Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Trips To The Fairground!

I recently finished a few more BG Layouts for the "Will & Dewitt" cartoon series, that I'm currently working on.. An episode that featured Will's Family attending their local Fair.. So, I needed to draw stuff like: Rides, Games, and Food Vendors, etc.. It seems every series I've ever worked on, has had at least ONE episode staged at a Fairground. And it got me to thinking about my own experiences at those magical places..

I dug thru the Lower Strata of my artwork archives, and uncovered a few examples of some previous "Fairground" stuff I'd drawn.. These BG Layouts/Location Designs, were completed whilst working over at George Elliott's previous studio: 'PICTOR'.. In 1997, we were contracted to do a lot of freelance Design work on MGM Animation's "All Dogs Go To Heaven" series..
This (above) is an Establishing Shot (Scene 1), from an episode in the 2nd Season.. I managed to work into my design, a tall sightseeing tower.. Which I loosely based on the old 'Bulova Clock Tower' that once existed on Toronto's old 'Canadian National Exhibition' grounds.. Or, more often referred to, as simply: "The CNE" or "The EX".

My girlfriend Suzanne, suggested that adding the "K-97" logo to it.. was a clever wink at the fact that the show was all about Dogs? I had to admit that I'm not smart enough to have made that, such a conscious creative choice! heh
Call it a happy accident, I suppose..
This Layout (above), is from the next shot (Scene 2)..
I think there was a Juggler or Street Performer doing something in the Left Foreground.. so it had to be relatively clear of obstructions.. Crowds needed to wander thru, etc. And yes, "Pasta Lou" was (in fact) spinning his pizza dough, somewhere in the Far Right..
I based the Roller Coaster (somewhat) on memories of the old, wooden "The Flyer" coaster; which also once resided at the CNE, before it (too) was dismantled & sold off somewhere.. I can still remember the familiar clack-clack-clack of the chain catching the coaster cars on each upturn pull..

I had fun adding the roof of a Haunted House into this shot (Scene 21).. The main purpose of which, was mainly to show hordes of people, clamouring down the Midway. I know that the Carousel was supposed to be animated. And possibly, even the Coaster. But for the most part, those poor Korean animators probably had their hands full, just trying to complete all those ferschliggener crowd scenes?! OUCH!!
For some reason, this shot reminds me more of the old 'Markham Fairgrounds', than the CNE.. It was another welcome Summertime diversion, each year! And I still have fond memories of riding their legendary "Zipper" ride; 'til I practically keeled over, from nausea..

This was Scene 64, which featured Itchy & Charlie (the dogs) walking forward (in perspective) at a Worm's Eye View camera angle. If you look hard, you still might see a faint Red Line, where I've indicated my Horizon Line; which is actually BELOW the surface of the cracked pavement? A visual cheat, that I commonly refer to as: "the rolling 'Beetlejuice' horizon".. 'Cuz they used to use that damn technique, ad nauseum!
The Board Panel, originally featured: "Rocketman", as the name of the roller coaster.. Being a big fan of artist: Dave Stevens.. I sneakily changed it to: "Rocketeer", based on his popular comic-book character. And even tried to incorporate some of his design details (helmet fin & eyes), into how the coaster cars might look?
I never saw the final episode on TV.. So, I can't say for sure that any of it slipped past MGM's Legal Department.. But I'd imagine it went thru, unscathed.

That's all for now.. TTY'all Later!


Suzanne Dargie said...

What beatiful BG's! I showed them off to some people at work and they were impressed by your solid understanding of perspective.
Regarding the whole "Rocketeer" thing....wouldn't they have had to clear the name "Rocketman" it's the title of an Elton John song?

R.A. MacNeil said...

wow. crazy layouts.


Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of the CNE. Thanks for reminding me of the Bulova Tower (where you always met people if you got separated.) and the Flier. I noticed that you have the 'Monster' in the first panorama.


Rich Dannys said...

Sweet Soozypie --
Yeah, that was my 1st thought, too. But I don't think that Elton John has a lock on the use of that name, necessarily..
I remember that Marvel Comics sued Dave Stevens over the use of the name "Rocketeer" once, tho.. Supposedly, they'd used it many years earlier to describe a criminal gang, called: "The 3 Rocketeers". So who knows? I sure ain't no lawyer!

Ryan --
Thanks, man!
What's keeping you busy these days at 'Copernicus'? Any interesting projects?

Spyrunner --
Yeah, the 'Bulova Tower' was an excellent meeting spot. The CNE layout now, is so much more difficult to negotiate.. Too many Gaming booths!

Is 'The Monster' the spidery-looking ride? I never tried that one, as a kid.. Though it looks like it'd be fun!

The Big Slide was something I remember going on, when our family Summer'd in Cape May, NJ.. We'd visit the Atlantic City boardwalk amusement park, which was pretty close by.. They'd hand you these strange little scraps of carpet, that you hadda turn upside-down, so that the broadloom made for a slippier ride down to the bottom? haha Weird!

Kieron O'Gorman said...

Hey Rich,

Impressive stuff. THanks for sharing. It's always great to see your stuff. You have a great eye and have mad skillz on background detail!



CaveMatt said...

kickass layouts Rich. Dave Stevens would be proud. You should've snuck in a Betty poster somewhere too.

CaveMatt said...

Hey Rich, I may want to take you up on that offer to be a reference. I'm going to be going around to some places soon. You can let me know if it's okay at

Thanks man.


R.A. MacNeil said...

Hey Rich,

I'm off right now, but things should pick up again in January. I worked on some neat stuff at Copernicus. Most of it's not out yet though...

I Animated on the new George of the Jungle for a bit, and I did the character posing and animation for a show/webcast called Apollo's Pad. I found a scene I posed on youtube:

There are more if you look around.


Dominic Bugatto said...

Solid stuff as usual. Glad to hear you're keepin' busy.

Rich Dannys said...

Kieron --
Thanks for the kind words, man.. Howz things goin' in Ottawa? Busy, I hope!

Matt --
Glad to hear your meeting with Ed Lee worked out.. He knows some stuff about the Animation Biz. And I'm sure whatever advice he gave you, will prove invaluable!

Ryan --

I keep hearing mixed reports about how things are goin' here in Toronto, locally.. I'm busier than I've ever been. But I've heard about some Layoffs, too.
From what I saw.. 'George Of The Jungle' looked sharp! It was a 'Studio B' thing?
Thanks for the Apollo's Pad link, too.. Fun stuff!

Dom --

Thanks, dude.. I'm gonna go crazy, if things get any busier. I'm on the cusp of purchasing a Home. So I'm sure a mortgage will be a fine motivator, for me to stay employed! ha ha
You need to come out for beers, after one of our regular 'Beguiling' runs, some Friday evening..

Ryan Khatam said...

these are fucking excellent man. i am EXTREMELY impressed.

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