Monthly ArchiveJuly 2010
Photos 31 Jul 2010 08:19 am
“Stonehenge” by J. M. W. Turner
- John Fowles is certainly one of my favorite, if not THE favorite author. Aside from the several novels he authored, there were a number of books he wrote to act as companions to photographic essays. Last year, I posted some work from his book on Shipwreck. This book spoke about the many ships that had crashed near Lyme Regis, Fowles home, and included many photos of these wrecks.
Another book of his, The Enigma of Stonehenge, accompanies the glorious photos by Barry Brukoff.
Fowles claims not to have any archeological knowledge, but he does fairly well in reporting the history and the legends behind Stonehenge, and it’s an enlightening book, beautifully written and illustrated.
I’ve decided to post the first two paragraphs of Fowles’ introduction to the material with a number of the photos – and there must be a couple hundred of them.
Thanks for tolerating my side trip from animation, at least for today.
MY EARLIEST MEMORY of Stonehenge is, like so many childhood memories, as much fiction as fact. I see a little boy standing at a country roadside. Larks sing, lapwings wheel. There across the cropped greensward the great stones rise and I run towards them, ahead of my parents – not at all, I’m afraid, as a budding scholar or an embryo Romantic. But at least I recognize a good natural exploring place when I see one. Climbing, scrambling, squeezing through stone pillars: it is not quite so jolly as Cheddar Gorge or the Valley of the Rocks, but above all it is not suburban, the world I know best. Already I know suburbia is sameness, sameness, sameness; that freedom, or my freedom, lies in the unsame; and that nothing can be unsamer than this.
One part of my memory must be very wrong, because people have not been allowed to walk up to the monument as they like since well before my birth; and even in the 19305 I am pretty sure, though one was then free to wander in the central circle, that eight-year-old mountaineers were not encouraged. But our present protectiveness and seriousness over the place is something new. Even possessing it, as late as 1915, had a remarkable casualness. A gentleman bought it at auction for £6,600 in that year. He was asked why. It emerged that his wife had happened to mention at breakfast that ‘she would like to own it’. The good man promptly sallied out and bought her her stone necklace. (She did not wear it long, however; three years later the Chubbs generously gave ownership to the nation.)
Of one thing I am certain: my own first meeting was happy. It may have been because I could not quite take that enticing clutter of boulders, so like a Dartmoor hilltop, as man-made, whatever I had been told beforehand. Almost all public buildings have always carried strong connotations in my mind of duty, work, imprisonment of one form or another – of the cell in all its senses. Where the wiser judge architecture by the way it plays with light and space, I tend to judge it by what it shuts out of those things. Stonehenge’s marvellous openness to them was what first pleased me. It came to me on that occasion, and has remained since, as the most natural building, the most woven with light, sky and space, in the world.
My latest remembrance, on a recent clear but arctic November day, is sadly different. Stone-henge stands in the fork of two busy roads, and the dominant sound in its present landscape is not the larksong of my memory, but the rather less poetic territorial whine of the longdistance truck. Visitors get to it now from a car-park, past a sunken ‘sales complex’, then down a subway under the nearest road: all this designed not to spoil the view, but the effect is unhappily reminiscent of an underground bunker. When they finally rise inside the wired-off enclosure, they are promptly faced with another barrier. The public is now forbidden the central area.
Conservation is a fine thing; yet one feels in some way cheated of a birthright, while the stone-grove itself seems deprived of an essential scale – indeed rather like a group of frightened aboriginals huddled together in self-defence against this sudden decision on our part to ostracize them so mercilessly. Everyone I had spoken to before coming had warned me that the new preserved-for-posterity Stonehenge – this was my first experience of it – makes a depressing visit. My wife, more fastidious than I am, took one look and turned back to the car.
I went up to an attendant in a little wind-shelter and explained I was preparing a text to accompany Barry Brukoff s photographs and would like to walk inside the barrier.
‘Are you an archaeologist?’
‘No. Just a writer.’
‘Department of the Environment, London. By letter.’ Then he added, ‘And I can tell you now you’ll be wasting your time.’
He looked bleakly over my shoulder at the mute clump of stones, as a prison warder might who has successfully foiled yet another clumsy escape attempt. I didn’t really blame him, for it was bitterly cold; and after all, who cares for mere curiosity and affection any more?
- Yesterday, I received this note from Bill Peckmann about some old copies Rowland B. Wilson had sent him.:
- “I finally found Rowland’s copies of another Keith Ward book that he had sent me. It’s a 60 page book, half the copies are in color, half are B & W (not the best Xeroxes), why this is so, is unfortunately lost in the mists of time. The book is oversized, 9 1/2 by 12 1/2. . . . I haven’t looked at these pages in ages and the art is a lot better than I remember it.”
Such beautiful line work, fantastic cartooning. Very original.
So without further ado, I’m posting these great illustrations. This takes us up to the first chapter break. More pics to follow as soon as I get them.
- Schoolhouse Rock became a reality when advertising exec, David McCall, realized his son, who was doing poorly in school, had memorized the lyrics to many a rock song. He produced a record with a couple of quickly written songs.
Tom Yohe illustrated some of the songs and presented it to McCall. They decided to put together an animated version, and the rest became history.
How it came about by Tom Yohe.
Here’s the storyboard and information, right out of the guide, on one particular episode of the show, Unpack Your Adjhectives.
(Click any image to enlarge.)
Here’s the storyboard from Phil Kimmelman & Associates.
Here’s the YouTube version:
All this material came to me from the collection of Bill Peckmann, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
- Production #2024, MAKE MINE MUSIC, “Peter and the Wolf”. Sequence 7, Scene 96. Animator: Ward Kimball.
Continuing the post of the little guy on the separate level, here are the next 40 drawings. This scene should be done next week when I post the last of these drawings.
As usual, we start with the last drawing from last week’s post.
The following QT movie represents all the drawings of the bottom level
as well as the first 40 drawings of the Little Guy who comes in where he should.
I exposed all drawings on ones.
Right side to watch single frame.
- Dustin Grella is a young film maker whose independent short, Prayers for Peace is now available on Vimeo, here. It’s a beautiful animated short that should be seen by any visitors to my blog. It’s currently on the Festival circuit, having been screened at Annecy, Stuttgart, Anima Mundi, and Mostra Lisboa, among others.
Mr. Grella takes his inspiration from William Kentridge rather than Walt Disney, and he makes a solidly strong debut with this film which was his Masters thesis at SVA. If you go to his site you can see other film samples he’s created.
The message of this film is in the title, Prayers for Peace. And we’re still praying. After seeing the docfeature, Restrepo, I could only come out of it depressed, wondering what the hell we’re doing there.
This guy has to be ecouraged and pushed to go on. I look forward to Mr. Grella’s next film. The man uses his brain and tries to animate from life not other cartoons. A rarity in today’s community.
- Speaking of drawing from life, Paul and Sandra Fierllinger‘s feature, MY DOG TULIP, is the first acquisition of the newly reopened New Yorker Films and will open at New York’s Film Forum on Wed, September 1st through Tues, September 14th.
MY DOG TULIP was written, directed and animated by award-winning Philadelphia filmmakers Paul and Sandra Fierlinger. As we all know, they did all of the artwork themselves. The film has been seeking a distributor for the past year, and they’ve found a good one that’ll give it special concern. Getting the New York reviews in early September will be helpful. Hopefully, this one will be eligible for Oscar consideration.
I’ll give the film more attention and review it when it opens.
If you’d like to see some other recent work by the Fierlingers, go here to see some 6 short pieces, called “Shelter Stories”. These pieces were done in collaboration with MUTTS‘ cartoonist Patrick McDonnell. Here’s what Paul wrote about these pieces:
- “This is something new for us because it is the first time I had to draw someone else’s cartoons. In this case it is the art of Patrick McDonnell, of the “Mutts” cartoon strip and books. These are six Shelter Stories, PSA’s (Public Service Announcements) urging people to adopt their pets rather than buy them from breeders. Our specific assignment was to communicate that shelter animals are normal, healthy pets that have ended up in shelters due to unhappy circumstances of their owners, rather than coming from cruel treatment, and that they often make the best pets.
All the stories are lifted off of Patrick’s strips, which heavily relied on written word, sometimes comprising of three panels of the same talking head. It was up to us to give the theme a background story. Patrick was a very generous collaborator, not insisting that we stay 100% on model, which would have been often difficult anyway because his cartoons often don’t even have legs. He also wanted me to employ close to real animal locomotion so we agreed that in some instances my drawings might drop out of model completely, only to return to model whenever the action would stop.
The music and sfx is by Shay Lynch, the stories are written by Patrick and Sandra and me (mostly Patrick & Sandra, actually). Sandra also did the kitten’s voices and the other two voices are read by two people in our neighborhood. The Agency is the Advertising Council and the client the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The spots haven’t been aired yet; actually I haven’t even quite delivered them because I’m waiting for the address where to send them.
By the way, these spots hold a record for me; this is the very first time in my long career that a client has accepted delivery of my work without requesting a single change!”ul>
- Continuing gwith some selected stills from the Japanese book, The Colors of Mary Blair, I’ve chosen concept art for three films; one animated: Two Silhouettes, two live action: Song of the South and So Dear To My Heart.
Concept art for MAKE MINE MUSIC’s Two Silhouettes
Concept art for SONG OF THE SOUTH
Concept art for SO DEAR TO MY HEART.
Photos 25 Jul 2010 07:07 am
- Many a Sunday, I’ve featured some of the great photos of my friend, Steven Fisher. During July & August, Steve spends a lot of time in Sicily, and this Summer’s no exception. However, he just sent a couple of pictures from his arrival and stay in Caltabellotta, and I’d like to share.
- Bill Peckmann has sent me a few pages from the R.C. Harvey book, A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists’ Self-Caricatures. There are a lot of great people in this book, and Bill has selected carefully to focus on those we’ve featured on this blog. Take a look.
(Click any image to enlarge.)
A week or so ago, I posted some of the illustrations from Bill Peckmann’s book, Gustaf Tenggren’s Story Book. This is a big, beautiful book with lots of chapters that take short pieces from some of the world’s most famous stories. Robin Hood, Heidi, Gulliver’s Travels and many others are all represented. Of course, to me the illustrations are everything.
Animation students don’t need to know who Gustaf Tenggren is. He was the designer brought in to Snow White and Pinocchio by Walt Disney. He went on to create the Poky Little Puppy and many of the most famous Little Golden Books.
Here, then, are some more of these illustrations from The Gustaf Tenggren Storybook.
(Click any image to enlarge.)
- I’ve always had a lot of respect for Gordo, the comic strip by Gus Arriola. The artwork was always crisp and well drawn, and the strip had its own strong audience. However, I never quite sought it out;no doubt my loss.
It was with interest that I received this note from Bill Peckmann:
- In keeping with the original comic strip theme I am sending this original Gordo Sunday page. This is from the days when you could send a fan letter to one of your favorite cartoonists and they were kind enough to send you an original in return. It has some nice “animated” panels in it. I have RC Harvey’s Gus Arriola book somewhere, but it’s hiding on me right now. To me his style always had a nice California/Disney/Kelly feel about it.
I can’t argue with that, and I’m always excited to post original strip art. This is a large one, so I post it as is and offer a couple of tighter shots for more clarification.
(Click any image to enlarge.)