Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Jinn Jinn

It's the Corona virus self quarantine here, and I’ve decided to spend my time working on another ‘homegrown’ cartoon from my home studio.  I'm expanding on something I wrote about earlier in a posting called Seeing Things that goes over the same discovery process talked about here.

The origin for this film is unique in that it wasn’t inspired by a book or my attempt to create an original character, it came from a tablecloth! There is a phenomenon called Pareidolia where the brain tries to make sense of chaotic information presented to it.  This is how we see pictures in clouds and faces in patterns.  My wife has a tablecloth we use often and in the pattern I saw this extraterrestrial flying in his aircraft, and in another section of the cloth was his alien friend or pet. 

I’ve named the ET Jinn Jinn because he might have been confused as a genie because he rides in a Vimana: a Hindu flying chariot.  His friend Sadiqi, (which means friend), is also an inter-dimensional spirit buffalo, or something.

Originally I had envisioned Jinn as a time traveler flying around looking for fun in different historical events and accidentally altering history.  He's the one who put the crack in the Liberty Bell and tipped over the Tower Of Pisa.  Anyway, I settled on an origin story of how Jinn meets his pal Sadiqi, it gives me an opportunity to figure out who these guys are and what they look like moving.

Like The Yellow Submarine, this film is becoming a mixture of cultural styles, and turning psychedelic pretty fast.  I know this is not going to be liked by everyone or maybe anyone, but with the quarantine going on; it’s a nice way to spend some time.

Here are three tests strung together with a scratch audio track added, (it might not play too smoothly).
Jinn Jinn doesn't have pupils yet in these tests which makes him look more evil than he is...


Design test with Stand-in Jinn Jinn and Sadiqi

Title Card Idea_01
Title Card Idea_02

Trying to find expressions with this design

More expression exploration
More exploration with a 3/4 head turn and a happy Jinn Jinn

A hungry Sadiqi design

Sadiqi expression test

The original tablecloth that inspired Jinn Jinn

Jinn Jinn against the tablecloth Vimana

Rough version of the Vimana & Jinn Jinn over the original tablecloth
A harder to see Sadiqi, which I modified quite a bit, from the tablecloth.

Friday, March 06, 2020

Fox Hunt and The Yellow Submarine

It’s taken sometime to process the graphic impact of Heinz Edelmann’s The Yellow Submarine.  George Dunning is credited for directing this Beatles feature film but the design was singularly birthed by Heinz Edelmann.  Unfortunately both men have passed away, but even so, I believe history has left a trail that might account for how this style developed.

The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a fusion of contemporary rock & roll and Victorian influences, including the British survival of two World Wars and the teachings of Aleister Crowley.  Producer George Martin further sweetened the mixture with classical orchestrations.  This touch of old and new sensibilities was simultaneously happening in the graphic arts of the time too.

Artists like Milton Glaser reached back into the past, recycling vestiges of Art Nouveau and the later Art Deco to create a contemporary style for the 60’s commonly called Pop Art.  Heinz Edelmann also used this template to the design the world of Pepperland for  The Yellow Submarine and caricatured the current designs with the fashionable bell-bottoms and boots of the day blown up to ridiculous proportions.  This style was pirated by lesser talents like Peter Max through out the Psychedelic era.

Now, in the world of animation Walt Disney had impacted the field to the point that everyone was becoming a clone of Walt’s graphic style which tried to emulate nature more and more.  Two filmmakers, Anthony Gross & Hector Hoppin, choose to experiment with the radically different aesthetic backlash Art Deco and the Modern Art movement was to the traditional classical representation.


Anthony Gross & Hector Hoppin made the Art Deco film Fox Hunt and being a British film that gained some notoriety, it’s not unreasonable to think that a young Heinz Edelmann or George Dunning might have seen it as impressionable youths.  Graphically The Yellow Submarine owes a debt to Art Deco but there are a few scenes which might point to a direct influence.  Fox Hunt has equestrian riders coming down Art Nouveau staircases very similar to the ones Ringo drives his red car down in The Yellow Submarine.  It could all be coincidental I suppose, but…  
Riders descending staircases in Fox Hunt

Ringo's car descending  staircases in The Yellow Submarine

I did an earlier article on Gross and Hoppin speculating that their film La Joie de Vivre may have influenced the 1940 Disney classic Fantasia.  You can find it here: