Pixar Announces Upcoming Films

In a recent New York Times article Pixar announced its upcoming slate of animated films. (You have to register to read the article). The list includes:

Wal-E (official site) — A film from writer/director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) that tells the story of a robot stranded on earth all-alone in distant future. Large chunks of the film will have no dialogue, just pantomime and sound effects. If anyone can pull that off and still engage the audience, it’s the masterful animators at Pixar. After all, as the author points out, the Road Runner and Cyote never talked either. Wall-E hits theaters on June 27.

Up — Described as “a comedy about a cranky, cane-wielding 78-year-old who transports his home to exotic locales by attaching hundreds of helium-filled balloons”

The Bear and the Bow — Pixar’s first fairy tale,

Cars 2 — Pixar’s second attempt at a sequel. Their first, Toy Story 2, was actually better than the original. Let’s hope the same for Cars 2.

Pixar has one of the best (if not THE best) track records in Hollywood: Every single one of their films has been a box office smash. They have yet to produce a flop. I can’t think of any other studio in Hollywood can make that claim. Including Disney. So I’m very excited to get hints at what they’ve got coming down the pipe.

Eaten Alive In The Studio Jungle

Here’s an interesting article from the LA Times about Deborah Gregory, an author who created “The Cheetah Girls” and sold the property to Disney. Her characters have appeared in two TV movies, sold millions of CDs and DVDs, and have toured in over 80 cities. Her contract with Disney gave her 4% of the gross revenues.

She hasn’t seen a penny.

It’s called Hollywood accounting, and it’s unfortunately very common. Apparently when writers and creators sell the rights to their characters. Hollywood studios have all sorts of tricky ways to balance the books and make sure that somehow the creator’s share of the profits never makes its way onto the bottom line.

I’m not sure if this has much to do with illustration or character design. My guess is most of you will never sell a character or story to a big Hollywood studio. But it is a reminder that at the very least you should be using good, solid contracts when working with clients to help ensure your artwork isn’t misused or your rights infringed upon. To learn more I highly recommend two books: The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines and Tad Crawford’s Business and Legal Forms for Illustrators. Both are chock full of helpful information for the serious freelancer.

You can find even more resources at my Amazon.com Recommended Resources page.


I love a good book. My wife and I have five large bookcases filled with books and four more boxes of books in a hall closet. A surprising number of them we’ve actually read.

But life gets busy and I’ve got less time to read than ever. Thankfully, there are audiobooks I can download and listen to while working on client projects. Of course as a professional artist I usually can’t listen while I’m in the conceptual or sketch phase of a project because it is too distracting. Building the structure of an illustration requires my full concentration. But once that foundation is laid I can relax a bit and listen as I do the inking or coloring.

Audiobooks can be more expensive than their paper-and-binding counterparts, but I don’t mind. Personally I’d rather spend $25 on something that I will actually listen to rather than $15 on a book that I will never get around to reading. Reading means carving out time to give a book my full attention, whereas listening to an audiobook can be done in the background while I’m simultaneously working on something else. Ah, multitasking!

I don’t buy novels, I’m more of a nonfiction guy. Here’s a few of my favorite audiobooks (in alphabetical order):Read More