Monica Bruenjes specializes in animation, children’s book illustration, & comics. She is the founder of Subarashii, a creator-owned company designed for providing you with “Splendid artwork for a joyful life.” To that end she has created an on-line comic called Penguin & Peep. “Best friends and polar opposites, Penguin & Peep go on adventures in hopes of having the perfect day together. Penguin loves his home in the zoo, but Peep is always looking for something new.” Also on her web site you’ll find information about Moosebear, a TV series concept which Monica has been trying to pitch. “In the Alaskan woods behind her house, a relocated California girl determined to fit in becomes friends with a magical creature trying to help his no-nonsense neighbors.”
image c. 2017 by Monica Bruenjes
“Lynn Chen is an illustrator / animator / 3D environment artist originally from Szechuan, China. She loves to travel and draw cute creatures. With an Animation major background and the professional experience in video game industry, she combined her illustration with animation to create interactive picture books that make kids laugh.” The first of those books in question would be Woolly and Shaggy, which is currently available as an app. According to the official web site, “Woolly Wolf lives in the forest and get tired of hunting; Shaggy Dog resides in the town and get bored from herding sheep. What would happen if they decide to exchange their lives?” The site includes an introductory animated short which Lynn put up on Vimeo. She also has her own personal web site to display many of her other animation projects and full-color illustrations.
image c. 2016 by Lynn Chen
Mengyao Zhang has been working mostly as a layout artist and lighting specialist while he completes his studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Most recently he and his team have been hard at work on his thesis film, Philip — and now they have a Kickstarter campaign up and running to get the film completed. “It tells a dystopian story about Philip who’s trying to free himself from the rules in his world. The story of this film is based on the black and white film Metropolis from 1927. The aesthetic of the film is influenced by German Expressionism and tells a story which is dark in appearance but warm in the heart.” Oh, did we mention that Philip and his world are all cat people?
image c. 2017 by Mengyao Zhang
Ha Huy Hoang is a freelance animator and character designer who signs his work with the name Splendid River. Over at his web site he has many samples of his work, and also a short trailer for Rescue, a 2D animated film he is working to complete. A chubby wolf must discover his inner hero when an evil monster kidnaps the love of his life — a pretty mushroom. Yes. Also for sale at the web site are his books of character design sketches, Toontastic and Animatoon.
image c. 2017 by Ha Huy Hoang
Here’s an artist who also puts things quite simply: “Justin Hilden is an animator and illustrator based in Los Angeles. He loves possums and Scandinavian pastries.” Based on the former at least, Justin created an animated short film called Oh Possum, which can be viewed on his web site. There you will also find an extensive essay about his creative process of dreaming up the possum brothers, Switch and Ellsworth, and bringing them to life through animation. You can also see episodes of The Roadents, a series about two gophers on a road trip that Justin created for Bix Pix Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television.
image c. 2017 by Justin Hilden
Karen Krajenbrink describes her job quite succinctly: “I do art.” Going into perhaps a bit more detail, she elaborates: “Associate Art Director at a mobile gaming company by day, freelancer by night. I’ve worked in games, film, and TV for art direction, visual development, character design, story, pipeline creation, BG paint, prop design, and technical pitches.” Add to that one more achievement: In 2015 she completed her first illustrated children’s book called Fox & Boots, “… a 24 page story about friendship, love, and loss, illustrated in full color.” It’s available at her store, along with her sketchbook and several art prints. [Let us wish you all a Happy and Safe New Year in 2017!]
image c. 2016 by Karen Krajenbrink
Another artist with a distinctive style goes by the distinctive name of Edwardian Taylor. He works as a concept artist, storyboard artist, and children’s book illustrator. According to his web site, “Edwardian Taylor has always loved to draw. It became so bad, that his parents had to hide his crayons from him because when he was out of paper he would draw all over his bedroom walls. He got familiar with the uses of cleaning supplies at an early age, but this never kept him from drawing.” Among his interesting current projects is a new book called The Animal Alphabet Fairy Tale Edition, which presents each letter of the alphabet via a different creature from myth, legend, and classic literature. His Shop also has a collection of his books and art prints.
image c. 2016 by Edwardian Taylor
Paul Schoeni is an artist, illustrator, and animation designer who has spent much of his career working for Dreamworks Animation. According to his web site, the films he’s worked on have included Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs Aliens, Megamind, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Shrek Forever After, The Croods, Turbo, Trolls, and The Boss Baby. He works in 2D and 3D on computers, but he also has a passion for working with good-old pencil and paper. Not to mention that he has a very distinctive art style! At his Shop you’ll find his sketch book called Monsters and Mayhem for sale, plus many examples of his other works.
image c. 2016 by Paul Schoeni
Our friends over at Cartoon Brew are finishing up the year with an article about 60 (!) animated films scheduled for release in 2017. Some are brand new releases, and some have already made the rounds in other parts of the world but will not be premiering in North America ’till next year. And of course, with a huge set of films like that, more than a fair share of them are definitely going to have some interest for the anthropomorphic fans out there! Taking a quick look ourselves, the upcoming animated films of furry note — some a lot, some a little — include (deep breath…): Animal Crackers, Beast of Burden, Blazing Samurai, Bunyan & Babe, Cars 3, Clara, Despicable Me 3, The Emoji Movie, Ferdinand, Foodiverse, Godzilla (yes, the first animated Godzilla movie!), Here Comes The Grump, Kikoriki — Deja Vu, Kung Food, Lino, Manou the Swift, Mune — Guardian of the Moon, My Cool Dad, My Little Pony — The Movie, The Nut Job 2, Ping Pong Rabbit, Pokemon The Movie — I Choose You, Punyakoti, The Red Turtle, Richard the Stork, Rock Dog, Sahara, Smurfs — The Lost Village, Spark, The Star, Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers, and Underdog. Whew! The article at Cartoon Brew includes several trailers. Of course we’ll be talking a lot more about each of these films as they get closer to release. Happy New Year!
image c. 2016 Studio Canal