Amazing Easter Animation

This blew me away. Big kudos to everyone involved. (Warning: May not be suitable for young children).

From Cartoon Brew:

Here’s something a little different for fans of violent anime: My Last Day, a nine minute animated short commissioned by The JESUS Film Project and animated by Japan’s Studio 4ºC – the production house behind The Animatrix, Genius Party, Tekkon Kinkreet and Mind Game – depicting the crucifixion of Christ through the perspective of one of the thieves killed with him. Anime News Network says this was written by Barry Cook – the director of Disney’s Mulan and Aardman/Sony’s forthcoming Arthur Christmas. It’s a far cry from Cook’s previous shorts, Trail Mix-Up and Off His Rocker.


Toy Design: Plush Teddy Bears

One of my regular clients is DecoPac, Inc., a local company that designs and manufactures many of the toys you find adorning the birthday cakes at your local grocery store bakery. Most of my work for them involves licensed properties (Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, etc.) but every once in a while I get to create something completely from scratch.

Last year they asked me to design a small plush teddy bear about six inches high, something cute and cuddly that could be decorated with various clothing and props to suit a number of themes (i.e. graduation, birth of a baby, etc.). The real challenge was to create something cute and appealing that was still a little different from the hundreds of teddy bear designs that already exist.

I started by doodling and brainstorming using small thumbnail sketches. Here’s a few of the initial ideas I submitted:

After some discussion and a few more sketches we finally settled on this design:

I also created versions based on four themes: Baby boy, baby girl, fairy bear, and graduation. Recently DecoPac sent me copies of the finished bears. Here’s how they turned out:

My daughters keep asking to play with them so I guess that means they were a success.

Courtroom Sketches For NFL Hearing

Yesterday I was at the federal courthouse in St. Paul where lawyers from the NFL and the Players Union were arguing over the current breakdown of salary negotiations. I’m not a sports fan so I don’t really have a dog in this fight. All I know is that whenever there’s large amounts of money at stake (in this case billions of dollars) there is no shortage of people trying to grab as big a piece of the pie as they can. The situation with the NFL is no different.

A lawyer speaks on behalf of the Players. Two NFL lawyers are seated at the table behind him. Copyright © 2011 by Cedric Hohnstadt. All rights reserved.

A lawyer speaks for the NFL. Copyright © 2011 by Cedric Hohnstadt. All rights reserved.

Lawyers for the NFL on the left, lawyers for the players on the right. Copyright © 2011 by Cedric Hohnstadt. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 by Cedric Hohnstadt. All rights reserved.

This was my highest-profile case to date with my sketches being picked up by several national new networks (MSNBC, ESPN, NNS, and the NFL Network) as well as all the local stations. But it started with a scare – I almost didn’t get into the courtroom.

I’ve sketched for murder trials and public scandals so I figured a group of lawyers arguing about union rules wouldn’t draw that much media attention. Boy was I wrong. I arrived to the courthouse 40 minutes early which is usually plenty of time. The courtroom was already packed and the security guards refused to let me squeeze in. I asked if I could just stand outside and watch through the glass on the doors and they wouldn’t even allow that. Instead I had to sit in an overflow room and watch the proceedings on video feed.

That turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the camera gave me an excellent view of the podium from which the lawyers were speaking—better than if I had actually been in the room—though not much else. So I did a couple of sketches of the lawyers and then ran them out to the news trucks. By the time everyone finished shooting my drawings the judge called a break for lunch. As soon as the room emptied I grabbed a seat in the public gallery and started working up a sketch of the room. I was able to finish the wide shot and squeeze in a quick sketch of the judge before the hearings ended at around 3pm. Whew! Next time I think I’ll bring a lawn chair and a blanket and camp outside the night before.

If you’d like to find out more about the challenges of being a courtroom sketch artist, check out my earlier blog post What It’s Like To Do Courtroom Sketching. For more samples of my courtroom sketch art visit my website.