Thursday, 29 November 2007



This is a rough drawing from the book Ojingogo. See that word over the girl's head? This book plays with Hangul (the Korean alphabet) and it does so very well.

However, this book isn't drawn by a Korean. It's drawn by Matthew Forsythe of Canada. Matt was a kindergarten English teacher in Korea for a year. It's in that year that he started drawing the webcomic Ojingogo. After returning to Canada, Matt finished up the first story and published Ojingogo in book form. Ojingogo was a success! It gained lots of positive attention and praise, even being nominated for the Eisner Awards, the "Oscars" of comics.

What a great use of one's experience in Asia! It's good to know that there are such fascinating foreigners who've lived in Korea and are producing work containing a little Korean spirit.

The story is about a girl and her squid. It's wacky and fun. You can read the comic online. The story doesn't rely on any language, but I think you're rewarded a little for being able to read Korean.

Matt is currently finishing up the second Ojingogo book. He draws very well and misses the food kimbab.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Leaf On Head Disease

Wow, a mole has visited this blog. Welcome, mole! HOLY MOLE-Y!!!!! You've got a leaf growing out of your head!!

Oh. I'm sorry. I didn't realize that was a sensitive spot.


I've seen this leaf on head thing before. I've seen it in characters from Korea and Japan. I don't know what to make of it and neither does anyone I ask. You see, mole, I worry about you. This just doesn't occur in nature.

See, this bear doesn't have a leaf on its head.
Neither does this white rabbit.
This squirrel is a lot like you, but it lacks that leaf.
I don't know what to make of that leaf on your head. Does it mean you are wild? That you are magical? That you are minty fresh? I just don't know. Maybe readers of this blog can let me know what the leaf on head symbolizes.
For now I'll classify your disorder as 'Leaf On Head Disease'.

See! Now those are symbols I recognize! Clearly you are angry at me. Ooops. Sorry!

Update (January 28th, 2008): Wow! It turns out that leaf on your head means your magical! Read more by clicking here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Foreign Voices

Korea is well known for being a country where animation is outsourced from overseas. Did you know that Korea creates a lot of its own content which also relies on the work of foreigners?Meet Mina and Valerie. Mina (on the left) is from the United States. Valerie (on the right) hails from Canada. Both young women are English teachers in Korea, a common job for foreigners here. They are performers at heart and have found a way to put their skills to work.They are coached by their agent (on the left) who recruited them. The recording is directed by former teen pop singer TJ (in the middle) and assisted by MJ (way in the back).
Their job is no easy task. These young woman have to sing songs originally written in Korean that were translated into English. Reworking these Korean songs into natural sounding English versions required lots of tweaking. For instance, the songs made use of onomatopoeia devices found in the Korean language that simply do not exist in English. Gegul is the sound of rolling in Korean, but in English that sound doesn't exist. So they have to just sing rolling, rolling, rolling instead. They had to repeat songs over and over until they got it just right.Besides singing their hearts out, they also get to lend their voices to a cute baby boy (Mina) and a young sweet girl (Valerie).

Boom Chiki Boom! is the preschool program they work on. It's a program full of dancing and exercize. A unique feature of the show is that there is both a live-action puppet version and a 3D computer generated version. If you look closely on the monitor, you can see my favorite character from the puppet version.
Here's a blurry close up of that mischievous green thing. Through voice acting, Mina and Valerie are allowing Boom Chiki Boom! to possibly gain a wider audience than it would in Korean alone. And there are more such foreign voice actors as well. The world of animation and entertainment is full of work between people of many different nationalities. This day in the recording studio is just a very small slice of that.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Don't Worry Too Much

Don't worry too much.
Worrying can stop us from creating, be it drawings, stories or anything else. Don't worry too much. This pizza place name isn't anything fancy or cutting edge, but it works.
I wouldn't say the Pizza School mascot is the best drawing around or even the most memorable. But for some reason it really makes me laugh. It's a school that makes pizza! It's almost radical. I think worrying too much would have prevented this character from being created.

So don't worry too much. You don't have to be perfect in order to create something that will make people happy. Just stop worrying and create!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Prize Time!

IT'S PRIZE TIME!!!Chaek bachims are so cool that while at the Animation Museum in Chuncheon, I picked up some to give away as prizes. They feature Hobani, the Chuncheon city mascot who is reflective of the city's abundant bodies of water.Hobani can be found all over the city, such as in these really cool nonprizes above.
You can also spot him in these temporary tattoos that I'll throw in as well. I have 5 prizes to give to the first 5 people to post in the comments section. If you have a blog, it would be really cool if you offered this same sort of prize giveaway on yours.

Good luck!

Friday, 23 November 2007

The Art Book Man

Art book man
Art book man
Selling books from
The States and Japan
Wanders in
Quite Dapper
Some of his books
Still in their wrapper
I have heard
Not best deals
For this mobile
Small bookstore on wheels
Can you please
Lend a hand?
Does he visit
Your far away land?

Thursday, 22 November 2007

An Interview with Park Min

Do you like Batman? Batman was Park Min's favorite production to work on. Having over 18 years in the animation industry, Park Min has helped bring Batman and many other characters to life for audiences around the world.

In his earliest days, he worked as a final checking assistant. Since this start, he's moved through almost all the jobs within an animation studio. Working hard as an inbetweener so he could work even harder as an inbetweening director. Doing key animation and then moving up to key animation direction. At some point, he was a layout artist as well multiple other positions. He has just recently began work as a storyboard artist.

Park Min is an experienced animator who was willing to offer us some insights into life in the Korean animation industry.Midodok: What do you think about your life in the animation industry?
Park Min: I think that the Korean animation industry and the animation industry in other countries, like Japan and America, are really different. These days, the animator's situation is getting worse and also disappearing. Yes, it's a really bad situation.

Midodok: How so?

Park Min: Many animators quit their animation work because they can't make a lot of money and we are all not paid regularly, right? We are not on a regular payment and we have to work long hours to keep the schedule. The schedule is really tight. Many animators have to spend a hard time. You know, my career is 18 years long, but these days, most directors are from my same generation so we are the last remaining animators and there is not many newcomers.

Park Min: The Korean animation industry is really hard and if they choose to work for the Korean animation industry they have to work hard and study animation. I think many beginners don't want to become an inbetweener and key animator, they always want to become directors without doing all the stuff in between (inbetweening, key animating, final checking, etc.). But they don't like that cost, right?
Midodok: So how have you lasted in the animation industry if it's so difficult?

Park Min: If somebody wants to become something, they have to have patience and keep trying until they become something, right? But, the situation these days is really hard. It will take a long time to become a director. I think it is not important to become a director, but to improve themselves and their drawings and their ideas.


Midodok: What do you think about the Korean animation industry?
Park Min: We need more creative people in stories and ideas, but up until now, Korean animators have only concentrated on a small part--drawing or making films. But, first of all, we need to improve ourselves as a Korean animation industry, and then have a more adventurous mind. Money is always an issue too, right? And I hope more people get interested in Korean animation, too. But if we make a good animation then we won't have to worry about that.

Park Min: I think that we need a shock. A shock that looks like a Sputnik from the Korean animation industry. I know these days it is a hard time, but we should force ourselves through it. We can do it!
Midodok: How can somebody prepare for a career in animation?

Park Min: I think all kinds of animation are the same even if they have unique styles (Korean, Japanese, American). I think if you wanna become an animator, you should prepare by improving you drawing skills and your understanding of story, right? And you should know about high technology like computer editing and graphics tools. And one more: language. Chinese, English, Korean, Japanese, whatever.

Midodok: Why should they learn another language?

Park Min: Up until now, we made animation for a few people. For only that country. But these days, we can show our animation to the whole world. So someday, we can work together to make a good animation. Nationality doesn't matter, but communication is a really important thing. If we work together with foreigners, we should find a solution through conversation if we have a problem. It's very important.
Park Min: Everybody has the same feelings: happiness, sadness, loneliness. Emotion is the same, even if we have different color skin, language, culture and place. It doesn't matter to making good animation. That's all.
Midodok: Thank you very much for the interview and your time.
Park Min let me look through his current sketchbook and take a couple pictures.His sketchbook had lots of good stuff in it, but I thought you might like these two best. He's got lots more cool stuff posted over at his
cool blog.

Park Min likes meeting new people. Feel free to
email him or leave questions and comments here.

I especially like Park Min's analogy of Sputnik, and how a lot of hard work can really leave the world in awe of Korean animation. What do you think?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

What's On Your Desk? Hwang Young Sang

It's time for another 'What's On Your Desk?'. This week we feature Hwang Young Sang.
Young Sang is a character designer. He keeps busy churning out all sorts of different characters. Pirates, monsters, townspeople, heroes, villains, goats; he does it all. On his desk he's got a few figures to help him along.#1: The Front of Armament figure
#2: an anatomical view of a hand
#3: Hurricane Joe
#4: Chibi Gallery husky

#5: Chibi Gallery molesYoung Sang drives an autobike and is even cooler than his toys. He spent a year in Shanghai working in animation. You can ask him questions and say 'hi' here or on his personal blog.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

The Coolest Restaurant Name

Wow! Is that placed called Sketchbook? It is! And they serve drinks and food there?! This deserves closer inspection.
This truck parked outside must be a sign of the wonderful animation related stuff inside!
It has the Peanuts gang painted on it.
And is that Felix the Cat painted on the other side? It is! He's got the right idea; let's hurry into this Sketchbook place where we'll meet all sorts of artists and cartoon-related stuff.
Oh. It looks like just a regular eating place.

Wait a second! This chair looks happy and cartoony! No, no, no. . . I'm just looking too hard for animation stuff.Well, at least there is a nice view of the Animation Museum just across the street. And this place is quite spacious and inspiring. I don't find that too often in Seoul.The food is quite good and plentiful, too. I guess I can pull out my sketchbook while I eat and help this place live up to its name, which happens to be really, really cool!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Animation Museum Art Pieces


I made another trip to the Animation Museum in Chuncheon today. Since museums frown on taking pictures inside, I thought I'd share some of the outdoor art pieces with you.

There are a lot of these robotic statues. What makes most interesting is that they are made out of a mix of stuff that must be recycled junk.This insect is made from autobike parts.There are a handful of these pieces made out of old tires and other parts.It's amazing how the artist was able to use junk and bring life to it. This frog looks like it's curious as to why I'm taking its picture.This King Kong inspired piece looks like he knows exactly why I'm taking his picture and is posing for a dramatic effect.I found this dragon particularly impressive. It's much more impressive in real life. It feels like it's going to soar right into the heavens above the lake just behind it. This is one of two art pieces that welcomes you to the Animation Museum. It's called Vision and it captures what we should strive for in animation:
Fantastic journies into the unknown . . .. . .adventures that need gallant heroes. . .
. . . and the spirit of flight and freedom.

I think Vision serves as a good inspiration to animators.Then there's these two goofballs that are the other featured statue. They remind us that animation should be fun, too. And to enjoy the wonderful city of Chuncheon as well!