August 25th, 2015

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Pinups: Phil Interlandi’s Playboy Cartoons

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

The internet never ceases to amaze me… I was working on this post, featuring early examples of Playboy cartoons by Phil Interlandi, when I took a break to check my email… A message had just come in from Interlandi’s daughter Carla, filled with great info for our artist’s biography entry. I’m going to let her tell you about her father…

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PHIL INTERLANDI

By Carla Interlandi Armstrong

Phil Interlandi was a veteran freelance magazine cartoonist whose work appeared in national magazines ranging from Look to Better Homes & Gardens but most notably in Playboy, where he was a mainstay for decades. A longtime resident of Laguna Beach, CA, Interlandi sold his first cartoon to Playboy in 1955. "He had an acerbic wit." said Michelle Urry, Playboy’s cartoon editor. "He just ran roughshod over all the sacred cows. He didn’t care about the taboos."

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

The Chicago-born son of Sicilian immigrants, Interlandi showed artistic ability at an early age, as did his identical twin, Frank, who later became a syndicated political cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times. During World War II, Interlandi joined the Army at 17. He drew cartoons for The Yank, the Army newspaper, and was later a prisoner of war in Germany, a subject he didn’t like to talk about according to his daughter, Liza Stewart.

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

After the war, Interlandi and his twin brother studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Interlandi worked a number of years in advertising before becoming a full-time freelance magazine cartoonist. A year after he moved to Laguna Beach in 1952, his twin followed. The inseparable brothers were part of Laguna’s colorful cadre of cartoonists that grew to include Ed Nofziger, John Dempsey, Don Tobin, Roger Armstrong, Dick Shaw, Virgil Partch and Dick Oldden.

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

Following Phil Interlandi’s lead, the cartoonists began a midday ritual of taking a break from their drawing boards and meeting in the bar at the White House restaurant on Coast Highway. "That was the first bar I walked into in Laguna," Interlandi explained in 1982, "and it became a habit."

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

Interlandi illustrated a number of books, including Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things, and I Wish I’d Said That, in addition to Dick Van Dyke’s Faith, Hope and Hilarity: The Child’s Eye View of Religion and Ed McMahon’s The Barside Companion.

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

He was really just a marvelous artist," said New Yorker cartoonist Sam Gross, who had known Interlandi for 30 years. "He also really knew how to draw good looking girls and yet make the cartoon funny."

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist

Phil Interlandi passed away in 2002 at the age of 78.

Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi Playboy Cartoonist
Phil Interlandi
We changed our minds!

Phil Interlandi
He’d rather fight than switch.

Phil Interlandi

Phil Interlandi

Phil Interlandi
You have a dirty mind. I like that in a man.

Phil Interlandi
Daphne! Get your butt in here!

Phil Interlandi
The starter is fresh!

Phil Interlandi
All I could get out of him was name, rank and serial number…
and an ingenious American invention called a "quickie".

Phil Interlandi
Pay attention, damn it, pay attention!

Thanks to Carla Interlandi Armstrong for the insights about her father’s life and career.

If you’re a fan of Playboy artists like Cole, Dedini, Wilson and Sokol, you will want to get this great collection of cartoons, Playboy: 50 Years- The Cartoons. Check it out!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

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

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Posted by admin @ 1:42 pm

August 24th, 2015

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Caricature: The Genius of Miguel Covarrubias

Miguel Covarrubias Caricature

Miguel Covarrubias was one of the most famous artists of his day, but chances are you’ve never heard of him. Caricaturists know his work- Al Hirschfeld studied under Covarrubias and shared a studio with him in 1924. He spoke of Covarrubias’ talent in the same breath as Daumier and Hogarth. Ethnologists and archaeologists know the name of Covarrubias as well. His analysis of pre-Columbian art and the culture of Bali led to books on the subject that have become classics. And his reputation as an anthropologist rivalled any of his peers in that field. Illustrator, caricaturist, anthropologist, author and educator… It’s high time you knew about Covarrubias too!

Miguel Covarrubias Caricature

At the age of nineteen, Miguel Covarrubias, already a renowned caricaturist in his home country of Mexico, emigrated to New York City. He was an instant sensation, and his illustrations began appearing in New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Fellow Mexican artist, Diego Rivera described his illustrations as "those caustic but implacably good-humored drawings which, fortunately for his personal safety, people have been misled into calling caricatures. In Covarrubias’ art there is no vicious cruelty, it is all irony untainted with malice; a humor that is young and clean; a precise and well defined plasticity.”

Most of the caricatures from Vanity Fair below depict unlikely pairs of public figures. Click on the links to the Wikipedia entries on these people and see why Covarrubias put them together.

MIGUEL COVARRUBIAS CARICATURES

Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Jim Londos & Herbert Hoover
(Vanity Fair, August 1932)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Senator Smith W. Brookhart & Marlene Dietrich
(Vanity Fair, September 1932)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Al Capone & Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes
(Vanity Fair, October 1932)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Clark Gable & Edward, Prince of Wales
(Vanity Fair, November 1932)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Ex-King Alfonso & James J. Walker
(Vanity Fair, December 1932)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Mrs. Ella Boole & Miss Texas Guinan
(Vanity Fair, January 1933)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Arthur Brisbane & The Sphinx
(Vanity Fair, May 1933)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Emily Post
(Vanity Fair, December 1933)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Admiral Richard E. Byrd
(Vanity Fair, December 1934)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Sally Rand & Martha Graham
(Vanity Fair, December 1934)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Dr. Samuel Johnson & Alexander Woolcott
(Vanity Fair, March 1935)


Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Auguste Piccard & William Beebe
(Vanity Fair, April 1935)

Covarrubias was much more than just an illustrator and caricaturist though. His books on Bali and Mexico revealed a careful analytical mind with an eye for detail. The following article from an arts magazine from 1948 encompasses the latter part of Covarrubias’ career…

MIGUEL COVARRUBIAS OF MEXICO CITY
By Henry C. Pitz
(January 1948)

Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Miguel Covarrubias Caricature
Miguel Covarrubias Caricature

Many thanks to the ever-faithful supporter of Animation Resources, Kent Butterworth for sharing this wonderful material from his own collection 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.

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Posted by admin @ 1:35 pm

August 19th, 2015

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Design: UPA Done Right

UPA Done Right

John Kricfalusi’s blog, "All Kinds Of Stuff" continues to be the most information packed and eye opening animation resource on the internet. If you haven’t visited it lately, you’ll want to check out the series of posts John has been writing on the impact of UPA on animation. I guarantee that you’ve never heard these sorts of opinions anywhere else, and once you digest the concepts, you’ll never look at a UPA cartoon the same again.

UPA Done Right

Here is just a sample of what John has to say…

If you don’t know cartoon history and you just grew up watching Cartoon Network, you might think that this flat stuff is something new and “hip”. It’s not. It’s much older than UPA, and the more graphic styles in cartoons before UPA didn’t come with the wimpy trappings. Because of our association with UPA’s beginnings, we assume that when we do something in a graphic style, we have to also carry over all the other attributes that came with UPA’s particular cartoon vision- the blandness, the wimpy world view, the snootiness.

UPA Done Right

People usually don’t analyze or break apart the elements that make up something they like. If we like it we assume that every ingredient in it is equally good. Then when we develop our own styles, we copy the bad with the good. That’s what we need ANALYSIS for!

Like many artists, I have tons of influences. There are lots of things that inspire me. I try to figure out why they do and I break them down into their separate ingredients. I then decide which ingredients are the ones that are useful and discard the others that might have just come along with it, but don’t actually add anything. There are good things about UPA and Disney- Tex Avery combined them and added his own world view to them and made cartoons more entertaining than either style.

UPA Done Right

John’s comments cut like a sword through the “design for design’s sake” school of animation. He cites Tex Avery as the one cartoon director who was able to incorporate modern design sensibilities, while still maintaining the entertainment value and humor of classic cartoons. He’s dead right. This post reminded me of my favorite series of commercials… which were directed by Avery at Cascade studios and animated by Rod Scribner.

UPA Done Right

Not only is the character design modern in the "UPA style" but the movement has been stylized in a complementary manner. Why don’t the current "Flat" cartoons move like this?!

UPA Done Right

KoolAid Spots (Cascade/ca.1960)
(Quicktime 7 / 6.8 megs)

UPDATE: I was browsing through Cartoon Modern today, and I found a post that Amid did last Summer that perfectly encapsulates my thoughts about the importance of animation even in stylized cartoons…

The Importance of "Animation" in Animaton Design

One of the hardest things to get across when discussing animation design is that it’s not just about character designers, layout artists and background painters. The animator is a critical member of the design team….

The primary reason, in my opinion, that so much of today’s stylized animation rings hollow is because nobody ever follows through on the animation. Regardless of whether a show is animated traditionally overseas or if it’s done in Flash, most contemporary TV series creators think their job is done once they’ve created a pretty model sheet and slapped on a bit of color styling. These few stills illustrate however that model sheets are often the least important aspect of stylized animation– what the animator does with those designs is what truly counts.

Exactly! Great animators like Bill Littlejohn, Rod Scribner and Grim Natwick moved these kinds of designs in unique and stylized ways.

This post is causing quite a ruckus over at Michael Sporn’s blog. Check out Michael’s post titled Aaargh. In particular, read the comments. Here’s a real doozy…

Not everything has to look or move gorgeously to be good or artful. That’s one of the dumbest, scariest suggestions I’ve heard anyone make in animation circles.

Yow! Do people really think lousy animation is artistic?!

Cartoon Brew has jumped into… The Great UPA Debate. Will Finn (check out his great new blog, small room) writes…

I see Steve Worth’s point about Kool-Aid ads and such, where perfectly admirable work is overlooked because it wasn’t in the service of "Art witha a capital A". Animators who want to evaluate work on a technique level should be able to appreciate that wherever they find it and not just where the intelligentsia have enshrined it with a golden frame.

Let the debate continue!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

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

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.

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Posted by admin @ 1:24 pm