Concept artists work across diverse industries – automotive, video games, animation, theater, movies and toys – to bring ideas to life. Recently, Senior Concept Artist Chris Bourassa at Vancouver-based Propaganda Games shared some of his tips for emerging artists interested in working on concept art for video games and film. Read More

Author and Scholastic Writing Award alumnus Ned Vizzini’s first novel, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, is being adapted into a movie by Focus Features and will be released this October. The story is inspired by events in the author’s own life.

ONE READER ASKED: Can writers choose the actors who appear in movies about their books? Did you get to choose the actor who plays you in your movie?

NED SAID: No, writers do not get to choose the actors who appear in films based on their books. Those decisions are made by a casting director, whose name you see in the credits of the film — and that’s okay! It’s the writer’s job to write a good book. It’s the casting director’s job to pick the best cast. Read More

Dominique Bloink is an illustrator who is 14 years old and has her own production company, Blue Chocolate Designs.

I became aware of her work during the 2009 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards competition, when I proctored the adjudication of the Video & Animation category.

At the national level, each of the regional gold keys is judged by a group of knowledgeable professionals in that particular medium. For the Video & Animation category, we had three directors. We also had a projector, assorted snacks, and unlimited coffee provided by Scholastic, Inc. Someone must be present to move the process along, because—always—the caliber of the work leads to deep consideration, the request to revisit a moment or image, and rather passionate discussion.

If I hadn’t been there to call “Time” these people would drop off the face of the earth and their films would never get finished.

Most of the videos that they judges (and I) saw were shockingly-accomplished, technically. Humbling. Likewise, all were—had to be, to make it that far—fresh and thought-provoking. They ran the gamut from taut, wordless vignettes to large-scale feature-length works with big casts and impressive special effects. We barely made it out of the Scholastic building by the end of normal business hours, because the judges were so intent on giving each entry its due consideration.

Ms. Bloink’s entry was a music video for the Swedish artist Melpo Mene. I am not exaggerating to say that when it came on—from the first second the hand-drawn title screen flickered to life—everyone’s jaws dropped. When it ended, there was a pretty unanimous request to watch it once more.

What we had been given was a perfect pop song accompanying a gorgeous, sometimes-literal, hand-drawn…stop-motion cartoon?

It was something I had not encountered before, unless you count someone like the South African artist William Kentridge. More than just hand-drawn images filmed fast enough to suggest motion, the process was evident in the final product.

While Kentridge includes eraser marks and past action in his pieces, Ms. Bloink lets you see the “special effects” she employs to show…the fingers of a cellist playing a melody, for example. Flowers blossoming and blowing away. Notes flying through the air. Night-time falling.

There is one especially genius bit—as the song makes a pretty dramatic transition from pure, blissful appreciation to darkness as the love sours—where Ms. Bloink uses a title card on…what could be a skewer, to draw attention (again) to the fact that this is not 2-D, flat animation.

It is reminiscent of Godard’s Week-End, where the exhortation to “notice the presence of a foreground” is made again and again. In this case, things happen behind a traveling cut-out or above a stationary background.(Obviously, trotting out a Godard reference is bound to inspire a little leeriness. Is it appropriate to say this about an artist of her age? I don’t think so.)

I left the room where we held the adjudication, pledging—like everyone else—to walk straight to Other Music to buy a copy of the CD. I did, and was not able to because the CD wasn’t available in the United States. A few months later, I went to Melpo Mene’s website to find out if the U.S. had gained enough cultural viability to be sold his music…and I found out that he had made Ms. Bloink’s creation the official music video for the song.

You can see it for yourself: