Christmas Gift Ideas For The Artist In Your Life

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If you’re looking for any last-minute Christmas ideas you might want to browse through my Amazon.com store, Cedric Hohnstadt Recommends. It’s a collection of books, DVDs, and other resources related to art, animation, and freelancing. Each item is something I have personally owned, used, and found to be especially helpful and/or inspirational.

Full disclosure: If you order any of the items from Amazon after clicking through my store I’ll receive a tiny percentage of the sale as a kickback (you won’t pay any extra). So you’ll not only be filling someone’s stocking but you’ll be helping me support my iPhone app addiciton.

CTN Animation Expo Nov. 19-21

In a little over a week I’ll be flying to Burbank for the 2nd annual Animation Expo sponsored by the Creative Talent Network. I Can’t wait! I attended last year and had a blast (that’s a photo I took of Don Hahn introducing a screening of his documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty). The organizers really did a great job putting together an amazing and inspiring weekend. It was very well attended with some panel discussions playing to overflow crowds. This year’s event promises to be just as spectacular.

The Expo has everything an animation fan could want: Seminars on all aspects of animation and filmmaking, panel discussions, artistic demos, interviews with big names in the industry, networking parties, and a show floor where artists will be selling their latest sketchbooks, dealers will be selling their wares, and animation studios will be reviewing portfolios.

Any artist who has a serious interest in animation should absolutely attend this event. You can register or get more info at www.ctnanimationexpo.com.

My Artistic “Influence Map”

There’s a new meme for artists floating around the internet called an “Influence Map”. It was started by Boston artist Matt Laskowski over on DeviantArt.com. Here’s how it works: you download a template that contains a grid of white squares. Then you paste in samples of artwork from other artists who have inspired and influenced you over the years. The bigger the influence the more squares his or her sample takes up on the grid.

Here’s my Influence Map (click to view larger):

It was really difficult to decide who to include, or more accurately who to leave out. There are *so* many great artists out there whose work I have studied and learned from over the years, and the list continues to grow.

To make things a little easier on myself I left out some mind-blowing artists whom I have only recently been exposed to (Nico Marlet pops immediately to mind). Though their work inspires and challenges me, I haven’t really followed them long enough to say that I’ve really absorbed what I can from studying them.

The artists I did include are (from left to right, starting in the upper left): Glen Keane, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Norman Rockwell, John Nevarez, Stephen Silver, Milt Kahl (he represents all of Disney’s Nine Old Men), Dennis Jones, John Byrne, Heinrich Kley, E.C. Segar, Carter Goodrich, and Rik Maki.

Like any artist my style is still evolving and (I hope) improving. As I continue to learn and grow I’m sure my list of artistic influences will ebb and flow as well. This is just a snapshot of where I’m at today.

What are you waiting for? Zip on over to Matt Laskowski’s DeviantArt page and make your own Influence Map. [EDIT: Feel free to post a link to your Influence Map in the comments section below, as well as over on Matt’s Deviant Art page.]

Mort Drucker Clip From “The Master Series”

Artist Stephen Silver has put together an amazing new video that cartoonists are going to love. “The Masters Series, Vol. 1” includes lengthy interviews with three living legends: Mort Drucker (MAD Magazine), Stan Goldberg (Archie Comics), and John Reiner (The Lockhorns). Over the course of 2 hours and 15 minutes we get to see each artist hard at work in their studio and listen as Silver interviews them on their process, technique, inspirations, and a host of other topics. An extended preview of the Drucker segment is shown above.

This video is the first volume in what will hopefully be a long line of videos. You can watch “The Masters Series” on Schoolism.com starting January 20, 2010. The cost is $39.95. Pay once and you’ll be able to watch the video online over and over again to your heart’s content. Unfortunately you won’t be able to download a copy due to pirating concerns. That’s disappointing but I can’t blame Silver for his decision. In art and animation circles inspirational nuggets like this often get traded and shared like candy, regardless of copyright concerns, so I don’t blame him for being overly protective. He put a lot of hard work into the video and deserves to earn a bit of coin for his efforts.

See you at Schoolism.com on the 20th!

Christmas List Suggestions

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The Christmas shopping season is in full swing. If you are an artist, or you are shopping for someone who is, I invite you to take a look at the “Recommended Resources” list I’ve compiled on Amazon.com. It’s a few of the very best books, DVDs, and other resources I’ve found on topics such as art, illustration, animation, character design, and freelancing. Items are divided into categories for easy navigation, and I only put items on the list that I have personally used and found helpful. I’ve got two tall bookcases in my studio crammed with books. This list boils down a few of my favorites.

You can also access the list through the “Recommended Resources” tab at the top of my blog.

Full disclosure: Amazon.com pays me a small percentage of each order that is placed after you click on the link. If enough of you place orders I might make enough money to buy some more .99 cent apps for my iPhone.

CTN Animation Expo Recap

This past weekend I attended the first annual CTN Animation Expo in Burbank. What a fantastic weekend! Hundreds of animation artists descended on the Burbank Marriott for three days of workshops, seminars, networking, and hanging out. There were dozens of artists exhibiting their work and some top people in the biz giving incredible lectures and interviews.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the many highlights

Throughout the Expo several top artists were stationed out in the lobby doing live demos. Here Tony Bancroft (former Disney animator and director of Mulan) does a demo animation of Pumbaa from The Lion King. An overhead camera projected his work on large monitors.

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Walt Stanchfield’s “Drawn To Life”

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For twenty years Walt Stanchfield was a drawing instructor at Disney, teaching and inspiring some of the worlds’ best artists and animators to help them hone their craft. He often gave his students handouts filled with inspiring sketches and valuable insights into the process of gesture drawing. The handouts were so popular that they were photocopied and traded like baseball cards. Several of them have also popped up here and there on the internet. (A few years ago I downloaded a batch from a website which unfortunately no longer makes them available.)

Academy Award® nominated producer Don Hahn (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) has collected those notes and edited them into a brand new two-volume set entitled Drawn to Life: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures. The books will be available in late March/early April but are currently available for pre-order at Amazon.com (Volume 1 and Volume 2). The books total 800 pages of inspiration and instruction so at $20 each it’s a steal.

You can view a short video “trailer” for the books at www.donhahn.com.