See You At The Expo!

Tonight I’m flying to California for the CTN Animation Expo. Can’t wait! Before I leave I wanted to post a few items of interest:

1. Update on my freelancing presentation.
I’ll be giving a talk at the Expo on Saturday, November 19, 4:30pm, called “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks”. In an earlier blog post I said the talk would be 30 minutes. It will actually be an hour and fifteen minutes. Tickets to my talk are sold out but I’m told that when my presentation is over I can move everyone over to another room in the building (not sure which one yet) for an ongoing Q&A. If you weren’t able to get a seat at my talk you can still catch the Q&A. Just wait around outside the Exec Boardoom at around 5:45pm so you can join us as we file out.

2. Check out Stephen Silver’s new “Posebook” app.
Speaking of the CTN Expo, the amazing character designer Stephen Silver will have a booth there again this year. He’s got a new project that I think is pretty neat: He’s creating a new series of iPhone/iPad app for artists called Posebook. It’s a collection of professional costumed models in over 2,000 full-body poses (no nudes), hands, and close-up facial expressions for sketching. There’s also 6 instructional videos included as well as 25 sketches from some top character designers in the biz. That’s a lot of goodies for $9.99.

The first volume, “Males”, has just been released on iTunes. The second volume, “Females”, is coming soon. I recently downloaded the app and can’t wait to give it a try. Once the dust settles around here I plan to post a review along with a sketch or two. But from what I can tell so far it’s a great product.

3. I’m being interviewed on “On The Box”.
Several years ago I illustrated a cartoon Gospel tract for the ministry of Living Waters which has consistently been one of their best sellers – over 5 million copies have been printed in English and it has been translated into 20 languages. Last year, with the help of some talented animators I produced an animated version of the tract which to date has had over 300,000 hits on YouTube.

While I’m in California Living Waters has graciously invited me  to do a short video interview on their webcast, “On The Box”. It will air live on Thursday, November 17 (11:30am Pacific) and then be uploaded to their YouTube channel for future viewing.

Gotta go pack my bags. I’ll be back in the studio on Monday, November 21.

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Upcoming Events for Twin Cities Cartoonists

This weekend there will be a lot of neat goings-on for Minnesota comic book and cartoon fans.

For starters, the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society will be holding it’s annual get-together here in Minneapolis. As part of the event, NCS president and local illustrator Tom Richmond has put together a special event for the public on Friday, October 14. Things kick off at 6:30pm when cartoonist Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) will give a public lecture about his work. Then at 7:30pm there will be a panel discussion with Q&A featuring several professional cartoonists from around the Midwest. Both events will take place at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Auditorium 150.

Then on Saturday October 15, comic book creators and fans from all over the Midwest and beyond will be gathering at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for FallCon, Minnesota’s annual fall comic book convention. As usual I’ll have a table so stop by and say hi. The National Cartoonists Society will also have a table so you’ll have a rare opportunity to meet several professional cartoonists from around the region.

Finally, while you’re at FallCon MAD Magazine’s Tom Richmond will be selling copies of his brand new book The MAD Art of Caricature, hot off the presses. My copy hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but from everything I’ve seen it looks like it will be one very thorough, very helpful book. Tom’s been leaking snippets here and there on his blog, and you can tell from the above video that it’s no lightweight volume. There’s a zillion “how to draw” books out there, thankfully it looks like this one will rise well above the norm. Tom has a reputation for not cutting corners and this looks like a top-notch effort. If you can’t make it to FallCon you can order copies of the book here.

Local Art Exhibit & Book Signing by Hollywood Character Designer Chris Ayers

I should have posted this earlier this week but over the last few days I was slammed with deadlines. Better late than never.

Chris Ayers is a Minnesota native currently working as a character designer and concept artist in Hollywood. He’s done work on Men in Black II, Star Trek and The Fantastic Four and is currently designing characters for an upcoming Dreamworks animation project.

Chris is probably most well-known for his Daily Zoo books. In 2005 he was diagnosed with leukemia and as part of his recovery he challenged himself to draw an animal a day. He kept it up for over two years. The sketches were compiled into two books with a third in the works, plus a fun children’s drawing/activity book called My Daily Zoo. As for the leukemia there’s good news: Chris has been in remission now for over five years.

An art show of Chris’s work recently opened at the Owatonna Arts Center. Chris will be there in person later today (Saturday, Sept. 10) from 1:00-4:00pm. At 2:00 he’ll be giving a slideshow presentation to discuss his work followed by a book signing. The exhibit runs through Sept. 25. If you live in or near the Twin Cities I’d encourage you to check it out.

Book Sale

I’ve got a pretty large collection of art books in my studio library. Too many in fact. They’re nice to have and inspiring to look at but the reality is there’s a large chunk of them that I never, ever pull off the shelf and thumb through. So I’ve decided its time to start selling a few.

I’m starting with some of the more expensive ones but plan to add more modestly priced books the near future. You can view a live update of everything I have available on my Amazon.com storefront: http://www.amazon.com/shops/cedricstudio

I’ve tried to undercut other Amazon sellers whenever possible. If I’ve got a like-new copy I’m not going to sell it for cheaper than someone selling a raggedy book full of highlighting and coffee stains. But within reason I’m willing to be the lowest price. For the moment at least buying from me will get you the best deal (though you can check for sure by clicking on the item and looking at the various “Used and New” offers). Current titles include:

  • To Infinity and Beyond! The Story of Pixar Animation Studios
  • Paper Dreams: The Art and Artists of Disney Storyboards
  • Rockwell On Rockwell: How I Make A Picture by Norman Rockwell
  • Don Bluth’s Art Of Storyboard
  • MAD’s Greatest Artists: The Completely Mad Don Martin (2 Volume Set)
  • Puss N Boots (illustrated by Andreas Deja, signed limited edition)
  • Peter Pan Sketchbook (Walt Disney Sketchbook Series, limited edition)
  • Little Mermaid Sketchbook (Walt Disney Sketchbook Series, limited edition)
  • Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation
  • The Art of Monster’s Inc.
  • Rough Beasts 1 (sketchbook of Bill Halliar)
  • The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age
  • Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm
  • Modern Masters Vol. 1: Alan Davis
  • Modern Masters Vol. 6: Arthur Adams
  • Leonard Maltin’s Animation Favorites from the National Film Board of Canada (DVD)
  • Out of the Picture: Art from the Outside Looking In by Chris Wedge
  • Amistad: A Celebration of the Film

I won’t be updating the above list on this blog but if you just visit my storefront you can see the most up-to-date list of what I have for sale. Most books are in very good condition but if not I’ve noted any tears, underlining, etc. in the product descriptions. If you decide to buy one, I hope you enjoy reading it. I can tell you from personal experience that just leaving it on the shelf to soak in through osmosis doesn’t work very well.

Happy shopping!

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.


Announcing The Official “March Is Sketchbook Month” Blog!

Wow, I am totally overwhelmed by the response this little idea of mine is getting. I decided to declare March to be Sketchbook Month. I’ve committed to sketching something in my sketchbook every weekday in March and posting it on my blog. A lot of my artist friends liked the idea and have decided to join in. The first day of Sketchbook Month isn’t even over yet and already about a dozen talented artists have sent me their first sketches, with many more expressing a desire to contribute.

In order to keep things manageable I’ve decided to give Sketchbook Month it’s very own blog:

http://sketchbookmonth.wordpress.com/

March Is Sketchbook Month-Blog

Here’s how it works…

Anyone can take part as long as you commit to creating at least one new sketch every weekday during the month of March (yup, you can have weekends off or use that time to make up for missed sketches during the week). You can jump in at any time but everything shuts down after March 31 so the sooner you get on board the better.

To join simply post your first sketch online (i.e. your blog, flickr page, etc.) and then email the link to sketches@cedricstudio.com. Every day or two I’ll update the Sketchbook Month blog with everyone’s new artwork along with a link back to your page. Unfortunately I won’t have time to check in on everyone to see if you’ve posted anything new so each time you post new artwork you’ll have to email me again. Otherwise your work won’t make it onto the blog.

More rules and info are posted on the Sketchbook Month blog. It’s still “under construction” with tweaks being made but the basic info and first few sketches have already gone live. There’s even an RSS feed if you’d like to follow the blog that way.

Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them. Or you can email sketches@cedricstudio.com.

Thanks again to everyone for your interest. Happy sketching!