Maiden Voyages: February 2016

Ovenden Collection Returned! Sorry this item is a bit late, but it has been reported that the Metropolitan Police have returned most of the rest of Graham Ovenden’s collection of photographs and personal sketches (including those by von Plüschow and other samples from the Pierre Louÿs collection).  Except for creases in a few cases, they have been returned in remarkably good condition.  This is an indication that the Police would like this matter put to rest.  There is still the matter of the appeal regarding images ordered destroyed by Judge Roscoe.  The date for this hearing has not been set.  For those who have not been following this story see here and here.

An Edwardian Model’s Account: I was excited to learn that after the publication of Victorian Children by Graham Ovenden and Robert Melville in 1972, one of the models featured in that book wrote to The Times (UK) to give an account of her experiences.  I would like to appeal to our readers to find that article in The Times’ archives or perhaps someone out there had the presence of mind to save that clipping.  In any case, it would be a real treat for all of us if Pigtails in Paint could post a transcript.  Neither photographer or model are identified in the book.

Victorian Children (Plate 72)

Victorian Children (Plate 72)

I am also delighted to announce that, for the first time, a model came forward to identify herself (and attempt to reach the artist’s son), due to the images we posted.

Japanese Transcribers/Translators Needed: Given the success in soliciting French transcribers last month (the Bourboulon articles have all been transcribed, Thank You), I thought I would try asking for some help in Japanese.  There are new readers to Pigtails all the time and these newcomers have not yet explored the various support pages, so this is my way of reminding people that this is a volunteer enterprise and depends largely on the contributions of readers.  I know many people fluent in Japanese are not comfortable with translating, but transcribing just requires a familiarity with producing Japanese characters on the computer.  One of the reasons this site does not cover more photo-Lolicon artists is because of the time lag in translating the written material available to us.  I also remind readers that there is a journal by Hajime Sawatari already transcribed here and that using Google Translate does not work because it is written in a kind of shorthand and requires the fluency of a Japanese native.

Double Censorship: There was a short piece in the Huffington Post about Danish politician Mette Gjerskov who had her photo of a Danish statue of The Little Mermaid rejected due to nudity.  It demonstrated perfectly the absurdity of arbitrary standards that do not take into account context and good judgment.  Then I discovered the Huffington Post was censored so we cannot view that article and the “offending” image.  Fortunately, there was another source which added that, even though Facebook reversed its decision, the image could not be used due to copyright infringement!  Even though the apparent age of the figure falls outside the scope of Pigtails, it is tempting to post it here as a form of protest.

And Speaking of The Little Mermaid… Zek found a site that published a cache of drawings from the Disney Studios.  Apparently, the animators were coming off of Oliver and Company and being assigned to The Little Mermaid.  Since these artists hadn’t drawn human beings for a while, it was thought that they could use a little practice to get up to speed. So these became the earliest concept drawings for Ariel.  The site also included these nude studies.

Hysteria over Parental Affection: Ex-Australia footballer Craig Foster received some flak after being filmed affectionately stroking his 8-year-old daughter.  This public “spectacle” took place during the national anthem of a football match he was to play in and in which the girl was serving as mascot.

The Corbis-Getty Merger: In my early days with Pigtails, I sought to find stand-alone images that could be used for short posts on the site. Often I found that there was a deeper story behind an image and a short post was not always possible. This happened many times as with an image, made into a postcard, of an overhead view of a ballerina (from the Bettmann Archive). With the idea that there may be many interesting images on that site, RJ graciously agreed to visit the site and find images that might be of interest to our readers. Another example was a photograph of Hopi girls in a recent post. I received a press release on January 22nd about Corbis’ sale of its content licensing business and became concerned that RJ’s links might not be valid after the transition. So for the next few weeks, I will be sharing his discoveries as part of the ‘Random Images’ posts with whatever background information I can find—and requests for better information from our informed readers.

The sale was to Unity Glory International, an affiliate of the Visual China Group (VCG) and will include the images and motion archives from Corbis Images, Corbis Motion, and Veer. Getty Images will become the exclusive global distributor of Corbis content outside of China. The images from Corbis (including Bettmann and Sygma Archives) will migrate to gettyimages.com where it will be combined with Getty Images’ collection of almost 200 million images and videos, including historical photography and the Hulton Archive (the largest privately held archive in the world). Naturally, with all this talk of business and private collections, we should all be concerned about what this means to the general public. This is certainly a benefit to paying customers, but what about archivists on a shoestring budget? Is this part of a continuing trend of putting information that was once openly accessible behind a paywall? Aaron Swartz had similar concerns about academic journal articles.

S.A.: The Disney Girls

As mentioned in my very first Pigtails post, I spent my young adulthood in the U.S. Army. And even though I lived under the rigors of military discipline, it was a time of relative freedom for me. My platoon sergeant had a huge collection of Disney films which he brought so we would have something to watch while we were living temporary barracks. Like most people, I assumed cartoons were just for kids and were not very sophisticated, but these Disney shorts had a humor that could only be appreciated by adults. Walt Disney was not producing films for kids, he was producing them for himself. I became fascinated with the evolution of the Disney Studios and read everything I could get my hands on. I read in one account that Disney wanted to prove that a full-length animated feature was possible and would be respected by the general public. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first of these efforts. It was important to him that the characters be believable and not just caricatures. To that end, he challenged his animators to make every effort to pay careful attention to detail and find a way to give the heroes and heroines sex appeal. Of course, in those days it was not acceptable to say the word “sex” in mixed company and thus when referring to this mandate, they would say “S.A.” which today seems an amusing constraint. This post is dedicated to those early Disney girls with S.A. No more passing off Mickey Mouse with a bow, skirt and pasted eyelashes and calling him Minnie!

The interesting thing about studying Disney animation is that the Disney Studios were pioneers and one can watch the evolution of that medium. Early attempts did manage to make their lead female characters pretty, but not especially alluring. Probably the first characters to fit this description were the centaurettes from Fantasia (1940). They are fantasy creatures but some attempt was made to make them look “right”. Here is a page with a few concept designs.

Disney Studios - Concept Designs (late 1930s)

Disney Studios – Concept Designs (late 1930s)

After Disney approved the concepts, the animators would make a more fine-tuned sketch that showed the final appearance of the character. Since this will be used to produce the final animation, the placement of the dark lines is very deliberate.

Disney Studios - Final Outline Sketch (c1940)

Disney Studios – Final Outline Sketch (c1940)

Then there are animators who draw the final cleaned-up sketch, in-betweeners who draw the intermediate motions of the characters and a team of women who color the cells.

Edit: For a comprehensive list of the artists who worked on ‘The Rite of Spring’ segment of Fantasia, please refer to this page. – Pip

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (1)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (1)

I was surprised at the popularity of this iconic pose and this creature is now a figurine.

Centaurette Figurine

Centaurette Figurine

Part of the fun of the early Disney work is the little bits of “business” he has each character do and there are a lot of recurring gags and play on stereotypes that are amusing to an adult audience. One of Disney’s other early mandates is that his characters have distinct personalities. After the centaurettes groom themselves, they get all worked up about the boys coming for a visit so they can all frolick together, but one poor centaurette is without a match until she is discovered by one of the remaining boys.

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (2)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (2)

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (3)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (3)

There are even zebra centaurettes accompanying a Dionysian character—all of this to the music of Beethoven’s 6th “Pastoral” Symphony.

Disney Studios - Fantasia (1940) (4)

Disney Studios – Fantasia (1940) (4)

Animators may have been talented artists, but that did not mean they were well-educated on anatomy. About the time of the release of Fantasia, Disney had animals brought in as models for them to study and the first film to show this off was Bambi (1942). From then on, even female animal characters had a certain feminine allure: Bambi’s mother and Faline (Bambi), Lady (Lady and the Tramp (1955)) and Perdita (101 Dalmatians (1961)).

Once the ancient Greeks learned to make large statues from the Egyptians, they then pushed for anatomical perfection. The 1950s were an analogous time for the Disney Studios by which time they routinely accomplished this level of believability. Also, until then, any female leads were young women, not really girls, so we see our first two examples voiced by the same girl, Kathryn Beaumont.

Disney Studios - Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney Studios – Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Disney Studios - Peter Pan (1953)

Disney Studios – Peter Pan (1953)

Of course in Peter Pan we also get Tinkerbell, the quintessential animated sex pot who creates some mischief because she is jealous about all the attention Peter is giving Wendy.

Disney Studios - Peter Pan (animation cell)

Disney Studios – Peter Pan (animation cell)

After artists become accustomed to producing anatomical accuracy, they want to play with the forms and so in the late 1950s and 1960s we begin to see an angular style in Sleeping Beauty (1957), 101 Dalmatians and Jungle Book (1967) which was in production when Walt Disney died.

Disney Studios - Jungle Book (1967)

Disney Studios – Jungle Book (1967)

After that, there was a period when the studios attempted to anticipate Disney’s wishes: The ArtistoCats (1970) and Robin Hood (1973) were in the concept stages. Once business interests got control of the studio—changing the name to The Disney Company—animated features were produced more rapidly, but with a more formulaic system that established schedules and deadlines.