John Kricfalusi’s Online Preston Blair Animation Lessons

John Kricfalusi writes:

You can go to animation school, spend a $100,000 and not learn a damn thing about the basics of good animation drawing-OR you can buy a Preston Blair book for $8 and learn it all in a couple months. You pick.

Just about every cartoon being made today is based on the principles and style of cartoons made in Hollywood in the 1940s—Anime, Cartoon Network flat stuff—even the Simpsons. The only difference is, that some of the principles that make the classic stuff look so good have been lost. The new cartoons are all a degeneration of what cartoons once were—a superficial copy of them—even though many off the artists drawing today don’t even know they are copying—but copying wrong—styles and trends and principles of what developed from the animated cartoons of the Golden Age.

John feels that one of the best ways to learn is by studying master animator Preston Blair’s book, “Animation”.

I’m going to not only tell you about the Preston Blair Book—but I’m gonna guide you through it, fundamental concept by fundamental concept.

I decided to take a whirl at the first lesson, by drawing the cartoon characters from the book. Here are my first drawings:

Cartoon dogs


If you’re up to it, you can give the first lesson a try too. It’s easy when you follow the instructions.

Spumco’s Boo Boo Runs Wild

Fans of Ren and Stimpy will probably enjoy this Yogi Bear parody by John Kricfalusi. It’s a parody of the old Hanna Barbara Ranger Smith/Yogi Bear cartoons in which Boo Boo finally snaps after years of being such a straight arrow.

Get it while it lasts because knowing YouTube, this won’t be online long, once it gets noticed.

Rated TV7, which I’m guessing means for seven year olds? Well, whatever, it aired on Adult Swim, so your mileage may vary.

Virtual Appearance != An Actual Appearance

Ray Harryhausen and his Armatures

For the last couple weeks I have been looking forward to hearing legendary visual effects artist Ray Harryhausen speak tonight at the University. I was hoping to take my camera and get a few shots of his stop motion armatures. I even picked up a couple of extra tickets for my parents, whom are going to be in town tonight—this was going to be a source of some much needed excitement. The only catch is, Mr. Harryhausen isn’t actually going to be here.

I first thought something was odd last week when I read on the tickets, “A VIRTUAL APPEARANCE BY RAY HARRYHAUSEN”, but I figured it had something to do with the title of the lecture, Grand Illusions. Upon re-reading the lecture description it hit me like a ton of bricks that the real grand illusion was the fact that Ray Harryhausen would only be making a virtual appearance, as in live via satellite from Los Angeles.

Skeleton Armatures

I hate to be a stick-in-the-mud and I’ll see what my folks think but I’m probably not even going to go. Frankly, I wouldn’t be much more disappointed if I’d just discovered they were merely showing a DVD interview with Mr. Harryhausen. Why would they bother paying him to speak, if they couldn’t afford to actually bring him here.

I’ve been to virtual lectures before, and they really leave a lot to be desired.

Now I know why there were so many tickets left over; I now also know why they are free. You get what you pay for I guess.

Toy Story 3 Shelved

It has only been a short time since Disney’s all stock buy-out of Pixar and already some big changes are under way. The Los Angeles Times reports that with this deal comes an end to quarrel over Pixar sequels.

In remarks made during a Tuesday conference call with analysts, Iger and Pixar Chief Executive Steve Jobs implied what other sources confirmed Wednesday: that Disney’s 150-plus-person Pixar sequels unit — which is housed in a Glendale warehouse and is already at work on Toy Story 3 — will soon be no more.

“We feel very strongly that if the sequels are going to be made, we want the people who were involved in the original films involved in the sequels,” Jobs said.

Iger sounded the same note.

“It was really important to me that the people who made the films originally, who had the vision, who knew the characters and the essence of these films get a shot at making any films that were derivative,” the Disney chief said.

“While Disney might have been able to make them, Pixar making them is just so much different,” Iger added. “Not to take away from the talent of other people who might have been picked to make them.”

The announcement isn’t a complete surprise since Disney making Pixar sequels (or not making them) was a major factor during negotiations. Still it’s nice to see that Disney will no longer be destroying classics as they have done in the past. And because Pixar is taking over for Walt Disney Feature Animation, I guess this also means no more Dumbo 2? (Yes, they really were thinking about it.)

Move Your Feet

Move Your Feet Music Video

I love the retro pixilated feel of the music video Move Your Feet.

There is a lot to admire in here including the great squash and stretch and excellent easing in and out.

It’s just another example showing that the complexity of the artwork is independent of the quality of the animation.

An Eye for Annai

Beautiful little hand drawn animation I came across today, An Eye for Annai (23.8 MB QT):

From Jonathan Klassen’s site:

This film, [An Eye for an Annai], was done by me and Dan Rodrigues in our third year at Sheridan College’s Classical Animation Program. Everything is hand drawn and animated. We coloured the animation digitally, and the backgrounds are a mix of traditional and digital. I played the recorder for the soundtrack, and the jazz music near the middle is from Louis Armstrong’s “Jeepers Creepers”. The whole film comes in at just under 5 minutes long, and we’re pretty darn proud of it. Tell your friends.