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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

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

This Dad is for the Birds

And once again, another animated property that the entire world seems to get except us here in the USA. Cracked (also known some places as Cracke’) is a series of comedic shorts created by Squeeze in Canada. The premise is simple: Ed is a friendly if nervous ostrich. (Don’t ask us why he’s red, or why he appears to have no wings. We don’t know.) Ed is a single dad who is trying to raise his brood of 8 eggs to hatching. Very, very wild hi jinks ensue. Animation World Network mentioned the series last year, when it was distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Middle East, and Continental Europe. Recently they added Japan to the list — but still no mention of the USA. Well, if you visit the Squeeze web site, you can learn more about the series and how to download it as an app.

image c. 2017 Squeeze

From China to the World

Talk about International! Cloth Cat Animation in Wales and 9 Story Distribution in Canada have teamed up with Magic Mall Entertainment in China to bring Magic Mall’s new animated TV series Luo Bao Bei to the wider world. This is from Cloth Cat’s web site: “The series centres on spirited, fun-loving 7 year old Luo Bao Bei as she explores everyday life with her friends, family and animal companions, having adventures and learning that even though we seem different on the outside, the emotions we all feel make us fundamentally the same. Starting life as a popular cartoon spokesperson and community icon in Beijing, this show is created by Grace Tian.” The head writer for the new series is David Ingham, who is well-known for his work on Shaun the Sheep and The Octonauts.

image c. 2017 Cloth Cat Animation

The Tale of the Irish Rooster

Speaking of MIPCOM, as usual the hey-buy-our-TV-series trade show has given us lots of anthropomorphic animation to hope might make its way to our shores. Among them is Brewster the Rooster, created by Salty Dog Pictures and distributed internationally by Monster Entertainment. According to C21 media, “The show… follows the adventures of six-year-old Maggie and her best friend Brewster as they find out the answers to questions only children could think to ask.” Animation magazine has an article from a year ago about this and other interesting projects that Monster has picked up for distribution.

image c. 2017 Monster Entertainment

Step into the World of Crow

Recently, we learned about a new 3D virtual reality film in the works called Rainbow Crow from Baobab Studios. The idea is to make a short film where the viewer can step into a different world and interact with animal characters as they tell you a story. In this case, it’s a Native American legend about how the crow saved his fellow animals from a harsh winter frost — and in so doing, gained his famously black feathers. Directed by Eric Darnell from Dreamworks (Antz, Madagascar), Rainbow Crow stars the voices of singer John Legend, Diego Luna, Constance Wu, and Randy Edmonds. A short preview film (about 4 minutes of the final 40) made the rounds recently at Tribeca and other film festivals. Road To VR has an article about the production of the film.

image c. 2017 Baobab Studios

Beware of the Crow King

Well, somehow this passed under our noses… fortunately, they brought it back! We’ve talked before about the comic Hero Cats of Stellar City. Turns out that issues #16 to #18 took things in a whole new direction. Now Action Labs Entertainment have collected those issues together in a single trade paperback, Hero Cats of Skyworld. Bandit (a Hero Cat from Earth) and his robot friend (of course) are transported to Skyworld, a magical realm ruled with a scaly fist by Corvus the Crow King. There, Bandit meets a whole new group of Hero Cats and enlists their aid in his quest. Written by Kyle Puttkammer and illustrated by Omaka Schultz, this new graphic novel is available now. There’s an extensive review over at Comicosity, including several preview pages.

image c. 2017 Action Lab

Flipper Bird with Stripes

Another item we somehow passed over — and it’s been around a while! According to Wikipedia, The Jungle Bunch is a French / American / British animated TV series developed by David Alaux and Eric Tosti in 2013. It’s been airing in North America on the Universal Kids network. More recently a selection of episodes were edited together into a DVD release: The Jungle Bunch — The Movie, featuring the voice of John Lithgow. “The Jungle Bunch is the exciting tale of Maurice, a penguin who was raised in the jungle and thinks he’s a tiger! When two penguins from his Antarctic homeland come in search of ‘The Great Tiger Warrior’ to defend their colony from an invading herd of walruses, Maurice assembles a misfit team of jungle friends to save the day!” It’s available now at Amazon, and the trailer is up on YouTube.

image c. 2017 Universal

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The Art of Hoo

This year at the Long Beach Comic Con we found a crafter named Dana Duncan who creates and sells art under the name The Pink Owlette. Yes, owls figure prominently in her designs, but so do cats (in space, or in cactus — go figure!) and foxes and unicorns, among other animals. She works those designs into enamel pinks, iron-on patches, and various fashion items and accessories. Check out her web site to see the latest of what she’s been up to.

image c. 2017 by Dana Duncan