Composing Pictures


I’m not finished reading it yet – only about 1/3 of the way, but this is one incredible book. It really is a graphic design and art course all wrapped up in one binding. A treasure trove of information. Whether you are an animator (2d or 3d), independent film maker, fine artist, concept artist, etc. etc…. anything to do with the graphic arts, then this is a gem. Check out the reviews at Amazon. They are spot on. It is not often that I would give 6 out of 5 stars for a book. Yes, I meant to say 6 out of 5. :)


Hayao Miyazaki

The first movie by Miyazaki that I saw was more than a few years ago… It was Princess Mononoke. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. It turns out a lot of people really like this movie, but I didn’t and so I set aside this Miyazaki fellow as one who catered to “those who have a different kind of taste than I do”. In fact, I probably judged the entire Japanese anime crowd with this one single brush stroke. Mea culpa.

Anyway, along comes this film called Ponyo. So I thought that since it had been a few years since Mononoke… maybe I would give this Miyazaki-san another chance. Well, I have to say I was blown away. I just love that film. Ok, so maybe it has something to do with the age group that it was sort of targeted for… 5 year olds… and maybe that’s how old I can act oftentimes, but it was a fun film. Sure some of the character designs were kind of strange (like the old ladies faces), but overall I had fun.

So I thought… maybe some of these other Miyazaki films are just as good as Ponyo. Maybe, just maybe I wrote him off a bit too soon… So off I went and as it turns out, I ended up on a Miyazaki film spree. I have now watched the following:

NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind
Castle in the Sky
My Neighbor Totoro
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Porco Rosso
Princess Mononoke
Spirited Away
Howl’s Moving Castle

What a ride! I must say that I actually enjoyed each film, with the exception of Mononoke (I watched it again to see if maybe my tastes had changed, but alas, it still didn’t do much for me).

If I had to give you the top three Miyazaki films to see I would say:

1) Totoro
2) Ponyo
3) Castle in the Sky

Oh, just forget it, go see them all. You just can’t fit the best films in the top three.


Well, wouldn’t you know it… I forgot about this place in the woods! Anyway, if you haven’t picked up your Blackwings, head on over to and get yourself some! They are totally worth the hype. Well, at least I think so. I have some Tombow’s which are nice, but these Blackwings are just sooo smooth. Yum.

Some links you may like to visit:

Rad how to – lots of good tutorials on drawing
The Art Center – more good drawing tutorials
Bird Flight Observations – how to animate a bird in flight

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