After a nine month hiatus, my Live Sketch Show will be returning online! Whereas in the past I had themes and took suggestions from my viewers on what to draw, this time I'll be focusing on my current workload--be it drawing sketch cards for Rittenhouse Archives, "Necronomicomics" for Rue Morgue Magazine, or my newest endeavor, "Bodie Troll", for Red 5 Comics. You'll get to see me pencil, ink, draw thumbnails, and probably procrastinate due to artist's block and the occasional brain fart. So on Wednesday, October 17 at 8:00 pm, just click on the link above to catch all the sketchy goodness!
As a long overdue reminder, here's how to contact me during the show via Ustream's chat window. You need to log in to Ustream to use the window, but registering is easy. It only takes a username and an email address. Once you've entered that info, you can chat with me while I draw. I hope to see my old viewers listed in the chat window, and as many new viewers as possible!
Now that the good news is out of the way, please stand by for an unrelated and considerably more cantankerous editorial...
Sure, I've got my political beliefs, and I know with whom my vote will be going this November. But everyone and their grandmother has their panties in a bunch over this coming election, so they can survive without my dander being raised on that particular subject. No, my furor is being rankled over something much more personal and dear to my heart than politics. Y'see, Hollywood is once again dicking around with my childhood. And this time, they've crossed the line.
Blue Sky Studios, the digital animation house responsible for the "Ice Age", "Robots" and "Horton Hears A Who", will be releasing a full length, digitally animated feature film based on Charles Schulz's immortal comic strip, "Peanuts" in 2015.
CG animation is, by nature, a pristine and glossy format that removes all elements of human effort and organic craftsmanship from the finished product. "Peanuts", in both its comic strip and TV special forms, is the polar opposite of that definition. On the printed page, Schulz showed every little scratchy detail, blotch of ink, and wobbly line that came out of his pen and brush tip. Similarly, Bill Melendez, director of almost every animated "Peanuts" special and film from 1965 to 2006, showed off his own brilliant pen and brush work, as well as some of the most lush and lively painted backgrounds ever filmed for a cartoon. Both creators had an organic root to their work. And for any animation studio to attempt a cold, glassy CG reimagining of these beloved characters is an assault to both men's artistry, and the nature of the "Peanuts" characters and their world.
Now, the argument can be made that much of the animation done for more recent "Peanuts" specials and TV commercials has been done digitally. These offerings have been produced in the flash animation format, or whatever the more high-grade equivalent is today. To that, I would first point out that Schulz and Melendez are no longer around to dictate the format. Secondly, at least this form of digital animation attempts, on some level, to create a recognizable facsimile to the Schulz/Melendez style. I have every reason to believe that Blue Sky isn't trying to achieve that style in the slightest. Based on the work they're most known for, we can count on their "Peanuts" movie to be a visually cold, shiny, plasticated, inorganic attempt at the Charlie Brown gang, in their typical Pixar/Dreamworks amalgamated style. Schulz himself could pull a Lazarus and rise from the great beyond to write the script himself, and no amount of "good griefs", grade school scripture or imagined WWI dogfights could save the film in my eyes. It's the visuals that will make or break it. And putting the joyfully controlled chaos of line that is "Peanuts" into the anal retentive hands of computer programmers posing as cartoonists will absolutely break it in my view.
I doubt many of you stuck around to read my head of steam put into sentences, but I thank those of you who heard me out. Be sure to watch my show next Wednesday, where my visuals will speak for themselves, hopefully more eloquently and more condensed than I managed here.