Sunday, July 14, 2013

UPA building design

I tried some drawing exercises of buildings.  I'm not particularly happy with the result so I'm going to continue to draw until I start producing something I can show.

In the meantime I put together this composite of a tall building from the UPA cartoon Magoo's Masterpiece.
See Magoo on the sidewalk?  He enters the building and camera pans up to the roof.  (Sorry for the side-gaps in the composite... I tried to put this together in Photoshop and I guess I still have some learning to do).

Apparently I missed the furious blog-bulletin board discussion from perhaps 3 or 4 years ago regarding UPA.  Some folks think they are an atrocity... others love them.  If I had chimed in I would have been in the camp that loves them.

I mean, look at this building.  It was a pan shot... and a very funny one... starting with Magoo marching in the front door through a police cordon and continuing up to the rooftop.  The quality of the drawing is so impromptu, so spontaneous... it required an extra-large poster board, that's for sure.  And yet the shapes and the colors are perfect.

Pete Burness was the director, and design is credited to Sterling Sturtevant (who incidentally was a gal,
Credits panel for Magoo's Masterpiece

Well, a lot of folks have a lot to say about UPA and the modern-art style they brought to cartoons.  This gentleman wrote a dissertation on that very subject and I happen to agree with him.  UPA represented a break from Disney and their realistic style of cartooning.  I love them both... and apparently so did Ward Kimball when he adopted the style and oversaw the Disney classic Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom.*

*Incidentally, this is an extremely clean copy and the use of color is extraordinary, demonstrating that Disney did UPA better than UPA did UPA.  I'm sorry... there's no beating Disney.  Hands down they were the best.  One man's opinion, of course.  But at age 5 I began watching UPA and absolutely loved their cartoons... in other words I "got" it.  Apparently not everyone does, or maybe they get it but they dislike what they get.  I dunno.  I do know that an appreciation of their style has stayed with me through the rest of my life.