March 23, 2009

Cow De Classified

Here's a look at some work I've been doing recently with the Rutland Herald, a newspaper in Vermont. They are promoting their classified section and needed a mascot, so we created this fun and mischievous cartoon cow. She'll be moo-ving on to star in numerous udderly fantastic promotions in the future.

This project also gave me a chance to work on animated gifs, which are always fun, and got me in the mood to try my hand at some more animation. Hmmm....

March 21, 2009

Peter and the Wolf the Way it Should Be

My clearest musical memory as a young child is listening to Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" on the record player. The rich melodies, vivid storyline, and perfect characterizations instilled in me a love of classical music that continues to this day. I can remember listening to the melody, reading along in the liner notes, unfolding Peter's small and somehow familiar world in my imagination. Having the chance to share this piece with my daughter, and understanding it better as an adult, has given me an immense appreciation for how special it is. Certain passages still make my heart leap.

Therefore, I'm overjoyed beyond words to have come across Suzie Templeton's stop-motion film recreation of this tale. Many others must feel the same; it won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It deserves every bit of praise that it receives. The puppetry and scenery are stunning. Where some might have oversimplified a story that has so many levels of meaning, she has managed to add to it with the depth of the characters and her interpretation of events. 

Doesn't hurt that the bird is portrayed by a flight-challenged crow either.  :)

March 13, 2009

Ways to Have Fun Drawing with Your Kids

I came across a fantastic blog today called Tiny Art Director. The blog author has written a picture book of the same name filled with illustrations done in a collaborative effort with his 3-year-old daughter, who was apparently a cute, but harsh, art critic. 

The blog shows examples of the finished pieces and sketches along with the 'tiny art critic's' comments, which are incredibly funny. Many of the illustrations didn't make the cut in her eyes, and she minced no words in saying so. 

I think most artists have some sort of creative give and take with their kids. I know of very few professions that allow you to share what you do so fully with your children and, especially if you're an illustrator, children have an innate appreciation for Mom or Dad's ability to pump out dinosaur drawings. You get this great opportunity to put a face on their dreams and fantasies. And, in turn, they teach you ways of looking at things that expand your own creativity. Most of us grow up too fast - watching and listening to your kids is a much-needed reminder of those days when the world was your playground.

In our family, one of our favorite pastimes while going on long car trips is to make up funny stories and sketch them out. I've included one of the results above, involving my daughter's stuffed rabbit (who has taken on gargantuan proportions and likes standing in front of moving vehicles) and a dinosaur with a soft spot for Dunkin Donuts coffee.