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Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 17. August 2006

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Between the classic films of Walt Disney and the televised animation revolution of the 1960s was a critical decade in animation design. Amid Amidi, publisher of the influential "Animation Blast" magazine and Cartoon Brew blog charts the evolution of the modern style in animation, which abandoned the preferred "lifelike" anthopomorphic look for a more sophisticated and often abstract approach. In this way, animation design of the time has much in common with the modern movements in painting and graphic design. Gathering hundreds of rare and forgotten sketches, model boards, cels, and film stills, "Cartoon Modern" is a thoroughly researched, eye-popping, and delightful account of perhaps the most critical era of animation design.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Amid Amidi is the publisher and editor of the magazine Animation Blast and cofounder of the popular animation blog In addition to writing, Amidi works in the animation industry. The author of The Art of Robots (0-8118-4549-4), he lives in Los Angeles.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 31 Rezensionen
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'Thought I'd Died and Gone to Cartoon Heaven 25. September 2006
Von Iconophoric - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Like many of my peers, as I grew up, my interest in animation gravitated toward the full animation of the Golden Age: Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, et al, for a long while disdaining any form of animated minimalism, even the kind represented in this book. By the age of 7 or 8, we had come to associate Top Cat, Deputy Dawg, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and all the minimal animation that had once been among our favorites with shoddy cheapness. (Even as a small child, I remember several of us sitting around talking about cartoons, and laughing to scorn at the way the same background tree kept passing every couple of seconds in Hanna-Barbera chase scenes. We wondered, did they think we weren't catching that?!) 'Limited animation', those dread words, became poision for all us growing young animation fans.

I'm not sure when my respect and interest in minimal/modern animation returned in a changed form, but I think it had to be in the mid 80s, when the best of UPA appeared suddenly on a couple of VHS tapes: Gerald McBoing Boing, The Tell-Tale Heart, Unicorn in the Garden, Christopher Crumpet, The Rise of Duton Lange, Family Circus, etc. On the rebound, the '50s fine art/graphic design style of these cartoons knocked me out. After seeing these shorts, I started seeking out more examples of this style of animation in old TV commercial reels, and then started noticing the style spilling over into point of purchase, packaging design and magazine ads of the period. By this point, I was a fatally hooked "modern."

This book will throughly scratch the itch of those baby boomers whose earliest TV memories may include those brief Tom Terrific segments from Captain Kangaroo, as well as the younger reader who will feel the irresistable draw of a very strong retro style. The pictures (and there are a ton of them) are pretty, and instantly evocative, and the text hits a smart median between scholarly and entertaining.

Five stars. If you have anyone with any level of popular art/film/animation/graphic design interest on your Christmas list, I'd bear this book in mind.
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Eye and mind candy-for lovers of animation and all art & design 31. August 2006
Von PonyExpress - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This long awaited book is a typically clever, eye-popping treat from Chronicle Press. The author is a well-versed authority on this particular aspect of animated cartoons--the brilliant, trend-setting and still-potent design of the 1950s. Arranged in chapters alphabetically by studio, each page is filled with treasures in color and line. Inside you'll find beautiful examples from such famous studios as UPA("Gerald McBoing-Boing", "Mr. Magoo", "Rooty-Toot-Toot", etc.), Warner Bros(the work of Maurice Noble in tandem with Chuck Jones, among others) and Disney--and many almost unknown studios whose output is liberally displayed. It's all inspiring, and it's fascinating to realize that although the overrriding fifties sense of style is hot right now, these men and women of the grey flannel past are still way ahead of almost all of us. Amid Amidi's text is intelligent and informative, an apt accompaiment. Artists, animators, cartoon lovers and afficionados of midcentury modern design have to have this.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Beautiful Source Book and Treasury 9. Januar 2010
Von margot - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
An impeccably produced oblong with the lush and precise production typical of Chronicle Books, this is a visual delight for anyone. It is more a source book, an anthology of animation styles, than a serious study of animation-art history. It focuses almost entirely on the 1950s, which is understandable. In our collective pop memory, the minimalist, rather expressionistic look of advertising animation is as bound up with that decade as tailfins on cars. Often this style is called the "UPA look," after the signature style of John Hubley's animation studio. Typical examples are "Gerald McBoing-Boing" and the "I Want My Maypo" commercial. This form of animation used techical shortcuts--scant background, few in-betweens--but tried to make a virtue of these limitations. Excellence in design and inventiveness in storytelling made up for lack of detail.

Parenthetically one should note that this pared-down look also dominated commercial illustration, notably the early Andy Warhol and Tomi Ungerer. Of course, it was probably still-illustration that influenced animation rather than the other way around. When the commercial-art fashions changed, around 1960, the UPA style of the 50s began to look old-hat.

When it first took hold, animators and producers regarded this style as modern and contemporary, and insisted on painting everything with a UPA flavor. Terrytoons, best known for endless cat-and-mouse antics, experimented with minimalism and came up with the spindliest doodle of all, the "Tom Terrific" segment from "Captain Kangaroo."

The style subverted even the conventional product of the Disney animators, as can be seen in old Mickey Mouse Club animated segments (go to YouTube and find Jiminy Cricket's "Encylopedia" song) and in "101 Dalmatians." Here let me make an intriguing segue: the visual style of "Dalmatians" was also influenced by the loose, sketchy line drawings of Ronald Searle. Searle's line came to dominate the 60s and 70s, in both animation and editorial cartooning. The old UPA look, with its spindly lines and 50s minimalism, got swallowed up into that. Probably this was because the dense, inky Searle look was adaptable both to illustration and to animation, while the UPA look was not. You could not draw political cartoons in the style of Mr. Magoo. Illustrators who maintained a 1950 style into the 60s were few and far between. Virgil "ViP" Partch was avant-garde in the 40s and 50s, but his "Big George!" strip of the 1960s never got out of the second-string comic-strip league. When Dave Berg of Mad magazine began his "Lighter Side of..." series in the late 50s, he used a commercial-art style that was a perfect synthesis of Partch and Hubley. Within a few years Berg shed the 50s look for a self-taught naturalistic style.

It should be noted that most limited-animation projects never looked much like either Hubley or Searle. Seamus Culhane, a traditional cel animator from the 1930s, created his own pared-down style. Looking at his old commercials from the early 50s ("I Like Ike," "Ajax the Foaming Cleanser"), you are not aware of any modernistic minimalism. Similarly, Jay Ward, and Hanna and Barbera used the technical shortcuts of the process without drawing attention to them.

Most of the animators covered in this book, and arranged in loose alphabetical order, are forgotten today. The book is fun to dip into and browse through, letting your eyes run over the endless ad stills for cat food and soda pop, drawn many years ago by tiny one- and two-man studios, all working very hard to look like everyone else.
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Modernistic Cartoons: WHAM-O 26. August 2006
Von George Griffin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Forget "limited animation," decline of the "golden age," fairy tales and cuddley cuteness. This gorgeous sampling of abstract cartoon animation design from the dynamic postwar era examines shorts, industrials, TV spots, feature titles. Amidi's insightful comments hint at the delirious blend of bebop rhythm, lefty politics, spatial/tonal compression, and optimistically experimental world-view that fueled the renaissance. An artbook for your Noguchi coffee table that celebrates little-known studio designers and provokes further debate on animation history.
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More biography than imagery 5. April 2008
Von Michael D. Kelley - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I absolutely love 50's (and early 60's) animation styles, so based on the other reviews here I eagerly awaited this book. It was a huge letdown.

First of all, the majority of content here is biographical information about the artists who created this art. As such a nice piece of scholarship and research, and giving these artists their just rewards is a Good Thing. But that's basically all there is.

Yes, there are some images, even quite a lot, but the artwork isn't large or arranged in a manner to make any sense (other than as biographical material). There are a few tantalizingly good images, but the vast majority are small, rather pedestrian and, oddly enough, not particularly indicative of the style of the period.

The author sets great store by "unconventionalism", but in point of fact the art of the 50's and 60's did become conventional -- it became its own convention. And this kind of historical perspective is sorely missing here, in large part due to the way the material is organized (it's strictly a studio by studio look -- no timeline or growth of the art is presented in any way. Each studio is given a page or two, and the studios are listed alphabetically).

If you are into cartoon history *facts* then this book will be a goldmine of information for you. If, like me, you are more interested in the visual aspects of the art then I'd strongly recommend skipping this and spending the money either renting or buying some of the cartoons from that time period that are available on DVD (contrary to the author's opinion, much of the stuff IS available: once again, his bias towards the unconventional means that he overlooks the majority of work of that time period).
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