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Animation

Little Bird Lost

Pete Oswald is a very busy production designer and illustrator. Recently he and his team were responsible for lighting and set design on The Angry Birds Movie. And from his web site: “As a character designer and concept artist, Pete has helped to uplift many of the most successful animated franchises. Among other projects, Pete has worked on Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2; Hotel Transylvania; and the Oscar® nominated ParaNorman, for which he earned an Annie Award nomination.” Even with all that going on, Mr. Oswald finds the time to illustrate books for children as well.  Recently he completed one called Mingo the Flamingo (written by Justin K. Thompson and published by Harper Collins). “A hilarious picture book about a flamingo named Mingo who is ready to fly but gets lost from the rest of the flock during a terrible storm. To make matters worse, when he crashes, he completely forgets who he is and where he belongs. With the help and training from some new friends, he must find the strength to make it back home and reunite with his family.” Pete also worked with writers Laura Lyn DeSiena and Hannah Eliot to create a series of “Did You Know?” books — Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts being one of them. Also available at his web site.

image c. 2017 Harper Collins

Kitten Wanna Play

Victoria Ying is an author and illustrator. Her web site has this to say: “She started her career in the arts by falling in love with comic books, this eventually turned into a career working in Animation… Her film credits include Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Paperman, Big Hero 6, and Moana.” Recent she completed Meow!, her first children’s book. “Meow! is a charming, mostly wordless picture book about a feisty young kitten who gets frustrated when her family is too busy to play. Featuring expressive art and sparse text, this fun read-aloud will allow parents and kids to creatively tell the story by expressing just one word in lots of different ways. This sweet and clever picture book is sure to charm readers through to the final purr.” Ms. Ying also illustrated Not Quite Black and White, written by her brother Jonathan Ying. “Silly animals star in this lively picture book that introduces colors in a unique and catchy way. Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright-yellow boots?” Both of these are available on her web site.

image c. 2017 by Victoria Ying

Don’t Be Chicken! Oh, Wait…

Elise Walters is an animation artist who creates concept art and storyboards. If you check out here Weebly web site you’ll find at least a couple of her personal animation projects are especially anthropomorphic. “My Pet Shisa is a short animation about a young man in college who suddenly finds himself stuck with a young creature from Okinawan mythology: A Shisa!” Then there’s Benny Bantam: He’s “… a retired cartoon from the 1920s that suddenly finds himself having to cope with the modern world when his studio wants to revive his show for a new generation!” Plus many other projects and shorts that she created.

image c. 2017 by Elise Walters

Before He Stormed Heaven

Grace Kum is a visual development artist and illustrator whom we met at the CTN Animation Expo. Recently she’s worked on Disney TV’s Big Hero 6 series, and various series for Dreamworks TV too. We’re spotlighting her because in her free time she’s been working with Dahyeu Celine Kim on a project called Higher Than The Sky, which they describe as “a prequel to Journey To The West” — which is, of course, the most famous story of the legendary Monkey King. According to Grace’s web site, this project is ready to get up and running again.

image c. 2017 by Grace Kum

Remember: Food Over Fighting!

Recently at CTN Animation Expo in Burbank we came across an artist named Donna Vu. She is the lead artist and art director on Dragon Roll, an on-line game published by Sleepless Skink Productions in 2016. According to their web site, it goes like this: “Fun Guo and Shiu Mae [a pair of young dragon siblings] are on an adventure to get their uncles and aunt back from their homes. After a fight, while preparing their dad’s surprise birthday party, they all go their separate ways. Now they must find and remind them of the important roll that family plays in all our lives, all before their dad gets home.” Remember to visit Donna’s web site too, as she has lots of development sketches for the game.

image c. 2017 SSP

Fantasy From Reality

April Solomon is a second generation artist (her father, David Solomon, has had paintings displayed in the Smithsonian Institution) who specializes in fantasy works and fantasy creatures. In her case though, it’s fantasy creatures informed by a well-researched reality. According to her web site, “Studying both animal and human anatomy is a constant perseverance to help design a more believable fictional creature. Her inspiration and reference comes in all forms; such as bones and muscle tissue, colorful birds, ambient fish, flowering plantlife, skin tearing sharp toothed animals, and anything else that may find its way into her field of vision that well spark the glow of inspiration.” To that end, she sketches and paints plenty of real-life animals as well.

image c. 2017 by April Solomon

Just a Bunch of Crazy Animals

Chris Lovejoy is an artist and animator who works in a variety of media, as you can see on her web site. Recently she’s been working on a new on-line comic called Trash Cat, featuring the adventures of a young opossum named Mishka. The comic updates several times a week, so make sure to keep up.

image c. 2017 by Chris Lovejoy

More Furry Movies from Latin America

Ventana Sur, Argentina’s annual film marketing convention, has a division called Animation! — which, no prizes for guessing, covers animated film and TV produced in Argentina and other Latin American countries. Recently Variety had an article about the latest crop of films being pushed this year, and at least two of them are of particular interest to furry fans. Noah’s Ark (perhaps not the most original title…) is being directed by Sérgio Machado (The Violin Teacher). According to the article, “…the musical comedy unspools as both an adventure and political fable turning on two bohemian mice – inspired by celebrated Brazilian composers Vinicius de Moraes and Carlos Jobim – confronted by the flood.” Then there’s Escape to India, produced by Juan José Campanella and directed by Gastón Gorali — the same team that gave us Underdogs, the foosball-come-to-life movie. “Escape to India follows Azadi, a courageous cow who, destined for the slaughterhouse in Patagonia, escapes and begins an epic journey to India, where her mother tells her that cows are venerated.” Again, no word yet on when these films might be released, but they are in the works.

image c. Videofilmes

Grim Grinning Cats

Huevocartoon is an animation studio from Mexico that made a name for itself with the Huevos series of animated films — which were quite profitable north and south of the border. Now they’re taking things in a different direction with their new CGI film Grimalkin. According to an article in Variety, “…the horror comedy narrates how a domestic cat’s love for his family is tested when mischievous creatures invade the house, a foster home run by a loving young couple. Being the only one with the ability to see them, the cat must confront the creatures before they take over the house and its inhabitants.” The film is being directed by storyboard artist Sant Arellano. There’s no word yet on a planned release date — but check under your bed just in case.

image c. 2017 Huevocartoon