Sunday, February 28, 2010

Animation: Grindin’

Most of the time people are trying to make computer generated work look like the real thing. But this seems to be the other way around, stop motion animation done with painted blocks of wood made to look like low-res computer graphics.



And as a bonus, the (ahum…) “making of” Grindin’:



More on Nobody Beats the Drum? Clickety-click.


Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Seems I’m into painters, this week…(I wonder how this one and the one in the previous entry would get along. I’m guessing they wouldn’t…)

This is the trailer for a new documentary on Jean-Michel Basquiat, featuring never-before seen footage of the man in what would be the last couple of years of his life.




(Via FreakyFauna and Under The Influence-Magazine)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Studio Visit (4): Sam Dillemans




So. This video. What is it? Is it some kind of Hollywood fiction? The thrilling life-story of a painter annex boxer who fights, not only in the ring, but also against himself (music swells…) and the geniuses of the past. Against the Van Gogh's, the Picassos,…

No. It isn’t.

It’s a documentary. About a Belgian painter. Annex boxer. Who fights against blahblahblah blah blah…dillemans1

I hate this documentary. Well, no. I don’t. It’s a great documentary. It even won an award, the FIPA d’Or in 2008 at Biarritz, France. But I hate this guy, the painter Sam Dillemans who… Well, no. I don’t. I don’t hate him. He is a really great painter. But…

But I hate these art-myths. And the ridiculously pompous air of importance and self-sacrifice which…

Oh, you know what? You be the judge. Watch the video-fragment. Maybe you’ll wanna be a painter-boxer to after you’ve seen it. Good luck with it.

Let me know what you think.



Monday, February 22, 2010

More Letterpress printing

Quite some people seemed to have enjoyed the post on letterpress printing from a little while ago. Today I found another beautiful little film on the subject. It’s not a documentary, more some kind of impression, filmed at Repeat Press of Somerville. (By the way, the guy who filmed it, Stebs from Quarter Productions has a whole lot of nice little videos on Vimeo. Check him out…)



Last time I also neglected to add this link to a letterpress blog I had found called End Grain. It is run by Bethany Heck and showcases her collection of wood type. Often her posts consist of a close up  photograph of a wood type block which she describes in detail. This might sound like a little too much for all of us End_Grain-500x418who do not collect these items our selves, but I found her approach and the passion she has for her collection totally convincing and spent quite some time reading about how she has a soft spot for U’s with uneven stroke weights and the wonderful tonal shifts in the color of the wood of a Zero Antique. Further more, her blog is very well designed, it’s stylish and the big photographs look absolutely stunning.

Go check it out here. She also includes many useful links to yet other letterpress sites and information on books, print shops and retailers which you can go an explore if you want to delve deeper into the world of letterpress.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book design : Jules Verne

Mr. Jim Tierney is an illustration student at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He designed some Jules Verne books.You are probably going to want to see them…



Check out some more of his work here.

  (via Agena Agogo )


P., the friend I mentioned in the previous post doesn’t seem to understand that sending me nice little Oscar nominated videos is not going to make me work any faster on that story I’m supposed to be writing for him…

Anyway. Thanks P.

Nominated for the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. Is it a 16 minute action movie? Or is it a clever and substantial critique on today’s society? Or is it just a bit of fun? You be the judge…


Found: Coltrane – Giant Steps

I was doing some research for a jazz story I’m writing for a friend of mine (Hi, P!) and found  this nice little animated video for John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. It of course has nothing to do with the story I’m supposed to be writing and which needs to be finished in…oh, what, a week or so ? Ahum, better get a move on then…

Damned internet.



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Studio Visit (3): I. Vandenabeele




Isabelle Vandenabeele is a Belgian children’s book illustrator who likes to work with traditional printing techniques like woodcut or linocut. The results she gets are, however, far from traditional. In her rewriting of Little Red Riding Hood (“Rood rood roodkapje” – Red Red Riding Hood)  the little girl wields a big and blood-drenched axe. Everything is red or Isabelle Vandenabeeleblack. When she tells a story about your shadow “Mijn schaduw en ik” (My Shadow and I) she uses the most vibrant, clashing colors.  This approach gets noticed and Vandenabeele has won numerous awards for her work: the Boekenpluim in 2002 for “Kind” (Child), the Zilveren Penseel and the Plantijn Moretus award in 2004 for “Rood rood roodkapje” and The Boekenpauw 2006 for “Mijn schaduw en ik”.

Another advantage of working with the above mentioned techniques is that the heavy machinery you need automatically makes your studio look impressive. Who wouldn’t want such a nice printing press in his or her workplace? Even if you don’t know how to operate it…



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Helvetica: the movie

sm.berlin3 Yesterday I posted a kinetic typography video called “Monkeys Love Helvetica” and this reminded me that I never actually saw the Helvetica movie, a feature length documentary about, yes, the Helvetica typeface. I immediately made up for this gross negligence and watched it that afternoon.

It was great.

A whole 80 minutes long movie of designers and typographers talking about a single typeface? Yes, indeed. Helvetica, you say? Yes. That’s that Arial-lookalike, isn’t it? No. Go watch the movie…

Helvetica is the typeface you either love or hate. For some it is the ultimate force of reason and democracy against chaos and savagery, the Apollo amongst typefaces. For others it’s an authoritarian, even slightly fascistic, sterile and soulless, mechanical, inflexible, badly designed and downright ugly reminder of modernism (which they don’t like much either). Both opinions get their fair share of advocates in the movie. People like Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Eric Spiekerman, Neville Brody and David Carson (to new just a few) are all being interviewed and it’s great to see that, whether they are for or against Helvetica, they all talk about it with the same vigor and passion.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you really should. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray disc and as a download from ITunes (apparently only for Americans) or on Amazon (also for Americans). If you have the stomach for it, you can also try seeing it on (which I am told doesn’t work for Americans and it usually takes ages to load anything from there…). More info about the film and it’s author Gary Hustwit can be found here and here.

To wet your appetite, here is the trailer for the movie and a short interview with the maker.



And a load of clips from the movie for those of you who just can’t wait…









Blex Bolex (one more time…)

Yes, we’ve had plenty of Blex Bolex a little while ago (starting here, work your way up...) but when I saw this little animated book trailer for the Italian version of “L’imagier des gens” (“Immaginario” published by edizioni Orecchio acerbo) I couldn’t resist putting up one more post. The basic way of animation suits the style of Mr. Bolex very well, I think. And doing a trailer like this for children’s books seems like a really good idea. Are there any more?



Friday, February 19, 2010

Kinetic Typography (3)

The everlasting quest for nice kinetic typography (which looks a bit different from the rest) continues…



Monday, February 15, 2010

Studio Visit (2): Picasso




A classic piece of footage today: an excerpt from the 1956 film “Le mystère Picasso” by H.G. Clouzot.

To be honest, I’m not completely sure if this is actually Picasso’s atelier, but maybe that’s not all that important. It feels more like a film set anyway. And the stark black and white doesn’t allow for much of the surroundings to come through. Let’s just assume it really is his workplace and be done with it.

Clouzot asked Picasso to paint on a transparent canvas so he could film the painting from the other side. They did a whole lot of paintings and drawings in this way, twenty or so. Not all of them are successful, and Picasso destroys a lot of them. He destroys this one to, although I really liked the flowery-fishy-chicken. But who am I to argue with Picasso, huh?

It’s fun to see the two men, obviously friends, interact. Clouzot pushes Picasso, saying he should hurry with his painting before the filmstrip is finished. He even tries to trick him, telling him there is less time left than there actually is. Picasso pretends to obey his “director”, but of course does just as he pleases.

There is a lot of debate around this movie and Picasso in general. Some people will keep on proclaiming everything Picasso does to be a stroke of genius. Others cannot refrain from remarking that the Picasso we see here is nothing more than a mere poseur, Picasso playing Picasso and making “Picassos”. Me, I don’t like art-myths and I don’t like geniuses. I see a man who knows what he is doing, drawing pictures and I like seeing people drawing pictures. I just wish he would have left the chicken the way it was.





Sunday, February 14, 2010

Letterpress Printing



I spend the better part of the afternoon watching YouTube video’s about people who still work with letterpress and I nearly gave up on this post. Almost all of them were more or less grumpy or disgruntled human beings who could just barely hide the fact that they hated this modern day world filled with (gasp) com-pu-ters (aaaarg!!!! He said the C-word!!! Vade Retro, Satanas!!!!)

Eventually, I did find one who seemed to just be happy doing what he did without resenting the rest of the world…

This video takes us to Hatch Show Print, a more than 125-year-old print shop in Nashville, Tennessee. It is one of only a handful of letterpress shops which still exist in America and as you will see it is a thriving little business. Their first clients were vaudeville, circus and minstrel shows, later they did posters for country music but also for Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington and B.B. King and nowadays contemporary musicians once again want this distinctive typography to adorn their posters and CD-covers.


Letterpress printing uses letters made of wood or lead to print and whenever I see people handling those little pieces of lead I get filled with quite a bit of nostalgia because my father used to do this for a living. He was one of about 50 men (yes, all men…) who’s job it was to compose whatever needed to be printed with those leaden letters. Later on, when the first “computer” arrived he was one of 3 men (three!) who 800px-Linotype_CRTronic_360had to learn how to work with this pre-macintoshian device. (It was called a CR-Tronic. For some reason I still remember that name, although it is now probably more than 30 years ago…) I didn’t think I would be able to find a picture of it, but I did.

This is exactly the thing my father worked on. The little screen didn’t show you the page you were working on, it was filled with text and code describing the properties of the text (such as margins, letter size, etc…) I remember my dad studying like crazy to remember all these codes.

I also remember my dad being happy working with the little letters of lead, and being just as happy working on his CR-Tronic. On both he was able to do what he loved best, coming up with beautiful typographic compositions. And I’m sure he would have loved working with modern day computers just as well.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Analog Photoshop

If you don’t know what to do with your Saturday afternoon, and don’t want to waste yet another day on that booooooring internet (ahum…), here’s something you might like. All you need is a Polaroid PoGo-thingy. Me, I had never heard of such a thingy, but apparently it is a digital version of the old Polaroid camera which lets you print the pictures you made right there and then. These guys here have found some ways to play and tamper with the results and they made a very nice video about it…



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pieter Gaudesaboos (2)

Today we continue our presentation of the wonderful illustration work of Belgian artist Pieter Gaudesaboos. In “Pistache” (again awarded with a boekenpluim) and “Sprookje voor een prins…” (Fairytale for a prince…) he further explores his more illustrative approach.








Gaudesaboos often works together with other people, usually a writer and sometimes even musicians, but for “Linus” he embarks on a very special collaboration which results in perhaps one of his best books. Writer Mieke Versyp is a dramatist at “De Kopergietery” a theatre company for children and Sabien Clement is also an illustrator of children’s books. One with a style who is miles apart from Gaudesaboos. But the results are beautiful. “Linus” wins a boekenpluim, a boekenwelp and the prestigious Gouden Uil









The most recent books of Gaudesaboos seem to be more lighthearted as his previous work. They are printed on cardboard and have rounded corners, clearly aimed at young children. But the illustrations remain intricately detailed and pleasantly retro.












If you can’t get enough of this, you should visit Pieter Gaudesaboos's site where you can leaf through all of his books and find even more artwork and illustrations. The links-section there contains all the publishers he has worked with.

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