Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cartoonist, Charles Addams

Not only the creator of the Addams Family, but Charles Addams, was a cartoonist of over 5,000 macabre and wickedly funny 1 panel cartoons

He had a passion for unique classic cars and quite the ladies man back in his day. He even had a series of affairs with Joan Fontaine, Jackie Onassis and even Greta Garbo

Notice how the background use gray tones and perspective accurately in his drawings.


His first wife, Barbara Day resembled the character who became known as Morticia in 1933, many years before he married Barbara or either of his two other wives, all of whom had that look.

This photograph of Addams drawing Morticia as Barbara “poses” was nothing more than a set-up shot. She hated all that referencing of her and Morticia and, after her divorce, she cut her hair into a page-boy and wore it that way the rest of her life.

1st Wife: Barbara Jean Day           2nd Wife: Barbara Barb      3rd Wife: Marilyn Matthews Miller

 Of the three wives, 2nd wife Barbara Barb looked even more like Morticia than Barbara Day. (She even got a nose job to match the character.) But she was an abusive woman who once attacked her husband with an African spear. She was also a lawyer, and she used her legal skills to force Addams to sign over the rights to many of his cartoons. By the time the couple divorced just two years into their marriage, Barb had complete control of The Addams Family rights, and she stalled production on the television show until the producers agreed to give her more money.


There were also 3 actresses who played Morticia; first played by Carolyn Jones in the Addams Family TV series and later by Anjelica Huston in the feature film version and Daryl Hannah in the direct to video version.

From People Magazine: 10/17/1988 At first glance, his drawings seem crude, but art critic John Russell has noted “the rock-solid composition, the eye for scale and placement, the calculated ordinariness that lures us into the trap.” Cartoonists admire Addams’ sense of architecture. “You could build the rooms he draws,” says his friend Frank Modell, “and his figures are constructed like Romanesque temples.” James Stevenson, another friend, finds his buildings “weirdly animated. You’re not sure what’s alive in his drawings and what isn’t.” And all these effects, Modell says, were achieved with technical mastery. “When Chas painted a cartoon, he began at the top and worked straight down to the bottom—like a rug weaver.” 
Charles Addams wanted to be remembered as a "Good Cartoonist," but he became a great American Cartoonist and died on the morning of September 29, 1988, in his car in front of his apartment at West 54th Street in New York City. Tee Addams (Marilyn Matthews) his wife made a remark that could have been a caption for one of his cartoons: "He's always been a car buff, so it was a nice way to go," she told The New York Times.

Image result for charles addams car cartoons
Who was your favorite Morticia? So did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments section below or click on an ad...

Learn more about Charles Addams

Chas Addams: A Cartoonist' Life

The World of Charles Addams

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!

What happens when the bad guys mess with Santa?

Happy Holidays! 

Share this link with your friends and family!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Walks and Turns

Walks are important for getting a character from point A to point B. It takes some practice to animate a walk properly. Today, TV animation will animate the character taking a step and then cut to a tighter shot of the character from the waist up. The character now can bob up and down as the background pans behind them creating the illusion of walking motion.

Here's a walk with a turn.

Here's a series of walk positions where the character is getting smaller as he is walking away from us. This is a complete 2 step walk which can be repeated and reduced in size to link up to the previous walk series.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Animating Holiday Scenes

When I was a kid, I would always plan out and print up Christmas cards for friends, family and relatives. It all started off with linoleum block printing, later it was screen printing, then photoshop and finally animation. Here are a few animated cards I've done in the past.

Making Holiday cards has always been a way for me to get into the Christmas spirit. My cards have become less hand made as the years have gone by, but I still like to send something out. And so, that's one reason why I have been working to finish up this project up.

Here is the rough blocking of animation for the Holiday Watchcat card so far.

Any feedback about this is always welcomed, please let me know and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Making an animated Holiday card

My final animation class has ended allowing some free time to animate a Watchcat Holiday episode to send off to friends and family as an animated Holiday card to end 2016 in a fun way. I installed a 21 day trail version of ToonBoom Harmony 14 with a goal of documenting this production and show more about the animation process using Harmony.

To begin with, I made this animatic with final voices and sound effects as a QuickTime file  imported as a movie into Harmony . The bottom layer holds the animatic which I will use to keep my scenes in sync. The layer above holds a white background until I create a final one. The layer above the BG is where I will create my rough poses.

There is only about 6 scenes in this project and I've designed it so that after one shot, the camera will pull away from one setup to reveal something that is happening in the foreground or in the background. You can see the animatic in previous a post entitled "Making Christmas".

By setting up different layers; the animatic, white background card and a rough animation, this will keep everything organized and easier to animated. The rough animation is also made up of several other layers and since we are zooming away from Santa and the Robber,
those drawings are both attached to Pegs.

Harmony allows you to create different layers by clicking on the +  button near the timeline and by holding it down, you will see other layers to choose from. Peg (ctrl + P) allows you to attach a layer and then move the peg, everything on the layer moves with the peg. In this case, Santa and the Robber move away from us on the Z axis. 

By clicking on the peg twice, Harmony opens a control panel showing the Key frames on a graph line. You need to determine which frame you want to set a Key on by clicking on +KF button. The -KP will remove a Key on the timeline. You can add ease ins and outs to each XYZ avis with the Velocity editor which is shown in the video below.
Watch this short video to see how it all works and where everything is located.

Each scene is a separate Harmony file that you will export a separate video file. Each file is then imported into an editing software program like Premiere or Final Cut Pro.

Next Posting: Animating Holiday Scenes

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Prowling CTN expo Part 2

CTN animation expo was so big this year, it takes two blog posts to describe it all and so, here is part 2.

When I first heard that the exhibit floor would be housed in a tent in the parking lot, I was worried. They had a small tent last year which housed a second part of the exhibit floor, since the main exhibitor floor has packed. The tent became very hot inside due to the warm weather and all the extra people. A lot of exhibitors were sweating and some even had small fans going to fight the heat. 

I am happy to report that this year's CTN's exhibitor floor fit nicely into a hugh air conditioned tent in the parking lot. They even included the parking lot trees into the interior design, added lights to add to the very creative environment inside.

The weather was cool and comfortably, but Sunday there was rain and there were a few leaks overhead inside the tent which caused the lights to be turned off.

But even without interior lighting, the convention went on and the dusk like interior added to the atmosphere of the expo.

While the lights were on, we managed to meet up with old friends and fellow colleagues who we had met before. I got the opportunity to stand between the Twin Towers of Animation, Tom and Tony Bancroft! 

And then, I ran into Lenord Robinson, who I met when working on "Meet the Patels".

We met this new guy, Max Narcisco, who was busy designing characters and had a very interesting booth full of his creations.

And of course, James Lopez, the creator of "Hullabaloo". Next year, you may be seeing the release of the  first Steampunk animated series!
The nice thing about this expo is that it is made to network and a place to meet your favorite animation artists and heroes. It not like Comicon, but rather a place to find new work opportunities and meet new people. 

Hopefully, we will run into you there next year! 

Did I mention Watchcat 02 is done and we are working on something new. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Facial Expressions

Here are a few animation videos you may be interested in, beginning with Character Design tips from Sergio Pablos.

And on the CG side, a very expressive rig showing us a variety of facial expressions.