Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Magazine Cartoons: The Father of the Disney Style- T. S. Sullivant

T S Sullivant

T S SullivantT S SullivantT. S. Sullivant is one of the most important cartoonists in the history of the medium. He pioneered many of the elements of anthropomorphism that we now take for granted. The general public may not be familiar with his name, but animators sure appreciate his work. (See Eddie Fitzgerald’s first article on Sullivant and his second. Also see, Andreas Deja’s blog… T.S. Sullivant Part One and Part Two) The influence of Sullivant’s animals (along with the work of Heinrich Kley…) can be seen in many of the Disney features.

Sullivant was born in 1854, and didn’t begin cartooning professionally until the age of 32. His cartoons appeared in Life and Puck during the 1890s, and in Judge around the turn of the century. William Randolph Hearst signed him to an exclusive contract in 1904, and his mastheads populated by cartoony animals appeared on the top of the Hearst comics pages until 1907. Sullivant returned to Life magazine in 1911, and remained there until his death in 1926.

Sullivant’s pen and ink style doesn’t really suit itself for reproduction on a computer screen, but I have made large versions available of all of these images. Just click on the picture to see it larger.

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T S Sullivant

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Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Animation: John Sutherland’s Rhapsody of Steel

John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel

Today we scanned a read-along storybook adaptation of John Sutherland’s industrial film, Rhapsody of Steel (1959). Sutherland’s studio was very influential in the mid-1950s, employing some of the best designers in the business. This film is no exception. Legendary stylists Eyvind Earle (Sleeping Beauty, Pigs is Pigs) and Maurice Noble (Duck Dodgers, How The Grinch Stole Christmas) collaborated on Rhapsody of Steel, and you can see evidence of both their hands everywhere in these pages. (Earle in the landscapes and textures, Noble in the bold primary and secondary colors…)

Time Magazine said of this film…

Rhapsody of Steel, a 23-minute animated cartoon that cost $300,000, is one of those rare industrial films with enough specific quality and general interest to play the commercial circuits. In the next few months it will be shown as an added attraction in several thousand U.S. movie houses. Made by former Disney Staffer John Sutherland, Rhapsody sets out to tell a sort of child’s history of steel from the first meteor that ever hit the earth to the first manned rocket that leaves it, and most of the time Moviemaker Sutherland proves a slick entertainer and a painless pedagogue. Unhappily, the music of Oscar-Winning Dmitri Tiomkin, who is probably the world’s loudest composer, bangs away on the sound track like a trip hammer. But the picture’s pace is brisk, its tricks of animation are better than cute, and the plug, when the sponsor slips it in on the final frame, is modestly understated: “A presentation of U.S. Steel.”

I have included a Quicktime of Rhapsody of Steel at the bottom of this post, and you can find many other John Sutherland fIlms at Archive.org. This book suffers from little tiny pictures and oceans of white space, so I’ve enlarged a bunch of the pictures so you can see them better.

John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel
John Sutherland Rhapsody of Steel

Courtesy of Animation Resources supporter, Kevin Kidney, here
is a video of the film for you to view…

Rhapsody of Steel (Sutherland/1959)
(Quicktime 7 / 22 minutes / 50.5 megs)

Here’s a great post by Michael Sporn on Eyvind Earle.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

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

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Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

DESIGN: Specific Design for Animation Characters

Today, I would like to introduce you to JoJo Baptista, Animation Resources’ Director of Education. Over the next year, JoJo will be assembling articles for this website as well as hands on online courses in drawing and design for the membership of Animation Resources. -Stephen Worth

Jim Smith Applies Specific Expressions
By JoJo Baptista

Jim Smith Specific Design
In these sketches Jim Smith demonstrated a perfect example of viewing observation from reality, in this case the acting of Robert Ryan, and he applied it to a generic cartoon dog. These studies were done for John Kricfalusi’s “Weekend Pussy Hunt”, and then were used to inform the acting of Dirty Dog, the series’ antagonist. In order to gain an understanding of how the design of the character worked, Jim did studies of a dog character from a Dan Gordon comic.
Jim Smith Specific Design
He then researched Robert Ryan’s performance in the 1951 film, “The Racket”, and sketched several facial studies.
Jim Smith Specific Design
He applied his knowledge of the dog design, then overlaid specific expressions based on his Ryan studies. These expressions breathed new life into the character, giving his acting entirely new levels of distinctiveness.
Jim Smith Specific Design
Take a look at how the features which make up Robert Ryan’s face match the dog’s exactly (ie. The jaw, cheeks, eyebrows, etc). He was able to create new eye and mouth shapes based on his findings. Beautiful execution! This is an incredibly sophisticated process, which takes a complete understanding of not only cartoon construction but a mastery of the human figure as well. Jim’s knowledge of both is what allows him to execute such a complex amalgam of unique cartooning.

A specific expression isn’t simply eyebrows up or down to convey an emotion on a characters face. It isn’t just a generic happy or sad character. In fact, based on these drawings one can make the observation that it uses the entirety of the face, even when shapes are at rest, to put forth an expression that is totally unique and functions within the context of a scene.
Jim Smith Specific Design
Jim Smith Specific Design
The drawing on the bottom left looks as though it’s a combination of a cartoon shape and anatomical elements.
Jim Smith Specific Design
To those studying these drawings: Don’t just redraw these poses! The lesson to take away from this article is how to get to the point of an expression. Experience drawing both cartoon characters and real human beings is important. Once you have an understanding of how a fundamental principle works, apply it to another. Try taking an existing actor with wild expressions and apply them to a generic classic cartoon character (ie. Jerry Mouse, Tom Cat, Elmer Fudd, etc.). You’ll learn a lot about acting and design this way, especially what a character needs in order to emote.

I invite you to share your studies in the Animation Creative League Facebook group. That way, we can all learn something from each other.

JoJo Baptista
Director of Education
Animation Resources

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