Also, take the time to visit

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Open Bottom

The building I've been working in has the note below stuck next to the control panel of the ancient elevator.
I have yet to press open my bottom at the 9th floor and hope nobody else has either.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tune In

I was interviewed for the radio!

It's true.
I talk about all the things everyone already knows about me, but this time I'm not drunk and it makes occasional sense.
The interview was conducted by Toni Pennacchia of Spoiler Alert Radio.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A useful tip for serial killers and any other freelance killers:
If you're looking for a good pair of scissors to stab your victims to death, pop into your local Staples.
They have a whole range of scissors in a variety of sizes, colours and designs.
However, if you're looking for a simple box cutter or stanley knife or some replacement Exacto blades, don't bother going to Staples.
They don't carry them.
This will be especially frustrating to any murderers who might also work in the arts and need a basic blade to complete simple everyday tasks...

Animation and the Muppets

Take a look at this piece of brilliance from the Muppet Show.
Comedy and performance together.
Puppetry is closely related to animation, I think.
It's about getting a character to make a connection with an audience.
The two puppets below, Rowlf the Dog and Sam the Eagle, have only three moving parts each: two hands and a mouth. (I think that Sam sometimes has eyebrows that can be manipulated but you won't see that here).
Despite this lack of animation, why is it that this short clip has more charm, honesty and humanity than almost all animation I can think of at the moment?
These characters can't even blink.
They can't express themselves physically beyond the position they're standing in it's problematic for the puppeteer to shift around.
In animation terms, Sam and Rolf are limited animation - or near limited, anyway. There's some subtlety in the hand movements but but beyond that they're not doing much.
It is true that Frank Oz and Jim Henson were dear friends who worked together for a long time.
This is going to add something special.
We still believe that these characters are putting on a fully realised comedy performance even though they can have practically no facial expressions and stay in one place for the duration of the piece.
Surely we can learn something from this!
Apparently, we can draw anything we like, animate any expression, ANYTHING.
So why are the performances in this so much better than almost any animation I can think of at the moment?
There is so much we can learn from watching this.
See the way Henson takes care to shake Rowlfs head in such a way that his ears flick about in a pleasing manner - creating movement when there's nothing else to move (like eyelids or eyebrows).
Oz gives Sam a very, VERY basic sideway glance that says more in less movement than a million classic animation performances.
Sam's eyes don't even move!
Feel free to disagree, or at least get your own blog and do it there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Up And Down

I had a loss of brain function yesterday.
I headed out to visit with J.J Sedelmaier in White Plains and forgot to take a picture.
Then I had several pints of Guinness in the city with Mr Dan Meth, and I forgot to take a picture then as well.
Nonetheless, it was very jolly.

On my way to White Plains I had to pass through the 42nd Street subway station and spent a good time listening to The Ebony Hillibillies, who were tearing up the subway with their music.

Instead of photographing jolly animation types, I photographed this awful thing that hovers over Union Square.
It's a chopstick and a pile of dung which and I especially dislike it.

I drew these dawgs at an ASIFA East meeting last week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Animation Breakfast

Today I had lunch with some very talented animation people.
They all had appalling manners.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Drat and Lazy

My copy of After Effects went belly up and I can't get it to reinstall.
Small fry problems when compared to the horrors in my previous post.
This does mean no B0xhead and Roundhead animation until it's fixed.
In the absence of After Effects, I have pen and ink.

I should have scanned these images but I was too lazy.
One each of these will go to the winners of the competition we ran earlier in month.
It'll be a surprise who gets what.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

Brian is the BEST!

When he was in NYC I finally caught up with broadcaster, author and animation historian Brian Sibley.
We had a very jolly afternoon.
Brian has been lovely enough to be enthusiastic as one could possibly be about Boxhead and Roundhead.
He's our special pal!
He also talks about spending time with another animation legend, John Canemaker.
This could possibly the only time in history that Cowan and Canemaker are going to be mentioned in the same breath...
READ IT HERE then go buy all of Brian's books and read them aloud to your cat.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Flapping Things

What do these sinister flapping things have to do with The Thing In The Distance?
You'll find out soon enough!

Also - east coast animationy types may want to join the ASIFA East Facebook group.
It's another venue for updates and other shenanigans.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Heat

It is incredibly hot in my nation at the moment.
A pal sent me these lovely snaps of a baby koala descending on a bucket of fresh water in someone's backyard.
This is a good indication of the kind of heat we're experiencing because 1) koala's don't often drink water, 2) they're not often awake during the day.

Monday, February 02, 2009



Animation will continue on "The Thing In The Distance" in a few days...


I had a lovely dim sum lunch with animation people.
I met some new folks and everyone was delightful, except me.

I also found a homeless lobster.
It was drunk and barely able to walk in a straight line.
Poor thing.

Canal Street murally thing...

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