Saturday, June 20, 2009

Girls of Summer Solstice

I've been working on an assignment that involves drawing
a lot of girl characters, which is unusual for me. On my own
time, I have been using various styles and techniques
to trick myself into finding a way to draw female figures.
On close inspection, my anatomy probably doesn't
quite hold up.

Though I've never been a big anime fan, I
have played around with what I call "anime avatar"
proportions, which are more compact. It's tricky, but
it's also a kind of short hand for blocking things in.

There's also an old 1940's comic called SILLY MILLY,
which has a kind of Art Deco stylization, with very
cute proportions on a young woman protagonist.
The artist was named Stan MacGovern.

I'm not sure who this little butt kicker is, but I like her.

These are all still more formulaic than I'd like them to be, but I am gradually getting a kind of handle on how to balance the figures properly, even in a cartoony but sensible manner. I don't think I'm going to give Shane Glines anything to lose sleep over though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Snacking on the neighbor's dog gave me a chance to
escape, but I didn't get much of a head start before
the monster was right behind me again.
I ran blindly into the woods, which may not have been
the smartest thing to do.

"Stand aside boy, I'll tjake cyare of dis!" called a voice.
It was the local woodsman, who my Grandma just
called "The Swede."
The Swede raised his pointy axe and prepared to do
battle with the beast. It looked like an even chance
for either.

But the monster basically chomped the Swede to
pieces in a couple of gulps, axe and all. I was cornered
and paralyzed with fear.
The creature bore down on me with his dripping fangs
and putrid breath. I prepared for the worst. For moment,
time seemed to stand still.... Then,

Suddenly a shrill, weird whistle pierced the chill night air.
The monster froze and went pale. I turned to see
my Grandma. Somehow she had found me.
My Grandma had a glass eye which some kids said
was an "evil eye." I don't know how evil it was, but
it seemed to hold some power over the monster. She
fixed her gaze on him and snapped her fingers. The beast
immediately released me and I scrambled away from
him. From that point he became docile and
compliant as a well-trained puppy.

Then I heard her say something that sounded like:
"Koffa prombola!"
The monster responded by puking up chunks of the
devoured dog and woodsman. At this point I passed out,
I am not proud to admit.

When I came to, my Grandma had restored both the
dog and the Swede to their normal selves, although
perhaps they could have used a bit more fine tuning.
She sent them both on their respective ways and then
turned to me.
I gulped. "Are you going to punish me?"

My Grandma merely sighed and shook her head,
although I don't know if that was an answer or
just resignation. I heard her mutter to herself,
"Coulda been worse. Coulda gone in the attic."

I picked up her groceries and we walked back to her
house under cover of darkness. My Grandma kept the
beast in her spell the whole time. When we got home,
she locked him back in the closet and she sent me to
bed. I heard her watch the first few minutes of "The
Tonight Show" and then she turned off the T.V.
Soon, apart from her snoring the whole world
seemed filled with peace and silence.

For a while anyway.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Michael Sporn has been posting some generous screen grabs from Bruno Bozetto's 'Bolero' sequence in the feature film ALLEGRO NON TROPPO, a 1976 parody of Disney's FANTASIA.

'Bolero' not only spoofs Disney's 'Right of Spring' sequence, but it does so with great design, exquisite animation, brilliant layout and sardonic social commentary. In many ways it is the highlight of ALLEGRO and it remains one of the most masterful pieces of full animation ever done. I vividly recall Ward Kimball introducing it as his favorite piece of animation at an early 1990's visit to Disney Feature Animation in Glendale.

While I certainly concur with his high opinion of the film, I have to say that when I first saw 'Bolero' in around 1978, my mind flashed not to Disney's 'Right of Spring' but rather to a National Film Board of Canada short they used to screen in my high school (during the early 1970's). The short is called EVOLUTION and it has a kind of 'Zagreb-lite' look to it that is fairly typical of the time (in a kind of Sesame Street way) , but it is very well done at that and the overall art direction never slips into laziness the way some films done in similar styles could.

While not as elaborate as the big-budgeted 'Bolero', it has it's own cartoony style (flatter, generally less fluid and largely lateral) and is very clever in it's own way. The gags about the dog-eat-dog nature of Darwin's Theory are similar and the Canadian film even makes a point of hitting key instances in the biological evolution of life (single cells become dual, then mutations breed mutations, various mating rituals, etc)>. The ending lacks the social comment punch of Bozetto's film, but at the same time it conjures the alien origins opening of 'Bolero.'

EVOLUTION (1971)seems to have been made and released well ahead of ALLEGRO (1976), but I have never known if it was an inspiration for that piece or merely a coincidence.

I've also never been able to uncover any additional information about the film or it's writer/director Michael Mills, so if anyone out there has the scoop, please weigh in. IMDb appears to have him confused with a BBC executive, which seems dubious, tho not impossible.

Finally: To be explicitly clear, I am not suggesting someone ripped anybody off because even if there is some crossover chance, the makers of Bolero certainly went their own way with the idea and did a very original take on it. For that matter, I myself have been entertained and inspired by both films over the years. It has been impossible for me to do any artwork on the Fossil Fools idea without thinking of either of these two films. Although a third film, also by NFB, is also a big influence on FF, even though it is much less related to the subject matter...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The terrible monster leapt out of the closet and started
chasing me. It all happened so fast that crapping my pants
wasn't even an option.

I ran to the neighbor's house but no one was home,
except their mean dog who always bit me.

This, however provided a temporary solution...