Sep 29, 2011

Prohibition

I love Ken Burns and his documentaries. Ever since I was a kid and watched The Civil War with my dad, I've been hooked. As many critics say, he has the ability to take otherwise complex and inaccessible history and turn it into something fascinating. Some say he makes things seem too simplistic. Well, that's a critique that can be leveled against any documentarian. You only have so much time that an audience will grant you. With the time that he has, Ken Burns makes people who don't like history absolutely love it.

That's why I can't wait for his new documentary, which will be showing on PBS starting this Sunday. It's on that great American experiment, Prohibition. So, go grab a tumbler, make yourself an Old Fashioned, and enjoy the featurette with great anticipation:

Sep 26, 2011

Pardon the Changes

Apologies for the drastic changes to my blog. I've been battling Blogger's new interface for the last few days, and thus far, I seem to be losing. Hopefully it'll have more of a semblance of something readable soon.

Sep 23, 2011

Jim Henson's Birthday

Tomorrow, I learned from Google, is the 75th birthday of the great Jim Henson.



Of course, I've written before about how inspiring Jim Henson has been to me. It's amazing to think that he'd only be 75 tomorrow. The last twenty years could've really been something for the Muppets. Maybe, however, it was his time. Maybe he left at the top of his game. I don't know. That's a bit too metaphysical for me.

Henson is such an inspiration because of his wild creativity. He never stood still, he never stopped imagining new creatures, new sketches, new characters. He continued to grow in his craft (go check out The Dark Crystal to see how advanced his puppetry had become by the end of his career). He also continued to explore other crafts--surrealism, animation, painting. Puppetry was only part of the big world of art, and the Muppets were only a part of the big world of puppetry.

I saw a video recently (I think through Drawn!, the illustration blog) about the collaboration between Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It doesn't have any narration, only interviews with Jim, Frank, and others, and clips from the various projects they worked on together. Though Frank seems to always try to give Jim sole credit for everything, the two really were one of those incredible corroborations that will be remembered for a long time to come, on the order of Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, or Gilbert and Sullivan. Kermit wouldn't be complete without Miss Piggy. Ernie wouldn't be complete without Bert, and the Swedish Chef wouldn't be complete without...uh...hands. Here it is, in memory of Jim Henson, whose Muppets continue to entertain us on the silver screen, on YouTube, at Walt Disney World, and in innumerable other places.

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Sep 22, 2011

Lion Drawing

I promise that at some point I will stop drawing big cats.  I promise I have more to my repertoire.  They're just so fun.

I spent the day at the zoo, sketching animals.  The gorillas were having a good time, so I might do something with one of them.  Or maybe a rhinoceros or a giraffe.  Or, maybe a leopard becau--doh!  No, not a leopard.

Well, maybe a leopard.



Sep 15, 2011

Yet Another Cheetah Drawing

Been working on some drawings. They're of cheetahs, which is a surprise to no one.  I've been once again practicing light and shadow, so here's an example.  I also had a little fun with depth-of-field in the background.  I need more work on that kind of thing, but there you go.


Cheetah Run!

So, I've basically been rotoscoping a clip of a young cheetah hunting a gazelle. It's a really fascinating way to see how these animals move when they are running.

Here are the two clips:


video

video

Sep 7, 2011

Finally!

So, I try not to blog much these days about anything beyond animation and puppets and whatever, because those are things that I actually enjoy and that don't stress me out, but sometimes things come along that deserve a mention. I've whined about how much opposition responses to presidential addresses peeve me off before. Now, apparently, the Republicans in Congress have decided not to give one for President Obama's jobs speech tomorrow. Finally! But Nancy Pelosi isn't happy, because according to her, it more demeans the office of the President not to give a petulant rebuttal than to let him have the floor and exercise a traditional role of the office. Sheesh. Can't win for losing...