Category Archives: visiting artist

Laputa Art Animation School

There’s a wonderful school for animation in Asagaya, Tokyo, called Laputa Art Animation School. Students range from 20 years old to 50 years old, from beginners to professionals who want to study further. It has such an amazing energy and I’ve always been curious about the school. Thanks to Ms.Ito from Office H who organized this event for me and I was so excited to mingle with the students.
The founder / main faculty is Fumiko Magari, an amazing stop-motion animator and also one of the most energetic artists I’ve ever met! Almost all the stop-motion I have watched growing up were animated by Ms.Magari. Like these…!

Japanese students are shy, it took so long for them to start asking questions :)
I’d love to take Ms.Magari’s class one day, to learn from the master.

CGSOCIETY meet the Artist

From CG Society:

Meet our Artists-in-Residence for May, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata from Tiny Inventions. They’ll be holding a live Q & A web session on Tuesday 3rd June at 7pm PDT. It’s free – (registration essential). Log in from anywhere in the world! Click here to register:
Places are limited so please register only if you’re planning on attending. The session will be recorded and the link put in the CGSociety forum thread here:
Hope to see you there!

Workshop @ MICA MFA Illustration Practice

Last month…..(Yes, I am very behind with my post), I did a 3-days animation workshop at MICA’s MFA Illustration department.
It was a quick crash course covering “what is animation” to “How to animate with Dragonframe.” As everybody introduced themselves, I did a quick sketch of the grad students so I could remember their names & faces.

Working with Illustrators is quite fun because they already have interesting styles to work with. Going over their portfolios and storyboards were really fun. I came home very inspired to challenge myself with new design styles.

I have a feeling that some people got “hooked” to animation :)
Thanks Jaime Zollars for organizing this workshop. I hope all their animations came out great.

CutOut Fest in Queretaro, Mexico

Thank you CutOut Festival for inviting us to Queretaro, Mexico. The people were so welcoming there and the energy was fantastic. It’s a promising festival and I can guarantee that whomever has the chance to go, GO! You’ll have the best festival experience for sure.

The journey from Baltimore to Queretaro was a bit rough since we had to wake up at 4:30 am and we arrived at the festival at 9pm. But the exhaustion went away immediately when we saw our old friends welcoming us. I love that film festivals are becoming reunions for us. As long as we all keep making films, we’ll always bump into each other at a random country.

We were asked to give a 3 days mixed media workshop during the festival. We used a class room from Tecnológico de Monterrey, a very beautiful and large university in Queretaro.

It started as 18 participants but each day, somebody brought his/her friend and I think it was eventually about 23 students or so. Day 01 was all about designing characters and creating puppets. There is nothing better than intense faces with the smell of glue gun!

Day 02- Max discussing about lighting, dragon frame, etc. All the puppets were photographed and digitized in photoshop.

These are some of the puppets waiting to be photographed. Aren’t they so fun?

Group shot!
Unfortunately we didn’t get to animate or composite. If you’re one of the participants reading this, will you please animate your puppet and show it to us? We’d love to see them come alive…! I wish the workshop was 5 days. 3 days went by too quick. We barely finished riging on day 03. But what a way to connect with Mexican animators and create something together.

Big thanks to Paco, our assistant. The key to running a nice class is to have a wonderful TA who does everything a step ahead of you.

Conference, Artist Talk
Courtesy of Cutout, here are some photos of us.

Look at the crowd! We were so happy that the auditorium was packed. The audience was energetic, expressive, warm and supportive.
Often we made a lecture on “How to”, going over our production process. But this time we felt strongly that we needed to discuss on “Why” instead of “How”. It’s not easy to share such emotional ups-and-downs we go through with our work and I was not sure how the audience would react to our presentation. I must say I enjoyed it very much….*smile*


A very cool party, “Lost Highway”, was organized at an old factory. We sort of got lost in the van on the way and ended up in a deserted abandoned factory. Everybody was scared of course imagining the worst. (Max probably has the wildest imagination when it comes to situation like this. *referencing “Something Left, Something Taken”)

It was fun to talk with old friends and make new friends. It was too much fun chatting up that there is no picture of our friends. Well, let’s say that the fun is embedded in my memory.

I must say, after two small glasses of Mezcal, I reached my limit.

Press Conference

During the whole festival, everyone kept saying “Mexican time” which means that it will be late about 15min-2 hours. We were late for the conference but I didn’t rush thinking this is also “Mexican time”. I got there 15 minutes late and 2 staff members from the festival was looking for us. I guess “Mexican time” does not work for us…

Since the day one, a lot of people came up to us for our autographs and pictures. It was strange. Nobody ever asked for my autograph, ever. They made me feel like a celebrity but I was slightly confused because we are nerdy animators after all. But again, I had an autograph of a not-so-famous comic artist that I kept preciously for years. It was nicely put into a plastic case to be admired. Somehow I felt like it was a window leading me into the wonderful world of artist.

@ 6:00 pm on the last day
We wanted to go see our friend, Mikey Please ‘s talk. He’s a genius filmmaker and I had a list of questions to ask him. The press conference lasted a bit longer and when I looked at my watch, the artist talk had already started.
This is what happened…

So yes, we missed Mikey’s artist talk but instead experienced Mexican hospital. Mikey, this is why we weren’t there!!!

Do you want to see the tree that gave 3 stitches to Max?

Lastly, thank you to CutOut Fest and congratulations for another successful year.
Thank you for having us and please bring us back again because we fell in love with Queretaro and the warm people whom welcomed us.

Illustrators 56 @ Society of Illustrators

It was such an honor to be one of the judges at the Society of Illustrators’ annual competition. I wish I could write about some of the discussions that we had during the judging, but of course that is confidential. I have fond memories about the Society because I won an award in the student competition 8 years ago.

“St. Patricks Cathedral” drawn by Ru in 2004 for Veronica Lawlor’s class @ Parsons

Eating lunch with all the judges and Jillian Tamaki (Chair of the competition) was too short. I had way too many questions to ask for everybody. I felt like a little girl surrounded by tons of pro ball players.

Being back in NYC was another treat. Seeing great friends, taking L train, being back in the old neighborhood, having a tea in a cafe across from my old work place, passing by Parsons and walking down streets like I had never left.
I returned home with a lot of energy, inspiration and motivation to keep moving forward.