Chuck Jones: Animation

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by Mary Erickson, Ph.D.
with Arizona art teacher Kathy David

It Only Looks Easy is a three-lesson unit plan designed in conjunction with the Chuck Amuck exhibition at the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Chuck Amuck Exhibition Preview PowerPoint

Themes

  • Theme in Life: We all learn everyday.
  • Theme in Art: Artists learn from teachers, from other artists, on their own, from family and from the world around them.

Key Questions

Lessons approach the themes through two key questions.

LearnHow do artists learn how to be artists?

LookHow do artists use lines expressively?

Community Connections
Many artists receive inspiration for their art from the world around them. Among Chuck Jones’ inspirations for his animated cartoons was the Arizona desert. Jones lived in California and often visited Arizona, where he saw dramatic red buttes and canyons that served as the background for his Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. The happy-go-lucky Road Runner always managed to escape the clever efforts of the ever optimistic coyote trying to capture him.

 

Lesson One
One: Lots of Ways to Learn

Resources
Lots of Ways to Learn PowerPoint
Chuck Amuck Exhibition Preview PowerPoint
Use your web browser to search for “Wile E. Coyote” and “Road Runner” stills, videos and cartoons directed by Chuck Jones, for example, Jones’ award-winning 1951 cartoon, “Duck Amuck” or Chuck Jones’ “Extremes and In Betweens.” Many of these are available in the public domain.

 

Lesson Two 
Two: Expressive Lines

Resources

Exploring Expressive Lines (pdf)
OPTIONAL: Questor Questions about Chuck Jones’ Drawings (pdf)
Chuck Amuck Exhibition Preview PowerPoint

 

Lesson Three
Three: Animals Have Feelings Too(elementary or middle school)

Resources
Animals Have Feelings Too PowerPoint
Drawing paper
Pencils
Marking tools (fine markers, crayons, or colored pencils)
OPTIONAL: Facial Expressions handout (pdf)
OPTIONAL: Animals handout (pdf)
OPTIONAL: cartoon books, book with photos of animals, webpage printout of cartoons or
Photos of animals.
OPTIONAL: tracing paper

 

Lesson Four
Four: Creating Cartoon Characters (high school)

Resources
Digital cameras
Computer lab with Adobe Photoshop
Creating Cartoon Characters PowerPoint

 

Web resources
Reliquary
Architekton
Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
Warner Bros. Entertainment
Use your web browser to search for stills, videos and cartoons directed by Chuck Jones, for example: Jones’ award-winning 1951 cartoon, “Duck Amuck” or Chuck Jones’ “Extremes and In Betweens.” Many of these are available in the public domain.

 

 

Credits
Craig Kausen, Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
Lisa Chow, Desert Dance Theater
Kara Osburn, Reliquery
John Kane, Architekton
Students in Kathy David’s photography classes at Tempe High School
Kelby and B.J. McHardy
Kathy David, Linda Crain, and Mary Erickson for photography
Nancy Erickson, editing
Cartoons and drawings by Chuck Jones courtesy of Chuck Jones Enterprises and Looney Tunes TM & Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Estimated Time (Elementary or Middle School)
Previsit Lesson = 30-50 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Postvisit Lesson = 60-120 minutes

Estimated Time (Secondary)
Previsit Lesson = 30-50 minutes
TCA Visit Lesson = Field Trip
Postvisit Lesson = 150-200 minutes

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