Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In Which I Give You A Tour of My Bookshelves!

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For my birthday this year, I cleaned my bookshelves!  This is a Big Deal!

Seriously, I follow a lot of blogs by other illustrators and the one thing we all seem to have in common is breaking out in chronic literature, as in the above wonderful Arnold Lobel poster.  Now that my books are as organized as they are probably ever going to get (which means that they are actually in bookshelves; I really did have piles of books all over the place), it seems like a good time to give you, dear readers, a tour.  This is going to take a couple of posts and table-breaking photos.

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Going from left to right (this shelf refused to photograph well thanks to the light seeping in from the adjacent window):

Jim Henson: The Works, Christopher Finch - This is one of the first art books I owned and it has spoiled me rotten ever since.  Loaded with concept art and history, this is a must-have.

Sesame Street Unpaved, David Borgenicht - Nice companion to The Works and very similar in format.  Plus you can currently find it for dirt cheap on Amazon.

Chuck Amuck and Chuck Reducks, Chuck Jones - Even if I wasn't such a Chuck Jones maniac, I'd consider these books essential. They're packed with concept art, anecdotes, and drawing tips.

Imaginative Realism and Color and Light, James Gurney - These books together have a wealth of information for painters. I don't paint very often, so I appreciate them more as a collection of Gurney's artwork.

Various Anatomy for Artists Books - Hey, remember these guys from the very earliest days of this blog? Wow, that takes me back.  Specifically, I've kept Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy, Ken Hultgren's The Art of Animal Drawing, Fritz Schider's Atlas of Anatomy for Artists, and a little later we'll be seeing Eadweard Muybridge's essential Animals in Motion, Ellenberger and Davis' Atlas Of Animal Anatomy For Artists, Eliot Goldfinger's Animal Anatomy For Artists: the Elements of Form (it was on sale), and Katrina Van Grouw's The Unfeathered Bird.

Character Animation Crash Course, Eric Goldberg - I've been referencing it more than I thought I would when I first reviewed it.

Paleoart Galore! - OK, let's see here. We've got The Macmillan Illustrated Encyclopedia of DINOSAURS and Prehistoric Animals, at least until an updated reference of every known prehistoric animal comes along, Mark Witton's beautiful Pterosaurs, Henry Gee and Louis V. Rey's beautiful beautiful Field Guide to Dinosaurs: The Essential Handbook for Travelers in the Mesozoic, Gregory S. Paul's Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, William Stout's awesome The (New) Dinosaurs, the two Dinosaurs: Past and Present exhibit catalog books (I haven't read them but my succinct review of this wealth of classic paleoart is gasp photo love.gif), and Dinosaur Art: The World's Greatest Paleoart. And there's more on other shelves...

The Art of Maurice Sendak, Selma Lanes - I haven't been able to properly read this yet but it's an excellent collection of Sendak's art and since you can find copies for under ten dollars, it is a must-have.

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo, Chris McDonnell - Here's the first series-specific art book I've found that's as good as the two aforementioned Jim Henson art books. It's a must-have for fans of "Adventure Time" and is packed to the gills with concept art, interviews, and trivia.

Next, more animation, comics, and children's books.

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Sketch of the Day!  The first "Final Fantasy" is a little strange, it turns out.


3.26.15 - Let's Play Doodles

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Do something instead of being afraid." - Let's watch 1990's Earth Day Special!

Remember back in 1990, when Gaia appeared in front of a kind-of-evil Robin Williams in the glorious form of Bette Midler and would've died if not for the valiant efforts of Neil Patrick Harris in-character as Doogie Howser M.D.?



All joking aside, yes, it's the cusp of the 80's and the 90's.  Yes, looked at from a certain angle, it's the weirdest "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Prequel / "Ghostbusters" and "Back to the Future" Sequel ever.  And yes, this is a nearly two-hour movie where Gaia appears in front of a kind-of-evil Robin Williams in the glorious form of Bette Midler and would've died if not for the valiant efforts of Neil Patrick Harris in-character as Doogie Howser M.D. (and as far as I know, Michael Eisner wasn't involved).  And yes, there is a scene where Midler-Gaia, in a last-ditch effort to save herself, litters, and the litter lands near E.T. (who's just kind of there for reasons unknown), who turns it into a book that teaches some children and IDK, WTF.  But dang me if I wasn't genuinely moved by this special.  I mean, that bit with Kermit and Robin...
No face but ALL THE FEELINGS! photo nofacebutsomanyfeels_zps50076a7a.gif

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Sketch of the Day!

In honor of all the adorable amphibians out there, meet my #Salamandersona!
3.26.15 Salamandersona

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kill Refurb Marry - Disney Partners

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Well, first of all, if we're talking Partners and Walt Disney World, I'd be remiss if I didn't include the following hilarious incident I managed to capture on film a few years ago.

"What?"

Walt Disney World has been the site of many memorable partnerships throughout the years.  Some of them worked, some of them... did not.  Brace yourselves, I'm going to harp on Dinoland USA again.

Kill: Disney and McDonalds

This was just a bad, weird time for Disney in general, and I never even visited the parks while it happened, but there's something that hurts my heart when I look at this page in Yesterland.  It does go a ways in explaining why Dinoland is the way it is, and at the very least we got some badass William Stout art out of the whole mess.

Refurb: Michael Eisner and Michael Eisner's Obsession of the Week

If there's one thing to notice while touring Disney World these days, it's that nearly anything that makes you say, "Why...?" is thanks to Michael Eisner having a seemingly sudden and momentary obsession with something. Sometimes, that'd work out for the best (Touchstone Pictures, Disney/MGM Studios, the Disney Institute in theory), and sometimes it would not (the Swan and Dolphin, the Disney Institute in practice).

Marry: The Original EPCOT Imagineers

Need more be said?  They pulled off a lot of amazing effects and shows pretty much while flying by the seats of their pants and repurposing bits from never-built rides.   I'm just sad that so much of what they accomplished is gone, when I know I'd appreciate it more as an adult.

Next time: Extinct Attractions.  Oh boy...

Addendum: Boy did I ever go in a completely different direction from everyone else on this one...

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Sketch of the Day!
I don't know the original context for this but it's fascinating nonetheless.

3.22.15 - "Let's Play" Doodles

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"I'm Still Comparing My Past to My Future" - Thoughts on "Big Hero 6"

Movie #68: "Big Hero 6"

It's hard not to compare "Big Hero 6" with other recent Disney films and with other animated features that cover similar themes.  And to me, that's being unfair to this very good animated Disney feature, so rather than say that this is the best Cute Kids and Robots animation since "Iron Giant" (and, like "Iron Giant", is that vanishingly rare case of creating an excellent film by completely ignoring the source material), let's talk about how awesome this movie makes science.

Succinct version: Squeee!!! photo squeeeee.gif

Yup, we got ourselves a Walt Disney Studios animated feature film with a matter-of-fact no-big-deal diverse cast of engineering geniuses who save the day through science.  This is awesome.  I feel like "Big Hero 6" has succeeded where "Meet the Robinsons" tried and failed, maybe due to the former having a much more streamlined plot and smaller cast of characters.  I do agree that the secondary characters should've had as bit more room to breathe (side-note: I totally understand why we're getting "Frozen 2", but I don't *get* why we're getting "Frozen 2").  But the focus of the story is on the relationship between Hiro and Baymax, and for me, they've already joined the ranks of the great Disney BFFs.

For more posts in this ongoing series, go here, or click the Chronological Disney Animated Canon tag below.

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Sketch of the Day!

Appropos of nothing, have some "Ocarina of Time" fanart:
"Ocarina of Time" - The Great Fairy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Oh, this looks like fun! A bench!" - Kill, Refurb, Marry Peoplewatching Spots

Kill Refurb Marry! photo killrefurbmarry_zpsba7d6167.png

I'm turning thirty-three for the fourth year in a row tomorrow!  To celebrate, I've got a nice hefty post in mind for whenever I can sit down and write it.  This is not that post.  Instead, here's an interesting topic for today's bloghop: quiet places in Walt Disney World.  Places to stop and recharge from the activity of the rides and shows and angry gulls and little kids running around screaming and adults screaming at their kids and, generally, a lot of angry screaming.

That is to say, I don't want to kill any of these places. We need them.  We need as many as we can get for psychological reasons.  Furthermore, I'd argue that there are, strictly speaking, no bad places in all of Walt Disney World to observe human behavior.  It's just that a lot of times, you're going to be seeing really s**tty human behavior.

But as far as great places to relax and/or peoplewatch, in no particular order:

Your Resort's Lobby - I especially love the Beach Club, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, and Polynesian for just having a good sit.  (Mind you, I haven't been to the Poly since the beautiful indoor forest was replaced with the Sadness Rock.)

World Showcase - Pick a country.  Odds are good that there's a little-known quiet spot hidden away somewhere.  I especially like the gardens in France and UK, and the galleries in Japan and Morocco.  And, of course, there are the wine tasting rooms...

The Peoplemover - Yes, this is my favorite.  You get a lovely view of Tomorrowland and a nice, long ride.

OK, so I may not have followed the rules to the letter on this one.  Next time, Disney Partners.  Not sure what that means yet; hopefully it's open to interpretation?

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Sketch of the Day!

Bears!
1.23.15 - "Bears"

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's a Science-Art Tweetstorm!

Do you like science?  Do you like art?  How about when science and art combine?  Heck yeah, you do!  After all, you're reading this blog aren't you?

This week on Twitter, Glendon Mellow of Symbiartic is inviting artists to share their science and nature-related or influenced art.  If you'd like to participate, here are the instructions from Glendon:

Post your art on Twitter using the #SciArt hashtag.
Aim to post a minimum of 3 of your works per day, so 21 for the week.
Feel free to post more, a lot more than 3.
Post anything sciart-related: sketches, finished pieces, cartoons, fine art, bioart, paleoart, medical illustration, nature painting, you name it.
Works do not have to be new. Get out that back catalogue. If there's one thing I've learned about Twitter, it's that your old artwork is always new to someone.
Post the same piece more than once. If you've got an image or 2 you really want to promote, the audience at 2pm Tuesday is not the same as the audience at 2am Friday.
By all means , promote your blog and online store. A tweet consisting of "(name of art), (link to website) #SciArt" + the image itself looks perfect to me.
Try to retweet at least 5 other #sciart tweets by other people per day.We are not policing this effort, so more or less is fine. Whatever you are comfortable with.

The goal of this is to share the variety and importance of art as it relates to science. By posting a huge flurry of tweets all in one week, we hope to reach an even broader audience. We hope you'll be a part of it!

Sounds like fun!  I'll be posting @Babbletrish and hope to see lots of participants.

Update: Nature took notice!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let's Watch "Bonehead Detectives of the Paleoworld" and Get Steamrolled by the '90's!

Little Pete welcomes you to 1997.



Okay, honestly this isn't so bad.  It is very definitely made in the late '90s, and it has that distinctive slightly obnoxious 90's educational kid show-ness going on ("Editor, your one job is to make sure the little brats watching this never get bored ever.")  But it's a pretty good, if dated, introduction to paleontology.  We're not in the "Throw dubious CGI up all over everything" era of paleo documentaries yet; instead we meet paleontologists working in the field or showing specimens.  It's a nice change of pace.

Still, "Man-dude"...

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Sketch of the Day!

1.20/21.15 - Doodles