Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Donald Duck!

I thought I'd acknowledge Donald Duck's 78th anniversary by posting some of the Disney merchandise that I had a hand in helping to create a few years back. Though most of my Disney work was in the form of traditional cartoon illustration, there were also many figural projects that required a series of rotational drawings in order to help the sculptor visualize it in three dimensions before going to work on it.
MMC Donald Duck Rotations
This piece was to celebrate The Mickey Mouse Club TV show from the 1950s, and I did rotations for both this Donald with the gong and a Mickey figure in bandleader costume, as the two were featured in the opening titles of that show. 
Mickey Mouse Club Donald Duck Figurine
I was quite happy with the way this figurine turned out, and the pic above was taken of the actual piece that I'd bought at The Disney Store at the time it was made available for purchase. I only wish I'd bought the one of Mickey as well!
Snow Globes Rotations
This was a commemorative snow globe that was created for the 65th Anniversary of Donald Duck in 1999, called "Donald Duck - 65 Feisty Years". I remember doing a lot of art for that merchandising programme featuring the duck in his various incarnations through the years.

Donald Duck Snow Globes Figurine
I must admit I was a bit disappointed in the sculpture of the large Donald Duck figure in the armchair, as I felt the face wasn't quite right and overall he looked a bit thick and lumpy. Still, it was likely due to the constraints of the mould-making process.

Three Caballeros Rotations
This was a fun project to work on, as the original concepts for these Big Figurines of The Three Caballeros were by the exceptionally talented Disney artists, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, and their poses were so expressive to translate into dimensional drawings.

Three Caballeros Big Figurines
Here's a pic of the finished sculpted figurines that I've borrowed from Kevin's site. As you can see, the poses were modified a bit from my drawings - Panchito's hands not on his hips with eyes straight ahead, and José's beak is closed, but otherwise are quite faithful to the way I'd drawn the rotations.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed seeing the process behind creating these sculpted figurines of Donald Duck. I have other examples of my rotation drawings of various Disney characters that I'll continue to post from time to time.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dino!

Yes, June 7th marks the 95th birthday of Dean Martin, one of the favourite performers here at The Cartoon Cave. Now that Time-Life are releasing some of The Dean Martin Variety Show on DVD sets, I've been itching to do another caricature of ol' Dino. Though the first two DVD sets have been a bit disappointing for the fans, as they're cut down and missing some of the music numbers due to licensing hassles, I gather that the 3rd set just released finally features complete shows. I sure hope that Time-Life now continue with this approach to keep us all happy.

The Dean Martin Variety Show was a great example of the long popular variety show format that has sadly been missing from network TV for too many years now. I personally feel that the variety show was an integral part of the TV schedule, as it brought together top entertainers from TV, movies, and the music business. The benefit was that it kept all popular entertainers of that era very much in the public eye, creating a shared culture for all viewers to enjoy together. We really don't have that today, what with the severe fragmentation of the television audience due to the "500 Channel Universe", where no single show gets much of a market share. Frankly, I was a lot happier back when there were no more than about two dozen TV channels and just the three big U.S. networks creating shows that were genuinely entertaining. Not so anymore, in my opinion.

While most of the variety shows were rehearsed laboriously every week until the day they were taped in front of a live audience, on Dean's show only the guests rehearsed all week. Dean's contract stipulated that he didn't have to show up until taping day if he didn't want to, as Dean liked to keep his image real loose, even stumbling over his reading of the cue cards to add to the comic effect and his on-screen image of being a bit tipsy with the booze. It was an individual approach that worked so well for Dean, as he knew that his natural charm would suffer if he had to adhere to a tightly scripted format.

It also helped when he had just the right chemistry with his guests, as I think is evident here in this clip alongside cute and adorable Goldie Hawn, who was then one of the stars on the very popular comedy review, Laugh-In: