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:

 

More storyboard illustrations from TRIAL BY JURY

Here are some more (the order is not correct)

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hark the hour of 10 is sounding

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campaign 1816campaign 1815campaign 1814campaign 1813campaign 1812campaign 1810campaign 1809campaign 1811campaign 1808campaign 1807

hearts with anxious fears aboundingcampaign 1806campaign 1805campaign 1804campaign 1803campaign 1802

Upon the other side…campaign 1802campaign 1801

What he may say you needn’t mindcampaign 1800

from bias free of every kindcampaign 1799campaign 1793

oh listen to the Plaintiff’s casecampaign 1792

the broken hearted bridecampaign 1791campaign 1790

More Matilda

Here are some videos showing progress on the Matilda song

In the “Harmony system” used here, I am inbetweening drawings by drawing between the red (the previous drawing in the sequence) and green (the next drawing in the sequence) In this song, because there is so much action, I am drawing every frame (25 frames/ second) whereas many Disney films rely on 12 frames/ second with every frame exposed twice. This more labour-intensive approach should guarantee much smoother action.

The upper body is sketched in with rough lipsynch in blue

here the arms are encased in jacket sleeves and the whole jacket is added to the figure. Matilda is sketches roughly in blue. For a fuller image, see the end of the previous post (Showreel)

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.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more Edward Lear!

Lear wrote some many limericks that there is really no end to the number of crazy drawings possible. Here are a couple of pictures for the new film that are loose versions of what we are also trying to animate for the “Following Lear” project – when it gets properly or fully financed! In the meantime..

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Oh and here is one I did yesterday with a picture of Stirling castle in the background. Sometimes, I rather miss the days when I was at St Andrews… Scotland is such a glorious country in all respects!

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BBC and Edward Lear

Lucy Worsley’s first episode of “British History’s Biggest Fibs” aired last night and some very positive reviews in the Press today. My graphics looked very good and, indeed, I noticed that my Shakespeare drawing got used rather more than I expected! All worthwhile. Do, meanwhile, check it out on BBCiplayer!

The title changed a few times during production, so here is a different version of the title sequence:

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Next week is the Glorious Revolution (a contrast to the french Revolution, of course) and the final week will be the British Raj.

The Producer wrote to me today to say that the first programme had got an audience of 1.3 million, very good indeed for BBC4 which usually gets audiences of about 500,000.

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Meanwhile, here is my version of a painting Lear did in 1863 of the island of Philae which will accompany “the Lear Suite” by David Watson:screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-18-08-51

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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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The Judge in colour

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Above is a spy cartoon of Gustav Doré

meanwhile, here is the first proof of the judge in colour-

There are shadows to add.

Meanwhile, I was rebuked yesterday for writing a piece about woodprints and not drawing a picture of Gustav Doré, (32-83) the French master.

Doré is best known for his wood engravings, but he is also well-represented in his hometown of Strasbourg by huge biblical oil paintings. He was already in print by the age of 15for the periodical “Le Journal pour rire”.

Rather disturbingly, he was involved in the illustrations for a fairly abhorrent anti-semitic “Juif Errant”.

His printed work stretches from a 1854 edition of russian images to an 1884 edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s the Raven confirm him as one of the truly great European artists. I am particularly fond of the Paradise lost in 1866, Idylls of the King in 1875 and the Dante which he was working on from 1857 to 1867. In 1876, he did a book on London which has informed most of the films set in Victorian slums and was almost literally reproduced by John Box and Terence Marsh for Caron Reed’s version of “Oliver!”

Terence Marsh, who won an academy award for the Oliver designs, indeed, was also nominated for the designs of “Scrooge” a few years’ later so he had his fill of Victoriana. John Box was the art director on the Asquith production of The Importance of Being Earnest with Joan Greenwood and Edith Evans, but he was also production designer on Lawrence of Arabia and A passage to India (in 1984)

Here is my sketch of Monsieur Doré:

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