Roll Yer Own Wrap-Up

Since offering myself up to be the screening coordinator for ASIFA-Atlanta, I knew that our annual screening of local animation talent, ROLL YER OWN, was in dire need of a tune-up. Chapter president Joe Peery and I, along with several of the board members, had met early on to discuss the issues that were at hand regarding this screening. First of all, what was originally intended as a way of finding out what our fellow animator buddies were working on, slowly became this bloated, over 2 hours-long butt-numb-a-thon, testing the wills of the mightiest of cinema-goers. Everything AND the kitchen sink were included: student work, independent work-in-progress stuff, the latest studio work, demo tapes, even tapes of class assignments from local animation courses featuring many various versions of walk cycles, lip synch tests, you name it. So we decided to split up the content: student/indie work showcased at ROLL YER OWN, and studio/professional work to be showcased at a later screening -- now dubbed BLOWIN' SMOKE.

When we first sent out the call for entries in January, I had no clue what to expect. Because of the tight turnaround, I was sure that we were not going to get enough content for a decent screening. Sure enough, several weeks passed and not one entry had fallen into my lap yet. Cue sweat beads at the top of my brow. Then suddenly, I got in contact with several people locally as well as at SCAD in Savannah and bit by bit the entries started to come in. By the time I had left for my speaking engagement in Indianapolis, I felt that we had a pretty decent show lined up. But you just never know about these things as others might feel differently than you regarding content. I can't lie and say that there wasn't a slight tinge of concern in my gut by the time I got back to prepare for the evening.

SO -- the screening went off without a hitch! Well, save for a few video glitches, but that's to be expected. We had a great turnout at The Red Chair, with three large screens showcasing some original, unique, quirky, loveable, fun, goofy, strange, insightful, genuine local animation. The screening by and large was not at all dull or meandering, even when we offered all the present animators to come up and offer a brief Q&A afterwards. Usually this sort of thing tends to be long and drawn out, but this session was brief and educational, to say the least. It helps when the animators tend to be shy.

I want to thank Shannon of SCAD in Savannah for providing us with some wonderful student submissions, and I want to thank each and every single animator who submitted their work for all of us to enjoy that evening. If it wasn't for you guys, the show couldn't have been the success that it was. Extra thanks to Joel Trussell for making the trip all the way from Knoxville to show his Viking-kickin' "War Photographer." The fact that he travelled that far just to show his stuff meant a great deal to me. You da man, Joel. You're welcome back anytime.

By the end of it all, I have to say that I was very proud to be a part of the animation community in this town. I really was. In fact, it inspired me to start thinking about doing something for next year's ROLL YER OWN. We'll just have to wait and see now, won't we?


Next ASIFA-Atlanta screening is a joint venture with Image Film & Video: the first ever ANIMATION FILM SLAM. If you're willing to have an audience give their unbridled opinions about your short film as it's playing, then by all means enter your work. Thick skin is required. The event is Monday, March 6th, at 7:30pm, at The EARL in East Atlanta. The event is FREE for ASIFA and Image members, $5 for non-members. For more info, go HERE and scroll down a bit. You'll find the following:

Interested in your short film winning a slot in this year’s Atlanta Film Festival? Don’t miss out on IMAGE Film & Video’s first ever “ANIMATION shorts slam,” where the audience is open for rowdy debate and our peanut gallery of expert critics gets the final word by banging the “gong”. If interested in screening, please email elizabeth@imagefv.org before Friday, March 3rd to get on the advanced screening wait-list. Then it’s as simple as bringing your animation short to the Earl the night of the big extravaganza for all the world to cheer or jeer… and possibly win an automatic slot in our popular “Animation Extravaganza” line-up in the upcoming Atlanta Film Festival! VHS only, 15 minutes or less, please.

Hope to see you there!



To my surprise, this photo I took of Ava and Ezra taking a gander at some jellyfish on a recent visit to the massive Georgia Aquarium was listed as one of the "most interesting photos" of February 06 2006 as part of the Flickr: Explore! calendar. Apparently it's all based on "interestingness." I had no clue that this photo was even up there, but I guess it's a good thing. I'm flattered and I'm honored.

I can't believe I was able to keep the camera still long enough to capture this shot. I was certain that it would come out all blurry, but I guess not. And by the way, there was no photo-tweaking done on this shot -- no color alterations, no Photoshopping. What you see is what you get.



While I'm preparing my posts on my trip to Indianapolis and Roll Yer Own, why not check out these cool images from this 1956 Metropolitan Life Insurance booklet that I found a couple of years ago. No mention of artist, of course, but by golly! What wonderful gouache (I'm assuming) illustrations! Deceptively simple character design, layout, and monochromatic color stylings.

UPDATE: Several readers and myself have come to the conclusion that the unknown illustrator here is none other than the late great J.P. Miller! Many thanks to those with sharp eyes and a keen sense of illustration history.

There's more to this booklet as well as tons of other fun vintage illustrations in my Fun Ephemera Flickr set. Be sure to view it as a slideshow. Fun!

Other diversions:

Amid has some great Tom Oreb drawings over at Cartoon Modern. Be sure to read his thoughts on "flat" design here. You know I just had to give my two cents in the comments.

I have a BIG blog crush on Jen's wonderful Blackwing Diaries. Jen has been a big supporter of The Ward-O-Matic from way back when and I cannot give her enough praise and support myself in what she's doing on her blog. Insightful posts about Disney, storywriting, story pitching, the animation biz in general, as well as posting some fantastic vintage photos and knicknacks from back in the day. She's doing what every good blogger should do and that's create an inspiring account of your world, your interests, your passions -- with great writing. Excellent job, Jenny. Keep it up!


Vintage Disneyland: Grickily's great collection of vintage photographs of Disneyland from 1955 to the 1970's.

Signs and Entropy: Neato signage from Lord Jim. They don't make signs like they used to.

Jet Set Ruins: Never has old airplane wreckage and ruins looked so GOOD. 85 photos by Telstar Logistics. Is Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 in here anywhere?

The Sam Remo Groove: I'm diggin' ChicagoEye's set of 70's magazine ads. Right on.

That is all for now. This weekend I'll be working on the previously mentioned posts. I promise!

Have a great weekend and, oh, yeah -- It's Photobooth Friday!


Ava Thursday: The Beauty Parlor

This is what you see when you come up to Ava's room: a large marker drawing taped up onto her door. I was completely floored by this piece when I came home from work several months ago. The details, the characters, the expressions, the story -- all of it blew me away. As I got the story lowdown from Ava, she proceeded to tell me that this is at a place where they do your hair. "A beauty parlor?" I asked. "Yeah." she replies. There are two parts to the story here, with the bottom half being the first part. See close ups:

(Click on image to see Flickr page with notes. Click here to view much larger.)

The main character is the girl in the lower left-hand corner. She's getting her hair done (notice the curlers and the hair dryer above her head) and is happy to know that she has the exact amount of coins to pay for this service (3 coins). There is a baby in a baby carriage next to her, by the way. There is a "bad girl" in the background who thinks she has the right amount of coins but does not (she has 2). The receptionist is over there on the right, sitting there with her beautiful desk and swirly chairs. She also has a swirly hat on, too. She's got style.

(Again, click on image to see Flickr page with note. Click here to view a much larger version.)

The second part of the story has our main girl now very happy to have her hair done and is showing her coin(s) to prove that she now can pay for it. Again, her baby is in a baby carriage next to her, and the "bad girl" is in the back there, making a fuss. She's gonna get what's coming to her, I'm sure. (I think she has a daughter, who's a stinker. Just look at their faces.) That's the Beauty Parlor over there on the left.

What an imagination! I love all the details here, with the shoes, the hair, the intricate details on the desk and chairs. You can tell that Ava really spent a long time on this.

(Oh, you know I'm just waiting for the day that I can train her to be my assistant, right? If John Hubley can do it, why not me?)



What a trip we had to Indianapolis! Cold as the dickens, but the hospitality was warm and toasty. I'll have a more in-depth post about my trip with photos, once I get settled down here. It's always hard for me to switch gears, and for me to go from traveling all day to suddenly working on animation for some History Channel show -- I might need a couple of hours to find my bearings.

But I will have those bearings for tonight, though! Tonight at 8pm is ROLL YER OWN -- don't forget! We've got a great line-up, with some fun and eclectic animation to showcase. Please make it out to The Red Chair -- it's an all ages show, but those who are old enough to drink can wear one of those fancy bracelets. It's all the rage, I hear. For directions, you can visit this page. They are in the Amsterdam Walk Shopping Mall, just off of Monroe Drive in glorious Midtown.

See you there!


Ward's Wild Week

Wow. This has been one crazy week for me.

Firstly, I've been preparing my presentation/speaking engagement at IUPUI coming up tomorrow. Trying to harness all the information that's been collected up in my brain is no easy task. Focus. Simplify.

Secondly, submissions for ROLL YER OWN had been coming in on a consistent basis with the majority of the entries dropping into my lap yesterday. We've got a great show lined up, with some wonderful work from SCAD students as well as some great shorts from local animators. I'm happy to say that there'll be some work screened by a couple of HARVEY BIRDMAN folk, along with a special apperance by Joel Trussell -- we're showing his infamous "War Photographer" video with a short Q&A at the end for all you guys into that sort of thing. (For the record, local Atlantan Chris Fox worked on it.) It's going to be a great show!

Lastly, I've been working on a big client cereal spot, which should wrap up today. Yesterday the clients were in the studio to work on any final touches that needed to be made before we ship everything off. Whenever you have clients in, there'll always be a bit of nerve-racking energy evident, with just a dash of stress added as well. However, these guys were so easygoing, we almost forgot they were clients. Very cool with some great stories to tell, they made the whole finishing-up-the-spot thing a breeze.

So there. Crazy week, but looking forward to what's coming up. Hope to see some of you in Indianapolis tomorrow, as well as at ROLL YER OWN on Tuesday, the 21st!

(Oh, and I apologize for no Ava Thursday today. As you can see, I've had a busy week, so there was no time for me to do any scanning. Ava Thursday will be back for next week -- I promise!)


I've been DWB'ed

This is pretty cool. I'm the latest designer to be featured on Designers Who Blog, a site devoted to, well, blogging designers. And because of the ever-changing environment of that particular industry, they're also including illustrators, photographers, and those in marketing, etc. Now I, too, have one of those snazzy banners that are featured in the main header on a rotating basis. Looking forward to seeing my bearded mug up there -- so far, no dice. But I'm patient.

Thanks, Jeope for mentioning me and my blog to Catherine of DWB. This is quite an honor. When my blog can make a woman snort out loud in a quiet British pub, you know I must be doing something right.


Sketchy sketches

Some more sketches from my Moleskine. Sorry for the randomness of the drawings featured. That's just the way I roll.

Something about unrequited love in gym class during the 70's, isn't there? Where your emotions were worn on your sleeve and your gym shorts were hiked up higher than they should.

Fellini's Pizza is a local pizza establishment with great pizza and cool tatooed kids working behind the counter.

I drew that sketch of Cash from a 1958 publicity shot, hence the younger look of the singer. Those lyrics there are perhaps the best song lyrics ever written.

This guy is loosely based off of a friend of mine who used to have this look down pat. Now he's grown out his hair and wears contacts. Oh well.


Ward Speaks!

Heads up. Wanna see me speak -- or should I say, ramble incessantly whilst I sweat profusely for two hours? I'm sure it'll be a sight to see. Nonetheless, I will be in Indianapolis next Friday, February 17th, to speak about animation, illustration, using traditional art mediums and techniques while working with computers, and other fun stuff at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). It's all part of ACM SIGGRAPH's lecture series, and you can thank former Primate and good friend Mr. John Brian Ludwick for pulling the strings in setting this up. I'm excited about being able to speak at a university. I've spoken at one before -- at my alma mater, Georgia State University -- but that was for a class of about 20 students. This will be a full blown speaking engagement. I'm a bit nervous, but excited all the same.

Here's the announcement as it appears on the ACM SIGGRAPH website:

ACM SIGGRAPH at IUPUI will be hosting guest-speaker Ward Jenkins on Friday, February 17th

ACM SIGGRAPH at IUPUI will be hosting guest-speaker Ward Jenkins on Friday, February 17th, from 5:30-7:30 PM in IT 252 (Second floor of the Informatics Building). Ward, Animation Director at Primal Screen (www.primalscreen.com),is not only a master animator but also does outstanding graffiti and mural art. Having studied animation since the age of 13, his many years of experience and genuine love for the craft will make for a presentation that is enlightening, inspiring, and fun! Check out some of his work and read about the life of Ward Jenkins at wardomatic.blogspot.com. Also, visit www.primalscreen.com for more information about Primal Screen Animation Studio. Don`t forget to mark your calendar for Friday, February 17th!

Admission to this event will be free for all ACM SIGGRAPH members and will cost $3 for all non-members.

So, if you're in the area, come on by. It'd be great to meet some of you. And the 3 bucks admission -- a small price to pay to witness me fall apart right before your very eyes.

(Oh, and I believe that the flyer illustration of me was done by Mr. Ludwick. I love it. That is my actual skin color, folks. Click on it for a closer look!)


Ava Thursday: The Long Long Tail

This is another one of Ava's homework assignment drawings (remember The Big Sandwich?), where I read to her the same little book each night. On Thursday night, the assignment calls for Ava to either write or draw about the story, and, of course, Ava chooses to draw.

The story this go 'round is of these two marionette-like characters curious as to why there is this long, long tail in their house. The image above is Ava's version of the cover of the book, with the original cover to the left, so you can compare the two. What I find interesting is how Ava pretty much copied the cover verbatim, but switched the two characters, with the woman now on the right in her drawing. I love the expressions -- she got that down pretty well. I also love the way she depicted the long, striped tail, different colors and all.

I know it looks funny, but no, the guy does not have a flower vase on top of his head. Ava drew the vase and flower on the table in the back there first, and then drew the guy, without really thinking about placement, etc. Kids think like this -- they pretty much draw without conviction, illustrating people or objects on top of one another, or meshed together, not realizing that it may look odd or strange to the viewer. Logic is not part of their world yet.



I've finally finished the flyer for the "Call for Entries" verison of the ROLL YER OWN screening coming up on February 21st, at the Red Chair. All the info you need is on the flyer, which you can grab a larger version when you click on the image below. When it gets closer to the screening, I'll have a final version for you all to use. Grab it, print it out, put it up around your office, or campus.

We're looking for local work, done by students and independent animators. Any professional work, like demo reels for local studios, companies, professionals, etc. will be showcased in a separate screening, to be announced at a later date. Cool? Cool. For this screening, we'll have some of the latest from SCAD in Savannah, but would like to see some SCAD-Atlanta and Atlanta College of Art peeps (or any other schools) representin', 'aight? And if you've been working on a short film, but you're in no way close to being finished, no problem -- we'd love to see work-in-progress stuff, as well. And expect to talk a little about your work/film/short before you show it. Hope to see you on the 21st!

Click on flyer for a higher res version to print up.


Well, our (somewhat) trusty Powerbook G4 is acting up again. After restarting & rebooting 'til kingdom come, whenever I type in my password to login, nothing happens. There's no progress bar, no beach-balling, no blue screen, no desktop image -- nothing. Just the login window and my icon. The only thing that changes is the "log in" button -- instead of blue, it changes to a faded grey, signifying that it's inactive. Any takers on this problem?

If you're expecting email activity from both Andrea and I, hang tight. We're going to take our little PB buddy to the Genius Bar this evening. Hopefully it won't be too crazy of a problem that they can't fix right there. Crossing fingers.



Boy, this meme has made the rounds, hasn't it? Even though some of these types of things get kinda cheesy, this particular meme is rather fascinating and fun to read. I'm a bad meme returner, though, since I've been tagged by both Mark Simonson and Matt Hinrichs, and it's taken me this long to get around to it. Sorry, guys. I promise I'll be good the next go 'round. Oh well, here's my take on it:

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. T-shirt printer/silk screener: working old-school style with a big camera and on acetate to burn the image on the screen.
2. Paper deliverer for the Atlanta Journal/Constitution: This is the job where I got shot at. (Again, story to follow soon. I promise.)
3. Projectionist/Supervisor for AMC Theatres: Ah, it was during the mid-90's -- the salad days, you could say. Good times.
4. Animator/Animation Director: I've been doing this for 10 years now, and it hasn't driven me crazy. Yet.

Four movies I can watch over and over:

1. The Iron Giant
2. Bottle Rocket
3. The Incredibles
4. I wanted to put something funny, like Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, but Andrea told me I should be real and put down Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. If you think that I'm lying, then I will fight you. And that's no lie.

Four places I have lived:

1. Stone Mountain, Georgia: Grew up deep in the heart of middle-class suburbia. No regrets. Well, not many, really.
2. Cincinnati, Ohio: I left home to go to school in this beautiful city for about 3 years. I met my soulmate there.
3. Decatur, Georgia: The DEC, y'all. Represent.
4. Atlanta, Georgia: It's got traffic. And trees. And cars. Lot of 'em.

Four television shows I love to watch:

1. Lost
2. Project Runway
3. The Office
4. Best Week Ever

Four places I have been on vacation:

1. New Orleans
2. Turkey
3. Italy: Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Rome. Bliss.
4. New York City

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. Anything breakfast-related.
2. Shrimp Alfredo
3. Cajun Chicken pasta
4. This is relatively new: Greek salad from Mellow Mushroom. Something about that dressing, yo.

Four websites I visit daily:

1. hulaseventy: because I'm a do right man.
2. Mine: I know, so egotistical of me, but really, I wanna see if I've posted anything new recently.
3. Cartoon Brew: Jerry and Amid got it goin' on.
4. Drawn!: a veritable cornucopia of artsy fartsy goodness on a daily basis.

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. In my attic working on my own projects/films/whathaveyou.
2. Watching movies with my kids.
3. Traveling anywhere with my wife.
4. Reading "The Chronicles of Narnia" to Ava each night.

Four bloggers I am tagging:
1. Jared, time to stop moping around and actually do something for a change. Now you have a purpose in life.
2. Because you've been ever so patient with me, Kyle, I'm officially tagging you with this meme. Hop to it!
3. Leif, of the infamous Today's Inspiration. I know it doesn't fit in with your blog, Leif, but I'm sure you can put it somewheres, eh? (And for the record, people, his name is pronounced "life." Chew on that for a spell.)
4. I can always count on former Primate and now NYC socialite Justin to provide some interesting answers. Consider yourself tagged, mister mister!


That's really interesting

When I was in Ottawa for the Ottawa International Animation Festival last September (hey-- wasn't I supposed to write more about my trip?), I found myself practically living on Rideau Street, walking back and forth from my hotel to all the screenings. I saw a lot of the same things on a daily basis, but I never got bored by it all. Being in a new city, everything caught my eye. One morning, I saw this wall from across the street and I immediately made a beeline to it. It was a wall with (fairly) recent buffs of graffiti tags. Yes, you know that I was thinking, especially since I wrote about that short film The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal, last March. I approached the wall and began to take some photos.

Further down the wall, I was aiming my camera for the shot you see above and just as I was about to click, I felt a shadow pass behind me. Turning around, I see this older woman smiling and saying something to me. At that moment, I was listening to my iPod, so I immediately pulled the earphones out of my ears to hear what she was saying.

"That's really interesting!" She repeated it so I could hear.

"Yes, it is, isn't it?" I respond, smiling.

As she was walking away I found her taking a second glance at the wall, giving it a nice long look. The thought of this woman looking long and hard at something that she probably passes by every day, never really paying any attention to it, never giving it a second thought -- to know that she was now seeing it with new eyes, made my day.


Be sure to check out my Flickr. I've uploaded tons of new flicks, most of which are of graffiti and street art, along with various other oddities that might've caught my eye in both Ottawa as well as here in Atlanta. I've also created a new Flickr set called street gallery showcasing these pics all neat and purdy for you. Flickr knows how to treat you right.

Just a heads up: I've been experiencing some odd Blogger kinks this past weekend. This post keeps disappearing for some reason (this is the third time I've had to post it) -- any other Blogger having this problem? -- Ward


Ava Thursday: Lulu's First Day of School

Ava created and illustrated a book the other day, drawing and stapling the pages together herself. Titled, Lulu's First Day of School, it tells the story of Lulu, Ava's teddy bear, going to, uh, well -- her first day of school. She's accompanied by her two friends, Miss Ashlee the Tiger and Mr. Oofee the alligator. Ava made the book for her teacher, and since we won't be able to own this wonderful piece of literature, I had to scan it pronto. (As usual, you can click on the images to view them larger.)

This is the cover. That's the title written out by Ava phonetically. (She's still learning to read & write.) Here we see Lulu and her friends approaching the school in a school bus. That's a rainbow spanning over the scene, drawn with a cool multi-colored crayon stick thingy. Details I like here are the flag and our little characters in the bus there.

This is interesting. This is the inside cover page, and when I asked my ever-observant daughter about this, she said that it was where you find out who wrote the book. You know, like where all the smallprint is.

Here, Lulu and friends are in class, being taught by a "Mrs. Equa."

Recess! Time to play on the playground. I love the way Ava drew the cute little characters here.

Oh, RATS. It's raining! Originally, Ava had drawn it snowing here, but I guess she wanted to add some color. Just add blue, and you've got a rainy day.

This is the back cover. I'm intrigued by this, because it's almost like she's thinking about how books have a certain design to them, with a particular scene of the story illustrated on the back. And so here, this is Lulu and a friend walking in the hall (with a clock on the wall). Very intricate drawing.

Funny thing about all this is that I actually created a book myself back when I was in third grade. I was SO into maps and states that at one point I drew each and every state on its own page, (yes, all 50 of 'em) and had it bound (somehow). I remember taking it to school with me and showing it to some of my classmates, of which I'm sure they were probably THRILLED. At one point, I decided that hey, I made a book and well, books are supposed to be in libraries, right? Logic told me at that time that his book of mine should be in the library, then. It's informative and maybe someone would like to check out all the 50 states drawn by a local author -- you never know. So I walked into our elementary school's library and went up to the Geography section, where all the books about the United States were (a section that I was very familiar with, apparently) and inserted my 50-page book where it should go.

I never got that book back. I mean, I had my name on it -- didn't our librarian know that the book was done by a student and that she would want to return it to its rightful owner? Ahhh, oh well. Such loss is inevitable when you're a young artist growing up, I guess.


Share the fun

Because it's Wednesday and I need some fun graphics to start my day. This guy was found on an old 50's negative envelope that was in my box of photos that I had been going through recently. Passed down from my Dad's side, there were some negatives inside, but they were blurry shots of a small trailer-like house. Looks like they were the duds of the set. Somehow the envelope escaped File 13 and now had caught my eye to be scanned.

"Share the fun with others" -- sounds like a good mantra, if you ask me.

If you like fun vintage graphics like this, be sure to check out my Flickr photoset, Fun Ephemera.