1. 26

    Oct 2014

    Ninjai: The Little Ninja

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    Ninjai: The Little Ninja will be the penultimate of The Web Animation Renaissance features. Ninjai was created by the Ninjai Gang. Though the individuals that compose the group are unknown we do know, from their YouTube channel, it is “a group of young stuntmen by day and animators, musicians, and artists by night”.

    Ninjai completed 12 chapters, and what started as your run-of-the-mill web animation rapidly became something much more. The animation jumped up about 10 pegs, the characters, story telling and voice acting was tightened and gained more depth. It really became a stand-out animation, and accumulated a devoted following.

    Due to a disruptive work schedule, fans became agitated when the episode releases were delayed. As happy as fans were when the episodes were finally released, further frustration was caused when the series ended abruptly with an unresolved story line. The series ended in 2005.

    The Ninjai Gang confirmed that, the story did not end with chapter 12, and in 2008 announced they were working on a feature length animation. Obviously working with a small team at an incredibly slow pace, the project has been somewhat forgotten by fans. However from the looks of the Ninjai Facebook page progress has been made and the end is in sight. So I, for one, still hold on to the excitement and hope that the feature length will finally see the light of day, and the fans get a conclusion that will satisfy the wait.

  2. 22

    Oct 2014

    The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

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    Scanning the bookshelves in our offices for some inspiration on an artist to feature for today’s post, Book one of “The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman leaped out at me. I just can’t believe that we have yet to write up a feature for this great and current comic book.

    (If you don’t already know) The Walking Dead is a huge franchise published by Image Comics and is one of the most successful comic series of our generation spanning a dedicated TV show (currently airing around the globe), toys & merchandise.

    Robert Kirkman is also best known for “Invincible”, “Battle Pope” and his multitude of collaborations across Marvel and Image comics including “Marvel Zombies”, “Haunt” and “Ultimate X-Men”. Kirkman helped breathe new life into the fledgling comics book industry when he first broke on to the scene and has helped inspire and develop a new generation.

    Robert Kirkman we salute you!

  3. 20

    Oct 2014

    Book Review ~ Ed Sheeran “A Visual Journey”

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    Before I get into this book review, I just want to make it clear that I have a personal interest in this book and the artist behind it, Mr Phillip Butah.

    I have known Phillip for some time now in a professional and personal capacity. His work has always inspired me and I was all too happy and humbled to provide him with my opinions when he first opened the conversation about putting this book together. Also for our Blog readers, it’s worth noting that this book is not an out and out art book, it’s more of an illustrated book of autobiographical memoirs. I would therefore recommend it to both fans of Ed Sheeran’s music and fans of illustration and portraiture alike. Although much of the accompanying visuals are the work of artist Phillip Butah, there is also some varied and complimentary photography.

    The Book Review:
    The UK version of the book (to which I have kindly been gifted a first edition of by Phillip himself) is published by Cassell Illustrated a division of Octopus Publishing Group Ltd.

    The hardback cover is a bright and striking luminous green wrapped in luxurious soft touch lamination. The cover contains a simple line illustration of Ed looking rather humble. This I felt was an excellent precursor to the overall flavour of the book which takes us on a journey through Ed’s more humble beginnings up until his latest’s album release. In fact humility is often an underlining feature within both Phillip Butah’s artistic portraits and Ed Sheeran’s music.

    Phillip’s forward highlights this fact quite clearly when he talks about the need to put in at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become really good at any discipline. He also explains how even though both himself and Ed have made the necessary sacrifices to get to the level they are at, they both instinctively know and feel they can always do more and always do better. He also talks about this at the end of the book (which is dedicated to Phillip and the way in which he works) where he states that he is his “own worst critic”, with an eye for seeing his own work’s imperfections.

    The book contains a variety of artistic styles and approaches however I find that its Phillip’s signature realism style that shines through. His images often look like he has deliberately peeled back some of the layers to reveal the inner workings and techniques used to create them. Leaving areas of the portraits only subtly rendered to create depth and interest. I personally like this idea as it creates a sense of imbalance or drama and can help draw your eye to what the artist finds interesting and what he wants to reveal about the person he is drawing.

    Some of the styles in the book include inspiration from Czech artist Alphonse Mucha and even Soviet propaganda art. He treats us to a variety of mediums including, pencils, watercolour & pen, biro sketches, full blown pastel renders and graphite on paper chiaroscuro illustrations.

    Ed Sheeran “a visual journey” is available to buy now. I think we will be seeing a lot more of Phillip Butah and his collaborations with Ed Sheeran.

    Ed Sheeran “a visual journey”
    Hardcover
    208 pages
    24.8 x 19.6 x 2.2 cm
  4. 17

    Oct 2014

    I’d Love To Draw by Andrew Loomis

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    I’d Love To Draw is out today in the UK! To celebrate Titan books have kindly sent over some rare photographs of the original book Andrew Loomis created.

    I’d Love To Draw was started by the Andrew Loomis, but he unfortunately died in 1959 before its completion. Held in the Loomis family archives for decades, the book’s existence was entirely unknown outside of the Loomis family – until now. Lovingly restored by a team of experts, including the globally-renowned and respected artist Alex Ross, Titan Books are finally publishing Loomis’ lost legacy. This facsimile edition finally completes the Loomis legacy at long last.

    We will have a full review of the book soon.

  5. 16

    Oct 2014

    Mike Yamada

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    mike-yamada-01 mike-yamada-02 mike-yamada-03 mike-yamada-04 mike-yamada-05 mike-yamada-06

    Mike Yamada is a visual development artist for animation, and concept artist for video games. Some of his feature animation work includes Big Hero 6 (2014), How to Train your Dragon (2010), Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), and Kung Fu Panda (2008).

    Alongside his wife, Victoria Ying, he started a design studio called Extracurricular Activities. It houses their beautiful products, such as prints and apparel. They also take their knowledge on the road, holding lectures and workshops. Talking about knowledge, this excellent interview of the couple has back-back great advice any aspiring artist.

    A couple years ago, the pair took to Kickstarter to fund their ambitious children’s book Curiosities: An Illustrated History of Ancestral Oddity. As you can imagine it absolute bulldozed its original goal of $4,000 and went on to receive just under $50,000!

    Mike Yamada’s blog is filled with his concept art and sketches and well worth a gander.

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