On Saturday, I hosted a wonderful, all-ages Floating Shape Workshop at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
All-ages events are always some of my favorite, because while FSW is primarily a children's workshop, seeing families attend and animate together can be a very beautiful sight and experience. Sometimes, the biggest smiles can come from parents/adults when they end up surprising themselves by making an incredibly fluid flipbook and then film it to see it play back on the screen. One family of four at this event each created their own flipbook & short cutout/claymation experiment. Excellent!
Also, before the event got underway, the workshop attendees got a brief guided tour of some animation-centric photography exhibits in the museum. The museum currently displays Eadweard Muybridge's sprawling 1877 "Panorama of San Francisco", and of course we then got to look at the classic "animation locomation" examples via the zoetrope.
It was a truly fantastic and unique workshop. Thank you to the Art Museum and their Rosenthal Education Center space for having me, I hope to do it again in the future.
... and here were the flipbooks that were made at the workshop (the first hour was flipbooks, the second was experimenting with 2D and stop motion methods). I love the spontaneity in the results when you give both children and adults blank flipbooks and see what they come up with. From bouncing balls to an anti-pollution message to a shark eating a boat to an anthropomorphic slice of pie.
2017 was the first full year for Floating Shape Workshop, the mobile children's animation workshop that I launched back in the summer.
In total, FSW hosted eight workshops this year, at creative venue spaces ranging from art galleries to libraries to festivals. Keeping the community-oriented spirit in mind, children of all ages & backgrounds got to experiment with different animation methods and many got to make their own films (collaboratively & independently).
I am very excited to soon announce some of the workshops that are already scheduled for 2018. I am also very appreciative to all of the individuals and local organizations who helped us along the way in 2017, In addition to the workshops themselves, some truly spectacular surprises and opportunities along sprung up along the way, such as getting to spread FSW across the airwaves on WVXU (Cinci's NPR affiliate-station). Some workshop films also made their film festival debut all the way over in California (more on that below).
I want to again thank the following local organizations and creative venues who either helped us or opened their doors to host a workshop: the aforementioned WVXU, the Public Library of Cincinnati, Robot Inside, Kid Vid Fest, Thunder-Sky, The Good People Festival.
Below is "Kindness Is ...", a special collaborative film made by eight young animators at a FSW workshop. This film was screened at the California youth animation film festival "Kid Vid Fest". Using the festival's theme of "kindness", each animator (using a medium of their choosing ... drawn, cutout, clay, or sand) animated a scene of their idea of an act of kindness. If you haven't already, please check out FSW's YouTube channel, where I do my best to archive all of the ongoing films and projects being made at the workshops. Also be sure to check out the full gallery by clicking on the Floating Shape Workshop tab at the top of the site.
This Saturday (November 25), I will be hosting a free autumn Floating Shape Workshop at Robot Inside. From 10-11:30 AM, come by to make your own flipbook or zoetrope, plus experiment with all kinds of mediums at various animation stations (drawn, claymation, cutouts). As an added bonus, November 25 is also "Small Business Saturday", and my pal Tara's RI shop is a great place to support that, with just about everything imaginable available from all sorts of local artists/crafters/makers.
What I love about these free, community events is that they are open to everyone of all ages. While FSW is primarily a children's workshop, it is always great to see entire families come and make animation together, with no upfront costs or preregistration. You can just walk in and contribute to a live animation project. Hope to see you there!
Way back in February (how is it November?), I was invited to come draw on the walls at the new location of the Play Library on Elm St. The PL is a wonderful toy & game loan library, and also hosts the amazing Cincinnati Vintage Toy Museum. At the original location last summer, I hosted a "Kreate-a-Kaiju" workshop, which was a blast. I recently stopped by for the first time in a while, and realized that I had never posted pictures of any of the giant wall drawings. They were a lot of fun to do, even the diving board scene, which was done on a ladder from an awkward angle.
Some of my books & prints are available in the gift shop.
... and then, a great shot from the clay kaiju workshop from last year, and a drawing I did to help promote the original opening.
Tomorrow on October 28th (International Animation Day!), some animated films made by children at Floating Shape Workshop events will debut at Kid Vid Fest, an inaugural youth animation festival in the Los Angeles area. This is really exciting for everyone involved, and I wish I could be there to see it! There are several other great children's animation workshops and programs taking part, such as Inner City Arts, Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, and multiple ASIFA branches. See all of the event details including the venue and time at the KVF site linked above.
One of the films to be screened is called "Kindness Is ...", which was collaboratively made by eight children using a variety of animation techniques (claymation, cutouts, and hand-drawn). Using the festival's overriding theme of "kindness", each participant animated a short sequence of their vision of an act of kindness (caring for a pet, holding the door for strangers, sharing food, and many more). I loved the end result. The title frame and other production shots are pictured below, and I plan on uploading the full film to the FSW YouTube page shortly.
Here is a little thing I animated in honor of ASIFA's annual International Animation Day celebration coming up next weekend. Every year, children at FSW workshops have a blast taking part in this worldwide celebration by creating their own posters (sidenote: this year's official IAD poster by Noureddin & Negar Zarrinkelk is quite beautiful) and working on various projects. In fact, I have a very exciting announcement regarding Floating Shape and IAD coming up very shortly. Alas, this was really fun to make.
Here is a recent interview I did with WVXU, our local NPR-affiliate station. I got to talk all about Floating Shape Workshop on the Sunday evening "Around Cincinnati" program and had a blast. Thanks, WVXU!
I had a blast at my booth at the beautiful Westwood Art Show over the weekend. Thank you to the organizers for having me, everyone who stopped by and all of the wonderful new people I met. It was also a great way to spread the word about FSW, and I gave out around a hundred flipbooks. I also wanted to mention that there is a new local shop called Wooden Hill (located on the end of the strip where Treasure Alley used to be, they moved next door) that just opened their doors the day of the show on Saturday. It is a great store featuring all sorts of works form local artists, and you can pick up a copy of Tunnel-Ball and a few prints there from yours truly.
I have some buttons leftover from the show that I will include with all online orders while they last.
I will have a booth at the 9th annual Westwood Art Show coming up in a few weeks. This is a spectacular event in a beautiful area that I have attended for years, and I am thrilled to be participating for the first time. I will have some 13x19" copies of this poster that I created for the show, in addition to books, prints, cards, buttons and some original artwork. Additionally, I will be promoting the Floating Shape Workshop and giving out free flipbooks while supplies last! Hope to see you there.
The last Floating Shape Workshop event of the summer has come to a close, and it's hard to believe that our inaugural round of summer workshops are over. Given the late start, I originally thought we might host about just a couple of workshops this summer, and we ended up doing seven. Workshops were almost all hosted in unique & welcoming, community-oriented venues. I had such an absolute blast at all of them.
It is difficult to squeeze into the paragraph of a blog post, but I am so thankful, humbled, and optimistic about the future of Floating Shape. Organizing a sustainable, welcoming animation workshop for children in the Cincinnati area has been an idea of mine for years, and it took teaching it as a class (and a lot of inspiration from Yvonne Andersen's book about her seminal children's workshop in the 1960s) to really move forward with it. From there, it was just creating the name and logo, and getting some unique venues to host us. Being able to provide children with the supplies and education to explore and engage in animation as an artform and communication tool (both independently and collaboratively) has been endlessly rewarding. In my experience, quite a few children have had an interest in creating animation, but might have not had the resources to expand on (either from a financial or education perspective). That would, of course, also describe myself growing up.
Thanks so much to all of the venues and festivals who hosted workshops, and to everyone who helped out and participated. A very special thanks to the Public Library of Cincinnati, who hosted multiple workshops at a few different branches. They also posted a couple of excellent photo galleries here. Bias aside, we are fortunate to have a world class library system which I utilize constantly.
The FSW is already booking workshops for the fall/winter. While the calendar will not be as plentiful as summer (as I will return to teaching full time), the plan is to continue to hold workshops throughout the year, primarily on weekend dates. In the immediate future, FSW will have a booth at the Westwood Art Show next month, and in the coming months, we will have re-rescheduled workshops at Robot Inside and the Play Library. If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please contact me via the link at the top of this page, or e-mail email@example.com
Here are a couple of my favorite pics from the summer's workshops ...
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!
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 ...
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.