Category Archives: Blogs of Special Note

“The Chuck Jones School of Creativity” by Jen Myers

Chuck Redux stumbled upon the blog of Jen Myers, a professional designer/writer/speaker/teacher, and a post she wrote recently titled "The Chuck Jones School of Creativity". In her post, Ms. Myers writes about how she came to understand and nurture her own creativity as she read Chuck's autobiography, "Chuck Amuck." Her perspective is one well-worth sharing and so we've posted a bit of it with a link at the end to the rest of her story on her own website. Enjoy!

School of creativity

When I was a teenager, after I had completed the mandatory girl career aspiration phase of marine biologist, I determined I wanted to grow up to be an animated cartoonist. It seemed to be the natural fruition of my interest in sketching, my attraction to the bright and frenetic and my affinity for philosophical anarchy. I studied the limited number of films I had access to, planned to go to art school and thought that, since Disney was likely out of my reach, I would shoot for a job at one of the smaller network studios.

I am not an animator now. I didn't even come close. I decided not to go to art school, with the help of stunningly nonsensical logic along the lines of "I'm not good enough" (isn't that what you go to school to fix?), and thus began an almost comical progression of educational and professional missteps, false starts, backtracks and strange, unforeseen successes. I managed to stumble into a job I love but which is very unlike the one I first anticipated.

At least, it is superficially. As a web and interface designer, I'm not drawing cartoons. But I am creating things, and creativity draws both inspiration and instruction from a variety of sources. There are still lessons I learned from cartoons that I apply to my life and work now – especially as it concerns the creator who me want to make them in the first place.

I have a theory that Chuck Jones is the most well-known and yet most overlooked creator of the twentieth century. Everyone knows what he made, but not many people know he made it. Which is a shame, because beyond his legacy as the artist/director who made some of Warner Brothers' most famous characters and short films during the 1930s-60s, he was also an astute observer of human character, a learned storyteller and one hell of a writer. Most notably, he knew how describe and explain his process of creation. This is very rare, and equally valuable to someone else learning the process. His two autobiographies/drawing manuals are treasure troves of stories, advice and guidance on how to be creative. Which, as I've discovered, you can be no matter what you do.

START ANYWHERE AND STICK WITH IT

… my first instructor at Chouinard Art Institute, like Nicolaides at the Art Students League, greeted his beginning classes with the following grim edict: "All of you here have one hundred thousand bad drawings in you. The sooner you get rid of them, the better it will be for everyone." ¹

More than ten years after I more or less gave up on being an artist, I started drawing again. It was, in a word, demoralizing. Whatever skill I once had has most certainly fled with disuse, and I'm essentially a beginner again. There's an impulse to repeat history and declare I'm simply "not good enough" as a precursor to quitting.

But I think often about this anecdote. It's not truly grim, even if you're just starting out. In fact, when you're just starting out, it's liberating. It takes away the pressure of being judged. It's okay if you create something bad. It's okay if you create many things bad. You need to get it all out.

And it leads you into the next lesson – you need to keep doing it, over and over again, until it is good.

To continue reading, click on The Chuck Jones School of Creativity, it will open in a new window.

 

 

Looney Tunes: Chuck Jones, The Mouse Chronicles to Be Released this August

LooneyTunesMouseChronicles

On 8/28/12, Warner Home Video will release "Looney Tunes: Chuck Jones Mouse Chronicles", a 2-disc Blu-ray set featuring 19 classic cartoons. There is no word yet on pricing or special features, but reportedly, it will have special material.

The included shorts: (all directed by Chuck Jones)
Naughty But Mice (1939) – Sniffles
– Little Brother Rat (1939) – Sniffles
– Sniffles and the Bookworm (1939) – Sniffles
– Sniffles Takes a Trip (1940) – Sniffles
– Egg Collector, The (1940) – Sniffles
– Bedtime For Sniffles (1940) – Sniffles
– Sniffles Bells the Cat (1941) – Sniffles
– Toy Trouble (1941) – Sniffles
– Brave Little Bat, The (1941) – Sniffles
– Unbearable Bear, The (1943) – Sniffles
– Lost and Foundling (1944) – Sniffles
– Hush, My Mouse (1946) – Sniffles
– Aristo Cat, The (1943) – Hubie & Bertie
– Trap Happy Porky (1945) – Porky Pig
– Roughly Squeaking (1946) – Hubie & Bertie ; Claude Cat
– House Hunting Mice (1948) – Hubie & Bertie
Mouse Wreckers (1948) – Hubie & Bertie ; Claude Cat
– Hypo-Chondri-Cat, The (1950) – Hubie & Bertie ; Claude Cat
Cheese Chasers (1951) – Hubie & Bertie ; Claude Cat

Many of these films can be seen at ChuckJonesCenter.org Chuck Jones Filmography.

Source: Toonzone.net

Chuck Jones’s Favorite Pencil Is Back!

BLACKWING 602
A few of the Blackwing 602 pencils used by Chuck Jones.

Did you even know it was gone?  Maybe, maybe not, but the truth of the matter is that not only was the Blackwing 602 Jones's favorite pencil but it was also the favored writing tool of author John Steinbeck and musical theater genius, Stephen Sondheim.  Anyway, there's a wonderfully informative article about the fortunes (and misfortunes) of this very popular pencil in the current CNNMoney online news source.  

The brouhaha over Blackwing pencils – May. 19, 2011.

Here's a photo of Chuck Jones's hands with a Blackwing 602.

Chucks Hands-001 with copyright

Grim Natwick & Chuck Jones

Grim Natwick Chuck Jones caricature
Grim Natwick and his "kid assistant" Chuck Jones at Ubbe Iwerks in 1933, graphite on 12 field animation paper by Grim Natwick.  

Stephen Worth, the art historian for ASIFA-Hollywood has written a detailed account of the impact that the artist and animator, Grim Natwick, had on the nascent animation film community.  Natwick's story is the story of animation in America and I think you'll find it a marvelously entertaining and informative read (plus there's a terrific short interview with Natwick about Ub Iwerks, where he met and worked with a young animator named Chuck Jones.)  

All of the posts on Natwick can be found here.



 

 


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It’s All Happening at the Center!

Our friends (and cartoon co-conspirators) at the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity are gearing up for some changes on their blogs, both at ChuckJonesCenter.org and our sister blog, Now Hare This!  Make sure you add them to your RSS feed or even better, sign up for the newsletter & blog updates!

One of the new features coming to the blogs is called "The Chuck Jones Character of the Week": Starting this Wednesday, you will see a new weekly feature on their blogs called, “The Chuck Jones Character of the Week.”  In the spirit of Chuck’s ideas and creations, we will be writing a short feature on a different character each Wednesday.  Although our initial character has already been selected, we will be taking nominations for next week’s winner and beyond.  Feel free to comment on our Facebook, Twitter or blog comments page with your nominations!  Whether it’s your favorite character or a character you don’t think gets enough recognition–let us know!  We’ll look through the nominations to see which characters are mentioned most often, factoring your nominations into each week’s selection.

Also:  This Friday, the Center will be taking part in the 2011 Take the Lead program at Cal State Fullerton.  This annual teen summit promotes volunteerism, develops leadership skills and increases social awareness among high school students.  While tickets to the summit are going for $20, students who use the “Chuck Jones Center” name can register for $10!  Last year, our workshop was the highest-rated session of the day.  Craig Kausen, Chuck Jones’ grandson, guided last year’s workshop and returns on Friday with Christopher Scardino for “Get Creative,” a hands-on, wildly imaginative session.  Take the Lead is a great opportunity for young people to get involved in the community, learn important life skills, meet new people — and have fun while doing it.  If you or someone you know is interested, you can register at Take the Lead.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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Chuck Jones on Gift Words

The wonderful folks at ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive recently came across a 1974 article Chuck Jones wrote for them about being an artist, animator, poet, writer, musician (or anyone who works in the arts, for that matter.)  

Cjones
It starts with Chuck Jones describing a meeting between a young man and the poet, Robert Frost: 

"A young man was once sent fresh from Columbia University with a mutual friend’s introduction to Robert Frost. Frost scanned the young man’s writings, then looking quizzically up through his craggy white brows he asked, “What do you do, son?” The young man drew himself up proudly; he was, after all, one with the great Frost. “I am a poet,” he said. Frost gently answered, “The term ‘poet’ is a gift word, son; you cannot give it to yourself.”"

Jones continues at length about the importance of your work as an animator and what the possibilities are for animation in the now and in the future.  It's a fascinatingly good read, click here to read it!  To learn more about ASIFA-Hollywood, click on their name.  

P.S. There are also several awesome Chuck Jones layout drawings accompanying the text.  

Digital Media Maven, Kim Komando, on “One Froggy Evening” Cartoon

Digital media maven and radio personality, Kim Komando, recently selected Chuck Jones's 1955 masterpiece, the animated short film "One Froggy Evening" as her favorite cartoon of all time.  Citing Steven Spielberg "The "Citizen Kane" of animated film" and the National Film Registry "culturally significant", Komando calls it a "wonderful classic."  (Of course, we agree!)  Thank you Kim, for the rave and for your love of Chuck Jones cartoons!  To watch the cartoon and read her post click on Kim Komando.  To visit Kim's website, click here.  

Success Tips from Chuck Jones (as reported in Business Management Daily)

Writing for Investment Business Daily and excerpted in Business Management Daily, writer Curt Schleier distills some of the points that Chuck Jones makes about his successful career:

"Even as a little kid, cartoon creator and producer Chuck Jones grabbed opportunities.

Jones credits his career to his father’s string of business failures. Every time the old man launched a business, he’d print nice stationery and buy promotional pencils. Using those cast-off tools, Jones drew and drew.

Eventually, he went on to create Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Pepe Le Pew and Wile E. Coyote. He also breathed new life into Bugs Bunny.

Some secrets to his success:

He perceived each character individually. It started with the family cat, Johnson, whose favorite food was grapefruit and who enjoyed swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

Johnson was “different than other cats. … That laid the groundwork, so when I got to doing Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny or Coyote, [I understood] that’s it’s not all coyotes, that it’s the particular coyote. Wile E. Coyote, genius. That’s what he calls himself. He’s different.”

To read the entire article in Business Management Daily, click on this sentence!  

  Chuck Jones by Wile E Coyote sm

“Daffy Dilly” by Chuck Jones

In this 1948 short cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, Daffy Duck is first seen as a down-on-his-luck peddler peddling (that is what peddlers do, they peddle) gags on a street corner in a busy metropolis, when he overhears a radio report about a dying gazillionaire (my word) who would pay anyone a million dollars if they could only make him laugh before he passes on to his great reward.  

At the blog, What About Thad?, the author, Thad Komorowski, who, by the way, is a great source of knowledge about animated films, has written an interesting article on the short, "Daffy Dilly" delving into the relationship each of Jones' animators had with the Warner Bros. characters, Daffy particularly, their drawing strengths, and Jones's use of their talents.   He has also posted an excellent copy of the cartoon, which I think all of you will agree is a perfect example of how Chuck Jones's work with the character of Daffy is so different from that of the other directors (Freleng and McKimson, particularly.)

Click here to read the article and watch the cartoon.  Enjoy!

The Orange County Center for Living Peace & Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

On September 21st, the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity was proud to participate in the International Day of Peace at the Orange County Center for Living Peace.  To learn more about the work of the Center for Living Peace, please visit their website at www.goodhappens.org.