December 22nd, 2016

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Illustration: Tenggren’s Sing For Christmas

Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas

Around 1940, Gustaf Tenggren left the Disney Studios a changed man. It’s said that he gathered together the paintings he had created up to that point, piled them up in the street and set fire to them. With this single decisive act, he marked a turning point in his artistic career. He never painted in the classic European book illustrator style again. He had resolved himself to create a new style.

Gustaf Tenggren Sing For ChristmasGustaf Tenggren Sing For ChristmasI really don’t know what brought him to that point. I’d love to know the full story. But you can clearly see the sharp dividing line between old and new in his work. In the first few years of the 1940s, Tenggren struggled to develop a new way of painting- a simplified style that depended on fundamental qualities like skillful composition, expressive texture and unique color harmonies, rather than photo-realistic detail and modeling techniques derived from classical easel painting. This book, along with its sequel Sing For America and the schoolbook reader Runaway Home would lead to the creation of the very first Little Golden Books… The Pokey Little Puppy, The Tawny Scrawny Lion and The Saggy Baggy Elephant. You know the rest of the story…

This book is far from representing Tenggren’s best work, but it’s an important example of a decisive turning point in Tenggren’s career. I’ll post some illustrations from Sing For America and Runaway Home soon.

Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas
Gustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas

Gustaf Tenggren Sing For ChristmasGustaf Tenggren Sing For Christmas







All of us at Animation Resources wish you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 3:20 pm

December 21st, 2016

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Magazine Cartoons: Reginald Birch and St Nicholas Magazine

St Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch

A MAGAZINE FOR CHILDREN

In 1872, Scribner’s began publishing St Nicholas Magazine, a sister publication to The Century aimed at an audience between the ages of 5 and 18. As Linda Young points out in her excellent article on St Nicholas, in the late 19th and early 20th century, there was no real distinction between young children and teenagers. Children were considered children until they married or went away to college. Features "For The Little Folk" ran in St Nicholas side by side with articles on natural history or science intended for older readers. When it came to fiction, the subjects ranged from adventure stories about far-away lands to fairy tales and historical romance. St Nicholas was the premiere magazine of its type, and although it was aimed at children, it counted many adults among its readership.

St Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch

But the main reason why we’re interested in St Nicholas is the illustrations. Scribner’s had access to many of the best artists of the day… Arthur Rackham, Harrison Cady, Maxfield Parrish, Willy Pogany, Charles Dana Gibson, Palmer Cox and Howard Pyle, among many others. But no artist was as closely associated with the look of St Nicholas as Reginald Birch.

St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchReginald Birch was born in 1856 in London, England. At the age of 14, he relocated to San Francisco, CA where he prepared wood block theater posters in his father’s shop. In 1873, Birch attended the Royal Academy in Munich and upon his return to America, he settled in as an illustrator in New York City.

Today, Birch may be forgotten, but his contribution to our American cultural identity certainly isn’t. At St Nicholas Magazine Birch took the character of Santa Claus, created by Thomas Nast in the 1862 Christmas Issue of Harper’s Weekly, and refined it into the jolly bearded character in the red suit that we all think of today.

St Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch

1906 Christmas cover by Reginald Birch

Little Lord Fauntleroy Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchReginald Birch illustrated a wide variety of poems and stories for St Nicholas, but perhaps the most famous was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s "Little Lord Fauntleroy". Following Burnett’s vivid description, Birch created the iconic image of the precocious little boy in curls wearing a black velvet suit with lace collar. This image became the basis for the character Buster Brown, and was widely lampooned in parodies casting Burnett’s wunderkind as a spoiled brat or monster child, like Eddie Munster. The image of the enfant terrible in the Buster Brown outfit has entered our cultural subconscious to the point where most of us don’t even realize where it came from… but it came from Reginald Birch.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Freddie Bartholomew as Little Lord Fauntleroy

By the beginning of World War I, Birch’s Victorian pen and ink style was beginning to look dated. Demand for his services began to decline, and by 1930, he was penniless. He enjoyed an "Indian Summer" as a book illustrator in the late 30s until his failing eyesight forced him to retire in 1941. He passed away in 1943.

Here is a fantastic story written by St Nicholas editor, Tudor Jenks and illustrated in the distinctive style by Reginald Birch. Notice how Birch juggles the text in the layouts, his superb draughtsmanship and control of perspective, and the expressive posing of his characters.

St Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch
St Nicholas Magazine Reginald BirchSt Nicholas Magazine Reginald Birch

A SELECTION OF IMAGES FROM
THE CHRISTMAS, 1910 ISSUE

To finish out this post, here is a sampling of the sort of illustration and cartooning that filled the pages of a typical issue of St. Nicholas Magazine.

St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910
St Nicholas Magazine December 1910

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

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

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 3:01 pm

December 19th, 2016

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Animation: Alex Toth Model Sheets

Alex Toth

Alex TothAlex TothAlex Toth passed away last year at the age of 77. Along with Will Eisner and Jack Kirby, Toth is considered one of the giants of adventure comics. Toth began his career at age 15, creating illustrations for Heroic magazine. He graduated from the High School of Industrial Arts in 1947, and soon was working at DC Comics on The Flash, Green Lantern and The Atom. He left DC in 1952 and was drafted into the Army in 1954.

Alex TothAlex TothAfter his stint in the service, he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for Dell on the highly regarded Zorro comics. He began working in animation for Dick Brown on Space Angel, and in 1964, he joined Hanna-Barbera as a designer and storyboard artist on Jonny Quest, The Herculoids and Super Friends. His designs for these shows are masterful and imaginative.

The pity is that the actual animation on these shows isn’t even close to being in the same league. Realistic designs like these are very difficult to animate, and require a draftsman of Toth’s calibre to be able to pull off convincingly. But the late 60s was the wrong time for such a challenge. Hanna Barbera was in a mad race with Filmation to see who could put out the cheapest factory-made programming on the tightest schedule. Toth’s imagination and skill were left behind in the dust. Instead of respecting what could have been, Toth’s designs are now taken completely out of context and subjected to ridicule in current TV programs.

Animation Resources supporter, Kent Butterworth brought us a few original Toth drawings to digitize, and I’ve supplemented them with some xeroxes belonging to the family of Carlo Vinci.

Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth
Alex Toth

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

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

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

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Posted by admin @ 3:09 pm