Monday, December 27, 2004

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hamish lives upstairs in the hot loft.

Holes and Flaws
Thinking thinking. Um di doo. I have pains in my chest about the shape of the paper that I submitted weeks ago. Mmm. So many ellipses of sensible query and closure.

However there are new and exciting ventures ahead. Indeedy.
I do have animation waffle to 'submit' to this place I've called 'blog' for many months now.

Co Hoedeman talk at VCA
Peter Foldes' animation, "La Faim (Hunger)", Color Sound Film, The National Film Board of Canada, 1974. Interesting technique

Res Fest
VCA Screening
AIM screening
Sal's animation "Dog Gone" (I have to write about how it felt to animate in pencil and paper again..after a bit of a break)(Pretty nice)
Snazzy new must-have book called Animation Now. Such a great book! Such a crap name...and the cover, well I would be much happier if they'd pictured a Piotr Dumala still on the front.

See a good AWN article on Piotr Dumala
Or Pritt Parn. Anything but big green Shrek 3D face.
Currently listening to The Love Boat theme song. Such pleasant cheese.

Travelled up to Canberra with Hamish and Kirrily (the 2nd) today. 8 hours of non-stop fun. Many locusts were killed by our vehicle.

Christmas. Yee!
New Year. Yes it is coming. I resolve not to be cheeky.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Goss

If you want to know where its at go here: x

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The 'goss'

My library books are due back on the 17th of January.

David's snazzy dragon.
(see AIM link)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

Goodafternoon. The paper is in. I have finished. Well it is in and I haven't finished. Well I have finished, but it doesn't feel like I have. No I haven't finished because there is so much more to unravel from the shamozz of words delivered in the said paper. So I haven't. Finished. But maybe I have, I don't know. Such a mysterious world we live in.

Speaking of finished, because it has, I went to see the William Kentridge exhibition in Sydney last week. It was fantastic. It would've been a great exhibition to visit several times, as there were many animations to watch.
Thats all for today. Thankyou. Goodbye.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


.nearly there.
Here is my definition of improvisation.
∑ Improvisation is a creative act that generates form or content intuitively, in the moment without a set text to follow, for a continuous period of time. The outcome is true to the process; it is not edited during the act.

This definition talks of a timeframe, a state of mind, and a process. I would like to take this further and define improvisation as a technique that requires the following 'set up':
∑ Timeframe
∑ State of mind
∑ Process
∑ Technique
∑ (Level of) Skill

I wont be harping on anymore until the joyous paper is handed in.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Zdenek Miler (Czech ) is the creator of Krtek, or "little mole" . I remember feeling very moved by a couple of Krtek books as a little nipper.
I think all of the animations were made at Krátk˘ film, Prague.
I'll look into Kratky films later.

Little Beasties

Class Chilopoda
Order Scutigerida
Comon name: House centipede

The beastie (pictured on the far left) was scuttling around the picture rail in my room on Friday night. It's movement was fluid and swift and it's overwhelming clatter of legs fueled me with adrenalin. I had a vision of it hurtling into my bed and scuttling up my nose or in my ears. After a few jousts with a large stick and a flick of a rolled up bit of paper ( a piece of my research paper infact) it was tossed out the window. It writhed and wriggled as it fell one story down and landed with a "paff" onto a big pile of leaves. Yich!!

Animation research paper news......Well I've managed to chop out 3000 words. Now I just need to chop out another 3000. :(

I spotted a tortoise today on my travels. Well it's nostrils atleast. They were just popping out above the water cruising along. At first I thought it was just a pair of nostrils out for a swim, it was such beautiful weather today. Then softly his little eyes appeared along with a hint of shell. I really wanted to see his excellent little legs paddling away but he dissappeared. So I continued on my merry way, though as I turned back I saw the nostrils re-emerge further away.

And so. An excerpt from my paper. Just for me to ponder. Often I find that I tend to refine thoughts in the process of blogging.
:::::::::::::::::::improv paper:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Willliam Kentridge explores components of his narrative utilizing his rich source of experience that includes a long history of working with the same methods and materials and content/theme/characters.
One suggestion of a technique is to include improvisation in the production stage of animation, and to adhere to thorough pre-production exercises, as Kentridge does. The outcome of the work may reflect the animator’s current level of skill and this is precisely the point that needs to be made, that the technique of improvisation needs to, and can be acknowledged and developed as a skill, along with the many other skills that are necessary to develop as an animator. As with the comparisons I have given, there are dancers, musicians and theatre actors whom have improvised from very early on in their career, however those who choose to continue to work with improvisation as a technique to include, or to perform within their craft, have developed a sophisticated language that involves a developed skill of an improvisation technique. One could say that their pre-production has included this development of such a language.

Sea Slug Forum

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Mole
Lots to write.
Words about Kentridge in particular.
His films "Fragments for George Melies", and version of Melies' "Journey to the Moon".

The talk at VCA on Thursday.
Will write more soon.
I found a book illustrated by Jiri Trinka today, with original lithographs in it.

Friday, October 08, 2004


Roley Poley
by the London Stereoscopic Company©
The Anima site is so fantastic. Worth spending many hours reading and watching. I suggest the Optical toys section.

At the other end of my excitement is disgruntlement. I have to pare down my research paper.

Three Blind Mice (E.)
by the London Stereoscopic Company - 1870©
Both images from/for a Zoetrope, invented by William Horner (1786-1837)

Thursday, October 07, 2004

old bits of art

I found some old stuff from an exhibition in 96(?). Brown paper, ships and Morris the cow. Hmm. Nothings changed much.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


William Kentridge

Casspirs Full of Love


I am talking about different forms of engagement within the practice of the creative arts.
Improvisation is an exercised technique utilized and valued in many other creative mediums. On the basis of the case studies that I have been invesigating I have gathered examples that define improvisation as a valuable technique that can be utilized and practiced in the medium of animation. If one were to echo the techniques of the Playback Theatre or of the dancer Twyla Tharp to an animated production then this would position the improvisation technique into the highly structured process of animation. When animating, the creation of improvised drawings is not nearly as fast as moving one’s body around spontaneously or feeling and expressing an idea in the moment. However, if the animator using the straight ahead 2D technique has set up pre-production in such a way to allow for a sense of flow during their drawing process, (I argue) that this animator can improvise a) the movement of the subject, and/or b) the narrative.

I keep coming back to Kentridge, not because he proclaims to improvise, or because the narrative in his animation is solely improvised, but because his methods and animation process allows for improvisation. The content informs the process and the process informs the content. He resolves ideas in the moment through the process of animation.

"The drawings done for filming generally have to be done quickly. Speed in the drawing. Confidence of work…if not unconsciously, intuitively through the body, through the movement s of an arm.."
Kentridge from “Drawing the Passing Process", a documentary on the work of William Kentridge”.

Some other animators who have utilized improvisation (in many different ways)
Norman McLaren
Steven Woloshen
Bruce Bickford
Florence Miaihle
Caroline Leaf
Len Lye
Bill Plympton
Marv Newland

Improvisation in animation is not extensively written about. In documentation that pertains to the commercial animation industry the process is often acknowledged as a risk to valuable production time and risky in the sense of creating animation that is visually inconsistent. Documentation that investigates; history, aesthetics, small production houses and artists as animators, provides an acknowledgement and sense of value for improvised techniques.
As is the case with researching other creative arts practice, the question of “why do it?” is not the core reason behind the investigation. It is more a question of providing definitions of techniques that can be structured into the production process. Defining improvisation via the means of a comparative analysis houses these definitions within the frame of value.

The act of creation contains improvisation. I'm trying to define it as a technique so as to structure it into the maticulously planned medium of animation.

Definition of improvisation by director Frederico Fellini

"Improvisation is a mirage which tricks anyone who
does not know the technique needed in all creative work. Such a person thinks of inspiration as a kind of miracle, a hypnotic state that somehow settles all material problems. We aught to get rid of this legend of the inspired artist, living quite outside the world. The artist is responsible for what he does. He must use his own clear-sightedness to make something vigorous which respects the logic of the characters, the dynamic form of the film, and its technical demands. Improvisation becomes merely a certain form of sensitivity to the demands of the particular moment; for instance, when its a case of altering something at the last minute. In other words, it is concerned only with detail. The complete work must be carried out with mathematical precision."
Frederico Fellini, Fellini on Fellini, 1976, Eyre
Methuen Ltd. page 103
I think Fellini is defining what Csikszentmihalyi calls 'flow'.
Csikszentmihalyi ‘s theory of 'flow' July 25 blog
'Flow' is contained within the process of improvisation, improvisation is contained within the process of creativity. The shin bone is connected to the knee bone.

Now hear the word of the Lord.

Monday, September 27, 2004

hither and thither

Thoughts of the paper + how I've over stepped the mark and tried to stuff too much into it!! Oops.
In regards to animation I feel "all talk no action". Although, I am seized by a mild creative streak at the moment, and am starting to utilize certain combinations of sound and roughly animated little nippers. I've cobbled together a couple of "snippets" that are essentially sketches. They'll be making a cameo on my website (end of this week)(am hoping). One of them contains Ferret Face. It isn't animated yet, but he is there with all the sound. It is nice to have ideas on the boil. It'll be nice to kick some life into the inkwinks site too, so far its just links!
The moon is coming up.
I have been fiddling with a comic all afternoon because it is the wrong format for Going Down Swinging
. They chose the comic that I submitted offhand and didn't select the one that I (Liz)taylored especially. Sillys!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I still haven't finished.
I went to the Image Text and Sound Conference 2004 today. On the whole it has been a really interesting day. Sometimes 20 minutes just isn't enough (per speaker) but then I suppose thats what creates the frenzy and intrigue associated with such occasions.

I've been thinking about stories today. About how some people are little caskets of stories and some people are just ...not.
The ones who are caskets either a) have stories to voice, or b) have stories attached to them that you secretly know.
These thoughts of stories have been spurred on by the fact that for some reason, I have told my "octopus" story about three times (on different occasions) in the last week. Also its been really nice spending some time with an old friend and laughing as we revisit some old very b funny stories.

by T.S.Sullivant


Sunday, September 19, 2004

Morris Dancing

Last week I animated a little. It was one of my characters Morris. He sort of spins in all sixties like and then dances a little demented dance with his burnt matchstick sized legs. One leg keeps the funk, the other flips around willy nilly. I think only Michael Jackson could empathise with this manouvre. I could possibly pull it off with a couple of weeks training and a good deal less gravity. (it shall be popped up on my inkwinks site soon).

There are certain definitions within my paper that keep spreading. ...Which is nice I suppose. However I have realised that these have to be tethered and left to grow of their own accord. Partly the said definitions pertain to defining the creative process. .......maybe the problem is just that I have a feeling of being on the verge of containing some small thread of crisply concise words on the issue. Then I remember the dribs and drabs, husks and sniffs of Derrida's words that at one point lightly perused my thoughts and thus I realise that these "crisply concise words" are beginnig to wriggle and writhe once I begin to jab them a little. Thus thus thus
(i think Derrida should change his name. Once a week. Perhaps with a roster system)
The absolute problem however, is that I DON'T want those crisply concise words, that definition. My answer to definitions has always been a body ( I do believe I am talking about an artists book, a painting, an etching, a song) that contains the ideas woven in such a way so as to illustrate the intended concept. (not that I practice artistic pursuits 8 hours a day).
This is the subtext to my paper and I will leave it here. I leave it uncomfortably. Purposefully. Hoping that nobody will read it...leaving it up because it will niggle me to think that I've left this wodge of words that a) probably would confuse the pants off most. And b) it will be on my mind and possibly I will address these niggles during my slumber (I'll probably just dream of the chocolate and pear pizza that I ate for desert last night).
The joy of words. Images are so much more fun. People tend to be more objective with images. Or do they? This is where I start to veer into personification and anthropomorphism in animation. Which excites me. Though I'd probably spiral back into same paragraph as the one above. Become a loop.

image by Roland Topor

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Lull and Mooch

There are so many animation thoughts to pen and place here. My research has provided me with words for ideas, ideas for words, and with animations to lull me further into ....research. However I am still scratching the surface, I am certainly no academic, and I am only just starting to see the light and glimpse the word "closure" on the horizon.
I can't wait.

Last night I chatted with my house guest Toni about animation. She is putting together an "animation kit" for Screensound Australia at the moment, so it is nice to share thoughts on animation with her. I tried to explain Chris Hinton's FLUX. It needs to be experienced in a cinema methinx. We talked of the value of sound in animation.

I would really love to see "2D or not 2D" again by Paul Dreissen. Infact, I may well deem him Animator of the Month.
Paul Dreissen

Which reminds me. The Melbourne International Film Festival screened excellent animations this year and I've not imbued my blog with enough enthusiasm on the event as yet.
One of my favourites was 1+1 by Grigoris Leontiades

I am attempting to sew together certain aspects of my paper today. The Discussion, Results and Conclusion sections look as if what I've researched has come out in a sneeze.

Sneeze residue.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004



Thriftettes (1918)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Revisiting music that is soft and full in my heart.
Green Arrow. Yo La Tengo

Yesterday I visited P, he has just come out of hospital having just had an operation on his heart. He was dressed in pale blue pajamas covered in white clouds. My gift was strawberries.
Agnes smelly pooch seemed happy to have him back.
I talked to P about the film 'Tin TIn and I', how beautifully constructed it was, and how it touched upon certain ambiguities that occurred in WW2. Perhaps I wanted to tell P more about how touched I felt by the film. It didn't directly talk about Herge's actual crafting of Tin Tin, yet everything explored in the film pertained to the act of creating marks on a page, creating characters. Of expression through the creation of these characters. What an incredible life of drawing. Its funny, I didn't expect such a sensitive film.
Agnes McSmell and D left to see someone about sky lights. It struck me on this visit to P, of how little sky I cast my eyes on in my current climate. The clouds were beautiful yesterday.
P showed me one of the first books he had as a child. It had very rich colours and beautiful lithographic marks, washy tush tone and litho crayon. The typography was all hand set. It would have been an edition of 1100 (from memory?). 'Just' a book for children.
We looked at a few books illustrated by Jiri Trinka. They are fabulous and beautiful.
Then we looked at quite afew more illustrated books. (All in Czech). Two of them had the tale of 'Otesanek'. ( A traditional Czech folk tale. Jan Svankmajer animated a film of this story). Such magnificent books. Many more thoughts here...
I meant to write about the dvd "More Animation Greats" a National Film Board of
Canada collection (new at the RMIT library) that I watched the other day. Have to discuss later.
Lots of educational material housed in querky, funny and sometimes dull (too many Health and Safety messages for example) animation. Pick of the bunch was The Family that Dwelt Apart. It had fantastic narration. There was also a real corker by Richard Condie in 3D! La Salla. Bizarre and funny! I'll write about that one later.

Thoughts today.
Do animations have to be classified to assess/contextualize what kind of ideological 'charge' they carry/house deliver?
I have to leave this here. I'll faff up my words even more if I continue.
(my) Yo La Tengo (cd) finished filling the room with nifty ditties and salubrious e-bow tones too many moments ago.

Alan Mitelman exhibition. NGV. :)



Sunday, August 15, 2004

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Improv in Animation.
Back to business.
I now have a Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi book in my posession. All I want to do right now is finish my paper and get on with other projects.
I have a vision of a pile of paper (my coursework paper) sitting on the ground. Then some gangly little pooch comes along and sniffs at it quizzically. The pooch stands back and hesitates for a second and then barks at the pile. The papers jump up frightened, and then one by one they run off, zig-zagging into the distance as fast as they can. Never to be seen again.

I watched Houhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun (My Neighbors the Yamadas) last weekend. It was so lovely to see on the big screen. Such nice linework and design. It was very nice.
Also I went to see Tin Tin and I, a very excellent film indeed.
I received a very informative email from Steven Woloshon regarding his production technique for Cameras Take Five, and I am quite keen to see more of his animations.
Yesterday I was reading about Ub Iwerks and Disney, about their initial beginning as creators of animation and starting the production company. It is really interesting to read about them and that time frame, as it is quite an insight into the beginnings of ( a production's) inevitable juggling between money, talent, skill, motivation, time etc. Hmm.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Oops its been awhile. I haven't worked on my paper for over a week! I have put up a website finally. It is really not ready to be up yet, but on some good advice I've pulled up my socks and there it is ----->>> See inkwinks link
Theres no animation on it !! Not yet anyway. Since it has been up however, my small and excited brain has been aprickle with activity.

Things I want to write about but don't have time just now.
~Shrek #2 Loads of people(well animators seemingly) think its awful (the animation). Hmm I just want to pick this apart a little at some point. Is the dodgey lipsync annoying? Or can it be accepted as part of the style. How much does this matter and why?
~Melbs' International Film Festival animations. In particular Paul Dreissen's, which utterly tickled my every sense. I had to stop myself from humming "Mmmmmm, mmmmm"
Wow, such beautiful lines. Such lovely animation. Such incredibly well crafted sound. WHY did the audience shuffle so!! Ptthhh!
~The animation that Phil Mulloy wrote was very very nifty.
I'll come back and pop in details.
I am so tired, I think flash has aloped with part of my brain. Or induced some kind of inversion in there. Well at least I have the theme to GA-RA-KU-TA circling around in place of said brain. Now the GA-RA-KU-TA animations were truely remarkable.
Real thoughts later. This is just the pencil version.


Sunday, July 25, 2004



Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
a book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Explains the creative process and shows how creativity can enrich lives.

No time to blog.
There is so much to write here. Especially now that I am faced with sourcing some kind of psychological definition of improvisation. AF first put me onto Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I have not yet ventured into any of his writings, just the usual web search, which has proven to be insightful. I am intrigued and unsettled about someone "explaining" the creative process.
Here, I will just quickly jot down some mind flutters that I may or may not get back to.
+ High Brow/ Low Brow epistemological thoughts of sorts. ha!
There is a certain sound that I hear when I think of someone giving a "psychological explanation of the creative process". And that would be the sound of a balloon deflating.

All roads lead to poetry.

oW ow oW



Saturday, July 24, 2004



See James Patterson's PressTube

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

twylaTharp Movie
(Quicktime mov)

The thing about research is that it opens so many wonderful and intriguing doors, yet at the same time accentuates how much I don't know and how much more I need to know. AND findout.

Yesterday I talked to ES, a dancer who utilizes improvisation in the process of her work, and infact often will perform an improvised piece. We talked about Butoh.
An interesting article which contains an informative background to the practice of Butoh and an outline of (a) Butoh method "
Butoh dance, a radical dance form originated by Tatsumi Hijikata in the 1950s in Japan, has been more than a performing art. "

Also we talked about the dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp

Tharp's methodology (at one point in her career). (I will have to qualify this information, as I have gleaned it from the conversation with ES. Also note that the Tharp movie that I popped into the title of this entry is edited and choreographed. I know not if it is improvised.)

1. Tharp improvises a dance and records it, (the performance or act).
2. She then gives the video to the dance company she is working with and instructs them to learn the dance.
3. Then as she watches the dancers perform she choreographs the piece.

The final product is a choreographed piece that has utilized improvisation within the process.

An example and comparison of production methods.

1. Pre Production -improvise and record
2. Production -composit, into other bodies/performers
3. Post Production -choreograph/edit

1. Pre Production -improvise and record
2. Production -composit
3. Post Production -edit/choreograph

Does it need to be edited? No. This is just a method that Twyla Tharp has used and I am comparing it to an animation production process. The recording of the improvisation is a noteworthy point in this comparison.

Other things to note and extrapolate upon at some point. (SOON!)

+ The facility to record and playback an improvised piece. How this factors into improvisation techniques/outcomes in various media.
+ How various animation programmes incorporate this feature.
+ Improvisation is an unedited process, it is a creation realised (completed?) in the moment.
-Can it be edited?
-Is it still an improvisation?
-Yes. Improvisation is a technique that can be used in pre-production, production, and (even) post production.
-No. Though it has used the technique of improvisation within the production process to create the final piece.

+ The body. Acting and performing.
Animating a character is not just about making him/her/it smile and frown accordingly.
Essentially as an animator you are acting and performing through the medium of animation, the process of animating, which requires a certain set of skills and learned techniques. An example of one of these, in the case of my paper which focusses upon 2D animation, drafting skills . The "performing" character is a series of drawings, eg:12 to 25 drawings per second. Each drawing takes a certain amount of time to draft. Creation time outweighs performance time, which means the character can not be created and "perform" in realtime. IE: the animated character cannot perform live in the same way one can on stage with dance, theatre and music. So how can an animator improvise?*

+ Performing Improvisation = A state of mind, which also has to incorporate a state of mind/body.
In the case of animating, the actual crafting or creation of the medium requires the animator's expression of the mind/body to be realised through a series of sequential drawings through the physical act of hand eye coordinated movements.
The improvising animator has to combine a state of mind/body with the physical act of hand eye coordinated movements that essentially create a performance through sequential drawings of a character.

To be improvising while animating one either needs to be drawing quite quickly (good drafting skills, cartoonist, abstract marks) to remain in "flow", or one needs to be able to create this sense of flow and remain focussed in a slower time frame (eg Kentridge).
Kentridge has his studio, technique and pre production set up in such a way so as to provide for this kind of focus and/or flow.

There is so much more to unravel and pick at in the previous parragraph. Infact alot of what I have written is quite problematic, and the definitions need to be grappled with and ironed out. but there it is for now.

I watched Shrek 2 last night. I also interviewed DD from Playback Theatre Company.
We talked about timing. Which factors into the value of improvisation.
+ Voice actors improvising.
+ Improvising with other actors.


*Note: Already in this blog I have given a hypothetical technique to animate in realtime to music, using abstract marks. See blog entry: July 9 2004, Quick Sticks.

Monday, July 19, 2004

I've not really written too much about the sense of story as yet.
This would fit into the value of improvisation (re my paper).
I should be reading a whole lot of books that are specific to acting. eg


Oh I think I hear the scope of my paper exploding again.

When is this paper due in?

......mumble mumble mumble

Improvisation links.

Melbourne Playback Theatre Company
Playback Theatre is a unique form of improvised theatre, presented by a team of professional actors and a musician.
A  performance is led by a conductor, who facilitates the sharing of audience stories and experiences. The actors and musician then re-enact stories,
using a variety of improvisational forms. The immediacy of group and personal experiences is transformed by the power of theatrical performance. Playback may be humorous, poignant or revealing all in the same show. Playback is a mirror to the experiences of the audience.
The Melbourne company is part of a world-wide network of independent Playback Theatre Companies

I'll be chatting to Daniel Diessendorf (from Playback) tomorrow about improvisation. I'll be asking about the technique and process Playback use and why one would improvise.

What I am searching for today are reference-able definitions of improvisation in varying art forms, mediums and creative practices. I am finding it hard to word and or express with clarity ( in my paper) WHY one would improvise. Even though the answer sits close to my heart. So there it is, my words come out sounding so esoteric and whimsyfluff. This is actually something I have felt right from the word go with this paper, which almost lead me to write on other matters. So here is my challenge.

Here. Theres a good definition on the Canberra Playback site.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

A Winter's Day

A W D new link 7/9/04

I've just discovered an animation that relates to Marv Newland's Anijam. A Winter’s Day is an animation film that draws it's technical concept from the Japanese literary form of the renku. Thirtyfive animators from around the world respond to a Matsuo Basho poem. Matsuo Basho is one of Japan's most famous haiku poets, celebrated for popularizing renku, a chain poem in which different poets take turns to compose haiku verses.

I haven't found any more information on techniques so I'll just pop up the link and a quote for now.
“Actually its directed by 35 animators from all over the world, primarily from Japan though. They took a long poem and each director took a haiku and they did it in animation, using their own particular style. Its quite interesting and quite amazing all the various animation styles” Dave Chua, organizer of Animation Nation, Singapore’s Animation Film festival. 2004

Mark Baker has animated a short (1’40”) sequence for Imagica Japan’s film “Winter Days”. Animators from around the world have interpreted the 36 linked verses (renku) contained in Matsuo Basho's poem "Fuyu No Hi" (Winter Days).

Krazy Kat


I've just watched Origins of American Animations 1900-1921.
It included some splendiverous animations of George Herriman's Krazy Kat.
Krazy Kat Goes A-Wooing was animated by Leon Searl. It is lovely but seems to lack the true Herriman touch.
Krazy Kat - Bugologist feels more in tune with the sensibility that is apparent in the Krazy Kat comics. Krazy Kat - Bugologist was the only one actually directed by Herriman himself it seems. These are both fromm 1916, Hearst/International Film Service.

Men's Styles
A very lovely animation animated by Harry S. Palmer and produced by the Gaumont Company.
Arthur "Pop" Momand's comic strip (1913), "Keeping Up With the Joneses", was the basis for this 1915 animation.

It is so nice to see the act of drawing filmed/animated in this way. I'm refering to the first part of the animation where Pa McGinnis is being drawn and we see the artist's hand. I believe you were called a "lightening cartoonist" if you used this technique. I'll have to clarify that.

The technical (straight ahead) process of "lightening cartooning" is close to McClaren's pastel method and Kentridge's charcoal method of animating, in that it is a drawing being captured at various stages in time by the camera rather than a series of drawings filmed in sequence to create animation. "Lightening Cartooning" appears to be more about capturing the process of (one) drawing rather than improvising an idea. Could it be used as a technique to improvise ? Well yes it could if you used the technique to create a character in the moment as you filmed. You could do an Exquisite corpse ( that Surrealist drawing game).
Fizzog McInnes showed me an animation jam he did with David Williams that was improvised. It contained alot of morphing and was quite funny. I'll up load it here soon. It was a hand drawn on paper animation.

+animated drawings
+drawings animated

++++thinking about the function of this blog++++
Essentially many of my posts contain investigative notions that pertain to definitions that are solidifying in my Ma paper and are as yet not clarified in this blog. For the sake of contextualising my journey of research I feel I should include a more structured delivery of these definitions. However they are still being fluffed up and spread out in my drafts and thus I like to utilize this blog as the "Open Slather" component of my research.

I just thought of the names for a couple of cartoon characters I shall have to draw. They are called "Cathart" and "Procrast"

Friday, July 09, 2004

Quick Sticks

Quickly I shall jot down thoughts about outcomes and possibilities for improvisation.

+ What kind of results could be achieved?

1. Animate on a theme

+ Anijam by Marv Newland stars his own Foska character.

© International Rocketship.
International Rocketship founder Marv Newlands Anijam produced in 1984 features sequences by 22 different filmmakers which are linked together using the last drawing of each artist's section to begin the next. This process relates to the Exquisite Corpse exercises of literary and visual surrealist artists of the past century.

+ Or more recently ASIFA-NW Flash Anijam made in 2002 using flash.

+ Florance Miaihle
She does a detailed story board, and improvises when animating within a shot.

2. Animated sketchbook-flash

3. Live improvised 2D animated vj
+like a VJ responding to music live. Using a digital pen and tablet, responding, making marks live and improvised to music. Set up, for example, projected onto a black background then animator creates marks in response to the music and controls how long the marks exist on the screen before erasing and continuing with the marks. The visual style would be similar to

Carmeras Take Five, by Steven Woloshen. Drawn, animated marks responding to The Dave Brubeck Quartet playing Take Five. Canada 2003, screened in this years MIAF Melbourne. I don't think it is pure improvisation to the music. It would be edited methinx.

......AND then I check to see how he made it!

+++Cameras Take Five +++
In between his day jobs, Steven Woloshen has been creating handmade, cameraless animation for nearly 20 years, in cinemascope! His latest work, Cameras Take Five, is an abstract exploration of Dave Brubeck's classic jazz standard, 'Take Five.' Engraving and painting directly on film stock, the animation is a swirling dance, the 'enduring romance of lines,' as Woloshen says. It is the popping peekaboo pizzazz of dots, a firework display, a miniature maelstrom of color. Lines extending, collapsing, tumbling, folding, curling. Greens and purples. At times, it looks like holes are burned directly into the emulsion.

In his visual interpretation of 'Take Five,' there were no edits or cuts. There was no planned narrative or characters. Woloshen explains, 'The idea was digested in my head for approximately one year. Then, without storyboards or script, I started Cameras Take Five, and I let the music lead me where it wanted to go... As I worked and listened to the track, the line drawings (representing the sound of a saxophone) were leading me either to one side of the frame or the other. Two main colors began to dominate, and I was sectioning my parts into choruses, solos and refrains. '

This is an experience thrown down (on film). It is the marriage of motion and music, the tender goodnight kiss of animation in its simplest form. ++++++++
AWN link Friday, July 09, 2004

The (loose) idea I have would be a direct response, in time, in the moment to the music. Abstract marks, Like automatic writing, all created and projected in realtime.



24-Hour Comics

24-hour animation

Is improvised?

Righto. Back to the real world.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Tomorrow I’ll be moving all of my delightful crud into my new room.
I have a sensation in my belly, which is similar to one I get every New Year’s Eve.
Some sort of transition will occur over night,

At the moment the room is empty and acoustically fun.
I wonder what kind of shadows it will have on the wall every morning and night.
My last room had beautiful shadows in the evening if the sun happened to be around that day.

The roof points in this little wooden loft I am in currently. For the last few nights I have been aware of the moon and it’s journey of beams up one side of my roof, touching the point as I lay in bed directly underneath, and then down the other side and eventually escaping across and away to the other side of the city.

From one side of the room the window faces east and I can see the Mountains.
The other side’s window faces west and I can see the other Mountains.
It is hard to explain to anyone how much this excites me.
Perhaps it stems from “Dunderklumpen” the first movie I ever saw. Perhaps engaging with a live Mountain was a reality for me for many years. Hmmm I’ve gone all reflective here haven’t I. Well it’s a nice change I suppose.

Actually. Yesterday I accidentally watched Totoro again. I nipped over to see P + D to show them a William Kentridge video. I took Totoro on the off chance they might like to watch it also. I really intended to stay for five minutes.

So then we watched it. It triggered different parts of my being this time. Watching Mei playing around with tadpoles and buckets I found myself engaged in a feeling that evoked something of my own childhood experiences. It was so nice fiddling and building in mud, or devoting a whole day to discovering new insects and chasing them to see what they felt like.


It fascinates me that Miyazaki (the director) depicted big fat cute Totoro standing close to a really ugly (in comparison) realistic looking frog. With an equally “ugly” croak.
Mei looks exactly like a frog when she pokes at the tadpoles.
There are such lovely subtleties entwined in Miyazaki’s film.

There is a pattern inside tonight’s blog entry that moves through Miyazaki’s film, chasing insects all day, and the process of improvisation. It’s a very soft pattern, indeed so quiet I’ll call it a patter. To which I will listen to as I drift off to sleep in the last night in the loft.


Sunday, July 04, 2004


The animation festival was really refreshing.
Been thinking about anthropomorphism in animation. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with other pressing ISsUes in my little corner of the world.
Must finish research paper. Must.


I wish I could go to Canada and lurk in the National Film Board's archives for awhile.


The uzzer night I was dubbing animations at AIM for their journey to Bosnia, and I sat down to view one of my favourite animations "Black Fly" by Chris HInton on the ACME filmworks website. Ooh I love it. Particularly the little skeleton. Awww. He makes me chuckle everytime I see him shuffle along.
The name Chris Hinton suddenly triggered a spark in my incredibly large and exceedingly thoughtful head.

The best animation at the recent Melbourne animation festival was Flux by Chris Hinton!
Flux is just so fantastic. I'd like to write about it. And I will soon.


Saturday, June 19, 2004



"When I write a script, I lie down -- because that's the opposite of standing up. I stand up to edit, so I lie down to write. I take a little tape recorder and, without being aware of it, go into a light hypnotic trance. I pretend the film is finished and I'm simply describing what was happening. I start out chronologically but then skip around. Anything that occurs to me, I say into the recorder. Because I'm lying down, because my eyes are closed, because I'm not looking at anything, and the ideas are being captured only by this silent scribe -- the tape recorder -- there's nothing for me to criticize. It's just coming out.

That is my way of disarming the editorial side. Putting myself in a situation that is as opposite as possible to how I edit, both physically and mentally. To encourage those ideas to come out of the woods like little animals and drink at the pool safely, without feeling that the falcon is going to come down and tear them apart."
Walter Murch
SEPTEMBER 20 - 26, 2002


Styles more condusive to improvisation.
director and animator
George Geertsen.
The sound design moves well in the space.
Sound designer John Weldon.

And then...
Funnily enough I discover that this animation is actually a 3d animation if you wear special glasses! I don't think it is improvised, or perhaps initially it was and then "fiddled" with in Post-production to make it 3d. Here is the link to contextualize the George Geertsen animation.

Well and however, I think the morphing (no cuts) style illustrates my point.
I RREALLY wish I could find some Bruce Bickford snippets to pop up as an example also. His claymation is quite psychedelic, and indeed "Baby Snakes" is drug induced. It is really quite incredible to watch.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


An improvised animation by

Ragnar Brynjulfsson

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Thoughts about time, values and engagement with the process of creation.
At the moment the threads of these ideas are loose as I've not had time to digest them all, and give them clarity.

Animation is a realisation of an idea through creation.
It is also an expression of an idea through the viewer's experience of the animation being replayed.
Improvisation is a process to realise an idea.
The process is "replayable". The animation is the remnant of the process.
If the creator has refined the process of improvisation in their work
then they'd be able to realise an idea intuitively and also communicate
that idea with clarity through the remnant of their process.

Thoughts of William Kentridge.


Monday, June 07, 2004

Scott McCloud

Wee hee look at this little Scott McCloud thingy!

Sunday, June 06, 2004


Happiness will be exploding from me.......
Once I've finished this "Business HOO HAA"
Presently I am experiencing an incredible
urge to flounder around with drawings and wot not.

I will be having home-made apple pie this evening.

Read a little about autistic kids animating and finding
the medium is a useful form of expressiion.
Still I haven't got the structure of my paper happening.
Its all so broad and fluffy.
Yet, I am intrigued.

Friday, June 04, 2004


Ooh it’s been awhile. I have so many little poignant thoughts to pop in here.
I've been reading about animators whos animations were a form of abstract expression/orchestration/composition using rhythm, movement, colour and form to do so. It’s quite an obvious step to take if you are exploring these kinds of ideas in other forms (painting/ sculpture/sound). Interesting that the Guggenheim Museum supported these kinds of animations for quite awhile.
(Skeletons of information here...keeping it brief for the function of K.notes/blog. Everything is wrapping in and outside itself as I go.)
Leopold Survage (1914)
" Coloured Rhythm is no way an illustration or an interpretation of musical work. It is an autonomous art, although based on the same psychological premise as music."
After reading about Leopold Survage's idea for Coloured Rhythm, I had an incredible urge to go watch Disney's Fantasia. With the idea in mind that all animation is an abstraction of form in some way.
Essentially Disney (in 1940) is working with the same kinds of ideas as Survage, only Disney's Fantasia is palatable for the average viewer because it spoon feeds these abstract notions by introducing them with the live orchestra and encasing them in a variety accessible imagery and narratives. Perhaps I am addressing the opening sequences in particular. Which I think were animated by Oskar Fischinger. ??
So Fantasia flopped. Commercially. Was Disney trying to sew together too many things? What if it were put in a gallery?
(Am I joking??)
What I've written here acknowledges a connection that could be placed elsewhere and everywhere to a certain extent.

I suppose in a historical context Disney's successes, failures and discoveries are the most memorable, seen and perhaps documented.

Oskar Fischinger
. His early artistic goal was to combine two of his great passions, music and the graphic arts. (Hmmm sounds familiar). He's done some pretty nifty things with wax.

Animators with a fine arts lineage.
Animator artists.
Storyboards. What happened before storyboards?
Gag cartoonists.

Oh, but I'm in a fluster coz I've not finished the business "hoo haa" as yet.
I have found the quote that Marcus fwd'd to me the other week.
Ach! Lots of thoughts swirling around this funny old quote. But I'll just leave it up for now as a "conversation piece"...... for me and my paper that is.

" Improvisation is a mirage which tricks anyone who
does not know the technique needed in all creative work. Such a person thinks of inspiration as a kind of miracle, a hypnotic state that somehow settles all material problems. We aught to get rid of this legend of the inspired artist, living quite outside the world. The artist is responsible for what he does. He must use his own clear-sightedness to make something vigorous which respects the logic of the characters, the dynamic form of the film, and its technical demands. Improvisation becomes merely a certain form of sensitivity to the demands of the particular moment; for instance, when its a case of altering something at the last minute. In other words, it is concerned only with detail. The complete work must be carried out with mathematical precision".
> Frederico Fellini, Fellini on Fellini, 1976, Eyre
> Methuen Ltd. page 103

Well. I suppose this is true.

If you're a dry old crust.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Congo Jazz


Aww Bosko.
He's not so improvised but "Congo Jazz" is one of those old animations that slips and loops to the music so wonderfully that I had to expell some kind of excitement into this blog.
(I'll have to come back and insert contextualizing linkages later.)

I watched some animation by Bruce Bickford the other day.
Baby Snakes, a documentary on the making of a film clip by Frank Zappa.
I have never seen anything like it! Incredible claymation.

Which, in the context of roping in my explorations so as to fit them into my paper, brings me to the genre of animation in Film Clips.
At the moment I won't delve as it seems I've not come across too much written documentation as yet on the subject.
Though I do have some selected snippets of animated filmclips stored (somewhere) in my memory. I'll just hum them to myself later on...

Speaking of memory.
Marcus sent me an interesting quote. I can't remember where I put it.
Ohwell. Next time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Strands that link to my spiraling thoughts.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi'

Spiraling in or out? Up or down?
I am giddy.

Whoops I think I just Haiku'd.
An interesting article.
Novelist Michael Ondaatje and film editor Walter Murch talk Coppola, Lucas and the problems that make the movies.


Plus another:
Bruce Petty



Tuesday, May 11, 2004


I was thinking about Scott McCloud's book "Understanding Comics" the other day.
I quite like the chapter "The Six Steps". Its a good breakdown of the comic making process.
Or a structured template within which to analyse a piece of work.
A comic. An animation. Other stuff.

Spent alot of time looking at the Art Spiegelman (comics artist. Maus) exhibition today.
It is really interesting to see his work process and to hear him talk
about it. (There is a cdROM plus a great documentary vid on display
as a part of the exhibition.
Lots of 'arty' close-ups of his nose.)

Still thinking about the content of improvised animations.
The purpose.
Watched a whole lot of Marv Newland (+other folk, will insert names and other info later) animations.
They are quite silly and lovely.
Watched some Norman McLaren.
More thoughts later.
There is a little monster breathing down my neck and I have to get off this computer!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

How does the content reflect the process?

So in regards to my last blog entry, what I've found is an animator (W.K.) who illustrates my point.
Sifting through various books I've discovered many more animators who work in this way, or did
at some point in their career. Often, because its not a particularly lucrative way of working, many of these
animators put this process aside and continued their careers in more economically viable fashion. ie: advertising or more mainstream ventures.
Which brings me to afew questions.
Does the content of the work have to be of a certain nature to sustain this particular proccess?

There is a Bruce Petty quote somewhere that touches upon this.....
must find it.

Bruce Petty
William Kentridge
Phil Mulloy
Jan Svankmejer

Why would one improvise?

Should I also be investigating straight ahead techniques such as paint on glass, sand on glass and claymation.
I am thinking about Svankmejer at the moment, and the way he animates objects. He evokes such a sensual notion of the particular object being animated. In many animations, sound can complete the animation. Often good sound design will enhance the animation. I think with Svankmejer, the sound is maticulously designed, it enhances the animation most definately, though each evoke the sensibilities of the object equally. Neither covering up the other's imperfections.
might re-word that a bit later.

oop its time to meet the other aimsters.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Mild thoughts about definitions occur to me as I read about Shamus Culhane's discovery of improvisation within his own working methods.
His banter, which is essentially about creating "flow" , relates to the look and feel of the character being animated. He talks about feeling everything that the character being drawn feels. ( I'll extrapolate on this later). Perhaps, because this is quite a personal and somewhat special experience, many animators prefer not to talk about this indepth. Why analyse it? It seems a little twee to pin simpleton words to such an experience.
However, to get to the/a point, I think that this kind of "flow" is only a part of this idea of improvisation in animation that I am talking of. The flow can be utilized as a part of the production method to create a narrative. This method is what Kentridge uses. Perhaps every animator either works this way intuitively at some point, or plays around with this process.

What I'm trying to do here is pinpoint my initial idea/concept/question. With words.
That make sense.

(what I discover when I re-read this blog is that I've written a mere skeleton of the ideas that I am
thinking of and that they don't quite say all that is on my mind, pff which is fine. It's a blog.)

Watched Creature Comforts last night. One thing that struck me as I watched was how wonderful and varied all of the accents in the UK are, and how more often than not most of the British media we experience tends to have actors speaking in a, perhaps one could say.., a rather well-to-do fashion.
Is this true?
...more thoughts here, plus afew stories, but I best go and read more.
Don't want to fail now do I.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Fun with Ponce

Ponce was the first (flash) drawn animation I did.
There was an awful lot of planning and designing in regard to his linear or narrative direction.
However, and probably quite obviously, I really didn't plan his facial/bodily expression...I just knew what
kind of dog he was. What I'm trying to say is, there are many parts in the animation that are improvised.
I think I've got more to say about this at some point......

Am I still just talking about straight ahead animation?

Friday, April 30, 2004

messy lil' jots

Last night I watched a video on William Kentridge that David passed on to me. In many ways Kentridge's work process illustrates the point I am trying to make or the questions I am exploring.
The content of his work is not what I am focusing upon, moreso the way he works.
When I talk of improvising I am not suggesting the animator skips over the whole pre-production process. This is exactly the question. How can it/pre-production be set up to provide the "vehicle" of improvisation for the animator to explore ideas.
Kentridge's act of animating during the production stage is very physical. His work is extensively researched, and the preproduction is meticulously designed so as to create the perfect environment for which to produce an animation that allows for a large percentage of spontaneous/intuitive creation. His technique is very focused...Meaning that, and I'll have to qualify this presumably if its to enter my paper, it seems his production process has been developed via a natural progression or path as an artist entering a medium that best a) expresses his ideas and b) realises (certain elements of) his ideas within the act of creation.

note to me and you: Kentridge's animations are on at ACMI

Monday, April 26, 2004

..just notes...

Had a chat to D on Friday and somehow sensed a bit of ground under my feet afterwards.

Animator of the week: Daniel Guyonnet.

He is a Parisian fellow.
Some of his work reminds me of Geoff Ricardo -Melbourne printmaker, Joost Swarte-comic artist-Belgian(?) and Al MacInnes-Melbourne animator. Splendid little walk cycles that hunch and flip. There's a wonderful sense of swing to his timing, you could almost dance to watching it. .........hmm weird grammar there, but it makes the point.

Monday, April 19, 2004


I sat down to work on my AIM business plan yesterday, and somehow ended up fiddling around in Flash.
Admittedly I animated. felt good.

What business plan?

On Tuesday I went to see an exhibition Earth and Sky by G .W. Bot at Australian Works on Paper.
The prints are simply stunning. I am struggling to find the right words to explain how I relate to them
(predominently lino cuts)...They are so delicate and so striking all at once. Their language of marks
is so sensitive and balanced that my whole being feels engaged whilst I stand infront of one.

Last Sunday morning I ate breakfast and gazed for a very long time at one of P.H.'s etchings
...I don't really have words for how I feel about his work, not in the context of blogging anyway.
However, I had quiet and private thoughts about animation whenst gazing. Which, later in the week,
I admitted to PH.
These thoughts pertain to improvisation in animation, perhaps not directly to my Ma paper, but certainly
to simple and little ideas I have about production processes.


Friday, April 16, 2004

Fragments of thoughts...

Jiri Trnka
Beautiful beautiful animations.
What a beautiful outfit the little man has in The Hand

His little legs are fantastic.

Michel Ocelot.
It was really quite an engaging story, and the use of colour was bold and magnificent.

It has been quite refreshing to see Trnka, Ocelot and Mulloy's animations within the space of a week.
Theres not really any connection between them. Perhaps that they are all animators who have
realised their artistic integrity through a long journey of ..well animating their ideas.

...I also watched alot of Plymton's animations last week. Strangely enough, since viewing Trnka, Ocelot and Mulloy's animations, Plympton's work seems to be quite shallow and unsophisticated. Of course he's a fantastic draftsman, and very b imaginative. ..I suppose he is just operating with different kinds of ideas. His production technique errs towards improvisation, swift inspired trails of visual explorations that often are quite rough and thus rely a little on sound effects. Cartoony.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Not much Chop.

My last day of perching in the loft at PH's abode.
Agnes is still shedding an awful lot of hair and in turn
these hairs have clustered their way across the carpet to permanently afix themselves to nearly every pair of socks that I own. I am most displeased.
Watched Phil Mulloy's animations at ACMI yesterday.
Such lovely, inky raw marks. His drawings are so rough and flustered, but they deliver his ideas perfectly. There were some parts that reminded me of Bruce Petty, the more swift political cartoony parts I suppose.
Overall his ideas are quite clever and sophisticated and the way he portrays his observations of the world are insightful and offer an interesting perspective that can/could only be housed in the form of an animation. Admittedly it was quite hard work to sit throught the whole lot. Why? Well 'coz it was quite gross and thematically pretty dark.

The Sound of Music by
Phil Mulloy

1993, 11 mins, 35mm

(..Welcome to review weekly!)
(tee hee)

Thoughts re ma.....
I have alot of questions that I am exploring. I think I know the answers already, so on the one hand it all seems a little naive to be researching improvisation in animation. I am asking such basic questions with such obvious answers that can be found in any animator's vocabulary or in any animation book, for example, within afew pages of Richard Williams' "The Animator's Survival Kit"
On the other hand ( I quite like this hand metaphor, if I weren't typing I'd be reveling in some form of gesticulation)....on the other hand naivity is a good suit to be in whenst investigating other ways of thinking and being. So thinking that I know the answers, and I do know them I do, is perhaps not a useful strategy whenst researching.
Can I find something else??? I haven't found something else yet. Is there something else to find??
Suddenly I am writing a Country song it seems.
a) A bible and a bus ticket home.

What is the value of improvistion in animation?
Can this be combined with, or inform, or even be utilized through the more efficient(?) animation techniques,methods or tools that are offered through software programmes?


Tuesday, March 23, 2004


I wrote this blog entry after watching Totoro:

For some reason it has triggered a memory in me.
One of wombats, many wombats.
A 'swarm' infact. A 'crew' of wombats. What is the
right term for these funny beasts?
I think a 'babomba' of wombats.
I was surrounded by a babomba of wombats whilst
camping. They were everywhere (at least
50)......munching on the surrounding lushious
grasses. It was a really pleasant symphony of close
and distant munching, mixed with the odd grunt.
Quite a relaxing sound to doze off to really.
Suddenly something disturbed them and they
babombared away across the grass and down the
surrounding ditches! The ground shook and
rumbled as they went!
It was really quite scarey... and amusing.
There are moments in Totoro that feel so similar to
this memory. The bus stop scene in particular.

I am too tired to ravel today's waffle up into some
kind of pertinent point.
I think perhaps I am avoiding all of my posed
questions on purpose because I am poised to drop
the 'improvisation in animation' ideas and venture
off in a slightly different direction. How do comics
relate to animation? Thats a bit broad
really......but another beginning..
I say 'pish' to this blog today.
...this 'wombatblog' was written afewweeksago........

========things in need of ponderment======
Ma presentations at AIM
research, research, research+wotnot
2 Svankmajer films:

'Otesanek'(little Otik)


2 French animations:

'Triplets of Bellville'

'Raining Cats and Frogs'

Packing and moving.
House and dog sitting for three weeks.
Anges the smelly itchy dog.
noooooo internet connection for three weeks.
bh (for furture reference thats short for
'bloodyhell', which is really quite an
awful term when you think about it.
Which more often than not I don't.
Words are so different when they're
on a page/screen. )
Guitar Favourites by Norbet Kraft-theme music for the moment. Classical guitarist's hands are quite intriguing. I wonder if I could animate such hands and capture their splendidity.
'Norbert' describes his face most certainly, and 'Kraft' describes his guitary hands.
(looking at the picture on the front of the CD)

Maybe we grow into our names......?
Perhaps I'll change my name to 'Caramel Flan'