Monday, April 21, 2008

Robin Ator

I don't know who posted this piece on my friend Robin Ator but it is a pretty impressive interview and shows a little taste of what Robin can do. I wish his philosophy on drawing were true because I struggle. But a key to Robins' amazing talent may be that he has a photographic memory,( he kind of alludes to that). Winsor MaCay had a photographic memory and his work is brilliant and so is Robins'. It would be worth your while to Google Robin and also check out his Flickr pages.

I think my presumptions of Robin having eidetic memory are too dismissive of his mastery of art and should emphasize his daily and almost every minute of time spent drawing. It’s a discipline I need to develop.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Puppetry and Me

My buddy Eric did a post on ventriloquist Shari Lewis that you can read here:

Beautiful Shari Lewis with Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse

It made me appreciate my childhood and the things I experienced that have now become obscured or forgotten.

In the early days of television, before c.g. and limited animation became the norm, puppetry and ventriloquism were viable entertainments that variety shows, commercials and network programming offered.

The Marionette driven Howdy Dowdy was so popular that the only thing dethroning him was Disneys’ “Mickey Mouse Club” featured in the same time slot of a competing network.

Howdy Doody & Buffalo Bob

Ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson with Danny O’Day and Farfel the dog pitched Nestles Quik in commercials. Actor and voice talent, (Tigger, and others), Paul Winchell hosted a show with Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smith, as well as Shari Lewis with her Lamp Chop and crew.

Jimmy Neslon with Danny, Farfel and unknown

Paul Winchell, Jerry and Knucklehead

Puppeteers were features in commercials, educational films, and network shows such as animator/director Bob Clampettes' original “The Beany and Cecil Show”. The Bil Baird Marionettes did commercials, industrial films and entertainment. They also appeared on shows like Ed Sullivan who presented the little Italian mouse Topo Gigio as well as introduced Jim Hensons’ Muppets to television viewers.

Bob Clampettes' Beany & Cecil

Cora and Bil Baird

Bairds'"Party Lines" (color, 15 min., 1946) was produced for the Bell Phone Co.

Topo Gigio

Ed Sullivan with Topo:

Jim Henson and Kermit

You can still find information on these guys on the Internet but it was wonderful having them as part of my regular viewing pleasure as a kid. Their influence was one of the reasons I’m in animation today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thanks Ollie

The last of Disney's Nine Old Men, Ollie Johnston, passed away today at the age of 95. Thanks for everything.

Quote from Roy Disney…
“Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today. One of Ollie’s strongest beliefs was that his characters should think first, then act…and they all did. He brought warmth and wit and sly humor and a wonderful gentleness to every character he animated. He brought all those same qualities to his life, and to all of our lives who knew him. We will miss him greatly, but we were all enormously enriched by him.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Eyes Have It

I never intended this blog to be a teaching tool or to impart any techniques for animators. But I did come across an interesting article on 'reading' people and thought it might help animators to convey more emotion and thought processing into their characters. These kind of read like party games and are not guaranteed sure fire rules that will deliver 100% results, but they may strengthen your scenes. Try them on your friends and see what happens.

Eyes Down and Left. If a person looks down-left they are thinking about how something makes them feel. If they are visibly happy then they may be thinking about the happiness that they feel. Ask a person how they feel on their birthday and they should look down-left before they describe it to you.

Eyes Down and Right. A person looking down-right has internal dialog going on in their head. They may be talking to themselves, reciting a conversation, or thinking about what they are going to say. Ask someone how their last conversation went and you will see them looking down-right.

Eyes Straight Downward. A person looking straight downward is showing that they are submissive and uncomfortable. People will often look downward when they are shy and do not wish to have a conversation. Moving the eyes straight downward is often a sign of shame or embarrassment. In some Asian cultures it is customary to look downward and not make eye contact when talking to someone.

Eye contact. Consistent eye contact is a sign that the person is interested in the conversation. Prolonged eye contact can mean that the person is trying to intimidate and/or may not trust you. Brief eye contact indicates that the person is anxious and/or not interested in the conversation. While a total lack of eye contact shows great disinterest in the conversation.

Eyes looking straight up. Rolling the eyes upward is a gesture that often indicates contempt, sarcasm, boredom, or annoyance. If someone is rolling their eyes at you it is not a good sign. Sometimes people look straight upward when they are referring to a god, but in most cases it is meant to be condescending. If their eyes roll back into their head and stay there… heh… make sure they aren’t having a seizure.

Eyes to the Upper Right. Someone who you see looking up-right is visualizing a remembered image. Ask someone to tell you the color of their car or describe what someone looks like and they should look up-right.

Eyes to the Upper Left. When you see someones eyes move quickly up-left they are constructing images in their head. A person looking up-left is using their imagination to put a picture together in their mind. Ask a person to imagine a large blue house filled with marbles and they should look up and to the left.

Eyes to the Right. When someone moves their eyes to the right they are recalling sounds from their memory. Ask someone to remember the melody to a song or to remember the sound of their alarm clock and they will look to their right.

Eyes Left. People construct sounds when they look to the left (1st person right). When someone imagines new sounds like an unheard voice, or puts together a new melody they look to the left. Ask someone to imagine the sound of a car horn underwater and they should look to the left.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ruby Rocket

My buddy Sam has been running a parallel course with me trying to find a good digital way of doing traditional animation. His blog documents the process and his insights might be helpful to anyone interested in pursuing paperless animation. There are many good programs offered for this type of work which might simplify the process, but Sam is using a hybrid approach using several soft wares. I'm interested in what his final conclusions are. Follow his development here:

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hot Topic

These are some unapproved designs of a character made of fire for a commercial I can't mention. I did these with a digital paint program called ArtRage. It's got some nice features I hope to learn.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Inspiration: Kristen Mccabe

There are sooooo many great artists posting inspiring things. I’ve discovered the works of Kristen Mccabe and just love her stuff. She has a little touch of Mort Drucker to me and a huge sense of humor. Check her stuff out here:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Midlife Crisis #09

I'm in a rut, yes another one. It's like I want to redefine myself. These quick drawings were an effort to break out and loosen up. Be prepared for some really awful stuff as I try anything and everything, (in art).