Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Real wrath-of-God-type stuff
Bit of a manic week with a deadline today and two more Friday, so gotta make this one quick. BEHOLD - new Skwigly podcast: Discussion in this episode mainly focuses on the various upcoming awards ceremonies, dotted with the usual tangents such as Croods crudity and fond frog-cock memories. As always you can stream, subscribe or download directly. Guests include the recently Oscar-nominated Daniel Sousa, whose beautiful film Feral is now available to buy online. Also Skwigly correspondent Tom interviews Cartoon Brew's Amid Amidi (he who wrote a rather nifty little book called Cartoon Modern) and Steve talks to British Animation Awards director Jayne Pilling.
Jayne also has a few pretty darn decent books on animation under her belt, you can read my recent review of her latest Animating The Unconscious: Desire, Sexuality and Animation here.
On the subject of book reviews, I recently picked up Don Hertzfeldt's wonderful new graphic novel The End of the World from Antibookclub. The capsule review is that I can't recommend it enough, but the full review also went up on Skwigly this week. I also got wind that the man himself reposted it, which is mighty nice indeed.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Social Meh-dia

Back when I first independently released my graphic novel Throat I set up a Facebook page to help promote it and put up some exclusive extra content. Ultimately what really shifted copies came down to the old-fashioned, in-person approach of self-debasement through flyering and convention appearances. The extra visibility of the new, serialised editions of Throat gave things a shot in the arm but I don't have a whole bunch of extra material to keep the Facebook page updated, and given how much slower it's going than anticipated (had things gone to plan all three would have been out by now) I very rarely have news updates.
So I've basically made the Facebook page about everything I do, just so there's stuff to actually talk about on a regular basis. There's also a trove of character designs, sketches, videos and whatnot I have littered about the place that could all go up over time. Mainly it's so I don't have to go through the rigmarole of setting up a different page to promote each new film/book/album/whatever when they come out, this way things stay in one place. It's another branch of social media to channel my thinly-veiled narcissism through, but at this point enough other creative types do it that I'm not going to pretend to be meek about it. Instead I'll opt for painfully needy:

Ben Mitchell - Creative Offal

While you're liking things on Facebook (you contemporary soul, you) here are a few very decent artist pages to check out in a desperate bid to not come off as entirely self-involved:
Chris Reccardi 
Clive Barker
Robert Morgan
Leah Heming
Fatima Yasrebi
Sophie Klevenow
Kris Genijn
Don Hertzfeldt
Tine Kluth
Philippe Vaucher
Bill Plympton
Bros. McLeod
Eric Drooker
Skwigly Online Animation Magazine (what?)

*Also make sure you click 'Follow'. They're sneaky, those scurrilous li'l Facebook elves...

Monday, 13 January 2014

Oy, with that white balance... 
One of the lingering Skwigly projects I finally knocked on the head during my time away (mainly by scrapping the laboured first attempt and doing a simplified re-edit from scratch) is our first proper documentary covering the animation scene of 2013. Given it's a pretty mammoth event, the first doc is centered entirely on the Annecy International Animated Film Festival which myself and Steve visited last summer.
I'm pretty proud of the amount of coverage we managed to get done and it's one of the most longform video editing projects I've undertaken in a good long while. Given that it was shot using basic, high street HD camcorders I think it comes off as pretty watchable. While some higher-end technology might bolster the slickness of this type of video, really it's the talent of our interviewees who agreed to be involved that sells it. The line-up includes Marcel Jean, Eric Goldberg, Lauren MacMullan, Robert Morgan, Isabel Peppard, Ainslee Henderson, Will Anderson, Bill Plympton and Chris Landreth, with contributions from Corrie Francis Parks, Kris Genjin, Robbe Vervaeke, Jamie Badminton and Sarah Gomes Harris.

You can stream it online or direct download it, either way if you enjoy it please share it around as I'd love for this to be one of the strands of what we do that has the opportunity to evolve. If nothing else, it should make you appreciate the podcast all the more for not having to look at these two creeps:

Monday, 6 January 2014

Further Advent-ures (Eh? EH?!)

Recycling old material. I'm nothing if not eco-conscious.
Following on from last month's post, here are some more personal favourites from our Skwigly Advent Calendar:
David Ridges

Ant Blades

Rok Predin

Signe Baumane

Fatima Yasrebi

Jardine Sage
We're in the last stretch of it now which, given that the 25th has already come and gone, may seem a bit confusing. Last year we had a lot of people getting in touch asking if they could get involved after all the slots had been filled, so we extended the idea of contributing illustrators to include the 12 days of Christmas. This year we've done more or less the same thing:
Julia Young

Robyn Liebschner

Tanya Scott

Fatima Yasrebi

Seb Burnett

Laura-Beth Cowley
For the last one I helped out a bit on the animation (such as it is) front, using some basic After Effects whatchimajiggery. For the benefit of those who may not know, the guy leaping about in the picture is Aardman co-founder Peter Lord (who I interviewed a little while back when his film The Pirates! had just been released), which seemed appropriate. We kind of put it together spontaneously without mentioning it to him beforehand but I'm pleased to say he was sporting about it: