...I've been working on a couple of very long posts so I thought I'd just give you a little something to tide you over. If you're following me on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenEricGordon you saw that I posted this the other day. I suspect that a lot of you don't follow me there so it seems like a good idea to post it here as well. If you are on FB please feel to wander on over to my "Art of..." page and LIKE it so you can see more little bits of animation and drawings that I usually don't post elsewhere (or, at least, until I get the next version of my web-site up and running - maybe....).
Anyway this is from American Pop (1981) and my second feature that I worked on from beginning to end and the second feature I worked on for Ralph Bakshi.
It was a film that I struggled on quite a bit because every part of me wanted to simplify and stylize the animation (of course, what did I really know about animation at the time...) and I ended up in some weird fights with the ersatz Art Director and Character Designer because of my refusal (inability?) to trace every line, crease, wrinkle, bump and tiny nuianse that was in the photos that we were using for the animation. I also instinctively exaggerated poses and pushed attitudes for effect. I had originally been told and trained that was the way to work and I fell into it very easily. Unfortunately so many of my fellow animators were happy tracing the live-action slavishly that I was pretty much the odd man out and started to be shifted off of any of the main characters and given Second Unit stuff (for lack of a better description). I ended up doing a lot of the dancing (like the Spaz in the Punk Club) and the band shots during the Jefferson Airplane song as well as this piece of Jimi Hendrix.
My animation of Jimi Hedrix seems to be really well remembered by a lot of people and when I was looking through the film to grab this little piece I do have to say that it's easily my best animation in the film. Of course, that's not saying much since despite the fact that I think American Pop is a pretty good film - mostly for what Ralph tried to do and almost succeeded at - though I don't think the animation is anything to write home about and looks like what it was: a film animated by a bunch of very green artists that traced the photos exactly.
In this case, once again despite the Art Director's glowering and screaming behind closed doors I pushed, exaggerated and stylized the animation to some degree. I even worked with one of my fellow animators that was a musician to try and get some of the guitar playing right - though I see now where I could have improved that a LOT more.
As it turns out I think I did the right thing on that film since on Ralph's next film he offered me the role of Animation Director. Which ties in nicely with one of the longer posts I'm working on...