What happens when you’ve been writing a blog for seven years

Have I really been writing for seven years? Apparently so. What have I learned? How have I changed? Why has it become ever harder to sit down at the keyboard and type?

Continue reading “What happens when you’ve been writing a blog for seven years”

11 More Animation Blogs That Everyone Ought to Read

Dave Levy recently posted a list of the animation websites he reads on a daily basis (and his blog should most definitely be in your bookmarks already). Seeing as he is a man of good taste, there is no need to amend his list. Indeed, you should check it out to make sure you are reading the same websites he does.

So, as an addition to those, here are 11 more that any self-respecting animation fan would readily admit to reading on a daily basis.

1. Cartoon Brew

Industry standard-bearer and the home page of anyone who is anyone in animation. Guaranteed to either raise a smile or your ire, Jerry beck and Amid Amidi offer up a continuous stream of animated goodies. From the latest TV series to the weirdest merchandise known to man, no animation website is more respected.

2. TAG Blog

The Animation Guild Local 839 is your one stop shop for all the labour news and views from the Golden Coast. Dishing out equal amounts of industry headlines and labour items of note. The TAG blog is a must for current affairs relating to working in the animation business. Sometimes trite, it is nonetheless peppered with commentary from workers and sage advice from union heads.

3. Chuck Redux

The website for all things Chuck Jones. Run by his grandson Craig Causen, Chuck Redux features everything from Oscar’s worldwide travels to the creations from the mind of the man himself. I wrote about it a while back and if you are in any doubt as to why you should read it, look no further than here.

4. John K.

The one and only John Kricfalusi. As if you needed a reason to read his blog, where he discusses techniques, characters and animation in general. Always controversial but guaranteed to advance your knowledge of this fantastic artform.

5. Mr. Fun

Floyd Norman remember Disney when it was run by Disney and then some. Every day he posts his thoughts on working then and now, sometimes throwing in a witty cartoon for good measure. Looking for insights on what it was like to work way back when? Floyd’s is the only website you need.

6. Brian Sibley

Writer and broadcaster from the UK, Brian has not one, but at least three blogs that are worthy of reading. Purveyor of tidbits that are absolutely not to be found anywhere else on the web, Brian’s blogs are a must read. Heck if Michael Sporn recommends them, you know they’re among the best to be found.

7. Deja View

Andreas Deja, famed animator with a sense of humour, recently started his blog. The guy’s one of the best animators about, so expect plenty of technique analysis from the Nine Old Men and more. What more can I say, I look forward to every post.

8. Disney History

If you’re looking for various bits and bobs from the history of Disney, look no further than Didier Ghez’s blog, self-described as:“Interesting discoveries about Disney history, vintage Disneyana, Disney artwork, the Walt’s People book series, and new books about Disney.” Do you need any more reasons to visit? I think not!

9. Joe Murray

Creator of Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, Joe Murray has been around the circuit more than once, and he’s learned a thing or two in the process. On his blog, he offers updates on his studio, news on KaboingTV, anecdotes from the past and advice on how to make it in a fiercely competitive industry. One that should absolutely not be overlooked.

10. Nina Paley

Independent animator, free thinker and open-culture advocate, Nina Palely uses her blog to document the latest in her working life, spread thoughts on free and open culture and to advocate changes in the way the entertainment industry works.

11. Yowp

Do you even remotely like old Hanna-Barbera stuff? Good, Yowp has you covered for just about anything and everything to do with early Hanna-Barbera. From the animators to the writers to contemporary media coverage, this blog has it all.

Link: Hong Kong Phooey film: let sleeping dogs lie

Via: The Guardian

Stuart Heritage over at The Guardian has a blog post on the announced Hong Kong Phooey live-action movie starring Eddie Murphy as the titular hero.

It’s well worth taking the few seconds to read it (and his suggestions at the end) but here is the standout quote:

The sheen of irony and misplaced nostalgia might have buoyed its reputation in recent years, but the fact is that Hong Kong Phooey was never anything more than a footnote in the story of Hanna-Barbera.

 

A Student Blog Worth Your While Reading

I forget how I managed to stumble across this blog (probably late at night when I’m a bit sleepy) but I’m glad I did. Written by the students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, it’s a collaborative effort by the animation students there.

It’s a wide ranging blog that covers anything from individual animator’s to hints and tips on techniques to opinions on the industry as a whole.

While there may not be the sage advice you would find on a an experienced animator’s blog, it is quite fascinating to see the opinions of students who too often neglect to run any kind of individual blog. Besides that, there are also links to workspace advice, internship opportunities and links to suppliers.

The updates are fairly frequent and the tone is friendly. The SMFA Animation blog is certainly one you should consider adding to your bookmarks.

Ten Rock Solid Reasons To Read Floyd Norman’s Blog Every Day

  1. Floyd’s been around a while, so he knows just about everything there is to know about animation.
  2. His Disney knowledge is exquisite and magnificent in it’s depth and detail.
  3. He keeps things short and sweet but never skimps on the details.
  4. He has plenty of stories to tell about the old days, which make for very worthwhile reading.
  5. His website has a ‘gag wall’ filled with incredibly funny pictures.
  6. In addition to his daily posts, he has a special section for longer stories.
  7. Every post has a lovely photo or sketch to go along with it.
  8. Plenty of learned people read his blog too, so the fun doesn’t stop with the posts, it continues in the comments!
  9. Floyd also stays right on top of all the latest happenings in animation, he’s not stuck in the past.
  10. The blog’s title is “Mr. Fun”, how much cooler can you get than that?

Convinced? Head over here and start reading.

Weekly Weblink: Dant Santat

Dan Santat blog bannerDan Santat (click through to see the hilarious fake album cover)  is a name you may not be immediately familiar with. He’s created the Disney cartoon, The Replacements, and he’s illustrated a ton of books (some by others, some by himself). With all that on his plate, it’s easy to see why I am recommending his blog for you to follow.

Being the independent type. Dan is superb in expressing the viewpoints of such a career. A recent highlight was his post about a job offer from none other than Google, and whether or not he felt his career should go down that road.

He posts in a very conversational tone, as if he’s there with you and simply reading aloud his mental thoughts. That makes for easy and enjoyable reading.

On top of all that though, is the ton of great art he posts. Being an artistic type, how could he not? There are recent works, upcoming books, gallery exhibits. visits to and from friends (old and new) and of course, recaps of various literary events that he’s attended. He also post the occasional window into his work methods, including building a scene, and the many tricks and shortcuts he uses to save time.

Besides all that, there are also links to his portfolio (for which you are richly rewarded), his books and TV show.

Dan updates fairly regularly and his posts are always a delight to read.

Weekly Weblink: The Character Design Blog

A bit early I know, but that’s just because tomorrow is B-Day or Blog Day, when I finally get around to making some major changes to the site. Seeing as I have the time now and maybe not tomorrow, I’m posting this today!

Character design is one of the more exciting areas in animation (I think) because there are so many avenues to explore when it comes to them. A house limited in certain aspects, but a person can look completely different just by putting on a pair of glasses, or a hat!

With so many awesome character designs out there, I used to often wonder how they came about, that is until I discovered the Character Design Blog!

Featuring interviews and art from some of the industry’s well-known and not-so-well-known designers, it is a rich archive of knowledge and art that stretches back over 5 years. It just recently returned from a brief hiatus although with so much material on there, there are plenty of older stuff to keep you entertained.

The interviews are sharp and relevant and I am pleased to say that the questions manage to avoid sinking into the usual fanboy mess that we are all too familiar with.

On top of all that, there is a full set of links to the interviewees work and/or shop so that you can support them yourself with your hard earned cash.

If you have an interest in character design (or, like me, you like to look at coll character designs) then the Character Design Blog should be top of your list.

Below is an example of the awesome Chris Battle’s work for The PowerPuff Girls that is posted in his interview.

Weekly Weblink: Eclectic Micks

Admittedly, when I first heard of Eclectic Micks, the first vision that popped into my head was a pub band along the lines of Mungo Jerry. I guess I was a bit off because it’s something much better, a colection of awesome, Irish artists!

I must have been visiting the wrong circles because the blog has been around since 2009 with the basic concept that there is one topic per week with each member posting their work on the designated day. Naturally as one would expect, the level of quality is extremely high and with such a group of talented folks, that is not surprising in the slightest.

Last week’s topic was The Secret of Kells (so you can see how I discovered the site) and as you can see below from this one sample, you are guaranteed not to be disappointed if you follow them.

Go Visit the Animation Backgrounds Blog!

WB Road Runner BackgroundA sooooooper short post today because I highly recommend checking out the (now sadly on hiatus) Animation Backgrounds blog that’s chock full of original backgrounds from just about every era of animation that you can think of. It’s only after being reminded about it (by Eoghan Kidney and the good folks at Caboom) that I went back for another glance through and was thoroughly amazed by the quality of some of the stuff on there. It is well worth checking out and with three years of posts to dig through, you know there’s lots of fantastic posts just waiting to be discovered. 🙂

Anomaly Approved: Katie Rice

And now for something a wee bit different. Today kicks off a new feature here on the Aninomablog (still working on what the blog itself is called, suggestions always welcome in the comments). With the vast, vast, vast number or blogs I follow, vast, I figured it would be exceedingly selfish of me if I kept them for myself. So, starting today and running on a most likely erratic schedule, I will highlight the blog of people I follow and hopefully cajole persuade you into following them too.

The person with the honour of being the first in what will hopefully be a long line of blogs made famous by being feature here is: Katie Rice!

Posting on her personal blog, Funny Cute, Katie forms part of an unofficial group of people I follow of a certain style that I will refer to later when I get around to some more of them.

Astrid from How To Train Your Dragon

Katie posts a wide range of stuff ranging from doodles to full-on illustration. Seeing that a fair amount of said stuff is either funny or cute or both, you can see why I follow here (I like funny and cute stuff). Katie’s style is fantastic, she certainly has an eye for excellent illustration.

Katie’s illustrations display influence from the John K. school with curvaceous bodies and large eyes. Her attention to detail is superb, in the characters and the emotions they display.

Part of Katie's sbumission for Craig Yoe's Jetta book.

Besides here personal art, she has also treated readers to various samples of her animation work. Most recently this has been her storyboards for Nickelodeon’s The Might B! I always appreciate artists posting their studio stuff on their blog as it displays confidence that they always create good art.

Katie Rice is therefore absolutely worthy of being “Anomaly Approved” and she should be “you” approved to. Follow her blog and give her some love.

If you know a blog I should be following, please add it in the comments. 🙂

The Importance of Having a Blog

I was chatting to a guy there at the weekend. Nice chap and rather talented with a pencil and paper too. He was telling me how he really wanted to work in animation in some form or another. Which was great, in fact he had already been in contact with some studios in New York about a possible internship (that’s a post for another day).

While all this was great and he was pushing himself to get out there and get recognized, I had to regretfully inform him that he was missing a big piece of his plan: a blog.

Now I use my blog more of a place to communicate my thoughts on animation because engineers are unlikely to know or even care about that kind of thing. However, if you’re either in the industry or trying to get in, a blog can make all the difference in the world.

Right now, I follow about 400 news feeds (give or take), of which about 300 or so are blogs, either individuals or small studios. Most of those are either collaborative, others a place to share artwork on a common theme, like Sugar Frosted Goodness, or individual. Among those, they are normally either places to post artwork, thoughts or to post some quick animatics or storyboards. Most often promote a show or exhibition they are in, which is also a great way to find out about local events, for example the Little Golden Books exhibit happening in downtown Baltimore that I hadn’t a clue about until I read about it on Steve Lambe’s blog.

My point is, and I made it to your man, was that if I want to see a collection of your work, i.e. your portfolio, I would rather see it on a blog, where you might post some WIPs or where you found the inspiration, rather than a static website. DeviantArt is also OK, but that is a much more structured environment. A blog allows you a lot more freedom and flexibility in how you present yourself and your work.

Besides all the wonderful benefits, it’s free! Either Blogger or WordPress.com (where this blog is hosted) don’t cost a penny to get up and going. Both have different strengths and weaknesses so at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.