SOURCE: Author Morgan Kostival

Author Morgan Kostival

September 22, 2011 13:59 ET

Graphic Artist Combines Nostalgia and Technology to Create New Art Form

WEST PALM BEACH, FL--(Marketwire - Sep 22, 2011) - While most of his childhood friends enjoyed their teddy bears, Morgan Kostival was more partial to sword-wielding animated skeletons, giant monsters and giant gorillas.

"I loved the old Sinbad movies, where they used stop-motion animation to create all kinds of creatures," said Kostival, artist and author of the new children's book "The Deep Black Pond" ( "The animation wasn't as smooth as some of the 3D computer animation of today, but the creatures all had depth and texture to them. For me, it made them more real."

And that's why Kostival decided to combine his love of the old art form with the new graphic arts techniques to illustrate his children's book.

"I try to imagine how people must have felt the first time they saw King Kong, and they saw this gigantic moving creature interacting with real people," he said. "Back then, that was state-of-the-art movie technology and it seems so simple by today's standards. All they did was make miniature figures with hinges and joints that made them moveable, and they'd adjust the arm or the legs or the head just slightly so, and then snap a frame of film -- and then they'd do it again. It was time consuming, but not that much more so than the computer animation of today."

Kostival's process mimics the techniques of special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who crafted the ape in the classic Mighty Joe Young, as well as dozens of monsters and creatures for Jason and the Argonauts and a series of Sinbad movies in the 1950s and 1960s. He starts by actually creating the creatures for his story out of clay, plastic and other standard materials, like a master toymaker handcrafting his prototypes. Next, he photographs them against custom backgrounds, sometimes editing them into the picture using Photoshop and other computer-aided tools.

"Combining the hand crafted creatures with computer photo-editing allows me to give the characters that crisp, clean quality that kids today are used to seeing in 3D animated movies, but still retain the texture and feel of something that might -- and actually -- exists in the real world."

About Morgan Kostival

Morgan Kostival holds a BA in Motion Picture Production from Point Park College, in Pittsburgh, PA. He has worked on numerous independent stage, film, and television productions as well as professional stage productions.

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