Homage: Tex Avery
One of the coolest aspects of animation is how unlimited it is – anything you can imagine can be created through animated video. But it's not only unlimited in what you can create, but how your creations move and act and come to life. They can squash and stretch to ridiculous degrees, they defy the laws of time and physics, and can survive anything – even an anvil to the head, or falling hundreds of feet off a cliff.
It's to the pioneer of these kinds of cartoons – the fast-paced, slapstick, sarcastic, Looney Tunes-style whirlwinds of whacky gags – that we'll pay homage to today: Frederick Bean Avery, better known as Tex Avery.
Active in the animation production scene from the 1930s, Avery was not the best artist out there, and in a time dominated by Disney's distinctive designs and intricately realistic animations, one would imagine that it would have been difficult for Avery to flourish. Instead of becoming discouraged, Tex stepped up and worked on mastering every phase of animation production.
His hard work paid off and Avery soon stood out in the animation industry for not adhering to the popular Disney-esque style. When talking about Tex Avery's work a quote that commonly comes up is “In a cartoon you can do anything” and Avery believed just that – animated cartoons need not stick to real-world physics, but rather can and should do anything. It was this belief that lead to his fast-paced, action-packed animation work that entertained both children and adults alike, with their physical, slaptstick comedy and sarcastic humour.
*A cartoon Groucho Marx and Clark Gable in the satirical short 'Hollywood Steps Out', directed by Tex Avery.
Working up until his death, on August 26th 1980, Tex Avery produced a number of animated works for various top animation studios. His most notable works include Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck for Warner Bros.; Droopy Dog and Screwball Squirrel for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; and Chilly Willy for Walter Lantz studio.
*Tex Avery at the Walter Lantz studio. Photo credit: animationresources.org
Although our own focus lies more on animated explainer videos, as opposed to pure character animation videos, we still take inspiration from old masters of animation such as Avery. Squash and stretch, exaggeration and timing are some of the fundamental principles of creating video animation, and prime examples of these can be seen in Avery's animated work. Plus, it's always good to have a laugh and reminisce over animation's golden oldies.
If there's one thing to really take away from Tex Avery, it's perseverance. With enough determination and hard work, we can achieve our goals and make ourselves stand out – even if a co-worker blinds you in one eye with a paperclip and elastic band! (Not even joking – Avery was blinded in his left eye during a rather rambunctious office romp, but even that didn't halt his animation game!)