Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse

The story starts with the mouse being eaten by a wolf. The mouse discovers a duck in bed inside the wolf's stomach. The relationship begins, and the duck makes a case for staying in the wolf’s belly. The duck convinces the mouse to stay, and they both enjoy themselves. The duck and mouse start a ruckus, and this upsets the wolf’s stomach.

The duck suggests a remedy to the wolf who supplies them with more food to eat.
The wolf’s stomach aches from their feast. The hunter soon appears and discovers the wolf. The wolf tries to escape the hunter and trips and falls. The mouse stands up, and they decide to defend their home. The mouse and the duck shoot out of the wolf’s mouth straight at the hunter who escapes.

The wolf is saved from the hunter and grants the mouse and duck a favor. What do you think they ask for? I won’t ruin the story for you and let you find out. One of my favorite
children’s book worth reading..


Monday, November 20, 2017

Creepy Carrots

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown is one of my favorite children’s book.

The story is about Jasper Rabbit’s love for carrots. He takes them from the Crackenhopper patch and eats them. Jasper eats as many as he wants until he suspects that something is not right. Jasper's convinced that he is being watched by those pesky carrots. He can’t prove it and is annoyed. Is this his imagination or the real thing? The story builds, and Jasper tries to convince his parents of his problem. They feel it’s just his vivid imagination. The suspense builds, and Jasper is at his wit’s end. Finally, he comes up with an idea to prevent any carrots from any carrots stalking him. His solution is impressive and Jasper senses he solved his problem. Does he think so? I won’t spoil it for you and let you find out for yourself.

I highly recommend this story for any child who enjoys an amusing story with a clever twist at the end.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Addition to My Drawing Tools



During my art school days, I would use a wooden or plastic figure. The mannequin was flexible for staging poses but had limits. I recently purchased a Bandai Body Chan life-like plastic figure and able to stage my Body Chan in a variety of dynamic poses for sketching. This is possible because of the number of
connection joints throughout the figure.

The Bandai mannequin comes with a variety of accessories and interchangeable parts for exciting poses if there is no live model available.

Prices vary from $7.00 to 11.00 for your basic wooden or plastic human figure. The Bandai Body Chan figures cost more. The prices range from $30. To $70. You are paying more, but the models are more dynamic
when posed and have various accessories for striking poses.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Animated Performance by Nancy Beiman

My latest addition to my reference library includes Animated Performance by Nancy Beiman. This book is for anyone interested in creating successful animations. The author discusses her techniques with visual reference to strengthen the creative animator's artistry. Ms. Beiman guides the reader through a series of exercises increasing the creativeness for developing strong characters. As I read her book, I couldn’t help thinking about the animation book by Preston Blair. This book is a classic and includes some amazing sketches. Mr. Blair relies on his drawings and less on the text.  I wish Ms. Beiman had more sketches and less technical descriptions to explain her thoughts about animation. Of course, these two animation books offer a contrast in style and personality. I strongly suggest looking at Nancy Beiman’s book because she offers plenty of insights for creating compelling illustration characters.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pinocchio Character Designs

Experimenting with the character design for Pinocchio. I felt he needed an update for his clothing in today's city life.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet Compared to a Children’s Story Three-Act Structure


I heard about Blake Snyder’s book,”Save the Cat” from an illustrator who used his concepts to help him with his children’s book writing. I was curious what he meant and how he achieved this. So, I borrowed Save the Cat to find out. After reading the book, I discovered that Blake Synder’s uses, The Blake Synder Beat Sheet. This sheet consists of fifteen stages to create what he considers a successful movie script. The stages are 1) Opening Image, 2) Theme Stated, 3) Set-up, 4) Catalyst, 5) Debate, 6) Break into Two, 7) B Story, 8) Fun and Games, 9) Midpoint, 10) Bad Guys Close In, 11) All is Lost, 12) Dark Night of the Soul, 13) Break into Three, 14) Finale, 15) Final Image. I interpreted these fifteen stages and shortened to three steps, beginning, middle, and end of the movie. I thought this was similar to the three act structure for a children’s book story.
The three act structure just means a beginning, middle, and end of the children’s story. Act I for a children’s story is the introduction. The story introduces the protagonist and problem. This presentation is similar to Blake Snyder’s, Beat Sheet first three steps: Opening Image, Theme Stated, and Set-up. These three stages introduce the nature of the film. The screenplay poses a question or make’s a statement which is the message of the movie. The Set-up introduces all the characters; this seems to be similar to the introduction in a children’s story. The three act structure means a beginning, middle, and the end.

The next ten stages to Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet is what I consider the middle of the movie script or middle of a children’s story. Blake Snyder’s ten additional stages are: Catalyst, Debate, Break into Two, B Story, Fun and Games, Midpoint, Bad Guys Close In, All is Lost, Dark Night of the Soul, and Break into Three. These ten stages are essential, all the characters introduced, and progress made with the plot heading to a final climax or resolution. In a children’s story, Act II, the main character takes action, and more action to solve his problem. The story comes to a down moment when all feels lost.

The Final and Final Image are the last two stages of Blake Snyder’s Beet Sheet. The Final is similar to Act III in a children’s story. The story comes to an end and lessons are learned. The story reaches a conclusion, except for tying up any loose ends. The Final Image with the Beat Sheet shows there is a change in the characters. The protagonist in the children’s story has solved his problem and learned something.

I suggest reading Blake Snyder’s, Save the Cat for the value it offers for sucessful story construction. I was able to apply these concepts to my own children’s picture book stories.