Currently I am rereading Stephen Kings, On Writing. I cannot stress how important this book is to the aspiring novelist. Half of the book is an autobiography of King, from his first memory all the way up 1997 when he wrote the book. By the time you get around to the portion where he discusses the basic tools of the trade, your newfound insight into who he is allows you to accept his recommendations on writing as a suggestion from a dear friend . His discussion of his methods are surprisingly real, which sounds cliche but I can think of no better way to describe it. There is no superfluous language, no putting the 'craft' on a pedestal. Its work, habit, practice and the ability to accept a negative critique. His thought experiment of writing as telepathy is worth the price of the book.
“All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation”
He says to picture a table, covered in a red tablecloth. Upon the table rests a cage, and in that cage contentedly munching on a carrot is a white rabbit. The number 8 is dyed in blue upon the rabbits fur.
There. He had an image, I passed it on to you, now you have the same image. A bunny in a cage dyed with a blue 8. The specifics of each object is moot, the point is you thought his minds image even through my poor translation. Don't take my word for it, read his book. If you need further urging (and this sort of thing does it for you) apparently they had an homage to this blue numbered white rabbit in an episode of Lost.
As I said, its a pretty fantastic read even if you don't care for his fiction. Point of fact, I had never read any of his fiction until after I read On Writing. Then I pretty much had to.
Recently, I've also been oogling a great number of pencil tests from various 2D animations. The sheer artistry is always incredible to see in this world of poorly done 3D and flash animation. The best example of exquisite line work comes from Sandro Cleuzo, a gentleman lucky enough to be trained by Don Bluth and Milt Kahl. On his blog he linked to a vimeo page with some fantastic pencil tests.
Another good site to hit is http://www.penciltestdepot.com/ . Its got bits and pieces of all sorts of different artists and genres.
Also worth a watch is a Mickey Mouse cartoon from the 50's series Make Mine Music that was shelved before it was finished. Its called Plight of the Bumble Bee. Disney keeps taking the videos of it down because they got tired of people asking them to finish it, but if you hunt for it I am sure its out there in the vastness of the interweb somewhere.
With Halloween right around the corner start expecting to see reviews of horror films that have been reviewed a hundred times before discussed by me. Hopefully there will be one or two you haven't seen that I can introduce to you.
Sleep well. I am off to chase ewes with a pot of blue dye and a paintbrush.