Category Archives: Art & Design

How Many ’100 Best Animated Films’ Have You Seen?

TimeOut polled experts and came up with a list of the 100 Best Animated Movies. We dug through it to see what the SVA Library owns and what we didn’t. The good news is that we had 89 out of the 100. The bad news is that there were only three titles we did not have that are also available to purchase (or the right format).
That means “The Bugs Bunny & Road Runner Movie”, “When the Wind Blows”, and “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” by Don Hertzfeldt will soon be added the collection. If you see any of the following available on NTSC Region 1 DVD, let us know! What we do not have: Feherlofia (Jankovics), Goodbye Mr. Christie (Mulloy), The Tale of the Fox (Starewicz), Only Yesterday (Takahata), Mind Game (Yuasa), Consuming Spirits (Sullivan).

Looking through the list, are your favorites included? Any titles you think should have made the list but didn’t? Let us know in the comments.

Here are their Top 10:
10. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – V-AN A535 Fan DVD
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – V-AN B877 NigC DVD
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – V-AN D476 Sno DVD
7. The Iron Giant (1999) – V-AN B573 IroS DVD
6. Dumbo (1941) – V-AN D476 Dum DVD
5. The Incredibles (2004) – V-AN B573 Inc DVD
4. Toy Story (1995) – V-AN D476 Toy1 DVD
3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – V-AN M592 My DVD
2. Spirited Away (2001) – V-AN M592 Spi DVD
1. Pinocchio (1940) – V-AN D476 Pin DVD

Definitive Fairy Punk Eno Place Lego Set – new books!

The LEGO book / by Daniel Lipkowitz. – TS2301.T7 L455 2012

Brian Eno : visual music / by Christopher Scoates – N6797.E55 A4 2013

Fairy tale comics : classic tales told by extraordinary cartoonists / edited by Chris Duffy – PN6720 .F35 2013

Fashion : the definitive history of costume and style / produced in association with the Smithsonian consultant, Susan Brown – GT511 .F365 2012

Art & place : site-specific art of the Americas. – NX456.5.S57 A78 2013

Punk : an aesthetic / edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage – ML3534 .P863 2012

Food for Fines – Spring 2014

Need to clear some fines in order to graduate or check stuff out, or maybe just to have a clean slate? This semester we are extending the normal Food for Fines period to three weeks!

When: April 14-May 5 (last day of the semester)
What: You bring in canned food items. Each one knocks $2 off your fine total.

All of the food goes to City Harvest, to help those in need. Clear your fines for a good cause – everyone wins!

Image by Helen Kwok.

Eco-fonts? Typography in the News


You may have seen the story recently about high schoolers who calculated that the US government could save as much as $400 million dollars by switching from Times New Roman to Garamond, because the latter used so much less ink due to its thinner lines. Appealing as this proposal might be, it had some flaws to do with legibility (since 12 point Garamond is really 15% smaller than 12 point Times New Roman, therefore harder to read) and government printing costs have more to do with per page contracts with outside vendors than direct ink purchases. That said, the basic idea is sound, as shown by the case of Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial, which made mid-70s phone books more legible while cutting ink costs.

In the wake of this news, Ryman Eco, a free font designed to reduce ink use by 33% has just been offered to the public in order to cut environmental waste and printing costs. To my amateur’s eye, it resembles Helvetica in outline, but built with fine lines that “take advantage of how ink bleeds on paper“. At a small size, it appears solid. Scaled up, the lines create a dynamic look.
>>[Ryman-eco creator and Monotype Director Dan]Rhatigan says that the key with Ryman Eco was to find the perfect balance between saving ink, legibility and esthetics, which he did by looking at how our eyes and brains compensate by filling in ‘missing’ areas of what we see.<<

In the stacks:

Design futuring : sustainability, ethics, and new practice / Tony Fry – NK1510 .F77 2009

20th-Century type / written by Lewis Blackwell – Z250.A2 B57 2004

Getting it printed : how to work with printers and graphic arts services to assure quality, stay on schedule and control costs / Mark Beach & Eric Kenly. -Z243.U5 B4 1999

Green graphic design / Brian Dougherty ; with Celery Design Collaborative – NC997 .D64 2008

Eco design : the sourcebook / Alastair Fuad-Luke. – TS171.4 .F83 2002

At the New York International Children’s Film Festival, pt.3

Pt.3 from Keisha L. Wilkerson-Gammage, Cataloging technician at the library and SVA alumna:
My co-workers say that I practically live at the school. Well, ever since the festival has picked us as a venue, camping out at the SVA Theater from 11am-9pm, sure feels that way. Surprisingly there was plenty of “free” food being passed around. Whole Foods, Stonyfield, Organic Valley and Ms. Meyers were some of festival’s sponsors who attended passing out an endless supply of goodies. To quote the flyer:

“Get your snack on with FREE TASTY TREATS to keep you from talking during the movie! All day at SVA Theater.”

Talk about making a kid’s day. Made my day – it’s not everyday you get yogurt pouches pushed on you by hunky guys. Nothing but organic snack foods for the whole day. For the cow bean-bag toss I thought they had to play for chocolate milk. I found out that the cow toss was just to get kids active. The raffle was for $50 worth of free Organic Valley products. After the milk was gone, in came the string cheese.

Topping off this weekend were three special film entries.

“It’s not nice to mess with Aunt Hilda”:


Known in it’s native France as “Tante Hilda!“, the film was produced by studio Folimage, and directed by Jacques-Remy Girerd (A Cat in Paris, Mia and the Migoo – click the links to see the SVA Library’s copy information) and Benoit Cheiux. Aunt Hilda! tells tale of a woman named Hilda who lives as a botanist far away from the world of polluted cities, dust cropping fields and GNO (OGNs). She’s a “flower child”, literally. Her life is at peace with nature. However that peace becomes short lived when a genetic experiment, headed by the corporate conglomerate DOLO, goes awry. The end result gives life to the ultimate Frankenplant that could very well destroy Earth’s eco system. It’s up to Hilda to save the day. The animation style of this feature harkens back to what they called the “flower power” classics. The retro 70′s animation style of rough lines and color can clearly be seen in this film. Considering this film was made in the 2000s. Despite it’s small use of CGI, this film could still be displayed alongside a animated film from the 70′s and feel right at home. The one thing I found interesting about this film is that it has a more complex narrative than previous films by Girerd, as it deals with touchy subjects, like GMOs, corporate greed and politics. Like Mia and the Migoo, both films deal with issues of preserving nature and the dangers of what happens when man treads too far, disrupting the natural order of things. All and all it’s a wonderful film to see and a grand piece of work. The families that attended seemed to enjoy the film as well. The Frankenplant had quite a few children on the edge of their seats. This film definitely deserves a DVD release here. Mia and Migoo and A Cat in Paris are available at the SVA Library. So come check them out. I highly recommend them.

Jacque-Remy Girerd was not available for this screening but was available the previous weekend for the film’s debut. Sadly I could not attend due to a clash in the scheduling.

This film also contains the 7 deadly sins, massive honey consumption and attack bees. “Go Bees!!”

“Are you afraid of falling to the ground or falling into the sky?”


This weekend, crowds got to see the North American premier of the anime feature ‘Patema Inverted’ (Sakasama Patema), directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura. This is possibly the 5th work by the director and screenwriter. Yoshiura is best known for his sci-fi work; ‘Time of Eve’ (Ebu no Jikan) series which was screened back in 2010 as part of the festival’s “adult” segment. Like ‘Time of Eve’, ‘Patema Inverted’ was originally produced as a four part ONA (Online Net Animation), which streamed online in Japan back in 2012 under the title Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day. In 2013 it was compressed into a full length feature film.

The story follows a girl named Patema, who lives in a underground civilization. Or is it? Due to her curiosity of trying to explore and find other worlds, she accidentally finds herself falling into another world where she’s upside down and they’re right side up. Or are they? She meets a young boy her age, named Age. The world in which he lives, is controlled by totalitarian society the likes of George Orwell’s, 1984. Where the freedom to think and dream are to be cast out and accept what you’re told. People who have fled the surface due to the great past catastrophe are known as the “inverted” or “sinners”. But which is the “real” world? Yoshiura’s take on using perspective to tell the tale is somewhat original and a different take on another beloved Ghibli classic film Castle in the Sky, by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s like taking a classic work and re-creating it in different way, but the similarities are almost uncanny. Some years ago director, producer and screenwriter, Makoto Shinkai, creator of Voices from a Distant Star, did a feature titled ‘Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, which was screened back in 2012 (which is now available on DVD). This film while different in it’s plot held many influences from Castle in the Sky. However Patema Inverted’s plot shares a much stronger connection with visuals and pacing that is right on the same level as Castle in the Sky. The only thing missing is the “blue” stone. It’s still an excellent film. In a way I’d say it pays homage to past Ghibli works. The reaction from the crowd pretty much summed it up. I sat between two mothers who’s daughters held different reactions. The one on my left had her knees up to her chin with her eyes covered, while the girl on my right, who was a little older, held onto her mother for dear life. Yet it was her mother who felt the movie was so intense. Did she enjoy it? I did. Hopefully this title will see a release here.

Time of Eve, is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and has since been available on DVD.

“One part history, one part fiction, connecting the beauty of Ghibli and Kenji Miyazawa.”

The last entry was the North American premier of the anime feature ‘Giovanni’s Island’ (Gionvania no Shima), directed by Nishikubo Mizuho.

Released in theaters in Japan on February of this year this film came as an unexpected but highly welcomed entry to the festival. This was a very heartfelt film. I tell you there was not a dry eye in that theater. Screenwriter Yoshiki Sakurai (see photos below), was available for the debut, and did Q&A after the film. Sakurai is best known for his work on the Ghost in the Shell series. Produced by studio Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell, Jinroh, A Letter to Momo, Blood the Last Vampire, etc…) Giovanni’s Island tells the story of two young boys Junpei and Kanta, who dub themselves Giovanni and Campanella, characters from the popular classic children’s novel ‘Night of the Galactic Railroad’, by Kenji Miyazawa, published in 1927. Their story takes place on the Japanese island of Shikotan, which became part of the Sakhalin Oblast during the Soviet occupation after WWII. This is a feature that deals with the hardships of war and and an occupied territory. While these elements are part of the plot the main point of the film revolves around the friendships created by the children during those troubling times. The downside is the reality one has to face that your friend is still one with the enemy. Director Nishikubo felt that this was a story that needed to be told. Sakurai during the Q&A, stated that while the film does contain fictional elements, some of which revolve around Kenji Miyazawa, they wanted the film to still be true to telling the history of a past event. Originally, conceived as a live-action film, the producers had to take a different approach due to the restrictions regarding the actual place of events. He stated that only residents born of Shikotan are allowed to return to their homeland. So they decided to make the film into a 2D animated feature allowing them the freedom to produce such a work. Another plus, was finding and speaking to past survivors that could give them historical details on the events on that time. The casting for this film features both Japanese and Russian speakers playing their respective roles giving it an authentic flavor of diversities trying to overcome the language barrier. Giovanni’s Island is a grand piece of work, of an untold story. One woman stood during Q&A, as she addressed Sakurai and her voice cracked as she stated how much she loved this film. She stated that “we need to see more films like this” not only to entertain but used as a way to teach history reaching a wider audience. One man asked if there was any influence with Isao Takahata’s ‘Grave of the Firefiles‘ and Mark Hermans’ ‘Boy with the Striped Pajamas’. Sakurai agreed that there were indeed strong influences to this film, especially Isao Takahata. I feel this film will be elected for an award and a license for a DVD release. Only one more week until the awards ceremony that will decide which films will receive an Academy Award, and possibly a North American releases.

President and co-founder of the NYICFF, Eric Beckman, is ever-present, as always:

Screenwriter Yoshiki Sakurai:

Beckman & Sakurai:

Pictures attached of the event. President and co-founder Eric Beckman, of the NYICFF is ever present as always. Shaking hands and speaking with parents who have either been with the festival in the past or are first timers.

Beer Label Design Crit from Milton Glaser


Designer of the Brooklyn Brewery brand identity, Milton Glaser offers concise, pithy takes on a selection of craft beer bottles.

Glaser: “The one thing you don’t want to look like is Budweiser. This creates a paradox: How do you deliberately create the illusion of not knowing what you’re doing when you actually do?”

To peruse an international array of beer labels and see more of Glaser’s work:

Art is work : graphic design, interiors, objects, and illustrations / Milton Glaser – NC999.4.G55 A4 2000 Oversize Stacks

Package design book / Jean Jacques & Brigitte Evrard – TS195.4 .P345 2010

The International book of beer labels, mats & coasters / Keith Osborne, Brian Pipe. -NC1002.B4 C8

<img src=" beer1.jpg
Beer : a connoisseur’s guide to the world’s best / Christopher Finch. – TP577.F56 1989 Oversize Stacks

Beer coasters collection / Naoki Mukoda. – NK3651.5.M84

At the New York International Children’s Film Festival, pt.2

Pt.2 from Keisha L. Wilkerson-Gammage, Cataloging technician at the library and SVA alumna:
This Saturday I had the chance of attending the world premier of Foosball; screened at the SVA Theater. Known as Metegol in Argentina, the film was directed by Juan J. Campanella, whose career spans such works as ’30 Rock’, ‘House MD’, ‘Law and Order: SVU’ and ‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent (on going), Strangers with Candy and Six Degrees. Other notables are the ‘The Boy Who Cried Bitch’ and ‘Love Walked in’.


Foosball is Juan J. Campanella’s “first” animated film and I must say the graphic work was amazing. On first glance it doesn’t look like much due to the stylization but under closer inspection you can see such a great attention to detail with the characters and overall surroundings. The worn out paint finish on the foosball characters made you feel like these humanoid pieces of time honored pastime had seen a lot of action throughout their years. I’ve seen many foosball tables but never understood how they worked, until seeing this film. It was a big turn out for a lot of Spanish speaking families that day. I’m amazed at how popular soccer is over baseball in those countries. Lots of reactions from parents and children who attended. It was a very heart felt film, I even teared up. The film also comes with a disclaimer stating that it contains some “cultural in-sensitivities” as well as content that you won’t see in American mainstream animation. Aside from that it’s a very fun and family friendly film. Foosball tells the story of a father and son’s disconnect and later reconnection as the son learns the significance (and mystique) behind his father’s Foosball table. Sadly the director was unavailable for this event. Foosball was a box office hit in it’s native Argentina, as well as other Spanish speaking countries, Europe and parts as well as Asian speaking countries. I really hope that this film does get a DVD release.

On Sunday I finally had the chance to attend the English premier of ‘Ernest and Celestine‘; screened at the IFC. It was a pretty good turnout for a Sunday. Surprisingly, this crowd was pretty lively. Co-director Benjamin Renner attended this screening giving a brief introduction before the film and Q&A at the end. During the session Renner stated that ‘Ernest and Celestine’ had been in production for 4 years.

I had the chance to speak with him briefly after the crowd had dispersed. He had to prepare for the next screening later that evening. Renner stated that the film is mostly 2D hand drawn animation done on a computers and tablets. He admitted that CG (assist) was used in the film, while not obvious unless you know what to look for this film still acts and breathes like any 2D film you’ve ever seen. The simple line work and washed water colors gives off a storybook effect that is reminiscent to the children’s books we’ve read as children. Renner does hope to have another opportunity to work on other animated projects but couldn’t comment what works he’ll be doing in the future, if any. Renner stated that he’s possibly going to work on a graphic novel sometime in the near future.

Benjamin Renner:

Ernest and Celestine will be continuing it’s run at the IFC for the remainder of this week as part of the festival. If you didn’t/don’t get a chance to see it in the theaters, the BD/DVD will be available in June of this year. We’ve already put in our preorder. More details about the production of the film will be available in the DVD, states Renner. Ernest and Celestine; directed by Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner is their own take on a prequel based on the original books produced by Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent during the early 80s. The books have since been reprinted some years ago. Ernest and Celestine is the story of a friendship between two unlikely individuals. Celestine a mouse (orphan) and Ernest (poor recluse) a bear.

100 Illustrators – ed. by Steven Heller & Julius Weidemann

The SVA Library received a large donation of books on illustration and design from Steven Heller, for which a bookmark sticker was created by Louise Fili, a designer and scholar in her own right. Looking at Heller’s latest editorial collaboration, 100 Illustrators, I was amused to find an 8-bit caricature of Heller gracing the opening page of vol. 1 (vol. 2 has a very different illustration of Julius Wiedemann, I presume). You can see the contrast above. Vive le difference!

100 illustrators / ed. Steven Heller & Julius Wiedemann – NC998.4 .O54 2013 v.1-v.2

Among the 100 are the following SVA faculty and/or alumni (and possibly more): Marshall Arisman, Steve Brodner, Seymour Chwast, Paul Davis, Tomer Hanuka, Paul Hoppe, Mirko Ilić, Maira Kalman, Hanoch Piven, and Yuko Shimizu. See below to explore these artists further:

Modern mixed media with Marshall Arisman – V-A A747 Mod DVD

Freedom fries / by Steve Brodner – NC1426.3.B76 B76 2004

Left-handed designer / by Seymour Chwast ; edited by Steven Heller – NC999.4.C48 A4 1985

Paul Davis Posters & paintings / text by Paul Davis. – NC1850.D38 A4 1977 Location: Reinhold Brown Collection – Library Use Only

Overkill : the art of Tomer Hanuka / designed and edited by Anton Ioukhnovets – NC973.8.H36 O84 2011

Mirko Ilić : fist to face / by Dejan Kršić – NC999.6.B67 K75 2012

Maira Kalman : various illuminations (of a crazy world) / Ingrid Schaffner – N6537.K236 A4 2010

What presidents are made of / by Hanoch Piven – PZ7.P68 Wha 2004

Yuko Shimizu / Yuko Shimizu. – NC975.5.S54 A4 2011

At the New York International Children’s Film Festival, pt.1

Keisha L. Wilkerson-Gammage, Cataloging technician at the library and SVA alumna, brings us this report:
This was the first weekend of the New York International Children’s Film Festival, which the SVA Theater is now a proud part of, increasing the list of venues around NYC.

My first stop was the IFC Theater.

“It’s a coming of age story. About 10 year olds, black envelopes and palindromes.”:

Directed by Alfredo Soderguit, ‘Anina‘ is the latest entry from Uruguay. The film is based on the popular children’s novel ‘Anina Yatay Salas’ written by Sergio Lopez Suarez. Anina tells the story of a 10 year old girl who’s name lands her in a bit of hot water. After having a skirmish with another student, named Yisel, both are sent to the principal’s office and given one of the strangest punishments ever. Each receives a black envelope sealed with wax that they must carry with them at all times, unable to open them until the punishment is over. This sets both students on a path allowing them to grow as individuals. And sometimes what you know isn’t really what you thought. Lessons learned. I really enjoyed this film. The music score aided the visuals perfectly. The animation direction is a combination of 2D and paper animaton; giving it a storybook feel which is the overall charm of the film. Even in its simplicity, there were small details that made it feel somewhat realistic, from the moisture on the outside windows of the city bus on a rainy day, to the movement when it turns the corner. You can see how it feels like paper cut-outs, but the animation is smooth giving a realistic feel. Anina is a really fun film to watch and a testament to how 2D animated works like these can still be made and given new life.

My second stop was the SVA Theater for the North American premier of ‘The House of Magic‘ in 3D.
During my wait to see House of Magic I shot some photos of Brazilian artist Ale Abreu (click thumbnails below for full size images of Abreu), who attended the debut of his new film Boy and the World. Abreu seen here signing posters before his Q&A session. Due to unforeseeable matters, I unfortunately did not get the chance to attend this event.


“Eccentric magicians, cats and a surly old curmudgeon of a rabbit. That FACE!!!”

House of Magic tells the story of an abandoned cat who ends up taking shelter at a mysterious mansion owned by a retired magician. Given the name ‘Thunder’ by the kindly Lawrence, he’s quickly adopted into the family of animated “do-hickeys” and “thinga-ma-bobs”. However his happiness is short-lived due to the current residents; Jack and Maggie who’ve been with the “old man” longer and they “don’t take kindly to freeloaders”. But Thunder is the least of their worries because Lawrence’s nephew wants EVERYONE gone, and with good reason.

House of Magic is the latest film produced by nWave Pictures. Directed by Ben Strassen and Jeremy Degruson who’s previous works, are Fly Me to the Moon and A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures. The film was released in France last year in 2013, but has since been dubbed in English to reach a wider audience. It has been said that Strassen’s work rivals that of current 3D animation studios. With great attention to detail with lighting, textures and fluid movements, it truly is a quality piece of work in action. Some of the lighting effects during the day and the shadows gave me a feeling of nostalgia. It was a 3D film but somehow I felt like I was looking at a block I used to live during my childhood. I truly enjoyed this little feature. It is definitely a film worth seeing with family members. It truly needs a US DVD release.

The NYICFF is held annually around the first Friday in March through the end of the month. The festival has now chosen the SVA Theater in addition to their list of screening venues. Eric Beckman founded the NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival back in 1997. He’s the president and co-founder. The goal was to establish a festival solely for children to enjoy films from all over the world. Since then the festival has grown exponentially, to Oscar level. So if you have any children and you want them to see a variety of different animated and indie films [from all over the world] other than the usual mainstream, this is a festival just for them.

Learning the Business Lessons of a Creative Break-up

Following up on the recent post of ‘A Font is Born: Inside the Creative Process of Hoefler and Frere-Jones’, the oddly timed short documentary on their partnership which dissolved shortly after the filming, FastCo Design has four lessons for creatives to draw from the legal fracas. Here are the bullet points, but click the link for the details:

To explore the professional side of working in the design field:

The education of a typographer / edited by Steven Heller – Z250 .E295 2004

The Creative business guide to running a graphic design business / Cameron S. Foote – NC998.5.A1 F663 2009

The Graphic design business book / Tad Crawford – NC1001.6 .C69 2005

Inside the business of graphic design : 60 leaders share their secrets of success / Catharine Fishel. – NC1001 .F56 2003

Becoming a graphic designer : a guide to careers in design / Steven Heller & Teresa Fernandes. – NC1001 .H45 2006

Burn your portfolio : stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should / Michael Janda. – NC590 .J363 2013