Archive for the ‘drawing’ Category

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Animation: Ralph Bakshi’s Phone Doodles

Ralph Bakshi

Today, I hope you’ll allow me to tell you about someone I have had the honor of working closely with. He’s my hero too. If anyone ever creates a Mount Rushmore of animation, his head should be right up front, grinning with a stub of a cigarette in his mouth– Ralph Bakshi.

Ralph Bakshi

I did a panel discussion with Ralph at the San Diego ComicCon a couple of years ago. You can find it linked in the article, Advice From Ralph Bakshi. The subject of our discussion was what it means to be an artist and cartoonist in today’s world. Whether you’re lucky enough to be able to make a living doodling, or if you still dream of being paid to create, you need to heed Ralph’s advice. He is the real deal.

If you’re an artist working in animation, whether you know it or not, Ralph Bakshi is the reason you’re here. Don’t believe me? Throw your mind back to 1970. Look at what the animation business had turned into… Disney was cranking out Robin Hood, a film without a single new idea. On TV, Filmation was lowering the bar so Hanna Barbera could play “quality limbo” with them. Animation was dying, animators were choosing retirement over flogging the dead carcass of the art form they loved, and it looked like it the situation would never get any better.

Ralph Bakshi

Enter Bakshi. With his first three films, he turned animation upside down. He showed that it wasn’t just a medium for big bears with Phil Harris’s voice and crappy sitcom characters in outer space. His films shocked and terrified people… they were crass and sloppy. They were made on a shoestring, and sometimes it showed. But they had something honest to say, and that got noticed. Ralph showed that animation- the most collaborative art form ever- could be an intensely personal medium.

Ralph Bakshi

Ralph’s first three films- Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Coonskin- came totally out of the blue. They are the animation equivalent of Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives. Great old time animators like Irv Spence, Manny Perez, Ambi Paliwoda and Virgil Ross were offered the opportunity to cut loose and make films that weren’t just cats chasing mice and dogs chasing cats. These films dealt with what it meant to be an artist, the battle of the sexes, race relations, and the unsenimentalized realities of urban life. They were improvisational and had no rules.

Ralph Bakshi

These three films, made in the darkest of the dark ages of animation, offered a glint of hope for what animation could become. If all you’ve seen of Ralph’s work is Lord of the Rings and Fire and Ice you don’t know what I’m talking about here. All of the adult targeted animation you see in the US today has its roots in Ralph’s example in these three films. They stirred up controversy and caused riots at screenings back in the day, but now they seem to us like they could have been made yesterday, not three decades ago- except for the fact that today’s world has trouble accepting brutal honesty when it comes to politically charged topics. Ralph has never been one to pull punches.

Ralph Bakshi

Ralph Bakshi

In the 1980s, Ralph did for television animation what he did for theatrical features, blowing the lid off of CBS’s Saturday morning schedule with Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. Ralph took a chance on the ideas of a kid named John Kricfalusi, and set up the studio after the unit structure model used at Warners. Stories were written with storyboards again. Artists were cut loose to create cartoons. Without Mighty Mouse, there never would have been Ren & Stimpy or The Simpsons. The artists who worked on Mighty Mouse have gone on to lead the TV animation industry.

Ralph Bakshi

Ralph is an absolute genius when it comes to spotting raw talent. He can take a kid straight out of school and turn him into a pro faster than anyone else. Every film had its "graduating class" of kids. Those kids now populate the animation business on every level, from the hotshots at Pixar and Disney to the creative sparks at Warners. I know of Bakshi alumni who are top dogs at Dreamworks and the CGI companies too.

Ralph Bakshi

Ralph Bakshi

As a filmmaker, Ralph is one-of-a-kind. He doesn’t make films for executives… he doesn’t even make films for a specific audience. He makes them for himself. You can count the number of animators capable of using this unweildy medium for personal expression on one hand and still have fingers left. Ralph is one of them.

Ralph Bakshi

But Ralph is not only the greatest living animation artist. He is the catylist that has more than once pulled the industry out of a hole so deep people had just about given up on cartoons. For that alone, he deserves the respect of any and all animators, whether they like his work or not.

Ralph Bakshi

If this business needs anything right now, it’s another go round with Bakshi. The era of shi-shi “distressed” animation desks complete with faux wormholes, and middle management producers driving Jaguars paid for by their bonus checks is over. That was great for the people lucky enough to hook up to the gravy train while it lasted. But times have changed. The people left standing will be the ones who REALLY CARE about the medium of animation.

Ralph Bakshi

You can take my word for the fact that no one loves cartoons more than Ralph. Sit down and ask him about Jim Tyer. (Ralph was Tyer’s assistant…) Listen to what he has to say about Spence or Maltese or any of the other old timers he brought in to work on his films. Ralph lives and breathes animation. His drawings are imbued with the whole history of the medium. He announces his retirement every once in a while, and swears off cartoons forever, but it’s in his blood. Just count the days till the bellowing voice out of the blue hollers “BAKSHI’S BACK, YOU BASTUHDS!” over the studio intercom again.

Ralph Bakshi
Ralph Bakshi

It’s time for Ralph to rent a warehouse, fill it full of kids with big dreams, raw talent and lots of ideas and crank out a film. It doesn’t even matter if it turns out fantastic or crappy. It’ll be a shot in the arm to the whole business, and it just might lead to something even better. I know I’d love to be a part of it. –Stephen Worth

Ralph Bakshi
Visit Ralph’s web page… RalphBakshi.com.

Buy Me At AmazonUNFILTERED: The Complete Ralph Bakshi isn’t one of those "art books" with postage stamp sized pictures floating in oceans of tasteful white space and huge text blocks of scholarly blather that crowds out the images. It’s just pictures, pictures and more pictures… along with just enough text to put them in context. The book is organized to show Ralph’s career from his earliest days at Terry-Toons, to his groundbreaking features, to his revolutionary TV work, to his most recent fine art paintings. Even if you think you know all there is to know about Bakshi, this book will grab you by the lapels and shake you and show you things you’ve never seen the likes of before. Click through the link to pick up the Bakshi book at Amazon.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources
.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Instruction: Willard Mullin on Animals

Willard Mullin

FA BindersFA BindersA couple of months ago, we posted a section of the Famous Artists Illustration Course… Chad’s Design For Television. Today, we are bringing you another Famous Artists article, this time from the Cartooning Course… Willard Mullin on Animals.

Willard Mullin was a type of cartoonist that doesn’t exist any more… a newspaper sports page cartoonist. In the days before high speed film and well lit night games, newspapers relied on cartoonists to illustrate the sports stories that photographers were unable to shoot. They did this by caricaturing the players and utilizing team mascots to represent who was on top and who was in the doghouse.

Mullin was not only the greatest sports cartoonist of his day, he was also one of the most talented artists ever to work in newspaper comics. His drawings are dynamic and full of energy and life. His lines flow beautifully, while still defining the solid forms that underly his drawings. When it came to drawing animals, he was unmatched. I hope you find this useful in your own work.

Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin

These pages provide just a small sample of Mullin’s work. If you can, find a copy of his book, "A Hand In Sports". It’s packed with wonderful sketches by this underappreciated cartoonist.

The Famous Artists school is still in operation. Visit their website at www.famous-artists-school.com.

As an added treat, here is an early Mullin piece celebrating the victory of the horse, Omaha in the 1935 Kentucky Derby. Archive supporter, Ted Watts found this treasure in a thrift store and generously allowed us to scan it for the archive. Amazing stuff!

Willard Mullin

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.
Editorial CartoonsEditorial Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Editorial Cartoons.

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part Four

Earl Oliver Hurst
Thanks to Clarke Snyder for this great Hurst ad.

We continue our series of posts on Gene Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning with the section dealing with…

MAGAZINE CARTOONING
Introduction by Charles D. Rice

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

PERRY BARLOW

Perry Barlow worked along side a star-studded group of cartoonists at The New Yorker which included, among others, James Thurber, Peter Arno, Gardner Rea, Charles Addams, Whitney Darrow Jr, Sam Cobean and William Steig. From its inception, The New Yorker was, as its founding editor Harold Ross described it, "a reflection in the word and picture of metropolitan life". The images were equal with the words, and this magazine contributed greatly to the development of cartooning. Here, Barlow discusses his ideating process for a Halloween cover.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

WILLIAM VON RIEGEN

Von Riegen was featured in our previous post from this book, Part Three: Sketching. His gesture drawings were greatly admired.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

EARL OLIVER HURST

Earl Oliver Hurst

Earl Oliver Hurst has been profiled extensively at Shane Glines’ excellent Cartoon Retro site. Hurst was primarily a "pretty girl" cartoonist whose work appeared in Colliers, True and American Weekly. His ads for Jantzen are particularly popular among current cartoonists. If you would like to see more, there is a great book on Hurst at Amazon… The Art Of Earl Oliver Hurst

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Earl Oliver Hurst
Earl Oliver Hurst

KURT STOESSEL

H. Kurt Stoessel was born in 1909 in Germany, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was an illustrator and art director for several national magazines including The Atlantic. He lived and worked in Boulder, Colorado his entire career, and passed away on this day in 1984.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

FRED COOPER

You may not know the name of Fred Cooper but you certainly have seen his work. He was a letterer, poster designer, illustrator, cartoonist, writer and teacher. Leslie Cabarga describes him as the original "clip art" artist- his "big head" cartoon characters were seen in dozens of magazines of the teens and twenties, and continue to be in use to this day. For more on this influential cartoonist, see Allan Holtz’s tribute in Strippers, and Cabarga’s book The Lettering and Graphic Design of F.G. Cooper

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

GLUYAS WILLIAMS

We mentioned Gluyas Williams was one of the most prolific and influential cartoonists of the 1920s. His work appeared in The New Yorker, Colliers and Life. Robert Benchley wrote, "I believe that Williams’ drawings will be preserved for expert contemplation both as data on the manners and customs of our day, and as graceful and important examples of its art." For more great work by cartoonist Gluyas Williams, see David King’s gluyaswilliams.com

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROBERT OSBORN

Robert Osborn was a cartoonist whose style influenced the UPA artists greatly. He worked with John Hubley on the film, Flat Hatting. He also did a great deal of illustration for the War Department, which we will be featuring in an upcoming post.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

BARTOLI

Bartoli’s ink drawings appeared on the covers of quite a few issues of Holiday magazine in the late 40s and 50s. I haven’t been able to find out much information about him. Perhaps someone out there knows and will post some biographic info on him to the comments below.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

MICHAEL BERRY

Michael Berry contributed pretty girl cartoons to Pictorial Review, Esquire, Liberty and The New Yorker.

Magazine Illustration by Michael Berry
Magazine Illustration by Michael Berry
Magazine Illustration by Michael Berry

JOHN RUGE

John Ruge’s elegant girl drawings appeared in Colliers in the late 40s and Playboy in the early 50s. His comic about an Irish Setter named Clancy was also popular.

Magazine Illustration by John Ruge
Magazine Illustration by John Ruge

RALPH STEIN & STAN HUNT

Ralph Stein was the author of a collection of pinup girl art titled The Pinup From 1852 to Now. He wrote the Popeye newspaper comic in the 1950s, and was an avid classic car enthuiast. Stan Hunt was a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He attended the New York School of Art and apprenticed under Willard Mullin. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 77.

Magazine Illustration by Ralph Stein
Magazine Illustration by Stan Hunt

RICHARD SARGENT

Richard Sargent contributed images to Pictorial Review and The Saturday Evening Post.

Magazine Illustration by Richard Sargent
Magazine Illustration by Richard Sargent

JAN BALET

Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet
(See Lief Peng’s Flickr set for more images by Jan Balet.
)

Jan Balet was a childrens book illustrator who also did artwork for several women’s magazines.

Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Jan Balet

RICHARD TAYLOR & FRANK OWEN

Richard Taylor was a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Playboy. Frank Owen was a cartoonist for The Saturday Evening Post He was the one who came up with the original story idea for the Disney’s cartoon, Morris, the Midget Moose.

Magazine Illustration by Richard Taylor and Frank Owen

THE IMPORTANCE OF CARTOONS IN ADVERTISING
By Don Herold

Magazine Illustration by Don Herold

A STUDY IN LAUGHS

Gyne Brynes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Gyne Brynes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ROY DOTY

Roy Doty

Over the past half century, Roy Doty has been a cartoonist and illustrator with over 60 children’s books to his credit. He was awarded a Reuben by the National Cartoonist Society in 2006. See RoyDoty.com to see what he’s up to lately.

Magazine Illustration by Roy Doty and Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Roy Doty and Jan Balet
Magazine Illustration by Roy Doty and Jan Balet

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli and David King for sharing this great book with us.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Magazine Cartoons.