Archive for the ‘biography’ Category

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Biography: Raymonde, Roy

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1929 – 2009 – British



Bio Summary

Roy Raymonde was an English cartoonist whose work appeared in many (UK) national and also international publications. He was particularly well known for his long association with Playboy Magazine (US and German editions) and Punch Magazine. In the 1960s his features for The Sunday Telegraph were widely recognised, and at the same time he was contributing cartoons regularly to other publications including Private Eye, Reader’s Digest, The Daily Sketch, Mayfair Magazine and several trade publications.

Early Life/Family

Roy Stuart Raymonde was born in 1929 in Grantham. His father Barry, was a freelance advertising agent and a theatrical impresario. By the time Roy was a toddler the family were living in Bristol. Barry had a business connection with the Bristol Old Vic. Roy’s mother Patricia, had been a dancer and had met Barry through the theatre. In 1938 whilst Patricia was pregnant with Roy’s younger sister Patsy, Barry contracted pneumonia and died suddenly, leaving the young family destitute. In this tough situation Patricia was forced to take a series of menial jobs and was seemingly constantly moving on until eventually settling in North London in the early years of the Second World War. The Blitz was at its height and Raymonde often recounted the story of how one night, the house they were living in was demolished by a German land mine. Fearing that he had been killed, the firemen feverishly dug through the rubble only to find him soundly asleep with the blankets pulled over his head.


At the age of 15 Raymonde attended Harrow art school. Due to the peripatetic nature of his upbringing and the uncertainties of war this was to be his 16th school. It happened that one of his tutors at Harrow was the young and yet to become famous Gerard Hoffnung. His work was to become an important inspiration to young Raymonde. He recounted a tale of how he was almost expelled for the adolescent prank of adding humorous captions to one of Hoffnung’s demonstration paintings. His place at the school was however, saved by Hoffnung himself, who argued that the captions demonstrated a latent cartoonist’s talent. They remained friends until Hoffnung’s untimely death in 1959. After art school Raymonde took a job in commercial art studio. Whereas nowadays we rely upon photographers, in those days much of the artwork for print (including advertising) was hand-drawn by talented commercial artists. Raymonde often said that he learnt more about drawing in a few weeks amongst professionals than he ever learnt in two years of art school. At 18 he was called up to do National Service. The Army, on seeing that he was an artist, gave him a job in Intelligence interpreting photoreconnaissance. He served for two years in Malaya.

Career Outline

Upon demobilisation Raymonde took a job at Charles Gilberts’s advertising studio in Fleet Street, where he was to stay for the next 10 years. He however, already nurtured an interest in cartoons and being located in the midst of newspaper-land he started free lancing in his spare time. His first works were published by Tit-Bits. He then started contributing to Lilliput and the Daily Sketch. Drapery and Fashion weekly bought a weekly feature about a shop girl called ‘Lil’ which was to continue for the next 30 years.


Comments On Style

As Raymonde’s career progressed he became celebrated for his fluid comic drawing style, which was to evolve into the lyrical and flamboyantly colourful genre seen in his work for Playboy. It was his masterful depiction of small gestures, details and expressions that added a heightened dimension to his cartoons and have inspired a generation of comic illustrators.

HIs technique – like that of many cartoonists of the period – was to use waterproof Indian ink applied with a steel dip pen. Drawings were first lightly roughed out in pencil then inked in, the pencil marks erased, then shading or colour applied. For the black and white drawings he would use non-waterproof black ink or black watercolour for shading. The colour drawings used a variety of materials from watercolour and gouache to radiant inks and liquid acrylics. Whatever would give him the vibrant effects he was looking for. Rough drawings of cartoon ideas were firstly sent to editors for approval. When approved, a final drawing was made for publication. In those days all was done by post (including those to America) as there was no email. Raymonde’s original artworks have been much sought after and hang in both public and private collections.


Amongst artists that he admired, Gerard Hoffnung was an early influence as was Thomas Rowlandson – he enjoyed collecting 18th century prints. He was also fond of the work of André François, Tomi Ungerer, Quentin Blake and Adolf Born.


In spite of his erratic schooling, he was an articulate and erudite man. A voracious reader, he was particularly fond of poetry. He had a fine collection of antiquarian books. He was a quietly spoken man but had a sharp and incisive wit. Though conservative in his political outlook, he was interested in, and able to form lasting friendships with people from all walks of life. He and his wife, Patricia spent much of their spare time in Venice about which they had become passionate and where they had acquired many friends.


When the London Blitz was at its height and Raymonde often recounted the story of how one night, the house they were living in was demolished by a German land mine. Fearing that he had been killed, the firemen feverishly dug through the rubble only to find him soundly asleep with the blankets pulled over his head.




1966 was voted Cartoonist Club of Great Britain Feature Cartoonist of the Year.
1996 Gold Prize at the Kyoto International Cartoon Exhibition.

Related Links

Bibliographic References

The Constant Minx: From the Beginning (1961)
More Constant Minx (1961)

Contributors To This Listing

Paul Raymonde, Natalie Hayward

To make additions or corrections to this listing, please click on COMMENTS below…

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Friday, January 19th, 2018

Exhibit: Grim Natwick In New York


Grim Natwick

Grim Natwick’s career in animation began in 1917 at International Film Service Productions, managed by Gregory LaCava. The studio was owned by William Randolph Hearst, who wanted to exploit his comic strip characters in the new medium of the animated cartoon. LaCava had been lured away from Raoul Barre’s studio where he had been working as an animator. His organizational skills were put to good use setting the studio on the right track, but he was having trouble finding experienced animators. He did however, know of a great draftsman who was working as a sheet music illustrator- a classmate from art school…

Grim NatwickGrim NatwickLaCava enlisted Grim to help out for "for two weeks or so" until he could locate experienced animators. Grim’s first task was to animate a racehorse in a Happy Hooligan cartoon. He spent more than a week on the sequence experimenting and struggling, and at the end of the two weeks, he was ready to quit. But LaCava told him that Hearst would pay him the unheard of amount of $100 a week if he would stay on. Money talked, and ultimately, Grim took to animation like a duck to water. The two weeks ended up stretching into over seven decades.

Click to see Grim's anatomy studiesClick to see Grim's anatomy studiesAround 1920, Grim took a few years off to study art in Vienna- drawing from life, landscape painting, portraiture- a full classical art education. He returned to New York a much stronger artist than he had left. International Film Service no longer existed, but Bill Nolan had organized a studio to produce Krazy Kat cartoons. The series bore little resemblence to George Herriman’s classic comic strip. The animation was done using the "slash system" and animators were expected to not only assist their own scenes, but to ink them as well. The artists at the Krazy Kat Studio at this time included some of the best in New York, two of whom- Walter Lantz and Jimmie (Shamus) Culhane- would work with Grim again much later in his career.

Grim NatwickGrim NatwickIn 1929, Grim joined the Fleischer Studios. Fleischer had just made the transition from silent films to sound, and was abandoning the high contrast inked look of the Out of the Inkwell cartoons for a more rounded style with a full range of gray tones. Disney had just raided the studio for talent, taking several key animators, including Dick Huemer, back to California with him. A few months later Ted Sears headed West. Grim was left with a group of inexperienced, but enthusiastic and talented young artists. He quickly whipped the crew into shape and provided the Fleischers with some of the most imaginitive animation ever produced at the studio. We’ve featured two cartoons from this period here in the past… Swing, You Sinners and Mariutch, both from 1930.

Grim NatwickGrim NatwickOne day, Dave Fleischer handed Grim a photograph of singer, Helen Kane and asked him to design a caricature. Fleischer had found a sound-alike, and planned to use her in the upcoming Talkartoon, "Dizzy Dishes". Grim exaggerated Kane’s wide eyes and rosebud mouth, creating a slightly coarse, but strikingly original design. A few weeks later, Dave asked Grim to design a girlfriend for Bimbo to star as the "fair young maiden" in a cartoon adaptation of the popular song, "Barnacle Bill the Sailor". Grim streamlined and refined his caricature of Kane for the part. But Dave Fleischer objected, insisting that since Bimbo was a dog, his girlfriend should also be a dog. Grim quickly sketched Betty Boop’s head on a four legged canine body. He held up the drawing next to the pretty girl design, and asked, "Which would you rather have as your girlfriend? A girl? Or a dog?" Dave laughed and agreed that the pretty girl was the right choice.

Grim Natwick


Grim Natwick

Top Row: Animation From Hearst & The Krazy Kat Studio (left to right) Drawing from "Judge Rummy" cartoon* (ca. 1918) / Concept sketch for unproduced series based on Cliff Sterrett’s "Polly & her Pals"* (ca. 1926) / ibid* / ibid* / Self portrait of Grim Natwick* (ca. 1926)

Middle Row: Animation From Fleischer (left to right) Animation drawings from "Mariutch"* (1930) / Animation drawing from unknown film* – Animation drawing from "Mariutch"* / Animation drawings from "Swing, You Sinners"* (1930) bottom dwg- collection of Kent Butterworth / Character designs for Bimbo* (ca. 1930) / Character designs for Bimbo in "Barnacle Bill The Sailor"* (1930) / Caricature of Grim Natwick by Rudy Zamora – Self portrait of Grim Natwick* (ca. 1930)

Bottom Row: Anatomy Studies After Bridgeman* (ca. 1920)

* denotes a drawing by Grim Natwick

Next Chapter: GRIM NATWICK, GOLDEN AGE ANIMATOR (Iwerks, Disney, Lantz)

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


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
Animation Resources

TheoryGrim Natwick

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

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Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Interview: Bob Givens- Grand Old Man Of Animation

Bob Givens (March 2, 1918 – December 14, 2017)
Thank you for being so generous with us at Animation Resources, Bob. We’ll never forget you.

Bob Givens

In November of 2008, Will Finn, Mike Fontanelli, JoJo Baptista, Michael Woodside and I were treated to nearly three hours of fabulous stories from Bob Givens relating to his half century in the animation business. I’ve included the whole interview as two Quicktime movies…

Bob Givens

You’ll notice that the kinds of stories that Bob relates here are quite different from what you might have read. When I first met Bob, I asked him if he had read any of the books written on the subject of animation history. He was blunt. “A lot of it is bologna. Those books are written by people who weren’t there… people who have never set foot in an animation studio.” This is a sentiment that I’ve heard expressed by a lot of the "old timers" I’ve had the privilege of being able to speak to. But Bob may be the last one left. We’re all lucky to have this opportunity to virtually sit at the feet of a "golden age" animator and hear about his experiences in his own words.

Bob Givens

Bob began his career as an Assistant Animator at Disney. His raw talent led him to be assigned to assist the Grim Natwick unit on Snow White. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, but I believe that Bob is the last surviving member of the Snow White crew.

Private Snafu

During WWII, Bob was a part of the First Motion Picture Unit producing training films for the war effort.

Bob Givens

At Warner Bros, Bob designed the character models for the first true Bugs Bunny cartoon, "A Wild Hare", as well as providing background layouts and story sketches for countless Jones, Freleng, Avery and McKimson cartoons.

Linus the Lionhearted

Givens’ career continued to flourish throughout the television era. He worked on the first TV cartoon, Jay Ward’s Crusader Rabbit, as well as Clampett’s Beany & Cecil, Post Cereal’s Linus the Lionhearted and Hanna Barbera’s The Flintstones. Along with Bernie Gruver, Givens designed the classic "Raid Bug" spots for Cascade, and continued to work steadily into his 80s, retiring in 2001 after laying out Chuck Jones’ Timber Wolf.

Bob Givens


John Wayne & Judy Garland in Lancaster, CA
The Lake Norconian "Orgy"
Mentor Huebner’s Film Concept Work
David Swift at IMDB
History of the First Motion Picture Unit

Many thanks to Bob Givens for sharing his experiences with us, to Mike Fontanelli and Will Finn for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak with Bob, and to Michael Woodside and JoJo Baptista for producing this video.

Will Finn posts his impressions of the interview on his blog, Small Room.

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

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

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