I recently launched a YT channel to archive short animations and films made at Floating Shape Workshops events. This will be a work in progress managing different videos and getting them uploaded as time goes on. So far, you can see things like the one posted below, as well the collaborative, some filmed flipbooks, and the live animation created at this past weekend's workshop at Thunder-Sky, Inc.
Below is a short cutout animated promo for tomorrow's workshop at the Price Hill Library. After the Mini Microcinema screens animated films in Spanish (Películas para Niños en Español) from the New York International Children's Film Festival, FSW will be having a flipbook workshop from 1-2 PM!
And here is a collaborative animated story from a few days ago made by seven children (ages 5-8) at the downtown branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati.
Thank you to Inhailer.com for having me over to their studio to be a guest on Brat Chat with Belinda Cai today. It was great getting to have an in-depth conversation about the formation of Floating Shape Workshop, our upcoming summer schedule, and how animation can be such a strong communication tool for children. There are no archived shows/podcasts yet, but when/if it becomes available in the future, I will certainly post a link.
Belinda even received the very first FSW button!
Here are some key dates for the Floating Shape Workshop this summer.
UPDATE: We have also since booked a workshop at the Price Hill Library on Saturday, July 22, a special flipbook workshop following the screening of "Films for Kids in Spanish / Películas para Niños en Español" courtesy of the Mini Microcinema.
Click here for the detailed full schedule including registration & sign up info. Some workshops, like the Price Hill Library event mentioned above are free and open to everyone!
The FSW will be doing a one week summer camp workshop this July. There will be a couple of more this summer, but this is the first one booked and currently taking registrations.
There are only a couple of spots left! See below for registration instructions.
I announced the Floating Shape Workshop a couple of months ago. It is a mobile version of the animation workshop I started teaching this year. I plan on bringing the workshop to other summer camps, libraries, and various other children's events/activities.
July's workshop should be a fun one, as it will take place at my good friend Tara's awesome shop/craft studio space, where I have done a couple of book reading events. Please check out the FSW tab located above on this website for a full description ... as a reminder, the workshop is recommended for children in a roughly 7-14 age range.
Floating Shape Workshop at Robot Inside / July 24-28.
Registration: Visit Robot Inside's Summer Camp page, scroll down to the camp labeled "ANIMATION WORKSHOP". Located there is a Paypal "Buy Now" icon. The registration cost covers all materials and supplies.
Thanks and perhaps I'll see you and/or a young one in your life there!
I had a blast at yesterday's special Earth Day reading of Tunnel-Ball. The duo dry erase/chalkboard easel (typically used in the animation workshop) was a nice touch that I plan to keep using in the future. It was great to get to utilize my silly book about a baseball team from Earth for a greater good. Afterwards, I got to do some request drawings for the young ones while they made their own seed paper, courtesy of Cincinnati artist-crafter Annie Roth. Thank you to pal Tara at Robot Inside for putting this one and for their week-long Earth Day festivities.
If local animation fans haven't noticed, there has been a lot of great/rare animation being screened lately at the Mini Microcinema, a small experimental film theater on Main St. that opened in 2015.
Earlier this month, there were screenings of the 18th annual Animation Show of Shows, as well as a collection of films by Yellow Springs animator Kelly Gallagher.
And now, tonight night is a screening of "Latin American Experimental Animation", a curated mix of experimental animation from animators from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru.
These are also free (a donation would be awesome)! I just thought you should know.
As an extended branch of the "animation workshop" class that I am currently teaching, I am introducing the Floating Shape Workshop (FSW). The FSW will be a mobile, portable version of the workshop. My hope is to introduce a short (one week to one month, varying) course at venues such as summer camps, libraries and educational events. Further details can be read in the FSW tab now at the top of this website.
I am very much looking forward to this. The first course is currently in the process of being booked for this summer and I can't wait to see the results. Until then, I will be compiling blank flipbooks and getting the clay and armature wire ready ...
I had been making lightboxes for my Animation Workshop class the cheap/generic way, by takingregular old plastic lightboxes and slapping a plastic pegbar on them. Truthfully, this method is perfectly adequate for what we do in the class, and the results have been great.
However, I am always keeping an eye out for used equipment (read: cheap), and recently came across a very cheap rotating animation disc (Cartoon Colour Co.) on eBay. I ended up being the only bidder. It is, of course, a remarkable sign of the times that this type of once highly sought after (and very expensive) piece of equipment would go for so cheap given that it is practically obsolete in the industry (my guess would be that the only place that typical discs/lightboxes are still prevalent would be in colleges where it would simply be too expensive to fill entire labs with Cintiqs or variations of it).
My extremely talented carpenter father helped build the wooden, adjustable base, cut a round hole in the middle, and voila. It is underlit with a thin board with LED strips, which works perfectly. It's a beauty and will be an awesome addition to the AW.
For whatever reason, I have never been the New Year's "resolutions" or looking back, retrospective type. As I sat down on December 31 to make this post about a new book, though, I couldn't help but to ultimately reflect on what has probably been the busiest, most productive year I have had as an artist-educator. So before I get to the book stuff, let me just take a brief minute ...
"Tunnel-Ball" was a truly awesome experience, and it's surreal that it was about ten months ago now that it was published and it seemed like I was spending much of my free time making felt pennants. The release party included the most fun book reading I have ever done to date, the book made it onto the shelves of a few of my favorite stores in the world, and even into the hands of an official MLB mascot. The most rewarding part of all, though, is just hearing the "it has been a bedtime story staple at our house" messages from friends, family, and strangers.
It was also an unexpected year of contributing a couple of pieces to gallery shows in tribute to two musicians who I had always considered massive inspirations (despite obviously bittersweet circumstances). I also did a Kreate-a-Kaiju workshop event, getting to spread my joy of city-crushing Japanese monster creatures with children and adults of all ages in a collaborative setting was simply remarkable.
Another major highlight was/is teaching the Animation Workshop, in which I am doing my best to attempt to create the type of class that I wish had been available to me when I was younger but didn't really have the resources to explore that big, confusing animation realm. I am doing my best to keep the content original, and most importantly: fun. I have big ideas for the AW, starting with gaining some new supplies and materials which should arrive before holiday break is over.
There was also this, which I hope to make in print form at some point in the new year (hopefully by September, which is ITP awareness month). It was also have a new, actual conclusion. would like to print a few copies just to give out or include with regular online store purchases.
Essentially, what I'm getting at is: thank you to everyone for their support in the past year (in any capacity, even if just briefly glancing at this right now), and now, a brief glimpse of one of the things to come in the future.
This current holiday break also means, as I originally eluded to, that I have officialy began the production of a new picture book. I have tentatively had this one in the works prior to Tunnel-Ball coming out, during the final stretch of everything being put together and sent off to the printers. However, as is typically the case, the entire story was reworked numerous times to get to what it is currently. I'm sure there will be plenty of updates here along the way, but all I will say for now is ...
- After a brief hiatus (Tunnel-Ball's b&w), the book will be in color
- It may or may not have words (!)
- There are tentative plans to have a broader scale expansion/"performance" of the book, expanding on how the T-B was done (see link to post above)
- That storyboard in the first picture gives nothing away (unless you can accurately decipher the "TBCP" acronym ... if that is even still the title by the time it comes out)
- The third picture is my brand new lightbox, which I'll mostly be using to make the book. The wooden part underneath was made by my (carpenter) father. I wanted a better solution to keeping the translucent surface underlit without just cramming a desk lamp underneath. This wood panel has a strip of longlasting LED lights that lights it up perfectly.
- Lastly, the final pic (a pencil sketch of one of the earliest pages), also gives virtually nothing away.
Oh no! Only ten days to go and about $40,000 needed.
Wish I could have sprung for the animation cel if $550 was a little more expendable. The original green Grover toy is a pretty cool perk, too.
If you haven't read the original book by Michael Davis, it is quite good.
-- Tracklist --
John Fahey - Medley: Hark, The Heralds Angel Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful
Low - Just Like Christmas
Mark Mothersbaugh - Blue Joy
Patty Marie Jay w/ Hal Bradley Orch. - Space Age Santa Claus
Wovenhand - I Wonder as I Wander
The Qualities (Sun Ra) - It's Christmas Time
Shonen Knife - Space Christmas
Vince Guaraldi Trio - Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental)
Cocteau Twins - Winter Wonderland
Ahmad Jamal Trio - Snowfall
Can - Silent Night
Starflyer 59 - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Van der Graaf Generator - An Epidemic of Father Christmas
Danielson - Hosanna / Go Tell It ...
Lightnin' Hopkins - Santa
Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
And on a somewhat but also completely unrelated note, this afternoon I threw together some green Santa heads with some leftover clay to test out the new stop motion program we are using in the Animation Workshop.