Mel Birnkrant's
IT'S A SMALL WORLD!
          "Tiny Tots" was just the working title, for lack of something more exciting.  Looking back, now, "Tiny Toddlers" might have been better, because they were "Tiny".  And, with the just slightest touch, they "Toddled.”  These miniature action figures had what we called, "Magic Motion," a unique combination of mechanics and magnetics, that brought them magically to life.

         
Every time I open this suitcase, I am amazed.  I can’t believe I really made these things!  They came at a time when I was in my prime, and could do anything I tried.  
         Having, now, watched the Four Horsemen recreate the Outer Space Men, over the course of four long years, I've gained a newfound self-respect, realizing that I whipped these figures out, so effortlessly, in just one week.  Therefore, I have decided to give them a new webpage, better than the one before, and more complete.

         
The Tiny Tots were created in the days when Super Sculpey was still great.  Like putty in my hands, I could make it do anything.  They began with this one figure, below, which, more or less, appeared out of thin air.  The mechanism is more complex and unique than it appears, worked out by trial and error.  The look and styling came instantly, appearing spontaneously, from out of nowhere, without any preliminary drawings.  It felt like it was Heaven sent.

        
And this is it, the very first figure, complete!  This photograph which appeared on the previous website, is actually quite misleading, it doesn’t convey the fact that these figures are actually extremely tiny.  So, here it is, a second time, carefully measured, to replicate, “Life Size.”
         And then, began a series of drawings, small images on large pages.  I’ll trim off the excess areas of white, to save space, here.  From these, I chose some that I especially liked, or felt the need to demonstrate.    As is often the case, I got carried away.

         
Yesterday, when I wrote the words, above, I assumed that I could simply reach into the drawer beside me and find the Minolta copier images of the sketches I did for Tiny Tots.  Alas, I could not!  So I set out on hands and knees to crawl into the storage area behind my desk to search for them.  The bad news is, I couldn’t find them.  The good news is, I found the original pencil drawings, instead.  These are the delicate pencil drawings from which the much cleaner copier images were made.

         
My young friend Eric Millen keeps trying to convince me that the stuff I did for a living was “Art.”  Well, artwork it might have been, but it was never intended to be seen.  And success was never measured on aesthetics, but, solely, on whether it sold or not.

         
In those primitive days, when all artwork had to be done by pen and pencil, I discovered that I could omit a step, and avoid ink, by copying my pencil line on a Minolta copying machine, and in the process darken it, and pump it up, to pass it off as pen and ink.  Disney did much the same thing, when in "One Thousand and One Dalmatians” they first attempted to go from the animator’s pencil lines directly to Xerox copies on acetate, and thus eliminate the army of highly skilled young women who used to trace the lines on sheets of celluloid in ink.

         
Seeing these pencil drawings, again, was something of a revelation to me.  Maybe Eric is right. There is something about them, that is really very nice, something delicate and sweet that, after all these years, finally, succeeded in impressing me.  Therefore I will attempt to scan them in a way that preserves that quality, and will let you see all the imperfections and white paint corrections, which are the very elements that I would have attempted to burn away, in former days.  I will scan them in a way that instead of turning the lines as black as ink, will preserve the delicate shades of gray.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find them all, so a few will be copier images, after all.
          And, then, when more than enough were done, I painted them. This photograph, is larger than life. Yes they were Tiny Tots, indeed.
          At last, I made this video.  The objects in each scene were chosen to indicate scale, and illustrate the fact that they were very small.  I don’t know how well it succeeds, but well enough, it seems, to sell the concept to Mattel.
         And so, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?  Just CLICK The link, below, to See all the Best Drawings, and find out.
Continue to TINY TOTS PART 2       Return to MelBirnkrant.com
"TINY TOTS" are Copyright 2008 Mel Birnkrant, Kiscom "The Obb"