I just finished watching a DVD documentary called “Dream On Silly Dreamer”. It’s a fascinating collection of interviews with former Disney artists chronicling the rise and fall of 2-D animation from the 1980′s to the present. I’ve always had a fantasy of moving to LA and working for a big animation studio, so I was riveted by the testimonials and anecdotes of some of the people who actually lived that dream. Filmed during the massive Disney layoffs of 2002, “Dream On Silly Dreamer” gives a compelling inside look into the recent history of Disney animation, from the “warehouse” animation of the 80′s through the enormous success of the 90′s and culminating with the massive Disney layoffs of 2003. The interviews are moving and insightful. These artists clearly love the artform, and their real-life story is a compelling one.
Need some Christmas humor? Check out these lists from Cap’n Wacky:
There ya go. Some jolly for your holly.
This illustration is from one of my very first freelance projects after graduating from college (1997). Even though my artwork is much more cartoony nowadays, I though this would be an appropriate image to wish everyone a very merry Christmas.
If you look past the Santas and the shopping and the stress, the story of Christmas is really amazing to think about: The God of the universe humbled Himself to become a little baby! He was a King, yet instead of a palace He chose to be born in a cattle stall. His birth was announced not to dignitaries and heads of state but to working-class shepherds. From the very beginning He set an example of complete humility. (This is even more remarkable to me now that my wife and I have our own baby to feed, change, and care for. She is totally helpless in almost every way.)
It’s also remarkable that His birth actually fulfilled many Bible prophecies, including specifics about his ancestry, his place of birth, and the events surrounding it. It was foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem to a virgin who was a direct descendant of King David, and that there would be a celesstial event to mark His birth (the star) and also a great tragedy involving dead children (Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents”). And it all came to pass!
And what’s with the virgin birth anyway? Well, Christian teaching is that had Jesus been born in the normal way He would have inheritted the sinful nature that has been passed down to every human being since Adam and Eve. But because He was conceived supernaturally, Jesus remained sinless and could therefore be a worthy sacrifice for our sins. I can’t pay the penalty for your sins because I’ve got my own sins. But because Jesus was perfect, He could take our punishment upon His shoulders at the cross. All who repent and come to Him in faith can receive complete forgiveness and eternal life! “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Sorry if I’m starting to sound “preachy”, but that’s why Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. Warm Christmas wishes to one and all!
This year I decided to do a Christmas self-promotion campaign. My plan was to buy jumbo chocolate bars, replace the labels with new labels illustrated by me (see above), throw in a card (also designed by me) and ship them to my various clients and friends. But then our beautiful baby girl was born early. We love her immensely, but now wiith the late-night diaper changes, doctor visits, Christmas shopping, and deadlines, I’ve barely had time to slap the promo together. I did get a few out in the mail but unfortunately not as many as I wanted to send. Here’s what they looked like:
A few of the packages went to warm states like Arizona, Texas, etc. so I hope the chocolate doesn’t melt in transit. Next year I hope to send something to everyone, especially the people I missed this year.
Anyway, warm Chirstmas wishes to one and all!
Above is a photo of the happy family. For a slideshow of more photos, CLICK HERE.
We will be staying at the St. Francis hospital in Shakopee, MN until sometime on Saturday. Then Cedric will drive the family home, provided he can get himself unwound from around Anna’s little finger.
This really made me laugh. Thanks to Ernie Schenck for the link.
I’ve been tagged by illustrator Doug Jones for the Christmas Song game. My job is to post my five favorite Christmas songs, and then tag five other people. It’s hard to pick just 5, but here they are (in no particular order):
2. Tie: Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and Silver and Gold. Specifically the versions sung by Burl Ives as the Snowman narrator in the charming Rankin-Bass special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. They don’t make ‘em like that any more.
3. Zat You Santa Claus? by Louis Armstrong. I just discovered this song last year, but I love it. Not only is it an upbeat, jazzy number, but it’s so different from most other Christmas songs (which all start to sound alike after a while).
5. Finally….Handel’s Messiah. Ok, it’s not just one song, it’s a whole album. But it’s beautiful music inspired by the true reason for Christmas: not Santa, shopping, or sleigh bells, but the Savior. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15)
There ya go. Merry Christmas and happy singing to one and all!
That’s “Are You a Good Person?” in Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. Let me explain:
About a year ago I illustrated a cartoon gospel tract called “Are You a Good Person?” for a ministry called Living Waters. I gave it to them for free, under the condition that it remain copyright-free so that I can offer it to any ministry that wants to print them. I don’t make a dime off it, and don’t want to. The tract has been very well-received. So far almost a million copies(!) have been printed in English, and translations have recently been completed in French, Spanish, and Tagalog (a language in the Philippines). That’s more than I would have ever dreamed. But it’s nothing compared to all the hard work being done by full-time missionaries around the world who have comitted their lives to the gospel. I’m just a yutz at a drawing board. They’re the ones on the front lines.
Today I received word that the first Tagalog tracts were distributed at a Christmas party in a slum in the Philippines by Jeff and Mary Ann Anderson, missionaries with Action International. Jeff and Mary Ann are doing tremendous work, be sure to visit their blog. They were kind enough to send me photos of the tracts being distributed at the party. Mary Ann writes:
I’m really excited to tell you that we had our first Christmas party for children in a squatter area today. This was the first time we distributed the “Ikaw ba ay mabuting tao?” tracts. I wanted to send you a few pictures that I took. The first picture shows you about how many kids were there (more than in the photo) and the surroundings. The next two pictures are Jeff talking with kids as he was handing them out. The other pictures show how the kids immediately began reading the tracts. Everyone wanted one. We must have given out about 150 or more at this one party.
We are now praying that God will use the pictures throughout our distribution and Christmas parties this season. Our missionaries are asking for more copies they can hand out.
Is this cool or what?
This is pretty exciting. Thanks to new leadership at Disney, you will soon be seeing animated shorts in the theater when you go see a Disney film. And many of them will be done in 2D! That’s encouraging news for those who have been mourning the “death” of 2D animation at Disney.
From the article:
Four new shorts are in development at Disney: “The Ballad of Nessie,” a stylized account of the origin of the Loch Ness monster; “Golgo’s Guest,” about a meeting between a Russian frontier guard and an extraterrestrial; “Prep and Landing,” in which two inept elves ready a house for Santa’s visit; and “How to Install Your Home Theater,” the return of Goofy’s popular “How to” shorts of the ’40s and ’50s, in which a deadpan narrator explains how to play a sport or execute a task, while Goofy attempts to demonstrate — with disastrous results. The new Goofy short is slated to go into production early next year.