Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mr. Horse rough to solid

Here are some models created from Ren Seeks Help.
One of the biggest problems creatively I've faced over the years is getting an original idea to survive the assembly line system of making cartoons-especially the Saturday Morning cartoon system I began my career in.

When you do an original drawing (if you are any good) you tend to put a lot of life and action into it when you first think of it. Then it has to be traced, cleaned up, animated and assisted and colored. Each of these steps along the way tends to tone the drawing down.

This happens naturally even if you clean up your own drawing-it loses some of the guts and spontaneity.

Now imagine if your whole production system is geared on top of that to purposely tone everything down!
That was the system in the 70s and 80s and is still the system at most studios today.

In my own studio and the service studios I work with, I have to constantly beg people not to tone down artwork.
The layout artist tones down the storyboard drawing. The animator tones down the layout, then the assistant tones down the animation key and then in Korea the "on model" department erases everything and traces a pose off the model sheet.

This whole process tortures me so I always have to teach people first-to not have an inclination to tone down a drawing I hand them-and then give them some techniques to help them preserve the life of the drawings.
These are some key poses I roughed out for Ren Seeks Help. I then gave them to my most solid artist in Canada to do sample cleanups. Helder Mendonca is a really great cartoonist whose strongest attribute is his ability to construct characters out of solid shapes. He is a natural talent who learned a lot from Jim Smith-another artist whose drawings are really solid.

If you look at the roughs you can see how I try to build up my poses out of simple shapes and then lay the details on top of them. And I attempt to wrap the details around the bigger forms. This is not natural to me. I naturally draw flat and had to teach myself construction, I'm not the best at it at all but I like it when I see it so I try for it.
Helder then tries to preserve the flow of the poses and make the drawings even more solid-these 2 concepts are very hard to balance-they are naturally opposed.
We did these samples and handed them out to the rest of the artists as guides.
Mr. Horse is a particularly hard character to draw-well all horses are! Do you remember when Dreamworks did a press release for "Spirit" and told everyone that no one had ever animated a horse with personality before? They explained that it was because a horse's mouth is too far from its eyes, so you couldn't draw expressions on one. Their solution was to shorten the snout to bring the eyes and mouth closer together. Uhhhh....ok.
Boy, try to draw gestures with hooves!! Yikes. Most artists are terrified to draw Mr. Horse. Helder loved it. He did a lot of his own scenes that are just killer. He drew the great pistol-whipping scene at the end of this cartoon.
He draws a good maimed frog too.
One of my favorite "solid" style animators is Bob McKimson. He animated a lot of stuff for Bob Clampett (as well as other directors) and he could draw really realistic subtle acting. He did the scenes in Falling Hare where Bugs is sitting on the wing of the airplane reading about gremlins and scoffing at the stories "Gremlins, little men..what a fairy tale!"
This - to me - is the best looking Bugs Bunny ever animated.

Clampett told me that McKimson had a photographic memory and when Clampett handed out scenes to McKimson, he would act out the whole scene live and Mckimson would just memorize every human gesture and expression Clampett did and then turn around and animate it just like Bob acted it out.


Hey, Brian Romero posted some Mckimson drawings of the greatest cartoon character in history-Adolph Hitler! Go check 'em out. He has 3 sets of drawings. The first and 3rd are McKimson's animation, and the middle set is Rod Scribner.

Also look at the rest of his blog. He has lots of great stuff there. Make sure you comment and thank his ass.


Anonymous said...

No sir, I dont like it!

Snakes on a plane

Gabriel said...

Wow, when I pagedown the cleanup falls exactly where the rough was, it's almost as if I was flipping two pages. Fortunate coincidence. I totally understand how the spontaneity of a drawing can go away, many times i've ruined a nice drawing just by inking it. I don't know where the drawing's "soul" was, but it can certainly go away even if you mantain the building, for some reason. This talk reminds me of how they colored fleischer's Popeye and made it unwatchable.
John, how is it that you draw naturally flat? Is it a bad habit from copying old cartoons without building them? Or does your stuff just come out better when you don't think much about it and leave construction aside?

Anonymous said...

so why clean it up at all?
The most life I've ever seen in animation was in pencil tests. It would be amazing to have a series or a feature that kept the animation rough an alive.

Trevour said...

I agree, that's always been my favorite era Bugs as well.

Is it true that if you create a great drawing in storyboard, you can end up copying that exact drawing over as a key? If that makes any sense.

S.G.A said...

It was really Great to read someone I respect write this!.... I always draw loose then tighten it up in inking, Of course my drawings still look flat, but I always hated losing an indefinable qualitly from my original sketch, There is a really great sketchbook , with great drawings I think Mr. K would like : the secret sketchbooks of Brian Froud, he's not an animator but his skectchbooks are just great and so alive with cartoonyness!!!
Thank You!!!

David Germain said...

Besides Mr. Horse, the only other really expressive horse character was in Nothing But the Tooth (by Art Davis c. 1948) when Porky wants to use his horse as a shield against an Indian attack. If anyone here hasn't seen it I won't spoil it for them. Find it on VHS on ebay or wait for it to come out on DVD (no matter how much the colours get fudged). It's one of Art Davis' best toons IMO.

As for drawings losing their life all through the clean up process, my work suffers tremendously from this too. I couldn't imagine what it would look like going through the studio system. That's something I'll definitely have to work on.

Anonymous said...

"Helder then tries to preserve the flow of the poses and make the drawings even more solid. These 2 concepts are very hard to balance-they are naturally opposed."

You got that right! I struggle with this every time I draw just about anything.

Thanks for posting these with all the detailed explanations. Truly inspirational.

randi said...

Wow. Last night I was wishing you'd address this very subject. It's always, always been a tremendous roadblock for me. I despise the "rendering" part of drawing. Rapidograph pens are for architects, not people who draw. No matter what I use, the finals just don't look good to me, and I still believe The Secret Magical Pen is out there, evading me. Or maybe it's one of those secrets they tell you when you join the union.

The closest thing I've ever found to match the original drawings is a wonderful Japanese brush pen with a perfect tip made from some space-age fibre, that uses cartridges. It's just like a real brush except for the spilling-and-ruining part.

But of course the ink isn't permanent. It's always something.

So you've talked about all that--keeping drawings alive--but you have to tell us HOW! How, John, how?? Please tell us.

S.G.A said...

You give so much already which is fantastic, but what about putting together a matter of fact, cheapo dv video or lecture for struggling animators, an then selling it with your t- shirts , I'd buy it!!!! everybody would, it be the only thing out there!!!

Katie said...

I'm really glad you posted these! I never really knew who worked on which scenes up in Canada...these look great. Helder did a really excelent job of translating your roughs, and I know from experience just how diffcult it really is! Balancing energy, flow, and construction is near impossible sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I suppose this question is sort of inconsequential, but how are your lines so dark, what kind of pencil is that?

Anonymous said...

Mr. K,

I think Bob Clampett was the only one who actually ever made Bugs look like a fool and got it right. Chuck Jones tried in "Rabbit Rampage" but he just wasn't close enough because Jones' Bugs was perfect.Clampett brillantly made Bugs look stupid ever time he wanted to get that damn Gremlin in "Falling Hare" and the result was beautiful because he knew that nobody is pefect when they are mad.

Ben Williams said...

Wow! Those drawings are great!

JohnK said...

>>John, how is it that you draw naturally flat? Is it a bad habit from copying old cartoons without building them? Or does your stuff just come out better when you don't think much about it and leave construction aside?

I don't naturally draw flat on purpose. My favorite cartoon drawing style is the solidly constructed yet loosely posed animation from the 1940s.

I naturally draw flowing and loose and designy-I don't have to think about those concepts at all, but I do have to concentrate on construction.

Some artists are naturally good at construction-like Jim Smith and Helder Mendonca and Duncan Marjoriebanks, Milt Kahl and others. I envy them.

I am not condoning drawing flat and I don't draw flat by comparison with modern styles.

When I drew those Mr. Horse scenes I was thinking very hard about construction. It always takes me about a week to warm up before I can draw Mr. Horse with confidence and freedom-because he is hard to construct.

When he is not solidly constructed he isn't as funny.

ek said...

Great advice. I'll keep this in mind when I clean & ink from now on :-)

Trevour said...

Well I believe this particular Mr. Horse is amazingly constructed. The poses, the delivery! Yet another reason why "Ren Seeks Help" is one of the greatest Ren & Stimpy cartoons ever!

JohnK said...

>>Is it true that if you create a great drawing in storyboard, you can end up copying that exact drawing over as a key? If that makes any sense.

Some artists will do drawings on the storyboard that are so good that I don't want to do anything to to them.

Jim Smith and Nick Cross draw so well that their drawings can only be toned down, so sometimes I'll skip all the steps from storyboard to animation and just send the storyboard drawings to Korea.

Anonymous said...

"I think Bob Clampett was the only one who actually ever made Bugs look like a fool and got it right"

I was just wondering if that would have been as fun if the others wouldn't have established the "bugs always wins" or "daffy = egomaniac" context.

How much of the "i always succeed" attitude could be established in the beginning of a 5 minute cartoon to contrast despair?

In the end i think in the end clampett had a lot to play with through the stereotypes the others where forming.

So while characters act during one cartoon they establish through many, and to play with the established is -i believe- probably the great fun.

Joel Bryan said...

Wow! I love these nuts-and-bolts posts. That's what I want to see- the actual drawings and how they take shape from initial roughs to the finished products.

I always kill my drawings when I try to finish them. They start off spontaneous and alive and end up mummified.

QueefBizzle said...

Thats a pretty good tutorial for basic animation.

BrianB said...

I'm going to have to watch Falling Hare all over again now.

I see you're dilema with the whole production line though. Has anybody ever tried doing an entirely rough animated piece? I've often thought about doing a straight forward rough pen animation. Of course it's just a paper-thin concept right now, with little weight behind it to if it really works or looks good.

But your own rough drawings have great subconcious touches behind them. The imporant point of the drawing is darker, more refined. It grabs your eyes. And some of the lesser details have a life of their own but in a lighter stroke. Kind of designed to enhance the main point of the drawing with their line direction. It gets the intensity and point of the gesture across really well. With the clean-up drawing - and to no fault of the clean-up artist - that's kind of lost. Because every gesture has to be a solid shape in his mind. So a Horses lip can't just be a tightly wrapped line around his teeth. They're dimensionally wrapped and not as tight. The teeth have to be defined and everything needs a consistent line drawing. But the consistency of an image confuses the eye a little more than one of your roughs. Where to look and such - which you get across in a multitude of ways.

Also, it's open to interpretation of the clean-up artist at times. Like the eye in the 2nd drawing. On yours it's erased I see, but maybe it's a blur. That would probably look really good for such a moving gesture. I've seen blurs of the eye on a lot of Scribner's animation. Though not even possible, the emotion of it is fantastic.

Another thing on the 2nd drawing. Mr Horse's neck pops out of the collar very tightly and gets bigger. The cleanup artist chooses the neckvein to do your neck lines, but the tension of those lines where they were is gone. It's really a tough spot for the clean-up artist sometimes. Construction and energy have to be balanced.

He did as good a job as you can ask from what I see. That's his job. It's just certain things are lost. Like your Mr Horse's arm pushing the eye to his neck, to his face. The tie pushing the eye and Ren as well. No escape for the viewer. Tons of rythm in the lines. Even the border of the mouth to Ren's face. The slightest change could knock it down a notch - and everyone has their own priorities in a good drawing. Yours was obviously "Life" and his was getting it constructed and to the screen cleanly I imagine - all while trying to respect your drawing.

By the way, did Termite Terrace have cleanup artists? I know they were on such a strict schedule, with small units. I can't imagine they had time. It looked like it went storyboard and key gestures, straight to animation, to paint. I think they had the best approach. They just have some of the most distorted and emotionally driven drawings for their inbetweens. And with Clampett, like you said, the cartoons never even seem to have inbetweens. Everything frame's new and with tons of energy. They attack for that effect on the viewer every frame, rather than defend believability with perfect construction.

Anyway, really insightful and interesting stuff. These posts are fantastic for getting people to think the right way about cartoons.

Chico Maivia said...

Hey John
Great post! I love seeing step-by-step construction like that. Very fascinating.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who ends up with something jacked up in the end. Up until fairly recently, I always drew flat--I survived most of high school drawing through classes, mostly drawing friends--but lately I've been trying to draw more with basic shapes, and a lot of construction before getting a final product. Yet I still manage to ink over it, and then erase...and then I have managed to only have a dead, lifeless crap drawing instead of the stuff I had before.

Chet said...

THANKS A TON JOHN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These drawings are going to hael me so much......Just from looking at them i can see specific examples of construction.

Anonymous said...

Hey John,how do you determine how much of the character you're going to draw when you do the roughs ?

Anonymous said...

These sketches are beautiful!

Thanks for posting 'em... fascinating to see this real stuff.

JohnK said...

>>Hey John,how do you determine how much of the character you're going to draw when you do the roughs ?

If you mean where is the body in some of the poses, that means I'm using the body from the previous pose as a held cel.

Or I'm leaving it up to an assistant to make an inbetween.

Peggy said...

I naturally draw flat and had to teach myself construction, I'm not the best at it at all but I like it when I see it so I try for it.

Oh, god, I feel so much better about having struggled with construction for my entire life as an artist. Thanks for saying that. I can stop feeling like a retard for still having to fight for it after a decade or more of beating my head on construction.

I mean, I still need to keep at it. But maybe I can stop beating myself up for not having it all automatic by now.

(Thought experiment: take various artists, see if there's any correlation between how bad their uncorrected vision was as a kid, and how flat/solid they naturally draw? The naturally-flattest person I know is Gabe, and he's got no binocular vision.)

Makinita said...


jijijij :)

Chico Maivia said...

More people with trouble not drawing flat? We should start a club; we have enough people. :-p

Is it weird that I sometimes have difficulty drawing characters if I haven't spent the time thinking about what they're like, and their ambitions? Is that totally going too Freudian?

Mitch K said...

This is one of your greatest posts! Or maybe it just connects with me right now, since I've been crying over losing the sublties in my drawings because of inking.

I thought that maybe it was just something I was going to have to make peace with, but now I see that I can have it somewhat my way as well.

Geeze, there's some strong Canadian fellers up here, isn't there? We don't see so much credit for cartoons being passed around up here (all these Canadian cartoons are the same! Boring and over-simplified!) Anyway, it's great to hear talk of awesomely-talented folks from the cold north.

Mitch K said...

Oh, also, on the subject of Looney Tunes: Are there any good Looney Tunes books around? I don't mean ones that show you how to draw then -- I mean reference books that tell about the cartoons' details.

Chet said...





YOU ARE THE... i cant think of anay more.

anyway,thanks to you i have now made a constructed drawing.

You really made me realize how to construct,so THANK YOU SO MUCH.....

This blog is really,really helpfull.You are definetly one of the coolest guys ever.

Chet said...

Oh, also, on the subject of Looney Tunes: Are there any good Looney Tunes books around? I don't mean ones that show you how to draw then -- I mean reference books that tell about the cartoons' details.

yeah i got one from 88, called ''Thats all Folks!,The Art of Warner Bros. Animation''

I got it for $5 at a used book store,and its great.Its full of model sheet's,backgrounds,rough drawings,and even a little history on warner brothers.

Jenny said...

Best post ever. Brilliant drawings, both rough and clean. I love Mr. Horse to death and back...I thought that was a shocker, that you mentioned "drawing flat" in regards to yourself, and then replying to that other poster about it, it made more sense...I still doubt you ever draw anything "flat" by human standards, but Mr. Horse is one of the most physically complicated cartoon characters ever--he's just, well, he's a horse, and you've got to have his jaw, long nose, teeth, etc. in all the weird places horses do...I guess what I'm thinking is, THERE is a case where one has damn well got to build him onto the good old simple shapes, otherwise, with all his angles and geegaws, he might go flat when getting his extreme expressions down, whaling away with the pencil. I can see it being much more of a challenge to watch out for with him as opposed to Stimpy.

But it still just boggles me to imagine you sitting anywhere with paper worrying about your construction. I can't see it, John.

Corey said...

Thanks jon this is awesome. I draw flat too, even when im purposefully trying not to. Structure is tough. Im still learning it.

That's some amazing structure on Mr. Horse's clean ups there. He always had the best scenes I think. Awesome acting. He needs his own show.

Brett W. Thompson said...


Thank you so much for another amazing post, John.

This is one of my favorite scenes ever. My friends and I were laughing our asses off, and it inspired two of us to do a tiny animation that very night, in about four hours.

God, you've taught so much on this blog!! It's total gold :)

AmaDEUSmozART said...

Love your blog here John! You are the consumae artist!

R2K said...

Very good :)


David Germain said...

yeah i got one from 88, called ''Thats all Folks!,The Art of Warner Bros. Animation''

That book has been my "Bible" for years.

Tikigeo said...

Love these posts, John. Thanks for sharing them. Hey...I can't for the life of me remember the name of the Ren And Stimpy Episode where they are working in an animation studio. That one killed me! I hope that is on a collection somewhere.

ncross said...

"Jim Smith and Nick Cross draw so well that their drawings can only be toned down..."

Hmm I don't know if I can agree with being anywhere close to the same league as Jim Smith! But thanks, John. Great post though; Helder's stuff is totally amazing and he keeps getting better all the time!!

bab2600 said...

I never realized how important construction was until I started reading the preston blair book. He breaks it down so simple and convincingly that the idea of drawing without construction seems rediculous.

On a side note john, why is it that with the increase in technology in animation that cartoons have gotten generally crappy? With the technology today animation has become so accessible and affordable that almost anyone with a pc and scanner can now animate. You don't need the expensive camera equipment to begin animating. Yet with this technology we get not even limited animation but "lazy" animation. I'm not saying programs like flash or toonboom can repalce the traditional methods, but they can be utilized for some great animation yet people seem to be satisified "tweening" a cartoon together. I love the idea of cutting out the middle man for some freedom in animation and self expression, yet we get people trying to mimic the animation on south park. How do you think some of the golden age animators would have viewed todays technology in animation?

Clarke (Csnyde) said...

Keeping as much of the life and spontaneity as humanly possible in a final piece of artwork of any kind for any medium is truly a monumental task that I myself often struggle with to no avail, so this post just amazes me.

The more I look at these the more I marvel at just how well contructd these are, and how much I take all of this hard work for granted when actually watching the animation.

John who are some other artists or animators that you feel were able to keep this loose and lively yet well constructed feeling in their work through to a "finish"?

Would you say that Harvey Kurtzman's "Hey look" & Milt Gross fall into this category?

What about early Fleischer's cartoons?

Eric C. said...

Awesome, That animation on that particular episode was superb John.

The Acting was marvelous.

Did you actually act out that scene yourself?

I noticed back in the WB days that the animator would film himself acting out the character.

Do you do the same at Spumco ?

Do you freeze frame a certain pose and then draw it exaggerated ?


Chloe Cumming said...

I love Mr horse like he was my father. His uncompromised horseyness is what makes him funny, and relatable, even though we aren’t horses.

I know a lot of people have said it but this blog is a wondrous thing, I feel privileged to have found it.

I think I’m coming at this from a different angle than a lot of you who already work in animation or aspire to. I’ve always been awed by the artistry and humanity in classic cartoons and stuck up for them in the face of ignorant prejudice, but I chose a different route. I’m a painter and my drawings are geared towards composing singular images. But the crucial factor of needing the final product to convey some of the urgency of life is there.

So in the light of this, I see exactly what you’re all saying about lamenting the loss of vitality when a rough sketch is cleaned up. I have the luxury, or indulgence, of my drawings being as messy as I like and allowing a veritable sneeze of dirty pencil marks to remain if I want to. In a Rembrandt, the aliveness is there in the extreme scar-tissueish dirty mess of the surface.

But I’ve been re-watching Spumco cartoons in the past days and it strikes me that the vitality of them is rightly in the moods and texture of the cartoon as a whole entity, including sound effects, dialogue and music (which I’m sure would warrant at least one whole separate future post). As gorgeous as the still frames are, they are essentially fragments of a whole rather than being self-contained things. There’s that aspect of sacrificing pleasing details for the sake of the communicative power of the whole in most art forms.

Immersing myself in cartoons again and learning about the practicalities of John’s approach is really making me want to subject myself to the discipline of learning construction and the cartoon fundamentals, even though I may never work in cartoons myself. At the moment I feel strongly that it would be much more challenging to me to learn to draw like the great Hollywood cartoonists than like Michelangelo. It is that tension between expressiveness and spatial convincingness, that’s a real challenge. You always need some tensions, pressure on all sides. I think my visual intelligence would be really stimulated by that. Drawing beautiful nuanced slow portraits from nature is easy! Getting to grips with the internally logical self-contained physics of cartoons could enrich anyone’s pictorial powers.

I’m humbled! I want to pretend I know nothing and learn cartooning from scratch. Just for fun.

Gabriel said...

What about early Fleischer's cartoons?

Yeah, what about them? I wanna know too.

Duck Dodgers said...

John, I posted other crazy stuff.
Namely, the scene you were asking for , from THE GREAT PIGGY BANK ROBBERY.
Let me know.

You'll find it if you go on my name and then to my blog.

Eric C. said...


Was that kid in the first Log commercial based on those Classic Maypo Commercials ( ?

JohnK said...

>>Was that kid in the first Log commercial based on those Classic Maypo Commercials

Yes we stole him. Those Maypo commercials are great aren't they?

Chet said...

I KNEW IT!!!!!!!

i always thought you did,and yes they were.Thats the kind stylized stuff i was speaking of earlyer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out John. I was surprised it wasn't on YouTube already, so I had to upload it. I really hope WB releases that one on DVD soon. I've never seen a clean version of it.

Every time I watch that cartoon the opening Hitler speech makes me laugh out loud.

Ryan Edwards said...

Hey John - I LOVE MR HORSE. I have a bit of an obsession with drawing horses - once I stopped traffic on Broadway watching a Clydesdale horse with the most amazing musculature pulling a carriage at 20 mph. anyway - I'm curious to know how your direction process works - is it strictly hierarchical with you directing everything? Specifically in this kinda process, do you leave holes for other people to share in the directing, where their strengths are?

z0mbi said...

What a great post. Mr. horse has always been my favorite character.

I've always followed my hero Jim Smith as an example, and tried to build my drawings with ample construction. I get lots of comments that my stuff looks like it has weight and movement, even though it's just a single drawing, and I believe that comes from worshiping Jim Smith and Spumco for many years.

z0mbi said...


Thats a pretty good tutorial for basic animation."

I studied under Doug in school, at Kubert. He was a great of the very few teachers at that school that taught me anything. This tutorial he put together is great for beginner animators.

Eric said...

John K,

I'd like to see Wilbur Cobb.. I love that guy!

akira said...

goddam! those are awesome! better than porn! i'm addicted to your website, please keep it up. thanks for showing john!

philthy said...

Hi John,
thank you for sharing these invaluable insights.
You've made several comments in the past about sending storyboards or roughs to Korea. I'm not in the animation industry and wonder why so much labour goes overseas. I can see it simply coming down to dollars and cents but I would appreciate an explanation.


Duck Dodgers said... the new sequence of screenshots? Right on my blog!

nightwing said...

you should hold a "clean my roughs" contest

Jorge Garrido said...

Andrea's got some great screens on his blog! Go check it out!

You know a cartoon with incredibly solid contrcution? THE HECKLING HARE. McKimson was a genius.

Man I wish I could be as good a draftsman as Robert, I gotta buy that Preston Blair book and learn!

Sick post overall.

Jack Ruttan said...

Thank your ass! I'm not an animator, but I learned here.

Ted said...

Check out a matching rough and tighter drawing from the Ren/Horse fight sequence of RSH for further study at the Ren and Stimpy APC section of

Matt Greenwood said...

They look awesome!

Also, I bought Ren and Stimpy seasons 1 and 2 yesterday, and I was just wondering why the Australian version would say "Unleashed" rather than "Uncut"?
I'm sure you don't know about what played in Australia, but I'm pretty sure a lot of the episodes that were cut in America were left uncut here.

Anonymous said...

I remember on "Toon Heads" they said that some of the Gremlins were caricatures of the Termite Terrace crew.

-P.C. Unfunny

Nine Inch Nachos said...

Yo, this blog is getting better all the time. Mr. Horse is one of my fav.. . right up there with Powdered Toast Man & the Pope (Frank Zappa's voice). Anyway... where are our modern day anti-fascist/war cartoons? When is spumco going to hunt down osama? or is that a batman only enterprise?

Helder said...

Hey John. First off great site and I'm enjoying the characatures, espeacially the Vince Vaugh, Jenifer Aniston and of course (everyones fav.) Reese Witherspoon. They are too good. Keep em comming!!
> I was a little surprised ( and flattered) to see those Mr. Horse clean ups. All I could do was look at all the mistakes I made three years ago. Anyway It was the best I could do at the time, and I have to be honest, IT's hard to tighten up a sketch that has it all. Those MR. Horse sketches of yours are wicked, and I am honoured to have my drawing next to them.
Also, thanks for all the compliments.
Take care, we'll talk soon.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody point to any flash animation tutorials here on the web?

P.C. Unfunny said...

"I remember on "Toon Heads" they said that some of the Gremlins were caricatures of the Termite Terrace crew.

-P.C. Unfunny "

Sorry for not specifying, I was I talking about "Russian Rhapsody".

P.C. Unfunny said...

"If you mean where is the body in some of the poses, that means I'm using the body from the previous pose as a held cel".

I see,that explains why I see production art or cels with only a few body parts. Also, you still use cels ? I thought you used computer inking ?

mcfoofa said...

Hey John,
Just wondering, why did you blatantly show Ren and Stimpy
Its just strange, there was always a vibe, with the awkward looks sometimes, that would make you THINK, something was going on, but then laugh it off because its not like you'd ever show it, but then when Adult Cartoon Party was created, you did show them, uh, you know, under the covers.

What happened to the innocence of it? Did you just get tired of it and flat want to say that, yes, they are somewhat gay?

Also, I know this isn't relevant to your post at all. :/

Yasamin said...

FY Freakin I! Mr. horse... favorite character ya know why? because he dated a sheep. haha

Baron Von Josho said...

I love how Mr. Horse is exaggerated and cartoony, yet still stays looking like a horse...and his horseshoes don't stretch and squash.

...Now you can't say life-drawing doesn't come in handy here...

Anonymous said...

What the hell happened to YouTube? All of these classic cartoons that John has referenced were there, and now... Poof! They're all gone! >:(

Citizen Drummond said...

Falling Hare is one of my all-time favorites. Am I the only one who caught the homage in Monsters, Inc.?

Nico said...


Duck Dodgers said...

John , are there other Rod Scribner's amazing sequences you want to be posted.
Just ask.

freshbreath said...

Where do you get your ideas from. I have just added you to my favourites and will defintely come back again soon. I would appreciate it if you took a peek at my site and told if you like it.

taZ said...

Hey John! Love your art AND the way you write the blog of yours.

Contact me please, I have a question for you. Thank you!

Email me

Eric C. said...

John, I didn't know you like old commercials. What other ones do you like?

I like your George Liquor one, that was hilarious. So many gags with in just a few seconds. Amazing!

Are there ones that you like that are unanimated, like, live action?

Probably my favorite vintage commercials are the ones done by Jim Henson in the mid to late 50s
Wilkins Coffee. I believe those are hysterical.

Jennifer said...


Providing these lessons on this blog is a very nice thing that you are doing for aspiring animators and artists. Your posts (most of them) give them a perspective on why certain things are done, and you give "real world" examples of how the theories are applied.

Kristen McCabe said...

That was nice tidbit of information about McKimson and his photographic memory. Wish I had a photographic memory :/

Anonymous said...

I caught the obvious homage to "Feed the Kitty", but is there one to "Falling Hare"? Clue us in.

WIL said...

nine inch nachos said...

"...where are our modern day anti-fascist/war cartoons?"


David Germain said...

Your link isn't working for me, Wil.

Actually, I too made a anti-Osama film a few months after 9/11. It would be tricky to show anywhere because 1. It has that Toon Boom watermark on it and 2. I cast Mohammed into an important scene.

Oh well, maybe some day.

WIL said...

Hey David,

hehehe... Christ, I'm such an idiot!

Thanks for the heads up.

This is the correct URL:


Is there any way I could see your film? Maybe e-mail it to me or something? I'd love to check it out.

David Germain said...

Is there any way I could see your film? Maybe e-mail it to me or something? I'd love to check it out.

Actually, I tried to upload it to Google Imaging but it wouldn't take. It was the wrong file type or something. I don't think it'll do so well through e-mail either. Probably the only real option on the table right now would be if I sent you a copy on CD-ROM through snail-mail. I'm certainly not going to ask you to put your snail-mail address up here. Not many people enjoy burglars coming from all over the world. I'm assuming that you're one of them.

WIL said...

"Not many people enjoy burglars coming from all over the world. I'm assuming that you're one of them. "

A burglar? No, not anymore...

David Germain said...

I didn't mean that YOU were a burglar, I meant that you are probably someone who doesn't enjoy burglars taking your stuff. I should have worded that bettr I guess.

Hallis B said...

thank you very much for this post. i always have such a hard time keeping the life in my drawings when i clean them up. this was very helpful.

and don't forget the eyebrows they put on the horse in "spirit."


R said...

I know the topic's been run through here, but man, that whole solid construction thing....shoot that's hard.

I do life drawing and I go through books by George B. Box-Man and Hogarth the Horrible; I'm just barely starting to get it together now.

I find the Blair book takes solid construction for granted. Those blobs aren't supposed to be circles and ovals, they're spheres and beans and when I started with the book I didn't get that.

>> How do you think some of the golden age animators would have viewed todays technology in animation?

They would have cursed all this stuff, complaining bitterly about how "now any hack can do whatever and get away with it" and "it's all about economics and cutting corners, it's ruined the whole business, goddam this goddam that," etc.

And you know what? I miss that whole "Xeroxed-pencil" look. I'd love to see a new version of Flash or whatever pull that off. With variable line width. That'd be better than that pencil tool that imitates R.O. Blechman or Schultz.