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Wood You Wear

[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.

image c. 2015 [Un]Possible Cuts

image c. 2015 [Un]Possible Cuts

Watch Your Blood Sugar

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.

image c. 2015 by Michael Banks

image c. 2015 by Michael Banks

Tooting Panda Toons

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.

image c. 2015 by Linda Panda

image c. 2015 by Linda Panda

What Up, Dogs?

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.

image c. 2015 by Richie Wu

image c. 2015 by Richie Wu

Fine Art? Funny Animals.

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.

image c. 2015 by Richard Sweatt

image c. 2015 by Richard Sweatt

Put Some Fur On Your Chest

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.

image c. 2015 Animaltshirts.eu

image c. 2015 Animaltshirts.eu

Creatures of New York City

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.

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese/Mike Luciano

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese / Mike Luciano

A Kendu Attitude

Kendu Films is the creation of Davy Liu, a veteran artist and animator who has worked on numerous projects at Disney — including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mulan, and The Lion King — as well as at ILM and Warner Brothers. Now he’s started his own production company, hoping to “encourage the next generation with a ‘Can Do’ spirit in every child by bringing great content and encouragement to families everywhere.” To that end he has created a series of five illustrated books, “Invisible Tails — parables told from the animal’s perspective”, whose titles include The Enchanted Tree, Fire Fish, Jordan’s Guest, The Royal Feast, and The Giant Leaf. You can purchase each of these books at the official Kendu Films web site, and also see a collection of development art from these and various film projects the studio is currently working on.

image c. 2014 Kendu Films

image c. 2014 Kendu Films

All the Moomins of Our Lives

During World War II, Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson determined that she wanted to create something that would help to make people happy — which, needless to say, was in short supply at the time. But all accounts she succeeded wonderfully. For more than 60 years after they debuted in the London Evening News her creations, the Moomin Trolls, have delighted audience the world over — entertaining children with their colorful adventures, and adults with their sly commentaries on society and family life. Now to celebrate the late Tove Jansson’s 100 birthday Drawn & Quarterly have brought together more than 400 pages of her full-color work in a new hard-bound slip-covered collection, the Moomin Deluxe Anniversary Edition. Find out more at D & Q’s preview web site for the book.

image c. 2014 Drawn & Quarterly

image c. 2014 Drawn & Quarterly

All the Pretty Corgis

Her summary: “Joie Brown is a visual storyteller, using her talents to help design theme parks, bring characters to life and entertain the masses with her hilarious concepts and whimsical illustrations. She recently graduated with an MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University, and currently resides in Los Angeles with her jolly, stump-legged corgi Rylee.” Who seems to be one of her major sources of inspiration — along with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Check out Joie’s web site to purchase prints and find links to her other art sites.

image c. 2014 by Joie Brown

image c. 2014 by Joie Brown

Review: 'The Art of Hibbary', by Hillary Renee Luetkemeyer

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The Art of HibbaryThis is the fifth volume in Sofawolf Press' Artistic Visions series of art-sketch format albums. The first four each showcase one (or two) of the best artists in furry fandom; Kenket (Tess Garman), Brian and Tracy Reynolds, Ursula Vernon and Henrieke Goorhuis. Each is a professional artist, but is especially well-known in furry fandom for convention conbook covers, badge art and other commissioned art, and trades with other Furry artists; many of which are posted on DeviantART, FurAffinity and other art websites.

Hibbary (Hillary Leutkemeyer) has been a member of DeviantART for over a decade, and she was Artist Guest of Honor at Furry Weekend Atlanta 2013, but otherwise she is little known in furry fandom. This large (8½” x 11”) volume of Artistic Visions should change that.

St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, July 2014, trade paperback $14.95 (99 pages).

Review: 'The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The Sakai ProjectStan Sakai created his first Usagi Yojimbo story in Steve Gallacci’s Albedo: Anthropomorphics #2 comic book, November 1984. Only 2,000 copies were printed.

From there, Usagi Yojimbo has grown to become a very famous comic book, traveling through several publishers, the most recent being Dark Horse Comics since 1996. The comic has always been written and drawn by Stan Sakai. During that time, he has become one of the most popular artists in the professional comic-book community, for his friendliness and readiness to join in numerous benefit projects. When furry fan artist Michael-Scot McMurry was dying of cancer in 2000, he drew the cover for a benefit comic book for McMurry’s expenses for an operation, showing Usagi and McMurry’s Zonie the coyote fighting monsters.

Stan has often been an attendee of furry conventions, sometimes with his wife, Sharon, and their two daughters. I remember one convention, probably a ConFurence in the mid-1990s, where Stan’s daughter Hannah, then about 3 years old, tried to climb up Kjartan Arnörsson, a lean 6'9". Stan was a member of Rowrbrazzle, the furry amateur press association, from 1990 to 1998. He is a member of the Furry Hall of Fame. His Usagi Yojimbo won the Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Book category in every year from 2001 to 2005. He has also won non-furry awards such as the Eisners, a Parent's Choice Award, the Comic-Con's Inkpot, Spain's Haxtur Award and many others. He has been a furry convention guest-of-honor on three continents, at an Anthrocon, a EuroFurence and an Australian MiDFur.

If you have not heard – it has been widely publicized - Stan’s wife Sharon has had an inoperable brain tumor for the past decade. It was mild at first, but has gotten progressively worse until she is now confined to bed and in need of round-the-clock care. The Sakais have medical insurance, but their medical expenses have far exceeded the amount of the insurance. Dark Horse Comics and the Comic Art Professional Society have organized The Sakai Project, this 160-page hardcover book, to both celebrate Usagi Yojimbo’s 30th anniversary and as a benefit project for the Sakais’ medical expenses. All proceeds go to them. Dark Horse is not even reimbursing itself for the printing expenses.

By various, foreword by Mark Evanier, preface by Tone Rodriguez, Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, July 2014, hardcover $29.99 (160 pages).

Review: 'Felix the Cat Paintings', by Don Oriolo

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Felix the Cat Paintins by Don OrioloThis is a beautiful but chaotic collection of full-color paintings of Felix the Cat, by Don Oriolo.

There are at least five title pages and subtitles, all different, plus a foreword by Craig Yoe and short essays or tributes by comic book and animation experts, historians and, in the book’s term, aficionados Mark Evanier, Jerry Beck, David Gerstein and Paul Castiglia. The most important subtitles are A collection of paintings from the prolific imagination of the Felix the Cat guy and Curated, designed and edited by Rod Ollerenshaw. Another is The Felix the Cat Paintings of Don Oriolo.

To add to the confusion, there are websites and copyright statements for donoriolocollection.com, ollerenshawworkshop.com, © 2014 Felix the Cat Productions, Inc. and © 2014 Gussoni-Yoe Studio. Inc.

Included are full-page photographs of Don Oriolo with Craig Yoe, two of the essayists, actor-artist Tony Curtis and some of his paintings.

Foreword by Craig Yoe, San Diego, CA, IDW Publishing, February 2014, hardcover $34.99 (unpaged [168 pages]).

Review: 'The Art of Henrieke', by Henrieke Goorhuis

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

The Art of HenreikeThis is the fourth volume in Sofawolf PressArtistic Visions series of art-sketch format albums, each showcasing one of the best artists in furry fandom. Each is a professional artist, but is especially well-known in furry fandom for convention conbook covers, badge art and other commissioned art, and trades with other Furry artists; many of which are posted on DeviantART, Fur Affinity and other art websites.

The art in these albums emphasize anthropomorphized-animal cartoons and similar humorous work, rather than realistic animal depictions. Other Artistic Visions albums have showcased the work of Hibbary (Hillary Leutkemeyer), Brian and Tracy Reynolds, Kenket (Tess Garman) and Ursula Vernon. These are all American artists.

The Art of Henrieke is the first to feature a European artist. Henrieke Goorhuis, a Dutch artist born in 1990, has become very popular in just the last five years for European Furry convention art and T-shirts, commissioned art featuring fans’ personal icons and for commissioned art for European zoos. Her most popular character is her own cartoon icon, Kiki the ring-tailed lemur.

Good artbooks speak for themselves. Almost every page of The Art of Henrieke: Sketches, Works in Progress, and Commentary by the Artist is crammed with sketches and finished line art.

St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, January 2014, trade paperback $14.95 (75 [+ 1] pages).

That’s A Lotta Monkeys…

“Jerome Lu was born in Mountain View and raised in the Bay Area by a family of wild monkeys. Even when he was a small chimp, they could see that he believed every crayon in the box had magical powers, and he would transform blank pages into colorful, fantastic worlds filled with monkeys, ninjas, robots and all his craziest dreams. His wild monkey relations soon recognized his artistic talent and nurtured it with a diet of Skittles and Corn Nuts. They made sure his art education included Saturday morning cartoons and ABC After School Specials. Now that Jerome has grown up to be a big monkey, they are quite proud that his childhood creativity has never diminished. In fact, it has grown, and he is working on his biggest art project to date: Constructing a 20-story ultimate monkey ninja robot.” Got all that? It’s all come together at Hyperactive Monkey, Jerome Lu’s web site of crazy colorful artwork, books, t-shirts, animation, and a whole lot more.

 

image c. 2014 by Jerome Lu

image c. 2014 by Jerome Lu

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