The girl on the swing

I have been drawing the opening sequence for my documentary about Edward Lear, “Following Lear”. Here is the latest version with some detail:

It is a complex scene featuring a swing in a music hall.

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One of my early memories of watching black and white tv was of a girl on a swing in “the Good Old Days”. I think that swing was brought out on a number of occasions actually, and at least once, in the 25th Anniversay season, Les Dawson was strapped to it in drag. It was generally there for the song “Swing me just a little bit higher, Obadiah do”. It made a lyric loaded with innuendo seem homely and very jolly.

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The music hall was full of daring routines and “the Good Old days” captured some of that spirit throwing acrobats and trapeze artistes directly into the auditorium. In the mid 19th Century, there was a craze for tightrope walking over the heads of the audience. Brilliant! I wonder how often there were accidents?

One of the early films made by Dame Joan Collins in 1955 was about Evelyn Nesbit Thaw, tied up in a messy muder trial and called “the Girl in the red velvet swing”. Of course, at a time when she was dazzling in BA and Cinzano adverts, she went on to make a slightly more scandalous film featuring an aquatic swing that arguably re-ignited her career, was based on a book by her sister Jackie, and somewhat incongruously, propelled her as staple fodder for family viewing in nearly a decade of “Dynasty”. What seemed very daring in the “Stud” and the “Bitch”, however, would today seem tame, and the thought of an A- grade star like Joan Collins getting involved in such stuff would no longer raise an eyebrow, particularly after Gielgud, Helen Mirren and O’Toole romped through “Caligula” at the end of the 80s.

I like the “Girl in the Red Velvet swing” though; it treats the subjects rather better than the subsequent film “Ragtime” which is both pedestrian and laboured. The publicity photos for La Collins, moreoever, are a treat. They are even better than the movie! Doesn’t she look radiant!

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twiggyThere is also a swing scene, though fairly modest in “the Boyfriend”, designed by Tony Walton and a great scene in an early Angela Lansbury film,”Till the Clouds roll by” .

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I think I have now looked at almost all the swings in the movies!

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The problem with swings is that every single frame represents a change in perspective- a nighmare for 2d drawing and I have had a few attempts so far. I am quietly pleased with the lastest effortwhich I will work on over the next month.

The music is by David Watson and the song is sung by Thomasin Tresize. If the spirit of the animation is a bit racy, I suppose that is to do with Joan Collins as much as with the hint of naughtiness that Tom suggests as she sings it!

I think it is meditative of course…. I tried to time the swing to the bars of music and it looks too premeditated- a bit like an early Mickey Mouse film. The idea of timing animation to hit the beat gave the whole screen animation/ music industry a very bad name, and it is bizarre that this was taking place at exactly the same time that Astaire was developing his technique of dancing OFF the beat. It’s when the dancer hits the beat at a specific moment that the magic happens. So the swinging motion is now independent of the beat (just).

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Here’s the sequence partly storyboarded:

and here is an early sketch:

 

Well done Miron!

http://hiphopdx.com/news/id.44401/title.russian-rap-battle-racks-up-15m-views-in-3-days#

Russian Rap Battle Racks Up 15M Views In 3 Days
August 16, 2017 | 7:20 PM
by Somhairle Cinnsealach
Russian Rap Battle Racks Up 15M Views In 3 Days
YouTube/versusbattleru

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“War and Peace.” “Crime and Punishment.” Oxxxymiron vs. Slava KPSS.

All triumphs of Russian penmanship.

While even America’s most popular rap battlers generally max out at a few million YouTube views (a milestone that can sometimes take years to reach), Russian league Versus is sprinting past its competition — already racking up almost 15 million views on an hour-long video that came out on August 13.

The battle, which went down in St. Petersburg earlier in August, went crazy-viral in Russia, a country famous for its prowess with the written word.

We can’t understand any of it, of course, but if you’re confident in your Russian-speaking abilities then check out the battle below.

One of the competitors, Oxxxymiron, had been undefeated until he came up against his opponent, who took the W after a unanimous decision from the five judges.

As one of Russia’s biggest Hip Hop figures, Oxxxymiron’s battle rap showings have always generated huge interest, but nothing on this scale before.

According to a detailed piece by The Calvert Journal, “Even RIA Novosti, one of the biggest Russian news agencies, has published four news stories and a large feature on the battle in the last two days.”

After his defeat, Oxxxymiron shared an in-depth Instagram post following the battle.

 

 

168.1k likes
4,755 comments
Пара слов о баттле (спойлеры) 1. После драки кулаками не машут (объясните это СТ, который до сих пор доказывает, что выиграл). Поэтому судейское решение я, разумеется, принимаю. 2. На мероприятии были судьи, потому что я поставил такое условие. Вариант “мы час срем друг друга просто так, для взаимного промо” был для меня исключен, т.к. это не дружеский матч. Поражений, в отличие от забытого текста, я никогда не боялся, поэтому настоял на том, чтобы баттл судили – и считаю, что это было верное решение. 3. Почему я проиграл? Потому что, как и на прежних баттлах, ушел в лирические отступления, которые мне реально интересно писать, в отличие от бесконечного “сетап-панч, сетап-панч”. Возможно, я по жизни слишком зациклился на том, что в свое время повлиял на баттлрэп – а вместо этого мне самому стоит поучиться у баттловиков, чей мир с тех пор перерос в нечто иное и самостоятельное. Хотя гонка за количеством панчей все еще кажется мне довольно унылым подходом к баттлам. Но и мой подход “проповедник а-ля Loaded Lux” явно требует корректировки на будущее. Не будь проигрыша – я бы, наверное, так и не осознал, что нужен апгрейд. Апгрейд будет, Нарния пока подождет. 4. От всего мероприятия получил дикий кайф. Единственный облом – “поддержка” Версуса. С таким же успехом мы могли сразу пойти на Слово с 10 корешами – именно столько человек активно топило за нас, остальные версус-резиденты были типа слишком крутыми, чтобы высказывать саппорт рэперам своей лиги, как это делала толпа от Слово (по видео все очевидно, я думаю). Ну и сливщики инфы – конченые. 5. Make Battle Rap Great Again: сказано – сделано, это был исторический баттл. Оппонент молодец. Может теперь кто-нибудь поймет, что я не забронзовевшая статуя, не все всегда просчитываю, и готов рискнуть всем чисто по фану, из спортивного интереса. И вскоре сделаю это снова)
5 DAYS AGO

 

Google Chrome’s translation of Oxxxymiron’s Instagram post goes on to explain why he felt he lost the clash, and why there are no hard feelings.

“Why did I lose? Because, like on the previous battles, I went into lyrical digressions, which I really enjoy writing, unlike the endless “setup-punch, setup-punch.” Maybe I’m too focused on life, That at one time influenced the Battleplay – and instead I myself should learn from the Battlists, whose world has since grown into something different and independent. Although the race for the amount of panche still seems to me a rather dull approach to the battles. But my approach “preacher a la Loaded Lux” clearly requires adjustments for the future. Without losing – I probably would not have realized that I needed an upgrade. Upgrade will be, Narnia will wait.”

“Make Battle Rap Great Again: said – done, it was a historical battle. Opponent well done. Maybe now someone will understand that I’m not a moribund statue, I do not always calculate everything, and I’m ready to risk everything purely for fans, out of sports interest. And I’ll do it again soon).”

oxxxymiron-by-tim

from Hiphopdx.com

 

Current Showreel

Here is a version of the current showreel:

 

with some additional imagery from “How pleasant to know Mr Lear”

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From BBC 4

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From A History of the Music Hall, Part 2. (Part 1 here:

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From Juststeve: Μία Ζωή Στα Χέρια Σου | Mia Zoi Sta Heria Soy

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From a film about the Odyssey (Zontul)

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From Wasteworld, dir Andrea Niada

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From A history of the Music Hall, Part 2

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Jumblies (Zontul)

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Captain Cod (Better off Out campaign)

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Aubade- titles for a film about a guitar: dir Henry Astor.

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Marie Lloyd from “A History of the Music Halls, part 2 by Tim Wilson” (Zontul)

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Introduction/ overture to “Trial by Jury” in development (Zontul. Music David Watson, Kanon editions) Gilbert and Sullivan

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Red is the colour of life: charity campaign and TV series in Turkey (Title sequence)

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Burlington Bertie (Animation & Voice Tim, music David Watson/ kanon editions)

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“Torture Cartoon” sponsored by Screen south, dir photography Richard Hering, animation by Tim. (Zontul)

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Bread father- Darende a personal history

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How to be Boss, What Plato says – Best animation 2012 (Reed) Animation by Tim, Music Juststeve.

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How to write a good essay – by Professor Tim Wilson (Zontul) animation and presentation

 

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Better off Out campaign 2016 – Betty Brexit

 

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From British History’s Biggest Fibs Episode 3 (17 animated sequences throughout the series and titles by Tim) Produicer: Nick Gillam Smith, presented by Lucy Worsley for BBC4

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From British History’s Biggest Fibs, part 1 (Richard III) 6 animated sequences by Tim

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Episode 2: British History’s biggest Fibs (5 sequences animated by Tim)

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Matilda sequence from “A history of the British Music Hall part 2” (animated by Tim, cel- painting by Necati Zontul), music by Kanon editions

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The Judge’s song from “Trial by Jury” (Zontul) by Gilbert and Sullivan (In development)

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Storyboard from Trial by Jury showing original blocking for the scene

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How Pleasant to Know Mr Lear (vocals: Thomasin Tresize, music David Watson, Kanon editions, other storyboards: the night I appeared as Macbeth, vocals Tim Wilson, arr David Watson.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Edward Lear Pictures

David Watson has put together many of the Edward Lear compositions to form a Suite. We shall post a version of this shortly. In the meantime, in celebration, here are some Edward Lear illustrations.

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Here is the Dong with a luminous nose-

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Daniel Radcliffe, Sitwell & Oxxxymiron

I am not a natural rap fan, but I am always impressed by people who do it with intelligence. Words are words after all and there is a history of rap arguably as old as the G&S nightmare song in Iolanthe, but certainly going back to Edith Sitwell and William Walton’s “Façade”, a series of sound poems or Klangdichtung. Sitwell simply called them an “entertainment”. This nonsense incantation is the stuff of magic and religion. With my own interest in Edward Lear, it is not perhaps surprising that I should be a fan of Façade!

Sitwell first performed Façade standing behind a painted curtain and speaking through a papier-mâché megaphone, the “Sengerphone”. Noel Coward hated it.

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I did the 1951 version of Façade in a concert a few years ago and have always thought how well it would animate! The rapidly morphing images would lend themselves to gloriously anarchic animation. The concert version is much briefer than the revised 1977 version and Walton’s music is tremendous. It is, however, fiendishly difficult to remember all the words because the whole piece is predicated on nonsense. But great fun.

Below is my version of the Cecil Beaton portrait from late in her life. I suppose this was Beaton’s take on the famous triple portrait of King Charles. It was all done with her head poking out of bits of torn paper. Very interesting.

At the time, her personality was probably more important than her poetry, but I think if it is considered in the context of the modern rap movement, Façade becomes much more significant.

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I saw Daniel Radcliffe rap the “Alphabet Aerobics”. Really very impressive.

Here is a link which I hope Youtube does not remove:

Meanwhile, I urge you to follow Miron Fyodorov, now known as “Oxxxymiron” whose work, though so far in Russian, is clearly clever and punchy. Heavily influenced by Grime, (and better than Guf) he is very keen on the Rap-fighting thing and has some bookings next year in Canada when he promises to do something in English. Meanwhile, he is writing his third album.

Here is a song from his second Album “Gorgorod” which tells a story through a series of rap pieces. This song was, I think, censored by the TV screening. I was in the audience (the show was the Russian equivalent to the Graham Norton show, or The late late show with James Corden in the US) and afterwards the host of the show, Ivan Urgant I think, gave me a signed T-shirt asking me publicly (to much mirth from the rest of the Russian-speaking audience) whether (a) I spoke any russian at all, and (b)if I understood what was going on. I confessed that I had not the slightest idea but that I was a dutiful member of the audience and I knew my job was to laugh and applaud. It was clear, anyway, that Miron was in complete control!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-man-who-was-raised-in-slough-and-raps-in-russia-8324127.html

oxxxymiron-by-tim

Trial by Jury -the “Tenniel” style

Just getting to the point where the judge can be coloured.

The 19th Century woodcut illustration industry was very peculiar. So while Leech, Tenniel, Phiz (Halbot Knight brown), Dore and co produced very fine and very quick drawings, these were then copied by craftsmen called “woodpeckers” and turned into prints. In the case of the Punch cartoons, this process must have been accomplished in a matter of days and some of it is astoundingly complex. The best “peckers” in the business seem to have been the Dalziel brothers who worked on the Tenniel Alice illustrations of 1865 and 1871 as well as Moxon’s Tennyson poems of 1857.

 

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The wood engraving process was different to that used in the late middle ages. The woodcut used the plank wood or side grain, and tend to be larger using bigger tools, but for Tenniel and co, the end grain was used on very hard wood (boxwood/ Buxus sempervirens, though lemonwood is also used) and the quality of detail compared favourably with copper and steel engraving or even etchings. The wooden blocks are often worked on stuffed leather pads which allow the craftsman to work at almost any angle, a bit like a modern Cintiq and the resulting block could be printed with ordinary letter-press rather than using a special printing press as in the case of steel, copper or etchings.

The wood engraving process was expensive and labour intense. Gustav Dore, for example, could not find a publisher prepared to cough up the funds to print his illustrations to the Inferno, so in 1855, he self-published the book which not only continues to be reprinted but both made him a household name and a tidy profit.

There were cheaper and quicker processes available. The Voltaic press (electrotyping) allowed for a greater print-run but the same woodblock seems to have been the starting point and litho-prints allowed for colour but until the late 19th Century had very limited print runs. The photomechanical systems introduced by 1893, the year Tenniel was knighted,  pretty well destroyed the woodprint industry overnight.

Our “Trial by Jury” images try to nod towards the style of the “woodpeckers” and accordingly I have been “inbetweening” crosshatching effects. It demonstrates how time-consuming and effective was the original craft.

 

Ola Kala

While there is a fairly good account of the introduction of the expression OK into the UK in the song “Walking in the Zoo” sung by Alfred Vance, the Great Vance, one of the great “lions comiques”, it probably emerged from the Greek migrant population in Boston or New York and is first recorded in use in 1839.

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The sheet music here is decorated with a drawing by Richard Childs and dates from 1871.

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Sakis Rouvas (whose birthday is tomorrow) popularised the term “Ola Kala” in a Greek pop song written by the American songwriter, Desmond Child in 2002. Child also wrote “she bangs” and “La vida Lorca” for Ricky Martin.

Trial by Jury, Judge’s song

Here is a post on progress on the Judge’s song from “Trial by Jury”.

This is a line test of the first verse. The Right arm and some of the body is still missing as well as the earlier frames of the pigtail and the pupils.

The animation was completed on the Harmony/toon boom system though I note the production of the brilliant and recently-screened “Ethel and Ernest” on BBC was done with TV Paint which seems to offer so much more opportunity in terms of textures and usability. Harmony was a wonderful tool when it was run by the Vogelesang family, particularly Lilly and Joan, but they were taken over by Corus entertainment in 2014 or so and it does not seem to have been the same ever since. I have been teaching in a school in Moscow that apparently promotes the software and it was a devil of a job to get it actually to work at all on the school machines. So much for Industry standard! I note the company also acquired Animo, Pegs’n’co and the Cambridge animation system, rival 2d animating software and has not made any effort to update any of these since, effectively smashing the opposition and leaving precious little choice.

Here is an earlier version:

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This is the finished “look”-

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First combined image of background and character…

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History of the Music halls part 2- progress

For the last year I have been grabbing time between lectures to make some progress on part 2 of the documentary talk about music hall. I have also been finishing some storyboarding for a couple of proposed films and some preparation for a BBC project, so it has been a full year! (That is by way of a preamble and an excuse for tardiness!)

Here is the full documentation on a piece I have just finished animating which is based on a song by Harry Champion:

First sketches:

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with jacket sleeves:

With coloured and shaded hat:

body sketched in:

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the tomato plant:

and adding the jacket design incrementally

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The finished product:

The Context:

The first part of the Music Hall documentary:

The Coburn scene developing:

Marie Lloyd scene:

The original song:

My animation:

The beginning of the film (Music Hall part 2)