Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review for Comic Con Documentary by Morgan Spurlock

Here's a link to Hollywood Reporter review of documentary on Comic Con by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me")
"While taking in all the eye-catching aspects of this carnival of freaks, geeks and nerds, he manages to record the living, breathing heart of the pop culture world. He has focused his cameras on people on a mission. Maybe not a life or death mission but pretty close, which makes this doc a real collectible for movie fans even if they hate comic-book movies."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome reader! - 26,000 page views & 83 Countries as of Nov 2011

Welcome reader! Here's the corner of our showroom where you'll find my maps of all 50 states and the 83 countries that have visited the blog and/or where we've shipped books around the globe. The world map includes postcards from some of the patrons I got to know when I handled the order desk & shipping (now overseen by Mary)....

This detail map of Europe is in my office... below are the maps above in detail:

The world map w/ postcards:
According to "stats" for the blog as of Nov 10, we now have over 26,000 page views! With the addition of the Vietnam& Myanmar(Burma) on 10/14... Brunei on 10/15...Ecuador & Iceland on 10/17.. Nepal on 10/18, and the island republic of Mauritius off the southeast coast of Africa... on Oct 23, Ghana... Peru & Taiwan on Oct 26th.... Bulgaria on Oct 28th, now 83 countries & counting have visited... What's here for so many to see????
The blog is a service for YOU the online visitor & our patrons; a way to continue the sorts of conversations you would have with us (okay me, but I'll try to make that fun!) if you stopped in at our showroom or booth at a convention......

For example, why so many horse posts? I've often helped artists looking for books on drawing animals and I've been told that even very accomplished artists can find horses particularly challenging to draw. Unlike dogs & cats, not everyone has access to horses. The horse posts are here on the blog to provide reference... and inspire local artists to attend these events and sketch! it turns out, a Sept 26 2010 post about a very special horse brings many of the worldwide visitors here to the blog. Hopefully, they come back again to learn about the artists & other interests featured here.

On Oct 11th... we had a spike in pageviews.... over 1500 that one day... from the Netherlands! Perhaps we were linked to a popular blog there....With that event (and maybe the aftermath), we rocketed to over 24,000 total pageviews.

So if you've arrived here at the blog from the Netherlands... or our Stuart Ng Books website... the blog is here to help YOU get inspired by our world of books you'll find at our convention booths, website and inside our showroom....
When you buy a book online, you're focused on finding exactly what you're looking for, but you miss out on the serendipity of discovering something unexpected! Before the big chains and the internet, there was a wide variety of independent new & used bookstores, each with a unique selection and point of view. You might go to such a store looking for a book, but find yourself dazzled by the aisles and browsing areas "outside the box" of what you were seeking.

All sorts of magic can happen when you are open to discovering something you weren't looking for.

There are posts here on horses.. science museums... France (see pics from our visits to Angouleme; the musee d'Orsay; the Marie Curie museum).. and of course, Comic con and other conventions....)These topics bring a wider audience to the blog. While the Stuart Ng Books website is our niche, my blog is a chance for you to create a "browse & discover" experience here for yourself.

Most photos on the blog will enlarge if you click on them. Here are some fun dog books we have in stock... I pulled these titles from various places in the store just for you to see! Interested in a subject matter? Leave a comment and I'll see what we have in stock (books on Golf? Fish? Costume?.. yep we have them; but they aren't sorted by subject on the website; we sort by artist or category).
Scroll down to click on "older posts" or click on post on archive list for post on Tim Burton show at LACMA (NOW CLOSED .. last day was Oct 31st)
.... more to see on "older posts" or archive: Norman Thelwell...
3 posts on the Empty Saddle Club Western Horse show.... (photo below only looks like a Thelwell pony... he's really a miniature horse!)
And 9 posts on Charity Horse Show Sept 9th -11th. Enjoy!

CTNX November 18-20; 75% SOLD OUT, use your SNB discount & sign up now!

Creative Talent Network Animation Expo --- CTNX -- in Burbank Nov 18th - 20th... is already 75% SOLD OUT according to their website. Check their website frequently for latest news on featured guests and programming:
Save 10% on your CTNX registration when you use your Stuart Ng Books code: NGX11

We've exhibited since the first Expo in 2009... and we'll be there again this year with 3 full booths of books and more:

Here's a shot from the Andreas Deja demo. There are overhead screens during the demos, so even if you aren't in the first row, you can still see the art as it happens:
There's lots of scheduled events and programming... and tons of on-site extras like this: a live model workshop... no registration required, it's a drop-in and draw opportunity!
World-class guests and a venue focused on service and comfort for attendees, CTNX is only 3 years old, but already establishing its reputation as the premiere event for meeting the most inspiring artists!

Get Inspired - Tim Burton MoMA show at LACMA (POST UPDATED Nov 1st)


Even if you aren't a Tim Burton fan.... this popular show is worth seeing. It's mostly drawings... and there are A LOT of them... yet another testament to the fact that if you want to be a better artist, the best way is to be drawing as much as you can. Clearly... Burton has done his share of drawing. There are doodles and sketchbook pages here dating back to high school... home movies and Cal Arts projects.... drawings on blotter paper and newspapers. The guy keeps busy!

Here's the ext of LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts) where the Tim Burton is on view through Oct 31st (Halloween... get it?) Extended hours through Oct! More info at LACMA website:
Also on view at LACMA... these cool heads of the Chinese Zodiac animals near the elevators to the (not free) underground parking.

To get to the Tim Burton exhibit, you follow these banners...
When you enter the exhibit building, don't miss this topiary deer (it's not a LACMA display; it's from the set of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS)....
Here's the entrance inside to the Tim Burton show... the last place photos are allowed. The really nice LACMA staff in jackets will answer all your questions, tell you cool stuff about the exhibit... and even take your picture here in front of the scary clown.....(hi ms. J!)
I can only tell you about the show.... Lots and lots to see! Favorite highlights are the blacklight room with the carousel.... the Edward Scissorhands suit & hands .. Vincent drawings.... and a super cute Zero sculpt.
Here's the gift shop....
Some Alice items....
and unique to the LA installation... this trio of air-powered dancing Burton balloon boys....
Here's the cover for the exhibition catalog:
And the Artist's statement:
Some of my fav pics from inside the book (these are also on view at the show) ----
Edward Scissorhands sketch:
cool pic of Johnny Depp from Sleepy Hollow:
One of the many Burton Cartoon drawings on display.... These evoked Ronald Searle for me...
and here's a cool little insight I might have missed if I hadn't seen these drawings in person: the little tell-tale holes from the animation paper...
Burton isn't the only artist I've seen that likes this medium..... Claire Wendling also enjoys drawing on animation paper. Who knew there was a Burton-Wendling connection???

Burton loves old horror movies and puns... lots of the drawings are like this ode to "Mothra"... you have to click and enlarge this drawing titled "Mothera" to really see all the gags here...
There are only a few Batman sketches...
but lots of fun VINCENT stuff.... The short plays in the gallery... so you get to hear Vincent Price's very tender narration as you walk around... sort of sweet when you consider Price's connection to art and Burton...

There are a number of sketches and sculpts (by Rick Heinrichs) from unrealized Burton projects like this one titled "Trick or Treat"....
And many, many of Burton's drawings are torn directly out of sketchbooks. Sometimes the sketchbook is still in tact and opened to a specific page... Evidence once again that the successful artists are always drawing..

There are a number of story board drawings, like this one of Jack S.
and several interesting concept drawings from collaboraters like Colleen Atwood, Kelly Asbury, Kendal Cronkhite, Deane Taylor, Carlos Grangel, Jordi Grangel and others.
Burton's artistic journey from teen years to today.... as much as his creative process.... is on display in this show. It has been selling out on weekends... so don't delay your visit!
For a terrific review of the show and (and reporting on the show's opening with fans lined up to meet Tim Burton), check out Liz Ohanesian's LA Weekly cover story "The Burton Aesthetic"

Get Inspired - Carlos Grangel at CTNX Nov 18th - 20th

THIS POST ADDED OCT 1st - Character designer Carlos Grangel making exclusive appearance at CTNX in November! His originals on display at Tim Burton MoMA exhibit at LACMA through Oct 31st.

Character Designer Carlos Grangel

Carlos Grangel is a Spanish-born character designer for animated films. Carlos started as a character designer at Amblimation-Universal Pictures in London, and worked on “We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story” and “Balto”.In 1995 he started designing characters for DreamWorks movies “The Prince of Egypt”, “The Road to El Dorado”, “Spirit”, “Sinbad”, “Shark Tale”, “Madagascar”, “Flushed Away”, “Bee Movie”, “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your dragon”. He owns Grangel Studios along with his brother Jordi.
Original creator with Tim Burton for the characters on “Corpse Bride”, also worked on “Pirates” and “Hotel Transylvania” for Sony/Aardman Pictures and “Why I did (not) Eat my Father” for Pathé/Boreales, he contributed designing characters for various shortfilms like “Alma”, “Passage”, “The ClockWork Clone” and “The Periwig Maker” that was nominated for the Academy Awards Best Animated Short.

Women & Words 2011

Went to a fun and inspiring conference 9/24 with author talks, readings & book signings called Women & Words. If you are a reader... or a writer... in the Los Angeles area, you should look into attending one of these programs. Ticket includes breakfast & lunch. The food was excellent and the venue is lovely... not so huge you can't participate, but not so cozy that you feel pressured. Silent auctions and raffles held during event benefit a different charity for each conference. So awesome to be in a room full of people who love and appreciate books and authors!

Get Inspired - Tango w/ Twilight & Disney Evil Queens ... & Princesses!

Just for you... an early Halloween treat: Cell Block Tango from "Chicago"...

Done with Disney Evil Queens:
"Based on the musical "Chicago", Medusa, Evil Queen, Ursula, Anastasia, Cruella DeVil and Maleficent sing their own stories in the Cell Block Tango!"

Done w/ Disney Princesses! (maybe the best of the 3)

and of course... the girls of TWILIGHT...

What could YOU do with editing software, a song, some film clips & a little inspiration????

Get Inspired - Norman Thelwell

"I'll be glad when she's interested in boys."

If you don't know the works of Norman Thelwell (1924-2004), you're in for a treat! If you love horses, English country life, or just a good laugh, his cartoons always deliver. The detail is amazing... and he was also a wonderful fine artist as well as an internationally known cartoonist and illustrator. He was also an art teacher and always stressed the importance of carrying a sketchbook and drawing constantly! Funny how that advice pops up over and over from the best artists, isn't' it?

Here's a bio from his official website

"Best known for his humorous cartoons of little girls and their ponies - from which the description 'Thelwell pony' has become a part of the English language - this subject only scratches the surface of his life-long passion for cartoons. He published 32 books on subjects ranging from the ever-popular ponies to cats and dogs, children, fishing, sailing, motoring, house-hunting, gardening, golf, country sports, the environment and stately homes.
Thelwell's first pony cartoon was published in Punch in 1953.

Thelwell's first book, a collection of his cartoons entitled Angels on Horseback, was published in 1957, and was inspired by his observations of two hairy ponies - 'small and round and fat and of very uncertain temper' - who grazed in a field next to his house. They were owned by 'two little girls about three feet high who could have done with losing a few ounces themselves.... As the children got near, the ponies would swing round and present their ample hindquarters and give a few lightning kicks which the children would side-step calmly as if they were avoiding the kitchen table, and they had the head-collars on those animals before they knew what was happening. I was astonished at how meekly they were led away; but they were planning vengeance - you could tell by their eyes.'
So were born Thelwell's characters Penelope and her pony Kipper!"

And here are views of some Thelwell cartoons and tips on drawing ponies (these are books from my own collection):

Click on photo below to enlarge and read bio:

In addition to his books on ponies... Thelwell tackled English country life...
Dogs, Cats... even the Wild West....
Here's the back cover note from "How to Draw Ponies":
Here's the text from this page of life sketches:
"....if we are to make him (the pony) look convincing on paper we must find out more about him. This we must do with the aid of a sketchbook, the most valuable piece of an artist's equipment. Take one with you wherever you go, and draw in it as much and as often as you can. Draw horses and ponies at shows, grazing in fields and standing in stables... If they are moving, then make a lot of quick sketches on the same sheet, going from one sketch to another and back again as the animal changes position."
"The best way to learn how to draw is by drawing, and by doing it as often as possible. Do this with ponies and horses and you will learn a great deal and improve your draughtsmanship at the same time."
Here are the construction drawings for a cartoon....
.. and the finished cartoon:
More samples of Thelwell books:
Here are some typical cartoons from various books (captions below as noted)
"He will quickly get used to having his bridle put on."

"Ponies are natural jumpers.... But don't expect miracles too early"
How to time your jumps: Take-off too early; Take-off too late; Take-off just right
An active pony with need shoeing regularly.. Keep something handy to pick out his hooves.

Do nothing which may cause him alarm...
And these last two show case Thelwell's keen observation of British wit and country life:
(the maid above is anxious to know: "Will you be dusting for fingerprints?")
Be sure to look at my post from the Empty Saddle Club show that features a Thelwell pony come to life (even though he was really a miniature horse :)
For your convenience , here's a link to Thelwell books we have in stock at Stuart Ng Books:

Want more Thelwell fun??? Check out this super-cute post of finalists for Thelwell pony look-alike contest:

More equine artists on view in this Sept 2014 post  Features CW Anderson, George Ford Morris and Sam Savitt.