Friday, July 22, 2011

Influences on "The Barley Way": From Floyd Gottfredson to Stephen Hawking

One of the biggest influences on the drawing style of "The Barley Way" was comic strip artist Floyd Gottfredson. I first became aware of his work while volunteering at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. In the beginning of my 4th year at Sheridan, I talked about Gottfredson's work with Mark Mayerson, he kindly offered to share his collection of Gottfredson strips with me.

The biggest inspiration I took from Gottfredson were his poses. Whenever I was stuck for a pose I looked at his Mickey comics for inspiration. The most literal interpretation can be seen in the size chart:

But uses in the film itself were more subtle. I was fascinated with how Gottfredson sometimes draws the overall shape of two limbs as if they were one limb, I marvelled at how it created an appealing silhouette.

I tried to apply this principle in original poses that weren't taken from his comic strips.

A more obvious Gottfredson influence is the 'sideways mouth' on Beanton:

By the way did anyone catch the homages to science? In the picture above, Beanton unfolds Stephen Hawking's black hole entropy equation, just one scene later, the telescope interface shows the name of a nebula near which alcohol clouds sufficient to make 400 trillion pints of beer can be found-- I learned about the former from my classmate Tanya.

BTW, Beanton's first level of forms is influenced by a baby Swan from Bob Clampett's "A Corny Concerto". Influences from the Looney Tunes realm will be explored in a separate post.


Joshua Marchant (Scrawnycartoons) said...

Very interesting, now that you point it out, I can see the Gottfredson influence.

I love those baby geese too, like too balls connected by a long thing tube. Crazy!

Thad said...

Hey Amir,
Glad to see that Gottfredson disc has been making its rounds. Mark got that collection from me. I bought it on eBay about four years ago. I took a huge chance with this low-feedback seller offering a DVD-R with high quality scans of the complete run of Gottfredson's serials... Turned out to be the best $50 I ever spent!

Be sure to pick up the Fantagraphics collections. Volume 1 was awesome, but Volume 2 will be where he really starts to hit his stride! Rank heresy it may be to say so, but I think Gottfredson got the appealing Mickey down long before Fred Moore did...

David said...

Hey Amir
Thanks for sharing some of your influences for your animation. As an up and coming artist, who is also doing John K's Cartoon College lessons, I like to know animators inspiration and influences for their work.
I thought 'The Barley Way' was well put together and enjoyable.

Well Done

Amir Avni said...

Joshua- Thanks for your great feedback!
Aren't those geese awesome?

Thad- thanks for sending that around! I'll be sure to check the Fanagraphics collections!
I'm open to the idea that Gottfredson may have been there first, Both Moore and Gottfredson did such appealing and inventive work!

David- I'm really glad you enjoyed the film and the walk down influence lane. I'll post more on that when I can find the time.

Peace :)