Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015
by Ned Wazowski
Nothing says vacation like a “Wish you Were Here” postcard to friends or family.
Margie has a wall of postcards behind her desk that is the envy of all the office. She has a lot of pen pals and they dutifully exchange postcards on a regular basis.
Wherever she goes, even if it’s just a day trip, Margie sends postcards back to friends, family, and all of us left at the office. And I don’t mean one general postcard to the office to make us all envious. I mean to all of us at home. I’m pretty sure that if Margie has ever once known you, she has you on a permanent list of postcard recipients. At least she’s helping to keep the post office afloat.
She even sends postcards from places where no postcards are available because she travels with a little kit containing her address book, some stamps, and a handful of postcards suitable for all occasions.
It’s not a bad idea, either. She has certainly brightened up days for many of us in the office by sending us a funny card or inspiring picture.
And you know, receiving her postcards has rekindled my own interest in sending cards, and I went out of my way on my last holiday to hunt down postcards to send to a few people – Margie especially. I say “hunt down,” because it was pretty difficult to find a good selection to choose from. And this was at the house of the most famous mouse, and if they don’t cater to tourists and advertising, then I don’t know who does!
So I’m going to start keeping a pack of these Frank and His Friend postcards in my bag to send out to friends and family when I think they might need a smile in their mailbox. There are six different images in a pack, with early sketches from the popular comic strip that are funny and sweet and showcase the best of Frank and His Friend: A childlike take on the world. Whose day couldn’t be brightened by that?
Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015
by Ned Wazowski
When recreating an object that has had many different lives, you have to ask yourself: Which history do you want?
It was fun watching the production come together for the Musterberg Tarot Cards. It started with going back through the Pennyland archives, which were made available to us by the Steepleback family who owned Pennyland. However, the cards used at Pennyland were themselves a reproduction of a deck created in the 1700s, so it was clear we’d have to go back a little farther.
As it happened, the family still has that original deck, too, which was an amazing opportunity to get to see. The faces of the original cards were printed in black and then hand colored in water colors. The backs were printed with a dark blue-green (we matched it to today’s Pantone 3145U).
One big question we had to answer for ourselves during the project was this: Which version of the cards’ long history would we try to capture, the way they looked when brand new in the 1700s or the way they looked when in use at Pennyland? In the end, we decided to aim for something that would show how the appearance of the cards changed as their history continued a little closer into our own century.
Furthermore, since the wear and tear was different on each individual card, especially the backs, we had to decide if we would print them all with the same wear pattern to create one card back, or would we preserve the individuality of each card and leave them all different?
You can probably imagine that it didn’t take us very long to decide to preserve their individuality. The history of our relationship with and use of objects is something our CEO Mr. Druthers is particularly fascinated with – and why he finds “mint in the box” toys so sad. So naturally, we used scans from the front AND back of each card, and it certainly was a little crazy keeping them all straight!
Of course, this means that he cards can’t strictly be recommended for tournament play, since the more sharp-eyed may learn to recognize the backs of specific cards and cheat a little bit. But the Musterberg tarot cards are no more worn than your average deck kept in the game closet at home and I’m sure inventive older brothers and sisters figured out the same hack with those cards. And anyway, we’re talking about 79 separate patterns of wear. If you can memorize that and use it to your advantage, get to Vegas right away – just don’t get caught, please.
Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015
by Ned Wazowski
Cartoons may have been thought of as entertainment for little kids, but selling animation art is all grown up.
Animation art today is big business, with original production art from major studios such as Disney or Warner Brothers fetching high prices at auctions from fine art sellers like Christie’s or Sotheby’s. In fact, buying animation is a pretty good investment, as the pieces continue to go up in value.
That wasn’t always the case, however. Finding the art today can sometimes be pretty difficult as some pieces were thrown away once the production was finished. You read that right: the pieces were simply put in the trash. You hear stories about entire comic book or baseball card collections trashed by mothers when kids were away at summer camp, but what’s so surprising about the case of animation art is that it was done by the creators themselves.
Studios didn’t have the space or the need to keep art once production was finished. Artists were allowed to keep whatever they might want, but the studio asked that everything else just be tossed out. So unless there was an image that the artist particularly liked, out it went.
That doesn’t mean that there is nothing of this history left, however. Many pieces were saved – pulled out of dumpsters – by curious children who lived or played near the studios. Eager for a picture of their favorite characters, they dove in and salvaged many a piece of animation history – just for fun.
And thank goodness they did! Without those little dumpster divers, much of the work of smaller studios – like UPA or pud film – might have been lost altogether. Fortunately for Spaceman Jax fans, production designer Philip La Carta saved a lot of his work done for shows like Spaceman Jax and the Galactic Adventures and Brigadier Buffalo. Which means that there’s plenty of amazing pieces to keep collectors happy for many years to come.