Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Matthew Forsythe Sketches You Might Dig

Matt Forsythe, author of Ojingogo, has posted some traditional Korean related sketches you just might dig. Click on an image to visit his website and learn more about it.
Sheesh! Just look at that lazy bird hitching a ride on that overloaded A-frame! At Matt's blog, you can look at the process he took to ink this detailed drawing.

This more quick and simple one is his Hanbok sketch. It's a warm up sketch for his upcoming Ojingogo book posted about previously on this blog.

Pots of kimchi, hanbok, the artist's signature in hangul--and that's just in these couple of drawings! If you like these Korean inspired sketches, maybe you'll enjoy a visit to Matthew Forsythe's website. You can just dig around there for a long time and find all sorts of fun stuff (sometimes delightfully Korea related).

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Subway Station Pixelation

Here's some subway station pixelation for you!
Seoul has amazing public transportation. The vast subway system alone is a marvel. If you spend enough time in Seoul, you'll learn that each subway station is unique. Many subway stations are enriched with art. Sometimes, the ever present tiles used in Korean subways are arranged to make pixelated imagery.

Here's a close up look at the first image. See how this cartoon tiger is made up of small colored square tiles? This results in a very 8-bit look, doesn't it? I think that's what makes it so appealing.

These images of Hodori, the 1988 Olympic Mascot for Seoul (I'll write more about him later), are taken from the Dongdaemun Stadium station.

This next series of images is from the Yeouido subway station:
These horses and sheep create a mural that beautifully decorate a wall.

The mural is so wide that I had to break it down into slices. The very next image is the farthest slice to the left. As you scroll down, imagine you are looking from left to right at this mural.

I can't seem to remember which subway station the next series of images are from. These ones show historical Korean scenes.This is a close up of the lantern in the above picture with the women.

And this is a close up of the candle.

There is tons more stuff like this in Seoul subways. I've even seen abstract patterns using rectangular tiles. Of course, these are much better looking in person. So, if you ever get the chance, you should check these out.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Leaf On Head Disease: Cured!

She has the cure!Kim Soo Youn, animator do-it-all at DNA Production Co., has the answer to this previously posted question: what does the leaf on a character's head represent? It turns out that a leaf on the head isn't a disease. Soo Youn confirms that it is a sign that the creature is magical.

She points out that the Japanese character Totoro (pictured above in Beijing) has this leaf on his head. Also, these magical characters can often shape shift. That makes perfect sense! The leaf works as a marker of their magical abilities as well as help the viewer keep track of the character as they shape shift. And it looks cool, too.

Question answered!

Are there any other symbols in animation like this that confuse you, too?

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Be Back on the 28th! +Sneak Peek

I'll be back to post more the 28th of this month. I hope you come back! In the meantime, here is a special sneak peek:
This bad little granny is one of my favorite characters from an upcoming project I'm working on. I wanted to share her with you. I will reveal more about this project later.

For all of you newcomers to this blog, here is the best of this blog so far:

Best of Korea & Animation

By the way, some of you have emailed interesting questions you have about Korean animation that I'll try to answer on here. Feel free to continue sending those questions in!

Thanks, and see you on the 28th!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Cover Your Sleeves and More!

What's that you've got on your arms, Jeong Eun?
Aha! You are covering your nice long sleeve shirt. I guess your job as key animator can get pretty messy. Those sleeve covers sure must come in handy!

I bought a pair of those on the street. I guess I've been using them wrong.

I guess they are not fashionable leg warmers.

Or milk jug cosies either.

They sure worked well as tangerine dispensers.

And they really did spruce up that battery-powered dancing toy that got kind of boring.

I guess you can use them however you want. I wonder how people in other parts of the world use them?

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Quick Skitsch Sketch

From the hand of Skitsch. . .comes a sketch. . .

of a fish with underarm hair! Or should it be called underfin hair?

Skitsch is trying to hide behind her sketchbook, but you can easily see her face in a past interview with her about her inbetweening work.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Poop is Cute (in Korea)

Warning: You may find this gross!
Did you know that poop is cute in Korea? It's true. Poop is typically represented in a cute way, like this giant one pictured above. This poop was part of a poop booth in front of Seoul City Hall. The booth even had poop costumes little kids could put on.

The cuteness of poop in Korean culture just goes to show the power of representation. Poop is typically drawn like the swirl above, sort of like the chocolate ice cream on a cone. However, it's not always this chocolate brown color.

Gold is a very common poop color. And speckles aren't unheard of either. Poop can be represented in all sorts of fashions.

Poop has even made its way into consumer culture. These products feature a character with a copper poop on his head. His name is Dongchimee (click if you are brave) from the Dalki product line. And he's just one of many poop-related products. There are books about poop, foam poop on a stick, poop stamps, poop banks and so on and so on. I'll collect more images and do a future post about this.

Perhaps it's the combination of grossness and cuteness that give poop its appeal. I think it stems from the early cutified illustrations. What is poop in your culture: cute, funny, gross?

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Year of the Rat Cake

Animation matters. Animation shapes our lives and culture. Apparently, it influences our Chinese New Year cakes, too.2008 is the Year of the Rat on the Chinese calendar. Crown Bakery, a bakery franchise in Korea, has created the "Crown Mickey" to celebrate the New Year. There is Disney influence all over this cake.

Firstly, the name "Crown Mickey" directly refers to the worlds most famous mouse. Secondly, the design of the rat on the cake must be inspired by the Pixar film Ratatouille. Don't you agree?
Here is the the neatest Disney influence. The cake advertisement features a young woman done up as Minnie Mouse.

The Crown Mickey cake and it's advertisement draw heavily on Disney animation for inspiration. It proves that animation influences how we live, even if only in a small way. In this case, the cake we eat for the Chinese New Year.

Update (January 15th, 2007): Whoa! Here is a very similar advertisement from Paris Baguette, a chief rival of Crown Bakery. I wonder which advertisement came first?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Boom Chiki Boom! on Stage

Boom Chiki Boom!!!!Are you familiar with OSMU? It's an acronym for One Source Multi Use which is currently a buzzword in Korean business. Boom Chiki Boom! is a good example of OSMU.

Boom Chiki Boom! is a preschool program that encourages kids to dance and interact with the characters on screen. It promotes activity and health. Boom Chiki Boom! is used in many ways. It is a computer generated program as seen in the poster above.

It is also a live-action show featuring actors in costumes. It is also a stage show performed for a live audience as seen above. Boom Chiki Boom! translates quite easily from screen to stage. The same costumes and performers can be used, after all.

The sets and props are recycled for the stage show as well.

For example, this pig speaker from the original set is used for this stage show. In fact, it can also be found rendered in the computer generated show.

This gold pig couch seemed irresistible and kids kept defiantly trying to sit in it without permission. One kid succeeded. And I think an adult tried, too!

The stage show reuses the script and audio from the live-action costume show. The only major difference is these two hosts above. They exist solely in the stage show. They help make the performance more interactive and also to give the costumed performers some breaks inbetween "episodes".

The hosts had lots of energy and made the audience really feel involved.

In a segment about balls, they bounced a big red ball around the audience. They also passed out small plastic balls to everybody.

In a segment about paper, they spread giant sheets of paper over the audience. Then everybody was encouraged to shred it to pieces. They didn't have to tell the kids twice!

All that interactivity sure can leave a mess!

The only element that doesn't translate well from the screen to stage is A-Do. A-Do is a mischevious puppet who is puppeteered by someone hidden behind the pig couch. Unlike the television show, the audience can't see A-Do closely via camera zooms. This takes away some of his edge and charm. It's a shame, too, since he's my favorite character.

Boom Chiki Boom! is a good example of creating a property and applying it many different ways. It's a young property, so I'm interested to see how it develops. I'm rooting for it since it is an original Korean property.

You can take a
behind-the-scenes look at the English voice acting for Boom Chiki Boom! that I posted about previously.