Saturday, August 31, 2013

Brian Horgan Scripting Reel 2013

My student at - Brian Horgan has done it again!
A reel full of all of his animation-centric scripts for animatros!
Check it out!

Mickey Mouse in Bad Ear Day

40 Years Ago Today...

...John Ford passed away. His films and the man are endlessly fascinating to me. And truth be told, if I had to choose between never watching another Ford film or never watching another animated film, animation would be gone. With the possible exception of Disney in his early features and some of Miyazaki, no animated feature director comes within hailing distance of Ford. That's both a comment on Ford's greatness and on animation's failure to engage with the complexities of human life.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chase Like A Boss

Karl Gnass Seminars

Karls Fall Classes

Karl Gnass Photo
Karl Gnass
Figure Dynamics Instructor
Master Figure Artist currently working at
Dreamworks and Disney Animation.

Greetings Artists!

Fall Classes begin soon at the 
American Animation Institute (AAI)
in Burbank (Part of the Animation Guild.)

These Art Classes are...

  • Open to All
  • Great for Learning some New Tricks,
  • Are very Reasonably Priced!
Classes Fill Up Fast so...
Register soon to save your spot!
Classes will be held at the Animation Guild in Burbank. 
September 9th - December 12th (12 weeks classes)
  To Register, CALL 818-845-7000
*If the flyer below is not showing up, please check:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Rescuers Down Under (1990) - Pencil Tests

Animation by Nik Ranieri

Run Cycle Video Reference

Jack Kirby's 96th

Jack Kirby, 1946
Jack Kirby, who passed away in 1994, would have been 96 years old today.  Here are a selection of links to celebrate Kirby's life and work.
Mark Evanier, who knew and worked with Kirby, reminisces.
Tom Spurgeon prints a large variety of Kirby artwork. has a gallery of over 1000 pages to see.
Kirby's granddaughter, Jillian, has a photo album on Facebook that includes many family photos.
Rob Steibel examines a Kirby page from Thor.
And here are tumblr posts tagged Jack Kirby.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

People of Gotham Test

Really nice render by David Cordero of the scarecrow rig at iAnimate!

Three Fairies Pencil Tests by Ollie Johnston

John Lasseter explains what students need to learn to get a job at Pixar

In this excellent video interview,  Disney Studio Supremo and Pixar founder John Lasseter talks about the importance of mastering the basics language of film, art and design. Here at Bucks we could not agree more. Our course covers all the areas that John talks about here, including drawing, design, the language of film, in short - the basics.
Technology is important but so are the traditional elements of art and design. Life drawing? Of course. basic design principles? Definitely. We want our students to have a well-rounded training so that they can flourish as digital artists with a solid grounding in all the elements of film-making.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

100 Years of Walt Kelly

(Click any of the images to enlarge.)

August 25, 2013 marks the 100th birthday of Walt Kelly, one of the most important and influential cartoonists of the 20th century.

Kelly grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticutt, and started drawing at a young age.  In the mid-1930s, he contributed to the earliest years of the comic book industry, working for the company that eventually became DC comics.
More Fun Comics, 1936

From there, Kelly went to work for Walt Disney, first as a story artist and then as an animator in Ward Kimball's unit.  Kelly's animation can be seen in shorts like The Nifty Nineties and the features Pinocchio, Dumbo and The Reluctant Dragon.  Truthfully, Kelly gained more from Disney than Disney gained from Kelly.  There were many animators at Disney who were Kelly's superior, but Kelly's time at the studio working with Kimball and Fred Moore had an enormous impact on the quality of his art.

At the time of the Disney strike, Kelly left the studio and returned to the east coast.  Exempt from the World War II draft for health reasons, Kelly returned to comic books where he did a variety of material that showed off his versatility.  He did fairy tale material aimed at young children.  He did the comic book version of Our Gang (later known to baby boomers as The Little Rascals when the films reached TV) and made a conscious effort to draw the Buckwheat character (whose name Kelly shortened to Bucky) in a non-stereotypical manner.  There are four volumes reprinting Kelly's work on this strip.  Finally, he created the cast of Pogo for Animal Comics.

In the late '40s, Kelly went to work for the New York Star, a liberal daily newspaper that only lasted a few years.  He was the art director of the paper, doing editorial cartoons and putting Pogo into comic strip form.  When the paper folded after just a few years, Pogo was syndicated nationally in 1949 and by the early 1950s became a hit, especially with college students.  He continued to work on Pogo until his death in 1973.  In the interim, the strip was the subject of a network animated TV special The Pogo Special Birthday Special, directed by Chuck Jones and a 15 minute animated film, We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us, made by Kelly himself and his third wife Selby.  The strip was collected in a series of trade paperbacks that often included original material.

With all of this, Kelly additionally did a comic book series The Adventures of Peter Wheat, a giveaway comic for Krug's Bakeries and illustrated several books including The Glob by John O'Reilly and I'd Rather Be President by Charles Ellis and Frank Weir.
Kelly illustration from The Glob

Kelly had a fondness for drink and did not look after his health.  He developed diabetes and had a leg amputated as a result of the disease.  When he died in 1973, Pogo was continued by his widow Selby.  Later, it was revived by Doyle and Sternecky and finally by Kelly's daughter Carolyn.  Pogo is currently being reprinted in handsome volumes by Fantagraphics.

Kelly's work was typified by several things.  He created gentle fantasies aimed at children in his comic book work, where children and talking animals engaged in adventures that were free of the violence that dominated many comic books of the time.

He did raucous slapstick in the Our Gang and Pogo comics.
Sarcophagus MacAbre, undertaker

He loved playing with language, mangling words for comic effect and used different lettering styles to indicate the personality of his characters.  He was a poet who alternated between nonsense rhymes and wistfulness. 
Kelly caricatures Truman

Finally, he was an ace caricaturist and political satirist, taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s over his anti-communist witch hunting, and Lyndon Johnson, Spiro Agnew, J. Edgar Hoover, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro in the 1960s.

Kelly's art was heavily influenced by his time in animation.  His designs were of the Disney school in their construction.

His characters acted; their body language explicitly communicated their emotional states.  They stretched and squashed freely.  This came from his knowledge of posing characters for animation.  Animation also influenced his slapstick gags.

Kelly's brush work is awe inspiring
 Finally, his use of the brush for inking is legendary and was the envy of every cartoonist who saw it.  His brush line was lush, supple and expressive, contributing a solidity and dimensionality to his drawings.

What's here is only a tiny sampling of Kelly's output.  If you want to see more images, check here.  If you want to know what Kelly material is available for sale, Ebay has a wide selection.

Illustrator Thomas Haller Buchanan has gone into much greater depth than I have here by putting together a whole online publication dedicated to Kelly on his 100th birthday.

Having gotten to the end of this brief survey of Walt Kelly's career, I realize that I've yet to include a drawing of Pogo himself, the character that Kelly is most known for.  So to end, here he is.
A 1963 Sunday page

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Does a Great Portfolio Look Like? Sony Pictures Animation Explains....

What goes into a good portfolio? Like a great animation demo reel, an artist's portfolio is never done. It should contain only your very best work. Your best piece goes first, your second best goes last. Nowadays, a paper portfolio is pretty much a thing of the past - your work should be on your blog or website, and regularly updated. A permanent online showcase of your talent.

In this video, Sony Pictures Animation set out what they see as the vital ingredients of a portfolio, the kind of presentation that might land you a job with one of Los Angeles' leading animation studios.

It's much easier than it used to be to get hard information on what the studios are looking for. Fed up with seeing reels and portfolios they can't use, big studio HR departments have started setting out indetail what precisely it is they need and want from fresh talent.

You might also check this video below about what goes into a great animation demo reel.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Scoutin' for Skunkape!

How Do Animators Plan a Shot?

Working with Maya: How to Begin? - The Curse of the Blank Screen
One of the hardest skills for an animator to learn is how to build and block an animated scene from scratch. After all, everyone animator starts their work with a blank piece of paper, or a blank computer screen. With animation, you get nothing for free. So how do you get from nothing, to something? Or, rather, how do you get from a blank screen to a piece of well-crafted beautiful animation that combines technical ability with story-telling, personality and craftsmanship? The secret is, it's all in the planning.

Every animator has their own method. Some go into a dark corner and act out their shot, filming themselves in action. Others imagine it in their head, planning the motion. Others use stock reference from YouTube or elsewhere. Many use small thumbnail sketches to plan out their work. In fact, as it turns out, most animators use a combination of these methods.

Here's a link to an excellent webpage by Pixar animator Carlos Baena on how he planned out a beautiful shot from The Incredibles. I particularly like the part where he says: "this is work that I want to be as good as possible for years to come". It's a big responsibility, working on a Pixar movie.



(Editor's Note: For more secrets of animation planning, check out this blog post from June where we explore how Glen Keane uses animation thumbnails to plan out a shot)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Contre temps

I am so behind on emails...
I found this in my inbox and it's the
prettiest thing I have seen in a long time...


Graduation movie Contre Temps. Directed in 2012 at Supinfocom Arles, the film is now available here :  It was notably selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and at the Siggraph 2013.  :

Contre Temps Team

Jérémi Boutelet : Clergue, : Ménard : Perrin :ël Megherbi : Veber :

Animation Addicts: Applying Human Reference to Quadrupeds

Tal Shwarzman over at Animation Addicts shares with us his workflow when it relates to using Human Reference to get a performance out of quadrupeds, in this case a cat. Some great insight to some animation workflows from one of his iAnimate demos.

A few short minuets edited from one of my Q&A's at iAnimate that was dealing in taking human reference and applying it to a quadruped.

Head over to Animation Addicts to find for great stuff!

Monday, August 19, 2013


awww, chillie...

Now that Frozen´s done

Here is my latest pass on Matilda stuff!  These past few months, I´ve been showing work to artists here and been incorporating their feedback.

I drew this and it made me think of Liz Lemon.

In other news, now that Frozen has wrapped up animation,  I´ll be taking off for Spain and Paris for two weeks.  When I come back, I´ll be getting to do some design work for one of our upcoming films. Exciting stuff is happening!  

One last thing is that I´ll have a booth at CTN this year with Katia Grifols!  Hope to see you there.  Take care everyone!

Frozen Animation Crew