Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday Marc Davis..

The great Disney animator and teacher Marc Davis would be 100 years old today. Marc has always been one of my heroes due to the fact that he animated the most METAL character of all time.. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.

Friday, March 29, 2013


MoCCA Arts Fest, April 6 + 7

I have very good news to report - the great MoCCA Arts Festival lives!

There was a danger that it might disappear into oblivion because MoCCA (The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) was having financial difficulties, but it was saved at the last minute by a white knight, The Society of Illustrators, one of my favorite organizations.

In the past, the Arts Festival was held in the Puck Building on Houston St. in NYC, but now it's been moved to the 69th Regiment Armory on 68 Lexington Ave. at 25th St. and the dates are April 6 and 7.

The reason I love this annual event is it doesn't allow the big corporate comic companies to exhibit.  Thus, they specialize in indie artists like me - so the artwork and stories are a lot more adventurous and interesting.  And now, since the Society of Illustrators in involved, you're going to see a much higher level of artists, maybe even some cartoon superstars.

I will have a table there - where I'll be selling my new DVDs and recent books, including the Focal Press book "Make Toons that Sell Without Selling Out", plus I'll have artwork from my entire career for sale at flea-market prices.

And then on Sunday, April 7 at 4:30 I'll be moderating a panel on animation - the guests will be Signe Baumane, the Diva of Indie Animation, plus the glamorous geniuses Joy Vaccese and Noelle Melody.

So this is a must-see event!  For more details, visit the Society of Illustrators' web-site at:

or the Festival's Facebook page at:

April 6 + 7, 2013, from 11 am to 6 pm.  See you there!

Bill P.

The Croods

I've just returned from the screening of Dreamworks' "The Croods" and I was pleasantly surprised by the film.  I don't know why, because it was co-directed by Chris Sanders, who's famous for directing "Lilo & Stitch", one of my faves.

What really impressed me was the story.  It was definitely a "family" film - very cuddly and pro-family values.  But the jokes were also quite good and the action scenes were very visceral and thrilling.

My problem, as usual, was with the character design, which was very bland and homogenized.  The monsters looked like their creators gathered all the scary attributes of evil characters, then threw them in a blender, from which out popped a dozen prehistoric predators.

Now that I think of it, that's how Stitch from "Lilo & Stitch" looked...  There was no feeling that these animals were real evolutionary beings.

The giant sabertooth tiger is a great example - they designed him using all the colors of the rainbow.  It looked like some juiced-up graffiti artist went gonzo on the poor animal.

Still, the story and humor kept me involved in the film.  And good news, it's doing very well at the box office.

I give "The Croods" a "B".

Matchstick men by Wolfgang Stiller..

Thought provoking and technically impressive sculptures by german artist Wolfgang Stiller. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Big Eyes

Monday, March 25, 2013

Face of a Woman

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blank on Blank for PBS..

Larry King tells his story of "Getting Seduced"
I've been doing this series called "Blank on Blank".. a series of lost interviews with various celebrities and famous personalities. It's a very interesting project, and lots of fun to draw and define the conversations and stories in visual terms.
I kept the design very basic in order to produce 3-4 minutes in less than two weeks.

Me and the executive producer, David Gerlach, are producing 13 of these episodes for PBS Digital. For me, it's a personal milestone in production because each 3-4 minute segment was completed script to screen in only two weeks.  Here's a great blurb about it on Esquire. Lots more to come... Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful

Sorry for the late review of the new Sam Raimi version of the L. Frank Baum stories - but I've been trying to wrap up the animation for CHEATIN'. 

I saw "Oz" last week and I loved the intro, where James Franco plays a philandering road-show magician.  Then it goes into the colorful world of Oz, and it kind of loses its charm.  The characters are very badly designed, especially the monkey.

And the story, which is sort of a prequel to the famous Judy Garland version, takes a while to build up momentum.  Mila Kunis is great as one of the witches (I won't say which witch) but then they slap a bunch of cheap prosthetics on her face, and all her charm is gone.

But the worst part is the casting of James Franco as Oscar Diggs (Oz).  He's a wonderful actor when playing beefcake characters, but this role demands buckets of charm and personality.  They should have used a more famous actor, like Robert Downey Jr. or John Cusack, but not a pretty boy.

My enthusiasm returned at the final, climactic battle.  I loved the projected image on the bonfire, that was a lot of fun - but to me, the film could have used more whimsy and humor.

I give "Oz the Great and Powerful" a B-.

Friday, March 15, 2013

CHEATIN' Test screening

I firmly believe that test screenings are an important step in releasing a successful film. I've held test screenings for all of my animated films since “I Married a Strange Person”.

Since we're close to finishing CHEATIN', I decided to have a test screening at the wonderful Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

We had a terrific sell-out crowd, plus some of the key creatives were there to help with the presentation: producer Desirée Stavracos, composer Nicole Renaud, editor Kevin Palmer and executive producer James Hancock.

As a keepsake, I gave all the audience members worn down pencils from the production from the production of the film. So it was very cool that people could write critical remarks with a pencil that was also used in the film's creation.

I instructed everyone to give negative comments that would make the film better. I wanted to know if anything was confusing or boring, and how I could improve it.

The audience seemed to enjoy the film, they laughed a number of times, and there was welcome applause at the end.

After the screening, I held a short Q&A session to get people's thoughts and ideas for improvements. Then, after we all retired to the lobby for drinks, everyone who participated in the test was given a drawing of either Ella or Jake.

I'm now collating the results of the questionnaires, and deciding how to improve the story. It's great when most of the listed problems are similar – thank goodness there was a clear consensus about what needs to be fixed. That makes it so much easier to solve these problems quickly.

I think that artists who don't want feedback on their films really don't care if people like what they make. Filmmakers have to decide if they're making movies for themselves or the audience. I'm making the movie so the audience has a good time – and that's why I believe in test screenings. 


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Patrick Smith's "MASKS" on-line Premiere..

The previously unavailable "MASKS" is now unleashed for public consumption. "Masks" had a two year festival run, and has done pretty well.. Please share it with whomever you think will enjoy it:) There's a couple good reviews out, Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew, and also some really kind words over at io9. I would love it if this film gets out there, because it's initial release was a lot more limited than some of my other films.

I'm also trying something new, I created a store to sell some drawings from the film (one of the benefits from drawing on paper:) Please visit the store here.

"Masks" Animated Short Film (2011) from Patrick Smith on Vimeo.

A bit about "Masks":
In 2009, my good friend and musician Karl von Kries created a seven minute audio score, I listened to it.. listened to it again.. and again.. and then I drew the images that came to my head.  I created a story about masked men that exploit an edible smaller species to near extinction, then a renegade scientist perfects a cloning process to satisfy the demand... but the clones conceal a destructive secret.

Winner Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival 2012
Winner Jury Prize Durango Film Festival 2012 
Winner ASIFA-East (Association Internationale du Film d'Animation) 2011
Winner Animated Surrealism Award DragonCon Film Festival (given by Ralph Bakshi), 2011
Winner Anima Mundi, Brazil, 2011

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bob Godfrey (1921-2013)

I have some very sad news to report.  One of my animation heroes passed away last month.

I remember when I was at college at Portland State, I went to the local Portland Film Festival and they had a program of animated shorts.  One of the films was particularly interesting, it was called "The Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit", by Bob Godfrey of England.

It was one of the funniest, most clever films I'd ever seen.  And what was really amazing was that it wasn't made by a big studio - it was done by this Bob guy on his own.  "Wow," I thought, "it's possible to make animated films outside of the studio system?  That's unbelievable!"

The technique of the film was collage - a style that would later be used in "Frankfilm" by Frank Morris and also by Terry Gilliam in the great Monty Python TV series. 

Years later, when I started going to the Annecy Animation Festival, I had the opportunity to meet my hero, Bob - and he was a very kind yet profane guy.  He seemed to like my films, and we began a sort of mutual admiration society. 

Of course, he went on to make other great animated films such as "Great" and "Instant Sex", but I'll always remember the first time I saw my first indie animated film by the great Bob Godfrey.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nitehawk Cinema / Simpsons Couch Gag #2

I have two great pieces of news to report - one is a reminder about the first test screening of my new animated feature, CHEATIN'. 

I'm inviting friends, fans and strangers to come see the film and give me their critiques.  It's also a wonderful opportunity to see the creative process in action. 

You'll get to see the film with rough sound and music.  Some parts of the film have not been completed, so part of the story is just told in pencil drawings, which give the film a raw look.  It's important that I present the film at this stage to audiences, even though there may some confusion, before I make the final edit.  I would hate to show the finished film in festivals and have people all criticize the same weakness in the story.  By that point, it would be too late to make changes.

So that's why the test audience is so important.  Please help us make a perfect film by coming to the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Tuesday, March 12 at 9:30 pm.  There are still a few tickets available.  Buy them here:

Also, as you may already know, I animated a second Couch Gag for the opening of "The Simpsons", but it was pulled at the last minute for legal reasons.  Well, they've finally rescheduled the new short for this coming Sunday, March 10.  So tell your friends to watch for it, and see if you can guess why the spot was pulled.

Talk to you soon -


Friday, March 1, 2013

New Thomas Thesen Drawings..

I grabbed these from Facebook. The two monster drawings (above and below) I saw when I stopped by his office the other day, they're very beautifully rendered in ink and marker.. something so much more valuable than a digital drawing. Visit his site here. Enjoy.