Character Design: Bryan Lee O’Malley

Character artwork by comic book artist Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Ten years ago, O’Malley published the first of six books in his Scott Pilgrimseries, where the callow young man of the title fights for his aloof dream girl against an alliance of her “evil exes,” in a Toronto governed by the language, iconography, and logic of 16-bit video games. The director Edgar Wright adapted it into a movie that disappointed at the box office but constitutes a sizable fraction of all Tumblr content, and O’Malley seems to accept that outcome serenely. You can recognize the blithely witty banter of Scott Pilgrim in Seconds, but it’s a stand-alone graphic novel, indebted to the rounded, stylized figures of cartoonists like Rumiko Takahashi and the landscapes laid out in modern European comics, rather than the adventure manga his previous work suggested. It’s a book restless in scope yet quotidian in scale, an existential fable.

– Intro to a Q & A with Bryan Lee O’Malley at Slate (Link)

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Expressions: Rachel Ellen Sharp

Artist Rachel Ellen Sharp illustrates an important concept:

How to, step-by-step, make expressions mean different things by changing just one facial feature at a time. *shrug* I’m not very good at explaining how I do expressions, I just…feel out what kinds of muscles seem to fit and tweak those. And sometimes, ever so slightly, little adjustments could mean the difference between fury and euphoria.

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Aardman’s Morph

From Aardman Animation Studio’s Morph History Page:

Morph was created by Peter Lord and David Sproxton to feature in the children’s programme Take Hart alongside the artist and presenter Tony Hart. Peter and David made a very simple terracotta-coloured figure who could change shape, and because he could metamorphose they called him Morph.

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Character Design: Fabien Mense

Fabien Mense is a French artist who has worked in comics and animation. On his website‘s About Page, he introduces himself thusly:

Sometimes I’m a comic book author (Agito cosmos/ the Tikitis), Sometimes I’m a visual developement artist in the animation industry (Marathon media, Method film, Sony Pictures Animation …). I live in Paris, France and my frenglish is absolutely amazing. I’m always interested on new collaborations and projects.

In class we’ll take a good look at his character design work and try to figure out some of the strategies he uses to create such appealing and emotive character designs. Later in the semester we’ll take a look at his French language comic Agito Cosmos and study his page layout and composition techniques.

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Tove Jansson’s Moomins

The Montreal Gazette has an excellent piece up on the success that Drawn & Quarterly has had publishing the work of Finnish artist Tove Jansson:

In case you haven’t yet encountered her best-known creation, the Moomins are a family inhabiting the remote fictional realm of Moominvalley. Physically, they resemble a cross between an upright hippo and a manatee on land; they’re granted the power of speech though we never see their mouths. In the taxonomy of mythological northern European beings, if we’re being precise, they are trolls. It’s a shame the word has been debased as a name for passive-aggressive online bullies, because real trolls are endlessly fascinating multi-faceted creatures representing a connection to a distant animistic pagan past that modern society, for all its frantic efforts, can never quite bury.

The article serves as a great introduction to Jansson and her Moomin creations. Check it out.

Director Jorge Gutierrez on ‘The Book of Life’

Amid Amidi over at Cartoon Brew has an excellent conversation with director Jorge Gutierrez on his recent film, The Book of Life:


“From day one, I felt the weight of all of Mexico behind me, but it’s sort of a weight I’m used to carrying. That’s what I’ve always done in my career; I’ve always wanted to showcase my culture. One of the things I did early on was I looked at all my favorite movies from all over the world, everything from Seven Samurai to Amélie to City of God, and I realized that while these movies could not be more specific to their countries, the messages, themes, and emotions were incredibly universal.”

Check out the full article here.