Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Early Morning

So I woke up today as normal and got to work around 8:30am, when it quickly dawned on me that is was not 8:30 as I had thought. The time had changed over the weekend and I was the stupid one showing up at 7:30 to go to work. I got my coffee and bagel and went back to my desk to kill some time. Last week I was wondering around the department as so many of us do from time to time looking for some needed energy or just human interaction, when I walked into Sanjay's office one of my regular stops. As I sat down on his couch I noticed four Calvin and Hobbes books sitting next to me. Now it's been a while since I have looked at my collection of Calvin and Hobbes books but that day I kicked my self for not looking at them everyday. It might be said that the best books ever written about animation are the "Illusion of Life", or "The Animator's Survival Kit" and it's true they are the best but I think any of the Calvin and Hobbes books can rival any Illusion of life and survival kit book out there. Just looking at one strip you can learn just as much about animation than you can in any other book. Squash and Stretch, Anticipation, Timing, Staging, Appeal, Solid Posing, Exaggeration, and you could probably say Arcs, Slow in and Slow out, Overlap and Follow Through, Pose to Pose and Straight Ahead, and Secondary action are in each strip as well. Then most importantly each strip is entertaining, Heart felt, imaginative and focuses entirely on Story, which in animation are also the most important aspects of successful film or shot. You could probably ask any person working in feature animation today and they at one time or another if not still were inspired by the work of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. I know I was. I would stare for days at strips and drawings like these.

-Dr. Stephen G.


Blogger Dan said...

Watterson's strips are great, in fact comic strips in general (at least the good ones) are great sources of inspiration/ reference for animators.
As animators/ storytellers the need to get the point quickly and clearly in order to keep our audiences attention is essential. Comic strip artists share the same need...they need to tell their story in an average of 3 to 8 panels..

Kudos Doc
From the East Coast

9:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm... Never thought of that before. The Complete Calvin & Hobbes is out now for only about $120. Two gigantic hard bound books. Owning that would give you something new to look at almost everytime you opened it.

10:07 AM

Blogger jeff said...

bill watterson went to my college, actually, and he once gave a lecture showing his life drawings and personal artwork..
man can that guy draw! i mean he has an incredibible visual vocabularly and really understands form. He spoke a bit about this and how important posing was in conveying what went on before the first frame even started.

10:57 AM

Blogger Drew said...

absolutely wonderful. when i didn't know what i was going to do with my life, i knew that calvin and hobbes would be an influence. watterson was an artist, but he told visual stories. everything in these books are great material for short films, features, anything the story-teller wants to tell. great stuff.

11:19 AM

Blogger Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Man I love comic books! So much rich information in there. I especially love the work of Uderzo and Janry (Asterix and Spirou), but Calvin and Hobbes are fantastic as well. I should read them more often as well...

- Benjamin

11:37 AM

Blogger Stephen said...

I remember when I was much younger reading Calvin & Hobbes in the newspaper. Its been a while since I've taken a look at it. I did enjoy it back then, so that Complete Calvin & Hobbes set is really tempting.

1:07 PM

Blogger amelia said...

I had heard of Calvin and Hobbes, but did not realize how great it was until this summer, when I went to Maui. I picked up an old, slightly ripped and very used C and H at a rummage sale. I read the whole book in a matter of days, but I loved all of it! I still have it and I should look at them again...
But now to go trick-or-treating...


3:46 PM

Blogger Ryan Hagen said...

I've always loved Calvin & Hobbes. Such a great comic. I haven't looked at them in a while but you've got me Re-interested again...thanks.

5:14 PM

Blogger PixarVixen said...

I've never been a big Calvin and Hobbes fan, but from what you've said, I can see how those books would be useful.


6:04 PM

Blogger John O 3 said...

C&H has and always will be my favoriate comic strip. Not only are they entertaining, but can teach a great deal with each panel. Haven't read the series in awhile, but after looking this post a fan all over again!

6:09 PM

Blogger Ali said...

I religiously read my C&H collection over and over. Agree with you totally Stephen the poses and appeal in calvin and hobbes is second to none.

As far as appeal goes another comic thats unequalled is "get fuzzy" in my opinion , especially the cat "bucky"

8:48 PM

Blogger JohnDownUnder said...

Calvin and Hobbes has always my favorite stipes in the newspaper. The facial expressions and body poses have made them some of my favorite books to reference when animating.
(My wife eventually talked my out of nameing our future son Calvin, and buying him a stuffed tiger for his first toy.)

9:31 PM

Blogger Adam Strick said...

WOW! Out of 12 whole comments no one took the time to give Stephen a hard time for going in to work an hour early! hahahaha! oh man, good stuff Stephen!

7:25 AM

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10:43 AM


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