Dec 31, 2008

African Diaries-A New Sketchbook

I've posted about my friend and fellow story artist David Derrick before, pointing to his blog. He's a multi talented man who somehow finds time for constantly exploring new things and continuing to build on the knowledge he already has, putting it to good use. There's no one else I know who's as knowledgeable about flora and fauna--especially animals. He has a special interest in the life of the African continent, and finally had the chance to go there on safari this past year. He made sure to record much of what he found there and just published some of the choicest excerpts from his sketchbook in a lovely trade paperback, "African Diaries".

Here is a review from a critic who's not an artist but knows an interesting read when he sees one. I can't describe the book as well as he has.

As my old money pit manager Bud Plant would say "Highest Recommendations" for this title, which you can get for $14.95 here.

In addition to sketching and writing notes about what he saw on safari Dave took his sculpting tools and clay on location. Below are a few examples of what he came away with. He's particularly inspired by the great, lively genius of animal sculptors Bugatti and Barye.

Mara King, a sculpture Dave did on location in Kenya that he's now cast as a bronze. I can't ever get enough of good rough animal sculpts like this.
So again, I'd urge you to add this to your shelves. And remember to take a look at the other sculptures and goodies at Dave Derrick's blog.

I've got a lot of catch-up to do with posts, but they are coming. Thanks for dropping by and eyeballing the archives and intermittent posting this past year. Hopefully 2009 will be full of pleasant experiences for everyone.

Dec 29, 2008

Fred Moore, Cuban style

click to enlarge

Many moons ago during the Fred Moore marathon here I posted some terrific rough character drawings Fred Moore did of this little Cuban rooster.   Here's one more, perhaps one of the best.  As with the vast majority of the others this is from the collection of James Walker--a man whose generosity (as well as his love of Fred Moore's appealing drawing)  is boundless.  A little end-of-year treat for readers of the Blackwing Diaries.

At the time I knew only the sketchiest details of the project they were created for, but thanks to a post by Wade Sampson that you can read here, I know more.  Fred Cuba.  Something tells me that trip would make the wild spree in Guys and Dolls seem like a girl scout bake sale. But as nothing much has ever been said about it before to my knowledge, perhaps not. Either way, Fred did some wonderful work on that trip that shows he still had it in '46-about the time he was fired from Disney's.
As Sampson mentions, Disney historian J.B. Kaufman has been working on a book about all of the Disney Good Neighbor/Latin American films; after seeing the Ted Thomas documentary recently I'm especially looking forward to its seeing print.

Dec 8, 2008

R.O. Blechman CBS Christmas Message (1966)

It's poignant to see what television-and animation-once could be as far back as 1966. Simple touches like this made viewing the warm old tube an important part of the holiday season for kids--in a good way for a change. Today this spot with its understated good cheer looks positively revolutionary to me.