Saturday, January 31, 2015

A SNEEZE WOT IS A SNEEZE

Terrytoons, 1937: Conrad "Connie" Rasinski had started as an assistant to animator Bill Tytla (by then at Disney), and the master's influence showed in Rasinski's work ever after, but especially in his 1930s work, in which, like Tytla, he strove to wrench comedy from every twist, turn and bob of the characters. In his enthusiasm, his drawings were highly graphic and approached abstraction (Terrytoon veteran George Bakes contended that Jim Tyer was "doing" Rasinski).

In cartoons of this vintage, there were brief moments reserved for more "realistic" character delineations; usually dancing girls, sometimes portraits on walls.

This is the first gallery of still frames on my blog, and I don't intend to make it a regular feature; to fetishize over an individual "funny drawing" is to ignore its purpose: to get on to the next one. No one drawing is more important than the next, unless it's a "held" drawing. To communicate the motion is the end to which every drawing "works". And this scene succeeds. Some would call it "over-animated". The shot lasts only a few seconds, and Rasinski drives this rare "literalized" (for a Terrytoon) head shot with all the overwrought, misshapen life he can muster. But there are enough repeats of drawings to allow one to appreciate them, even at 24 frames per second. The drawings communicate the action, and possibly gave a big laugh to the audience. Often, Rasinski's robust relish for his art was in plain sight, and for that reason, I find this scene special. A shining moment in an average reel.

THE IDEA: A baseball flies into the mouth of a man on a billboard.































































Here's the cartoon itself, to show how it a-allll works together.


And if you're in the mood for more, visit Devon Baxter's YouTube TERRYTOONS channel, where he has dedicated himself to posting every reel of these films in chronological order. (1930 to 1955!)

Let's hear it for Devon!
MK.




Thursday, January 29, 2015

WHO ARE THESE WEIRD CHARACTERS?

Designs, most of them for Bakshi's COOL WORLD.





















Alligator, MK.

COPYRIGHT 2014 BY MILTON KNIGHT

Sunday, January 25, 2015

ACTION!

Action drawings.

Man in the act of tiptoeing backwards.
















Song of the Day: A bouncy, familiar US hit from the Paramount Picture COLLEGE RHYTHM sung by Japan's Betty Inada.

Best,
MK.

COPYRIGHT 2015 BY MILTON KNIGHT

Friday, January 23, 2015

FEET OF CLAY

I've posted a lot on this Australian artist lately. The volume THE WORLD OF NORMAN LINDSAY makes no bones about the xenophobia and racism in his seldom-reproduced political cartoons. In the 1910s, he caricatured the Hun in a cage with other "sub-humans" as the "Cannibal Islander", the "Pygmy", the "Cave Dweller" and the "Gorilla". The Yellow Peril was a theme throughout the decades. Lindsay himself was a firm believer in the caste system. Inwardly, I groaned. Lindsay did include some handsome people of color in his work, but almost always in roles subservient to beautiful white women. The fact that Lindsay was harassed by prudes and stood apart from "conventional society" naturally causes an admirer to put two and two together, to equal that he was a forward thinker himself. He really had more in common with the "wowsers" than one would care to know.

The article goes through pains to note that Lindsay was "of his time". Kudos to the author for bringing out the truth, but...how many favorites of mine had a progressive bone in their body??



Best,
MK.

MORE CREATURES FROM THE CRYPT

Cartoon-style character figures! Out of storage to you!

Flea market. A figure I've seen elsewhere, probably advertising a liquor product.





Antique mall. By Avon, probably 1970s. For once Andy Capp makes himself useful: the cigarette sprays bath powder!




Beloved gift. Mascot for a soft drink popular in Michigan!




Thrift store. Imitation Dr. Seuss figures by Kreiss, my favorite ceramics makers. They're tagged as "Moon Beings".



Song of the day: The familiar favorite, THE MUSIC GOES 'ROUND AND 'ROUND", stomped out by a Japanese orchestra of the 1930s. A Facebook friend says this is the best version he's heard. I enthusiastically concur!



Sayonara,
Knight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BOOKS & A SONG

Books I got today. Someone sold their Norman Lindsay (see this earlier post) library to the store, to my benefit. He & Richard Lindner (upper left) are two of my inspirations. HOW TO DRAW WITH A LIGHT TOUCH offers, besides fine cartoon art, a lot of genuinely good advice on the psychology and methods behind graphic arts.The Lindsay & Lindner books were priced as reasonably as they get, but this maxes out my credit at this store. I also need room for another shelf!


ADDENDUM: Looking deeper into my Norman Lindsay etchings book, I find its former owner was Frank Kelly Freas, renowned (and fabulous) sci-fi and MAD cover painter.









***

Our song: "You're Gonna Lose Your Gal", a fine, robust playing by Harry Reser's band.



Ta-Ta for Now,
MK.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

THOUGHTS ON CARTOONING & JUST PLAIN THOUGHTS

I dreamed there was a small Robotnik dancing the can-can in my kitchen sink. I dropped a coffee cup on it & smashed it flat & lifeless. It was a very rewarding dream.

***

Discovery (or decision): If you've got a favorite color combination, use it in painting after painting. I used to be afraid of that.

***

I'm miffed that nowadays "Underground Comics" means "Adolescent Porno Comics". What about social criticism, etc.?

***

Hollywood Blvd. on a Saturday night=Hell. Even with directions (which I have to sneak looks at in a notebook in the right seat), I always get lost. The lack of clearly numbered buildings makes it worse. I prayed to find my way (and ended up on a different, follow-my-nose route), prayed to find a parking space, and prayed to find my (lost) way back to the comfy old Valley. Seems like God, or whatever, was with me tonight. I had a good time at my destination, but getting there...it's Hell.

***

I am now 2-4 pounds below what my doctor wants, even though I ate pecan pie yesterday. Go figure my figure.

***

VIVE L'ANTOINE!!!

MK.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NEW THUNDERBEAN BOX ART!

Here is my new cover art for an upcoming Thunderbean Animation DVD, tentatively titled VAN BEUREN CLASSICS. As I promised some Facebook friends, I am presenting the art in stages of its completion.

Proposal sketch.










The background art is inspired by old intermission trailers.












I will keep you updated as the set goes along, for it's sure to be another top production from Thunderbean!

Happy Days,
MK.

COPYRIGHT 2014 BY MILTON KNIGHT

A (K)NIGHT IN BLACK AND WHITE

I actually forgot my troubles at the Steve Allen Theatre tonight, where Janet Klein sang and played sweet 1930s tunes with her ensemble. Jerry Beck was along too, with a show of 16mm black & white cartoons. As a matter of fact, the stage itself was decked out as a black & white Cartoonland, and most of the guests wore black and white as well. Wotta thrill! We were free to take photos on the stage after the show. Here are three, courtesy of Jerry Beck.











Jerry Beck, Mark Kausler and yrs truly form a musical trio!



Sweet Dreams,
MK.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DRAWINGS FROM THE DRAWERS

I'm sorting old sketches and clippings. Am running across a lot of comics I did I haven't seen in years. They make me laugh! Too bad you'll never see them. You'll have to settle for EXISTENTIAL COFFEE COMICS.

Model sheet (drawings clipped from actual animation) & bg layout from an unfinished film project.






Two pages from an "adult" strip done on commission.




 Greeting card proposal, 1984.



Some Facebook friends have asked to see more, of the comics especially. But...no more free rides. Those who want to see will have to pay. If I get ten SERIOUS buyers, I may print them off.

Hope you enjoy,
MK

Sunday, January 11, 2015

THOUGHTS ON MAINSTREAM ENTERTAINMENT

Sick of cartoon characters smirking into the camera with their arms crossed.

***

Why did they call the program "The 'L' Word"? Is that even an expression? I don't know anyone of either sex who doesn't love saying the word "Lesbian".

***

I've read WHO CENSORED ROGER RABBIT (the original novel) and it differed in that Jessica was not a one note sexpot; she was a stuntwoman, and was capable of violent fits of jealousy, and Roger was an ass you were SUPPOSED to hate (not unintentionally as in the movie).

***

I imagine being strangled by Tor Johnson might be a pleasant death.

***

Boycott television, MK.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

DRAWN IN THE ACT

Sketches drawn by the illustrious R.C. Harvey at a San Diego Comic Con roundtable way back in 1991-92. I'm in there somewhere.

Copyright by R. C. Harvey









 Buh-bye, MK.