Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Art

“You can only carry so much”- Kristyna Baczynski’s ‘Vessel’

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

Being of modest means, in the past I have shamefully bought comics due to page count alone. Quantity counts when strapped for cash and I’d usually choose comics with a bit more meat on their bones. Although I’m slowly collecting Hellblazer trades they’d always be at the top of my list when they came out due to their huge wodge of pages and densely written style that would take me a few weeks to chew through. Recently being a little bit more financially relaxed and delving deeper into the small press and independent scene I’m discovering more often that the best comics can be both beautiful and brief. Vessel is an independent comic from Leeds artist Kristyna Baczynski. It stars an unnamed anthro protagonist who completes her education and finds herself immediately stuck in an all too familiar procession of banal and ultimately interchangeable jobs. Baczynski captures the feeling of quiet mundanity here perfectly in a series of repeated patterns, her character stood in the same pose and expression in each and every one, with only the hats name badges changing. She finally realises after what could be years of these jobs that her own inaction, that she has to make her life happen as she rushes out into the world. While the subject matter is as well travelled as her heroine by the end of the comic, Baczynski’s unique voice and artistic style ensures she still has something fresh to say on the matter. It’s powerful and deeply affecting, especially to someone like myself who might be realizing that life doesn’t happen on it’s own.

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“You let your ghosties get the best of you”- Chatting with comics creator Mark Kalesniko

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

“You can either stay and rot, or you can escape and burn. That’s OK; he’s a songwriter, after all, and he needs simple choices like that in his songs. But nobody ever writes about how it is possible to escape and rot, how escapes can go off at half-cock, how you can leave the suburbs for the city but end up living a limp suburban life anyway. That’s what happened to me; that’s what happens to most people”

High Fidelity- Nick Hornby

Years back, after heavily getting back into comics, I was gifted with the book 500 Essential Graphic Novels and surprised by the breadth and depth of the selection set about bookmarking and ordering a few dozen titles. Amongst them was Mark Kalesniko’s Alex, a character I instantly fell in love with and creator who’s work I quickly consumed. Having moved back to his home town of Bandini in Canada, with his tail between his legs, after abandoning his dream of animation at ‘Mickey Walt’, Alex wakes up on a park bench, groggy from another night of alcohol fuelled self destruction. Hungover, high school yearbook in his jacket and with an expressionistic painting of the town he has no memory of. The frustrated Alex fills his time wrestling with his past, struggling with artists’ block, hard drinking, and Gilligan’s Island whilst avoiding old school friends and facing up to the unthinkable. Having to be an artist, rather than a cartoonist. Freeway, drawn over ten years features a younger Alex in his animating career. Stuck in a seemingly never ending traffic jam he reminisces about his uncertain start in LA , whilst he imagines himself living an idyllic life, back in the golden days of animation.

Although optimistic now, I spent most of my teens and twenties as a shamefully stereotypically moody and sullen sod, even now I’m drawn to characters like Alex. Back then my favourite book was High Fidelity, which is the reason for the quote at the start of the review which pretty much sums up Alex’s story. Both books features a downtrodden lead character, stuck in their ways and unhappy with the way life turned out. Kalesinko’s work is great for wallowing in self pity and misery, in the same way that we’re drawn to sad songs, knowing full well they’ll bring us yet deeper into sadness. Tackling themes of depression, self destruction, inner peace and the death of a dream, they are both hugely moving and funny reads. Kalesinko can tease out the comedy of even the most disastrous and destructive events of Alex’s life, presented with his sparse fine line with the pacing and sense of movement that clearly comes from his own stint in animation.

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How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art: “When I saw that tail move, I was instantly hooked.”

by Patch O'Furr

I’m in love with this exclusive animation that Jib Kodi made for a B&A (Bark & Awoo) with me!  It was so cool of him to put the appeal and personality of his art on display with his words. He caught my eye, as I’m sure he did for many others, with his outrageously cool short .gif animations on Twitter. In a very short time (months) he’s built a massive 14K following based on how infectiously shareable they are. It’s a winning strategy for an artist, and as far as he’s told me, it just happened accidentally out of love for what he’s into. Kind of like furry fandom grew itself. – Patch

Follow Jib Kodi on FurAffinity and Twitter

Hi Jib, can you talk about how you got into furry, and what do you think about it?

Welp, here goes nuthin’.

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The Art of Aardman, Foreword by David Sproxton and Peter Lord – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Art of Aardman: The Makers of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, and More. Foreword by David Sproxton and Peter Lord.
San Francisco, CA, Chronicle Books, August 2017, hardcover $24.95 (128 pages), Kindle $9.99.

Aardman Animations was founded forty years ago in Bristol, England. Since then it has become one of the world’s leading stop-motion animation studios. Most of its popular films have involved anthropomorphic animals, from Gromit, the long-suffering dog in the “Wallace and Gromit” shorts and the Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit feature to the features Chicken Run (chickens), Flushed Away (rats), and Shaun the Sheep the Movie. Even The Pirates! in an Adventure With Scientists! had Mr. Bobo, Charles Darwin’s chimpanzee assistant.

This book does not focus on any of their works in particular. It is rather about the studio’s production techniques. First come the ideas for the plots and characters, then creating the worlds that go with them – the secondary and incidental characters; the backgrounds, and so on; the “Mechanical Marvels” (no Aardman production would be complete without some intricate device, often Rube-Goldbergian or steam-punk, including Wallace’s fanciful inventions; and Aardman’s attention to lighting.

These sections are filled with examples, from preliminary pencil and crayon sketches to complete stop-motion models, taken from the studio’s archives. The popular anthropomorphic characters are shown here, but it is a hit-or-miss affair; they are mixed in with Aardman’s other art. The sketches are identified by artist, primarily Nick Park; others include Sylvia Bennion, Peter de Sève, Johnny Duddle, Norman Garwood, Phil Lewis, Peter Lord, Matt Perry, Michael Salter, Matt Sanders, Christian Schellewald, Richard Starzak, Jo Symanowski, Evgeni Tomov, and more. The finished models and stills from the films are labeled Production still or Puppet.

Image provided by Chronicle Books

Whichever you like, you will find it here. This is a very enjoyable book for the fan of Aardman’s creations to just browse through.

Fred Patten

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Iris Jay Hacks The Planet With 90’s Infused Anthro-Cyberpunk In Crossed Wires

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with the devoted curation of a fan doing exactly what they love. It’s my favorite kind of writing – thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented, in magazine style long form. I suspect it may be underexposed considering the high quality, so if you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here.  (- Patch)

Each and every single one of Iris Jay’s comic creations sounds like one of the greatest film that was never made, ever. The descriptions of each read like the fevered elevator pitch of some fresh-faced starry-eyed youngster who has grown up on a diet of the trashiest entertainment, 90’s nostalgia and a deep love of forgotten films. Comic worlds inhabited by gun totting robots, gangster piloted mechs and laser-firing wolves partnered with grizzled FBI agents, all armed with the perfect action movie one liners. You are kidding yourself if you didn’t want to see a hulking supernatural fluorescent rat declaring “I  couldn’t free your minds. But I can free your teeth!”

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“Truly, my life is a low budget horror movie”- Scott Zelman’s Wilde and much missed webcomic

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with the devoted curation of a fan doing exactly what they love. It’s my favorite kind of writing – thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented, in magazine style long form. I suspect it may be underexposed considering the high quality, so if you like this, give a follow. And expect syndicated content reposted here too.  (- Patch)

“Don’t be scared! He doesn’t bite. That’d be gauche”

Scot Zellman’s Buster Wilde first appeared on-line around the mid-nineties back in the prehistoric days of the internet. Following the exploits of our eponymous hero, lover and maybe most importantly, gay lycanthrope as we quickly discover the he twist in the familiar folk tale and pop culture staple. Sinewy, flamboyant party animal by night at sunrise Buster switches back to his beleaguered alter ego, Bernard. Stressed, uptight and again most importantly, straight. As Buster humorously and enthusiastically throws himself into his new life, navigating the gay club scene with its drama and clichés, Bernard struggles with a double life he doesn’t remember and more often than not waking up in other guys beds. It was among one of the first web comics I discovered when I finally got on-line and I quickly made my way through every strip on the now broken and mostly forgotten geocities site. You heard that right, Geocities. It’s been around fourteen years since the final strip was posted and it’s a testament to both the quality of the strips and Zellman’s considerable skills as a writer and gifted cartoonist that those who saw it at the time still hold it in such high regard over a decade later. Apart from one of two references that date them (Buffy, who Buster declares is a bitch because of her treatment of fellow werewolf Oz) the Buster Wilde strips have a timeless quick paced humour to them that’s still as funny today as when they were first conceived.

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“Suburban Jungle: Rough Housing” – Comic review by Ace.

by Patch O'Furr

Review: Suburban Jungle: Rough Housing
Guest review by Ace

Suburban Jungle was a web comic done by John “The Gneech” Robey that started on February 1, 1999. It starred a young tigress, named Tiffany, who is trying to make a career of acting and modeling while holding down numerous temp jobs. Along the way she meets the Kurt Russell-esque Leonard Lion, Leona Lioness (no relation to Leonard), and many others such as Drezzer Wolf and Conrad Tiger. It was slice of life with the characters residing in the fictional city. It was light, campy and a general good read.

It was the web comic that made me become a furry.

When Suburban Jungle ended in November 6, 2009 it felt like a giant punch to the gut. I had only been in the fandom ten years in the fandom because of Suburban Jungle. I loved the characters, especially Tiffany, Leona, as well as Leonard, Conrad and everyone’s favorite gay uncle, Drezzer. It was hard to fill those holes. I had never gotten to the opportunity to read Never, Never (which I found out actually came before SJ in terms of production) and while I liked other web comics, they didn’t hold my attention like SJ did.

So imagine my surprise when found out that The Gneech did another SJ comic starting in 2016. This one was a sequel but didn’t feature the same characters. Instead, the main character was a cheeger (the hybrid result of a tiger and a cheetah, in this case Comfort Tiger the sister of Suburban Jungle star Tiffany and her husband the code speaking Dover Cheetah), named Charity Cheeger.

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Good news from Tiny Paws con, and a look at Spalding’s furry art.

by Patch O'Furr

Two furry things happened in Connecticut the other week. One was sad – a politician lost a job for being too open minded about furry stuff. And one was happy: Tiny Paws con happened, giving love to that very same politician and raising money for the Humane Society too.  Whenever there’s a setback, look for how this cool fandom keeps moving forward.

Tiny Paws is made by former staffers of Furfright, and you’ll definitely hear more about it here.  It’s very special to me, because oh my gosh, they invited me to be Guest of Honor in 2018!

I’ll have to work hard to earn that. Meanwhile, let me tell you about a hard working artist.  When the con started talking to me, they asked if I wanted an ad in the con book. That’s why Spalding lent a paw to draw this fabulous cartoon ad:

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French anthro comic: Solo, T. 2, by Oscar Martin – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Solo. T.2, Le Coeur et le Sang, by Oscar Martin.
Paris, Delcourt, January 2016, hardcover €16,95 (109 [+ 1] pages).

Oops. This volume 2, The Heart and the Blood, almost got away from Lex Nakashima & me. Volume 3 is out already. Expect a review of it soon.

I said of volume 1, “The setting: a bleak, war-destroyed future Earth. Think MGM’s/Hugh Harman’s 1939 animated Peace on Earth, where the last humans on Earth kill each other and leave the world to the peaceful funny animals; or the similar sequence in Alexander Korda’s 1936 live-action feature Things to Come, where England (and presumably the whole human race) has been bombed and shot up back to the Stone Age. It’s Mad Max with furries.”

That’s still true of vol. 2. Quoting from my review of volume 1 again, I said, “Solo is a brawny teenaged rat-equivalent of the young Conan the Barbarian, but a lot smarter. In the first few pages, he and his warrior father are shown fighting giant, mutated monsters in a freezing winter landscape for food for their family, and killing rival mustelid warriors ready to eat them. Solo and his father win, but it is obvious to all that Solo’s family is slowly starving. Solo, a huge teenager, decides to leave so his parents and siblings won’t have to share their food with him.”

Solo spends most of volume 1 as an almost brain-dead gladiatorial warrior in a human-run arena. It’s clear that he could escape whenever he wants, but is there anyplace else in the world worth escaping to? He finally finds such a place; a new home and a wife. He finds that life is worth living again.

Of course, this now gives him responsibilities – to his wife and to his community.

The Heart and the Blood is divided into two sections; the story of 73 pages, and a mixture of “technical notes” (some of the other intelligent species of Solo’s “cannibal world”) and short independent stories.

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Fred Patten asks: are “art of” animated movie books necessary?

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

In June, my review of The Art of Cars 3 was posted here. In it, I said:

“It has been acknowledged that these “art of” books featuring animated films are money-losers, subsidized by the advertising budgets for those films, made for the promotion of those films and for the morale of the artists and technical crews that produced them. The Art of Cars 3 is full of the art of the animators, layout artists, production designers, story artists, digital renderers, graphic designers, modelers, and others who created Cars 3 .”

I had gotten that information – about the art-of animation books being money-losers that were published for their movie’s advertising and for their production staff’s morale – from a February 2017 story by Amid Amidi on the Cartoon Brew website. It was about Illumination Entertainment’s animated films — the Despicable Me franchise, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. The pertinent paragraphs were:

“Among the things that Illumination Entertainment does differently from other major animation studios is they don’t produce art-of/making-of books for each of their films.

From a business perspective, it makes sense. Most art-of books don’t make their money back, have limited reach, and add unnecessary costs to a film’s marketing budget. But they do have intangible benefits, like boosting morale among studio employees and helping build stronger relationships with the studio’s most passionate fans. I might agree that it doesn’t make sense to create an art-of book for every film, but perhaps Illumination could publish an anniversary art-of book at some point. Their tenth film is coming up in 2019, while 2020 will mark ten years since the release of their first film. Both of those dates seem like ideal milestones.”

April Whitney, the publicist at Chronicle Books for The Art of Cars 3, took exception to that statement. She said that Chronicle’s “art of” de luxe animation books, which cover most Disney•Pixar animated features, sell very well and are not, as I implied, subsidized by Disney’s marketing department.

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