Top 10 Studio Ghibli Movies (Updated)

thumbnail_IMG_20190604_113740_084Lately I’ve been in a very Ghibli mood, a mood that consists of wanting to be awed by wonder, enchantment and cuteness and a hunger that can only be satisfied by watching Studio Ghibli films.  Back in the early days of this blog I made a post listing my top 10 favourite Ghibli films (click here to see that post). After re-watching most of my old favourites and a few Ghibli films I’d never seen before, my opinion on these movies have changed quite a lot. Don’t worry I still love Ghibli films very much and they still hold a big place in my heart (I wouldn’t be in a Ghibli mood otherwise). It’s just that over time and after a huge Ghibli binge-watch (best binge-watch ever), my preference has shifted and my top ten favourites is now very different from the first post I made.

So, for that reason its about time I updated this list and brought to you an updated version of

My Top 10 Favourite Studio Ghibli Films:

Honourable Mention- Pom Poko (↓4)
A lot of people seem not to like this film, personally I found the raccoons antics in this movie really funny. It can be a little crude at times, but looking pass that it’s quite a good film with a positive eco-friendly message to look after the environment and not destroy natural habitats. (Which is a bit of a running theme in Ghibli films)

thumbnail_640EA4E8-C292-49B0-8718-B16564FB153710: My Neighbour Totoro (NE= New Entry)
This is kind of a funny sort of a film. It’s very nice to watch but it doesn’t really have much of a storyline, it’s more like a series of happenings. I’ll try explaining the plot to show you what I mean, two little girls move to the countryside with their father. The house they move into turns out to be haunted by very cute harmless spirits. You learn the girls’ mother is in hospital with TB and can’t come home which upsets the girls. Their father has to work a lot, so the girls are pretty much left to run wild in the garden and surrounding area. Which leads to them meeting a giant cute bunny-bear like spirit called Totoro. The children hang out and play with Totoro, then the youngest one goes missing. Everyone panics and thinks she’s either gone by herself to visit her mother or drowned in a pond. Then the oldest girl gets on a cat bus and finds her younger sister and the movie then ends with them both eating corn in a tree.
As you can see it’s a bit of a strange film with a very loose plot, which has led to a lot of theories being made about what actually is happening in this film. From suggesting its references toward a real-life disappearance of a school girl, to people theorising that the girls actually die at the end of the film and that’s why they’re sitting in a tree (because apparently spirit rest in trees at night). However, it’s incredibly cute and sweet, which is what makes the film so enjoyable (you could quite possibly get tooth ache from watching it).

9: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (NE)
The animation style of this film so very different from other Ghibli films, it looks more like a hand painted moving talking watercolour, than the typical Ghibli art style. It’s subtle colour scheme and intriguing storyline makes it very relaxing and beautiful to watch. It does have a lot of religious and mythological references, which some mightn’t like. But if you’re interested in mythology and don’t mind the odd religious reference, its quite a nice watch. Like most Ghibli films it also has a positive message, which is to not chase after others idea of happiness or force your idea of happiness upon others (including your children and other family members). Basically, the film’s message is about achieving true happiness.

8: The Secret World of Arrietty (↑1)
This film has moved up one place in this list mainly because of its breathtakingly beautiful scenes and animation. In the last list, I think I underappreciated how amazing and stunning the animation was (probably because now I know the level of work that goes into creating scenes like those in the film). Story wise I prefer this version of the borrowers over the 1997 borrowers films. It’s very heart-warming and lovely to watch and puts a nice wee spin on the concept of borrowers.

7: Castle in The Sky (↑3)
Castle in The Sky has moved up quite a bit in this list. In the last list I forgot about the sense of wonder this film creates and about the sky pirates. Ghibli sky pirates are a rather likable odd bunch. At first, they seem like bad news but as the film goes on, they become goofier and seem more like a big bunch of softies. Especially, Dola who is a great character and is like a kooky, really cool grandmother that takes no guff and is tough as nails but is still kind at heart. The sky pirates all add a little bit of comedy and relatability to what is already a sweet and mysterious film with beautiful animation.

6: Kiki’s Delivery Service (↑2)
I re-watched Kiki’s Delivery Service with my nephew and he was outrage at behaviour in this film, which made me realise how bananas this film actually is. My nephew was completely horrified that parents would let a 13-year-old go off by themselves and in complete shock at Kiki breaking the stranger danger rule over and over again and getting in a car with a stranger. You would have sworn he was watching a horror movie instead of a Ghibli film. His overreaction and ranting towards this film made watching it so much funnier. But in saying that he does have a point, this film is sort of messed up and the more you think about Kiki does put herself in quite a few situations that would be incredibly dangerous in the real world (even for an adult). Anyway, seeing Kiki’s Very Dangerous Delivery Service from a new point of view, made me appreciate how surreal the Ghibli universe actually is (there is so many Ghibli films where children wander of by themselves and do really dangerous things and everyone acts spookily happy about it), which is why it was given a higher place on this list. (Funniest thing is my nephew says he liked this film, but like Ponyo better. He really loves Ponyo)

thumbnail_90DDF0C2-ADBB-47CC-B77D-4C830420E57E5: Ponyo (↓1)
Ponyo is a very cute and magical Ghibli film that really has the awe factor. With its beautiful use of colour and breath-taking animation, it’s really enjoyable and hypnotic just to look at. Story wise, its incredibly sweet and just plain adorable. It’s the kind of film that would warm even the coldest of hearts. No matter how many times I see this movie I never get sick of it. The only reason it fell a spot on this list, was to make room for a film I’ve only seen for the first time recently.

4: When Marnie was There (NE)
The best way to describe this film is a mysterious ghost story that shows the beauty of friendship. There is just so much twist and turns in this film and it’s just so mysterious. It will constantly keep you guessing and glued to the screen. At one point I didn’t have a baldy (a clue) what was happening and found myself completely enthralled in the film, very eagerly wanting to know what the fudge was happening. The ending of this film is very bitter sweet, it’s lovely and warms the cockles of the heart but is also really sad and might even make you shed a tear. It has a little more of a mature feel to it than other Ghibli films, but all around it’s an amazing film and one definitely worth watching. I regret not watching it sooner.

3: Spirited Away (↓1)
Spirited Away is a film that most anime and Ghibli fans will have seen at least once in their life. It holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and it’s not hard to see why. It’s so magical and cute and very different from anything you’ve probably ever seen. For me its where my love of anime and Ghibli began. As a child I was so innocent and naïve that I didn’t even know anime was a thing. Weird thing is I had watched quite a lot of anime before this film (Pokémon, Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh! and even Princess Mononoke), but never caught on that they were anime. To me they were just cartoons the same as all the others I loved to watch. It wasn’t until my Dad put a film on the TV (which was Spirited Away) and the announcer called it an Anime film from Japan, that I know there was such thing as anime. I was so taken by Spirited Away, that I wanted to know more about what anime was and from there my love of anime blossomed. Which is why it’s in the top 3.

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I love Turnip-head so much, that I redrew him.

2: Howl’s Moving Castle (↑1)
Glob I love the sassy old lady power in this movie. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those Ghibli films that really deliver on that magical mysterious feel. Its story contains so much mystery that on the first watch, it’ll constantly have you guessing about so many things like Howl, the castle, the fire demon Calcifer, turnip head and what on earth is going on in this film. This mixed with its magical creatures and enchanted objects and devices, gives a real feel of awe and wonder. On top of this, it tells a heart-warming love story that teaches there is more to being loved than a pretty face. Its animation is absolutely beautiful and has so many cool little details which is why it’s my favourite film animation wise. All round Howl’s Moving Castle is a wonderful Ghibli film.

1: Princess Mononoke
Although everything else in this list has changed, my no. 1 favourite Ghibli film has stayed the same. It was the first Ghibli film I had ever seen (even though I didn’t know it was at the time), so it’s kind of special to me. But I think that’s the same with everyone’s first Ghibli film. Your first Ghibli film is usually the one that makes you fall in love with Ghibli and opens the door to the wonderful world of Ghibli. So, it’s not hard to see why most people’s first Ghibli film is their favourite.
First time I watched Princess Mononoke, I was completely dumbfounded, in a state of pure astonishment and amazement. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I instantly fell in love with its beautiful animation style and was really taking by it. I remember the first time watching this film, trying to slowly edge closer and closer to the TV, to really take in its beautiful scenery. Then having sofa cushions flung at me by my siblings and having the snot beat out of me with one for blocking their view. Though I didn’t fully understand the films plot or symbolism as a child, I still loved it and enjoyed every minute of it. As an adult, I continue to love this film and have re-watched it so many times. It’s just so amazing and unique, it really is a great Ghibli film.

Hope you enjoyed this Ghibli top 10 update. The first time I posted a Ghibli top 10, I made a top 10 Non-Ghibli anime film list, to link in with that post. I haven’t decided yet whether to update that list too, but if people are interested in seeing that update, I’ll update it too.

As always Thanks for reading and if you have a favourite Ghibli film, don’t be afraid to tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.

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I’m Back

thumbnail_85e9e794-0e59-4276-ad93-d33c3b7a4d60A while ago, I had to go on an unexpected unannounced hiatus. Nothing big or shocking happened, it was just that a lot of things creeped up on me at once and things got extremely busy, so I didn’t have much time to blog. Thankfully things have calmed down a little now and I’m back. It feels so good to be blogging again, it felt like I lost a limb while on hiatus. Not creating blog posts or not having time to read others’ blogs, was so incredibly dull. It really is great to be blogging again.

So, what did I get up to while in hiding?

Well, I’ve got a little bit of news to share with you all. The Collab comic strip project I was doing with Anjani, is being posted over on MangaToon. So, I’ve been spending a lot of my art/drawing time working on it (which is so much fun). I really love making comics, even though my drawing skills still need a lot of improvement. Drawing really exaggerated faces is a hell of a lot of fun and can be very amusing at times. (If you have the MangaToon app and/or would like to check the comic out, it’s called Finding my own way.)

As well as the comic, I’ve been practicing more traditional art (and doodling a lot). I’ll include a few of the better things I’ve created to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to. Lately the doodling habit has reached a new level, I pretty much doodle on any piece of paper I get my hands on, which lead this creation.

thumbnail_img_20190502_170206_076.jpgIt started off as just a little doodle on the page, but I went doodle mad and got a little carried away. Before realising it, the page was completely covered in doodles. But in saying that, I like this big doodle.

I’ve also been messing experimenting with paint and trying out different techniques, so have created quite a few experimental and abstract pieces. I’ll show you a few examples of these pieces because there’s too many to put in one post.

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I gave him K-pop hair (those drops are red paint, in case you were getting scared)

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Abstract is actually kind of hard

Lastly soft pastels, I’ve finally worked out how to use them without nearly dying from breathing in the dust. So, I’ve been working hard to try to master soft pastels and after quite a few fails, eventually created something worth sharing.

thumbnail_20190425_181720So that us all caught up art wise, hope you enjoyed this little art update. I have a movie related post planned so hopefully that will be up soon too.

Glad to be back and as always thanks for reading!

Cute Pokémon Art 

After 2 weeks of no sketching or doodling, being able to draw again felt so good. But what does one sketch when you haven’t lifted a pencil in 2 weeks and in fear that you’ve forgotten how to draw? Cute Pokémon of course! Specifically, a sketch capturing the friendship of a group of cute starter Pokémon.
If you’re following me on Instagram, you may already have seen the sketch part of this post. Luckily, I’ve added colour to that sketch, so there’s still something new to see in this post. So, with that in mind let’s begin.

thumbnail_20181128_132941To be completely honest, I was surprised the sketch turned out this good. Shoulder injury has somehow improved my ability to draw Pokémon (hmm… wonder if I injure it some more, will I improve further). Granted, I couldn’t sketch as lightly as I usually do (hence why you can see a few stray lines), but still this is the best darn Pokémon sketch I’ve done to date.

thumbnail_20181128_195523For the colour I decided to torture myself a little and whip out the soft pastels again. They do create a lot of dust, that chokes you half to death if breathed in and they’re not my best medium, but I still really want to master them. This time however, I used a different approach with the soft pastels and used a dry paint brush to apply them, instead of using them directly on the page. This technique is still difficult to use, but creates a lot less dust and mess.

thumbnail_20181128_195641One thing you learn pretty early on when learning to draw, is that pencil lines have a habit of fading while you’re adding colour and after, they usually need touched up or gone over with a fine liner. Which is exactly what happened with this piece, so I redone the linework after adding colour.

thumbnail_20181128_211525Finally, this piece just wouldn’t be complete without some kind of background. The only problem with this was, that I was using soft pastels. Soft pastel can be incredibly unforgiving, meaning doing anything fancy with the background would greatly risk ruining the entire piece. So, I played it safe and went somewhat simpler with the background and concentrated on using the background to get some more colour in the piece.

Really don’t want to sound big-headed or full of myself, but I’m very pleased with how this piece turned out. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and…

As always, Thanks for reading!

(I’ll probably post this finished piece on Instagram sometime next week, just to tie up loose ends and not have incomplete work posted on there.)

Doodle Fun

We have finally made it back to the land of the living (okay that might be a tad on the dramatic side). What I mean is I’m feeling a lot better now and nearly fully recovered. Thank you all for the lovely comments and well wishes while I was ill.
As promised I’m making a post of the best doodles I did while flu ridden. Apologies for the random writing around the doodles. These doodles were done while professor YouTube was educating me on the workings of Hangul (the Korean alphabetic system) and Katakana (one of the Japanese syllabic writing systems) and I sort of practiced a little on the page while doodling and watching YouTube videos (Had to do something to occupy my mind. Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling was dreadfully boring, so I might as well have used the time to educate myself. Also writing systems are really interesting).

thumbnail_20180918_175958So, this is the first page, I was really into doodling little men that day. If you’re wondering about the Hangul (writing) on this page, it’s mostly just random words and me using what I learnt to complain about having the flu.

thumbnail_20180918_181119This is my favourite doodle on this page. There are a few guidelines showing, but it’s still really cute.

thumbnail_20180918_181350Although, this turned out a little crooked (probably because it was drawn from a weird angle), I still really like this doodle, too.

thumbnail_20180918_181226Not a fan of this doodle, as you can tell (but in saying that, high fever me thought the speech bubble was fringing hilarious. God, I must have been delirious, at that point).

thumbnail_20180918_180448The second page is a little busier. I’m a little more familiar with Katakana, so was listening more than watching the screen (meaning more doodling). Katakana is phonetic and is used for translating non-Japanese words into Japanese. This includes names, so I decided to give my doodles names using Katakana (boredom was very strong at this point).

thumbnail_20180918_182422I’m extremely proud of this little dog, Tobi. I doodled him in under 2 minutes and he turn really good. (If you’re wondering what the fox and fish are called, I named the fox Toboe and the fish Tuna.)

thumbnail_20180918_182936 (1)A little close up of the stick people tree. Stick people are a hell of a lot of fun to doodle. If you’re feeling stressed or horrible, I highly recommend doodling stick people. It’ll cheer you right up.

So that was my doodles. Hope you enjoyed them. I have to take it easy for the next while (don’t want to get really sick again), so thanks for your patience and…
As always Thanks for reading.

A Fish Named Finny (Part 2-Let’s Make Finny Look Fabulous)

20180721_201231At last, the second half of the requested simpler step by step post. I’ve had to give some serious thought, to how I was going to add colour to Finny. Between wanting to keep things simples and not overload peoples’ brains with information and fatigue (I fell asleep 3 times at my desk last week, it was embarrassing), it wasn’t easy. But I think I’ve found a solution that’s a good balance between keeping things simple and ending up with a beautiful fish. That solution being, colouring pencils.

Considering how easy it is to get your hands on a good set of colouring pencils and that they’re something most people will be familiar with and have used before, I figured they were the best way to do this post. Also compared to paint, they’re far less messy (just getting that out there, as an added bonus).

So, with that all explained let’s begin:

Step 1: Choose your colours and test your pencils

Sounds weird but it’ll save you a lot of bother later. The aim is to know what the colours look like on paper, before using them to your drawing. Personally, I like to cross the colours (as seen above) to see how they blend with each other.

Step 2: The hard part-The Scales
So not to overwhelm people, I’ve decided to demonstrate a more decorative, simple way of adding colour to the scales. Instead of a more realistic looking way, because that would most likely put a lot people off giving this little project a go themselves.

For the scales, we use a blend of 2-3 colours, which gives the scales a nice wee decorative look at the end.

thumbnail_20180724_160331First lay down one colour quite generously at the top of one scale.

thumbnail_20180724_160530Then lightly use another colour on the rest of the scale.

thumbnail_20180724_160826Go over the whole scale again with the first colour and second colour if necessary….

and hopefully you’ll end up with scales that looks something like this.

thumbnail_20180724_190318Tip: Going over scales with a white pencil can lighten areas and helps blend colours better.

Step 3: The Fins

thumbnail_20180804_150718(0)For this you pretty much use the same method as the scales, except you start at the base of the fin, you try to keep the colours light and use darker colours for the linework on the fin.
Tip: Using the white pencil is great for keeping the colour light. Also using more than one colour, for the linework will give a better effect.

Step 4: The Head

thumbnail_20180804_152955This is probably the easiest part. The aim is to give the bottom of the head a slight shadow by colouring it a little darker, than the rest of the head. This will make it look less 2D.

fin3Then concentrate on the little details on the head.

Step 5- Finishing Touches

complete 2Touch up the linework and sign your work.

If you’ve made it this far in this step by step, hopefully you now have a beautiful fish (if not, don’t worry. It’s probably down to me awful description skills and not your art skills).

Thanks for reading and hopefully this step by step post has inspired you to create a Finny of your very own.

Flowery Doodle Tree

There was still quite a bit of Gouache paint to be used up, so I thought I might as well paint some more of my flower doodles. It would be a crying shame to let good paint go to waste or to let it explode all over the cupboards, again.

thumbnail_20180629_080347This time I went with the flowery doodle tree, that I probably drew after drinking too much coffee (I draw the weirdest things, when on a caffeine buzz). Just a little warning, I was in a bit of a mood when painting the background so it turned out a little strange. But not to worry, nearly everyone here is in a bit of a mood because of this second heatwave we’re experiencing.
We usually don’t get really hot weather like this here, so most aren’t use to the heat and can’t handle it that well. To be frank at this point, most of us are feeling completely bucked, rather grumpy and cursing global warming (also not to mention, a little sunburnt).

thumbnail_20180629_080432As you can see, I was so moody that I wasn’t even going to entertain, staying in the lines. Mainly because unlike water colours, Gouache paint is surprisingly forgiving. So, it really doesn’t matter that much, if you go over the lines. You can always just paint over it and blend it in.
As for the colour choice. Moody me apparently likes to be dramatic with colour.

thumbnail_20180629_163611So here we have it, the finished piece. Thankfully, after being left to dry for a few days, the background lightened up a bit and doesn’t look as morbid now.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the creation of the Flowery Doodle Tree. Thanks for reading.

But before a head off to melt a little more on this heat. I’d like to announce that I created an Instagram account for this blog a wee while ago, so if you like to see more of what I get up to, you can follow me over on Instagram.

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Just look for the little vampire!

Doodle Flower to Beautiful Flower

thumbnail_20180613_204601As surprising as it may seem, when I’m not doodling dinosaurs and stick people for my own amusement, I doodle flowers. After discovering that half of my tubes of Gouache paint exploded inside the cupboard (it was like paint grenade went off in there), because of the recent heatwave. I decided to go through my book of doodles and use up the remaining paint, before I have to clean up anymore sticky rainbow coloured messes.

thumbnail_20180613_204210There’s quite a lot of flower doodles in my book, but this is the one I chose. It’s a pretty simple drawing of circles and spikes, but I thought I could turn it into something nice. I used a really light pencil, so I lined it with paint to make it easier for you guys to see.

thumbnail_20180613_204415People never really talk about how long it takes them to complete a painting. Maybe there’s some sort of strange taboo or fear of painting envy surrounding it, but I can’t see the harm in it. So, this the doodle after the first painting session. It probably doesn’t look it, but this is about 2 hours of painting. I have no idea whether that’s fast or really slow, but I’ve seen people spend even longer than that in a session.

thumbnail_20180614_141806It only took me 2 painting sessions to turn the doodle into a pretty painting. The second session did take a little longer, because of the details on the petals. However overall, that’s still a pretty short length of time spent completing a painting (my acrylic paintings usually take days to complete). The feeling of satisfaction you get after finishing and looking at the end product, so completely worth the time and effort put into the painting.

Gouache paint is really pigmented and fun to experiment with, but considering its price, its smell (it kind of smells funky) and the fact it doesn’t hold up in heat, I don’t think I would get it again.

Thanks for reading and hope you liked the flower.