January 23rd, 2015

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Cartoons: A Tail Of Two Bulldogs (Avery and Hanna Barbera)

Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie

Today John Kricfalusi posted his latest lesson in the $100,000 Drawing Course, Lesson 8: Proportions Affect Design / Proportions. In it, he discusses what makes a drawing cartoony. As an example, he compares the bulldog used in the early 40s Tom & Jerry cartoons to the one used in Tex Avery’s "Bad Luck Blackie". Please read John’s post before looking at these cartoons.

As further illustration, I’m presenting two cartoons with similar themes to you for your reference… "The Bodyguard" and "Bad Luck Blackie". The difference in approach is striking. The first cartoon is an early Tom & Jerry cartoon.

Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard
Tom & Jerry: The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard (1944)
Quicktime 7 / 16.6 megs

The second cartoon is a classic Tex Avery cartoon titled "Bad Luck Blackie"…

Avery's Bad Luck Blackie
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie
Avery's Bad Luck Blackie

Bad Luck Blackie (1949)
Quicktime 7 / 15.8 megs

I hope you find this useful in your studies.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

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

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Posted by admin @ 1:42 pm

January 23rd, 2015

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Art Education: Practice Types

Last time we talked about how to objectively judge a person’s current ability within a discipline using the Dreyfus Model. Today I’ll be giving my personal theory about what types of practice are best for students and professionals of various levels, and how to determine what type of practice is right for you.

I formed this theory by combining my own experiences learning sports, art, music, and mathematics with advice given by notable teachers of animation and art. My litmus test has been that I must be able to apply these practice methods to any subject a person might want to learn, although practicing skills is this system’s focus, not academic memorization.

The five categories I’ve identified are listed below with a short description of each and an example of the type of activity you might engage in if your goal was to learn how to draw. Remember that these are broad categories however, and may be applied to any skill or discipline.

Willy Pogany’s Life Drawing Lessons

Academic

When first approaching a subject, the concepts and working methods are all completely new, therefore the first and most basic type of practice is the type which is most widely used in the classroom: Academic practice. This would include all newly introduced or researched information which comes from an authoritative source such as a textbook, tutorial, lecture, or guide.

This type of practice is most helpful right at the beginning of a student’s study. If you find that general knowledge about the way your discipline works is absent, or that parts of the working methods of your skill are hazy or poorly understood, this is the type of practice you should engage in first. However, as soon as a workable understanding of the concepts is obtained Academic practice should be abandoned in favor of a different type to allow the student to internalize what they’ve learned.

In drawing this would be the equivalent of learning body proportions and anatomy. These are very critical and useful areas of study, but if that’s all you practice, your work can only ever look like a textbook illustration.

Public Sketching – Gordon Grant

Drilling

In order to become a confident and skillful practitioner, a student must commit to hours of practical application. In sports all minute aspects of the game are drilled endlessly until each action becomes as natural as breathing. In music, scales and rhythm exercises are used as warm-ups even by highly accomplished musicians so that they become second nature. Drilling is any task which you already know how to do, and can perform repeatedly in small rapid bursts.

This type of practice is the next most common type of activity employed by students and professionals. In essence, the purpose of drilling is to gain confidence and familiarity with your working methods. A pleasant byproduct of drilling is an increase in speed and a decrease in error making. Many professionals if not most of them continue using drilling throughout their careers as a way to keep sharp.

Drilling in illustration would represent public sketching, thumb-nailing compositions, or plein air painting just to name a few.

William Lee Hankey

Quality Test

At the point where a student believes they have learned enough to become competent, it may be time to put all of their acquired skills into practice by attempting to perform their discipline to the best of their ability. In sports, this would be game day, in music it would be the concert or recital, and in art, this would represent a single piece of artwork meant to  showcase the artist’s talents.

Art made for a quality test should be made carefully, slowly and deliberately. No time limit should be imposed and the artist should be as thorough and careful as they can possibly be in order to push the limits of their ability to the extreme.

Performing work of this type may often have humbling results, revealing exactly what shortcomings the student has yet to overcome. As a diagnostic tool, this type of practice is invaluable, and also provides milestones for the student as they progress so that they can compare their current work to their past work.

Quality illustrations should  make up much of a student’s portfolio along with life drawings.

Gustaf Tenggren Comparison

Experimental

After mastering the basics through the use of Academic and Drilling practice, it becomes necessary for a student to explore their own preferred methods and to attempt to expand their ability beyond what can be taught to them explicitly. Experimental practice is done to attempt to create a new work method or a unique result which is entirely the student’s own. It is important to note that this type of practice is most useful in the hands of an already skilled practitioner of their craft, but it may be useful to novices as well, as a method of discovery.

In my opinion, this is where many graduate students and professionals fail to expand their abilities. It’s very easy to copy and reproduce from textbooks, instructors, and tutorials, but it’s a very different and altogether more frightening thing to try to create a new method of working, or a new way of seeing the world.

In illustration and art in general, those artist who are synonymous with a particular style or artistic movement likely owe their success at least partially to experimental practice. The need to perform this type of practice need not be that grand however, as even small modifications to an artist’s working methods help to personalize and internalize their craft.

Albert Hurter

Freeform

The last form of practice is the free and non-structured kind which children indulge in. Although non-academic and not strictly intended to improve a practitioner’s ability, freeform practice serves as a crucial way for the student to enjoy themselves with their chosen craft. Although it may seem unnecessary to list it here, I believe that maintaining a fun and creative attitude toward your work is at least as important as academic study, if not more so.

Work of this type has one goal: to make you happy. After all, why are you putting in all of this time becoming skillful if not to use that skill in a way which pleases you? Very often unfortunately it seems that the mark of a professional artist is that they draw at work but not at home, having long since ceased to enjoy what it is they do for a living. Don’t fall into the trap of slowly choking the life out of your art, have a little fun now and then!

I hope these practice methods are helpful to you or your students. Next time I’ll be talking about motivation and forming a practice habit!

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Posted by Taber Dunipace @ 10:45 am

January 21st, 2015

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President’s Message: Exciting News To Announce!

Presidents Message

This year, our animation archive project marks its tenth year in operation. We’ve survived many challenges, but we have accomplished a great deal thanks to the unflagging support of our online friends and wonderful crew of volunteers. Now it’s time to take the project to the next level.

Stephen Worth and June ForayStephen Worth and June ForayFor the past four years, I have been working with the dedicated group of individuals on our Board of Directors and Advisory Board to establish a firm foundation for the organization as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Everyone on our team is committed to serving the worldwide animation community and promoting the cause of creativity through the medium of the animated film. I can’t think of a better goal than that!

We have some exciting plans for the future, and today we are taking the first step towards making them a reality… We want YOU to be a part of our plans!

Join Animation Resources

I’m proud to announce our inaugural membership drive. Animation Resources is now accepting applications for Charter Membership at $75 a year. The annual dues for full time students are $50. (Information on Corporate and Institutional Memberships are also available upon request.) Your support will help us maintain and expand the programs we have undertaken, as well as establishing exciting new projects. If you are interested in learning about the details about our plans for the future, please RSVP to attend our Annual Membership Meeting on January 17th, 2015. For an invitation, please contact Taber Dunipace at tdunipace@animationresources.org.

I’m also proud to announce some new features on this website for our Charter Members… Effective immediately, Animation Resources Members will have access to a special Members Only Download Page where they will receive exclusive Reference Packs on a bi-monthly basis. Each “RefPack” will each contain a high resolution PDF e-book and two rare animation videos in full DVD quality. The material in the RefPacks is curated by the Advisory Board and Officers of Animation Resources with the intent of educating and inspiring creative artists around the world. Members will be allowed to download these invaluable resources for their own personal use and study, but each RefPack will only be available for a limited time. At the end of the two month period, they will be deleted from the server and may never be available again.

Creative LeagueCreative LeagueWe will also be sponsoring monthly Creative League meetings for our members with screenings of live action films, documentaries and animation specifically selected to help you grow as an artist. At Creative League events you can network and share ideas with other animation professionals and independent artists. We are building a community of creative people in Los Angeles and you will definitely want to be a part of it. Members of Animation Resources are admitted to our Creative League events at no charge, but we request a small donation at the door from non-members.

As our membership grows, we will make more and more material from our collection available via the internet. It will also allow us to sponsor more in-person events for the local animation community. So share Animation Resources with your friends, encourage them to join, and consider sponsoring a needy student with a gift membership. As our membership list grows, your benefits of membership will grow as well!

CLICK HERE NOW

TO BECOME A MEMBER!

Thank you for your support. We look forward to having you as a member of our group!

Stephen Worth
President, Animation Resources
January 6th, 2015

JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 11:26 pm