The folks at New York public radio station WNYC 93.9 are doing a whole week of shows on cartoon music. Today’s show – Soundcheck airing at 2pm Eastern – will feature my old friends, two of the most expert cartoon musicologists I know, Daniel Goldmark (Tunes For Toons) and Will Friedwald (Jazz Singing). They will be discussing the music of Fleischer Studios, specifically Sammy Timberg and Winston Sharples no doubt. Downloads will be available after the live broadcasts. Listen live here.
Artists use a color wheel for inspiration; to help select colors and mix pigments. Last month, a group of writers at Slate.com created this clever cartoon color wheel, which is both useful and a lot of fun. Check out the larger version at Slate where you can select each character and enlarge each image.
Liberty Mutual has commissioned a handful of animated projects over the past few years as part of their long-term ad campaign The Responsibility Project. The shorts each contain thoughtful messages that explore the theme of “what it means to do the right thing.”
The latest animated piece is Lighthouse, a solid three-minute effort directed by Stephan Wernik. He tells Cartoon Brew a little bit about putting together the film:
I was the animation director as well as overseeing all aspects of production from the animatic to the compositing. A script as good as this only comes along once in a while. It was a very intimate story, but at the same time had huge crowd scenes and needed very careful handling animation wise to show the Lighthouse Keepers thought processes.
I shot a lot of reference videos and collated a library of footage of actors doing similar scenes for each shot. Funnily enough, I also studied reality TV shows like The Biggest Loser as they’re not actors and you can see real emotions. I really worked with the animators on striking the right tone for each shot. I’m really proud of what the team did in every aspect of the production. The production company was Exopolis in LA and the animation studio was ProMotion Studios in Australia.
Bob Schuldt was going through his grandfather’s possessions when he discovered an envelope addressed to his grandfather from Robert J. McIntosh:
Inside it was FULL of tiny little pen drawings and a few pencil drawings of various characters and that look like they were doodles cut out and sent to a friend. The date is what amazed me, 1929. Upon removing the envelope I found hidden behind it a full color drawing with a note saying “Bout time I kept my promise, but I kept it! Happy New Year!” of two amazing characters on a piece of paper a little bigger then a postcard also signed Robert J McIntosh, 1929.
Click on the image above to see all the drawings. Bob McIntosh was, of course, a superbly skilled background painter who worked on Bambi and dozens of UPA theatrical shorts. One of Bob’s background paintings appears on the back cover of my book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in 1950s Animation. According to the date on the envelope, Bob would have been thirteen years old at the time. It’s amazing that these childhood sketches have survived for over eighty years.
The lesson: always look through your grandparent’s belongings, and when you find something, email Cartoon Brew.
The Disney-organized D23 Expo is going on this weekend in Anaheim and there’s been a couple of big Disney announcements. Firstly, the directors of Tangled, Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, are preparing a Disney Channel TV special for next year called, get ready for this, Tangled Ever After.
Pixar announced two new films of their own: Pete Docter (Monsters Inc., UP) is working on a 2014 film that takes place inside the human mind. An Osmosis Jones for the cerebral set? As long as I don’t have to hear Chris Rock for ninety minutes, I’m on board. Also, UP co-director and funny story man Bob Peterson is striking out on his own with a film. The 2013 pic takes place in a world where dinosaurs never died out, and (presumably) mingle with humans. Currently, the only place where that fantasy is possible is in Kentucky. I smell some marketing synergy!
We don’t usually post trailers twice, but three months ago we posted the trailer for Disney’s “Cars-inspired” direct-to-DVD movie Planes – and after two days and 100 plus comments the studio pulled the video from the internet. They’ve just officially uploaded it to You Tube again today and we thought we’d let you have at it once more (embed below). Above, the first official image of lead character “Dusty” voiced by Jon Cryer. The movie goes on sale Spring 2013.
Here’s some fun for a Saturday afternoon. Courtesy of Stuart Shostack, and his incredible collection of TV GUIDE magazines, comes this 1955 piece of the career of Cliff Edwards (then currently employed doing Jiminy Cricket for The Mickey Mouse Club). Edwards has always been a favorite performer of mine, whether a scat singing jazz vocalist, character comedian or western sidekick – he’ll never be forgotten as Pinocchio’s companion and “official conscience”. (click image below to read enlarged version)
First, a research request, because if Cartoon Brew’s readers can’t help out with this one, I don’t know who can. I’m looking for two episodes of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color that Ward Kimball was heavily involved with: “A Salute to Alaska” (1967) and “The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show” (1968). If you have copies of these and can help out, please contact me HERE. (UPDATE: Got the Anniversary Show, only looking for the Alaska special now.)
Second, here’s a real Ward Kimball curio: a 1965 newspaper article about a panel discussion that he participated in at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. CLICK HERE to read the article (and try to ignore the poor quality of the iPhone photo).
What’s so odd about Ward’s participation is that the topic of the debate was “Is Couture Design an Art Form?” It’s hard to imagine many other animators from that time who would have had the curiosity and interest to participate in such a discussion. The other panelists at the talk were equally respected in their fields: fashion designer Gustave Tassel, architect George Vernon Russell and silkscreen artist Sister Mary Corita. The debate over whether fashion design is art or not has long been settled (see the record-breaking success of the recent Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met), but nevertheless, it’s fun to read their thoughts and gain some historical perspective on the issue.
I think we can all agree that the drawings on Fuck Yeah John Lasseter are fan-f**cking-tastic! The humor is pretty insider-baseball, but if you’re a Pixar/Lasseter fan, you’ll get a kick out of this Tumblr.
The legendary British illustrator and cartoonist Ronald Searle turned 91 years old last March, and for a good fifty of those years he’s been influencing and inspiring animation artists around the world. That’s why Pixar story artist (and Ronald Searle expert) Matt Jones wanted to do something special to celebrate the occasion of Searle’s birthday. So he asked the artists at Pixar to fill up a sketchbook with tributes and mailed it to Searle, who lives in southern France.
Over 70 artists participated including Jason Deamer, Ralph Eggleston, Teddy Newton, Ronnie Del Carmen, Erik Benson, Josh Cooley, Jamie Baker (artwork above), Bill Presing, Emma Coats, Victor Navone, Mark Andrews, Enrico Casarosa and Pete Docter. You can see all of the drawings and paintings created for the book on the Happy 91st Birthday Ronald Searle blog. Upon receiving the book a few months ago, Searle responded, “It was worth hanging on for 91 years to receive such a gem.”
I saw Tom Brown and Daniel Gray’s t.o.m. several years ago, when it played the festival circuit in 2007 (winning the top student prize at Annecy that year). This charming film deceptively walks the line between innocent and twisted. I hadn’t known it was on the net until our colleagues at Motionographer posted it yesterday. Since 2009, Brown and Gray have been running Holbrooks Films in the UK, producing stylish commercials and viral pieces.