Monday, July 30, 2007

Disney Rarities and Shorts = Treasure

After months of waffling over whether or not to buy the Disney Rarities and Celebrated Shorts: 1920s - 1960s from the Walt Disney Treasures collection I finally just stopped all the hokey-pokeying around and bought the DVD. What a solid investment! If I had known what I was missing I wouldn't have waited over a year and a half to buy the thing! The excitement was almost too much to bear - Even the DVD menu was wonderful! More than anything the nostalgia of reliving some of these cartoons which I remember watching as a young girl on the Disney Channel between segments of the Mickey Mouse Club and Kids Incorporated (yes, there actually was a time when the Disney Channel showed classic Disney cartoons and it wasn't so long ago that I don't remember it) was worth the $24.99 I paid for it.

What a bargain. Included are some absolute rarities: namely the Alice Comedies and bonus materials including a look at Disney's Silent Film era from the mid 1920's. But my favorites are without a doubt from the second disc and from the year of 1956. I fondly remember the short "In the Bag", under the direction of Jack Hannah, which was originally part of a segment of the longer Humphrey the Bear short-film (later reproduced in the Wonderful World of Disney VHS "The Ranger of Brownstone.") The contributing animators are John Sibley, Bob carlson, Al Coe and George Kreisl. You can see the "In the Bag" short on YouTube here. Watching this short is an absolute sure fire way to get you out of any bad mood. And the song is dreadfully addictive - you'll be singing it for hours.

Other gems, in my opinion are Jack and Old Mac, such a clever use of animation by taking the literal words and turning them into the subject of the drawing. The color styling is courtesy of Eyvind Earle, which is obvious from the cartoon's get-go. The segment "A Cowboy Needs a Horse" has some great opening drawings - a very retro looking home interior in flat colors. And finally, other treats include an Animation Art Gallery that houses production drawings for shorts such as "the Little House". The whole thing is over 5 hours of great Disney Nostalgia. Overall, I would say this DVD is a must have.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Birth of a Blog

Welcome friends. This blog signifies something special to me. In an unusual way it is a rediscovery of myself and my loves - a record of my journey as I find myself again. In order to understand what I mean by this, I will bear my heart and give illustration to where I have been and where I hope to go.

My name is Elaine (“Lainey”) Schallock, 23 years old, living in Washington, DC and currently working full-time as a paralegal. Since I could hold a crayon I’ve been pouring myself over coloring books and drawing pages with an almost religious discipline for perfection. Five years ago, in a whim of idealistic passion, I set my sights on the wonderful world of art with the hope of attaining a dream job in animation and concept art for Disney animated films. After two years as an art major at James Madison University in Virginia, I returned to my hometown in Southern California intent on winning admission into CalArts or a “proper” Art School that might help me launch my career. I spent a grueling year gathering my portfolio materials, working and studying only to find rejection waiting at the other end. Out of disappointment in myself and embarrassment for my failures I bitterly pulled my tail from between my legs and made a brash and heady decision to go back to JMU to finish my undergraduate education as speedily as possible as a Political Science major with plans to go to law school, promising not to look back. It’s interesting, though, how dreams can be irritatingly tenacious when it comes to situations like these.

Any artist who has ever worked in the corporate world can attest to how unfulfilling it can be to go to work day after day only to pour yourself over pages of legal briefs while your creative spark slowly suffers. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to listen to the story of illustrator and character artist Don "Ducky" Williams magically unfold that I began to realize how I had cheated myself by trying to outsmart what my heart really wanted. Now, eight months out of a degree in Political Science and four months into a career in law, I have decided that it's time to come home and time to start from scratch. This time, however, I have a different outlook. I have discarded many of the feelings of fear and embarrassment that I carried with me in my earlier attempts to become an artist.

Nevertheless, I am still my own worst enemy. The struggle to overcome my own desire for absolute perfection at every turn and the need to feel that I can keep up with my peers has been a constant source of pain for me. The process of realizing that every time I put a pencil to paper does not mean I am expected to produce a masterpiece still plagues me creatively. And this very blog entry serves as a perfect illustration of that roadblock. The mere task of creating my first blog entry has induced procrastination and labor pains not unlike what I imagine giving birth to be like. Therefore, with the birth of this blog, I begin what I hope to be the first of many creative births of artistic work.

I am still a novice - a true beginner with much to learn and a great desire to learn. I am not well established as so many other bloggers are. But I hope to integrate myself into this community by sharing my thoughts, humble as they are on all things color, design, illustration and art in general, if only to provide a place where I can continue to be simply reminded of the things I love and why. I encourage encouragement, thoughts, comments, corrections, and suggestions. This is my magical place and I welcome others who share a love for the art and nostalgia that unfolds here.