Friday, February 4, 2011

My Dog Tulip

I went to the Enzian Theater to meet Terry and see the animated feature film "My Dog Tulip." This film was traditionally animated and I had heard great reviews. I went to the Enzian straight from work and arrived before Terry. I got the tickets and then settled in at the Eden Bar for a drink. I ordered an Orange Blossom beer and got out the sketch book. There was only one other patron at the bar and she was seated at the far end near the cash register. The bartender, Robert Johnson, put on some music that I had never heard before. The woman started asking Robert some questions about the music. It turns out the CD was a preliminary mix for his band, Odin's Den. He said there were still many things he wanted to tweak to bring the sound mix up to par.

I really liked the music. One song in particular struck a note with me called, "I paint a picture in shades of gray." When the woman said she liked the music just as it was, Robert tried to explain the subtleties he was listening for. At a party at Blank Space following an opening of a Seed Alliance art opening I participated in at the downtown public library, Odin's Den performed. The sound check was indeed a long arduous process. Robert would lean close to the speaker and turn dials trying to get the sound just right. Blank Space is a rather small venue and the sound was loud and full. Terry told me I should put in ear plugs. I refused deciding to listen to the music's full force. Just as I refuse to wear sunglasses anymore, I choose to experience things fully and unfiltered.

"My Dog Tulip" had me enthralled. The whole film looks like my rough sketches with no attempt at polishing them to some pristine finish. This was the furthest thing from a Disney film I had ever seen. It made me want to bring my sketches to life. The entire film was narrated giving it a straight forward matter of fact tone. Entirely about the search for the ideal friendship and an Englishman who found that friendship and endless devotion with his dog. There was sincerity to every scene. One scene even had the signature of the background artist. There was a child like joy to some of the roughest animated scenes. I fell in love with the look and sentiment of this film. It felt hand made, the vision of a single artist.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


David said...

"The whole film looks like my rough sketches with no attempt at polishing them to some pristine finish. This was the furthest thing from a Disney film I had ever seen. It made me want to bring my sketches to life. "


Thor, you should definitely animate some scenes from your sketchbooks like Paul Fierlinger does , sketches with no attempt to draw over them with a tight clean-up line.

Here's a little piece that shows a bit of the Fierlinger's work process:

"Making of My Dog Tulip".


P.S. not that there's anything wrong with the "Disney style" (goodness knows we both did that for many years and it was a good job and mostly fun times ... at least that what I remember now) but I think as CG has ascended to be the "mainstream" of animation that it makes less and less sense for hand-drawn animation to try to be all slick and "realistic" ... I'd rather see the hand of the artist and just enjoy the drawings for their own sake.

Interesting how it's computer tech that's made it possible for the Fierlingers to produce their work as they do . Paul and Sandra's latest is a film about Joshua Slocum but they won't be distributing it through traditional movie channels , it's going to be marketed as an "animated e-book" for iPad and Android tablets, etc.

David said...

Oh, I just clicked on the link you put at the end of your blog post, so you already saw the "Making of ..." clips.

But anyway, I still think it would be very interesting to see some of the pieces you post on your blog as animated vignettes.

Evanzan said...

Let me know if you ever want help with sound for animated projects. I'd love to be involved.

Unknown said...

Hey Thor, Thanks for listening! My band's name is Everyday Ghosts. The Song is called Paint a picture. Sorry about the blank space show, that was probably the most embarrassed I had ever been. We couldn't get the sound right til the second set. It was rough! Keep up the great work.