Monday, March 13, 2006

Background Painting 1 - Kristy Gordon


This is the incredible story of multi-talented Kristy Gordon.

I love this painting of the Finishing Tree! It's so gloriously rich! Doesn't it remind you of the one you grew up with?

Here's a theory about color that started at Spumco and eventually made it to Powerpuff Girls, Time Squad, Samurai Jack and a few other lucky cartoon projects:
It used to drive me crazy that all modern cartoons were painted using the same colors in the 1980s, basically pink, purple and green, and on days when cartoon painters were extra daring, they might use red or blue.
In other words, cartoons were usually painted with primary and secondary colors only and in most of the business today, they still are - except for those few cartoons that were inspired by Ren and Stimpy that in turn were inspired by Mary Blair, Frank Frazetta, Golden Books, N.C. Wyeth and many other styles that had fallen out of fashion.

OK, for example, if I was to hand out this background to a typical painter, the grass would come out middle green, the tree middle brown and the house would be pink and purple.
I'm fascinated by how colors work. I almost always have car accidents when I'm driving by myself because I notice all kinds of things that get me going.

I used to stare at lawns and I noticed they weren't really green and certainly not green like out of a tube of cartoon color paint. I could see the dirt under the grass peeking through the green blades, and the dirt colors itself were varied and not consistent. Don't ask me why, but things like this make me crazy with excitement.

So when Kristy started painting for me I told her all my weird color obsessions and she thought I was some kind of lunatic. I said, "Whatever you do, don't paint cartoon video box colors in my cartoons!"

I told her my dirt and grass theories and we drove around and flipped the car onto some lawns in Ottawa so that Kristy could get a first hand feel for what was thrilling me so.

She then painted tons of dirt cards, and slowly tried different techniques of layering the greens on top of the browns until she came up with the gorgeous painting you see above.
Kristy is a natural master of technique and detail. She just oozes with style and artistic elegance.
Once she understood what I like about color, she started painting all kinds of lush BGs for the show.

A lot of fans and cartoonists misunderstand what I want from my artists. They think I want the Spumco "Style" and I don't. Cartoon Network can have that. I want good fundamental substance and individual styles from the artists' own souls.

Has anyone ever treated teats so reverently as our little genius Kristy has done for you?

Superficially, Kristy's backgrounds don't look like the backgrounds in the original Ren and Stimpy series . They aren't filled with spatter and drybrush, but then many of the original cartoons weren't either. But now when everyone thinks back, that's what they remember the Ren and Stimpy style to be.

I want mood in my scenes, the techniques can vary all the time.
Think of the great lush paintings Scott Wills did for "Son Of Stimpy" or the stylish BGs Bill Wray did for "Robin Hoek". (go look at his killer cartoony paintings!)
http://www.bigblownbaby.com/


Great painters will work in many styles if you let them, and I not only let them, I yell at them if they don't! I'm such a greedy fan of art that I need my eyes pleasured all the time and I get bored when my artists settle into a style that the fans can call the Spumco style.

Kristy is an incredible artist who is interested in many different aspects of art. She draws, and animates and does layouts...she paints killer landscapes and you should order some now and plaster them on your walls to show the world what magnificent taste you have!
http://www.kristygordon.com/

On a sad note, cartoon paintings are out of fashion again. Most cartoons have photoshop fake paintings now, or none at all! Whenever I see a cartoon that has flat BGs that don't differ from the look of the characters, I feel totally cheated. You should too! Especially when there are great artists, like Kristy, Bill, Nick Cross and many others who can do so much to make you feel good.
BTW, I think the drawings for all these paintings were done by the wonderful Nick Cross, who I will post about later this week and I'll show you his killer work from Lost Episodes of Ren and Stimpy.


Kristy also does voices for me! She is the beachball girl in Naked Beach Frenzy and many other funny characters in the LOST Episodes which are coming soon!


Worship her now!

94 comments:

crsP said...

Sweet.

Alicia said...

"Worship her now!"

And How! What a fabulous artist! I will be checking on her frequently and take as much from her as I can to incorporate into my ever changing painting style. BTW, the Preston Blair book is working wonders, I'm noticing a difference right away. Thank you for the tip!

Sam said...

I will worship her!

Anonymous said...

Nice work indeed, and I look foward to these lost episodes to be availible soon

Ben Williams said...

Amazing stuff. Really looking forward to seeing a post about the amazing Nick Cross too.

nightwing said...

pretty stuff

Brian Romero said...

Beautiful work! The woman has skill and talent.

I've personally been finding inspiration in the old Fleischer backgrounds. Cartoony, but full of depth and character.

Phil said...

Awesome, I was just watching "Ren Seeks Help" on youtube today, and thought the cow background was amazing/humourous.

Beach Ball girl huh? Looking foward to those lost episodes.

Evan said...

John- Most interesting post. The paintings are gorgeous. I agree with your theory on colors totally, I think people are always inclined to say "grass is green, sky is blue" etc and not get into what colors things actually are, or even what looks good, ignoring reality completely. I actually had a color theory class in college too, and the interesting thing, as seemingly everything has been in art, is I had to figure this stuff out for myself despite the class. The main thing I noticed about color is, be it paints or color swatches on a computer, they generally offer you very saturated colors. I usually find a good way to get more interesting colors is to move away from these saturated standard colors into interesting less-saturated mixes that are more rare.

Well, I certainly don't need to explain this to you John, but I guess I just felt like expressing my views on color, maybe get an interesting discussion going here.

Dave said...

Terrific stuff. I'm amazed at what people can do with color, because I myself, have NO concept of it. I work in monotone =)

And I also agree with you Evan. I love less saturated colors. A good mix keeps something pleasing without losing its interestingness.

Sigh. I miss shows like Samurai Jack and Time Squad.

Joel Bryan said...

"Worship her now!" Done and done! She has the coolest hair, by the way.

Thanks for the painting tips and info. It does make me want to play with colors and see what happens.

One thing I don't like in cartoons is when they put a second color for a shadow and all it is is the primary color with gray in it. That drives me crazy!

Shadows are blue or purple or orange or even deep red depending on the light creating the shadow. That's one thing the old school painters did, guys like Frazetta or those crazy paperback cover artists and whoever. Their shadows are almost always a color.

Bill said...

Oh man, I'm so happy you did a post on background art! Ren and Stimpy had the best layouts and backgrounds since the 1950's Disney shorts in Make Mine Music and Melody Time. (Mary Blair...damn.) I'd love to hear more about your color theories, very interesting stuff. And thanks for pointing out some of the BG artists from the show - glad to see they're on the net as well. I'd love to see a post about the making of a background from storyboard to layout to color!

P.S. I love your blog times ten.

andrea said...

Hey John! Thanks so much for posting about all these amazing artists! Kristy Gordon's paintings blow my mind. She's super cute too!

see you soon
-andrea

akira said...

John K. is the pimp of animation, and these is his fine ass bitches!
WORD

Lee said...

great post. love the color theory.

Kevin Langley said...

It's really great that you're showcasing some of the talent that worked with you on the APC episodes. Interesting color theories also. Thanks.

bill(y) said...

god i love mary blair's sense of color.

i recently watched an extra on my daughter's cinderella dvd that featured her work.

excellent stuff.

Mitch K said...

My my, she certainly is something else! (I just checked out her site) There seems to be so much talent in Ottawa these days.

Thanks for posting those lovely backgrounds as well (and all those ideas with it). I can really see Nick in that cow one (his plog is great, too!) I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about him.

Wicked stuff, budday.

Anonymous said...

Jesus...talented as hell and even more beautiful. She's got it going on. Thanks for the cool posts, John!

Mitch K said...

PS: She's a doll!

JohnK said...

Hey Guys, look how nice I am to you, letting you peek at all these talented and lovely ladies.

Pay me back and get more friends to post here, ok? Keep spreading the word. It's your mission.

Your best friend,

John

BrianB said...

All your artists intimidate the hell out of me. Kristy, Katie, and Jessy. It makes me scared to pick up a pencil or paintbrush even.

That said, I do want to paint. It just takes so much more effort to get started though than a pencil and paper.

Anyway, consider her worshipped.

David Germain said...

Well, just remember that John K. is only one critic. Maybe a drawing or painting that strikes his fancy would be put in front of Brad Bird to which he'd respond "What the hell is that??!!" In the end, they're just opinions.
Just do the best you can do. That's all any of us can do really.
Of course, reading the tips John posts here all the time won't hurt you none either. In fact, he posts those here for the purpose of helping aspiring artists like yourself, brian. John certainly does have much insight into the world of animation but he is not the final word on what makes things great or crap.

The best thing you can do is to keep drawing no matter what.

Max Konrardy said...

Color -- among many other weaknesses -- is probably my most devastating ... I'm simply awful with color materials. I get impatient and everything is muddy. Even when I'm given a computer to create precise hues, I manage to mess it up. Practice, obviously, makes perfect ... but sometimes I fear I just don't have an eye for it.

Seeing Kristy's stuff is certainly amazing and inspiring but studying it is hard work without some words behind it. Your words, John, and Evan's words make a lot of sense. It would be nice to hear some more stuff about technique ... man ... I just need some theory like this to start. Any books recommended? Preston Blaire, eh?

Chet said...

hey john,

How do you meet these nice looking girls,that have experiense in art,or animation?

first Kaite Rice,and now Kristy.

Whats up?

SteveLambe said...

Talented people for sure. Just great stuff.

I dont know if I would necessarily trace all the background stylings of Sam Jack and Powerpuff girls back to Ren and Stimpy. These guys were digging back much further into classic shorts like Toot Whistle Plunk Boom and the early UPA like Mr.magoo.

No doubt Scott Wills pulled from his experiences from R&S though. The guy's a artistic genius...Bill Wray as well. Man....wish these guys taught classes!!

Pedro Vargas said...

I most deffinately know what you mean John. I love colors and I strongly believe that colors and emotions go well hand in hand. it's just too damn sad man. no one's using color as a means of expression in modern cartons! hopefully you can bring some life into the color world of cartoons. that'll be like a splice of haven!

Pedro Vargas said...

and Kristy Gordon rocks my socks off!

JohnK said...

>>I dont know if I would necessarily trace all the background stylings of Sam Jack and Powerpuff girls back to Ren and Stimpy. These guys were digging back much further into classic shorts like Toot Whistle Plunk Boom and the early UPA like Mr.magoo.

as we were first. And what the BG artists learned on Ren and Stimpy, they developed further and brought to those later shows.

You can't just look at those UPA or Disney cartoons and instantly understand what and how they did them. You need to learn first by practicing and having some guidance.

ryan said...

those paintings are really nice!

Anonymous said...

I AM telling all my friends about this blog! Especially all my cartoonist friends... This is my favorite website right now, I'm so glad you're doing this.

I always noticed the backgrounds in Ren and Stimpy, even when I was like 10 years old...


-Jordan
www.timwarnermovie.com

Charles Brubaker said...

Nice looking backgrounds. Interesting technique Kristy did by having dirt shown in grassy area. Airbrush is interesting. Too bad they're expensive.

Regarding "Powerpuff Girls"....hmmmm....I think those background styles look more similar to the BGs seen in early Hanna-Barbera stuff like "Huckleberry Hound". Those early Cartoon Network shows were mostly influenced by H-B (and even made in the studio formaly run by Bill and Joe) so no surprise if Craig McCraken intended it.

Just a quick question. Does the negatives for "Ren and Stimpy" episodes that were shot on film still exist? With all the HD TV mania, I thought it would be cool to have the series re-telecined so the backgrounds can look great on newer TV. And just a stupid technical question only a nerdy cartoon fan would ask - was "Ren and Stimpy" shot on 35mm or 16mm?

lastangelman said...

Interesting the examples you include are the stunning backgrounds of what must be the R&S tour de force, Ren Gets Help. Let's go to the video tape ...
After Stimpy's Emmy worthy performance in the opening scene (who the heck was his acting coach, my mother? Chills...), we witness Ren Hoek's slow drag/plodding towards HELP, and you can't help but notice these BGs. These are real paintings, not mere backgrounds; the indifferent cows with their oversized udders in the pasture by the fence, the twilight when Ren enters and scrapes into the dank city, and, as twilight becomes the black/blue night shadow of some dirty back street, and all these Fleischer Bros. inspired characters in the BG and the foreground in muted circus clown colours look at Ren - the expressions - are they disgusted by him, are they just avoiding him because he's a stranger, do they sense his sickness and or his own self repulsion? Has Ren transgressed cartoon character laws of nature? The paintings of these characters in the street scene is amazing, and sets them apart from Ren as distant and remote.
And near the end of the episode when Ren has just beat the living daylights literally out of Dr.Mr.Horse and he's gone M A D , the horse corpse is nightmarish, ghoulish and horrrible - perfect! Something from the French revolution, the dark side of course.
And this woman did not a get a single Annie for her work?
Incredible! I am dumbfounded!!

WIL said...

Well, you finally did it, John. Kristy's work is so great that I'm actually speachless!

R2K said...

She is very pretty. And only slightly emo.

Rockets

David Germain said...

Are you referring to Emo Phillips, Alex?

Gabriel said...

I think I'll dump Google as my initial site and put this blog in it's place.
Another killer post. I'm amazed by the peg holes near the paintings. I always thought they were painted with their size at least doubled, so they could have all that detail, but I'm not sure anymore. Another thing I'd like to know is what technique exactly did Kristy use? How did she do that sky in the cows painting? John, please answer if you read this. I know the philosophy is very important, and it's the part you learn nowhere these days, but those technical questions just won't leave my head. If I can't suck Kristy's talent, at least I want to know how she does it!

Troy Little said...

Kristy's funny and talented beyond imagination. I'm lucky enoungh to own one of her fine art pieces and display it proudly to all!

Shout out to Finny.

:: smo :: said...

it's amazing how you can go to school for animation or even illustration and not be taught proper color theory. hopefully your posts like this inspire people to not rainbow wash everything. my little pony makes me want to puke.

R said...

An' she's cute to boot!

I'm still learning about colour myself.. I think in the past I was very guilty of 'cartoon video box colours' but I'm trying to remedy that with my Bunny Oakley stuff and whatnot.

What do you think of C. Scott Morse's backgrounds?

JohnK said...

>>Regarding "Powerpuff Girls"....hmmmm....I think those background styles look more similar to the BGs seen in early Hanna-Barbera stuff like "Huckleberry Hound".

These were all cartoons we studied at Spumco in 1990 and 91 and I had Bill and the other painters practice the brush tecniques from these and other cartoons and painting styles and compile a book of these techniques to use as reference for each new show we painted.

I'm a big fan of Art Lozzi and Monteleagre, the original HB BG stylists and will write a post all about them soon.

I have lots of frame grabs of their work.

Kevin Langley said...

Ah, early Hanna Barbera backgrounds are some of my absolute favorites. Can't wait for those frame grabs.

makinita said...

man shes a cuttie and talented too thats a nice litle package hehe

Jorg said...

John, I think what I'm getting from this post is that you must caricature and exagerrate the subtle things you see in real life to have an effective cartoon painting? Is that the gist of it?

Ryan Edwards said...

this is juicy stuff John! after 8 some odd years of working in Flash and NOT painting, I'm feeling a bit dried up. you've inspired me to think more & mix shit up.

overall it's great to see what it is you and the people you work with do to keep practicing, keep building, honing skills. keep up with the posting & keep kicking ass!

gorgeous work, Kristy!

Eebs said...

Post post... love the blog... etc.

James Elston said...

this is a very fascinating blog. I read it often.
Great stuff.
These background paintings are fun to look at.

j.

z0mbi said...

great post, John. I swear to god you need to write a book! Why don't you do a book, or a series of books, and you can accomplish your goals of raising funding for more cartoons that way?

I know a lot of artists that would buy a John K. theory bible. You're the only artist that comes to mind that ever shook up the industry so much. A lot of people want to learn how to open their eyes to your level and beyond.

Baron Von Josho said...

Consider her Worshipped, Mr K. My favorite painting has to be the alley...She is a genius.

Say...I may be an idiot for asking this, but do you know how they did the 3D backgrounds in some of the Fleischer Cartoons? Did they build models or what?

~Josh

Aimee Nester said...

I have some promotional ideas about getting more members for your blog (at least in Northern CA).
madsqbls@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Say...I may be an idiot for asking this, but do you know how they did the 3D backgrounds in some of the Fleischer Cartoons? Did they build models or what?

They used the "The Stereoptical Process" which they created. Other times it was just great paintings.

theKirkness said...

LOST? lol... a jon.K version of the TV show LOST would be a hoot!

Clarke (Csnyde) said...

Wow even more incredibly beautiful stuff here in these latest few posts John. In addition to all of the great visuals, I'd like to give you an even heartier thanks for offering up all of these theories and instruction in an attempt to educate those of us who are smart enough to pay attention.

I can only hope that you have a secondary reason for bestowing these pearls of wisdom on us all, and that perhaps this means that you are gearing up for production on a new spumco project???

I for one would love the opportunity to come and learn from you and work alongside one of my art/animation heroes. Nearly everyone that I know who works or has worked for you in the past has come out of their Spumco experience a greater artist/animator.

E. Adam Thomas said...

This lady is a jaw dropper! Talented, lovely... an artist in paint and voice... If she also watches Doctor Who and listens to Pink Floyd and The residents, I should so marry her ;-)

Seriously, hats off to Kristy, and to you, John, for being cool enough to showcase her work.

E. Adam Thomas said...

"Say...I may be an idiot for asking this, but do you know how they did the 3D backgrounds in some of the Fleischer Cartoons? Did they build models or what?"

I remember seeing a program about this some time ago. Basically, I believe they used a series of glass plates with parts of the B/G painted on them, and they also occasionally built miniatures of some set pieces (chairs, wardrobes, etc.) to give the effect just that much more realistic depth. Unfortunately, it is a very time consuming and expensive process. These days, it's cheaper to model stuff in the computer. That's one of the things that always kind of bugged me about Matt Groening's "Futurama" series, because the 3-D rendered objects never quite blended correctly with the traditional animation. Of course, that was about 7 years ago, now. I'd be willing to bet they'd be better at it now, but that's still no substitue for good old fashioned sweat-on-the-brow animation.

Gabriel said...

Yes, they built the models on a turn table that looked like a giant pizza slice, they even patented that method, but no one else used it when multiplane camera was invented.

Gabriel said...

Here, check this out for more info on the Fleischer Bros's 3d background.
Back to Kristy's art, I'm still curious to what does she use? Acrylics? Anyone can tell me that?

PikaPikaChick said...

Dear John K,

I've wanted to write you for a long time because I have a story that you might get a kick out of. First off, this is the best blog EVER. And yes, Kristy is absolutely amazing!

This is as good a place as any to post this, I guess.

My husband and I will be married for 2 years this June. We first met in the 7th grade. The reason we originally started dating? Ren and Stimpy. Because that's the type of dorks we are.

You see, our circle of friends absolutely worshipped Ren & Stimpy. This was during its original heyday on Nickelodeon. There was one episode in particular that stood out to all of us: In the Army (so a certain amount of thanks is also due to Bob Camp). We all had nicknames: Lemon Merchant, Little Missy, Toast (from PTM, of course). My husband was the Keeper of the Cheese, or just Cheese; I was Guido. Together we recited episodes, watched the show, bought the merchandise, wore the t-shirts.

Fast forward 13 years and here we are today, Cheese and Guido, with our Ren & Stimpy DVDs. Thanks for everything John. We make underleg noises in your honor.

Eric C. said...

awsome paintings there. I noticed they're from Ren Seeks Help. In my opition the best APC I've seen so far.

John, as a young cartoonist, I wanted to ask, what kind of computer software do you use for animation?
Like those pencil tests, did you use Flash and then put it on a video file ?

_Eric

Vanoni! said...

Those are gorgeous, especially The Finishing Tree.
And so many subtle touches to make the layout less pedestrian. (Or maybe I'm analyzing too much)
The finishing "X" off center within the circle, the fence planks are carefully varied, Poppa and Momma in the window standing off center, left and right curtains upstairs are different, and the sign is drawn at an odd and off center angle. The whole thing seems to draw your eye from the window, ascross the fence to the sign, and down to the "x". Or vice versa.

Nothing is even or drawn with a straight edge but nothing looks wonky. And the dirt peeking out is a wonderful touch.

And yes! Check out Kristy's site, there's some wonderful stuff over there.

– Corbett

Anonymous said...

Those Fleischer Stereoptical backgrounds? Jack Ozark said "they made 'em outta clay." Some of them, maybe. But how the hell did they get matchlines on cels to register with moving 3-D OL/UL elements? Fleischer head camerman Charles Shettler somehow figured it out, and he's long since food for worms.

Anonymous said...

Man, I'd love to see a high res image of that shot looking down on the alley as Ren walk heavily through.

Also, what are your theories regarding abstract backgrounds and close ups?

Anonymous said...

extreme close ups, I mean.

Anonymous said...

John, On the commentary on the Red & Stimpy DVD you talk about the backgrounds and how they must be different colors from the backgrounds in old style animation. I never forgot that and now when I watch a cartoon - any cartoon - I pay close attention to everything, including the backgrounds.
Thanks so much for this wonderful blog and for displaying the work of some very talented artists! These ladies are creative and talented!

- Eric

z0mbi said...

"John, as a young cartoonist, I wanted to ask, what kind of computer software do you use for animation?
Like those pencil tests, did you use Flash and then put it on a video file ?"

You're asking the wrong caveman, dude. John K. still shaves his face with a sharpened rock and brushes his teeth by gnawing on bark.

Jeremy said...

I cant imagine what it would feel like to work with such top notch people, artists and other wise.

I hope we can see the lost episodes of ren and stimpy on DVD soon.

Daniel said...

What I find interesting about the cartoons John seems to be into (grotesquely expressive facial and bodily exaggerations along with beautifully painted settings) is the balance between these two elements. On the one hand there's entirely unrealistic, caricatured forms (not just of the characters, but many times even objects in the scene too) and on the other, the coloring is based off reality, like in this case where two artists hopped in a car to go look at grass.

I think it's a really neat approach.

666 said...

HUBBA HUBBA! I think John's got the right idea in the last picture!

Nico said...

John-

i dunno if it's just me, but in that first picture of you and Kristy... holy crap, you look a LOT like Bob Clampett.

Gabriel said...

I can't believe this! Damn spambots!!

bab2600 said...

John, Great background pictures. The backgorund pictures in Ren Seeks Help were, in my opinion very different from the original ren and stimpy. In the APC episodes I have seen, it seemed like the cartoon as a hole grew up. The backgrounds, color, art etc. all seemed more mature which fits the content of the APC episodes. I was also wondering what sort of equipment advice can you give for aspiring animators? What traditional animation equipment is possinle to get on a low budget. Also what was the process you used for the flash animated toons? Again what equipment and programs were used to go from traditional drawn animation to the flash animation we see in in the george liquor cartoons? Also what work besides storyboards did Chris Ricardi do and will you be showing any of his work in the blog?

Anonymous said...

i dunno if it's just me, but in that first picture of you and Kristy... holy crap, you look a LOT like Bob Clampett.

It's not just you.

I was Joking about that just the other day.

For those out of the loop:




Jorge Garrido said...

You know what backgrounds I love? Wabbit Twouble. I love the oils in that thing. Rich colour, realistic backgrounds which contrast perfectly to the wackiness of Clampett's characters, and that great pan in the opening scence where the backgrounds move at different speeds. That's why I loved APC's backgrounds, they were much more realistic.

Anonymous said...

tags didn't work...

try these

http://www.nonstick.com/creatrs/clampet.gif

http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Funnyworld/Clampett/Clampett.gif

R2K said...

Big ear there :)

R2K

Nicolas Martinez said...

Ren Seeks Help had amazing backgrounds. You're lucky to hve talent like Kristy.

randi said...

That alleyway BG is breathtaking. I keep going back to admire it and sigh and stuff. I know what you mean about colors making you so happy.

Why do all the people with the money hate good color? As a fledgling idiot, I sent out a bunch of samples of a children's book I was working on, and by some miracle I actually got a callback from a Big Important Publisher. They wanted to see the original art. Okey dokey.

Met with the art director, instant rapport, she even wanted to look at my crappy comic strip-style book that no one but me ever laughed at. Things were shaping up nicely.

Then she told me she wanted to publish the book, which concerned a lobster with stage fright. The setting was the ocean floor, of course, so the blues and greens were murky and oceany and the lobsters were not red.

"Why aren't the lobsters red?"

"Uh, because they're alive."

She asked me if I could redo all of the illustrations in more upbeat colors. I said I guessed I could, and she told me to call her when I had something with bright colors to show her. I went home and I did a few illustrations that were hideously bright. Like, straight out of the tube. It was sickening. But she wouldn't buy the book as it was, I reasoned. And maybe she's right. Maybe the tykes would prefer the bright colors. (My favorite color when I was a kid was grey. It still is.)

My first callback ever...big-time publisher of good quality kid lit, not some supermarket book publisher of titles like "The Best Lamb Ever" and "Mommy, I Love You!"...they love the story...they love the main character...they love my goofy comic strip-style thing...

Screw it. I never went back.

TheChiquitaFactor said...

Something about that ear is really appealing. (sounds backwards, I know, but visually appealing- nice rendering.)

John, I don't know if you're into video games, but in the early 90's LucasArts published a game called Day of the Tentacle- all hand painted art, and the backgrounds were simply amazing, especially the color design with the limited pallete.

Aggie said...

Wow, Kristy's work is beautiful. I wish I went to that 'Invitational Figure Exhibition' in Toronto when I had the chance. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Anonymous said...

haha Day of the Tentacle! Awesome game. So was Sam and Max Hit the Road. Didn't expect to see that mentioned here...

As you were.

-Jordan
www.timwarnermovie.com

Trevour said...

John - if you still read down this far... you showed the magnificent udder-riffic BG of Miss Gordon's from 'Ren Seeks Help,' but how about the BG which includes the Fleischer-esque crowd of characters? Was she responsible for that one too?

I remember shortly after 'Ren Seeks Help' aired on Spike a few years back, someone posted on the Spumco newsgroup that the sequence of Ren walking was "BORING!" and it "DRAGGED ON TOO LONG!" Obviously they weren't paying any attention to the stars of that scene - THE EYE-POPPING BACKGROUNDS!!!

JohnK said...

>>someone posted on the Spumco newsgroup that the sequence of Ren walking was "BORING!" and it "DRAGGED ON TOO LONG!" Obviously they weren't paying any attention to the stars of that scene - THE EYE-POPPING BACKGROUNDS!!!

The backgrounds and the cuts and the music. It was all mood.

That kind of comment is by someone trained to need non-stop verbal sewage and doesn't know how to pleasure his other senses.

Torture him with some old film noir movies.

Trevour said...

I'll keep that in mind!

I haven't watched it since it last aired, but I have it on tape. Can't wait for the ultimate DVDs. I just remember being sucked in by the psycotic drama of it all. Your freaking cartoon did that to me! THE performance of the 2003!

Ryan Kramer said...

please publish a book, john! Everything that comes out of your mouth should be on paper.

David Germain said...

Everything that comes out of your mouth should be on paper.

Except the phlegm. That should be on kleenex. ;\

SmittyCartoons said...

I think that's pretty classy to plug your artists... not to mention interesting! Very cool ideas about color and styles as well! Keep on rockin, John!

Anonymous said...

John K,

If I may change subjects, I would like to know more about your audio production process for your cartoons. Your character voices, especially for Ren, are incredible. I work in audio post production for TV, films, commercials, etc. here in NYC, and I fully understand how difficult and important it is to get the right performance.

I would love to know more about how you do your voices for the cartoons. How calculated, or not, are you with your performance? For example, I have seen the storyboard for Stimpy's Invention online, and I have noticed how many things are notated for your vocal performance, such as stuttering, Ren's "accent", and even some sound design.

To me, the voices are the stars of the show. Your voice talent is head and shoulders above most of the people I work with on a daily basis who do VOs for a living! I'd love to know any insights on how you get such great performances. Thanks. Ron D.

Josh Boelter said...

My lawn is a pretty even mid-green. At least on the dead spots where I spray-painted it green.

Eric C. said...

Yeah, Animation takes alot of time and effort to get the movement you want to see. That's what the art is about. Movement!

_Eric

Bill said...

There's a Spumco background HOW-TO book out there somewhere?! Oh man, I'd love to get my hands on that...

CarolineJarvis said...

The cows are hilarious! Always enjoy checking out your work!

Cheers!

Harp said...

go to my blog at http://harpplayspiano.blogspot.com

to me it's like an online diary, sensored so i can share it with the world.

chuckmo said...

i think i'm in love

Waqas Malik said...

she's such a great artist AND she did the voice of naked beach girl!? "come back here, my big bouncy ball" ♥ i think i'm in love