Sunday, February 28, 2010

Greg Couch

This charming, luminous painting is by award winning artist Greg Couch. Born in Bettendorf, Iowa, this was where Greg spent the first eighteen years of his life, which he says explains many things. He began his illustration career in 1983 and as a published author and illustrator Greg has worked on fourteen Children's books including I Know the Moon and Halloween both of which received Society of Illustrators Silver Medal Awards. His most recent picture book, Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson won a 2008 NAACP Image Award. Greg has contributed to the sequential art anthology Out Of Picture, the Totoro Forest Project and the highly regarded and much anticipated Sketchtravel art book project. As a Visual Development Artist Greg has worked on three feature films for Blue Sky Studios; Ice Age, Robots and Horton Hears a Who! and is currently helping to develop future films for them. No longer in Iowa, Greg now lives in Nyack, New York and where he can be found working on many different projects.

Katie Smith

This endearing piece is the submission of artist Katie Smith, a lover of all things superhero. Born in Virginia, Katie and her family moved to Germany when she was a child. She learned early on in life that drawing cartoons to make people laugh could avert attention away from her being the “new kid”, which helped when she and her family later on moved back to Virginia. Katie studied Studio Art and Art History, along with marketing, at The College of William & Mary. She then worked at Anthropologie where she drew on the dressing room mirrors with dry-erase markers when feeling bored and restless. Fleeing retail, she found work as a production coordinator at Pixeldust Studios, then landed her dream job at Blue Sky Studios where she is currently a Design Production Assistant. A contributor of her art to many collective projects including Purcasso, Terrible Yellow Eyes and The Picture Book Project, Katie’s work can also be found hanging on walls in the homes of her family members. A slew of Rockwell prints in her grandparents’ basement inspired her as a child, and being surrounded by the talent of her colleagues inspires her today.

To see more of Katie’s artwork please visit her blog.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Motoko Wada

Inspired by the children interviewed in Brownstones To Red Dirt and their belief in communication, the talented artist Motoko Wada submits this hopeful piece. Born and raised in Okayama Japan, Motoko’s childhood was filled with doodling and creating a fantasy world with her sister. At Kyoto University she studied philosophy and literature, and found that philosophy and art are similarly rooted inside her. After university Motoko freelanced as a muralist and illustrator in Tokyo, then went to work for Tanseisha Co. Ltd. where she planned and designed public spaces, museums and theme parks all over Japan including the National Science Museum, Osaka Museum of Wine and Asaka City Historical Museum among others. While at Tanseisha, Motoko became fascinated by the visual impact and possibility of computer graphics and taught herself enough to open a CG department within the company. Her passion for CG took off from there and she returned to school in the United States to earn an MFA at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. This was followed by work at Giant Killer Robots as a Technical Director on Fantastic Four and Son of the Mask. In 2005 Motoko migrated east to Blue Sky Studios where she began modeling characters and environments for such films as Ice Age 2 and 3, and Horton Hears a Who! Outside of her work at Blue Sky, Motoko can be found working on a personal project, an animated short film.

To see more of Motoko's artwork please visit her blog.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Diana Diriwaechter

These two lovely mythical storybook characters escaped from the mind of the versatilely talented artist Diana Diriwaechter. Born and raised in the Swiss Alps Diana found her way to the United States, settling in the Hudson region of New York State. During the day she works at Blue Sky Studios as a Materials Technical Director where she has contributed to movies such as Ice Age 2 and 3, Robots and Horton Hears a Who! Although Diana is mainly known for her fine art photography for which she has been recognized with many different awards such as a 1st and 2nd Prize from the prestigious International Photography Awards (Luci Awards), 1st Prize for The PX3 Peoples Choice Awards and a Merit Award chosen by Susan Kismaric, curator for The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Diana has also received numerous Honorable Mentions from establishments such as the Black and White Spider Awards, Women In Photography International and The World Wide Photography Gala Awards. Diana's work can be found in many publications such as SPECTRUM 16 and Photographer's Forum Magazine's The Best of Photography 2009. Exhibited by many galleries both nationally as well as internationally, Diana currently has artwork on display in both Italy and Spain, and her upcoming Solo show at the UAG Gallery in Albany will be on display in November of 2010.

To see more of Diana's art please visit her website and blog.

Jing Wei

This playful image comes to us from the heart of Bed-Stuy where Brooklyn-based illustrator Jing Wei lives and works. Born in a sub-provincial city in China, Jing was raised in the suburbs of Northern California. Her affinity for making prints like the one scene here was developed during her time at the Rhode Island School of Design, then honed in her many freelance illustration opportunities that have included American Way, Boston Magazine and Adult Swim. She has exhibited her art on both coasts, including in the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Illustration West 47 Competition and the Museum of American Illustration in New York. Currently, she is in the process of working on a children's book and art directing a feature length film.

Please visit Jing's blog and website to enjoy more of her work:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sally Dannels

This lovely, inspired bird portrait is the work of the talented yet elusive artist Sally Dannels. A significant portion of Sally’s professional life was spent working for Academy Studios, where she was core member of a team designing and building natural science exhibits around the world, some museums she has contributed to as sculptor and muralist are the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Washington State History Museum, EcoCentro Argentina, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Holocaust Museum. Always loving to paint whether natural history, portraiture, landscape or decorative, for Sally these all serve as vehicles for the expression of paint in all it's different applications. She loves the ongoing process of mixing color, the paint flowing from the tip of the brush. She loves the challenge of each painting, how the painting dictates the final outcome, what colors to use, what the composition will be, what elements to use. “A painting has a life of it's own; sometimes I feel as though I am merely a conduit delivering the vision.” For many years now, Sally has been a Senior Artist at Evans and Brown in San Francisco, and her murals can be seen from Las Vegas to Dubai to Macao.

Francis Vallejo

Illustrator and comic artist Francis Vallejo submits this mysterious portrait. Born in 1985 in Farmington, New Mexico, Francis moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was three. Growing up on the infamous "8 Mile Road" had a profound impact on his interests and outlook. In high school the only thing that excited him was drawing, so upon graduation he enrolled at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. Originally a computer animation major, after 3 years Francis then switched to illustration and got back to drawing while supplimenting his education with classes at the The Illustration Academy. As an illustrator some of Francis' clients have included Vibe, Moloko+ and 2dArtist; while his artwork has been included in the Totoro Forest Project, Spectrum 14, 15 and 16, Society of Illustrators 51 and Society of Illustrators Los Angles 47, as well as exhibited in galleries and shows across the United States. Only a year out of school, Francis is looking forward to life’s many adventures and soon announcing his many developing projects!

For more of Francis' artwork please visit his blog.

Colin Jack

The imaginative illustrator Colin Jack submits this delightful painting. Originally from Vancouver, Colin graduated from the Capliano Commercial Animation program at Capliano University in 2002. Two years ago he packed up his family and relocated to Toronto where he is currently working for Elliot Animation as Designer and Poser on Total Drama. As well an illustrator of children’s picture books, Colin's first, 1 Zany Zoo, will be released this coming summer and his second is in progress and due out in 2011 with a new publishing house. Towards the end of this year Colin plans to self publish his own art book (fingers crossed!) and when not drawing he loves spending time with his wife and 3 year old son.

For more of Colin's art please visit his blog.

Dan Barker

Inspired by the masks of African art, Dan Barker submits this lively drawing. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a child Dan always imagined that the masks he grew up with could talk and have conversations. A self-taught artist he learned animation on his own through In South Africa he managed local artists for BMG Records, and also worked for a number of post-production facilities as a generalist. He then emigrated to the United States and worked as an In-Game Cinematic Animator on Uncharted Drakes Fortune for Naughty Dog. Following that he landed at his current location, Blue Sky Studios, where he has done both animation and rigging on Horton Hears a Who! and on the upcoming animated film Rio.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Xiangyuan Jie

This beautiful landscape painting is by the immeasurably skilled artist Xiangyuan Jie, also affectionately know as "Master Jie". A native of Hunan, China, Jie received his formal art education in China, Europe, and the United States. In 1982, graduating with a BFA in Theater Set Design from the Central Academy of Drama at Beijing, Jie taught art and design at Hunan University and then studied and lectured at the Ecole Cantonal d’ Art de Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon immigrating to the United States, Jie taught at Auburn University in Alabama as a visiting professor and, in 1995, he received his master’s degree in Industrial Design from Georgia Tech. Following, Jie worked at Disney and Blue Sky Studios as a Background Stylist and Visual Development Artist with screen credits including Mulan, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear and Ice Age: The Meltdown. Published in Artist’s Magazine, International Artist’s Magazine and Southwest Art Magazine, in 1999 Jie received Third Prize in Artist Magazine’s Portrait Competition and his artworks have been featured in national and regional juried art exhibitions throughout the United States. A member of the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Plein Air Painters of the West, Jie received Second Place in 2003 and the Honor Award in 2002 and 2005 at the Portrait Society of America's International Competition. His landscape paintings were selected into the Top 100 in the 2002 and 2003 Art for the Parks competition, and received the Landscape Art Award, the Grand Teton Natural History Association Purchase Award and the Judge's Choice Award. Currently living and painting full time in Atlanta, Georgia, Jie enjoys painting people from life settings and en plein air landscape on locations wherever he goes on the road trips.

To view more of Master Jie's art please visit his website.

Nate Wragg

Contributing a painting of his signature "snow beast" this sweet submission is from artist Nate Wragg. Born and raised in the small town of Davis, California, Nate drew all throughout his childhood and in high school when he was introduced to the world of animation he was smitten. He eventually moved to Southern California where he earned an animation degree from Cal Arts. Nate interned with the James Baxter Animation studio in Pasadena, and then was hired on at Pixar Animation Studios where he worked as an illustrator and production artist with credits including Ratatouille and Toy Story 3. An illustrator for the children's book Too Many Cooks, Nate also contributed an illustrated story to the sequential anthology Afterworks 2, as well as authoring/illustrating several other books. He has contributed his art to the Totoro Forest Project, the We Love You So blog, and Terrible Yellow Eyes and his artwork has been shown with galleries in New York and Los Angeles, most notably the New York Society of Illustrators 50th Annual Exhibition.
For more of Nate's art please check out his blog.

Homer Flynn

Enigmatic “Mr. Pickle Searching for a Gnome” is the work of the enigmatic Homer Flynn. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1945, Flynn spent the first 24 years of his life submerged in the repressed, but charming naivete of The South. Seduced by the fantasy of easy living and loud music, he was unwilling to commit to the life of a concrete truck dispatcher attached to an unloved girlfriend and fled to San Francisco in 1969. Guilty, but free, he drank deeply from the cup of youth culture, ingesting, imbibing and experiencing any and all. Over the next 40 years, he was married twice, was proud to be a partner in the propagation of two lovely daughters, Jana and Isabelle, and became involved with the murky aesthetics of San Francisco's music, performance and video group, The Residents. As their chief visual designer and co-owner of The Cryptic Corporation, The Residents' business and public relations interface, Flynn has been involved in nearly all of the group's improbable projects since the early 1970's. Currently, he lives in San Francisco with his charming wife, Leigh Barbier. Flynn also claims himself to be the inventor of the shower-bath.

To learn more about The Residents you can visit their blog.

Heather Shepherd

Heather Shepherd's spirited illustration captures a moment between Gladis and Augusta, two Sierra Leonean girls who turn to dance to forget their troubles. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, with a passion for animals, art, and performing, Heather's path to animation was a windy one. Graduating from Ohio State University with a B.A. in Zoology/Anatomy and Theatre, her first job out of college was for an animator's dream employer, Disney. But Heather wasn't an animator, she was hired to do dolphin and marine mammal care and training at Disney's Living Seas. While there, she was allowed to take drawing classes at the animation studio and soon found herself working on Mulan as a traditional animator and went on to work on films such as Lilo and Stich, Tarzan, Brother Bear, Fantasia 2000 as well as various other short films. Heather then made the move to Los Angeles, working at both Dreamworks and Warner Brothers before hired on as a modeler and sculptor for Jim Henson Studios. Presently in New York she has worked for Blue Sky Studios since 2004 on Ice Age: The Meltdown and is currently working on Rio. Heather continues her passion for theater by directing and performing in various improv shows in Manhattan and will be directing a stage spectacular in the near future.

For more of Heather's artwork please visit her blog.

Matthew Wilson

This lovely painting which is an homage to our native Hudson River School masters is by artist Matthew Wilson. His image of a young explorer, exploring his world is imagined like Huck Fin, a mischievous loner searching for tall tales and grand characters. Born in sunny LaJolla, California and raised in Buffalo, New York, the son of a research immunologist and neonatal nurse, Matt went to a small but extremely unique high school in Buffalo with the intentions of becoming an architect but shifted gears dramatically and decided to join the Army. Upon leaving the army Matt moved to Florida to study computer animation at Ringling School of Art and Design. While in school he spent a summer in New York City at Parson's studying figure painting and fell in love with it. Since then, his path has been two sided with digital art supporting a deep passion for classical dutch oil. At present Matt is a Lighting Artist at Blue Sky Studios and also the Lead "Sky-Guy" with quite a few film credits under his belt. When not at his day job Matt spends every second with the love of his life, Alexandra, and his beagle Daisey Mae.

For more of Matt's art please visit his website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alena and Ryan Tottle / Peter Kelley Studio

Today we have a very special submission to our Postcard Art Benefit from the gifted dynamic sculpting duo, newlyweds Alena and Ryan Tottle. This exceptionally impressive sculpture entitled Pen Pals is based on the Brownstones To Red Dirt poster illustrated by the talented Willie Real. Though not a postcard, Alena and Ryan's sculpture beautifully captures the essence and spirit of the boys from Willie's original design. Not to be forgotten, the precise molding and casting of this piece was also donated by Peter Kelley of Peter Kelley Studios. We are all so very honored to be able to include this brilliant sculpture as part of the benefit and applaud the artistry and PHENOMENAL effort that went into it's creation.

Alena Tottle
Born in Mississippi, Alena moved across country to Colorado where in 2004 she graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver with a bachelor's degree in Business Management. It wasn't until her senior year of college she realized her passion for clay. A self-taught sculptor, Alena spent her time learning as much as she could from sculpting forums and sculptors in the industry, including the deviant art community, which helped her land a sculpting job with Blue Sky Studios in New York at the end of 2005. Currently creating character maquettes for films in development, Alena's film credits include Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the soon to be released Rio. She has freelanced with DC Comics and has contributed her sculptures to many other charity auctions and events such as the Totoro Forest Project and Beautiful Grim. Alena's sculpture has also appeared in the fantasy art annual Spectrum 14 and in the Society of Illustrators 3rd Bienniel Dimensional Exhibition in New York City.

To see more of Alena's art and sculpture please visit her blog.

Ryan Tottle
Ryan was born in South Wales, United Kingdom. After receiving a BA Honors of Animation from Glamorgan Centre for Art & Design in 2005, Ryan started working as a traditional sculptor throughout the UK and Europe. He has created prosthetic makeups for Various BBC Productions such as Dr Who and Torchwood and as well as on location in Madrid, Spain for the recently released film, La Herencia Valdemar. A guitarist and enthusiast of the visionary art movement, Ryan now lives in New York with his wife Alena where he is currently hard at work transitioning into the digital realm creating models and sculptures in Maya and Zbrush.

Peter Kelley
These beautiful maquettes were molded and cast at Kelley Studio in Mount Kisco, New York by toy-prototype sculptor Peter Kelley and his colleague, Shalon Palmer. Peter started his career in art at New York City's School of Visual Arts and now has more than a dozen years experience sculpting toy prototypes for major toy companies like Hasbro, Fisher Price, Mattel, to name only a few. Besides his expertise sculpting in traditional materials such as wax and clay, Peter specializes in high-quality digital sculpture utilizing all the current digital platforms to create exacting replications. As well, he enjoys casting the detailed, terrifically sculpted maquettes that come to him from the talented people at Blue Sky Studios.

For more from Peter please visit his website.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wilson Swain

This wonderful painting is the contribution of a tall man with a sharpened pencil and a permanent expression of mild surprise, illustrator Wilson Swain. Ever the imaginative artist, Wilson has been an illustrator at heart since he was a child growing up on the prairie of Illinois. Graduating from University of Indianapolis with a BFA in Graphic Design, Wilson moved to California and garnered an additional BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. Still in Southern California, Wilson is a freelance illustrator with several books published including his most recent through Chronicle Books, the pop-up The Castaway Pirates by Ray Marshall and the musical A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas by G. Riley Mills and Ralph Covert. Wilson has shown in galleries across the country and always enjoys a good yarn-- especially when it involves animals in clothing... or yarn!

For more of Wilson’s art please visit his website.

Lorraine Rocha

Thinking of all the fun things one can do with a pen pal, this lively painting is by artist Lorraine Rocha. Though she always loved to draw and paint, Lorraine originally studied for a completely different career graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture.  After working in the field of architecture, and constantly drawing her co-workers while in meetings, Lorraine was convinced by her sister and brother-in-law (Annie and Colin Fix) to pursue her true calling and so enrolled in San Jose State University's Illustration and Animation Program. Upon graduating Lorraine worked in the art department at Industrial Light and Magic and contributed to movies such as Ironman and Miracle at St. Anna.  Currently a freelance concept artist in Las Vegas, Lorraine most recently worked on 2K Games' Bioshock 2.

To see more of Lorraine's art please visit her blog.

Leigh Barbier

With this intriguing diptych titled Twins we enter an imaginary world called Mushroomville created by the talented Leigh Barbier. Graduating from San Francisco State University with a BFA in Art, Leigh's professional life started as a modelmaker for natural history museums contributing to the exhibits at the California Academy of Sciences, Oakland Museum and Tilden Nature Center. Moving into the film industry, she began as a moldmaker on James and the Giant Peach, which led to opportunities as a model maker and sculptor at Industrial Light and Magic and Tippet Studios. Encouraged to try her hand at digital work, she transitioned her career to digital painting at ILM where some of her film credits include Avatar, Star Wars: Episode II and Episode III, Pirates of the Caribbean, Iron Man, Star Trek and Transformers. Leigh is credited for illustrating artwork for much of The Residents discography and she actively exhibits her drawings, paintings and sculpture in galleries and shows throughout the United States. In Leigh’s Mushroomville only women and girls reside, while men live in Sugarhill. Segregation is especially difficult for the Twins, so they try to do their chores close to the border of these two territories where they can visit and discuss their observations.

For more of Leigh’s art please check out her website.

George Cwirko-Godycki

This colorful submission, from artist George Cwirko-Godycki, is reminiscent of the moment when the children wrote their first pen pal letters. With only their preconceived notions of zebras and giraffes roaming the plains, the kids in Brooklyn opened their lives to potential friends waiting an ocean away with a simple, "Dear Friend." A Bay Area native, George recently graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. More of George's illustrations can be seen in his self-published sketchbook which was released last summer. Currently residing in San Mateo, California George is working away on a new illustrated book.

Please visit George's blog to see more of his artwork.

Andrew Coats

This postage stamp inspired illustration titled Leon is by artist Andrew Coats. Born in Peru to a Colombian mother and a Scottish father, Andrew was raised all over the world.  He has lived in Portugal, Venezuela, London, and came to the United States at the age of 16.  Having a love for film and art since a young boy, but unsure of how he was going to apply that to a job, Andrew opted for a liberal arts education at New York University. Once there he very quickly learned about the animation department of Tisch Film and Television at NYU, where he could combine his love for both. Upon graduating, Andrew started out as a Designer, Modeler, Rigger and Animator on the Disney TV show Little Einsteins, followed by work at Blue Sky Studios as an animator on Horton Hears A Who!, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Currently at work on Blue Sky's next film Rio, Andrew is an Animation Character Lead on the main character Blu.

For more of Andrew's artwork please visit his blog.

Cory Godbey

This sweet and playful submission comes from South Carolina artist Cory Godbey. Cory has illustrated picture books and book covers for Oxford University Press, Random House, and Thomas Nelson to name a few, and has worked on several animated shorts and commercials with clients including Prudential Insurance, Microsoft Zune, and Xbox. He has contributed to the acclaimed Flight graphic novel anthologies with his first story Walters appearing in Flight 6, and in 2008, Cory was accepted in the Society of Illustrators 50th Annual of American Illustration.  In early 2009 Cory founded the popular Maurice Sendak tribute site Terrible Yellow Eyes where professional artists from all over the world contribute works inspired by Where the Wild Things Are.  Currently an illustrator, animator, and writer for Portland Studios, Cory seeks to tell stories with his work and likes drawing monsters.

To see more of Corey's art please visit his blog and to see more of his Marurice Sendak tribute please visit Terrible Yellow Eyes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tony Jung

From artist Tony Jung come this sweet and heartfelt painting. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Tony emigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old and grew up in New York City. After graduating from University of Michigan, he worked on Wall Street as a lead developer in financial derivative-based systems. Memories of drawing all his life and dreams of working in the film industry spurned Tony to start teaching himself 3D animation, and eventually he left Wall Street to chase the dream. He successfully landed a job at Blue Sky Studios, and as Modeler and Lighter his film credits include Ice Age 2 and 3, Horton Hears a Who!, and Surviving Sid. Tony has also freelanced for PSYOP, has done concept and character design for video games, and is currently Art Director and Lead Game Designer with his innovative start-up game company. If you look carefully, you can spot Tony on the subway in New York City with a sketchbook in hand, drawing away.

For more of Tony's art please visit his blog.

Ryan Wood

From artist Ryan Wood comes this beautifully rendered portrait. As a teenage skateboarder Ryan was more interested in the art on the decks and stickers than the sport, and was later thrilled to discover that people actually got paid to draw. A combination of Looney Toons and his dad, the art teacher, inspired Ryan's path as an artist. After graduating with a BFA in Illustration from Utah State University, Ryan found work as an artist with a videogame company. From there he learned animation, 3D modelling and texture painting, and his game credits include the Tak and the Power of Juju series (THQ/Nickelodeon), Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons (Disney). Currently working on a new project with Avalanche Software where Ryan splits his time between concept art, texture painting and creating imaginative caricatures.

For more of Ryan's art and illustrations please visit his blog.

Lizette Vega Biancalana

This lovely portrait is the work of artist Lizette Vega Biancalana. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Lizette graduated from San Jose State University's Illustration and Animation program with a BFA in Art. After graduating she worked for Electronic Arts and did a stint with Hallmark Cards designing christmas ornaments. Currently in New York working as a Designer and Visual Development Artist with Blue Sky Studios, her film credits include Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the soon to be released Rio. Lizette's illustrated story Crawdaddy-O is part of collaborative sequential anthology Out Of Picture Volume 2, and her artwork has also been included in the Out of Picture exhibit in Paris and the Totoro Forest Project art auction. Besides being an avid sketcher, Lizette and her husband are working on writing and illustrating children’s picture books.

To see more of Lizette's art please visit her blog.

Dan Santat

This bold, mask inspired contribution comes from award winning children's book author and illustrator Dan Santat. Dan, who graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design, is creator of the Disney animated series The Replacements. As a commercial illustrator his clients have included Macy's, Scholastic, Harpercollins, Wall Street Journal, and The Village Voice, among many others; and as a children's book writer and illustrator some of his book titles include The Guild of Geniuses, Chicken Dance, and the Otto Undercover series written by Rhea Perlman. Living in Southern California with his wife and two kids, Dan will soon be releasing his graphic novel, The Domesticated Four in spring of 2011.

To see more from Dan please visit his website.

Jacqueline Jones

The artistic Jacqueline Jones works in production management at Blue Sky Studios, but she shows off her artistic chops here with this graffiti inspired image of a boy reaching up to paint Africa. Jacqueline's choice of spray paint as a medium was inspired by the graffiti that both plagues and highlights Bed-Stuy. A born and raised New Yorker, Jacqueline originally set out to be a costume designer, earning a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology before going on to receive a secondary degree in Art History and Costume Design from Purchase College State University of New York, otherwise know as SUNY. Prior to moving into animation, she worked in the wardrobe department on live action films such as The Night Listener and Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. Though she continues to have a strong love for fashion, design and art, Jacqueline feels lucky to have the opportunity to pursue her passion for management in such a creative environment as Blue Sky Studios.

Shaun Cusick

Alien Pen Pals was inspired by the sci-fi movie posters Shaun Cusick watched growing up on Long Island, New York where, between sci-fi flicks, he found time for drawing, camping and playing the tuba. With a BFA in Illustration and Graphic Design from Pratt Institute Shaun started his career as a graphic designer but changed direction to freelance sculpting and model making for television and f/x film projects. He returned to Pratt to learn computer animation, and it paid off. Employed at Blue Sky Studios almost since the beginning as a maquette sculptor and Senior Modeler, Shaun has worked on Alien Resurrection, Bunny, the Ice Age movies, Robots, Horton Hears a Who!, Gone Nutty, No Time For Nuts and Surviving Sid, and most recently as Lead Character Modeler on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the studio's next picture, Rio. Somehow, he still finds time to draw, sculpt, model aliens, monsters and tikis while simultaneously renovating the 1920s American Craftsman home he lives in with his wife, children and cats.

More of Shaun's artwork can be seen on his blog.

Colin Fix

Colin Fix's illustration captures the boundless joy felt by the students when their letters finally finished the exhausting journey from Africa to America (and vice versa). After graduating from San Jose State University’s Illustration and Animation Program, Colin began his career as a traditional animator for The Learning Company and as an assistant concept artist for Industrial Light and Magic’s Art Department. Since then, his work has spanned videogames, film and even the card game Hecatomb with clients that include Wizards of the Coast, Electronic Arts, Planet Moon Studios, Shabba Games and Konami, to name a few. Colin's art has appeared in the fantasy art annuals Spectrum and Aphrodisia and, most recently, he's lent his talents to the smash hit 2K Games' Bioshock 2 and has worked on Beowolf and A Christmas Carol, legendary director Robert Zemeckis' most recent forays into animation.

For more of Colin's art and illustrations please visit his blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moby Francke

This lovely gem displays artist Moby Francke's mastery of simple stylized forms and colors. Originally from the small Caribbean island of St. Thomas, Moby trained at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he studied illustrative fine art. Upon graduating Moby worked at Lucas Arts as a conceptual designer, and taught figure painting at his alma mater. In 2002, Moby joined Valve Software, one of the leading video game studios, where he is currently an Art Director and Lead Visual Designer and was responsible for developing the unique art style of Team Fortress 2. The game proved highly influential in the industry and received critical acclaim for its art direction and visual design garnering a Visual Effects Society Award nomination in 2007 for Outstanding Visuals in a Video Game. Winner of several prestigious art awards, including two New York Society of Illustrators Competition Awards, Moby also contributed an artwork to the Totoro Forest Project in 2008. Presently Moby divides his time between Seattle and New York City, where he drew inspiration for this Brownstone to Red Dirt project as well as for his own personal work.

To see more of Moby's art please visit his website.

Oriol Hernandez Sanchez

Capturing a Brooklyn scene this painting comes from the brilliantly talented Barcelonean artist Oriol Hernandez. Graduate of Escola Joso in Spain, Oriol began his career in animation, working on Filmax Animacion's films Nocturna and the whimsical award winning Donkey Xote, a comic retelling of Miguel de Cervantes classic tale. He also added his touch to Hampa Studio's, Margarita which won the 2010 Goya Award for Best Animated Short Film. Oriol's published and soon to be published works include his contribution to Javier Aznarez's acclaimed comic collaboration Pigeon Verts, illustrations of the french comic SuperH (or in french, SuperG) with Albert Drandov, illustrating the children's picture book A Mi No Me Gustan Libros written by Joan Portell RifĂ  and La Enciclopedia de los Monstruos, a series of children's stories written by different illustrators of which Oriol contributed his story El Zombie Vicente both to be published by Bromera editions. Currently at work illustrating a project with french author Zidrou entitled La Piel del Oso, Oriol is also busy developing designs, illustrations and stories for his own personal projects.

Please check out so much more of Oriol's art at his blog.

Grace S. Lee

This charming painting was inspired by a letter illustrator Grace Lee had folded up on her desk ready to give to a friend. Born in Taiwan and raised in Los Angeles, Grace had an inclination to fold paper in front of her since she was a child when she would retreat from boring adult dinner conversation to fold chopstick wrappers into whatever she saw in her mind. By night's end, she'd have a belly full of food and a menagerie of chopstick-wrapper animals and flowers. A Graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Grace works as a production designer at Crest Animation Studios, freelances as a children's book illustrator and has contributed her art to the Totoro Forest Project. Currently finishing her own children's book, Grace says she likes meeting people in her travels, baking cookies and still enjoys origami.

Please visit Grace's blog to and website view more of her art.

George Fuentes

This simple sensitive image by Los Angeles artist George Fuentes reminds us that from the chaotic abstraction of the world, a simple gesture like saying hello can and does make a difference. In this case, children from opposite sides of the planet communicate through simple words and share ideas which mold new healthy minds for a great generation to come. George grew up fascinated with the activity of drawing and its ablility to communicate abstract thought. After receiving his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, he entered the commercial industry as a concept artist and quickly began to mold new ways of viewing our world through advertising. George's ideas have served  clients such as Toyota, Xbox, Audi, Coca Cola and many more and he has worked alongside such studios as Psyop, National Television, Elastic Studios and Hornet. Currently George continues to freelance throughout Los Angeles and New York. 

For more information on George's artwork please visit his website.

Ricardo Curtis

Ricardo Curtis may just be the busiest man in animation. In addition to being the founder and president of House of Cool, he has over ten animated feature films to his credit, such as Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles (Pixar Animation Studios), The Iron Giant (Warner Bros. Feature Animation) and Horton Hears a Who! (Blue Sky Studios) as animator, supervising animator, story artist and head of story. He has also taught Animation at Sheridan College and has served as guest speaker at numerous schools and venues.

Ricardo's postcard isn't his only contribution to BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT. As president of House of Cool, Ricardo and business partner Wesley Lui were essential in the making of the film, offering both creative and financial support through every stage of the documentary.

To learn more of about Ricardo check out House Of Cool's website and blog.

Harold Hasselback

Enigmatic and surreal, this submission titled The Tooth Collector comes from artist and musician Harold Hasselback. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Harold attended Ringling School of Art and Design. He then went on to pursue music with his band Hankshaw, and from 1996-2004 the band recorded and released several records and toured the United States. An appreciative critic described a recent album as "... an upbeat amalgam of pop anthemics, electronic textures, Beatle-esque harmonies and warm liquid disco.” In 2005 Harold relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he rediscovered his passion for art; and in 2007 has since returned home to Tampa where he is currently working on another release with Hankshaw and enjoying the process of drawing and painting.

To see more of Harold's art please check out his blog.

Bob Camp

This poignant moment from the talented Bob Camp captures Malik, a student in Brooklyn known for his self-proclaimed kookiness and love of art. Bob is a cartoonist/illustrator, comic book artist, writer, story artist, designer, director and producer who is revered in animation circles for being one of the creators of The Ren and Stimpy Show. He has worked on many TV series as well as feature films for such studios as Warner Brothers, Blue Sky Studios/Fox and Nickelodeon. Nominated for two Emmys, a Cable Ace award, and an Annie for his work on Ren and Stimpy, Bob has also been an illustrator at Marvel Comics on many comic titles including GI Joe, Crazy Magazine, Marvel Age, Bizarre Adventures, Savage Tales, The Shadow, Conan the Barbarian and The 'Nam, as well as covers, comics and editorial illustrations for Family Weekly magazine and The National Lampoon. Presently developing concepts for film, TV and the internet, Bob can also be found at Blue Sky Studios as a story artist for a feature film currently in development.

You can view more of Bob's artwork on his blog.

And please go to these pages to learn more about his impressive history and filmography.

Gwynne Simmons

This adorable piece is the work of artist Gwynne Simmons. Gwynne studied computer animation at Ringling School of Art and Design, then later discovered she was more interested in illustration and design. Currently Gwynne is an Animation Technical Assistant at Bluesky Studios where her film credits include Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and the upcoming animated feature film Rio. Gwynne draws and paints whenever she can, finding inspiration from the talented people who surround her as well artists from around the world.

You can see more of Gwynne's artwork on her blog.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rafael Zentil

With this wonderfully vibrant painting titled Bed-Stuy Kickflip we are transported into the imagination of artist Rafael Zentil. A native of Southern California, Rafael was raised on a steady diet of skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and playing guitar in punk rock bands. At the ripe age of eight, Rafael began taking oil painting classes, as a teen he made short films with super 8, video, and animation, and as a starving college student he worked as a portrait and caricature artist at Disneyland, making thousands of visitors from all over the world laugh and cry. He went on to receive a BFA from Cal State Fullerton University and started his first animation gig in 1999 as a character designer on the TV series Rugrats, where for fun, he used to "sneak in" his friends as background characters for many of the episodes. After transitioning into the story department, he storyboarded on an Emmy Award winning Rugrats episode for Outstanding Children's Animated Program. He also worked on Rocket Power, As Told By Ginger, and pilots for Klasky-Csupo. During this time, he also exhibited a series of paintings in Los Angeles art shows. In 2003, Rafael moved to New York to join Blue Sky Studios as a Story Artist. His contributions can be seen in Robots, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Horton Hears A Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the upcoming 2011 release, Rio. In addition to the features at Blue Sky, Rafael is also co-directing a new short film within the studio.

For more of Rafael's art and sense of humor please visit his website.

Brittnie Bruner

The beautiful fluid movements of Augusta's dancing, as well as her love for patterning and monsters, inspired design and storyboard artist Brittnie Bruner to contribute two lively illustrations. Just this last year Brittnie graduated from San Jose State University with a concentration in Animation and Illustration. While attending school she received the great opportunity to go to Blue Sky Studios for a storyboard internship and completed an internship at PDI/DreamWorks as well. Currently back in California, Brittnie is working on various creative freelance projects and her own graphic novel while trying to break into the entertainment industry.

You can see more of Brittnie's artwork on her blog.

Stephen P. Neary

This sweet painting, by the very funny multi-award winning artist and filmmaker Stephen P. Neary, is based on a still from his short short titled Let's Make Out. A graduate of New York University, Stephen is a Hoosier-born, New York-based animator and story artist. His student short, Chicken Cowboy, won Best Undergraduate Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at NYU's First Run Film Festival in 2009.  It later won The Grand Jury Prize for Best Animation at AFI Dallas Film Festival and was screened at the Director's Guild of America, on top of screening and winning additional awards in numerous film festivals nationwide.  Stephen has worked as a Story Artist at Blue Sky Studios since Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, where he is also developing his short film. Stephen spends his nights working on new shorts, doodling his thoughts, and feeding his turtle, Dr. Geranium.  

You can view more of Stephen's work at his blog.

Karen Disher

Capturing Malik's expressive energy, this spirited illustration is by artist Karen Disher.  As a child in Alabama, Karen, who studied traditional 2D animation at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, never would have imagined that her love of drawing gross and obscene cartoons would one day help her land her dream job as a layout artist on MTV’s Beavis and Butt-Head.  While at MTV, Karen became part of the original development team for the series Daria, designing the main characters and creating the overall look of the show.   And, as Supervising Director for four seasons, she directed many episodes as well as both Daria movies.  A story artist at Blue Sky since 2002, Karen is currently Head of Story on the upcoming Blue Sky feature Rio, and is also developing an original short film with the studio.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tom Wichitsripornkul

Inspired by Augusta's dancing from the Brownstones To Red Dirt documentary, this beautiful, expressive submission entitled Dance comes from artist Tom Wichitsripornkul.  Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Tom came to the United States in 1994 to study animation at William Patterson University in New Jersey.  He worked for R/GreenBerg Associates in New York, then moved to Blue Sky Studios where, as a Materials Technical Director, Tom's film credits include Ice Age I and II, Robots and Horton Hears a Who!  Meanwhile he studied painting at the National Academy School of Fine Arts in Manhattan.  Since then Tom has relocated to the west coast to join the Pixar team in northern California where he contributed to the multi-award winning animated film Up and is currently working on Brave as a Shading Technical Director.

Sho Murase

Titled Hope this lovely graphic piece is by Japanese-Korean artist Sho Murase.  Sho grew up in Spain, studied graphic design, fine art, cinematography and psychology, then received a 2D Animation Degree from the Vancouver Film School. Working in the animation and advertising industries in both Europe and the United States, Sho's clients include Nike, Virgin, Mattel and Evian, as well as Sony, Electronics Arts and Virgin; and her animation work has been nominated in animation film festivals such as Annecy, Zagreb, Mendrisio and Chicago International Animation Festival.  Sho's first color graphic novel SEI was published by Image Comics in 2003, since then she has created ME2 and illustrated over a dozen graphic novels including the adaptation series of Nancy Drew, currently in volume 20.  She has exhibited in galleries around the world, including the German Film Museum in Frankfurt and the Louisiana Modern Art Museum in Denmark, and will soon be exhibiting in a two person show at the Bluxome Street Gallery in San Francisco, California in April 2010.  Sho claims to be “the ultimate couch potato who sits around all day and night, takes long naps, watches reality TV, and does not work at all. Like NEVER.”

To see more of Sho's art please visit her website and blog.

Lee White

This endearing, wishful watercolor is by Portland based illustrator Lee White. After graduating with honors in 2003 from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Lee signed with noted artist agent Shannon Associates in New York and has been busy illustrating for a wide variety of clients ever since. Some of his clients include Simon and Schuster, Disney, Penguin Publishing, National Geographic, Apple Computer, Scholastic, among others. Lee also enjoys teaching and is currently an instructor of advanced illustration and concept design at the Art Institute of Portland. Currently working on his tenth children's book, Lee is also in the process of writing his own stories.

To see more of Lee's art please visit his website.

Melanie Martini

This whimsical piece by Melanie Martini captures the meaning of "long distance" pen pals. Melanie grew up drawing, and started as an illustration major at FIT before graduating with a BFA from the Art + Design school at SUNY Purchase College. She got her start in animation working as an inker and background painter on commercials and TV Funhouse at Tapehouse Toons. Melanie moved on to work on a pilot for Cartoon Network and credit designs for The Lizzie McGuire Movie before finding her current home at Blue Sky Studios, where she has been for the last seven years. Currently working as a set dresser, Melanie's film credits include Robots, Ice Age 2 and 3, Horton Hears a Who!, and the upcoming Rio.

To see more of Melanie's art visit her brand new blog.

Scott Gustfson

This luminous painting titled Dear Friend is by illustrator Scott Gustafson. Scott’s earliest artistic ambition was to become an animator, but by the time he entered high school he became acquainted with great illustrators like Wyeth, Rockwell, Parrish and Rackham who continue to inspire him today; however, lingering dreams of making animated films led Scott to major in animation at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.  As a freelance illustrator Scott’s client list over the span of 25 years has included Celestial Seasonings, Playboy Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, The Bradford Exchange, Dreamworks and The Greenwich Workshop. His illustrated books include The Night Before Christmas, Peter Pan, Nutcracker, as well as two original titles, Animal Orchestra and Alphabet Soup. Scott's book, Classic Fairy Tales was awarded a Chesley Award for Best Interior Book Illustrations from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists and his latest release, Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose, features over 45 color illustrations and won a Silver Medal for Best Children’s Picture Book by the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Visit Scott’s website to see more of his artwork.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lincoln Agnew

This inspired illustration is by artist Lincoln Agnew. Raised in a cozy Canadian home full of guinea pigs and ninja doodles, Lincoln decided to pursue a career in the arts after being awarded the 21 CRAYON SALUTE in Grade 3 for eating the most art supplies. Eventually Lincoln went on to earn degrees in both Illustration and Photography from the Alberta College of Art and Design. As a freelance designer, illustrator and photographer his work has been seen in various magazines, television shows and hundreds of stores worldwide.  Most recently Lincoln was honored in New York with The Founders Award by the Society of Illustrators for his artwork on his first picture book, Harry and Horsie. Currently Lincoln is working on his second children's book with Katie Van Camp and the talented team at Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins. 

To see more of Lincoln's artwork please visit his website.

Vadim Bazhanov

This amusing diptych titled Deer In Their Natural Form is by the talented Vadim Bazhanov. Born in Kiev, Ukrane, Vadim came to Canada at the age of eight years old. A graduate of Sheridan College's Animation Program Vadim's short film titled Fresh Eggs screened at the Ottawa Animation Festival, and the 2009 Sprockets Animation Festival in Toronto. Upon graduating Vadim worked as a designer at House of Cool in Toronto for a brief time before offered a job as story artist at Blue Sky Studios where he is currently storyboarding on the upcoming animated feature Rio.

For more of Vadim's artwork please visit his blog.