Saturday, February 28, 2009

Black History Month - Heroes of the Negro Leagues

As the National Black History Month draw to end, I like to sneak this last thought in. I was trolling the racks of Barnes and Noble last week and the cover of this book jumped up at me. Not, as you would think, because I'm a baseball fan, (really I'm not) No, it was because the artwork was done by a friend of mine, Mark Chiarello. The book, Heroes of the Negro Leagues is based on a series of trading cards Mark did back in the 1990's for the Eclipse Comics publisher. The series was called Stars of the Negro Leagues, with 36 painted cards with text by Jack Morelli. Mark had given me set, and I still have it close at hand in my studio after all these years. Mark is currently a award winning editor/art director at DC Comics with a list of accomplishment too lengthy to go into here.

This is great little book, especially for Black History Month, not to mention the start of the Major League Baseball's spring training. Mark's watercolors is wonderful and fits the subject perfectly. Jack Morelli's text is very illuminating. As he wrote the introduction for card set, "These cards pay tribute to these men. They are baseball's hidden heroes". I hope this book reaches a wider audience. I'm recommending to the librarians I work with. I'm putting it on my gift-giving list for sure. A special bonus, the DVD documentary "Only the ball was White", produce by WTTW/Chicago, a PBS station, is included with the book.
Thanks, Mark, and Jack, you made my day, and Black History Month a little brighter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Killzone 2 War. Perfected. Game Flipz Book

Here's my Dragonfly Game Flipz book of new Killzone 2 TV spot.

To celebrate the release of Killzone 2, I've posted a FREE DOWNLOAD of my Dragonfly Game Flipz book based on the excellent Killzone: War. Perfected. TV commercial. Here is a chance for Killzone fans (and all gamers) who said they wanted one to have a Dragonfly Game Flipz, to get one. So, pass the word to friends and Killzone fan sites.
Just go to my website,, and click on the cover image in the upper left hand corner to download the PDF file. Read the instruction on the 11th and 12th page. Basically print it out and assemble it. As a bonus, I've included a choice of ISA, or Helghast cover art.

The video shows a test printing and it has some mistakes the will be fixed, but I couldn't resist posting this now, with the Killzone 2 game being released Friday, Feb.27. I just picked up the Brady Games Killzone 2 game guide book from my local GameStop. My Dragonfly Game Flipz books would have been a nice bonus for pre-order customers, but I quess it wasn't meant to be. This Killzone Game Flipz joins the Halo Flame Thrower Game Flipz book as a free download. I may do more from time to time, my main focus will turn tomy own projects. Look for them soon.

If, you have any problems making the flip book, leave a comment on the video page. Let me know what you think.

It is ironic that I won't be playing Killzone 2, because I don't have a PS3, yet. But, when I do watch your back, I'll have you in my gunsites.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln 200th Anniversary Birthday Tribute

Here is a video tribute to Abe Lincoln on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

This video came together very quickly and mostly by happy accidents. The wonderful illustrated book was just pull from storage because of our current move. It was picked up after being disgarded by my kid school in California. No bad intentions, just part of the annual weeding of old book to make room for new ones. For me, one look at the interior paintings by James Daugherty and I just had to save it. Unfortunately, the dust cover was long gone. With the elect of President Obama, and with all the comparisons to, and his fondness for Lincoln. I thought the illustrations would make a good video. The narration track by Jeff Daniels is from a youtube video ( I'll post this as to response to to). My first plan was to just video my turning of the book pages to the Daniels narration track. But, in searching on the web to see if a good shot of the missing cover existed, I found the beautiful full-frame images of the painting on The Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives web site. So, I decide to use them for main body of the video. The intro and ending music is by Bill Frisell, a very fine guitarist. The sound tracks are from two songs "Jimmy Carter (Part 1) and (Part 2), named for the former president, how timely. Since I work part-time in a public library, this book themed video is a real treat. I hope you enjoy it, and share it with friends, family, and teachers.

Best regards, and happy birthday, Abe.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dragonfly Flipz Indie Aritst Preview Showcase

Here's several Dragonfly Flipz Preview Showcase of Flip book base on independent artist, creator-owned projects.

These flip books were done very early in the development of my Dragonfly Flipz book concept. I plan, with artists' permission, to make these available as DIY (Do It Yourself) flip book downloads for a small fee. In addition, I plan to revise and expand these into Dragonfly Flipz Mini-books. I just designed and produced the flip books. All the artwork was done creators.
Cyberella, by Don Cameron, is base on a animatic Don did. Cyberella was co-created by comic legend Howard Chaykin. It was a comic series for DC Comics Helix imprint (discontinued). I'm try to get Don to do more with Cyberella. Don latest work as CGI animation backgound art design on the DEAD SPACE Animated DVD.
Yojimbo 4, by Dell Barras, talent artist with ton of experience in the animation field, earning a Emmy nomination for Animation Direction. Yojimbo 4 flip book is a a few scene for flash short Dell sent to me.
Cat Burglar, by artist / animator Steward Lee is base on a animated short. It's actually part 1 of 2. But, the 2nd part is only in pencil test form. Steward is also a great comic book artist.
Velocity, by Creative Logik Universe, Al Lopez and John Bavaresco, CGI EFX guys. Their credits include CGI work with Steven Spielberg's IMAX movies, Titanic and Aliens of the Deep. The y also work on a little know, but great showing show, Nascar Racer (the CGI racing scene are head above the new Speed racer TV series, in my humble opinion. But, I was the producer / director on Nascar Racers, so I may be bias) Velocity is still looking for a creative home. Check their link on my site.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Public Libraries at Risk?!!

Here a distressing item I read in USA Today:
US Libraries on Borrowed Time?

I confess I didn't use the library as much as I should have, in the recent past. My wife made regular use of it for herself, and for the kid's books. But I alway held a fondness for the library. I used the library as a poor kid as place to do my homework, and explore the world through books. When I first started my freelance art career, the New York Public Library was where I got books and pictures references for assignments, way before the web came into being.

I now work part-time at the local branch and it feels like "I've come home", again. It's a perfect fit for all my interests, art, music, technology, etc. In the current depressing climate, the library is a great asset to the community. Free loan of books, movies, DVDs, free computer access, and much more. This is a cornerstone of Amercian life started by one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin. To think this grand asset would be left to fade away due to lack of funds in a horrible thought.

Like a lot of public services deemed a low priority by small minded politicians, library budgets are being slashed incredibly, and private contributions are falling. They are operating on shoe-string budgets, which force cutbacks in much needed patron services and staffing needs. Librarians, like teachers are not highly paid, but they should be. A lot of the library service staff are part-time, ranging from college students to old farts, like me. Many positions, and tasks, are filled, and done, by volunteers of all ages, especially senior citizens. This is truly a community staffed and run local operation.

So, support your local library. With money, or your time. Next time you're looking for that hot best seller, skip Barnes and Noble, and Borders, and head to the library. Think of it as a form of going "Green", in a way. You get to read the book, it you like it, you can still buy it later. Return it to the library and someone else gets to use it (can this be considered recycling?) Less trees have to be cut down for less books produced wastefully. Plus, libraries have great book sales. My library, Brighton Memorial Library of Rochester, New York, has a bookstore run by the Friends of BML, a non-profit patron group who help fund various library activities. New hardback books can be purchased for $3 to $4, tops. (I picked up a $30 oversized hardback copy of Frank Miller's "300" graphic novel for $3.00) A lot of the books are patron donations and in excellent condition. Need a DVD for the weekend, try the library. It's faster that Netflix (unless you use the download service, but still cheaper). I urge everyone to consider volunteering your time, and creative talent, to your public library. Donate your unwanted books, DVDs (hold on the VHS there being fazed out, and they take up a lot of space), music CDs, and spoken word CDs to the library. Some will be added to library circulating collection, or offered for sale with the proceeds going to the library. These are just a few thoughts on subject. You won't regret it.

For the record, I like the Borders, and Barnes and Noble, book stores, but at the end of the day you're a "customer" to them. At the public library you're a "patron".