About Inkwell Images

Ray Pointer

Inkwell Images was originally founded to produce a long- needed serious documentary on animation pioneer, Max Fleischer. With the growing need for material at the start of cable television, positive responses came from The Disney Channel and others. The Rough Cut generated interest from both AMC and A&E only to be withdrawn when both cable networks changed their programming content at the change of the millennium.

To build up Inkwell Images, as a production company, I initiated activity in 1998 by producing the popular Ken Southworth Animation instruction courses, the first Home Video course of this nature to gain attention, winning several top awards in film and video festivals. At this same time, THE WHOLE TOON CATALOGUE was selling VHS tapes of rare animation largely from the Silent Era. I was puzzled by the disclaimer of “quality poor” or ”very poor” when in fact I had superior prints of many of these titles in my personal collection. I saw this as an opportunity to establish Inkwell Images with a reputation of producing quality videos with the best transfers, video engineering, and professional packaging. In addition to offering superior image quality, my goal was to organize the material in an informative way, something that was not being done by the competition.

We already had a presence in THE WHOLE TOON CATALOGUE with the Ken Southworth series. And when I described my concept for a program titled, BEFORE WALT to the catalogue’s publisher, it was ordered sight unseen based on our reputation. This was the start of the ANIMATION ANTHOLOGIES featured on this website. I modeled the series after the old DISNEYLAND television programs that would assemble old cartoons around a certain theme, many on the history of animation such as THE STORY OF THE ANIMATED DRAWING (1955). This was the inspiration of BEFORE WALT, the first in the series, which led to our biggest seller, MAX FLEISCHER’ S FAMOUS OUT OF THE INKWELL and all that followed.

In 2001, Inkwell Images made the transition to DVD production and sales, starting with our most popular title, OUT OF THE INKWELL—our first venture into Glass Mastered DVDs. We expanded our line of DVDs by releasing our remaining VHS programs and expanded the series with additional titles including KRAZY KAT, MUTT AND JEFF, THE LEGENDARY LAUGH-O-GRAMS and a revised edition of ALICE IN CARTOONLAND. Our purchase of the negatives of a selection of pre-1927 sound Bouncing Ball “Song Car-tunes” led to our release, MAX FLEISCHER’S KO-KO SONG CAR-TUNES (With the Famous Bouncing Ball), which won the Platinum Award for Entertainment Documentaries at The Houston International Film and Video Festival in 2003.

As Inkwell Images enters its 20th anniversary, it continues to be recognized as an award-winning leader in Special Interest programming with its product used in Film and Animation Programs at major universities, and a sales presence in outlets such as The Hollywood Heritage and Walt Disney Family Museums.

The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer: American Animation Pioneer

Ray Pointer is also the author of, “The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer: American Animation Pioneer”. Click Here To Buy On Amazon

Description: The history of animated cartoons has for decades been dominated by the accomplishments of Walt Disney, giving the impression that he invented the medium. In reality, it was the work of several pioneers. Max Fleischer–inventor of the Rotoscope technique of tracing animation frame by frame over live-action footage–was one of the most prominent.

By the 1930s, Fleischer and Disney were the leading producers of animated films but took opposite approaches. Where Disney reflected a Midwestern sentimentality, Fleischer presented a sophisticated urban attitude with elements of German Expressionism and organic progression. In contrast to Disney’s naturalistic animation, Fleischer’s violated physical laws, supporting his maxim: “If it can be done in real life, it isn’t animation.” As a result, Fleischer’s cartoons were rough rather than refined, commercial rather than consciously artistic–yet attained a distinctive artistry through Fleischer’s innovations. This book covers his life and work and the history of the studio that bore his name, with previously unpublished artwork and photographs.