The release date of Disney’s forthcoming theatrical feature Zootopia (Zootropolis in the U.K., Portugal, Turkey and other countries; Zootropola in Croatia and Zwierzogród in Poland) is March 4, 2016. But on January 19, 2016, the Disney merchandising machine will release a slew of tie-in books, published by Disney print subsidiaries or licensed by it. Most, but not all of them, will be juvenile-oriented. Some of them, such as the Disney Zootopia Ultimate Sticker Book or Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop, will be little more than picture books featuring the leading characters. Others, such as the Zootopia Big Golden Book, will also be picture books but will show a condensation of the movie’s plot. And a few, such as Zootopia: The Official Handbook, Zootopia Junior Novelization and DK’s Disney Zootopia: The Essential Guide, will be of interest to the adult enthusiast. No lavish The Art of Zootopia coffee-table art book has been announced yet, but there will undoubtedly be one by next March – or sooner.
The Anthropomorphics Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through August 8. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year’s Awards.
All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2015, if they are not already on the list. Send in your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org, and read the List to see what other fans have recommended.
Nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, in the same eleven categories, will open on 14 January 2016 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and will be accepted until 28 February. Don’t miss this opportunity to nominate the titles that you felt have been the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips and books, websites, games, etc. of 2015 for the Awards. And don’t forget to vote when the polls open on 15 March.
Stone cold sober, as a matter of fact… Another animation-influenced graphic designer we’ve discovered is Christopher Lee — no, not that one, though he probably gets that all the time. This Christopher is an artist from Northern California who later moved down south to find work in art and animation. He did, working for graphic magazines like Vapors and Buck. Lately though he’s struck off on his own, creating a line of posters, prints, t-shirts, and even toy designs based on his original art. His web site is called The Beast Is Back, and on that ominous note you should go visit if you want to find out more. Seriously, you’ll see plenty of his art on just the front page.
Call her Riri. Or Riri Mon, perhaps. Either way, she’s an artist who specializes in the chibi side of things… and she’s spun that talent off into Little Heroes, a series of toony acrylic charms for the gamer fan. After a successful Kickstarter campaign they’re now available as key chains, buttons, and other wearables. Not to mention her collection of art prints (many featuring some well-known anime and anime-style characters) and 3D media. Look her up at ririmon.com.
Audrey Miller is an illustrator who works in numerous 2D and 3D media, and she’s another artist whose work often involves animals — both real ones and toony ones. A graduate of the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California, she has studied both animation and illustration and since put herself to work creating prints, sculptures, plushies, and children’s book illustrations. Take a look at her web site and marvel at her way with color.
John Will Balsley is a cartoon artist with a distinctly “loose” style of design. He shows off his drawing talents on his web site, where he’s created several rather-adult-leaning graphic stories with titles like The Devil’s Henchmen and Taboose the Meerka. Many of these feature various critters who are collectively referred to as The Roofles. Makes more sense if you look at it… or, maybe not.
[Un]Possible Cuts is the unlikely name chosen by two California artists (Domingo Daquioag and Philip Eggleston) who combine wood with a laser cutter to create very usual necklace charms, earrings, and even wall clocks. Interestingly, animals figure in several of their designs… They have a thing for dinosaurs and horn-rimmed glasses, it seems, if not for both at once. Check out their Etsy Store to see more of their designs for sale.
More entries in the chibi parade. Michael Banks is an illustrator who specializes in full-color portraits of cute anthropomorphic animals with Really Big Eyes — in the old days, this stuff would likely have been painted on black velvet. You can probably guess what he had in mind when he named his company Sugar Fueled. He sells individual prints, but he’s also put together several collections of his artwork that are available at his official web site.
The cartoonist known as Linda Panda has a thing for, yes, pandas. Pandas who… fart. Friendly farts that smile and make comments. Seriously. This is the odd world of Linda’s panda cartoons, and she’s been creating them daily and putting them up on the web for some time now. More recently, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, she’s collected hundreds of her daily works (as well as her more “traditional” sketches, perhaps) in book form. Head over to her official web site to find out how to get your own copy — as well as buttons and prints and other such ways you can see farting pandas.
Richie Wu is an artist who spent six years working in the gaming industry, as well as teaching illustration on the side. He’s worked on feature films like Toy Story 3 from Disney/Pixar, and TV series like Ben 10 Alienforce from Cartoon Network. Now he’s aiming his artistic talents at a new outlet: A line of illustrated t-shirts based on his original canine comic creations. Dogs like Garlic the chihuahua, Booze the bulldog, and Mocha the German shepherd, among several others. Visit his web site, Bad to the Bone, to see the latest in his growing set of designs. Currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mr. Wu also has a permanent display selling his t-shirts at the Galleria at Sunset Mall in nearby Henderson.
It’s interesting when full-fledged fine artists turn their attention to something more whimsical, like cartoon illustration. Such is the case with painter Richard D. Sweatt, who in addition to his gallery works has taken time to write and illustrate a softcover children’s book, Fuzzy Friends. “A story about a little girl that makes friends with the little animals from the nearby woods. Everyday the little Fuzzy Friends wait for the little girl to arrive home on the school bus to greet her. The little girl loves to play with her friends and at the same time learns some valuable lessons about making good choices when it comes to choosing friends.” Check it out over at Lulu.com, then check out Mr. Sweatt’s other fine art paintings at his Enjoygram site.
One of those interesting modern-world phenomena: Václav Štajger and Michaela Štajgerová, a furry fan couple from the Czech Republic, are seeking international funding for their new furry t-shirt enterprise. They’ve actually been at it for a while, with Václav running the business and Michaela’s artwork on the shirts, but now problems with their printing company have left them with two choices: Either raise their shirt prices considerably, or go into business printing the shirts themselves. They’ve opted for the latter — and they’ve set up a new Indiegogo campaign to raise money for it, from now through May 12th. True, the shirts would be coming from Europe, but in this day and age what’s unusual about that? Visit their Indiegogo page to see some of their initial designs and find out what sort of perks they’re offering to crowd funders.
Making quite a buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a series of animated shorts made for television and the web, of all things. Animals is a black & white, minimally-animated series which “follows various New York City creatures as they get into awkward (and sometimes deadly) encounters with one another.” The series was created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, two employees at a commercial production house who took some time off to make little animals talk to each other. Check out the Animals web site to see what the fuss is about.
Yet another creative discovery from the CTN Animation Expo: Meg Park, designer and illustrator. Or as she puts it on her personal web site, character designer and visual development artist. Besides examples of her work you’ll find a link to her Etsy Store where you can purchase various prints — many of them toony and anthropomorphic — as well as her art collection book, Fluff & Fangs.
The artist Nic Gregory recently emigrated from Australia to the United States — and in the middle of it, found time to complete an illustrated book project: Sleeping Beauty, re-imagined with birds. Amy Gregory wrote the adaptation, and Nic created the full-color artwork. Now the completed hardcover is available at Nic’s web site, along with examples of his animation art and character design. Interesting trivia: Nic is a former hip-hop musician, and a former pro wrestler — who even had his own action figure.