Tag Archives: Dr. Seuss

Image of the Day: Grinch Model Sheet

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Chuck Jones and his film crew (animation, sound, music, voice actors) all worked within a discipline; a discipline that defined his film-making career.  In his book, Chuck Reducks, Drawing From the Fun Side of Life, Jones captures the essence of this discipline in 16 simple rules to animated film success.

Grinch Model Sheet is a 16 field (13.5" x 16.5") hand-painted cel art edition, limited to 200 and was created from an original model sheet drawn by Chuck Jones in the pre-production of his 1966 film, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  It embodies the lessons of the 16 simple rules, particularly no. 8: It is not what or where a character is, nor is it the circumstances under which he finds himself that determines who he is.  And it falls back to no. 7:  If you start with character, you probably will end up with good drawings.

The Grinch Model Sheet,  the map to the character of the Grinch for the animators, displays the same insouciant joie de vivre that is a hallmark of the Chuck Jones style of animated film direction. 

Image of the Day: Cuddly as a Cactus

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The Grinch is a character of mean spirit and questionable mores who moves with a hip-rolling swagger, a wicked gleam in his eye.  His character, immortalized in book, song and film (pre-1967,) is archetypically one of the great green Grinches of all time.  

Cuddly as a Cactus, a limited edition fine art print on canvas, has been created from an original oil painting by Chuck Jones.  Painted circa 1996, Cuddly as a Cactus flaunts, through color, the character's moral flaws (various shades of green and yellow) while simultaneously juxtaposing those against the fresh pure colors of a first snow (white, lavender and blue.)  Chuck Jones' classical art education comes to the forefront of this painting as he revels in texture, brushstroke and color; bringing us a fully rendered iconic individual.

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch/You really are a heel/You're as cuddly as a cactus/You're as charming as an eel/Mr. Grinch!"

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Recording Session)

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Original mixed media drawing by Chuck Jones of a guitarist at the recording session for his "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

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Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) from left, Boris Karloff and Chuck Jones look over some of the storyboards at the recording session for the Chuck Jones directed "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Recording Session)

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Original drawing of musicians at the recording session for "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Chuck Jones, mixed media on paper.  

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Les Goldman (in profile, left) producer, Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Thurl Ravenscroft, 2nd from right (he sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch") and Eugene Poddany, orchestrations and orchestra conductor at the recording session for the Chuck Jones directed "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Original production cel from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” directed by Chuck Jones.

This is what it took to complete the 24-minute film of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas:  Gestation period eleven to fourteen months, finding the voices (Boris Karloff, June Foray and Thurl Ravenscroft,) recording them, writing the music (Albert Hague, music; Theodore Geisel, lyrics), drawing hundreds of key character layouts (Chuck Jones), designing a couple of hundred backgrounds (Maurice Noble), painting all of those backgrounds (Phil DeGuard), animating more than 15,000 usable drawings (Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, Ben Washam, Dick Thompson), and having them all painted, shot, and dubbed (putting sound effects, music, dialogue and film together.)  Of the 15,000 usable drawings, approximately 40,000 to 50,000 were discarded.  250 backgrounds, 250 background layout drawings, 1,200 character layout drawings, 4,500 unusable and dispensable character layout drawings, sixty musicians for eight hours, a composer for six months, a sound editor for four weeks.

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Grinch)

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A model drawing by Chuck Jones, graphite on paper, 12.5" x 10.5".

"Show me the skeleton of any animal and I will show you how it must move," said Albert Hurter.  Unfortunately, there are very few, if any, Grinch skeletons about, so we had to do with Dr. Seuss' careful academic drawings of the living Grinch.

"All fully animated characters have implied, but very real, skeletal structures and the muscles to move themselves about.  Once decided, the implied skeleton of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepé le Pew, or the Grinch must be respected, or it will become inconsistently rubbery and lose all claim to believability.

"The Grinch fell well into this classic anatomical crew.  His skull and enormous set of teeth are not notably different from Elmer Fudd's, only more so.  His body is a sort of huge, sagging, pear-shaped, Porky Pig-like structure.  His arms, legs, skinny elbows and bony knees are not unlike those of the Coyote.  So, we had a full-length portrait."–Chuck Jones, Chuck Reducks, Drawing on the Fun Side of Life

Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Max)

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Original model drawing of Max by Chuck Jones, mixed media on 12 field (12.5" x 10.5") animation paper.

Character, not plot, evokes our film and book
memories.  In designing and building the
characters that inhabit an animated film, Chuck Jones, along with his
tremendously talented crew (Maurice Noble, Ben Washam et al.), have always
relied on the character to provide the motivation that propels the action of
the film.  

"Max the dog has a skimpy, scraggly, horizontal,
pear-shaped body, a sad snout, and forlorn eyes.  [Dr. Seuss described him as “Everydog—all
love and limpness and loyalty.]"–Chuck Jones, Chuck Reducks


Image of the Day: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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He stole the candy canes, the wreaths, the trees, the
wuzzles and puzzles!  He made off with
the presents, the Who Hash, the light bulbs, poinsettias, rugs and the window
sash!  He filled sack after sack with
bicycles and ribbons and bows!  He
purloined the wreaths and bizzel binks, the camera, the film, the candy, its
wrappers, quite possibly even the kitchen sinks!  (Pictured: a paste-up for a model sheet of drawings by Chuck Jones used in the creation of his 1966  Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)
 

The film of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
popularity may be unsurpassed today, but when Chuck Jones set out to bring it
to the screen he was unable to find a sponsor and eventually ended up pitching
the story 26 times.  Chuck Jones recounts, “In those days, the
network wouldn’t accept something unless you had a sponsor,” he said.  “So, I went to every one of the people who
were logical:  the breakfast food and
chocolate people.  I had done the
storyboards, there were seventeen hundred drawings and I went over that thing
again and again.  It got to the point
where I could almost shut my eyes and say it! 
At last, in the depths of my despair, success came from the most
unlikely source of all:  the Foundation
of Commercial Banks!”