Author Archive

Thursday, June 20th, 2024

Exhibit: Early 50s UPA Model Sheets

UPA Model Sheet

UPA Model SheetsUPA Model SheetsA couple of years ago, when Amid Amidi and I were working together, I lent Amid these model sheets to use in a proposal to Chronicle Books for a history of 50s cartoon design. Well, Amid dug deep into the wellspring of “modern cartooning” and came up with a book that belongs on every animation lover’s bookshelf. The title is Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in 1950s Animation. (Click on the title to take a look at it on Amazon.) It’s a great book- the definitive look at the great studios of the 1950s.

UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet

UPA Model Sheet
UPA Model Sheet

Amid put up a great Flickr set of photos of the biggest names in animation during the 1950s. The picture below is of the UPA staff around the time these model sheets were created. Click through it to see the rest…

UPA Staff

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryGrim Natwick

This posting is part of an online exhibit entitled Grim Natwick’s Scrapbook.
Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

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

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Friday, June 14th, 2024

RefPack058: A Peek At The Featured Downloads

People who aren’t members of Animation Resources don’t understand how comprehensive our Reference Packs are. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting what each section of our current RefPack looks like, starting today with the Featured section. If you are a member of Animation Resources, click on this post to go to the Members Only page. If you aren’t a member yet, today is the perfect time to join! Our current Reference Pack is one of our best yet, and General and Student Members get access to a special Bonus Archive with even more material from past Reference Packs.

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Reference Pack

Every other month, Animation Resources shares a new Reference Pack with its members. They consist of an e-book packed with high resolution scans and video downloads set up for still frame study. Make sure you download the Reference Pack before it’s updated. When it’s gone, it’s gone!


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REFPACK058: June – July 2024

PDF E-BOOK
Willard Mullin

Willard Mullin Dailies 1941-1946
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New York Daily World-Telegram
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Willard MullinTell A FriendBefore the era of live TV broadcasts with instant replay to capture every nuance of the action, low light photography for night games, and long telephoto lenses to capture the plays close up from a long distance, sports fans depended on the newspaper for their daily sports fix. Sports columnists rattled off play by play of the previous day’s games in great detail, and put the scores in context with complex statistics. But those were just words… the fella responsible for putting a face to the facts and figures was the sports cartoonist.

Today, only a tiny handful of sports cartoonists remain working, but in the post-war era, every paper had a great artist who filled the sports pages with caricatures, likenesses of famous figures in the news, and funny gags involving the team mascots. A few years ago, Richard Sandimir wrote in the New York Times…

They blended the skills of a caricaturist and the mind-set of a columnist. They were entertainers and ink-stained jokesters. They were newsroom denizens and deadline artists who churned out five or six cartoons a week that received prominent display. If they possessed power, it was that they drew players, owners and managers in ways that reporters could not with their words. Sports cartoons were usually more amusing and informative than critical, which reflected the times when the sports section was the fun-and-games department.

Willard Mullin

One sports cartoonist stood out above all the rest… Willard Mullin. In his twenties, Mullin worked for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, but in 1934 he joined the staff of the New York World-Telegram where his work was syndicated across the country by the Scripps Howard News Services. He worked there until 1966 when he began drawing cartoons freelance for magazines and ads. He was widely published throughout his half century long career, with cartoons appearing in many publications, such as Colliers, Life magazine and Time, as well as numerous team programs and advertisements.

Mullin produced six cartoons a week, and they were printed large across a full page in the sports section. They usually were centered around the likeness of a famous athelete or a humorous depiction of a team mascot. Mullin was called upon to draw every form of animal as a team mascot, except perhaps elephants and donkeys, which were relegated to the editorial pages. He was famous for creating the character known as the Brooklyn Bum. Sporting a tattered and patched suit of clothes, a stub of a cigar and a big belly, the Bum perfectly represented the rough and tumble Brooklyn Dodgers.

Willard Mullin

Mullin was a genius at depicting the human form in motion. His characters seemed to spring off the page with life and vitality. Mullin’s characters ran the gamut from heroes to everyman characters. His influence extended far beyond the newspaper world to cartoonists like Jack Davis and the Disney animator John Sibley. For animators, Mullin’s sketches are a revelation because they appear to be already in motion. His knowledge of anatomy merged perfectly with the spirit of the action to create gesture drawings of the highest order. Best of all, his drawings are steeped in fun. They encapsulate the spirit of casual camradery shared by all of the sports fans in the bleachers on a sunny afternoon.

Willard Mullin

Between 1947 and 1952, Mullin created a comic book for Spalding which was given away to customers of sporting goods stores. We featured that in an earlier e-book. This time we are presenting daily comics from the 1940s, the absolute peak of Mullin’s career. These fragile scraps of newsprint were crumbling as we scanned them. Parts of the edges on some had chipped away. You’ll notice missing bits, but plenty of wonderful drawings remain intact. We hope you find them useful.

REFPACK058: Willard Mullin Vol. 3
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Adobe PDF File / 124 Pages / 827 MB Download


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SD VIDEO:
Milton The Monster

The Milton The Monster Show
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Episode 1 / Four Stuffy Durma Shorts 1965

The Milton The Monster Show was produced by Hal Seeger and aired on ABC for two seasons starting in 1965. There were 26 half hour episodes made, and along with the Milton The Monster cartoons, there were shorts featuring Fearless Fly, an insect superhero, Flukey Luke a cowboy whose dumb luck allowed him to solve mysteries, Stuffy Durma, a hobo who had stumbled into becoming a millionaire, Muggy Doo the boy fox, and Penny Penguin.

Milton The Monster

Hal Seeger began his career working as an animator at the Fleischer Studios, drawing newspaper comics and writing scripts for live action films. In 1962 he formed a studio to produce cartoons for television, and his first series was based on the Fleischers’ Out Of The Inkwell cartoons starring Ko-Ko The Clown. He was tapped by ABC to be the Executive Producer of The Porky Pig Show in 1964 and that led to Milton The Monster in 1965 and Batfink in 1967. A couple of years after the end of Milton The Monster, Filmation stole the concept, crossed it with The Archies and sold it to CBS as The Groovy Ghoulies.

Jim Tyer Stuffy Durma

I’m including the premiere episode of Milton The Monster here for you to see, but I have to admit, it isn’t very good and there isn’t much to glean from it as an artist. But there was one segment in four of the episodes that really stand out… Stuffy Durma. Seeger jobbed out the animation of these shorts to the legendary Terry-Toons animator, Jim Tyer. From the look of them, Tyer animated them all by himself. It’s very simple television animation, but it’s full of delightful Tyer touches that raise it up above the other segments in the show.

Jim Tyer Stuffy Durma

Tyer utilizes some interesting techniques in the Stuffy Durma cartoons. One particularly brilliant idea is eye pupil lip-sync. As the character speaks, his pupils expand and contract and form expressions and eye blinks on their own. Viewers of cartoons tend to look at the eyes and hands of a character when it acts, so animating the pupils takes the curse off of the long holds required for TV budgets and makes the character always feel alive. Tyer also makes fun of the flat character designs by animating head turns as literally flat. And fast movements are emphasized by elongated stretches that create flow with a bare minimum of frames. Fun short cycles are used and reused over and over, and the models of the characters are allowed to morph into funny exaggerations. Even though the cel count is very low, Tyer squeezes out a lot of bang for the buck when it comes to fun.

Jim Tyer Stuffy Durma

It’s easy with limited to animation to get carried away with the mechanics of breaking off limbs and mouths and eyes and forget the joy of movement. This is especially true of library based Flash cartoons. With Stuffy Durma, Tyer reminds us of the value of special poses, even ones that only appear on the screen for two frames in fast action. If you are trying to create quick, inexpensive internet cartoons, there isn’t a better group of shorts to study than this.

Jim Tyer Stuffy Durma

REFPACK058: Milton The Monster Ep01 1965
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MP4 Video File / SD / 22:16 / 292 MB Download

REFPACK058: From Wrecks To Riches
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MP4 Video File / SD / 6:02 / 99 MB Download

REFPACK058: Suit Yourself
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MP4 Video File / SD / 6:10 / 87 MB Download

REFPACK058: Hobo Hootenanny
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MP4 Video File / SD / 4:53 / 81 MB Download

REFPACK058: Nuggets To You
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MP4 Video File / SD / 6:23 / 78 MB Download


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Sample RefPack

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Animation Resources is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization dedicated to providing self study material to the worldwide animation community. Every month, we sponsor a program of interest to artists, and every other month, we share a book and up to an hour of rare animation with our members. If you are a creative person interested in the fields of animation, cartooning or illustration, you should be a member of Animation Resources!

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Thursday, June 13th, 2024

Exhibit: Grim Natwick In The Modern Age

PART THREE: GRIM NATWICK AND MODERN ANIMATION

Grim Natwick

Studio gag drawing from UPA depicting an animator being laid off, replaced by children cutting out paper dolls.

It’s important to keep in mind Grim Natwick’s age when you look over his career. When he animated Snow White, he was one of the oldest artists at the Disney studio- 49 years of age. When his former assistant from Iwerks, Stephen Bosustow convinced him to join UPA in 1950, he was sixty. Most animators of his generation were thinking of retirement, or coasting on their past accomplishments until their pensions came through… but not Grim. He dove into the stylistic revolution of UPA with both feet. Grim animated on the early Magoo cartoons, as well as one-shots like "Rooty Toot Toot" and "Gerald McBoing Boing". In the early 50s, he was sent to New York as the keystone animator for UPA’s East coast office, where he animated many commercials and industrial films for the company, along with his assistant Tissa David.

Click to see Grim's  UPA model sheets

When UPA NY shut its doors, Grim worked at various New York commercial studios like Ray Favata and Robert Lawrence Productions. He animated on the first television cartoon series, Crusader Rabbit, and later took in work from Jay Ward and Bill Scott on the George of the Jungle program. He freelanced for Melendez and Duane Crowther’s Duck Soup Producktions, eventually settling in with director, Richard Williams. He animated on Raggedy Ann & Andy and travelled to the UK to teach while working on Cobbler & the Thief. He continued to draw into his early 90s, until his failing eyesight made it difficult.

Click to see Grim's post UPA commercialsClick to see Grim's post UPA commercialsOne afternoon, as I sat with Grim on his front porch, he casually mentioned that he had been told that there were machines that animated- computers. He wondered aloud "how they manage to get the machines to hold a pencil" and expressed an interest in finding out more about it. So I called my friend Charlie Gibson, who was a partner at Rhythm & Hues in Hollywood. I arranged for Grim to take a tour of their studio the following week.

50s TV Commercial50s TV CommercialWhen we arrived, we found the entire staff of R&H standing in the lobby waiting for us. Charlie showed Grim their machine room and demo reel, and sat him down at a workstation to see how wireframe characters are posed. After a few minutes working with the mouse, Grim leaned back in his chair and said, "I’ve seen some amazing things here today that I never would have imagined possible. I don’t pretend to understand everything I’ve seen, but I have a basic idea of what you do here. I have just one question to ask you… When I animated Snow White or Mickey Mouse, I had certain tricks to put the personality of the character across… a gesture, the raising of an eyebrow, a bit of acting… How do you do that sort of thing with your computer?"

50s TV Commercial50s TV CommercialThe room went silent. Charlie paused for a moment and replied, "Well, Grim, you just put your finger on the thing we struggle with every day… Computer animation is still very new. We’re constantly learning as we go. To answer your question, we study classic cartoons to learn those secrets from great animators like you."

In the space of an afternoon at nearly 100 years old, Grim had gone from "How do they get the machines to hold a pencil?" to putting his finger on the main issue facing CGI animators. His mind was always nimble and able to see the challenges facing animation in the future. He was truly a remarkable man.

EXHIBIT CATALOG: GRIM NATWICK IN THE MODERN AGE

Grim Natwick

Top Row: A Selection Of Natwick Animals (left to right) Chicken character designs from "Solid Ivory"* (Lantz/1947) / Lion doodle (after Jones’ "Inki & The Lion")* (ca. 1947) / Tiger studio gag drawing* (ca. 1944) / Character design for Lantz Wartime cartoon (ca.1943) / Concept for children’s book* (ca. 1947)

Middle Row: 1950s Commercials (left to right) Character design (ca.1959) / Self caricature of layout artist Art Heineman (UPA ca.1952) / Studio gag drawing depicting an animator being replaced by children cutting out paper dolls (UPA ca.1952) / Model drawing of Bert Piels (Piels Beer) by Tissa David from Grim Natwick animation (UPA ca. 1955) / Model drawings from unknown commercial by Tissa David from Grim Natwick animation (UPA ca.1955)

Bottom Row: Studio Gag Drawings Self caricature by Bill Melendez (ca. early 60s) / Studio gag drawing depicting Bill Scott explaining to a West coast animator how to dress like an East coast animator (UPA NY ca. 1952) / Three studio gag drawings by Bill Scott depicting the relationships between Grim Natwick, John Hubley and Scott (UPA NY ca. 1952)

* denotes a drawing by Grim Natwick

Next Chapter: THE GREATEST ANIMATOR WHO EVER LIVED (Studio Gag Drawings & Caricatures)


Grim Natwick Exhibit
Assistant Archivist, Joseph Baptista views the exhibit.

GRIM NATWICK’S SCRAPBOOK

This travelling exhibit has appeared at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive in Burbank, CA and at the South Wood Historical Society Museum in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, birthplace of Grim Natwick.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryGrim Natwick

This posting is part of an online exhibit entitled Grim Natwick’s Scrapbook.

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