Monthly ArchiveApril 2013
My apologies, I should have included this page among those from the Sleeping Beauty battle which I’d posted yesterday. This concludes the dragon fight.
- This is the final photo/page of the Ken Anderson board for Sleeping Beauty. John Canemaker loaned me the series (which I’d posted in June of 2006) that includes Sequences 18 & 19 of the film. They’re the climax of the film – Prince Phillip’s battle with the thorns and the dragon, ultimately killing off Maleficent.
This is the whole photo as is:
(Click any image to enlarge.
Here, I’ve broken the photo into rows cutting the rows in half. This way I can post them as large as possible for viewing.
Here are the pages of the animator’s draft to inform you as to who animated the scenes of sequence 19:
Many thanks also to Hans Perk who, on his blog A Film LA, has posted the animator drafts of this film (like so many others he’s shared with his readers). None of this work could have been done without that reference.
- John Canemaker had loaned me the final sequences of the storyboard to Sleeping Beauty, detailing the dragon fight and climax of the film. I originally posted this in three parts. I’ve combined them all here, making for one long post.
I’m not sure who did the artwork, but there’s a good chance it’s Ken Anderson‘s work.
As with past boards, I’ll post the whole photograph as is, then take it apart row by row so that you can enlarge them as much as possible. Here’s the storyboard sequence #19 from Sleeping Beauty.
The full board follows below:
(Click any image to enlarge.)
The breakdown of that full board follows:
Here’s the next full page of storyboard as is:
(Click any image on the page to enlarge.)
Again, I follow with the board broken up into segments, half a row at a time.
This is this photo of the next page of the board as it came to me:
(Click any image to enlarge.)____________
Here are the rows of the board broken into two so that I can post them a bit larger.
If only he knew what he was going to face next.
I’ve decided to get the frame grabs for the sequence and post them as well. I thought the comparison of board to actual film would be interesting.
These images come from the “Special Edition” of the dvd, not the “Platinum Edition” now on the market. Using Hans Perk‘s posts of the drafts for these scenes, on his blog A Film LA, I was able to identify the animators’ names.
sc 82 (L) Milt Kahl – sc 82.1 (R) Frank Thomas
- Let’s end this post from Sleeping Beauty by posting a couple of drawings I have for the “Skumps” sequence. Again, Hans Perk on his blog A Film LA, posted the animator drafts for this sequence and I was able to I.D. the animators. (I have to say I guessed correctly in three out of four shots, so I’m pleased with myself.)
I’m posting closeups of the drawings. By clicking on any of them you’ll see the full sized animation paper. I’m also posting frame grabs beneath the drawings so you can see how they looked in the film.
This is a Milt Kahl scene, seq 13 sc 8. This drawing is undoubtedly a clean up,
so it’s not one of Kahl’s drawings – just his pose. It’s an extreme.
- John Canemaker recently loaned me a stash of photos of the Raggedy Ann crew. These were pictures that were used in his book on the “making of”. It was a better book than movie (as they often are). There are also some photos that didn’t make it to the book. John Canemaker shot all the photos, himself and all copyright belongs to him.
I thought I’d post the pictures and add some comments that pop off the top of my head. Hopefully, a couple of interesting stories will show up in my memories.
There are enough photos that it’ll probably take about three posts to get them all in. The next two Sundays are booked, I’d guess.
Johnny Gruelle (artist, writer) and William H. Woodin (song writer)
Dec.28, 1930 Indianapolis Star – “Raggedy Ann’s Sunny Songs”
This was apparently a theatrical piece Johnny Gruelle
put together with his very successful characters.
It all started with Joe Raposo, the composer of “Bein’ Green”
and many other hit Sesame Street songs. He wrote a musical for “Raggedy Ann
and Andy” and was made to see that it would make a wonderful animated musical.
He wrote a lot of songs for the slim script and they prerecorded
the songs for the animation. We lived with a soundtrack of about
a dozen musicians playing this very nice score to the delicate voices
that sang the tuneful pieces.
When the final film was released, that 12 person orchestra
became 101 strings and a big over-polished sound track.
No matter where you went the music was there and in the way.
It was too big, and the movie was too small. It was bad.
The track was incredibly amateurish. The composer had too much control.
This was Richard Horner. He was one of the two producers of the film.
Stanley Sills (a Broadway producer and Beverly’s brother) was the
other producer who didn’t know what he was doing.
They represented Bobbs-Merrill who owned the property.
I really liked Mr. Horner. We met again a number of years later
when Raggedy Ann was distantly behind us. I’d offered to take Tissa to church,
one Easter Sunday; Richard Horner and wife were there. He asked to meet with me.
He sought advice on some videos of artists and their work that he was producing,
and hoped I could offer my help in leading him to some distributors.
This is Cosmo Pepe; he was one of the leaders of the Xerox department.
It was Bill Kulhanek‘s department, but Cosmo really did great work.
They had this room-sized machine that they converted drawings into cels.
It was all new to NY, and the whole thing was so experimental.
Especially when Dick decided to do the film with grey toner rather than black.
The film always felt out of focus to me (even though it wasn’t.)
In the end when they rushed out the last half of the film, Hanna Barbera
sub-contracted the Xeroxing, and it was done in a sloppy and poor black line.
This is Corny Cole. He was the designer of the film, and all the great art
emanated out of his Mont Blanc pen nib. Or maybe it was a BIC pen.
Whatever, it was inspirational.
I wrote more about him here.
The gifted and brilliant animator, Hal Ambro. Can you tell that
I admired the man? I wanted badly to meet him during this production,
but that never was to happen. Now, I can only treasure his work.
This is a very rough planning drawing that Grim Natwick did on
the Jack-in-the-Box he animated. See the scene here.
Didi Conn, the voice of Raggedy Ann, with Chrystal Russell, an animator
of Raggedy Ann. She backed up Tissa David who was the primary actor for
that character and did most of the film’s first half. Chrystal did many
scenes in the first half and most of the second.
She had a rich identifiable style all her own.
On the average, I spent about an hour a day down in the Ink & Pt dept.
Often they had problems to resolve with some animator’s work. Either the
exposure sheets were confusing or they didn’t match the artwork, or there
was some question that they found confusing. My being available made it
helpful to them, and I did so without hesitation.
Generally, before a scene left my department for the I&Pt dept., I’d
have studied the exposure sheets and felt I knew the scenes before
they were handed out to the Inbetweener or Assistant. It meant taking
a lot of time with the work in studio so that I was not only prepared
to answer questions of a checker but the Inbetweener as well.
Sorry I don’t know who this is. If you have info,
please leave it for me. For some reason, I’d thought
he was an inbetweener (which would’ve made it odd for
me not to recognize him by name.) Apparently he’s a painter.
Carl Bell was the West Coast Production Coordinator.
We spoke frequently during the making of the show.
When I left the film, I went to LA for a couple of weeks.
Chrystal Russell threw a small party for me, and Carl came.
(I think he might have brought Art Babbitt, who was there.)
The group was small enough that we could have a talk that we all
participated in. We talked for some time (though not about
Raggedy Ann.) It was great for me.
Maxie Fix-it. This was a great doll that wound up to get the legs going.
He rolled around the floor beautifully. The “Twins” in the back were animated
by Dan Haskett. though I’m not sure they gave him credit for it. I was a bit
embarrassed by these characters. They were just a naked bit of racism running
about our cartoon movie for very young children.
Gerry Potterton (left) and John Kimball (right).
Gerry was one wonderful person. I always enjoyed spending time with him.
He produced/directed a number of intelligent, adult animated films.
This includes an animated Harold Pinter‘s Pinter People.
After Raggedy, I tracked Gerry down to get to see Pinter’s People. It was
rather limited but full of character. Gerry knew how to handle the money
he was given, unlike some other directors.
John Kimball was, at the time, not in the caliber of Babbitt or Ambro or
David or Hawkins or Chiniquy. However, he did some imaginative play
on a few scenes which were lifted whole from strong>McCay’s Little Nemo
in Slumberland. One of these scenes I animated but was pulled
from it before I could finish it. I had too much else to do with the
tardy inbetweens of Raggedy Ann (an average of 12 drawings per day)
and the stasis of the taffy pit (an average of 1 inbetween per day).
Too many polka dots on Ann and too much of everything in the pit.
All photos copyright ©1977 John Canemaker
Commentary 27 Apr 2013 05:08 am
R.O. Blechman: The Inquiring Line is an exhibition that will take place at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and will run from May 11 through June 30, 2013.
Joyce K. Schiller, PhD., the curator of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies writes: “Quavering and active with telling starts and stops, the marks of the artist’s hand are an essential aspect of (Blechman’s) art. His fine calligraphic strokes are a kind of nervous energy that gives the sense that his drawings could spring from the page.”
There will be an exhibition opening where you can meet the artist. On Saturday, May 11, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There will be an Artist Commentary at 6:30 p.m. A festive reception will follow, including refreshments and a cash bar. Members free, guests $20. Please RSVP at (413) 931-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then on Saturday, June 15, 5:30 p.m., there will be “A Conversation with R.O. Blechman and Nicholas Blechman.” Father and son will discuss each other’s work. Bob is the illustrator, designer, film director and producer. Nicholas is the Art Director of the New York Times Book Review. The fee to attend the talk is $10 ($7 for Museum members).
– The recent passing of Richie Havens brought back a short memory I have from a number of years ago. I think it was 1984.
I’d received a call out of the blue from Mr. Havens. Now, remember I grew up in the Sixties and was a part of the “Woodstock Generation.” I loved the music of the period and Havens was a big part of that – especially to a New Yorker. This call was a shock. I was asked to come meet with him about an animation project he was assembling. No questions asked, I got the date and time and showed up.
(Thanks to Annulla who photographed the picture to the left for her blog, Blather from Brooklyn)
It was in the very theatrical (albeit seedy at the time) area of 8th Avenue and 56th Street. I arrived to a very large open space. A very wide open, not-overly-furnished space. After a brief greeting, I was directed to the only other seat in the room – easily ten or more feet away in the somewhat dark room. Richie Havens, dressed in dashiki, was graced with some light that offered a halo around his head, and I sat out of the spotlight.
Apparently, Tommy Chong had decided to make an animated feature. He wanted to film a Kung fu style movie in live action and rotoscope this into an animated film. Richie Havens was acting as his representative and was interviewing me for the position of assisting Mr. Chong in any way possible to get this film made. They saw this as a complete breakthrough feature for animation. Nothing had been done like it before.
My alarms went off, and I decided I shouldn’t be too enthusiastic about the project. I didn’t want to turn them down on the spot, but I didn’t want to be involved. Rotoscoping and Kung fu movies were not my – - – interest.
It was a not very long meeting; there weren’t many specifics Mr. Havens could offer at the time. It was the earliest of stages. I left my samples, shook his hand again, and still remember the meeting some twenty years later. I think it was another of those films that never got made.
Perhaps the film would have looked like this.
A few weeks back, I was chatting with a friend, Peggy Stern. She was the producer for John Canemaker on his Academy Award winning film, The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation. Peggy talked about working with Philip Seymour Hoffman on a PSA. Soon enough, and just in time for the US Senate to vote it down, a video arrived via email to promote the idea of getting Congress to come up with some gun safety legislation. (Fat chance in this country!)
The video is the one Peggy had produced and not only has Philip Seymour Hoffman, but it also works with Julianne Moore narrating. It’s a nicely animated Flash piece, but the message is everything. (I wish I had been involved – it would have had more REAL animation instead of Animatic-like moving imagery. This is an issue I believe in and support, and I’d have done it gratis.)
The press line for the video reads:
- Mayors Against Illegal Guns, recruited dozens of the nation’s best cartoonists for the short film, which encourages citizens and lawmakers to take action to end gun violence in the U.S.
Take a look for yourself.
Lou Bunin at Auction
I received word that a portion of the Lou Bunin estate including some of their Alice in Wonderland Collection is currently up for sale at RR Auction. Go here.
You can see some of the items on view; these include puppets, drawings, watercolors and figurines. The prices are workable, and the items include many gems.
Oh, yeah. They’re also auctioning some Disney material. Most of it is later things (Winnie the Pooh cels, etc.) but there are quite a few other collector’s items available and worth a look.
Tom Hachtman continues his series of redheaded women. This is the latest sketch of many he’s sent me.
Mark Sonntag contacted me this last week to let me know that the Don Bluth collection of Animation Art was now located at the Savannah College of Art and Design and could be viewed on line. There, you can find art from Anastasia, Banjo the Woodpile Cat, Dragon’s Lair, Rock-A-Doodle, Secret of Nimh, Space Ace and Thumbelina. These include storyboards, preproduction art, background layouts and cel setups.
Here are some pieces I pulled from The Secret of Nimh, my favorite of the Bluth films (for all its many faults.)
A short sequence
Random Bd Sketches
Many more are on display at the site. It’s the entire storyboard for The Secret of NIMH that can be viewed, one sequence at a time. Beautiful artwork, indeed.
- Bill Peckmann sent a host of hilarity via email. So I have only to post it. Thanks for the smile to Arnie Levin for the great sense of humor and Bill for sending it to me.
- This is for Arnie Levin, a true prince of a man in the realm of cartooning, (both animation and print) and life!
Less is more, not a line or thought out of place, “P” for perfection, it all applies to Arnie!
You’ll remember that Peter Hale sent several adaptations of Disney’s Peter Pan in book form. This version is by May Byron.
Here are introductory comments by Mr. Hale:
- Here are the scans from the hard back book by May Byron. The volume is small (51/2″ x 71/2″) as it is designed for children. It is the same size as the Hodder & Stoughton ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’ illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell, but the text layout is different (although the text itself is the same).
The copy I own has no dust jacket. I have included a scan of the dust jacket from a 1956 edition, as the front illustration, at least, is probably the same.
Front dust jacket cover
(I notice that there are some mix-ups going from the sincgle to the double-pages sent. The text doesn’t properly follow.) However, I did post these for viewing of the illustrations and the match to the page texts, so follow that.
- Here’s one of the scenes saved by Vince Cafarelli from a commercial he did while at Goulding-Elliott-Graham. The commercial was animated by Lu Guarnier, and Vinny was the assistant on it. Hence, he saved the rough drawings (instead of Bert Piels. (Sorry I don’t know what he’s saying, though I’m looking for the storyboard.)
So, here are Lu’s rough drawings in this CU
The following QT movie was made by exposing all drawings on twos
except for the extreme positions that were missing inbetweens.
For those, I dissolved from one extreme to the next.
It drove me crazy that Lu Guarnier always animated on top pegs.
Next week with the last of these three posts on this Piels Bros commercial, I’ll talk about Lu’s animation and some of my pet peeves.
Daily post 23 Apr 2013 04:11 am
I thought for my birthday, today, I’d start with a recapped post. This is a story I’ve told a lot of times, however this is the only time Tissa told it, and I think it’s her version of my version.
- Today’s William Shakespeare’s birthday. It’s an odd choice of date given that there’s so little information about the guy. But since today’s also my birthday, I’ll enjoy the association by accident.
I’ve decided to post something that’s been floating around my studio for the past couple of years. It’s one of those things that never got properly put away once we moved into the new digs. But since I like seeing it, I also like stumbling across it in the morass of paper in my office.
Tissa David did a birthday card for me for my 50th birthday. She recounted, in storyboard, our first meeting. I was on my second day working for the Hubleys – my first animation job.
It’s close to being accurate, but not as nasty as the version in my head. Here’s Tissa’s board.
Helen, is Helen Komar, a lifelong assistant working in NY first at Paramount then onto lots of other places. She managed the animation area for John and Faith for a couple of years. Another great person who slips through the history books.
I had inbetweened two of Tissa’s scenes on the first day of work. Tissa came in the next day while I was busy working on more. She went to Helen’s desk and the two of them talked for a short bit. Then I heard, “Who has made these HORRIBLE inbetweens?” spoken in the most definitive Hungarian accent you’ll ever hear.
When I sheepishly admitted to it – since only Helen or I could have done them, and there was no doubt Helen hadn’t – Tissa offered to give me some lessons in how to make a proper inbetween. Those lessons seem to have been ongoing most of my life. I’m not sure I can do a really good inbetween to this day. But I sure have gained a lot of knowledge via Tissa and her caring for animation enough to spend a lot of time looking over my shoulder.
I’ve spent a lot of recent posts writing about the animation of some of the earlier features. I thought I’d give a little focus on the storyboard of Dumbo. The variety and styles of the images is impressive. I’ve culled a lot of storyboard drawings from various sources and present in somewhat chronological order.
This was the first feature Bill Peet worked on. You can see his entire “Dumbo washing” sequence storyboard here.
- Bill Peckmann surprised me this week. He sent a number of stills from the book, The Art of the Tin Toy, featuring tin toys. These are all wonderful, and I knew it would make a great post to show on Sunday. Hence it’s here. I have to admit I didn’t know. Afyer her mother died, I offered her outfit to cousins. that I’m personally more attached to those toys of characters like the barber and his customer, or the tin frog, or even (and maybe especially) the Mickey Mouse.
I hope you’ll have some you like.
The book’s cover
Many thanks to Bill Peckmann for shaking it up a bit.
Here is a film we did for a home video of children’s poems. It’s a poem by the late Russell Hoban. The animation is by Mark Mayerson, and the design is by Jason McDonald. The music is by Caleb Sampson. I think all of these artists did brilliant work, but then Hoban’s thoughts and words always pull out the best.
Russell Hoban’s The Tin Frog