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Tyler Sticka


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Thursday, December 09, 2004

I only have one thing to say...

Don't you just love the direction this country is going in?

Those damn cartoonists... next there'll be DANCING!

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Will Vinton...

This started out as a response comment to Mike's comment on the last post, but grew so long that I decided to just devote a post to it.

Will does a monthly animation screening (last one was just "will's pix," showing us various pieces of Academy Award-winning and -nominated animation, the next one is a look at Tex Avery and Chuck Jones), organizes/moderates panel discussions (last one was "Creative Mavericks," a talk with design heads, very cool) and also does neat things like comes into classes to talk about animation.

I've had the opportunity to go to his events four different times, speaking to him three times. He's a really nice guy who REALLY loves this stuff. It's a real shame what happened with Phil Knight essentially booting him out of his own company, but right now Will's new company (Freewill Productions) has a couple projects in development for two major networks (not sure if I'm allowed to mention them yet, though), so he's still doing quite well.

An interesting sidenote... according to some Oregon news page I have yet to recover, the "straw that broke the camel's back" and led to Will being fired from his own studio actually had to do with the CGI Popeye special. Will Vinton Studios was originally the company who was slated to create it, but there were disagreements between Vinton and the other bigwigs. Will wanted to create something that both children AND adults could enjoy (like any animation with any real staying power), while the corporate guys wanted something SPECIFICALLY aimed at children. His refusal to back down ultimately cost them the job, which has since been given to Mainframe, and we've all seen how that's going.

I have another instructor teaching a black-and-white design class who freelances for Vinton Studios. If you've ever watched The PJs or Gary & Mike, you've probably seen her work... she's one of the people who designs and creates the characters' clothing. :-)

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I was approached to possibly do some Beatles caricature illustrations (early 60s versions) by a possible client about a month ago, but unfortunately the further we got into the process, the more I realized they just wanted me to mimic another artist's style, one that was quite different from mine (plus, that just feels kinda sleazy anyway). Just found the caricature on my hard drive and decided to share it with you:

Had the opportunity to talk to Will Vinton again, here's a paraphrasing of his thoughts on The Polar Express and why it doesn't work:
When you get to a point where the animation is that realistic, psychologically people are going to be comparing it to live action, because it's closer to that than it is a cartoon. And animation just can't mimic all the subtle nuances that a live actor can. I mean, Tom Hanks is a great actor in real life, but this robs him of a large portion of that.

I agree! Right on, Will.

Look, I drew Popeye in my cartoon journal!

Okay, I'm done pimping my own artwork now. Go read Cartoon Brew if you were looking for insider commentary. ;-)

   0 comments - posted by Tyler Sticka @

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I may very well OD on animation...

So today I have acquired SEVEN (count them) SEVEN animation DVDs. Six of these were found in one of those KB Toys cheapo DVD bins (James knows what I'm talking about). These are all, I'm assuming, public domain, and despite the "Digitally Remastered" banner displayed proudly on the front of each, I think the only "remastering" done to these was transferring them from bootleg VHS to DVD. But hey, they only cost $1.66 a piece (advertised at 3 for $5.00), and for an animation geek like me, that's good enough.

My absolute favorite of these so far has been the Felix the Cat DVD. It's one of the rare ones that actually contains a majority of the cartoons advertised (for example, the Betty Boop DVD is made up largely of Popeye, while the Popeye is made up largely of Superman), and the line-up has some great toons in it:

April Maze
False Vases (my personal favorite)
Forty Winks
Neptune Nonsense (color)
Bold King Cole (color)
(a cartoon with the title card missing) (color)
Tom Thumb (Produced by Ub Iwerks, music by Carl Stalling, actually okay quality)
Ali Baba (same as previous)

I also received my Wacky Races DVD set from Jerry Beck's Cartoon Brew trivia contest (I won second place in one of them). I'm currently working up a thank-you for him, and can't wait to watch it. The box is gorgeous, actually... these guys must have a blast designing these.

And also, I had to show you a scanned version of a very quick flipbook animation I did for an introductory animation course:

Hey, does Mike still exist??

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Pixar fans will definitely want to read this article. And if you're a big Pixar fan, you'll then want to defiantly spit upon the boots of Michael Eisner.

Toy Story 3? Give me a break...

   1 comments - posted by Tyler Sticka @

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Rolling Stone has posted another shining review of the Polar Express. (note the sarcasm in that last sentence)

Saw the Incredibles again today with some friends who couldn't help but go see it after my raving about it. Last night I saw the Spongebob movie. It watched a bit like Nick just went to the people who made the toon and said "make one of these, but three times longer." Which I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing yet.

But you DO get to see Spongebob drunk. That's something.

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

I found this cartoon on It's called "Refuge," and is essentially the story of my life up to the point I started art school.

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Friday, November 12, 2004

The Incredibles review

The Incredibles is, in a word... FANTASTIC. The movie isn't just a great Pixar film... it's a great film, period. It is unquestionably the most ambitious CGI project I've ever watched, and well worth the $9.00 ticket price (which I can't say for, say, Shark Tale, and I suspect not for The Polar Express, though I reluctantly reserve judgement for when I see the flick).

I don't want to spoil this for anybody because you truly WILL be surprised by this movie. It's got action that rivals, and in some cases TRUMPS those of "serious" superhero flicks. The comedy is executed with pinpoint accuracy. What I love about the humor in this film is that it's difficult humor. What I mean by that is this: the easiest type of humor you can create as a cartoonist is a fart joke. The hardest is something that utilizes virtually NO shock value, but actually makes you laugh. It's an incredibly hard thing to do, and this movie is one of the best executions of it I've seen.

The animation is something your jaw will DROP over. Forget the ultrarealistic-yet-animatronic-looking "realism" of Polar Express and Final Fantasy. The character designs are amazingly and beautifully stylized, yet you RELATE with them... they have so much life in them, as is expected from Pixar in this point. I was slightly skeptical because of previous attempts at CGI humans... but you aren't even thinking about the CGI here. It's just an example of Pixar's amazing design work, and I applaud it.

I challenge you to make a list of the hardest things to animate with CGI. Then, count how many times each of those things appear in this film. It's wonderful, practically miraculous.

I left the theater feeling absolutely high from this film. It's absolutely everything I've ever wanted from an animated film. I'd say so much more about it if it were as well-established and watched as, say, Toy Story 2, but in summary, I'll just give this:

"Bounding" - The preliminary short, VERY reminiscent of old school cartoons and a treat for any animation fan.

The Feature - One of the most draw-dropping examples of what animation is capable of I've ever witnessed.

Credits Sequence - A rare look at Pixar's 2D design sensibilities, and worthy of me sitting in my seat for the entire duration.

I completely understand your decision if you choose to rent The Polar Express, Shark Tale or Shrek 2 instead of watching it in the theaters... but I URGE you to see this flick on the big screen. You won't be disappointed.

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