Tuesday, February 14, 2006
From time to time, people call me and want me to do magazine covers or illustrations for them. They assume that all cartoonists can do all kinds of cartoons, and I hate to have to dissapoint them.
To me, a cartoon illustration is a painting- like in the old Golden Books by J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, Mel Crawford and Gustaf Tenggren-in other words, not just a cartoon drawing filled with flat color, but a real painting. Like they used to do thousands of years ago before culture died.
Unfortunately, I can't paint-for some reason, paint and brushes hate me and will only make messes under my direction. The extent of my actual paintings were in Big House Blues where I did many of the backgrounds because I couldn't find any real background artists at the time to help (except Bob Camp who did all the good ones in the cartoon). What a mess! Strangely enough, my splotchy, messy BGs caught on and became a style and now there are whole shows on network TV with messy sloppy backgrounds in them on purpose!
I admire people like Bill Wray (my favorite cartoon painter), Kristy Gordon, Nick Cross, Jay Li, Simon Dupuis, Scott Wills, Richard Ziehler-Martin, Vicki Jensen and the like who can paint real paintings with great skill and appeal in a cartoon style. Most can also paint straight paintings too.
Hey, check Pietro Vargas' stuff out! http://pipsqueakscorner.blogspot.com/
OK, bored yet? I don't blame you.
So my dilemma a few years back was how to make my cartoons look like real paintings without having to actually use paint.
I hated all digital paintings and still do for the most part-especially that Photoshop crap. Yeeesh!
I discovered another program called Painter which is a torture program, but at least it has a few variations of things they call "Brushes" that you can paint with. The strange part is, none of the things they call "brushes' look anything remotely like any real brushes. But what the Hell, I was able to at least make some kinda pseudo painterly looking pictures and the art directors at the magazines never complained!
So here are a few.
This one was done back when Fred Seibert just took over Hanna Barbera and was revamping it and turning the Cartoon Network into something real. I showed him a bunch of weird looking caricatures I did of Hanna Barbera characters, and he said "We gotta do something with this". So he had me produce a laser disk collection of the first 14 episodes of The Flintstones from 1960. I did all the cover and insert art with Craig Kelly doing layout and design. You gotta get this box set! It has the best supplemental materials ever! Commercials showing the Flintstones smoking Winstons' cigarettes, the original pilot with different voices, all the crazy off model toys from the 1960s-from my collection and Bob Jaques' too. Jerry Beck helped me find tons of rare commercials starring the Flintstones in the 1960s. Earl Kress helped me write liner notes for a special booklet. I show you how to tell one Hanna Barbera animator from another in special music videos edited by Henry Porch. The picture above is the cover to the insert.
Later Fred asked me to do the Ranger Smith cartoons, and then he hired other artists to imitate my f...-ed-up style of Hanna Barbera drawings to use for merchandise.
Here are a couple Spumco Comic Book covers:
The cover from Media Magazine:
Here's a tease from something I will tell you more about later:
Stay tuned to my and Katie Rice's Blog. I'm gonna paint one of her great girlie drawings with fake paint soon!