Thursday, February 27, 2014

Flip book animation in a paperback


Some of you know that my career began in the animation business, and that I have dabbled in animation alongside painting and writing.

When I was doing science fiction paperback covers, I convinced my art director, Gene Mydlowski, to let me animate a flip book movie in the corners of the pages of the Alan Dean Foster novel "Quozl." I called the technique "Flip-a-Mation," and it was perfect for this story, about a race of rabbit-like aliens who arrive on earth, looking a bit like Warner Brothers cartoon characters.

I recently rediscovered the file folder with the 100 original drawings that I did for the Flip-a-mation sequence. Using my digital camera and free software called "Time Lapse Assembler" I was able to reshoot the sequence and add some sound effects.
(Video Link)

13 comments:

Tom Hart said...

Sorry if this is off-topic...Some of your latest posts make me wonder if you just might be engaged in the same project I am at the moment. That is, I'm going through my old sketch books and other work to weed out some stuff that I can live without. Turns out I have a ton of warm up and gesture drawings that no one would possilby miss. But to be honest, there are a few "gems" (by my standards, anyway) too. Any tips on the weeding process? Or storage techniques for the kept work?(Sorry if I'm jumping to conslusions...)

Eugene Arenhaus said...

So you did that! :) I was really surprised by that tidbit in the book when I got it as a gift. Never seen anything like that in a paperback before, and I don't think I've encountered it since.

James Gurney said...

Eugene, yes, my buddy James Warhola and I proposed a whole line of Flipamation sequences for other science fiction books, but Ace books had no budget to pay for it (100 drawings was a lot of work!). So the idea wasn't repeatable, even though it was really fun.

Tom, I have weeded mostly my figure drawings, which I don't feel too connected with, as they're just a learning experience. I save about 10% of the best or most characteristic drawings that show what I was grappling with at the time. I also add a signature or date or explanation if it's missing. And yes, I've been working on a few different new projects, including new instructional videos -- and some new animation.

Jacob A Stevens said...

I didn't know you had a background in animation! How cool!

Would you ever be willing to do a process breakdown for something like this? I've tried animating by hand and I can never get it to be nearly this smooth and expressive!

T. Arispe said...

What an awesome idea! It doesn't surprise me that you're a great animator.

Christian said...

How cool is that! :-)
I think the original book has never been published in Germany but I remember the cover very well being reprinted on the cover of a famous roleplaying-magazine in the early nineties.
I always loved the creature design and the humor of the illustration.

Amazing animation!!
Thanks for sharing!


Charles Johnson said...

This takes me way back -
When I was a boy my great-grandmother lived with us and she had literally hundreds of pulp romance paperbacks.
I spent many a Saturday afternoon turning the margins into Sergio Aragones inspired flip book animations.
For years she would come across them, thinking I had defaced her library, but never saying a word. One day she asked me why I drew in her books, so I showed her the animations, and she was thrilled by it.

CC said...

James! Just got done reading "Imaginative Realism" & saw another book by you & Thomas Kinkade listed in the back. I found an out of print copy & just started reading about the adventures of The Hoisters! ;) I am really enjoying it as I'm a house bound artist with a chronic illness, & I can live outside vicariously thru' you guys! What fun you must have had! And you're still looking like you're having fun with your art. (Your young you looks like you! LOL!) Anyway, thanks for sharing this flipamation & all the other interesting things you share on our email updates! What a blessing you are!

Jean At Home said...

Thanks, James, for taking the time to animate it and make me smile. It came at just the right time.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, CC, and Jean. Glad to perk up your day. I'm having fun, too, and had to smile when you said that "Your young you looks like you! ".

Wiccan Pope said...
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NJL said...

That is really charming. As I've explored your blog and read Imaginative Realism, I've delighted in seeing all the hands-on work you've done in sculpting, phtography, and even making animated menus - and now this! It just goes to show how rich a life in art can be, even one with so much time dedicated to mastering painting.

Real fun stuff. By the by, who did the music/sound for the short? What is the backwards-sounding bit just prior to the slip?

James Gurney said...

Thanks, NJL. The sound effects were all from iMovie's sound library.