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Dragons

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

How to Battle With Your Dragon

[Back in town again, your ed-otter is happy to get caught up with new furry stuff!] Looking ahead to the delayed-but-still-coming film How to Train Your Dragon 3, Dreamworks Animation have a new full-color graphic novel coming early next year from Dark Horse. “This second standalone graphic novel based on the film series is a new adventure that takes place shortly after the events in How to Train Your Dragon 2, during the period in which Hiccup is desperately trying to fill his father’s role as the chief of Berk. Created with the help of the film’s writer, director, and producer, Dean DeBlois; it bridges the gap between the second and third films. Hiccup, Toothless, and the rest of the dragon riders encounter two deadly yet mysteriously linked threats: One is an island consumed by Dragonvine, an uncontrollable force of nature that’s poisonous to humans and deadly to dragons. The other is an all-new, all-terrifying dragon species – the web-spitting Silkspanners!” As they noted in the press release, How to Train Your Dragon: Dragonvine is written by Dean Deblois and Richard Hamilton, with illustrations by Francisco de la Fuente and Doug Wheatley.

image c. 2017 Dark Horse

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

Elf-topia?

Among the big announcements to come out of this year’s D23 Expo (Disney’s bi-annual convention for their biggest and geekiest fans — hey, your ed-otter is one!) is news of an as-yet-untitled new CGI film from Pixar… a “suburban fantasy”. According to a preview at Entertainment Weekly, “During the fan convention’s animation panel on Friday, John Lasseter introduced director Dan Scanlon to unveil details about a new original film on Pixar’s upcoming slate, filling in one of the cryptic untitled slots on the studio’s release schedule. Lasseter described the film as ‘an adventure set in a suburban fantasy world,’ and Scanlon, who helmed Monsters University, debuted concept art showing a large winged creature flying over a small town at sunset. Set in a human-less world of elves, trolls, sprites, and ‘pretty much anything that would be on the side of a van in the ‘70s,’ the movie follows two teenage brothers whose father died when they were young; now, they’re on a quest through this mundane, modern fantasy world to somehow find a way to spend one last magical day with their father.” Oh and by the way, there are unicorns everywhere. and a dragon or two thrown into the mix as well. No word on a release date yet (or a title!), but speculation is leaning toward the summer of 2020 or 2021.

image c. 2017 The Disney Company

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Knight vs. Dragon… Maybe

Improper Books… Well that’s what they call themselves, but actually they’re just interesting. Now they bring us Knight & Dragon: A Story In Six Paths, written by Matt Gibbs and illustrated in full color by Bevis Musson and Nathan Ashworth.Knight & Dragon playfully subverts the story of a heroic Knight defeating a ferocious Dragon to rescue the fair Maiden, by offering variant paths and multiple outcomes to the classic fairy tale adventure — inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure series.” There’s a preview at the publisher’s web site, and the book is available now in trade paperback.

image c. 2017 Improper Books

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Little Knights and Big Dragons

Ben Byrd has been a professional web designer and creative director for a long time. When he lost his then-current job a couple years ago, he made the decision to dive head-first into his artwork. And so he began displaying his colorful pictures of fantasy characters and comic book icons at art shows and fannish conventions all over. A quick look at his web site will show you just how prolific he has been. Now, he’s self-published his very first illustrated book for children, simply titled Dragons. Written by Tatiana Topyrik and illustrated by Mr. Byrd, it’s a rhyming bedtime story ostensibly for young kids, but older fantasy fans should enjoy it too. It’s available now on Amazon.

image c. 2017 by Ben Byrd

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Toys That Educate and Inspire

[We thought about creating an April Fool’s Day joke, but to be honest we could never top r/zootopia over at reddit.com! Anyway, we’re fresh back from WonderCon in Anaheim… Ye Ed-Otter] Here’s an American toy manufacturer called Safari Ltd. “From mind blowing dragons to enchanting mermaids, our authentic educational toys and action figures spark imagination and speak to the innate curiosity in all of us. Regardless of what you are looking for, Safari Ltd® wants to provide you with the best figurines in the industry and a comprehensive learning tool to share with the world.” To that end they make not only dragons and fantasy creatures (both funny and serious) but lots of real-life animals as well. And all of them are available on line.

image c. 2017 Safari Ltd

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Voolah Voo?

Another discovery from the recent Long Beach Comic Expo. On his web page, here’s how this artist describes himself: “Walter De Leon is an artist in the entertainment industry working on various video games and animated properties for clients such as Disney and Stan Lee. In his free time he would create and come up with various ideas for books in the hopes to inspire others to get out there with their own ideas.” To that end he started Voolah Voolah Press as a vehicle for his own illustrated stories and sketchbooks. He is also looking for other creative people to join the fold! His own books include titles like Bunny Chop!, Dear Mr. Bear, and drawing portfolios of birds, dragons, and monsters.

image c. 2017 Voolah Voolah Press