It’s a new hardcover book called Animals with Sharpies, created by two of the founding members of the world-renowned collective The Royal Art Lodge. Again, we’re going to defer to their description, since we really can’t top it: “Animals with Sharpies is a collection of paintings with hand-lettered texts. In each painting, Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber have depicted an animal holding a Sharpie, ostensibly writing a message. These messages are varied in nature: Political and religious tracts, confessions, recipes, arithmetic problems, and more. Above all, these paintings are funny, but they are also startlingly poignant and jarring for the humanness of the suffering and longing depicted in these animals’ simple words.” Check it out at Amazon. It’s coming to shelves this June.
D.G. Flamand is an author who has made a name for himself as writing books for children and adults that are pointedly violence-free. Not so much as a political statement, but because he feels that people should have more options to read literature that encourages solving problems without violence. He explains it all clearly at his web site. Several of his books have more than a little furry leaning to them. In The Old Druid and the Pursuit of Happiness, the animals of the Land of Peace notice that their ruling druid is troubled — and they follow him as he seeks out the fabled Garden of Happiness. In The Great Secret of the Seas, a young boy and girl are granted the power to swim beneath the ocean — but find they must use all their resources to save the many creatures they meet there from a terrible fate. Flamand’s latest book (coming this June) is A Thousand Rainbows, where we meet and follow the adventures of various creatures (an owl, a buck, a fish, and more) in the land of Cornucopia. All of these books and more can be found at Tate Publishing.
My first story for Flayrah was about Oscar, the first cat to get prosthetic limbs. Only one line – it was before Newsbytes were added – but the feline Oscar remains a good role model. (Unfortunately, the human Oscar, my fellow South African, multiple gold-winning Paralympian and first amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics, dropped the ball in that regard.)
There are many other examples of animals with prosthetics. Perhaps the most notable would be Winter, a dolphin with a prosthetic tail. In 2011, her story was adapted into a feature film, Dolphin Tail. Moving from a cat to her demonstrates the breadth of animals that these tools and surgeries are helping.
ZooZoo is a 55-minute performance comprised of a series of short, silent theatre pieces, each from four to seven minutes in length. The cast of five play animals ranging from fireflies to hippos, in skits that include penguins playing musical chairs, and anteaters dressed as waiters. As the promotional video shows, there is quite a bit of audience interaction:
Having completed most of their tour already, the production appears in Ithaca, New York on Friday, April 12, and then moves on to Cleveland, Ohio (May 7-11) and St. Albert, Alberta (May 28-June 1).
Pets and their owners can breathe easier in the city of Windsor, and county of Essex, Ontario, as the Essex County Veterinary Association donated ten animal-friendly oxygen mask sets to the various fire departments in Windsor and the county on March 21.
The sets (which contain three pet masks, three sets of tubes, and a bag to carry them in) cost around CA$150 each.
Zoo Dot Com is a full-color on-line comic strip written and drawn by Matt McCray. The concept is simple: “In order to cut costs, the Zoo decided it would be a good idea to have the animals run their IT department and website.” You can check out the archives at (where else?) www.zoodotcom.com. It’s been on hiatus for a while now as Matt works on other projects, but now Arcana Studio have announced that the first softcover paper collection of Zoo Dot Com will be released this April. Comix Zone has pre-order information.
Anthropomorphic jackals, wolf-men, horses and wild boar - all made of used tires, resin, steel and foam. These are the work of Yong Ho Ji, a Korean whose art has toured the world, from Seoul to Amsterdam.
Yong, who has an M.F.A. in fine arts from NYU and a B.F.A. in sculpture from Hongik University in Seoul, originally formed his pieces from welded iron bones, wooden planks and soil, overlaid with tires, before turning for a while to death-castings. Nowadays, he works in tire-wrapped resin formed on plaster molds.
Within the medium, there is great scope for choice in materials, as noted by Trinie Dalton:
A deer's tender cheekbones and muzzle are rendered with lightly treaded road-bike tires and smooth inner tubes, lining its eye sockets and nostrils to conjure a quizzical expression. The burly neck and forehead of a steadfast rhinoceros uncannily resembles a real rhino's bust because of the broadly treaded tractor tires peering out, like anger-strained tendons, from beneath a rough outer skin made of motorcycle tires.
Some species seem more popular than others; his gallery displays a multitude of deer and eleven models of shark, but only one mink. Herbivores feature on an equal basis - there's even a zebra. [tip: JayGryph]
Here are some brief reviews and ratings of a number of Kindle E-books I’ve read in the past year. These range from man vs. animal (like Jaws) to talking animal (Watership Down-type) to outright furry to werewolves to fantasy with talking dragons.
This is by no means a complete list—simply what I personally read and can comment on. While some of these are only available in Kindle format, others can be ordered in hardcopy, so if you’re interested in a particular title and don’t have an e-reader, check the listing.
Painted Dog is the furry name for the artist known as Angyl Kille, creator of one-of-a-kind wildlife and fantasy sculptures. As shown on her FurAffinity page, her work can range from simple character studies to more “practical” applications like shot glasses and Christmas tree ornaments, all with more than a touch of whimsy thrown in. Check her out there, at her Deviant Art page, or at her own professional page, belibou.com.
It's a typical story: a successful Kickstarter campaign, followed by a gruelling six months of manufacturing delays, including a tray redesign, topped off with a customs holdup. But the wait is almost over for the makers and backers of card game Nature of the Beast, set to finish shipping rewards for the Prairie vs. Polar set this week. [tip: Aardwolf.Gen]
Its creators, who raised $15,381 from 187 backers, have opened sales to the public. The full game (including the Cities vs. Suburbs and Farm vs. Forests packs of 140 cards each, enough for six players) is available for $50+s/h.
Here’s one of those titles we’re likely to notice: Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals by Carla Sonheim. It’s available on Amazon in paperback from Quarry Books. This new book applies Ms. Sonheim’s interesting theories about teaching adults to draw to the idea of drawing animals. Here’s how the publisher describes it: “Rediscover a more child-like approach to creating with Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals! Through fun and creative exercises, Carla Sonheim teaches you to draw a variety of fun animals and creatures, including: Dogs – Birds – Elephants – Fish – Cats – Rabbits – Fluffalumps – and many others! You’ll also find a variety of unique mixed-media techniques to help you bring your creatures to life, resulting in a unique finished art piece. Improve your drawing skills, expand your creativity, and learn new art techniques–and have loads of fun doing it!”
And with that, we wish you all a Happy New Year! Thank you for making us part of your Internet experience in 2013!
Pixar story artist Jeff Pidgeon (Toy Story, etc.) is a toy fanatic. Not just a collector – he designs his own. After designing and manufacturing Happy Beaver and Trickster Fox, he has decided to open an online store to sell them and others that he will create. They will also be available at “select boutiques”.
Wired has an extensive interview with Pidgeon and twelve closeup illustrations of his characters from their clay models through their finished forms.
The U.S. administration created We The People to provide a place for any of its citizens to petition the White House, which has promised to provide an official response to all petitions reaching 25 000 signatures within 30 days. While some cover serious political issues, it's doubtful that they expected Matthew H's petition for domestic cat girls. [Yahoo!]
Matthew contends that the War on Drugs is pointless, and that money would be better spent by genetically engineering cat girls for home services.
While reports by the Global Commission on Drug Policy suggest the war has been a dramatic and costly waste of money, lives and society, and has harmed the fight against HIV/AIDS, it is unlikely that the U.S. will abandon it any time soon. Both Colorado and Washington have legalised non-medicinal marijuana, but its possession is still a federal offence.
Technically, “fractured fairy tales” is a TV cartoon series by Jay Ward, originally part of Ward’s Rocky and His Friends from 1959 to 1961; but it has become a popular generic term for any modernized, satirical story in a traditional European fairy tale setting. This certainly fits Elizabeth D. Baker’s Tales of the Frog Princess novels. Although published for the 10- to 14-year-old age group, they are witty enough that adults will enjoy them, and they contain enough talking animals and humans transformed into animals to please the average ‘morph fan.
The narrator, Emeralda (Emma), is a tomboyish 14-year-old princess of the stereotypical fairytale Kingdom of Greater Greensward. The kingdom is supposed to be protected from conquest by a princess who becomes a kindly, guardian Green Witch in each generation. Unfortunately, a fairy’s curse has turned any princess who touches a flower after she turns sixteen into an ugly, nasty hag, which disqualifies the Green Witches. When Emma’s grandmother, Queen Olivene, fell under the curse, she turned her daughter Grassina’s fiancée Haywood into a frog (they think). Emma is despondently sure that she is too inept to ever become her generation’s Green Witch. Also, her mother, Queen Chartreuse, is trying to marry her off to handsome but unlikable Prince Jorge.
Andy Serkis is a well-known actor, both in front of the camera and… behind the animation, as one of the world’s most famous motion-capture models. You’ve seen the results of his work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and also in movies like King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now Cartoon Brew has passed along the word the Mr. Serkis is looking to direct his own feature film — and wouldn’t you know it, he plans to do it using mo-cap! George Orwell’s famous allegorical fantasy Animal Farm has been filmed before of course, via traditional animation and also puppetry. Now Mr. Serkis has bought the rights to the story and has it currently in development, hoping to direct the film himself. No word yet on a projected release date, but Mr. Serkis is currently working on a “proof of concept” short film to help him secure financing.