Friday, December 26, 2008

R.O. Blechman's "Simple Gifts" - Prologue

Prologue to R.O. Blechman's animated television special "Simple Gifts" . This prologue piece is designed by Maurice Sendak, animated by Ed Smith , with watercolor by Sara Calogero. Music by Arnold Black. The entire special was directed by R.O. Blechman. The quality on this clip is not the greatest since it is from an old VHS tape recording of the show. As far as I know PBS has not aired this again in recent times. It's a beautiful Christmas special that really should be released on DVD.

Richard O'Connor has posted an original drawing from this sequence on his blog :

Original Art from "Simple Gifts" click HERE

O'Connor relates this about animator Ed Smith:

Once I asked Ed Smith (who animates in ink) what he does when he makes a mistake.

His response: "I'll let you know when that happens."



roconnor said...

This sequence was based on a Christmas Card that Sendak had sent out prior to the production of [i]Simple Gifts[/i].

It's my understanding that this was the only work he did on the piece -although Michael Sporn would know better.

Tim said...

I tried animating in ink for a short while. While not mistake free (by far) it did force me to think differently. Not erasing, just starting on a new drawing allows you to be less self-critical. You simply push forward with your inspiration, and don't get bogged down with left-brain analysis.
Like doing gesture drawings in ink. You don't re-hash a bad drawing, you simply move on to the next. It's very freeing.

David said...

It does tend to make one focus carefully about putting down the lines . The trick is to not get too "careful" with the line , so it ends up being a dead drawing.

What amazes me about Ed Smith's work is that his line is so sure and vibrant . A real master.

I once worked on some commercials where the animator had animated with a Sharpie directly on cel and I was hired to inbetween his drawings , also working directly on the cels with a Sharpie, no working out ahead of time with a blue pencil under-drawing.

I've also worked in the technique where a "grease pencil" (Mars Omnichrom pencil) is used to draw directly on the cel. You can in fact "erase" the grease pencil by using a cotton swab or a piece of tissue, but it is still more of a direct technique, where as you say , "you simply push forward and don't get bogged down with left-brain analysis. "