Monday, December 27, 2010

haHA! Finis!

Quite happy to say I finished this little guy. This is not to imply he was a pain to work on (it was a decent challenge and one that was enjoyed), but I think I dragged it on longer than I should have and I like finishing things off within a reasonable amount of time before jumping on to something else.

I'm pretty happy with how he turned out; being more of a learning-curve project, I started with a loose image in mind and wasn't entirely sure how the final product was going to shape up. If I made a second version, I'd opt for a larger size (looking back, I don't know why I made him so small - he's not tiny, but still pushes the small end of the spectrum for practicality vs. design functions. (Ex: Feet magnet size - had I made his body somewhat larger, it would have emphasized the what-I-hoped-to-be 'tiny feet' look a bit more, his legs could have been made a little thicker without looking bulky in comparison, sewing the fur on might have been easier, and so on). Also, I would have focussed on a more replacement-friendly design: as it stands, this one isn't so much. Overall though he works for my purposes, and I think he turned out rather cute.

Getting a nice even skin tone with my new airbrush.

Adding the deets.

Cutting out the fur: made a paper pattern, used an old fur coat sleeve I got from my great-aunt who had unfulfilled aspirations of turning it into some sort of hand muff. For all I know, it could very well be actual opossum fur. I got in some experience working with fun-fur during a short little stint at Banjo Puppets, and that helped with knowing how to work with the fur here (small snips close to the leather so you don't end up giving it a haircut at the same time, and de-fluffing after cutting).

I was originally going to give him fur all around; fur under-belly, fur legs. Found out (as I kinda suspected) it gets way too thick for the size I'm dealing with. Felt turned out to be a nice alternative. Felt, if it's used out of a proper context or setting tends to look cheap and tacky, but I think it works fine here since it has a rough texture that offsets the fur nicely. (Comparatively smoother, but not T00 smooth).

Made a small stitch down the back to keep the fur in place, which helped when stitching down the sides as well.

And reference!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

santa claus & sketchbook excerpts

Santa Claus: I'm pretty sure there's a small demographic of older men out there who have a particular dislike for the guy.

p.s. more puppet stuff to come soon!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Came across some cannibalism in TO today.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


More progress on the puppet. I've been relegating this fellow to the back burner for a while, but hopefully no more. It's been a bit hectic lately: the first two or so weeks of November I was helping out two puppet-makers in Toronto, brushing up on my sewing skills, introducing myself to industrial rotary cutters and machines, learning the art of cutting Fun Fur (which indeed lives up to the name), inserting plastic eyeballs and consuming a whole lot of tea. Good times.

Prior to that I attended the Montreal Stop-motion Film Festival. I enjoyed meeting other stop-mo aficionados - including Oscar-nominated stop-motion animator and director Barry Purves!, viewing recent outpourings of stop-motion films made within the last year or two, and taking in the local culture of Montreal. The weekend following I attended a screening of my film at the Rendezvous with Madness film festival put on by Dufferin Arts here in Toronto. I participated in an after-screening discussion panel with Canadian film-maker Maureen Judge (The Scarf screened with her documentary feature The August Years of May & Gloria, very sweet film dealing with a mother-daughter care-giving relationship during the onset of Alzheimer's), a community support worker, a clinician of Baycrest, a caregiver, and a very kind moderater. This was the first time I'd done any sort of panel participation, and I really appreciate the discussion Rendezvous brings to the table - watching something you've made with a crowd that has a personal interest in the subject matter and addressing the core of what the films are about, was an incredibly valuable experience. An altogether wholesome and solid fest.

I google-searched my film some time ago and discovered it played at
ASIFA-Atlanta's 'Roll Yer Own' screening, which I'd submitted to in April. I never heard from them and assumed it hadn't been picked up, but as it turns out my film not only made it in but also won best-in-show! From there it played in Australia for International Animation Day - which is October 28th and also happens to be my birthday; a very good day indeed. The Scarf is also travelling with the Atlantic Film fest's International Viewfinders Festival, an outreach program that visits schools in rural communities of Atlantic Canada to show films and involve the students in filmmaking workshops. Very neat idea. My film will also be featured in Singapore's very first International Children's Film Festival (more details when they come)!

Anyways, back to this guy:

Magnets: I went back to magnets in the feet for this one, though these are slightly smaller (not as strong, but I think with four feet he should be alright).

One good thing about living out here - Niagara for the time - is that my family has a bit of a pack-rat streak in it (are these things genetic? Nature versus Nurture?) and chances are if you hunt hard enough for anything, you're bound to find it. Story of the Fishing-line.

p.s. The ears are comprised of black-wrap foil sandwiched between a layer of fabric and ribbon, so they're theoretically animateable.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November is a month that constantly cranes its neck forward.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Festival-ing Specs

I'm excited! My film will be playing as part of the New Film-makers Los Angeles at Sunset Gower Studios in December, next weekend my film will be playing at 4pm on November 7th at the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival here in Toronto (at which there is a possiblity of my joining an after-screening discussion panel), and this weekend I'll be attending the Montreal Stop-motion Film Festival Montreal Stop-motion Film Festival , where my film will be playing on Saturday at 1pm. If you happen to be in any of these areas at said times, come and say hi!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

promotions! promotions! & progress

“I was watching BET one night, and they were interviewing a man about jazz music. He said jazz music was invented by the first generation out of slavery. I thought that was beautiful because, while it is music, it is very hard to put on paper; it is so much more a language of the soul … The first generation out of slavery invented jazz music. It is a music birthed out of freedom. And that is the closest thing I know to Christian spirituality. A music birthed out of freedom. Everybody sings their song the way they feel it, everybody closes their eyes and lifts up their hands.”
- Donald Miller

Promotion No. 1: Blue Like Jazz is an honest, humourous, and poignant exploration of 'non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality', and I expect nothing less from the film. That said though, it needs support! and its Kickstarter campaign (funded entirely by individual contributions) is coming to a close Monday evening.

Promotion No. 2: My mentor Chris Walsh just posted a neat little zombie animation he made in time for Hallowe'en, check it out here and additional information here!

And progress:

I received an early birthday present this year in the form of an air brush, and I put it to good use with painting the oppossum's head. For the most part the results turned out pretty decent. I'm new to air brushing, and one thing I'm going to do next time is rub the surface with an anti-static sheet so it doesn't attract all kinds of dust while it's drying. Another thing to be figured out is how to fix problem areas that might arise after additional details/features have been painted. I mixed acrylic paint with a bit of water, so re-applying paint (either with areas masked off and re-spraying, or perhaps with a very fine brush) to small areas that have been scratched etc. might be problematic. Overall though it lends a smoothness to the painted surface that I like, I know the lighting I'll be using for this fellow will be fairly low and won't involve any super close-ups, and this puppet is predominantly meant as a learning-curve project (I'll be getting into adding fur down the road!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

around about

Mein kot.

One of my brothers found a couple old Kodak cameras there once, and last summer the youngest one came back with a 'Do-It-Yourself' home dissection kit - the frog and fish were old and rubbery.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Railway Steam Galop Has Arrived!

I've just spent the last week or so on the finishing touches of The Railway Steam Galop, a short film I worked on over the summer with animator, NFB veteran, and Sheridan professor Kaj Pindal. The film had its first public screening yesterday at the school, and it looked - and sounded! spectacular. This was (for everyone involved) our first foray into HD, and the output is pretty slick. I had a truly wonderful time working on the film and with those involved, and while I'm a little sad that part is over there's a very satisfying feeling that accompanies the knowledge of another completed project, and one well-done. (The previous two being my thesis film, and Chris Walsh's True Family Story. The Railway Steam Galop is now off to Denmark for the Ribe Animation Festival (founded by Kaj), and from there, who knows?

In other news, The Scarf will be showing at the Redemptive Film Festival, the Montreal Stop Motion Film festival (more details to come for both), and at the 9:45am Family & Folktales screening, October 26th, of the Chicago International Children's Film Festival!

It's been a little busy the last couple days so I haven't been able to post more on the puppet or start on a second one, but I hope to have more progress up soon.

A few stills, excepting the clock, that didn't make the final cut:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behold! I'm starting something new!

Ben Cameron on Change, Transformation, & Renewal in the Arts

'The Arts; whatever they do, whenever they call us together, invite us to look at our fellow human beings with generosity and curiosity. God knows, if we have ever needed that capacity in human history, we need it now!'

I'm inspired.

Friday, September 17, 2010


The Scarf at Rendezvous With Madness!

Hey all! The Scarf will be playing at the Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival in Toronto November 5-13th. Rendezvous With Madness is 'the world’s first and longest running film festival dedicated to showcasing cinematic representations of mental illness and addiction', and I'm really pleased to be a part of that. I'll pass along more deets when I get them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ode to my solid friend Simeon, fellow lover of bad puns and good metaphors.

and a misc. collection of doodles, more or less recent-ish.

p.s. I hope to invest in a better scanner sometime in the near future. This one reduces pen lines into horribltje crumbly-ness.

Last weekend (I think it was last weekend) I entered two of my drawings in one of the local fall fairs, both won firsts! (I was the only one in my categories, heh heh). Next year I'm going to enter everything I own.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time Portals

I dreamt two nights ago about a sandstorm time portal in the prairies. If you held your breath long enough you could be attending college in 1973. Grainy browns and reds.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'The Scarf' at the Atlantic Film Festival

More good news! The Scarf has been accepted into and will be screening at the Atlantic Film Festival! It will be playing at 10am at the Oxford theatre on September 22nd, so if you're in the area make sure to take a look-see!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have just learned that 'The Scarf' has been accepted into the Chicago International Children's Film Festival !! This is my first acceptance, and I am very excited! The festival takes place October 22nd-31st; I shall pass along further details when I know more.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good News!

I'm truly pleased to announce that 'The Scarf' will be an addition to Shalom Manor & Gardens' resources, including uses in staff training. I'm particularly indebted to the help of Sherri Davis, manager of Recreation & Volunteer Services, for taking the time early last September to discuss and share her perspective on Alzheimer's with me, something I believe I've meshed with by concluding that people are defined by more than their current state of being.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


(In advance, I'd like to apologize for the awkward cutting and insidious frame-blending found here). That said, these were a couple shots/experiments Kaj and I did wherein we had the camera track the oncoming trains: Kaj put together a little make-shift train car that the camera could sit on as it rolled along the track pieces, which created some pretty wild wobbling. I've been curious for some time as to how stop-motion with a 'hand-held cam-corder/home video' approach might look, so this was a neat chance to test this out, albeit with trains as a subject. In the end these didn't make the final cut, partially because the shaky look didn't fit as well with the surrounding shots, and also due to Kaj's objection that they made the trains appear a bit skittishly toy-like again, something that we tried to avoid in selling the weight and movement of the trains throughout the film.

We wrapped up shooting and the bulk of editing by the end of July; 'The Railway Steam Gallop' is now in its sound and music phase, and anticipated to be completed sometime in the fall. I'll keep ya posted!

vanTuyl's house at night, lotsa light.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hey, hey!

I'm pleased to announce that my thesis film 'The Scarf' is now a recent addition to the resource library of North York General Hospital's geriatric services, the Senior's Health Centre in Toronto.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

ψυχή -ωσις

..I don't know how this story ends.

Monday, July 12, 2010