Animation &Animation Artifacts &Hubley &walk cycle 30 Mar 2009 07:56 am

Marky’s Walk

- If I had to choose who was my favorite animator, I’d have a tough time. Equal credit would probably have to go to three different people: Bobe Cannon, Tissa David and Bill Tytla. Jim Tyer and Ed Smith would fall just a smidgen below these three, for me. But there are none like them all, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve posted a lot of drawings from Tissa and Bill Tytla, but have very few drawings by Bobe Cannon (nor have I seen many published anywhere.)

Here is a walk cycle from the beginning of Hubley’s monumental short, Moonbird. The odd numbers are extremes by Cannon, and the inbetweens (even numbers) were done by Ed Smith. Three different sized papers were used for this, and you can view them full sized if you click the thumbnails.

You’ll notice there’s paint all over the drawings. The ink & paint involved tracing the drawing, then using oil paints to cover all of the clear area in black. Some of that paint seeped onto the originals. In one drawing even to coloring the hat accidentally.

(Click any image to enlarge.)


39 40

41 42

43 44

45 46

47 48

49 50

51 52

53 54

55 56

57 58

59 60

“Marky” walk cycle from Moonbird
On twos at 24FPS
Click left side of the black bar to play.
Right side to watch single frame.

There’s a lot more to this scene including several variants on the walk.
At some future time, I’ll add the other drawings to show off the entire scene.

13 Responses to “Marky’s Walk”

  1. on 30 Mar 2009 at 9:04 am 1.Mark Mayerson said …

    It’s a great loss that Cannon didn’t live long enough to sit down for a career-spanning interview. I’d love to hear his thoughts on both animating and directing and would love to hear his impressions about the studios and people he worked with.

  2. on 30 Mar 2009 at 10:18 am 2.Richard O'Connor said …

    These films are a marvel of design, and the animation drawings from “Moonbird” exhibit this perfectly.

    The pencil drawings could be taken from a UPA film or a cereal commercial. The execution -what a leap!

    Someday I hope to experience what it must have been like for a guy like Bobe Canon or Grim Natwick to have seen “Moonbird” for the first time. All that time working in the field, striving to perfect the craft and then to be shown wholly original that opens worlds you had only dreamed about.

  3. on 30 Mar 2009 at 4:38 pm 3.pat said …

    thats a hell of a beautiful walk cycle. I want to check out moonbird now.

  4. on 30 Mar 2009 at 8:35 pm 4.hans bacher said …

    this film has always been my absolute favorite. together with ADVENTURES OF AN * and TENDER GAME. I wish I could see an original BG one day.

  5. on 31 Mar 2009 at 1:34 am 5.Dan Caylor said …

    It’s amazing how your tastes change as you learn more about this medium. I remember seeing Moonbird in an animation history class I took over five years ago, and I didn’t think much of it at the time.

    Maybe if I’d seen it in pencil test I would have appreciated it more. This is truly beautiful work. And I know what you mean about the lack of Bobe on the internet. Besides Amid’s book, and WB commentaries, he’s a virtual unknown to me.

  6. on 31 Mar 2009 at 8:10 pm 6.Tom Minton said …

    One old timer told me Bobe Cannon was the one who figured out the ‘smear’ inbetweens used in Chuck Jones “The Dover Boys” short, at least the manner they were used therein.

  7. on 01 Apr 2009 at 1:59 pm 7.roque said …

    Thank you for posting this. I love this short so much so it’s amazing to see behind the scenes from it.

  8. on 13 Apr 2009 at 11:25 am 8.Bob Flynn said …

    If I could marry a walk cycle…..that’s how much I love this. I was introduced to Moonbird earlier on your blog, and couldn’t stop watching it. This peek into process is just as powerful. As always, thanks so much for unearthing and sharing.

  9. on 13 Apr 2009 at 4:40 pm 9.Tony Claar said …

    John Hubley worked for Disney for years, on Bambi, for example. He knew “perfect” drawing, but purposely loosened it all way up & gave life, freshness, & a vitality to a new way of animating at UPA. It was partially a reaction to “perfect” animation at Disney’s. By the way, this revolution in style was done in the 40′s,50′s, & 60′s! ….so how many animators today have picked up where John ( & Jones) left off, 50-60 years later??? Everbody in animation loves “beautiful roughs”:only Plympton has animated them, it seems.

  10. on 13 Apr 2009 at 5:11 pm 10.Michael said …

    Tony, you color John Hubley’s career with your priorities not his. He never sought to react to “perfect” animation; he didn’t think of it.

    He sought to bring 20th Century Art to animation after the 19th Century direction of Disney et al. He followed the work of Steinberg and Miro and Klee at UPA then went after the Abstract Expressionists in his own studio’s work. Rough or Clean up was irrelevant to what he was doing unless it was part of the design style he was seeking to replicate in motion.

    Unfortunately, cg and current tastes has thrown us back into the 19th Century, except now animation doesn’t follow the work of artists (as even Disney once did) but it follows the work of other animators.

  11. on 13 Apr 2009 at 9:31 pm 11.Chuck R. said …

    I agree with Richard that the execution of Moonbird really puts it in in a league of its own. That, and a design trifle that no one ever mentions. The shape of the eyes on the boys is a real departure from almost anything in the cartoon world —even 50′s era. It’s closer to real life, and reminds me of the graphic style of Ben Shahn. It lends the film an aura of “seriousness”, even though it’s a cute film about two boys and an imaginary bird. Obviously, the pre-recorded sound is a major deal, but this gem is loaded with touches of inventive detail.

  12. on 14 Apr 2009 at 8:16 am 12.Michael said …

    The shape of the eyes is no mean trifle; you’re right to pick up on it and I thank you for mentioning it. I want to write about Hubley and eyes on a larger post and will later this week. It’s big.

  13. on 14 Apr 2009 at 7:40 pm 13.Bob Flynn said …

    Looking forward to that Hubley “eye” post, Michael. Its probably the element that draws me into his work the most. One of the more impactful things I recall from Moonbird…loving the textures and characters, but also amazed by the emotion conveyed in their eyes.

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