Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

15 DECEMBER, 2011

Viewers Like You: Edward Gorey’s Animated Intro for PBS’s Mystery

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Lessons in giving from the master of the macabre.

I have a well-documented soft spot for legendary mid-century illustrator Edward Gorey, whose stories about mischievous children and curious creatures influenced generations of creators as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Tim Burton, and who even eleven years after his death managed to delight us with one of the best children’s books of 2011. But what catapulted Gorey into cultural cachet were his animated introductions for the PBS show Mystery! in 1980 — an absolute micro-treat of Goreyesque grim whimsy.

As a regular supporter of public media (and myself the proprietor of what’s essentially a donation-based public service), I’m particularly delighted by Gorey’s refreshing take on the familiar “viewers like you” message — easily the most charming way to ask for a donation.

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01 DECEMBER, 2011

Lovely Stop-Motion Book Trailers for Stiefvater’s Fantasy Trilogy

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Cut-paper werewolves and newspaper fairies, oh my.

Even though I hardly read fiction, I’m a notorious lover of book trailers, so I found myself mesmerized by these three stop-motion gems for Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Hall fantasy trilogy — Shiver, Linger, and Forever. The most striking part? Stiefvater did the art and the animation and the music herself — I bow.

(It’s also interesting to observe how much better both the technology and the animation technique have become between 2009, when Stiefvater made the first trailer, and the 2011 release of the last one.)

And for the ultimate in book trailer artistry, don’t miss Kirstin Butler’s selection of the 7 finest book trailers of recent years.

via Ebook Apothecary

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01 DECEMBER, 2011

Spiderman-Like Folk Hero Taunts the Nazis in 1945 Czech Animation

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What a mischievous chimney sweep has to do with tricking Hitler out of power.

To those of us who grew up in Eastern Europe, Czech puppet maker, illustrator, and animator Jirí Trnka (1912-1969) is best-known for his illustrations of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm (recently included in Taschen’s epic volume collecting the best illustrations from 130 years of the Brothers Grimm). In fact, he came of age as a children’s book artist during World War II, when he illustrated books for children and eventually started dabbling in animation. In 1945, just as the war was winding down, he began working on Perak a SS (The Springer and the SS Men, or Springman and the SS, or The Jumper and the Men of the SS) — an animated anti-Nazi film, based on a WWII urban legend about a mischievous chimney-sweep-turned-superhero who taunts the Nazis, reminiscent in both appearance and action of an early Spiderman.

Trnka went on to have a prolific career in experimental animation, creating some astounding and brilliantly innovative, not only for their time but also by today’s standards, puppet films.

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