Thursday, February 18, 2010
POSTED BY: Bill Plympton
My Scribble Junkie partner Pat Smith made fun of me because I was such a fan of Preston Blair's book "Animation". Again, he's WRONG!!! Pats a cool guy, very handsome and a great animator but he's been hanging out in "Raffles" too long drinking those Singapore slings. Come on Pat break out of your tropical stupor!!
That classic yellow oversized book, as been my bible since I was 12! First of all Preston Blair is one of the all time great animators from the Golden Age. His work on Fantasia's "Dance of the Hours" is classic. But to me his creating of the dance scenes for all of the Red Hot Riding Hood shorts puts him in the Animation Hall of Fame. Creating dancing in animation is one of the hardest subjects to draw because the body goes through so many changes and contortions one really has to be great at anatomy. But Preston Blair totally nailed it. The dancing sequence in Red Hot Riding Hood is one of the all time great pieces of animation. His animation book breaks down the dancing girls frame by frame and also the dancing alligator from Fantasia.
Plus I learned how to do lip sync, character design, facial expressions, hand design (which I'm still trying to learn) and most importantly line of action. It seems so basic now how animated characters should have great designs but I look at a lot of student films and the characters have no dynamic personality or design because they lack the line of action.
Around 1987 I was visiting a friend in Monterrey, California and I called Mr. Blair up out of the blue and he invited me over to his Carmel home. He was very nice to me although he's never heard of me even though I had an Oscar nomination. He showed me his boxes of art from the Tex Avery cartoons. I was drooling like a madman. I asked him how he was able to do such great dancing women. He said he didn't use models, no rotoscope, it was all in his head. Now that's genius!!And to top it off I made my lightbox using his instructions on the last page of the book. I still use the lightbox and book today.
at 1:00 PM