Monthly Archives: September 2010

Image of the Day: The Dot and The Line

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If you had found your perfect soul mate, so perfect
in fact (36-36-36) but she refused to acknowledge your existence, what would
you do?  Would you end your rigid,
stick-in-the-mud ways and learn to bend a little?  Do you think you could learn to be a little
less ‘straight’ and a little more ‘fun’? 
Well, that’s what you would need to do to win the heart and soul of the
Dot in this 1966 Academy Award-winning short film, “The Dot and the Line”
directed by Chuck Jones and adapted from the book by Norton Juster (who also
wrote “The Phantom Tollbooth” adapted by Jones in 1970, his only feature-length
film.)

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 Working with his Warner Bros. crew at MGM, Jones
and his layout designer, Maurice Noble devised and implemented innovative ways
to animate the charming narrative of the Norton Juster book.  Using overlays, graphic design elements,
cut-outs & collage they developed a unique take on this “romance in lower
mathematics.”  


 

Image of the Day: Now Hear This!

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This 1963 Academy Award-nominated cartoon, “Now
Hear This” was the second in a series of mostly abstract cartoons directed by
Chuck Jones while he was at Warner Bros. 
Coming, as it did, at the end of the “Golden Age of Animation” it drew
(pun!) on modernist tendencies in the visual arts, all the while still telling
a traditional story.  This character,
although unnamed, instigates several silly sleight-of-sight/hearing/hand gags
played upon the main character, Colonel Blip.  
 

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Colonel
Blip mistakenly (as he later finds out) has thrown out his hearing device and
has replaced it with one of the Devil’s horns (who is shown one-hornless during
the title sequence at the beginning of the film.)  This new horn amplifies sound tremendously
and causes the Colonel much mayhem and consternation.  Extremely rare production art from this
pre-cursor to the even more abstract “The Dot and the Line” of 1966.  

Image of the Day: High Note

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Chuck Jones’ 1962 Academy Award-nominated short
animated film, “High Note” is an excellent example of his seamless melding of
abstract graphic designs and animation with story and personality.  The attempt by the notes to play “The Blue
Danube” is disrupted by one quarter note that has been partying in “The Little
Brown Jug” a little too frequently. 


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 “High
Note” set the stage for Jones Academy Award-winning 1966 short film “The Dot
and the Line” as it married abstract thought with his innate sense of timing,
story & character.   It’s interesting
to note that “High Note” and “Now Hear This” are both Oscar-nominated (one year
after the other.)  The Academy obviously
saw something growing here that finally blossomed (and won) with “The Dot and
the Line.”  


 
   

Image of the Day: Beep Prepared

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“Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” could’ve
been the musical score to accompany this Academy Award-nominated short animated
film by Chuck Jones.  “Beep Prepared”
fell off a cliff into theaters on November 7, 1961 and catapulted the Coyote into a
constellation at the end.  The series of
mishaps that plague Wile E. in this film are: 
flat foot from a truck rolling over his foot, an arrow, two boulders, a
‘portable’ hole, bat-wing/sky rocket outfit, ACME Bird Seed, a mis-managed
magnet, trains, and finally the ACME Little Giant Do-It-Yourself Rocket-Sled
Kit.  Oof!  


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This beautiful layout drawing of the Road Runner
is one of the rarest of birds.  You know
what Linda has said in response to “Why are there so few Road Runner production
pieces?” don’t you?  “Because he’s very
fast.” And that’s the truth.  

 

 

Image of the Day: It’s All Happening at the Zoo

"…I do believe it's true…just a fine and fancy ramble, to the zoo…" so sang Simon & Garfunkel in 1967 and around that time, Chuck Jones often found himself at the zoo drawing his 'notes' in a notebook such as the one we feature today.  

Culled from the incredible archive of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity (visit their website by clicking here), these drawings give you an insider's view at how the mind (and hand) of this master artist worked.  

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Each drawing, even as rough as these are, exudes character and personality, not only of the animal, but also of the artist.  His sure hand in delineating form, his perceptive eye capturing character and texture; all of which combined bring you a little bit of time, the time he spent contemplating these animals.  It's a gift.  

Image of the Day: Nice Kitty

The Chuck Jones mantra, instilled in him at an early age at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles was, "you have 100,000 bad drawings in you, start getting rid of them now."  And toward that end, Jones, each and every day, drew, almost constantly.  Whether he was on the phone, having breakfast, sitting at the beach, having lunch at his favorite restaurant; there rarely was a moment when he wasn't drawing.  

These three sketches of big cats may have been done at the San Diego Zoo (a favorite destination for him) or judging by the fact that two of the drawings are on MGM animation paper, it may be that he was at the Los Angeles Zoo.  Wherever they occurred, Jones trademark economy of line distills the character and personality of each of these three big cats; whether in repose or leaping at you, each one exhibits what Chuck deemed most important: they are believable.  

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