Just a few things I'm currently marveling over and thought I'd share:
Fantastic Mr. Fox
I saw this stop-motion animated film in London and went a bit crazy over it. The fall palette is lovely, the lighting quite amazing (in the sewer scene, you can see the light changing as it is reflected off of moving water). And the character design is fabulous. Boggis, Bunce, and Bean have wonderful faces you're certain you were frightened of sometime in your childhood. The first fifteen minutes of the film I felt the animation was too jerky, as if there weren't enough frames per second. But I quickly got used to it and even found that I preferred it, as the animators weren't trying to hide the fact that it is stop motion animation. (Just the way the short Wallace and Gromit films have a hands-on quality (you can see finger prints) that Curse of the Were Rabbit lacks.) Go see it, and keep your eyes peeled for the little badger dressed up in a skeleton costume.
Red Nose Studio children's book posts
Chris Sickels has been working on a children's book called Here Comes the Garbage Barge. He's posted sketches, character studies, reference photos, and photographs of props and sets on his blog. It is worth checking out.
Liz Lomax has a blog devoted to illustrators working three-dimensionally. Interviews with individual artists are added each week, along with images of their work.
I finally saw the musical version of The Lion King while I was in London. I've never liked the story, and most of the music I could do without, but the costumes, puppets, masks, scenery, and lighting create an incredible world. I was gasping at the appearance of the giraffes, gazelles, elephants, and jaguars onstage (more so than the six year old sitting in front of me). Two books to check out: Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire by Eileen Blumenthal, Julie Taymor, and Antonio Monda & The Lion King by Julie Taymor. Penn and Teller also have a video containing a segment on her work- check the VHS section at your library.