Archive for the ‘bakshi’ Category

Friday, August 1st, 2014

The Process: JoJo Baptista Talks About Animating For Bakshi

Character Studies
JoJo’s Nifty Poses

My friend Joseph “JoJo” Baptista worked with Ralph Bakshi making an animated commercial for his Kickstarter campaign. JoJo produced an excellent bit of animation for Ralph, so I asked him to share his process with you. I’ve uploaded the videos to YouTube in HD, so click through the link below each video to go to its page and select HiDef. -Stephen Worth


JoJo BaptistaJoJo BaptistaOver the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work for Ralph Bakshi. I’ve been a fan of Ralph’s films since I first saw them when I was in college. The fact that I was able to test and receive direction from him was an absolutely amazing experience. I’ve done some design jobs and even a little bit of storyboard too, but I had never animated before, so I was very fortunate that Ralph took this chance on me because it was the first scene I had ever done. Ralph was very encouraging. He and I communicated over phone and e-mail. He would come up with ideas and tell me how to improve the performance by adding more frames to certain actions. He also explained to me the importance of anticipations.

I drew the animation on a Cintiq using Toon Boom Animate Pro. Toon Boom has been a tremendous help to me. No more shooting your animation with a camera. It’s been so easy to delete the drawings you’re unsatisfied with and start over. I even get to be my own ink and paint lady!

Bakshi Character Design
Bakshi Character Design

Here is the doodle Ralph sent me. Ralph explained that the characters think they’re total hot shots, but they’re really not. He wanted them smoking, scratching, spitting, yak yak yak! So before I did any animation I decided to pose them first, just to get a feeling of how to draw them and hopefully get a better sense of their personality, as well as a feel for Ralph’s unique proportions and design sense.

Character Studies
Character Studies
JoJo’s Character Studies

I felt the relationship between these two characters was natural: The short bossy little guy and the big dumb oaf. The little guy, or “Nifty” as we ended up calling him, really doesn’t care about the oaf, unless he’s got something he wants.

Character Studies
JoJo’s Tight Drawing

So I began to do some rough layouts of situations the characters could enter. I sent these to Ralph, but he thought they were way too tight. He was right, they were. In fact, it wasn’t until I started animating where I really started to loosen up. So I jumped into it.


View Nifty Pencil Test at YouTube

First I began animating some simple stuff where I could easily showcase some personality. I wanted to figure out how these designs would move. No interaction yet.

Character Studies
JoJo’s Character Interaction

This drawing showed me how I could really show a relationship between the two. One has something the other wants, the perfect concoction to drown his years of sorrows and regrets, alcohol!


View Booze Pour Pencil Test at YouTube

The oaf has had his fill, and complies with Nifty’s request. I originally came up with this fountain pose for the pour. Ralph didn’t like it. Looking back I think it looks too flamboyant and doesn’t display how drunk he is. Instead he suggested leaning the oaf back as he pours, he said he didn’t care how long his arm got! I came up with the head wobble before the lean. I think this helps give a clear sense that he’s tanked.

One of the things I learned on this scene through Ralph was the importance of anticipations and breathing spaces between actions. Anticipations are crucial when you want to jump into one action from the next. For example, many of the broad actions done by Nifty have anticipations before they’re executed. Pay close attention to the way Nifty goes into a squashed pose before shouting, “HEY!!” It’s very short, but it’s there. This is what helps give the following extreme pose some oomph. If it wasn’t there it just wouldn’t read well. Putting spaces between actions is also essential when you want certain actions to read against another character who may be in a moving hold or doing a much more subtle gesture. Otherwise, with so many actions happening at once you won’t know where your eyes are supposed to look. It’s all about the control of motions.

Character Studies
Color Models

Once the animation was done it was time to add color. Steve provided me with color cards, and I made color models in Photoshop. Kent Butterworth had been experimenting with colors earlier on some of my sketches (above) so I went with those. As soon as that was figured out I began painting the characters. This part was very time consuming. Because the drawings are very rough, I had to create another layer in Animate Pro and paint each frame of animation and in several passes too. One for the main color, another for open mouths, hats, shading, etc. It took forever!

Next, it was time for music and sound. Steve was a great help here; he knew the perfect piece of music for this sequence, Naftule Brandwein’s, “Nifty’s Froelich”. It’s also where we got the name for the little guy. With the music in we added sound effects. We not only added sound to actions but also where an accent was hit in the music. Just like anticipations add the space to the action clearly, the placement and choice of sound effects make the sound clear.


View JoJo’s Finished Animation at YouTube

I hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful. Since this article was published originally, Ralph’s kickstarter achieved its goal and then some! As we speak, Ralph is hard at work in New Mexico animating “Last Days of Coney Island”. I’m really proud to have helped him get the chance to make a personal film. Ralph’s work is totally unique to everyone else in animation, and his films are still very relevant today. The Last Days of Coney Island short is sure to be another incredible experience.

Bakshi Doodles
Bakshi Doodles
Bakshi Doodles

Ralph regularly posts updates on his progress to Facebook. Like his page and cheer him on!

Bakshi’s Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/RalphBakshi

Joseph Baptista
Hollywood, USA
February 15, 2013
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Monday, February 4th, 2013

Bakshi’s Last Days of Coney Island Kickstarter

Ralph Bakshi is conducting a Kickstarter campaign to create a series of shorts called “Last Days of Coney Island”. Check it out!

Bakshi’s Last Days of Coney Island Kickstarter page
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ralphbakshi/last-days-of-coney-island-0
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Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Exhibit: Zim at Judge

ZIM in Judge

All ethnic groups were fair game for caricature in Judge magazine in the 1880s- even white people. "Crackers" referred to the type of boastful "rube" or "hick" who might be found congregating around the cracker barrel at the general store.

ZIM BOOK NEARING COMPLETION

The Animation Resources volunteers and I have been cranking for the past few months on cleaning up and formatting the over 650 pages in Zim’s Correspondence School of Cartooning, Comic Art and Caricature. This is the granddaddy of all cartooning courses, written by the man who was a pioneer in the art of the humorous caricature. I’ve been in touch with the Horseheads Historical Society, the group that operates ZIM’s home as a museum, and have received some valuable biographical information from them for the upcoming book. At this point, the entire cartooning course spans two large hardback volumes. We may release it as four smaller paperbacks or PDF files in the future.

Eugene ZIM Zimmerman

For more on the genius of Eugene "ZIM" Zimmerman, see our Online Exhibit on ZIM.

RALPH LENDS A HAND

Ralph Bakshi has been assembling a collection of ZIMiana for four decades. His collection includes original art, magazine illustrations and books by ZIM. Ralph has agreed to write the forward for our republication of the ZIM course. When he heard that I was looking for examples of ZIM’s watercolor work for the covers and frontispieces, Ralph dug into his collection and came up with some wonderful treasures… enough for another volume of ZIM’s cartooning to follow the cartooning course.

ZIM in Judge

But that wasn’t all… Ralph heard that there was a bound volume of Judge magazines from 1885-1887 for sale at eBay. During this time period, ZIM was the leading cartoonist at Judge, and he was producing the best work of his lifetime. Animation Resources doesn’t have an acquisition budget, so we couldn’t afford to purchase the book. But Ralph felt that we needed it to do ZIM justice, so he dug into his own pocket to make sure we got it.

The book hasn’t arrived yet, but check out these photos from the seller…

ZIM in Judge

Judge was the National Lampoon or Mad magazine of its day. Each issue was devoted to making fun of a particular subject. This issue deals with "Jays", a slang term for oblivious and reckless people. The stereotypical "jay" was the ignorant rural farmer who came to the big city and ignored all traffic and safety laws. The term "Jay" is the root of our slang term "jaywalker".

ZIM in Judge

Here, a hobo tries to get a bank to invest in him… ZIM was the first cartoonist to apply the principles of caricature to the whole body, not just the head. Every part of this character, from the hat down to the shoes, exemplifies the type of personality ZIM was trying to convey.

ZIM in Judge

In his boyhood, ZIM worked as a farmhand. The placement of the signature and the familiar profile (see the photo above) indicate that this gag may have been autobiographical. The caption reads…

Mr Rodgers: Who’s that, my young man?
Silas (nervously): B-ben H-harrison, pop.
Mr Rodgers: By Moses! It’s great boy. I’ll have to send ya down to N’ York an’ git ye on a paper.

At the time this was published, Benjamin Harrison was the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

ZIM in Judge

Check out the strange shapes and contrasts in this drawing! Bizzare.

ZIM in Judge

ZIM is largely known today for the racial stereotypes that were the stock-in-trade at Judge and Puck magazines at the time. But although the racial humor may now seem too abstract to translate into today’s world; the caricatures are well-observed and honest. They were undoubtedly based on real people ZIM knew.

ZIM in Judge

New York City was a melting pot in the late 19th century. Just about everyone was an immigrant. The cartoonists of the day found humor in the juxtapositions of culture one experienced walking through the poorer neighborhoods of the big city. ZIM was no exception. He was an immigrant himself. He arrived in America as a child speaking no English, and quickly adapted to life in a totally new world. His aspiration was to become an American through and through.

ZIM in Judge

Wow, what a drawing! This one really resonates with me. We’re looking at two people who were probably born as slaves not only making the transition to becoming a part of society, but depicted as American citizens- note the American flag pants. When I look at this drawing, I can tell how they walk, their personality and temperament… everything. This is as perfect an example of caricature as I have ever seen. Absolutely brilliant.

ZIM in Judge

The Irish are lampooned in this issue.

ZIM in Judge

Here we see a dormer window in a tenement building populated by the faces of all the types of people who made up New York City…

ZIM in Judge

…and here is the common denominator between all of the types of faces in the world- the smile.

ZIM in Judge

ZIM’s eye took in all the details of urban life in the 1880s. He definitely exhibited more of an affinity for the poor immigrants than he did the established well-to-do. This set him apart from most of the othe
r illustrators who drew for Puck, Judge and Life.

ZIM in Judge

Can you see a little bit of Don Martin in this comic? The amazing thing about it is that this comic was drawn when Outcault’s The Yellow Kid was just getting its start. A. B. Frost had just pioneered sequential "time stop" drawings in his book Stuff and Nonsense a few years before. T. S. Sullivant hadn’t even begun his career as a cartoonist yet!

ZIM in Judge

When I saw these images, I was blown away. It’s very difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that these drawings are 120 years old! Before I discovered the genius of ZIM, I had no idea that the art of cartooning was this advanced in the 1880s. That’s why I’m so pleased to be able to bring this material to you.

ZIM in Judge

I hope you will support Animation Resources by buying a copy of ZIM’s Correspondence School of Cartooning, Comic Art and Caricature when it comes out.

But that’s not all! Check out these amazing covers by James Montgomery Flagg!

ZIM in Judge
ZIM in Judge

And how about this cover by Gillam…

ZIM in Judge

Whenever I speak to people interested in the history of cartooning, I find that they have pretty much the same frame of reference as I have… the earliest cartoonists they know about are Sullivant, Outcault and Herriman. A few know a little bit about the most powerful cartoonist who ever lived, Thomas Nast. I’m now discovering that there is a rich history of cartooning between Nast and Sullivant. As I discover more about this exciting period, I’ll share it with you here on the Animation Resources blog.

Many thanks to Ralph Bakshi for making this possible. Make sure to bookmark The Bakshi Blog.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Eugene Zim ZimmermanEugene Zim Zimmerman

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit devoted to Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman.