Tuesday 8 March 2016

Woman - Woa Man!

Character design artwork for 'Good Witches Bad Witches'

It's a woman's world today. Did you know it's International Women's Day?

I'll be an optimist and assume that the men who read this blog have not checked out, and I'll continue... Yes - it's International Women's Day apparently (yeah, I'd never heard of it either) and it's the 41st year of this being a thing.

'Zootopia' Image courtesy of Disney
Naturally as the person who created 'Good Witches Bad Witches' - a subculture of female characters of every sort, I care about gender representation in film. Today I want to give a shout out to Disney's new animated feature - 'Zootopia'. Thrilled to see several rounded and relevant female characters in one film. Not only that, but the film's message to the children in the audience is that you can be anything and do anything (a message more often given to little boys alone). It was wonderful to watch female characters who are not portrayed as annoying, weepy, frightened victims, accident-prone idiots, on a quest for a boyfriend, dependent on men, unambitious, attractive rewards for male heros or just plain irrelevant. The last time I felt Disney hit this nail on the head was 'Mulan' and to an extent 'Tangled'.

Rolling Stone praised 'Zootopia' for its "potent feminist streak" The Guardian talks of 'Zootopia's "feminist credentials" and Variety references the gender topic.*

Go and see 'Zootopia'. It's incredibly well-written, visually flawless and hysterical. Have children? - Take 'em. Don't have children? - Have some and show them this film.

If you're a woman in the industry who read to the end of this post I have a final suggestion. Join Women in Animation. Fantastic group.

If you're a man who read to the end of this post - thank you! Gold star.

Finally, the women of Tall Tales Productions have grouped together to say "Happy Women's Day!" and posed for this iPhone shot.

The image at the beginning of this post is some new character artwork I just did for 'Good Witches Bad Witches'. Sketched using ink and white pencil. Don't forget to check in here or at the Facebook page or Instagram or the website to follow the project as it unfolds.... thank you!

* However Variety film critic Peter Debruge doesn't give 'Zootopia' their due credit, with the line "the movie is less about race than gender, dredging up equality issues that might have been fresher in the days of “9 to 5” and “Working Girl”: Hmmm.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Guac, frying and Videotapes

Been working on something top secret and super exciting, so haven't been able to post about my work much for most of Feb... but will do soon. However, I can tell you what I've been up to otherwise!

I've heard it said that I "should be on the tourist board for LA" because I love living here, take advantage of every opportunity to do LA things and I have a loud voice about it. Let's stay on that topic for a minute. Since I last blogged we've had Shrove Tuesday (aka 'Pancake Day') which I gather isn't that well known or celebrated in the US, but back in Europe it is. We make pancakes and then give something up (like alcohol, sweets, cigarettes etc) for 40 days until Easter Day, and then we go back to gorging ourselves on our vices. In New Orleans they celebrate this day and use the French term 'Mardis Gras' which means 'Fat Tuesday'.

The Alcove, Los Feliz
I celebrated 'Mardis Gras' by making American style pancakes and going out in Los Feliz for the Mardis Gras celebrations. Also... and this is where it gets relevant....

* * ... I created a Tall Tales Productions YouTube channel! * * 

I fried up some real pancakes, used them as reference, and then made miniature pancakes for an editorial commission. Having discovered the 'timelapse setting' on my camera I decided to film the process and this is the video result! See it here or over at the channel.

In other fun LA lifestyle news, I was invited to a Guacamole party known as 'Guac Bowl' in which people bring the craziest and most imaginative guacamole offerings such as Oysters Guacafella, Wok-a-Guac, Devilled Gueggs, Guacamole cheesecake, Ice guax pies, Miso guacy sushi... you get the idea. I reiterate - "How much fun is living in LA?!" Not that quick off this mark I entered a fairly rudimentary little dollop of guacamole in a plain dish.

...However! I made the hosts a miniature guacamole gift and timelapsed that too! Watch it here or at the channel.

Photos from the Guac Bowl experience!

Aside from that, it's been fun and work, Angelyne sightings in my neighbourhood, work, meeting peacocks in a Wild West themed restaurant, work and work. Also, heads up - the next witch for 'Good Witches Bad Witches' is a Russian witch...

Will update more witch progress soon. Don't forget you may find more frequent work updates at my Instagram here.


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