Everybody’s already seen this one, but did you know the Japanese also made Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear toys. Take note: this is how you do viral marketing!
Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has acquired Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist for North American distribution. They’re planning a US release by the end of this year. SPC was also the US distributor of Chomet’s first feature The Triplets of Belleville.
(Thanks, Victor Ens)
There is a huge difference between the two Flintstones drawings above, and not just superficial stylistic differences. Animator Will Finn (Iago in Aladdin, Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast) explores the contrast between these drawings in a monumental post on his blog:
For one thing, notice that in the more recent picture, the layout “rakes” the perspective of the floor line a bit, creating a diagonal that forces the composition elements into something of a diamond. Normally, a diagonal can create a sense of dynamism, which is often desirable, but here it is arbitrary. The figures, after all are literally, self-consciously “posed” in static positions to accommodate the idea of the whole family having their picture taken…In the first series, more often than not, the floor line is a relatively straight horizontal line, somewhat irregularly drawn. The irregularity goes with the organic feel of the concept of a largely organic world, and the horizontal quality lends maximum space for the stylized figures to appear in. It also allows props (like the piano) to have a slight diagonal witout being forced into paralell perspective like the couch.
This is a continuation of an earlier post Will wrote about the uppermost Flintstones image. There are some who might say that Will is being too picky, but I commend him for his vigilant eye. Animation has long suffered from the “it’s just a cartoon” mentality, and fundamental drawing principles are routinely ignored. As a result, amateurish and incompetent artwork that wouldn’t pass muster in any other illustrative medium is considered acceptable in our art form and disseminated to an unsuspecting cartoon-loving public. Even still single-frame artwork that is meant to be viewed for extended periods of time, such as the Flintstones image above, is carelessly crafted. Finn’s critique is a timely reminder to all of us that individual animation drawings lie at the heart of this medium, and the least any of us can do is to respect the value of each and every single drawing.
It’s time for another episode in our special film series “The Modern Art of Gene Deitch.” This week, we’re presenting Pump Trouble, an educational film for the American Heart Association that Deitch directed at UPA. This film is so rare that I was unable to find it while I was researching and writing Cartoon Modern, even though we put in a few of Cliff Roberts’ character designs into the book. It’s a real treat that we can now make this historical piece available online for everybody to see. Click over to Brew TV to watch Gene Deitch’s Pump Trouble.
Cat Piano co-director Eddie White, who is also an owner of Adelaide-based People’s Republic of Animation, is writing a series of blog posts about the different “flavors” of imported foreign cartoons they enjoyed while growing up in Australia during the eighties and early-nineties. His first post is about the colorful American product:
They were soooo cute and soooo colourful and happy that it sort of made you want to scream at the TV with happiness. It was an anxious, sugar high happiness that made you want to run around the block laughing. The cartoons were also really tight like a well drilled pop rock group. They were fast, dynamic, pulsating with energy and usually had an element of wit or slapstick humour so they never really depressed. You wanted to hug the TV when they came on and you felt like these cartoons were hugging you back and grabbing your hand and pulling you in to play in their world.
Cleanse thine eyes, brave animation lover. As if anticipating the eyesore that was unveiled yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just announced “Chuck Jones: An Animator’s Life From A to Z-Z-Z-Z.” The show will open May 14 at the Academy’s headquarters (8949 Wilshire Blvd) and will run through August 22. On display will be more than 150 drawings, cels, storyboards and other materials related to Jones’ animated shorts, features and TV specials. Gallery hours are listed on the their website, and best of all, admission is FREE!
Ace character designer Nico Marlet (Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon) has published a collection of his sketches. As of now, the only place I’m aware of that stocks the book is the Gallery Nucleus website. I got to meet Marlet briefly last month, but sadly, I was a couple days too early to get a finished copy of the book. He made up for it by allowing me to flip through some of his designs, which I have to say are something else entirely in their original unreproduced form. Unlike many artist sketchbooks, Marlet didn’t curate a selection of his best work; rather, he took one of his sketchbooks and reprinted it whole from cover to cover. If the preview images on the Gallery Nucleus site don’t make it evident, there’s likely not a weak drawing in the entire book.
UPDATE: The item appears to be back in stock on the Gallery Nucleus website.
Eric Bauza, the voice of Marvin the Martian in the new Looney Tunes Show, read your comments on yesterday’s Brew post and he’s got it all figured out. Apparently, the artwork is fine; the problem, he wrote on Facebook, lies with Cartoon Brew readers who are “35-40 year olds that don’t have girlfriends, jobs or lives.”
Bauza then goes on to complain about how everybody is judging the show based on one frame. Generalizing is wrong, he believes, except of course when he’s making generalizations about Cartoon Brew’s readership.
Here’s his entire comment:
To promote Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in Anaheim this summer, the MLB has teamed up with Disney to display 36 seven-and-a-half foot Mickey statues around Southern California. Combining two all-American ideas like baseball and Mickey Mouse probably seemed like a smart idea during the boardroom meeting, but turning Mickey’s face into a baseball pushes the idea to a disturbing and unnecessary extreme.
Call me a purist but I don’t find characters with stitches in their face appealing unless their name happens to be Chucky. The various Mickeys will feature him sporting the uniforms of all thirty teams in the league because, you guessed it, mini-statuettes will be available for purchase online at the MLB.com shop, DisneyStore.com and stores like Walgreens and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
An odd rarity by Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezuka that probably works best in a dark theater. It’s available with twelve of his other shorts on the dvd, The Astonishing Works of Osamu Tezuka.
Veteran actor Michael Pataki passed away on April 15. The cause of death was cancer. Variety has his obituary. In addition to hundreds of roles in live-action films and TV series, he occasionally provided voices for animated characters. His longest running role was as George Liquor, which he first portrayed on The Ren and Stimpy Show and later in various web projects for Spumco. He also provided the voice of the Cow in Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and performed voices in Dexter’s Lab and Batman: The Animated Series.
UPDATE: Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi has posted a tribute to Michael Pataki on his blog.
If you can list three things wrong with the image above, then you aren’t trying hard enough. Frankly, it looks worse than your average fan art, and not the caliber of work one expects from “professional” artists who draw for a living.
PS – The Looney Tunes characters now live in houses next to each other in a suburban neighborhood (and they eat Chinese take-out).
Jeffrey Katzenberg appeared on The Colbert Report yesterday in a valiant attempt to show that he has a sense of humor. Make note how Katzenberg backtracks on his recent comment about Clash of the Titans after he told Variety, “You cannot do anything that is of a lower grade and a lower quality than what has just been done on Clash of the Titans. It literally is ‘OK, congratulations! You just snookered the movie audience.’”
Had Katzenberg been more open and less concerned about saying “the right thing” he would have made a much stronger impression. This deliciously awkward and revealing exchange sums up his appearance best:
Colbert: What’s better: a great 2D movie or the worst 3D movie?
Katzenberg: [no answer]
Colbert: Because I go for the technology. Because I go for production values. Can you give them terrible stuff but make it 3D?
Colbert: But you would never do that.
Colbert: Because you’re the maker of Monsters vs. Aliens.
(Thanks, Zach Smith)
Pixar’s new studio in Vancouver, Canada officially opened its doors earlier today. According to this article, the studio will begin production on its first film–featuring Mater from Cars–in August. The studio plans to create additional short films and specials for TV and webÂ using existing characters from the Pixar library. Pixar Canada already has twenty employees and plans to add 55 more people within the next one-and-a-half years. To promote their new studio, Pixar produced a three-minute film, viewable on CTV-BC’s website that shows Pixar characters running around Vancouver and John Lasseter asking, “Is there a place more beautiful than Vancouver?”