February 24th, 2020

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Grim Natwick’s Century of Learning

Animation Resources

One thing I’ve noticed among certain young animators is a tendency to focus exclusively on things that directly apply to whatever project they’re currently working on. Referencing art in a different style or from a different period in time can sometimes be seen by them as a distraction, or worse yet, irrelevant to their work as an artist. This is a very bad habit to get into, because it builds a box around an artists’ creativity. After a few years, this focus settles into a form of tunnel-vision. At Animation Resources, our primary purpose is to help artists “think outside the box”.

There have been a few people I’ve met in my life who saw the big picture clearly. Grim Natwick was one of them. He had an incredibly broad view of animation, which isn’t surprising because his career in animation spanned nearly seven decades! Grim was a storyteller, and even though his long convoluted stories jumped across decades and diverse subjects like the cow jumping over the moon, his thought process was like a laser beam focused on the essence of what it means to be an artist.

When you look at Grim’s career, it’s astonishing. He started out working on silent Happy Hooligan cartoons, He went on to create Betty Boop and animate Flip the Frog, Snow White, Woody Woodpecker, Mr Magoo, and Crusader Rabbit, and ended his career animating on Richard Williams’ “Thief and the Cobbler”. I once asked Grim to what he attributed his long and varied career. He didn’t hesitate. He answered right away…

“My education.”

Grim Natwick

Grim studied illustration and design in Chicago, but soon he found himself working in animation, and he realized his skills and education weren’t up to the task. He took a year off and travelled to Vienna to get formal art training. Every day of his life, Grim set aside and hour to do self study. He would pull a book on Picasso off the shelf and sit down at his drawing board and try to figure out Picasso’s shapes and abstraction. He would sketch from Reubens to learn composition. He’d break down the work of illustrators like Rackham and try to capture their watercolor techniques. All of this informed his animation and made it possible for him to reinvent himself when it was called for.

I have only worked in the field for thirty years myself, but I have seen most of the people I started out working with fall away from animation. They weren’t able to keep up with technology, or they refused to work in any other style than the one they had been trained in. Animation evolved and changed, and they were left behind because they refused to think outside their own box.

Here is a video of Grim speaking with Reg Hartt in Toronto in the early 80s. In this interview he discusses a wide range of subjects, from fine art to illustration- at one point he digresses all the way to Indonesian shadow puppets- but every bit of it directly applies to his life as an animator. And it directly applies to your life as an animator too.


GRIM NATWICK INTERVIEW 1982
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CEYYLr9tRU

When I was in college, I looked Grim up in the phone book and visited him at his apartment in Santa Monica. I aspired to work in animation and I wanted to learn how animators think. I couldn’t have had a better person to learn from. I would sit on Grim’s front porch and ask him questions. Then the stories would unfold in front of me, giving me an overview of what the artform was all about, and most importantly, insight into what it could be.

Grim NatwickIt’s 30 years later now, but I still think about the things Grim talked about. Grim never put himself in a stylistic box. He worked in every style and never stopped learning.

Young animators sometimes look at what we are doing at Animation Resources and think to themselves, “That’s old stuff. It doesn’t apply to me.” Professional animators sometimes look at it and say to themselves, “I’m a professional now. I’m not in school any more. I don’t need to study.” Grim Natwick never thought that way. He saw the interrelationships between different styles and forms of art. He credited his studies for keeping him relevant in the business long after his contemporaries had moved on or retired. Grim lived and breathed his art. He had a passion for it and he could put that passion into words. He could teach it to others. All of that is important and all of it applies to the life and career of every artist.

When I discovered this video interview, I realized how much of what Grim planted in me has developed into what Animation Resources has become today. Grim’s approach to his art is a shining example for all of us to follow. Whether you’re a student or a pro, exploring and learning and discovering new things should be a part of your daily life. Animation Resources wants to help you do that.

Open The Treasures That Open Your Mind

Treasures

The secrets of a long and fulfilling career in animation are right in front of your face. But you’ll never recognize those treasures if you don’t make an effort to think beyond what you already know and like. Every other month, members of Animation Resources can download a Reference Pack full of inspiration and ideas to help you think outside your own box. During Member Appreciation Month, Animation Resources is pulling out all the stops to share some of our greatest treasures with our members. Throughout the year, we’ll be offering up incredible, thought provoking material that can change the way you think and help you grow as an artist. If you are a creative person, you should be a member of Animation Resources.

For a rundown of all the perks of Animation Resources membership, see… https://animationresources.org/memberappreciation/

JOIN Animation Resources today!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

The world of animaton owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Reg Hartt for sharing this incredible video with us.



FREE Sample Reference Pack!

Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month!

Sample RefPack

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 9:28 am

February 21st, 2020

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What’s In Animation Resources’ Reference Packs?

JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES

Animation Resources is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to serving the self study needs of animators, cartoonists and illustrators. If you are a creative person with an interest in the field, we hope you will choose to become a member of Animation Resources. Every other month, members are given access to a high resolution e-book and several DVD quality animated films, curated by the Board of Animation Resources.

JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES

This sample Reference Pack is designed to give you an idea of what Animation Resources has to offer its members. By the end of the year, our members will have been able to access downloads of SIX E-BOOKS totaling over a thousand pages of incredible high resolution scans, and over FIVE HOURS of rare cartoons. Membership rates are just $85 annually for General Membership, and $60 a year for full time students and educators. It’s the greatest bargain in animation. You’ll be inspired and learn too!

Reference Pack

REFPACK 001: Sample RefPack

DOWNLOADING INSTRUCTIONS: Below are the links to the sample Reference Pack. To download the files, RIGHT CLICK on the link (Mac users OPTION CLICK) and select SAVE TO DISK. We are delivering high resolution files to you. When you click, it might take several minutes to finish the download, so please be patient. If the link doesn’t work, refresh this page and try again. It’s best to download the files one at a time, rather than all at once. This will avoid timeouts.

PLEASE NOTE: This material may be protected by copyright and is provided to supporters of Animation Resources under Fair Use provisions for critical analysis, educational and reference purposes only. Permission to copy and print is granted for personal use only and these files are not to be distributed or shared with others. All rights reserved. After the period of availability, these files will be deleted from the server and may never be offered again. Downloading of this material constitutes agreement to these terms.

PDF E-BOOKS:
Best of 25

Best of E-Books 1 to 25 Volume 1 & 2
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A Sampler of the First 4 Years of RefPack E-Books

The creative world of animation has its roots in the art of cartooning, and the history of cartooning extends back centuries. Over the past four years, Animation Resources’ e-books have included thousands of pages of classic cartooning, illustration and art instruction, ranging from 16th century woodblocks to newspaper comics from the 1920s, to powerful political cartoons from around the world, to complete courses teaching the fundamentals of cartooning and caricature… all designed to broaden the horizons of both professional and student artists.

This pair of e-books gather together some of the highlights from the first 25 members only e-books. It is provided to the general public to give prospective members an idea of what they will receive when they join. Members and volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization and we appreciate everything that the hundreds of people who have contrinuted to our efforts have accomplished. These e-books are dedicated to them.

Best of 25 E-Book Volume 1
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Adobe PDF File / 192 Pages / 800 MB Download

Best of 25 E-Book Volume 2
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Adobe PDF File / 188 Pages / 779 MB Download


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

DVD QUALITY VIDEO:
Best of 25

Best of Videos 1 to 25 Volume 1 & 2
Sampler Reels of the First 4 Years of RefPack Animation Videos

Some people are under the mistaken impression that animation is a genre, best suited for children’s cartoons. They think that specific established styles and techniques are the only way cartoons should look. It’s easy even for animators to fall into the trap of making cartoons that look just like all the other cartoons on TV and in theaters. But Animation Resources encourages film makers to think of animation as a medium, capable of doing innovative and great things. We encourage our members to think outside the box by sharing unique examples of powerful animated film making that exploit the best aspects of the medium.

In the past four years of Reference Packs, Animation Resources members have had an opportunity to see rarely seen films of all types, from century old silent shorts, to stop motion puppet films, animation from China, Japan and Russia; animated commercials from the early 1950s; classic theatrical cartoons; experimental animation and rare industrial training films… Our intent is not to bring back a “golden age” of animation. We encourage artists to build on the past as a foundation for surpassing it.

This pair of reels gather together some clips of the highlights from the first 25 members only Reference Packs. They are provided to the general public to give prospective members an idea of what they will receive when they join.

Best of 25 Video Reel 1
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M4V Video File / 18:49 / 434 MB Download

Best of 25 Video Reel 1
Download Page
M4V Video File / 18:49 / 448 MB Download


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

Bonus Download

With every Reference Pack, we’ll be including a bonus video or e-book from one of our past Reference Packs. This time we are sharing a book and two rare wartime training films!

PDF E-BOOK:
Plastic Man

Jack Cole’s
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Plastic Man
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Issues Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (1943)

Jack Cole’s “Plastic Man” debuted in Police Comics in 1941 and was an immediate hit. Cole’s offbeat humor and Plastic Man’s ability to take any shape gave the cartoonist the opportunities to experiment with text and graphics in groundbreaking manner, helping to define the medium’s vocabulary, and making the idiosyncratic character one of the few enduring classics from the Golden Age to modern times. Plastic Man gained his own title in 1943.

This PDF e-book contains the first three issues of Plastic Man comics and includes a biography of Jack Cole. It is optimized for display on the iPad or printing two up with a cover on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper.

REFPACK001: Plastic Man
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Adobe PDF File / 183 Pages / 245.5 MB Download


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https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

DVD QUALITY VIDEO:
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Private Snafu Gas

REFPACK001: Private Snafu in Gas
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Army/Navy Screen Magazine (1944)

The Private Snafu training cartoons were produced by Warner Bros for the War Department during WWII. “Gas”, which deals with the importance of having an operating gas mask handy, was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Ted “Dr Seuss” Geisel. The voices were by Mel Blanc and Billy Bletcher.

REFPACK001: Private Snafu in Gas
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M4V Video File / 4:43 / 77.5 MB Download

This DVD quality MP4 file is provided courtesy of Thunderbean Animation and is included in HD on Private Snafu Golden Classics.


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https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

DVD QUALITY VIDEO:
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Van Beuren Circus Capers

Aesop’s Fables: Circus Capers
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Van Beuren Studios (1930)

Disney admitted that in the 1920s, his goal was to produce cartoons as good as the Aesops Fables series. However after the Fables introduced a boy and girl mouse that bore a strong resemblance to Mickey and Minnie, Disney filed suit and had the cartoons pulled from theaters. This cartoon is one of the most blatant Mickey ripoffs, and one of the funniest.

REFPACK001: Circus Capers
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M4V Video File / 9:13 / 230.5 MB Download

This DVD quality MP4 file is provided courtesy of Thunderbean Animation and is included on Uncensored Animation from Van Beuren.


Tell A FriendTell A FriendTell A Friend
Tell your friends to join Animation Resources!
Download Page
More members mean we can bring you more special downloads.

CLICK TO JOIN TODAY!

Problems or questions? Email…
membership@animationresources.org

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 10:26 am

February 20th, 2020

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Feed the Library of Your Mind

Library

If you read no other article today, read the one at this link…

Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read

A lot of young animators seem to think that as long as they have Google, they have all the reference they need. But that isn’t true. POTENTIAL reference is no better than having no reference at all. You have to know exactly what it is that you don’t know to grow.

This article is about books and reading, but the same argument for the value of books could be made for a library of music, movies and artwork. A shelf full of music of all types, or classic movies, or art books about the old masters are directly relevant to your growth as an artist. It’s not enough to just create. You have to absorb your culture so you can reflect it in your own unique way.

A library is a constant reminder of how much there is to learn about and incorporate into your life and work. Life is short. Surround yourself with knowledge. Organize it and set aside time to browse. Once in a while select a specific subject that you should really should know more about and dive in. Analyze. Process. Learn.

Recently a book was published showing great artists in their studios. Their workspaces were all different, but there was one common denominator. They all had bookshelves packed with reference. If you want to be a great artist too, follow their lead and push your boundaries and expand your frame of reference by building your own library. It can be walls of books or hard drives full of images, movies and music. The format doesn’t matter. What matters is the impetus to know more than you already do.

It’s easy to build up a valuable reference library on cartooning and animation, and you don’t even need a shelf on the wall. Every other month, Animation Resources shares an e-book and still framable videos of rare animation with its members. If you had joined when we started producing Reference Packs five years ago, you would now have over 30 books and 15 hours of rare animation. Our Board and Advisory Board curate this material so you can have one of the world’s best libraries on the subject right on your hard drive.

Right now, it’s Members Appreciation Time at Animation Resources, and for the next 30 days we will be sharing reasons why you should be a member of our important project. It’s easy to join. Just click on this link and you can sign up right now online…


JOIN TODAY!
https://animationresources.org/membership/levels/

Find Out About The Benefits of Membership
https://animationresources.org/memberappreciation/

FREE SAMPLES!
https://animationresources.org/join-us-sample-reference-pack/

Not Convinced Yet? Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month!

Sample RefPack

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Posted by Stephen Worth @ 10:02 am