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Quotes / Jim Tyer

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"According to George Bakes (from RAGGEDY ANN), Tyer would put a stack of paper on his pegs, and work back and forth through it, constantly flipping and re-working as he went. Improv, perhaps."
—Animator Dan Haskett on Jim Tyer's straight ahead animation work methods

"Len Glasser worked at Terry Toons in their twilight years. He told me once something to the effect that Tyer animated each character in fragments, sometimes starting with just an eye or the head or mouth and just working straight ahead on each separate part in no particular order (right eye, left foot, body, ears, mouth right arm, left eye, etc)and then pulling it all together when each fragment was finished... it sounds insane but plausible given the results. The guy was a savant in any case... Another story I heard was it was not unusual to find Tyer sitting at his desk with his trousers off, wearing just his shirt and boxer brief, puffing away on a cigar as he drew. I find it hard to believe but it came from someone who was there... I'm going to assume this had something to do with hot weather and the absence of air-conditioning (and Human Resources Departments). Another tale tells it that Tyer jealously guarded his works in progress by locking his working drawings in a drawer whenever he went out to lunch. One hopes he put his pants back on for such occasions..."
—Animator Will Finn on Jim Tyer

"It depended [on the scene]. If there was a weird piece of animation that had to be done like a guy who does not know how to dance...if it was a regular dancer he would have to animate on a beat. If a 16-frame beat he would have to go "bump...bump...bump" and the foot would have to hit the floor on the beat, so it would've meant drawing one, thirteen, twenty-five, etc. And that would be a dance and Jim could do that superbly. But he would be much better off if he had a fellow who DIDN'T know how to dance was trying to dance. And this way you don't do drawing one, thirteen, twenty-five and work into it. You just go straight-ahead. He would put down alot of paper on his pegs, and the rubber band going around the pegs so the papers wouldn't fall off. He would pick up all the papers and he would do drawing one, then he would do drawing two, then three, then four. He never knew where he was going and you'd never know what was going to happen along the way, with this guy slipping, stepping on his fingers, and then stretching them and all. He was a master at stretching and squashing and expressions."
—Animator Doug Crane on Jim Tyer's work methods

"Jim Tyer was a different animal. His distortion seems to be completely and wholly graphic. He doesn’t use it to develop a character; he uses it as the embodiment of the character. The character starts off-model and goes from there wildly and totally beyond the model sheet. It’s wholly graphic embellishment, and character be damned. This is something that Bill Tytla would have disliked, and many others within Terry’s studio as well. I remember Johnny Gentilella telling me that they couldn’t keep Tyer on model. Another assistant animator told me it was a hell of a job for her to bring Tyer’s character back, closer to the model sheet. I can imagine.
—Animator Michael Sporn on Jim Tyer

"I have mixed feelings about Jim Tyer. On the one hand, he is one of my favorite animators. On the other, he is a bad influence. That's why I don't do a lot of posts about him. I sort of feel like he should be a secret just for the most sophisticated cartoonists and animators. Anyone under the top-tier level of cartoonists shouldn't be allowed to to see his work, except under the strictest supervision, because what he does will be misinterpreted as pure anarchy - like "Wow! I guess I don't have to follow any rules at all anymore!" Tyer is a pure cartoonist. He does cartoons for the main reasons that cartoons should exist at all - to be wacky looking. They should be instantly funny to look at, then should do impossible things and should move in crazy imaginative ways. He covers all those 3 criteria naturally through sheer cartoonist's instinct. I think most cartoonists need those 3 attributes, yet so few have even one of them."

"The animators at Terrytoons complained because Tyer’s scenes stood out from the rest, but the problem wasn’t Tyer. The problem was that Tyer wasn’t animating the whole picture. When he takes sequences, they are masterfully paced and build to a devastating finish. No one else at Terrytoons could keep up with him. No one else even tried. (Bob) Clampett showed how animators as diametrically different as (Robert) McKimson and (Manny) Gould could be used for their strengths… and in the same picture. Had Terrytoons a directing staff as good as Clampett, Tyer would have been properly used within the context of the films they were making. It’s easy to think of Tyer’s motions as random… Until you try to animate like him. Then you realize that he’s deftly juggling aspects of 3D/2D, relative shapes and different sizes of shapes and lines of action that change radically in short spaces of time. Yet all of it works and creates a bubbling joy on the screen. The only thing I can compare it to is Begone Dull Care and Hen Hop.
—Animation historian Stephen Worth on Jim Tyer

"Tyer’s work is animation’s equivalent of a train wreck or a freak show. It’s not something you’d necessarily choose to look at, but once it’s caught your eye it’s hard to look away."
—Animator Mark Mayerson on Jim Tyer, from “Jim Tyer: The Animator Who Broke the Rules” (1990).

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