Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Walt Disney wrote this about animation in 1940 and it still rings true today:

"How very fortunate we are as artists to have a medium whos potential limits are still far off in the future; a medium of entertainment where, theoretically at least, the only limit is the imagination of the artist. As far as the past, the only important conclusion that I can draw from it is that the public will pay for quality, and the unseen future will take care of itself if one just keeps growing up a little every day."

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

John K's Jetsons, Cartoon Research and Animation Blast

While watching John Kricfalusi's version of the Jetsons on Cartoon Network (very twisted), I noticed a listing of 'Flash Animators' in the credits and decided to do a name search and found a couple of great and huge animation sites.

Cartoon Research is put together by Jerry Beck, author of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies : A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. The site is packed with fascinating cartoon history and current animation news.

Animation Blast is a blog-style magazine site with some good insider info and great interviews. Caution: be prepared to get out the Visine and spend countless hours delving into these sites.

Saturday, March 02, 2002

Pluto and The Big Cartoon Database.

When I was 5 years old, Pluto was my favorite cartoon character. This memory came to me last Saturday when I took the neighbor kids to see Snow Dogs. We heard they were showing a classic Pluto short before Peter Pan, so we decided to sneak over and watch Pluto's Fledgeling. It was the first time since I was little that I had seen a Disney short on the big screen.

A few years back, the cable channel Toon Disney debuted. Wow, 24 hours of classic shorts and features, right? Wrong. To catch any, you have to be up at 6am or midnight and watch Quack Attack - a half hour containing 3 shorts - surrounded by hours of their standard programming: Pepper Ann, Care Bears, Doug.. uugh! (However Teacher's Pet is funny and worth watching at 4 and 10pm).

Back to the classics: I decided to do a google search on one of the Pluto shorts and came across this site: The Big Cartoon Database complete with director, voice talent and animator credits. It makes you wonder how many of the old timers are still alive.

Friday, March 01, 2002

Drawing muscles like all others in our body operate at their peak efficency through regular activity or exercise. Betty Edwards' book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain reminds us that 5 or 10 minutes of regular drawing exercise a day is collectively better than a hour of weekly instruction.

In leu of a figure drawing class, I find the best way to exercise that half of the brain is to keep a sketchpad and lots of pencils next to the couch. That way, I'm able to do quick gestures of the figures on TV, the easiest being cartoons. Powerpuff Girls and Dexter have some of the simplest forms to start with (the former having great villans).

The drawings are not designed to be displayed as finished art. These are just quick 5-10 second studies to help you see the shapes, expressions and movement of the characters - to take mental snapshots and quickly transfer this to paper. As you progress, you'll find it easier to capture quicker and more complex characters like Looney Toons. Of course genius and excellence in art will take more intensive hours of dedicated study and practice, but I believe these quick excercises will make that study flow easier and prevent "creative blockage". Now I just need motivation to get off the couch and exercise those other muscles.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Drawing - Cartoons, caricatures, comics, animation, sculpting and various lessons learned therein.
The blog purpose will be to inspire and encourage daily, regular exercise of the "drawing muscles" through practical ideas, history reference and links to related sites. Sketchbook drawings will be captured to illustrate text.