Friday, May 25, 2012


You guys! I finally got a tumblr:

I guess I should get started on my Bolin/Rainbow Dash/Hawkeye's butt posts. That IS what Tumblr is about, right?

I tried to register with the same username I have at DeviantArt, but someone already took it. Can you believe it? Tilliebean. Someone already has Tilliebean. Gruh.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

look, Oscars, no Disney or Pixar! (almost)

I have been very lazy this year, waiting to watch most of the nominated animated feature films at the last minute, so to speak. When I started making the images for this post in early February I had only seen two of the feature films and none of the shorts. Even now that I've gotten around to writing this entry I'm not nearly as caught up as previous years, and overall the feeling of apathy hasn't gone away. I think I'm saving my enthusiasm for the movies to come (Pixar's Brave, Laika's ParaNorman, Aardman's The Pirates! Band of Misfits). Oh, but I did actually like Disney's traditionally-animated un-nominated Winnie the Pooh from last July. I thought it was charming and a welcome throwback to my childhood. Not like some of these nostalgic regurgitations we're getting from studios these days (I'm lookin' at you, Chipmunks). Ahem! Here are this year's animation nominations:

Best Animated Feature:

I thought this film would be about a cat who lives two very different lives: lazing about at home with a little girl during the day, then at night sneaking around in the company of a talented cat burglar. I was partly right. However, it is also a crime thriller with baddie thugs and rooftop chases and a showdown at Notre Dame! Très intéressant! Here are some of the things I really liked about this charming traditionally-animated film: the fluid movements of the thief, the cool lights-out scene in which the characters were animated using white lines on a black background, the neighbor's yapping dog that gets (deservedly) smacked about by various objects, and the way the film constantly picks up pace and gets a lot done in a short period of time. It's barely over an hour long, but I wouldn't have minded if it just kept on going. I was really enjoying it. (Folimage - Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli) Watch the trailer.

This is the only feature I haven't seen. To be honest, it doesn't really interest me. I have nothing against rotoscoping, but the style and the subject matter don't draw me in. Sorry, Cuban jazz. It's not you, it's me. (CinemaNX - Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal) Watch the trailer.

Even though it's a sequel, it's actually a pretty good movie. Casting Gary Oldman as the voice of the villain was a good choice, even if it wasn't particularly original. On the other hand, his character is an evil peacock, so that's cool. Plus, the movie had some really fantastic 2D sequences: the hand-drawn intro/dream sequence (watch in awesome quality) and the shadow puppet-style credit sequence (watch on youtube). Oh and then there's that whole first-woman-to-solely-direct-an-animated-feature-from-a-major-studio thing. You go, girl. Or should I say, 'You Po, girl'? Ew, no, that was lame, sorry. (DreamWorks Animation - Jennifer Yuh Nelson) Watch the trailer.

This movie may be a spin-off from Shrek, but it doesn't really feel like it. Yes, there are quite a few fairy tale elements (Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose, Jack and Jill, the beanstalk), but the world isn't nearly as littered with these references like in the original Shrekverse. And thankfully they toned down the annoying pop culture references to a scant few, though I'm not sure that the kiddies are going to understand the Fight Club jokes. Or will they? Kids these days get into the darnedest things! It's an okay movie, about as good as I predicted a Shrek spin-off would be. If you love cats in boots and Latino/western adventures and the purr of Antonio Banderas' voice (or Salma Hayek's if that's your thing), then you may find this is your cup of tea. Or bowl of milk. Whatever. Ehhh... (DreamWorks Animation - Chris Miller) Watch the trailer.

Though the CGI looked remarkable (such realism and detail!), the fact that some of the reptile characters had thick heads of hair kind of weirded me out. Also unfortunately, the story was a little messy and at times a bit too amateurish (ugh, crude fart jokes...). But hey, it looked stunning. And I was very amused that the female lead was named Beans. This movie has been winning most of the awards so far, probably for its sharp western looks, so I'm thinking the Academy will follow suit. (Nickelodeon Movies - Gore Verbinski) Watch the trailer. Winner!

Best Animated Short:

A very simple short from Canada, dialogue-free and light on the plot (and color palette). Aside from the live animal posing as a mounted trophy like a kid with his head stuck in a fishbowl it seems like just another Sunday at Grandma's. And even though there's a huge train barreling through town the mood is actually pretty chill. It's a bit absurd, but I like it. (Patrick Doyon) Watch.

A touching story about how great books are. It's basically The Wizard of Oz. I mean, if Dorothy was a quiet sort of fellow who, after being tossed about in a hurricane, found himself in a land of living books and spent the rest of his days in a state of colorful enrichment taking care of his little book friends with their little book legs and their little page faces. Definitely some good stuff to be seen here. (William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg) Watch. Winner!

Okay, so Pixar is indeed a contender for an award this year, but their nominated short is supposed to play before their upcoming feature Brave when it comes out in June. So yeah, I haven't seen this yet. Here's the synopsis:
La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?
Do you want to watch it now? Too bad. You'll have to wait until June 22. (Enrico Casarosa) Watch two short clips here and here.

I have not been able to find this short online. Synposis:
When a New Yorker walks past a chicken on his morning stroll, we’re left to wonder which one is the real city slicker...
So that doesn't tell you much. But apparently the chicken's stroll around the city occurs three times, in 1959, 2009, and 2059, using various animation styles to tell each of the stories. Sounds good to me. (Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe) Watch the trailer.

And alas, I have not found this short for free online either. Synopsis:
In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick and the folly of living dangerously out of context.
It's 14 minutes long, it looks like an oil painting... I just can't bring myself to pay money to see it. I'm also feeling really lazy, I think I mentioned that earlier. No offense intended, animated short, I'm sure you're very nice. (Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby) Watch the trailer/download the short for $1.95.

So watch the Academy Awards this Sunday, February 26th to see which of these non-Pixar, non-Disney features will take home a golden statue of a guy named Oscar. Because America cares. And it just couldn't bring itself to give Pixar an award for that sequel thing that was Cars 2.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

tourists are meanies

This is for reals based on a true story.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

hammer time

Here is Hammer George in Mega-Drama mode. Not that it ever happens. In fact, this is all very misleading. HG is a simple and gentle soul, despite all the hammers. I am thinking about bringing this guy back for more adventures.

Read about his first adventure (in space!).

Sunday, May 01, 2011

my second MoCCA

These are the details of my second visit to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's annual festival on Saturday, April 9th, which was pretty great.

As I was walking from booth to booth, I got a bunch of compliments on my shirt, which was the sweet "Algebraic!" Adventure Time shirt that I got from the Frederator Studio Store back when the first season was in production. They still post new shirts on their AT blog every now and then, so check it! Or just go there for awesome art because they're good at making that too. Aside from the sheer joy wearing cool shirts brings me, they also help me talk to people. I have a tendency to be shy and have horribly awkward, stilted conversations with people, so sharing a love of cartoons with these amazing creators of art can turn a boring conversation about how much I admire them into an exciting adventure recounting stories of shared idolatry. Like when Meredith Gran saw my shirt and started talking to me about the time Pen Ward visited her shared Brooklyn studio, Pizza Island. Talking is so great!

This image has been modified from Vera's original - I added the speech bubble.

Unfortunately for me, First Second, the graphic novel book publisher, had a few copies of Vera Brosgol's "Anya's Ghost" on display. I got excited, thinking I must have missed the release day and how lucky I was to be getting it sooner than I expected. I was practically throwing money at the guy when he grimaced apologetically and told me it wouldn't be available to buy until June. But you know what? I'm just going to wait until July when I can buy it and hopefully have her sign it in person at the San Diego Comic Con. If you're interested (and you should be), there are a few pages of the book available for previewing online here.

Now on to another book dealing with death!

Have you heard of The Machine of Death? It's a book of short stories that revolve around the idea that a machine has been created that reads a small sample of your blood and spits out a small card that accurately predicts the cause of your demise. So, fiction, basically. The interesting thing is how maddeningly vague the results can be. Someone might receive a card that says "old age" and think themselves safe, only to end up dying after an old man runs them over with a van. Anyway, my friend Steven and I had just finished reading the book and were happily surprised to see that David Malki, one of the editors, was distributing Death Prediction Cards at the TopatoCo booth. Despite reading about the oft-troubling changes many characters went through due to the burden of knowing their ultimate fate, we eagerly approached the table and took turns asking, "How do I die?" After David took a sample of our blood, by "pricking" our fingers with a red Sharpie, we learned the methods of our destruction. Steven's warned of unavoidable PERIL. Mine promised VORACIOUS ANIMALS. That card is now in a small frame on my desk at work, where I glance at it from time to time whenever I get the urge to draw cute woodland creatures.

Hahaha I'm going to die some day.

Every time I see Scott C. at a convention his table never fails to have a healthy crowd of admirers. This occasion I finally found an opportunity to have a chat with the amiable fellow and buy some of his art. Specifically, this glorious dog print. I also snatched a copy of his book, Double Fine Action Comics, Volume 1, which I find to be very amusing. It is also sitting on my desk at work, where I peruse it from time to time whenever I want to laugh at how silly it is for a baby to have two heads.

Scott's little business cards make my work Cintiq look good.

The Johnny Wander duo, Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya, had a nice setup and I look forward to surprising my friend with a gift of one of their CMYcat tees. I remember thinking that some of Yuko's art prints would make amazing coloring pages. Except that the pieces she actually colors look so vibrant I wouldn't want to muddle her work up with my own sloppy contributions. I would do fanart but I think because Johnny Wander is mostly autobiographical in nature that might be a little weird. Or not! Tally-ho, to the Cintiq!

Anthology Project Vol 2 - cover art by Ed Kwong.

I am so glad that The Anthology Project was there with debut copies of their new Volume 2 book. Hopefully this remains an annual tradition, especially now that Flight will end its 8-book run this summer. Sam Bradley was joined at the Anthology table this year by Joy Ang, editor and artist behind the gorgeous cover of Volume 1 and one of the short comics included therein. Also making an appearance was fellow Canadian and comic creator Katie Shanahan (KT Shy) who was extremely nice and easy to talk with. We spoke of the joys of storyboarding for kids' shows and mourned the loss of the Flight series. Katie actually has a comic in the final Flight volume that comes out this summer, so it will be a bittersweet reunion when I see her again at the San Diego Comic Con to pick up my copy.

Friday, April 08, 2011

oh, he's alright.

So excited to go to MoCCA tomorrow! The drawing has nothing to do with attending the festival, but I drew it anyway, didn't I?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hourly Comic Day #2

How did I forget to post my comics from Hourly Comics Day?! Here they are. From February 1st.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Snow and lightning.
All in one night.

Seriously, what is with this weather? Hellooooo it's almost April, fer cryin' out loud!

Friday, February 18, 2011

animation nominations

It's a pity there wasn't just one more qualified feature animation in the running this year or the block of nominees would have been bumped up from three to five. I really do think Tangled was a superb throwback to my childhood of singing princesses and would have made an excellent contender. I was starting to think it was due to my increasing age that I wasn't able to enjoy or connect with the new attempts. But no, as it turns out, it was just the studios' fault for making mediocre and altogether sub par attempts and making me think that my heart was hardening to old childhood fancies. No longer! And now, in an effort to stop from babbling on before it's too late, I present to you the top three animated feature films and the top five animated shorts.

Best Animated Feature:

How To Train Your DragonThis is, hands down, the best Dreamworks picture to date (in my opinion, of course). Ever since Lilo & Stitch came out I have been a huge Chris & Dean fan. They put so much heart and character into what they do. They didn't rely on pop culture references or feature some idiotic karaoke-dance number at the end. It is tenderness and action and exhilaration and everything an animated feature should be. (DreamWorks Animation - Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois)

The IllusionistThis traditionally animated feature is quite a refreshing change of pace from all the fast and flashy American animation features that have become the norm. It is a beautiful portrait of melancholy that treats its audience to slowly-building heartache and loneliness. The story doesn't go very far, but it's wonderful to see. And just like with Triplets of Belleville, Mr. Chomet has once again managed an entire movie with with hardly any dialogue at all. Impressive. (Django Films/Sony Pictures Classics - Sylvain Chomet)

Toy Story 3I was worried when I first heard that there would be a third Toy Story movie. Any trepidation I had quickly gave way to excitement, though, when I remembered it was Pixar at the helm. And rightly so, as it turned out. This was a huge success for them because it was an excellent end to a consistently good franchise and it proved that quality doesn't have to deteriorate with sequels (or three-quels, I guess would be more appropriate). Also, after Beauty and the Beast and Up, it is the third animated feature to ever be nominated for Best Picture. (Disney/Pixar - Lee Unkrich) Winner!

Best Animated Short:

Day & NightThis has got to be one of my favorite Pixar shorts. Smart and creative and just... just brilliant! The two characters play off each other in an awesome tête à tête, contrasting night and day in a way that's never been done before. Also, the implementation of sound effects is genius. (Teddy Newton) Watch.

The GruffaloThis (mostly) 3-D short is based on a children's book, so it has all the traditional elements of childrens' storytelling you'd expect. A brazen mouse outwits three hungry predators and then outwits the terror of the forest himself. Nothing really new there, but the animation is very well done and tremendously improves the tale. The character models are lovingly crafted and I like that they gave everything a tactile appearance (or, at least, their CG characters appear to blend into the physical sets very nicely). (Jakob Schuh and Max Lang) Watch.

Let's PolluteThis 2-D short looks a bit like those old educational shorts from the 50's, but with a little textural flare thrown in. I mean, it looks great. I just wish I could find an English version. (Geefwee Boedoe) Watch in French. Or check out this much nicer clip in English.

The Lost ThingA story about a guy who finds a thing. It's a nice sort of thing and this is a nice sort of 3-D short. Nothing much to it, really, but enjoyable all the same. (Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann) Watch. (after a few seconds the ads go away and the player becomes visible) Winner!

Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)A living, breathing journal. A wide sampling of animation styles offer a detailed, wonderfully textured story, bringing to life the pages of Bastien Dubois' travel journal. It moves effortlessly through painted Madagascar settings rendered in 3-D with stop motion car traffic, watercolor landscapes, pastel people, even colorfully embroidered crowds. Much of it is heavily rotoscoped, but there is always so much to look at - it really does feel as though you're flipping through someone's richly detailed scrapbook. I'm guessing this will win. (Bastien Dubois) Watch.

To catch the live awards show and find out which of these amazing artists is the best at being awesome according to a bunch of people you don't know, tune in Sunday, February 27th.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

desktops. again!

Looks like it's time for another installment of Animation Art Big Enough To Be Used As Desktop Decoration (At Least For My Laptop)! Round three... start!

Just in time for the Halloween season, it's wallpaper from the new Epic Mickey Wii game, via Pure Nintendo!

Concept art from Toy Story 3 that I found on The Art of Disney blog. Unfortunately, their site seems to be down. For forever, possibly. I don't speak French so I can't be sure— oh wait. Ah, I've solved the mystery. Here is a cheap (read: free and crappy) Babel Fish translation of the parting words from the blog owner explaining the situation:
It is not without a certain bitterness that I announce to you the closing of The Art Disney Animation following a warning of Disney. Indeed the latter reproach the site for violating the rights d' author of the firm by publishing drawings their pertaining. I try for the moment to find a compromise with them, but the future of the site seems quite dubious. I invite you to visit the facebook page regularly site to keep you informed of the continuation of the events.
Alas. That was a great resource, even if I wasn't able to read a word of their posts. Here are some gorgeous stills from the movie that are perfectly suited for desktop displays.

Continuing on!

This is a background design from Sym-Bionic Titan, Genndy Tartakovsky's new cartoon series, painted by Kevin Dart. I do believe a few episodes of this have aired already on Cartoon Network, but I haven't seen them yet. See more art on Kevin Dart's art blog.

This is very green. Too green? I haven't used it on my desktop, but I thought it looked minty. Yes, I was in a very minty mood when I found this concept art for a scrapped Amblimation Studio production called The Just So Stories, via One1more2time3's blog.

La casa de Pacha! Art from The Emperor's New Groove by Robh Ruppel, found on John Nevarez's blog.

I'll leave you with this... this... smoulder. Lucky you, this could be your desktop! Haha please make this your desktop. You may recognize this, er, charming fellow from Disney's Tangled trailers. Via David Gilson's blog.

Friday, September 03, 2010

daily doodle #32: Mighty Warrior

I am considering doing these again...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

dogs will be dogs

Oh man. Dogs! Amiright, people? I'm pretty sure my dog, Kiki, has no idea what I'm talking about. And actually, I'd be pretty impressed if she was on the Internet reading this post about her. Damn impressed. Especially considering her surprising lack of general common sense. I've lost track of all the times she's practically jumped out of her skin from various irrational fears, which include, but are not limited to: baths (even in the summer, Kiki? You cray-see!), the vacuum cleaner (I know, what animal isn't scared of this noisy suck-beast?), the electronic cords from our entertainment systems, rotating ceiling fans, absolutely stationary ceiling fans that have not been turned on for months, and sometimes hats. That's all I can think of now, but don't let the small list fool you — even the most inert and non-threatening objects can give her a fright. Still, dogs have this uncanny ability to pick up on all sorts of things outside the human range of senses, right? So maybe... just maybe... I should look into this whole fan thing. What if she's right to be afraid? Why are there so many fans installed in our house?!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

featured fan finale

Dumm Comics is featuring another of my fancomics today! "Another?" you ask. Surely you remember my June post celebrating the first of such occasions. Surely! Since then, another opportunity to pay homage to Gabe Swarr presented itself. As his weekly "Big Pants Mouse" comic strip was coming to an end he reached out to his fans to come up with their own versions of how the strip might conclude. I accepted the challenge and in so doing, most likely created (unintentionally) the longest one-page fan strip that ever saw the light of Internet. Seriously, you should see this monster:
Via Dumm.
Via deviantART.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tangled trailer

Here's the first real teaser trailer for Disney's next "happily ever after" feature, Tangled, the story of Rapunzel. Or is it the story of Rapunzel's prince, featuring Rapunzel? After watching this trailer, I'm not sure anymore. Not to mention I was too busy inspecting the new visual style of this 3-D feature (yes, in this instance I mean the bring-your-special-glasses 3-D, but I also mean CGI). Animator Glen Keane initially helmed this project with the desire to bring the beauty of 2-D to computer animation. His team created a new form of 3-D that will hopefully evoke the warmth and feeling of a traditional painting. Behold, the studio's attempt at making a painting come to life through the magic of Disney:

Monday, April 12, 2010

my first MoCCA

Where am I again? Oh yeah, the MoCCA Festival. Thanks, sign!

My first time at the MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Festival was a success, as far as my little To-Do list was concerned. The list was mostly comprised of a small handful of names of comic artists whom I admire and wanted to meet. Only I couldn't find that sneaky Johnny Wander duo. They didn't have a booth and were just wandering (ha!) the floor like the rest of us normals. I thought it would be easy to spot them, what with the extensively smaller venue (in comparison to the San Diego Comic Con, that is) but no such luck.

Several different artists/vendors recognized the shirt I was wearing, the Oh My God Puppies tee from the webcomic Octopus Pie, and each of them lamented the fact that artist Meredith Gran was at home in Oregon with her new puppy, Heidi. "She thinks it has separation anxiety," lamented one gentleman in an unconvinced manner, who then proceeded to show me a picture from his iPhone of said insecure quadruped. And then he took a picture of me in the shirt. I think mostly because I was rockin' it with a kickass blue scarf and who doesn't want a picture of this (this being me)?

Chris Makris and Sam Bradley, two of the contributing artists from volume one of The Anthology Project.

This was the first thing I spent money on and, as it turned out, I was the first person in the U.S. to purchase a copy. Firsts everywhere! And let me just say, this is perhaps the best-looking/feeling book I own, based solely on its outer appearance. The hardcover material is soft to the touch, due to the ever-so-slight vertical ridges (so delicate!) and impressed elegant gold foil lettering. The cover illustration by Joy Ang is reminiscent of James Jean's work a bit (especially the moody blue-green tones), which I love. Oh boy, I sound crazy. I sound like I'm in love with the cover of a book. Well so what, America? Maybe I am. Maybe you should just arrest me already.

Kate Beaton!

She was the main reason I attended. Kate lives in Canada, but that shouldn't stop you from reading her hilarious webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant. JK, you guys, Canada's all right by me. Kate is one of my all-time favorite comic artists, so I brought my copy of Never Learn Anything From History with me and got her to sign it. In classic Hark! fashion, she also drew Abraham Lincoln lookin' sharp and sayin' "all the sweetest history" - how cool is that?!

Aaron Diaz, creator of Dresden Codak, drawing a quick portrait for me of his main character, Kimiko.

Aaron's artistic style has really blossomed in the last year or so and I sometimes find myself staring at a certain panel for minutes on end like I'm trying to absorb some of his talent through the computer screen. Some of the topics and concepts go over my head a bit (all the science!), but Aaron is a really amazing, down to earth guy and I didn't feel the need to wikipedia at all during our chat. (That's right, Wikipedia, you've just been verb-ed!) We discussed how awesome it is being from the South, the unfortunate case of Meredith Gran's dog, and other similarly amusing things while he sketched for me on the inside cover of his new sketchbook.

Conversations are great!