Robots on vacation

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robot 1

Two of our robots took a rafting vacation last week.

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Robots on vacation

Robots on vacation

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By Britt Appleton

The puppets were sculpted by Gesine Krätzner. Last week they decided to take a rafting trip. Even robots like to take some time off to enjoy summertime.


Behind the Scenes - Clearway Minnesota Quitplan Services

Behind the Scenes - Clearway Minnesota Quitplan Services

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By Alise Munson

Earlier this spring, Minneapolis-based ad agency Clarity Coverdale Fury asked us to pitch a stop-motion approach for a new campaign for Clearway’s QUITPLAN Services – Minnesota’s free tobacco cessation program. Director Aaron Sorenson spearheaded the approach to create unique visuals mixed with unexpected compassionate humor.

The idea to use stop motion techniques to animate the campaign added a feeling of tactile warmth and personality. In the final work, CG animation was used for smoke/smog effects and money clouds.

The character designs also reinforced the negative judgment aimed at smokers. Both Wendall’s and Angie’s designs portray a mixture of exaggeration, idiosyncrasy and, most importantly, sympathy. Aaron’s directive was to make the main characters look a little beaten down and beleaguered with oversized expressive eyes to help them communicate their feelings and thoughts.


Aaron: “One of the funniest things in Angie’s story is the dynamic with her husband.

I love the passive aggressive air freshener gag because how it aptly portrays the way couples criticize each other. Just imagining the looks between the two makes me laugh and cringe”

The secondary characters’ designs were less compassionate and slightly obnoxious and self righteous to add another level of humor and sympathy to the story.


Some of the puppets were also built as clay miniatures to support the forced perspective of distance as Angie drives away.


The final puppets were first sculpted and then molded. For the bodies, foam latex was used over steel armatures and heads were hard cast resin with clay replacement mouths, eyebrows and eyelids. All were painted and then dressed in handmade clothes according to the character design.


In some of the early environment artwork for Wendall, Designer Ross Stewart echoed the idea of transition in the end city scene. Smoker Wendall walks from a depressing industrial section of the city with billowing smoke stacks (reminiscent of cigarettes) into a part of the city where the sun is just starting to illuminate the buildings.

Aaron: “I thought it was important to visually telegraph the story’s theme of hope as we transitioned from a downbeat beginning to an upbeat ending. We ended each spot with a wide panoramic view to drive home the feeling of hope and not condemnation.”

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In the Angie spot, the narrative was based around the metaphor of taking a different turn of an old road. Positive changes and a new outlook (sunnier, clearer) begin with smoking cession. This created a problem for the stop-motion team. How would they show a car driving on a road without building hundreds of feet of a continuous road set on physically limited stage space.

The solution - build a large wooden drum dressed as a road with grass, trees and signs. The animator could crank the drum incrementally frame by frame while animating Angie driving in her car. The camera POV (from the rear passenger’s seat) added a sense of the viewer riding along inside the car while the road travel underneath – joining Angie on her journey to stop smoking.


The spots continue to air exclusively in Minnesota, but are also viewable online.

More photos:




Production Company: HouseSpecial

Director: Aaron Sorenson

Executive Producer: Jan Johnson

Producer: Jenny Grayson

Line Producer: Karly Chambers

Client Services: Megan Sweigert


Art Director: Tracy Prescott

Production Designer: Ross Stewart

Character Designer: Aaron Sorenson

Storyboard Artist: Joe Merideth


Mac Graphics Artist: Jenny Kincade

Intern Concept Artist: Kristy Kay-Jones

Intern Concept Artist: Joyce Lee

Intern Concept Artist: Michelle Lin

Intern Concept Artist: Manddy Wyckens


Art Department Lead (Fabrication): Katie Mello

Art Department Coordinator: Beth Lipson

Sculptor: Julianna Cox, Tony Merrithew, Lyla Warren

Armaturist: Sarah Hall

Moldmaking / Cast and Clean: Katie Mello, Matt McKenna

Cast and Clean: Sarah Frechette

Costumer: Margaret Meyer

Puppet Painter: Jessica Bronk

Puppet Painter: Sara Neiman

Model Builder: Greg Boettcher, Mattie Bowden, Matt Burlingame, Paul Mack, Scott Tebeau

Carpenter: Gary Logue, Rob Melchior, Matt Perna

Greens: Ans Eills

Set/Model Painter: Jessica Bronk, Brian Capati, Leigh Jacob, Christina Owen

Laser Operator: Daniel Strong

Wrangler: Rob Melchior, Morgan Muta

Intern Fabrication: Lisa Chung, Emma Van Halsema


Technical Director: Patrick Van Pelt

FX Artist: Patrick Van Pelt


Director of Photography: John Nolan

Animator: Julianna Cox, Wendy Fuller, Chris Ohlgren

Motion Control: Josh Livingston

Grip: Clay Connally, Jake Hauswirth

Rigging: Sarah Hall

Stage Manager: Erica Johnson

Production Assistant: Anna Rose Williams


Editor: Michael Corrigan, Cam Williams

Smoke Artist: Leif Peterson

Flame Artist: Rex Carter

Tape Op: Dino Coons

Scheduler: Cam Williams


Company: Limbocker Studios

City, State: Portland, OR

Sound Design/Mix: Lance Limbocker

Arranger: Lance Limbocker


Company: Clarity Coverdale Fury

City, State: Minneapolis, MN

V.P./Executive Creative Director: Jac Coverdale

Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Emily Hoyne

Senior Copywriter: Ian Simpson

Associate Director of Brand Development: Molly Hull

Senior Project Manager: Amy Fox

Agency Producer: Jenee Schmidt


Company: ClearWay Minnesota

City, State: Bloomington, MN

Vice President: Andrea Mowery

Dir. Of Marketing & Communications: Marietta Dreher

Senior Communications Manager: Michael Sheldon

The incredible resin paintings of Keng Lye

The incredible resin paintings of Keng Lye

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By Britt Appleton

Keng Lye is an artist from Signapore who specializes in realistic, 3-dimensional resin paintings, mainly of small fish. It is the type of art where the process is as magical as the finished product. I spoke to him about his work and this is what he told me:

"In 2011, my photographer friend, Gerald Gay, showed me a video on the great Japanese artist, Riusuke Fukahori. Gerald gave me a challenge - try and create 3-D resin art similar to the works of Riusuke Fukahori. That was how I began to experiment in this art form. Since 2012 I have devoted myself to resin art, inspired by the great Japanese artist, Riusuke Fukahori.


After seeing the video on Riusuke Fukahori and experimenting with the resin & acrylic layering process, I have gained some experience and knowledge about this technique.


I start out by pouring resin into a container. Cover it with plastic wrap so as to protect it from dust and let it harden and dry. After that I start to paint on the resin with acrylic paint. I will paint parts of the object first; for example, the fins or tail of the goldfish. Then when the acrylic is dry, I will pour another layer of resin over and let it dry. When dry, I will continue to paint with acrylic. This process is repeated until the object being painted is completed.



By painting layer upon layer of resin, this helps to create depth to the object. It also makes the entire composition more realistic.i_m_a_lover_not_a_fighter__by_kenglye-d750qs7

I have also experimented using a pebble, immersing it in the resin and painting over it, to create an even more outstanding 3D effect. I have also started to use eggshell as the base of the tortoise shell.




It takes 4-5 days to finish a relatively simple piece. Definitely having patience is an advantage as there is waiting time in between as you paint then pour then wait for it to dry before painting again." - Keng Lye


Photos by Keng Lye

HOUSE/guest Maryanna Hoggatt

HOUSE/guest Maryanna Hoggatt

By Britt Appleton

HOUSE/guest is our monthly interview series where we showcase an artist who has impressed us in the digital world. They might not be local, but their effects are felt here in Portland. 


This month's HOUSE/guest is Maryanna Hoggatt, a painter/sculptor/illustrator. You might know her series Animal Battle, or her 2 part comic book Adult Babysitting. She may have even been your bartender.

L/h: What does being a full-time artist look like? MH: About eighty percent of the time: sweatpants or pajamas, unkempt hair, no makeup, headphones. It’s not very glamorous. I manage to put on real pants whenever I leave my house/studio. And I try to make up for the slobbery when I attend actual social events.

L/h: What kind of stuff did you draw as a kid? MH: I think my first drawings were Disney characters. Actually, the first thing I remember drawing on my own was Mickey Mouse, when I was about five. Later, Looney Tunes characters. I kept spiral notebooks as sketchbooks, and drew the beginnings of various storybooks, like a family of dinosaurs living in caves. If I made a mistake, I’d draw over boulder it. I also started painting fairly young.

L/h: When did you feel like your skill level had caught up to your taste level? MH: Not for a looooong time. I could always somewhat draw what I wanted, but with a lot of struggle and frustration. It took a long time before I felt I was really rendering images the way I pictured them in my head, and even longer before I felt I was doing that with ease. I don't think my skills really started to develop until my late 20s, when I finally decided to stop screwing around and get serious about making art for a living. That's when I moved to Portland to attend art school.

L/h: What do you do that is unique? MH: I seem to cross mediums pretty easily. Some people were surprised that these were my first clay sculptures, but I found the transition very natural. I think of myself as a storyteller. All art mediums are another extension of storytelling, and in that regard I try to never place any limits on myself.

L/h: What advice would you give a less experienced artist? MH: You will probably suck for a really, really long time. Even when you think you're pretty good, you actually suck. Talent counts for very little. Hard work makes up the rest. When you see an artist that is successful and creates amazing art, you're looking at thousands and thousands of hours of hard work. Never, ever give up.

L/h: Who inspires you? MH: Anyone that hustles for a good dream. It takes guts.

L/h: What art is on your walls? MH: Too much of my own. I am the proud owner of very few original pieces of art, which I plan to remedy. I want to become more of a collector. My husband is a designer, so between the two of us we have illustrative work of designers, like Milton Glazer. And I have a couple of comic's prints, like a Paul Pope piece.

L/h: What blogs do you read? MH: When I'm working in my studio I try really hard to stay off any useless websites, but usually end up failing. Especially if I post any promotional stuff, then I end up wading around the black vortex of social media. But with intention, I'll read the news each day at NPR, or check Twitter for the latest happenings. Thankfully when I'm sculpting I'm away from my computer.

L/h: Who do you follow on Instagram? MH: On Instagram I follow some of my favorite artists, like Esao Andrews (@esao), Souther Salazar (@southersalazar), local galleries like Pony Club (@ponyclubpdx), Hellion Gallery (@helliongallery), Antler Gallery (@antlergallery), and some peeps like my adventurer/illustrator pal Brooke Weeber (@littlecanoe), and this guy John Stortz who takes amazing pictures of his pure white wolf-like dog in beautiful landscapes (@johnstortz). And so, so many artists! The extraordinary ability to glimpse the process that is behind the work of so many people I admire is one of the best parts of social media.

L/h: What is your dream project? MH: When I started sculpting in January, I was referring to the first sculpt as a maquette. My initial research was for armatures, puppet fabrication, and animation. I read articles on stop-motion sites, watched a lot of youtube videos, and of course, studied the work of Kent Melton. Halfway through my first paintings of Animal Battle (begun early 2013), I knew that I wanted to make these characters move. I didn't see them as just drawings. Each animal I create has a personality, and lives within the narrative behind the whole series.

I became really interested in the maquette stage of animation, and since it seemed like a good place to start making these characters a reality, I started sculpting. After I finished the first one, I was obsessed. I could not believe how ridiculously fun it was to sculpt!

Eventually I will get to the rest of that dream. There's still a lot of exploring to do.

L/h: What is your favorite animal? MH: Boy, that's difficult. I find so many animals charming, or majestic, or wonderfully weird. There's a very long list of creatures I still want to draw for Animal Battle. One I know personally that's pretty cool is my cat, Theodore. He's my favorite feline dude, even if he is kind of a jerk.

Okay, let's be real: sloths. Sloths! And raccoons. And foxes. Wolves. etc..

L/h: What is your favorite cocktail to make? To drink? MH: After so many years tending bar, my home drinks require nearly zero effort. Like wine. Or a greyhound. I much prefer someone else to make my drink now. When I go out, I'll drink 400-ingredient cocktails from fancy menus. Negronis and Manhattans are also delicious. And any bar that stocks Fernet Branca is a good one in my book.

L/h: If you were an animated character, who would you be? MH: One I have yet to create.

Thanks, Maryanna!


You can keep up with Maryanna on her blog, on twitter, and through her Instagram. Her solo show featuring the Animal Battle maquettes opens on August 7th (First Thursday) at Hellion Gallery in Portland and will be up the rest of August.



All photos from Maryanna Hoggatt

Behind the Scenes of Jose Cuervo - History in a Bottle

Behind the Scenes of Jose Cuervo - History in a Bottle


By Alise Munson

On May 1 our newest work, Jose Cuervo Tradicional®  History in a Bottle, hit screens everywhere including integration into a new virtual reality app. About 80 crew members/artists worked through the winter hand-making tiny agave plants, sculpting historic figures, sewing tiny costumes, building volcanoes, painting tiny bottles, lighting practical street signs and molding/casting 4-foot Cuervo bottle replicas.

The result? Take a look.

Agency: McCANN New York Client: Priximo Spirits - Jose Cuervo Tradicional® Director (animation & live action): Kirk Kelley

Before showing you the story behind the story, take a moment to absorb why working on a Jose Cuervo spot was natural for us:

1. We have a three-chambered margarita machine upstairs in our "break" room.


2. We would rather celebrate Cinco de Mayo than we would St. Patrick's Day.

3. Our Creative Director, Kirk Kelley, is one of the owners of La Taq, a Mex-Tex Cantina in North Portland.


4. This guy is located in Producers' Row:

5. Finally - We are one of the best studios in the world at making small things have a big impact and we can prove it.

Want more photos?  --> The Production Galley.

The Process


To start - everything centered around the bottle. How would we fit practical dioramas into a bottle that looked good on camera? How do you create a bottle that had imperfections like a real bottle, but to a large scale? How long would fabrication take and will the materials work with our timeline? How heavy or unyielding will the finished bottle be?

First, we milled a wooden bottle and covered it with plaster.


It was sanded and smoothed, and a sculptor added raised letters. The bottle was then sprayed with a high-gloss automotive paint for a smooth finish.

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From there, the smooth, gray bottle was used to create the mold to make nine clear resin bottles, all of which were sanded and polished until they looked like glass. The entire process to make one bottle took about four weeks.


Character Design & Fabrication

While the bottles were being made in the shop, characters fabricators and sculptors collaborated with McCANN's team to design 65 roughly 4-inch puppets.

One of the lead characters was Margarita, who was the beautiful inspiration for her namesake cocktail. Character designers led by Art Director Alan Cook reviewed reference before  focusing on the character and her effect on the story forming around her.

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Once the concepts were approved, sculptors interpreted the designs into the practical world and in the right scale. Each figure had to fit into the final dioramas, so prop sizes and environments became part of the character design process.


Each character was sculpted, molded, painted and dressed in custom costumes.


All elements inside the bottle were dependent on each other and their relationship to the scene and the camera. Everything worked in harmony to give a believable look and feel.


In addition to the 65 puppets, the fabricators created hundreds of props, including surfboards, palm trees, tequila barrels, agave plants, cannons, donkeys, guns...


Fitting It All Into a Bottle

A CG pre-visualization of the viewers' movement through the scene was created to establish how the camera would move through the space of each bottle. Using this as a guide, foam core mock-ups were built of each vignette to ensure the camera, set lighting as well as all characters and props would fit correctly inside each of the bottles.


While the props and characters were finalized, the stage crew built the sets and started to program lighting and motion-controlled camera moves.


For this diorama set in Hollywood in the '50s, the lighting designer added working practical lights to the street, the signs and cars' front and tail lights.


After all the elements were installed and glued down, the vignette was carefully slide into the bottle.


Camera movements were finalized and the shot was captured.


This process was repeated nine times to create the final 60-second spot.


Camera and Software:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Dragonframe, Flame, Smoke, Avid, Maya, Photoshop


CD.Director: Kirk Kelley

Executive Producer: Lourri Hammack

Executive Producer: Jan Johnson

Producer: Julie Ragland

Production Coordinator: Jenn Catalino

Production Assistant: Megan Sweigert

Creative Director: Kirk Kelley

Art Director: Alan Cook

Character Designer: Michelle Lin

Production Designer: Christopher Appelhans

Concept Artists: Huy Dang, Kristy Kay-Jones, Joyce Lee, Michelle Lin, Manddy Wyckens

Matte Painters: Jenny Kincade, Manddy Wyckens, Stephen Bodin

Storyboard Artist: Fred Fassberger

Character Fabrication Lead : Katie Mello

Set/Prop Fabrication Lead: Rob Mechior

Sculptors: Christy Becker, Julianna Cox, Kameron Gates, Tony Merrithew

Moldmaking: Matt McKenna, Mattzilla Duron

Character Painter: Sara Neiman, Jessica Bronk

Costumer: Margaret Meyer, Elodie Massa, Jessica Rogers

Set/Prop Fabrication: Greg Boettcher, Mattie Bowden,Brian Capati, Lisa Chung, Ans Ellis, Gary Logue, Paul Mack, Katie Mello, Chris Ohlgren, Matt Perna, Alison Potvin, Daniel Strong, Emma Van Halsema, Andres Piedrahita

Set Painter: Richard Brian Capati, Leigh Jacobs

Scenic Painter: Loren Hillman

Wrangler: Elecia Beebe, Morgan Muta, Sarah Frechette

Production Assistant: Jaime Ginesky, Annarose Williams, Alex Webster

Art Department Manager: Erica Johnson

CG Lead TD: Terence Jacobson

Previs: Kameron Gates

Modeling: Allan Steele, Josh Tonnesen

Texture Artist: Josh Tonnesen

Lighting Artist: Frank Ritlop

VFX: Karl Richter

Director of Photography: John Nolan

Animator: Chris Ohlgren

Motion Control: Josh Livingston

Gaffer: Jake Hauswirth

Rigging: Rob Melchior

Grip: Brandon Lake

Stage Manager: Erica Johnson

Production Assistant: Annarose Williams

Editor: Michael Corrigan

Flame Artist: Rex Carter

Smoke Artist: Leif Peterson

Tape Op: Dino Coons

Post Production Manager: Cam Williams

Live Action Production Company: LAIKA/house

Director: Kirk Kelley

Executive Producer: Lourri Hammack

Producer: Elliot Freeman

Director of Photography: Eric Edwards

Production Designer: David Sicotte

Live Action Set Construction: Department of Art

Company: McCann NY- Erickson

City, State: New York, NY

Global Creative Chairman: Rob Reilly

EVP, Chief Creative Officer: Thomas Murphy, Sean Brown

SVP, Group Creative Director: Mat Bisher

ACD/Art Director: Vi Loung, Nic Howell

ACD/Copywriter: Colin Iisley

Copywriter: Sarah Lloyd, Mike Howard

Director of Integrated Productions: Nathy Aviram

Sr. Producer: Jessica Coccaro

Executive Music Producer: Peter Gannon

Music Producer: Mike Ladman

Client Lead: Elwyn Gladstone

SVP, Gr. Account Director: Lauren LaValle, Matthew Rakow, Rachel Heiss

Jose Cuervo - Photo Gallery

Jose Cuervo - Photo Gallery


laikahousegallery03 We collected photos during the entire four-month production schedule. These images reveal the richness and detail we are masters at in animation. Take a look.

More more insights, take a look at our inclusive post.

Making the Bottle



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Bar Characterslaikahousegallery24






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Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo








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Spring Breaklaikahousegallery64





















The Distillery














Live Action laikahousegallery93


Go Blazers!

Go Blazers!


By Alise Munson Portland isn't really known as being a sports city.  Sure we have Nike and adidas, but we don't have a professional football team or NHL hockey.  We used to have a fancy AAA baseball team, but it moved away after the team lost money.  The Timbers are great, but it's soccer...

Our one big sports hope hangs on the jerseys of one of the NBA's most overlooked teams -The Portland Trail Blazers.

Not since the year 2000 has this plagued home team made it past the first round of The Finals.  The hearts of fans have ached for a return to 1977 and a trophy – proof that we can play with the big boys in LA, Chicago, Miami or OK City.

This year, we made it past the first round and into the semi-finals of the NBA Western Conference Championship.  We made it. WE MADE IT!

To celebrate, LAIKAn Alex Webster brought in a few of his favorite pieces of fan gear. We grabbed a camera and Director Mike Wellins to create this... our pixelated salute to The Portland Trail Blazers.

Go Blazers! from LAIKA/house on Vimeo.

Here is a list of pieces what you saw in the video - all from Alex's personal collection:
• Six hats, including the 1990 playoffs hat • Four vintage early '90s tees • One sweatshirt from the '90s • One red Brandon Roy #7 adidas tee. • One black Lillard #0 adidas tee • One white #88 adidas Batum tee • Three team jerseys, Reebok white #7 roy, adidas #0 Lillard, adidas black #8 Webster (Alex's last name is indeed Webster - no relation) • Two black Starter jackets, one glossy nylon with "Blazers" across the chest, the other matte nylon with Blazers' insignia on the chest and "Blazers" across the back • One pair of Stance "NBA Legends Bill Walton" socks. • Two posters, "300th consecutive sellout" and the early '90s "Portland" one. • One Blazers button/pin • One pair of sunglasses

This is only a portion of his collection. He has more...

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And a closer look at the gear includes the best socks ever.

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If you ask Alex which is his favorite, he'll say, "Come on. Really? All of them of course... but if I had to say which is the most coveted, then that would be the glossy nylon Starter jacket."


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The rest of us may not have a Brandon Roy jersey or a pink ball cap, but we do wear our heart on our sleeves for the Blazers.


Thanks, Alex.

WeMake: Jessica Hische

WeMake: Jessica Hische

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By Britt Appleton

jessica hische


Jessica Hische is a world-famous letterer who has worked with everyone from Wes Anderson to Starbucks to Barnes & Noble. She is as well known for her side projects as she is for her professional work. Her wedding invitation went viral. Her Daily Drop Cap project has inspired thousands, and she loves to give advice. Curious how Twitter works? She'll tell you. Wondering if you should work for free? She's got a helpful guide. She can even teach you to code.

On Friday, Jessica came to Portland to lead a WeMake sketchXchange at Tillamook Station. (Tillamook Station, if you haven't been, is a gorgeous creative space in North Portland.) They brought in the Taco Peddler, sold booze, and Jessica talked about the evolution of her career, and then showed us how she takes a project from pencil sketch to Illustrator file.





Like many of us, her early high school work included lots of fairies. After designing several fonts for use in her senior project (a board game about divorce) at the Tyler School of Art, she realized that typography was where she was happiest spending her time.


During her talk, Jessica emphasized the importance her side projects have had on her career.

"People won't feel comfortable hiring you for something they don't see much of in your portfolio," she advised.

She credits her Daily Drop Caps with helping get her more lettering work, because at the time she was mainly illustrating. "Make something that shows you have a brain in your head, not just hands on your body," she said.




For the grand finale, she took a pencil sketch she made at the beginning of the night and digitized it in Adobe Illustrator, while explaining her methods and offering suggestions.

Advice from Jessica:

•  Print your work and make your edits on a paper copy. "There's something that happens when you print stuff where your brain is like, 'This is permanent! Notice stuff!'"

• Don't do research during the project. You will just rip it off. Let it sit. You'll make inventive work.

• If you're interested in type, spend a lot of time looking at type you know to be good. Look specifically at lowercase "a" and "g." Also, check out Inside Paragraphs by Cyrus Highsmith.

If you would like more advice from Jessica, she offers student portfolio reviews as well as professional consultations.

Keep up with WeMake's events on their Tumblr and Twitter.

Wapato Jail

Wapato Jail

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By Britt Appleton

Wapato Jail has been vacant since it was built 10 years ago. There is ongoing debate as to its future, but in the meantime it provides a fantastically creepy location for commercial and film shoots.


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Photos by Lourri Hammack

HOUSE/guest Hombre McSteez

HOUSE/guest Hombre McSteez

By Britt Appleton

Introducing HOUSE/guest, our monthly interview series where we showcase an artist who has impressed us in the digital world. They might not be local, but their effects are felt here in Portland.


Are you familiar with Hombre McSteez? He's an Instagram hero of ours. (There's also a Tumblr.) Here is our interview with Marty Cooper, the man behind the magic.

L/h: Who is Hombre McSteez? MC: Hombre McSteez is your friendly neighborhood hombre.

L/h: What do you, Marty Cooper, do? MC: I am a storyboard artist for animated movies. I have worked at Blue Sky, ReelFX, and Rovio. I also make pickles, play golf, and ride my skateboard.

L/h: How did you get the idea for this? MC: You can actually see the progression of the idea on my Instagram from over a year ago. It started with a whiteboard drawing of a fish in my dad's workshop:


Then I thought it would be cool to try to make it look like the drawing was existing in the environment. I found a plate of glass and a dry erase marker and began experimenting with that, erasing the drawing each time. Then I remembered how the classic animators would use acetate cels and paint on the reverse side and overlay that on the backgrounds... So I basically did the same thing that animators have been doing since the beginning of animation.

L/h: How does it work - do you always have transparencies with you? MC: I carry a backpack with my sketchbook, transparencies, pens, and whiteout. Then I basically just walk around aimlessly for miles looking at things and trying to find a good setting. Once I find an interesting place I sit and draw in my sketchbook until I draw something that makes me laugh. This takes 4-5 sketchbook pages sometimes. Then I draw and paint the cel on the spot and take a bunch of pictures. It's a lot like a treasure hunt only I have to create the treasure. Usually when I go on an expedition like this I get 5-6 images and usually only post one or two of them.

L/h: Do people around you notice what you're doing? MC: People are always really nice! They ask me what I'm doing, then I show them the picture and sometimes they ask if they can help hold the cel or something. Sometimes people won't let me take pictures in their store. I got kicked out of the movie theatre once for taking a photo in the theatre. I won't try that again. Also gyms won't let me take photos inside, which is a bummer because there could be some funny ones in a gym. If there are any gym owners out there that want to let me take photos, let me know!

During the shoot for the little butter guy jumping on the pancake, the IHOP staff thought I was crazy. It took me 3 tries to get it right, and each time I would order a stack of pancakes then smoosh them down with my fist to get the bounce effect. So I ended up with 15 pancakes that were smooshed and didn't eat any of them. I don't know what they thought.

L/h: What is your art background? MC: I studied animation/illustration at San Jose State University. Shrunkenheadman animation club for life! SJSU's animation program was awesome because they teach you how to animate traditionally (with pencil and paper) before you ever use the computer to animate. At the time it seemed archaic to not use the powerful animation tools we have on the computer, but it was tremendously helpful to learn how to animate on paper, just to get a feel for flipping the paper and understanding spacing and timing...and now I use it everyday!

L/h: What blogs do you read? MC: I frequent the cartoon brew, fecal face, Toby Shelton has an amazing blog with his storyboards. So good. John K stuff, Leo Matsuda, Erik Benson, Rad Sechrist, LAIKA's own Grickle, love his work. PES, and a lot of skateboarding websites.

L/h: Who should we be following on Instagram? MC: Jay Howell - @punksgitcut - rad cartoons in old books; Ed Templeton - @tempster_returns - pelicans and chicks with skateboards on the Huntington Beach Pier; Jerry Hsu - @internetfamous - strangeness and oddities in the daily life of skateboarder Jerry Hsu; Artrebels - @artrebels - fresh art/design from Denmark and Europe; David Choe - @davidchoe - legendary artist/hitchhiker/billionaire; and Lindsay Olivares - @lindsayolivares - best chicken drawings ever.

L/h: What do you think about social media for artists? MC: I think it's awesome! I love having an audience that sees my work everyday. It motivates me to make more stuff and try to entertain people.

L/h: If you could be any animated character, who would you be? MC: Flint Lockwood from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but I will always aspire to be Roger Rabbit.

Thanks, Marty! Keep being awesome.






Photos by Marty Cooper (Hombre McSteez)

Perfect + TedxPDX

Perfect + TedxPDX

LAIKAhousetedx11 By Alise Munson


For some of us, the word triggers anxiety about expectations, obligations and self-worth accompanied by a sharp grumble in the deepest gorges of our stomachs. The idea steals sleep, ignites fights and welcomes madness, but does it have to? What if we took back the word and lifted up the imperfect as authentic perfection? What if we adjust to define perfect as the inclusion of the imperfections of ourselves and our world?

A mouthful from speaker Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore) that summarized the day's theme: “If you are a creative, don’t let the idea of being perfect stop you from creating.” — @macklemore #TEDxPDX


"Perfect is the enemy of good enough." – Lisa Sedlar @GreenZebraGroc #TEDxPDX

"Perfect paralyzes you."

Lisa, another one of the 14 speakers, opened stores for Whole Foods and local chain New Seasons before opening her own store, Green Zebra Grocery, and taking out four liens on her home. Huge risk, but the rewards are there waiting to be won through work and faith.

But the show stealer was Frank Moore, 91, whose love for life, our rivers and his wife made his life nearly perfect.


Here are some of his nuggets of wisdom:

Always practice the art of living.

I realized that if you have love, you have everything.

Because of that gift of receiving love my entire life, I have not been afraid of giving love to other people.

They seem simple, but their complexity is profound.

In fact, they are so profound and worth sharing, that a documentary, Mending the Line, was recently made about the man and the legend. Funding ($50,000) was crowd-sourced. Franks shows us his WWII as he returns to France to fly fish and reconnect with his past.  If the film is anything like his TEDx talk, you'll need a box of tissue and a hand to hold.


The other speakers included:

  • Aaron Draplin - Advocate of #FreeFridays and thinking design big. Opponent of pants.
  • Nong Poonsukwattana - Even though her start was heart-achingly rocky, Nong created a chicken + rice mini-empire from the idea of doing one thing perfectly.
  • D'Wayne Edwards - A pencil started his life and a big-time career in shoe design.
  • Cody Goldberg - He expects miracles and advocates play for ALL including those who are always rolling.
  • James Keller - Teach your children well when it comes to tech.
  • Zach King - Screw the ladder. Fame is now and cheap.
  • Jackson Gariety - The smartest guy in the room and a high school dropout. He might be The One to clean up Zuckerberg's mess in the name of humanity.
  • Zalika Gardner - Learn to really listen and magic happens.
  • Andrew Revkin - “Bend, Stretch, Reach, Teach, Reveal, Reflect, Rejoice, Repeat.”
  • Eric Giler - We don't need your stinkin' cords (or batteries).
  • Isaiah Holt - Mistakes can be corrected with faith and hard work. He also loves his mom.

Watch all the live streams here.






For me, TEDxPDX helped me take back "perfect." We need to be the best we can be, but we don't need to live in fear of the unattainable perfection. Embrace it all and love it. If you can't, change it until you can.

Keep it coming, TEDxPDX.



Macramé with Emily

Macramé with Emily


By Alise Munson

Macramé comes from a 13th Century Arabic weavers’ word “migramah” meaning “Fringe” This refers to the decorative fringes on camels and horses which help, amongst other things, to keep the flies off in the hot desert regions of northern Africa…

Another school of thought think that it comes from Turkish “makrama”: “napkin,” or “towel” and was a way to secure the ends of pieces of weaving by using the excess thread and yarn along the top and bottom edges of loomed fabrics.- Thanks, Wikipedia

Has macramé always been a part of our design culture? The craft was huge in the '70s when jute reigned supreme and there was a potted plant in every bathroom. Our owls and bikinis lost favor, but friendship bracelets and surfer-inspired chokers crept back into popular culture in the '80s and '90s.  Even tying shoelaces of fancy sneakers in unique ways is an homage to the knot arts.

So agrees trendsetter Emily Katz, Portland's queen of nomad chic and who's big in Japan and Instagram. Her interest and revival started as a knot to connect to her mom and soon spread into her interior design aesthetic. She now travel the globe teaching the macramé craft and leading the DIY creative movement in Portland.


Emily shared her vast knot-ledge (yep, went there) recently at a spring WeMake Discovery Workshop.


With four strands of white cotton rope and a brass claps, DIY fans jumps in to make a new accessory.


Everyone was encouraged to grab some rope and take her turn at a community art piece.


The workshop was held at the new Tillamook Station in NE Portland.


Golden Rule Design

Golden Rule Design

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By Britt Appleton

Around every corner a creative person lurks. At least that's how it seems. We took a little field trip off the beaten path today and stumbled upon Golden Rule Design. Have a look:

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Meet our Interns (1 of 2)

Meet our Interns (1 of 2)

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By Britt Appleton

Our winter interns are a hard-working and talented bunch. We're so proud, and we want to show them off.

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First up: Prasad, Kristy, and Siddhant.





Prasad Narse is from Mumbai, India. He is an animation intern in our CG department. Prasad has been a fan of animation since he was little, when his dad would take him to the theater to watch animated movies. He preferred 2D animation as a kid, but once he saw Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E, he decided to make a career in 3D animation.

In 10 years, Prasad hopes to be directing feature-length animated films. If he were an animated character he would be Master Po Ping.

"I mostly like him because he shows us how to enjoy each and every part of our lives." More than anything in the world Prasad hates smoking. "Eat healthy, be stronger!" He could live on tea, wheat bread and butter.

To see more of Prasad's work, visit his website his Facebook page, or his twitter.




Kristy Kay is a Concept/Storyboard intern from the Bay Area. She was first drawn to animation by James and the Giant Peach. When she saw that movie she knew she wanted to become a visual development artist.

In 10 years Kristy hopes to be traveling and creating beautiful artwork, with close friends by her side. If she were an animated character, she would be Dory from Finding Nemo because she loves that positive outlook. Just keep swimming! More than anything Kristy hates spiders and the dentist. She could live on Flaming Hot Cheetos and coffee. Bonus fact: Kristy is a twin, and her sister is also very creative.

For more from Kristy, visit her website.






Siddhant Sakoskar is a Compositor Intern from Mumbai, India. Sidd loves animation for its ability to tell stories. In 10 years he'd like to be on the forefront of an animated film or animated short. If he were any animated character he would be Olaf from Frozen. Just like Olaf, he enjoys all kinds of crazy weather.

More than anything, Sidd hates hate. "We all need to learn to like everything and everyone or just ignore, if we can't like them." He could live on his mom's home-cooked Shrimp Biryani. Fun facts: He's got Bollywood dance moves, loves mimicking accents, is a huge comedy fan and a Cricket enthusiast. Also, he loves rain.

You can see more from Sidd on his website, on twitter, Instagram, and Soundcloud.

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Meet our Interns (2 of 2)

Meet our Interns (2 of 2)

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IMG_8698 sm Last week you met Kristy, Prasad, and Siddhant. Now we'd like to introduce you to Diamond, Emma, and Joyce.

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Diamond Wheeler grew up in St. Louis, and moved to Oklahoma after college to work as a motion graphics artist. He has always been interested in cartoons. He made flip books as a kid, but moved digital when he got older. In 10 years he hopes to be in a studio working on anything related to VFX. His love for FX is only growing. If Diamond were an animated character, he would be Johnny Bravo minus the blond hair. "That guy's a stud." More than anything, Diamond hates selfies and Bieber. He could live on coffee supplemented with pizza, sushi, and gyros. Fun facts: Diamond got married in August. His wife, Candace, and their Westie, Murdoch, are back in Oklahoma. He loves sports, barbecuing, and brewing beer. For more from Diamond check out his demo reel, his website, and his twitter.


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Emma Van Halsema is from Charlotte, North Carolina. She's here because she loves making very tiny things. Officially, she's here as the Set Fabrication Intern. She loves stop motion animation for it's being handmade. "You're transported to a completely different world! I think the painstaking work it takes to actually make the film really shows. It's very rewarding." In 10 years she hopes to be making so many things with her hands that her fingerprints have worn off. If she were an animated character she would be in Fantastic Mr. Fox because she loves the little houses they live in. More than anything she hates boredom and she could live on sweet potatoes. Fun facts: Emma loves folk music from the 1920s. For more from Emma, visit her website.


Joyce Lee is a Visual Development Intern from LA. She loves Portland and is excited to be here at LAIKA/house expanding her industry knowledge. She loves animation for the way it brings so many talented artists together to create a film. In 10 years she hopes to be working as a visual development artist for feature animation. If Joyce were an animated character she would be Edna Mode from The Incredibles. More than anything she hates being cold and not having a sweater. Fun facts: Joyce could live on french fries and has a pet rabbit named Kiwi. Kiwi is a lionhead rabbit, so it has a mane like a lion.




union way
By Britt Appleton

Meet Union Way. This local-vendor centric pedestrian alley is built with design flair out of Oregon poplar and glass. The vast, industrial space was formerly occupied by two abandoned nightclubs. Now it very cleverly connects two of Portland's most popular commercial districtsSW Portland and The Pearl - and spans two blocks.


On one end, Ace Hotel, and on the other end, Powell's Books, and in betweena rarefied shopping experience. There's an apothecary (Spruce Apothecary), odd candy (Quin), nice leather (Danner Boots, Will Leather Goods), clothing (Steven Alan, Self Edge denim, Marine Layer), a bakery (Little T Baker), and some of the best ramen you'll ever have (Boxer Ramen).


















Photos by Jedidiah Fugle

A Donutty Timelapse

A Donutty Timelapse


We put 4 dozen donuts and a timelapse camera in our busiest kitchen, proving that animators love to play with their food.