themselves and wish the journey had never begun. This is the staging ground for the final assault on the final goal - the time in which the beginning goal is tansmuted into a higher goal, in which the true nature of the struggle aserts itself."


Apr 2, 2006


Honoré Daumier was a lithography cartoonist that worked for the political-satire newspaper, "La Caricature", in France during the early to mid 1800s. In his time he was acclaimed for his draftsmenship. The Illusion of Life says Disney artists studied his cartoons for their amazing expression and attitude. They also got their newest talent to try and improve the staging in The New Yorker cartoons, allowing them to learn about good staging upon failure.

After a brief immersion in Daumier's caricatures, I'm a little surprised they didn't mention the incredible staging in his work as well. Daumier had an amazing ability to give his characters the illusion of motion, drawings forces not forms (as Don Graham would say). Take at look at these great examples:

You can feel the forces in this, almost as if you're creeping or lifting yourself. Note the intrigued expression of the woman on the left.

The illusion of motion lets you feel the force behind his ripping action in this one. You can also feel the weight of the chest with the great accents in the hips and shoulder on the background characters. Amazing!

Look at the angles in this one and the resulting force in the pose. Doesn't it make you want to push the angles in your next pose as much as you can?

Great compisition, staging, emotion.

Personality through body language. Great posing and attitude.

Great character.

As you can see his work is exceptional in all facets: staging, compisition, posing, personality, forces, draftsmanship, etc. I recommend that you check out the entire series entitled, "Sketches of Expression".


Life Drawing Inspiration

Tommorow night I'm going to life drawing. Last week before my first session back, I looked for some inspiring figure drawing blogs to get excited, inspired, intimidated, et cetera. I came across the following sites:

Ciia...What's Up? : Amazing artist, all around
The Buddha Pen : Great style and renderings
Cooked Art : Great detail and expression. Inspires me to try new mediums!

Also worth mentioning are the Sharpie Sketches by James Robertson. Very inspiring, I'll be giving that a whirl very soon.

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