Thursday, May 11, 2006

Animation School lessons-do you want them??
I'm wondering whether I should continue taking anyone through these lessons.
I'll tell you why.

I've given a lot of free and good advice to young artists in my life, yet not many of them choose to take advantage of me.

The few that did, got really good -FAST.

I know a lot of people buy the Preston Blair book, flip through the pages and then lay it to rest and never bother to learn the valuable lessons inside.

There is only one reason I would bother to offer all this advice-in the hopes that some very talented young artists will actually do what I tell them, learn their fundamentals and then someday work for me and save me the trouble of having to train them from scratch.

I've hired many artists who have graduated from animation schools who don't know a damn thing about how to make a good strong solid or appealing drawing - after they have paid a fortune to the schools. I consider these schools to be criminal institutions. They are stealing from you, and they are stealing from me and they are stealing from culture.

I have spent so much money retraining cartoonists-just to teach them the very basics of good drawing. Nick and Katie and Fred and other Spumco alumni-back me up on this!

All these basics are laid out for you in The Preston Blair Book for 8 measly dollars. 8 fuckin' bucks for Christ's sake!

I'd even be willing to help guide you through the lessons, if I thought some serious young cartoonists would actually do the work.

So you're gonna have to convince me that enough of you want to be able to draw this well:

These lessons are aimed mostly at folks between 10 and 24 years of age. Why? After 24 if you haven't already become really good, you will stagnate and your powers of learning and your rebellious youthful attitude will have died. I know this from 20 years of experience working with young artists. If you don't develop your brain, skills and analytic eye while you are young you will be creatively crippled for life. Or at least it will be much harder the older and more set in your ways you become.

If you want me to continue these lessons, convince my ass.

Then you will have to do the work involved and draw all the lessons I give you. And read what the lessons say. Do the drawings in the steps that Preston and I tell you. If a lot of young cartoonists do this, in a few years there could be a rebirth of great cartoons. I would sure as Hell love that. So would the audience.

Your best friend,



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Anonymous said...

Music to my ears! I can't wait to draw stuff from the original Blair book that ASIFA posted! Blair's squirrel drawing is the best cartoon squirrel I've ever seen and the dog drawings are to die for!

-Eddie Fitzgerald

RoboTaeKwon-Z said...

Please keep giving the lessons!!! I am 38 and I have never stopped studying that book! Your added explainations give me new insight!!!
Eddie!!! I was a student of yours at CalArtrs!!! Some of the most importanmt things I knowabout drawing cartoons I learned in your class!!!

max ward said...


I promise you that I take advatnage of every lesson you give. I have been drawing from the Preston Blair book for months, drawing everything the way it says to draw, and not letting it rot on my bookshelf. I do all this hoping one day I will be able to work for you. DO NOT LOSE FAITH!

rebecca said...

Please keep giving lessons, since I started reading your blog my animation and comics have gotten tons better. But it's still crap so please teach me more!

Corey said...

Continue, of course. I'm in animation school and I'm 26. Accordion to yous, I'm hopeless. Well I draw like a madman and listen to my elders. (that would be you)

So yes continue with the lessons, teach!

Leafy Snout said...

I stop by everyday and find the lessons and discussions that ensue here very inspiring and by the end of my workday I am itching to get home and draw (and I do!) I've already seen a big improvement in my drawings since I have started studying Preston Blair and taking your advice(despite the fact that I am a 30 year old hag that is past her creative prime), please don't stop posting the lessons!

JohnK said...

OK, everybody draw the lessons on page 1 and 2 and post them then send links.

If I am impressed, I'll go to the next lesson.

Robert Hume said...

Hey John, I'm friggin' 27 but I still want to grow as a cartoonist, more than ANYTHING! It may not mean anything to you because of my age, but I've been flying threw that book again just as I did in college and I'm redrawing tons of old 40's and 30's cartoons like you said to do as well. I'll start posting my progress up on my blog,(including all my 40's and 30's cartoon drawings)every single weekend if you care to check up on my progress at all...every single weekend! I'm sure tons of other much younger artists would be willing to do the same! Believe me if you say this will help us, artist on this blog will do it!


Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Mr K:
I'm seventeen years old, and at your recommendation I went and bought the Preston Blair book. Since then I have diligently been trying to teach myself construction. I'm having a difficult time, but I'm beginning to understand, and your lessons make it alot easier. Since I bought the book, I've been drawing more than I ever have before, and am expanding my very limited "style".

I've been learning the characters in the book, and also trying to construct drawings of manly men and bodacious ladies. Any assistance you give will be greatly appreciated, and I promise to listen to you and Preston Blair.

Ren and Stimpy are the ones that made me seriously interested in animation and cartoons, and to get lessons from the man who created them would be pretty much the best thing I could imagine.

Josh Heisie

Anonymous said...

what if im 25 but have been a student of your original season of ren and stimpy all my life?

Wicks for Candlesticks said...

I was just thinking about this last night. Since I've been reading about the BOOK in blogs and the sort. I tried the construction of the head lesson yesterday. I'll give it a go some more today.

-David O.

R. L. Peterson said...

Argh. I'd love to draw the lessons, but I haven't gotten my copy of the book yet. I have to wait until after finals are over.

I've really enjoyed the instructional entries, though. A lot of the points on the appeal and development of nuanced characters really hit upon the same issues I've been worried about with animation these days. Sometimes, it's hard to pinpoint where exactly everything went so wrong, and it almost seems like UPA led to the eventual crapification of things.

Andy S said...

Hey john,
I love the lessons. I'm not what you'ld consider a cartoonist. I'm a 3d character rigger and animator. I love the lessons so much I have done all the drawigs for lesson 1. I am super stoaked to be doing them and I've learned more about good draftsmanship in the last week then I have in 2 years of school. I have no place to post it. I still use the net like its 1998, but a coworker is helping me set all that nonsense up. Thanks again mang!

andy seredy

kungfukoi said...

For the love of all that is good!!!
Yes, Please Yes!!

John, your blog is an oasis in the dessert that is the animation/cartoon industry!

I think what you are doing, and GIVING AWAY for free is priceless! You are sharing the secrets that noone seems willing to pass on. Cartooning is a rare art these days!

By educating young-in's in the old school ( read: correct ) way to draw cartoons, you are fostering an envitable boom when these young-in's start to make thier own cartoons!

You could be teachin' the next Tex, or Bob! Not to mention that now your cartoonist talent pool will grow! This is a wise business choice! I applaud you!

You are cartoon king!

Anonymous said...

Hi John! I started on Tuesday and have posted some of my eggs on my blog. I was out of town last night but I'm already excited to get home to pick up where I left off. I promise there will be more by tonight!

Your bud,

Chet said...

im using the book john

Piotr said...

I got the book, an animation disc, pencils, and this blog! What else can I say? Start er up!

carlo said...

Well, I'm from COLOMBIA, South America, and here are NOT A SINGLE respectable animation school. All you can get is some lessons in the graphic design career. So i found your stuff REALLY IMPORTANT. I'm making some drawings based on some Bugs Bunny stuff, you can check them on my blog Please keep the lessons, Johnny Boy

DHaynes said...

Keep it coming Mr. K! I scribbled some heads for you as requested so check them out here:

and please feel free to tear me to shreds.

ncross said...

In some ways I think now with the computer becoming more and more prevalent in animation, the ability to draw really well is even more important. Computer animation can make an artist lazy, which is the opposite of what a real animator should be.You've got to work and do a million bad, terrible drawingsbefore you start to get good, this is why a lot of times I think of classic cartooning as a dying art. (which makes being able to do it a rare talent). I also think a lot of young artists look at the Preston Blair book as some sort of archaic and old-fashioned irrelevant text. Almost as though learning these lessons will ruin their "style". This of course is the folly of youth. The ability to draw like Preston Blair, using all the tips in the book gives you the strength to do ANYTHING. Style is a paper tiger.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"If I am impressed, I'll go to the next lesson."

............This is the last lesson folks.

Stephen Worth said...

Begging John to continue isn't going to work. You have to participate. Teaching and learning is a two way street- show him your drawings. If you don't have a webpage, register for a free blog with bloggger at...

Set it up as a free blog at Blogspot and use the free image service. That is what John is doing here... you can do it too.

Once you've posted your drawings, post the address of your blog here and email it to me at

I'll be posting the students' completed assignments on the lesson page at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive...

Lesson 1: Construction/The Head

You have the world's greatest cartoonist offering to teach you all his secrets. What the hell are you sitting on your hands for?


Anonymous said...

I'm in my early 20's, but the only problem is that I grew up with CONSERVATIVE FAMILY VALUES and have been WITHDRAWN and RECLUSIVE most of my life, so any SOCIAL NUANCES make me NERVOUS and UNCOMFORTABLE, because I CAN'T TRUST ANYTHING SUBTLE, worrying about being considered an UNGODLY COMMUNIST!!!

Stephen Worth said...

D Haynes added to the students' blogroll.


Stephen Worth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
benj said...


Anonymous said...

john said:Why? After 24 if you haven't already become really good, you will stagnate and your powers of learning and your rebellious youthful attitude will have died.

As a 26-year-old, this makes me very sad (even though I'm not going to be an artist). I'll try drawing the first lessons and see how I do.

Alleycat said...

Keep'em coming, those are some of the very best posts you make!

Anonymous said...

benj said...

1:37 PM


Dave said...

I'd really like for you to continue this stuff. I've learned sooooo much just from your blog, and I now have much more respect for Preston's book. I had originally found Animator's Survival Kit to be more helpful because it went into more detail about movement, but after coming here and studying the cartoons you post and studying the Ren and Stimpy DVDs, I realize that the most beautiful movement is worthless if the drawings suck.

Adventure Artist Derick said...

Look at what you just did. I ordered a copy of that book just now!

I'll get back to you and I hope to learn so much as I already have from you John K!

Dan said...

John (or anyone else who would like to respond), do you consider the Richard Williams book "The Animator's Survival Kit" to be a worthy replacement for the Preston Blair book, or merely a supplement or companion? I am very impressed with the amount and quality of information in the Williams book, but perhaps its not quite as good(?)

In any case, i'll probably be getting the Blair book. I'll also be doing the first lesson and posting my results. I think it's clear that we all value and respect your wit, wisdom and experience, John, so please do continue the lessons (at least one more).

R. L. Peterson said...

Alright, even though I don't have a copy of the book on hand, I used the page that was posted here and tried to do the lesson anyway.
Unfortunately, this was the result.

I'll do better next time.

Chloe Cumming said...

Heavens John, you're good at putting across a sense of urgency.

I think it could be extremely effective making everybody actually provide visual evidence of their learning. There's something about being exposed in this immediate blog way that makes you realise you've nowhere to hide and nobody to kid and you might as well just be as good as nature permits you to be (and that's pretty intense in a good way. Nature makes you work hard if you listen to her).

I don't have the Preston Blair book yet but 'tis on my birthday list. I am 25 but I like to think my analytical eye stays youthful. Phew! I kept it alive! A shrivelled eye is an unpleasant thought.

I blooming wish you had taught me the basics when I was ten, apprenticed in a Renaissance style workshop system or something, it could have made things so much simpler. Ten was the age I was ready to get serious. God I yearned for someone to actually 'guide my hand'. I think I'm not alone in feeling I've stayed an artist despite, not because of, my formal 'art education'. It's obvious to me that the underlying problems don't just apply to cartoons. And the care you take in this blog is not wasted on me. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm sure there are others who feel similarly.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan said...

I made this blog to post my drawings from the book:
I'll post some more soon. I've definetly learned a ton about animation from this blog, especially from the posts about Preston Blair and the one about rubber hose animation (which I had never heard of before, but I enjoyed Swing You Sinners very much) I'm 16, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Hi ROBO! Thanks for the compliment! I loved teaching that class. I felt like a kid at Christmas everytime I walked in the door. When I get my blog started in a week or two (for real this time) I'll talk about some of the things that I learned from that experience. BTW, I like your comic strips!

-Eddie Fitzgerald

junior said...

I'm 25, and when I see Katie's or any of those other young artists' blogs I just want to pull out all of my hair. And now you tell me I'm hopeless. What am I supposed to do? Give up on art and get some boring office job?

Wicks for Candlesticks said...

Let's make it easier for all of us to see the results of everybody's tries by directly linking your stuff. That way we don't have to copy and paste.

Here's How to Link

tim denee said...

Hey, I'm on board! Woo woo! I just saw this today. Amazon is flinging the Preston book my way as we speak, and I'll do the Lesson One exercises this weekend. Thanks John!

JohnK said...

>>John (or anyone else who would like to respond), do you consider the Richard Williams book "The Animator's Survival Kit" to be a worthy replacement for the Preston Blair book,<<

No, throw it out.

It's very hard to see the fundamental principles through all the useless details and ugly drawings in the book.

Cartoons are about having good principles presented in a simple yet appealing fun way.

Richard Williams book is a good way to turn people off of becoming animators because it makes animating look so tedious and unpleasant.

Preston is as simple as you can get and it retains everything important you need to know-and it makes cartoons look fun. It's easier to learn something if the practice is actually enjoyable.

S.G.A said...

Sounds great !!
Then people can post their progress on their blogs, and everybody can compare notes!!!

S.G.A said...

The back and forth on these blogs can can keep people motivated by looking at each others work, your advice, and build a really great momentum. A little cartooning school online.

wouter said...

You should be like Preston Blair and Richard Williams and just make a book yourself.

You obviously have enough useful knowledge and insight(not to forget opinions), so why not attempt one?

you'll reach a lot more people than some random internet crowd. If I told people I know the guy from Ren & Stimpy wrote a book they'd probably buy it, or at least read it.

And among those people there have got to be a few who put them to good use.

Oh and by the way, I don't know if you like Dick William's stuff, but some guy has re-edited his never-really-finished masterpiece the Thief and the Cobbler, and after watching it I can really recommend it to any animation fan.

Anyway, I hope you continue these lessons in some way, because I for one am putting them to good use.

If I find a scanner i'll try to show you some of it.

Andy Seredy said...


Here is lesson 1. I am literaly learning to draw from the Preston Blair book. Any feed back would rule.


JohnK said...

>>You should be like Preston Blair and Richard Williams and just make a book yourself.<<

I think this blogging is much more effective than any book. It's interactive and I learn as I blog, and there is an army of fans willing to help me with screen grabs and film clips.

A publisher wouldn't understand any of this and would tell me what to write and then would hire a "book designer" to screw up the layouts.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE! keep these lessons. I've been reading your blog for about a month now and this post has finally spurred me to make a comment. I promise I will make use of your wisdom!

FunnierAndCuter said...


I bought the preston blair book the first time you recommended it months ago...and have gone through each page redrawing and redrawing everything! (trying to absorb the concepts) I also bought the TEX Avery MGM years book you recommended and have been working through that as well... I just turned 20...and almost made the mistake of going to Animation school(until you recommended against it)...I have to say, over the past few months my art skills have tripled...I recently landed a character design and graphic design job...and I owe it to you and everything you have taught me... On average, and my girlfriend can contest to this, I spend about 4 hours a day alone practicing drawing from all the greats you recommend...whether it be freeze framing the clips of the videos you post, or from preston blair's book, or t. avery’s...

One day i would like to be part of a team even half as good as Spumco, and I'm dedicated to working towards that for however long it takes.

So John, please don't stop teaching us, we are listening....and taking everything you have to say as gospel!

Thank you so much,

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLEASE keep the lessons coming. Obviously you hope that good cartoons come back, so help us!! We need good solid foundations. There is tons of material out there just waiting to come to life.

crolyss said...

hi john,
i felt it would be good to write to you at this juncture. im sure like so many would agree you have been hitting the nail on the head with your blog. your frustration is valid completely. modern media and mediums have dulled senses and created many lazy eyed people. since before i was in college for animation i had the same view that what brought us to where we are now with all the really shitty stuff playing on tv and cinemas and the net is a lack of understanding of what the people who begun the industry discovered and understood. not many people can appreciate the quantity and quality of amazing things created by hand and shot on film. i think though that the current low dip we are is starting to curve upwards, and im sure you sense this too. my passion for all this is building day after day and im getting to where i cant stand the lack of quality films and toons being created. the same for comics too. almost nothing that is current interests me in almost any medium you could mention, i cant stand tv anymore, and all i will watch these days is stuff off the net or dvds. all the best stuff has been removed from modern mass media. what the fuck happened? im not missing over stuff you and other blogs such as cartoon brew are pointing to. im on a quest to see all the classic materials and information that has been lost to modern society. recently a friend emailed me saying that a guy had restored to some degree the thief and the cobbler. i nearly died. ive been wanting to see this since i learned the legend of the film in college and had only seen a really bad copy of it. i dont know if you know about this edition but the site you can learn about it from is :

all the info you need to start from is there.
the guys name is garrett gilcrest. ive gotten in contact will him and im arranging to get a copy of the material. it would be of benefit to mention on your blog about williams and some of his work, and how he was inspired and how much he learned from the legends of animation such as art babbitt and milt kahl.
these people and their work should never be forgotten and through the internet we are gradually seeing a reimurgence of a culture that is currently lost with bastardised knock offs filling childrens dead brains with ideas of what to get mommy to buy them that particular day. fuck these corporate mongrels who have destroyed the animation culture and peoples interests. your blog must continue. teach us all you have learned, remind us of forgotten cartoons. we need to be reminded what quality is. today in colleges they want you to learn things too quickly. i felt 5 years of studying animation in college wasnt enough, even when i begun. i would gladly have stayed for 10 years. theres too much to understand about animation to be rushed through in 5 years. i would be so happy to work for you as my boss. you have such an admirable spirit for this stuff which i would hope to match. the structure of the business world now allows too much scum to rule what happens. i hope you have read this far... if i could send you my work it would be wonderful. but im sure everyone reading this blog is trying to do the same. i dont want to work at anything else except for animation and comics. since i was about 3 i knew this is what i was interested in. i cant stand having to work at other shitty jobs to have to earn money. this is bullshit. these corporate pigs have destroyed this industry so that so many people are unemployed, and companies become lliquidated so that some scum bag shareholders can make money to spend on holidays, or building mansions, yachting around the world and making their lives more bling bling. all by making money doing nothing worthwhile! i want to work drawing animation and comics. thats it! nothing else. if people like you cant make it possible then maybe your blog is futile as you say. will people learn anything? will people study and investigate what was created in the past decades? they fucking better, i cant stand working in this crappy admin job. its not interesting - period. i want a job like they had in the 30s and 40s, where you could start off as a junior animator learning from a jedi animator, learning from them what to look for, what to study, how best to bring to life pencil and paper. i want to spend time drawing scenes and creating captivating features. im currently 25. i dont want to find myself at 30 still working at a job i have no interest in. ill send you anything you want to have me as your animation slave. my cleanup is immaculate, no one does cleanup like me! give me anything! i can draw the most complicated character in line you could throw at me. im not saying these as bragging things, im telling the truth, you only have to see with your own eyes. perhaps if i post a link with an example. i was thinking about a previous post where you had the animation of the horse done in rough and then done in solid drawing. i could draw like this and have drawn better and clearer images like this. again i dont want this to be a braggin g post, my emotion isnt to brag in these sentences. i want you to know i am so passionate to work at this stuff, it breaks my heart to not be working in the industry. so dont post saying you will end this blog [ unless you are absoulutly sure nobody can appreciate the reasons for you doing this blog ]. i dont live in america unfortunatly, so this also complicates matters, so i cant find you and wring your neck and then soon after grovel at your feet and beg for a job in animation. maybe in a couple of days, with the right planning.... mmmm

im a little trepidatious about posting my site here as its a few months since ive update it, but i hope someone can see it and say, hey thats not too bad....

kind regards.
keep up the good work! fight the good fight!


Eric C. said...

YES John,


So we can become better Cartoonists and save the cartoon world.

By the way, when's that Spumco animation software coming out ?

(I have some stuff from my latest film, tell me what you think so far. I'll let you know more about my stuff when I get it uploaded)

Anonymous said...

Hey John

It's me Jesse. I want you to know that I have been creating my own cartoons since 1994. But when I was a kid my favorite cartoons were Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead, Rocko's Modern Life, The Brothers Grunt, the classic MGM cartoons by Tex Avery and the classic 30's & 40's WB cartoons by Avery, Clampett and Jones. My favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons are the following

1. Elmers Canned Camera

2. Wild Hare

3. Elmers Pet Rabbit

4. Heckling Hare

5. Tortise Beats Hare

6. Hare Wins By Tortise

7. Falling Hare

8. Hare Ribbin

9. Bugs Bunny Bond Rally

I wish there was a DVD of those cartoons. But anyway one day I would like you to see some of my creations. Just please go easy on me. I've been reading the Preston Blair book. I need to find out where I can get an Animation Board. I know how to draw cartoons I just want to know how to animate and start making funny cartoon shorts. You are my BIGGEST insperation in cartoon making.

your pal,

chan a.b.c. smith said...

This may belong under the previous post, but does anyone know how to differentiate the "Daffy" Daffy Duck cartoons from the "Greedy" Daffy cartoons. What years bookend the true Daffy flics? What directors are involved?

What's the name of the one where Daffy and Porky are sharing a hotel room and Daffy is drunk?

Stephen Worth said...

R L Peterson
Andy Seredy

Added to the Students' Blogroll at...

Lesson One Jump Page

See ya

nonsense said...

trust me you have lots of lookers and you inspire many upcoming cartoonists...keep up the great work!@, i really appreciate it!

Ivan D said...

Fuck yeah! I'll do what ever you tell me to do, John!

Desiree said...

Hey Johnny K.
I read your blog daily and draw the Preston Blair instructions you put up.
I'm tyring to work my way up to one day working for you. Please keep up the lessons!!

I'm up for the Challenge!!

Jennifer said...

I know how to solve quadratic equations, convert decimal numbers into hexadecimal and binary numbers, and develop software, but I can't draw or animate worth merde. I'm lucky if I can draw a stick figure! I think that's why I really appreciate good artwork and animation.

It's great to see these animators and artists are taking you up on your offer. My goodness, getting lessons from one of the trailblazing animators FOR FREE! What a deal! It's also a good deal for someone who likes art and animation. Some of the work looks great. I'm so jealous!

Chutney Blvd. said...

I wish there were more DARK, DISTURBING cartoons, independently made, ones not made for kids!

FunnierAndCuter said...


I forgot to post the links to my blog...

here you can see that i have been actually drawing what you suggested.

thanks again,

Dave_the_Turnip said...

I've certainly been learning from what you've been posting here. I've been developing those fundementals and my sketchbook has been filling up with drawings from classic cartoons (and a few more recent ones). I've already seen a huge improvement in my own work.

And i guess since i'm 24, i'll have to work extra hard this year so next year when my creative learning goes, i'll have enough worked out to get me by. :)

Beau Tardy said...

Hi John K,

nice to stumble on your blog. Wow, this thing really is popping! I hope you get to read my post... I agree that Animation by Preston Blair is the only way to learn. I got my copy when I was a teenager in the 70s, a gift from an enlightened parent! Today it hangs proudly on the wall next to my computer. I used to draw from it all the time and the only regret I had was not having a camera so that I could animate Red Hot Riding Hood and the crazy Alligator dance!

Anyway here is my submission for the first lesson:

His name is Herm and he is a Jazz drummer.

Take a look at him in a cartoon at:

Tell me what you think! I'd love your feedback.

All the best,

Beau Tardy

S.G.A said...

I started a blog to show my cartoon sketches, and progress in that preston Blair book as well as old warner Bros stuff. I compare old stuff withb stuff after practicing the Blair lessons.
Give me some feedback!

Anonymous said...

Will you teach us anything about timing eventually? The Preston Blair book tells nothing about it.

khrob said...

Please keep the lessons coming!

I really enjoyed the first one - see my attempt

Would love any comments and crits from those hanging out in this neck of the woods.

Stephen Worth said...

Some of you folks aren't listening...


Make an egg model and draw it from various angles.
Construct the characters on page 2.

Don't do your own characters. Don't do characters other than the ones on those two pages. Before you post your work, make sure you have constructed and drawn them EXACTLY LIKE THEY APPEAR IN THE BOOK. There should be no difference between your constructed drawing and Preston Blair's. If it doesn't look like the one in the book, you haven't constructed it properly.

You can't go on to lesson two until you have mastered lesson one. Draw a hundred drawings if that's what it takes to get one good one.


See ya

madeline skillz said...

I'm too old already, but I'm still going through the lessons and drawing every last bit over and over. Please, please don't stop! even if I'm never good enough to work for you, I'd like to feel like I'm good enough to work for me!

Anonymous said...

I mean, I went out and bought eggs for the first time in ten years. !

Russell said...

The Blair book is currently whizzing through the wonderful connection that is the post. Please keep showing us the ropes, I'm learning and enjoying every post.

Dr.Awkward said...

I'd like to know which Simpson characters John thinks are REALLY CHARACTERS, with full personalities, and which characters he would get rid of.

Anonymous said...

John, Please give us the lessons. I am 14 years old and I can already draw basic flatness but I wanna know more about how I can do better. O need your lessons, you've been my idol since the I saw the Ren and Stimpy show when I was a wee lad. I've orderd the Preston Blair but since my artist parents are too busy I need someone to guide me. Who knows. Mabey someday I might appear at your doorstep to prove myself. JOHN, DON"T FAIL ME NOW!

-Drew Johnson

Dr.Awkward said...

I'm betting on:
everyone from the intermediate family, of course (Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie), Grampa, Selma (but not Patty), Flanders, Apu, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Moe, Barney, Lenny (but not Carl), Principal Skinner, Ms. Krabappel, Willie, Milhouse, Nelson, Martin, Jimbo, Krusty, Sideshow Bob, Chief Wiggum, Dr. Hibbert and Rev. Lovejoy.

David Germain said...

This may belong under the previous post, but does anyone know how to differentiate the "Daffy" Daffy Duck cartoons from the "Greedy" Daffy cartoons. What years bookend the true Daffy flics? What directors are involved?

What's the name of the one where Daffy and Porky are sharing a hotel room and Daffy is drunk?

1. The turning point for Daffy would be The Scarlet Pumpernickel (by Chuck Jones c. 1950). This is the first cartoon where Daffy says "I'm sick of comedy. I want to try some action/drama." Thus, this is where Daffy's ego made him feel that he could find work BEYOND his WOO HOO WOO HOO persona.
2. That cartoon's name is Daffy Duck Slept Here (by Robert McKimson c. 1948).
3. At my animation school, all of our lessons came from the Preston Blair book. The principal of the school posted up a couple of pages from that book on the wall (mostly the walk cycles and such) and drummed into us every day the 5 important aspects of a good animation drawing. I can still remember them:

1. Strong silohuette through line of action.
2. Contour continuation of the natural flow and rhythm of the line.
3. Repetition with variation on a theme.
4. Even placement of large, medium and small shapes.
5. Use complimentary shapes.

So, this site is more of a review for me really. To judge if I learned the lessons well, I have several pictures on my blog open for critique. Go nuts, everybody. :)

The Craze Ziggurat! said...

Hey John, your cartoons are like sex to me. I should know, as a 24 year old virgin! I have lived off of your cartoons like I would a woman, and now it is time for me to return the favor by improving my art skills so I can work for you one day!! Please continue these awesome lessons...I am taking them to task!



Anonymous said...

If you don't like the 88% satisfaction rating of the Amazon seller, you could order the book direct from the publisher here:

I was shocked earlier this evening when I saw only 5 enrolled after this course was "boing-boinged!" At least now it's up to 12.

(See Student's Pages links here:

John: Please allow folks a little time to get their books and blog accounts set up (and a few eggs boiled!) before you give up on our ability to follow instructions!


Julián höek said...

hi john, please keep posting your lessons 'couse are great!. i'm looking forward for this weekend so i'll be able to do the firt couple of pages and post them for critics!
best of luck
julian from argentina

Julián höek said...

hi john, please keep posting your lessons 'couse are great!. i'm looking forward for this weekend so i'll be able to do the firt couple of pages and post them for critics!
best of luck
julian from argentina

Dr.Awkward said...

Oh, when I said "Jimbo", I meant "Otto". I guess I confused the two.

JohnK said...

>>1. Strong silohuette through line of action.
2. Contour continuation of the natural flow and rhythm of the line.
3. Repetition with variation on a theme.
4. Even placement of large, medium and small shapes.
5. Use complimentary shapes.<<

None of those muddled sentences have anything to do with fundamental principles.

Sorry to be harsh, but I don't want people here to be confused by advice that isn't clear and useful.

You need to review the book a lot more...
and do the drawings.

Amid said...

> A publisher wouldn't understand any of this and would tell me what to write and then would hire a "book designer" to screw up the layouts.

John, I completely support your blogging and agree with its benefits. But I have to say that your comment above wasn't my experience at all with Chronicle. Good publishers, like Chronicle, don't tell authors what to write and give one so much leeway that it's almost scary (but in a good way). My editor at Chronicle gave me complete freedom to write and sequence my 50s design book the way I wanted, and they even let me hire a book designer of my choice to make sure it wouldn't get screwed up along the way. I can't vouch that all publishers are like this, but I do know a good number are. It's quite a different experience than animation, where know-nothing's run up and down the entire food chain and dictate their ignorance every step of the way.

Atomwolf said...

Yes please keep giving lessons!
I have been drawing and learning from the Preston Blair book and will continue to do so! I'm lucky I'm still under 24 (Just). I will defiantly show you my work!

JohnK said...

hi Amid

well I would be happy to do some books, but doubt a publisher would be interested.

They certainly must know about me by now!

I hope you are reserving a copy of your book for me!

BTW, I wanna do some posts about those 50s commercials and stuff that you have but I would need to put some of them up on youtube.

Wanna do some cross posting?

atomwolf said...

I mean "definitely" show you my work! I draw not spell!

KenM said...

OK, John. Way to lay the cards on the table. I'm up for it and will be back to post a link as soon as I've got something to show you.

Thanks for this opportunity!

Amid said...

PS - It amazes me how not a single person posting their drawings here has yet shown they're capable of following the first lesson. The idea is to draw those exact Blair drawings over and over until you understand the principles that are being taught on those pages.

And then there's some people who are cleaning up their drawings and making them look all nice. Pretty doesn't count for crap if you don't have a grasp of the fundamental construction underneath. It's a good thing I'm not a teacher because I'd beat all your students on the first day.

Amid said...

Hi John - I know how to upload stuff to YouTube, but I don't know how to make Quicktime clips of the stuff in the first place. I just picked up Final Cut and am learning that as we speak so in a couple weeks we can start doing that.

JohnK said...

you tell 'em Amid!

and post your studies too...

nonsense said...

welp i did some eggs haha, not the best work, im used to doing realistic stuff...ill post more of my preston blair teachings in a hour or so..thanks again john.

lutz_animation said...

I am now and will always be a fan of your work. I think that what you are doing here is a great place for students and fans to learn what they may have been missing before. I for one will tune in day after day to see the next thing you are going to say.
I must say though, that I have to disagree with what you have said about the lost edge at the age of 24. The founders of animation that pushed the medium for years, molded it to the way that we know it, were almost all pushing thirty when they started. This would mean that they had already reached the pinnacle of their ability to learn. By your own statement it would have been too late for them. I refuse to believe that they had started a period of "refinement". The technological advancements to the medium alone would dictate a need to learn new things just to ensure survival. Richard Williams claims to be almost fourty before he really had a grasp of this industry, he's a genius!
I could go on for hours before fully reaching my point and if you or anyone would like to continue this discussion please email me at
-James Lutz

Dave_the_Turnip said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave_the_Turnip said...

I started a new blog to start scanning and showcasing what i've been drawing from the lessons and tips given on this site. My first post is a bunch of the heads from a the head construction post and this one.

My blog!

Robert Hume said...

Ok John I posted Lesson 1...I'll post more drawings tomorrow, and more after that, and keep posting until you think that I got all of the fundamentals in that amazing book down!

Thanks John for everything man, you really are making a difference!


Dhaynes said...

John K! Lesson one completed, and I even followed directions!

Lesson one

Bob said...

Alright John and whoever else cares, here's lesson one:

Robert Hume said...

BTW Sorry for no link though John, I'm reading up on how to do that but I'm so 1994 when it comes to shit like that...I'll figure it out and have a link for you next time!


Jason Davis said...

John, I just wanted to tell you - although I have no ability to draw myself... I have 2 very talented young children (11 & 12) and I bought the Preston Blair book for them after reading about it here. I explained to them that they'll be tempted to just flip through the book and start drawing whatever - but that they should start from the beginning and follow Mr. Blair's instructions. I told them if they learn to do it the right way it can make them great artists. I explained that you learned how to draw cartoons from this very same book and they were impressed with that fact.

Thanks for doing what you do. I'm not even an artist and I still check this blog daily so I can read up on your latest rant.

They've only been reading the book and sketching some of the early lessons for just a couple of days now - and me and the wife can already see a huge improvement in their drawing abilities.

Wish us luck!

- Jason Davis

Anonymous said...

John...sometimes if you want to do it right you have to do it yourself..

Joel Bryan said...

Hey now! Yeah, I want them. All of them! I woke up at 1am, read this post and worked through half of lesson one. I'll finish later this morning, then post my results.

Man... this is great. To me, this is the best application of this blog. I've wanted to know this stuff forever.

By the way, I've been reading and doing some stuff from the Preston Blair book ever since you first posted about it, and I've definitely improved.

Now I'm gonna sit down and do each lesson one at a time and show you and find out if I really can draw worth a damn!

Jeremy said...

Continue your blog and lessons john!

I'll be taking part in your animation lessons.


i'm going to donate a bit of everyday to learn animation the right way.

claartje said...

I urrr set up this forum some days ago, where maybe we can all post our stuff together. Idea maybe?

I'll continue on more right after work today. (they just had to let me go at work, fired me, soooo I will have plenty of time to draw starting tonight hahaha, which now seems like the best thing ever happened to me)I hope you all will too. (go to the forum that is, not get fired) I made a measely start but I want to draw a lotttt more to get better.I think it would be cool to compare and learn from eachother.

claartje said...

wops I missed Stephens post from the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. I feel like an idiot now. Maybe a forum is handy though, I don't know...

benj said...

This blog ROCKS!

Here's more for "Lesson 1"

Benjamin A.

Ivan D said...

Here's my lesson one

Currently using just pencils, not sure if I should be inking the final products yet.

JohnK said...

>>The founders of animation that pushed the medium for years, molded it to the way that we know it, were almost all pushing thirty when they started.<<

Most of them started in their teens.

Clampett was 16 when he started work on the first Looney Tunes cartoon. He was 23 when he stared directing. This was typical back then.

Disney and Iwerks were in their late teens when they started their first company.

Richard Williams was no pioneer. He was a follower of the classic cartoons who then proceeded to throw out everything that made those cartoons so much fun and so appealing.

Anonymous said...

I know he's not a cartoonist, but John, what do you think of Gottfried Bammes? To me, he's one of the greatest anatomy teachers ever, teaching about construction like no other, in a way so clear and so well-explained that it'd make those stupid Burne Hogarth fanboys turn to dust.

Anonymous said...

erm. continuing the bammes comment... what's the best human anatomy book you've ever seen?

Stephen Worth said...

Adding to John's point...

Chuck Jones started at Iwerks at around 15. Tex Avery would have been about 20 when he started at Lantz. Frank & Ollie, Marc Davis- straight out of college. Les Clark was 16 and worked at a hamburger stand when he started. Walter Lantz was a teenage cel washer at Hearst.

I can only think of one great animator who started in animation after 24... Grim Natwick. He was an accomplished illustrator at 27 when he started in animation at Hearst- but he began seriously drawing and painting in his teens.

See ya

Ivan D said...

Well...I'm still seventeen, so give me a job! PS. Thanks a lot for the tips John, currently correcting using the tracing paper method.

carlo said...

Here is my assignment:

Assignment 1

Hope to hear your advices, mr K. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

People please! Don't get hooked up on this 'age' thing. If you want to learn, then learn. Which is going to mean lots of practice. What a depressing way to go through life if you think you've failed as an artist at 25. Sheesh! I've worked with artists for 10 years now, and the ones that are dedicated are *always* improving. I've seen people make gigantic improvements through dedication and discipline, including myself! In my circle of professional art friends, we've all improved unspeakable amounts from when we were 20-24. Most of that old work is nowhere near representitive of who we are today.

Perhaps John does truely believe that about age, or maybe he's trying to light a fire under you. I certainly agree with having good foundations at an early age, but it is no lost cause if you really want to improve. Like John said before, it may just be harder to do. And I say to that, "so what." This is your life, make it happen.

Take this site for what it is meant to be: learning, sharing of information, encouragement, and a passion for making images. Get back to drawing!

Ben Chamberlin said...

It's good to know I've still got a solid two years left to learn from what you're laying out. I've sent in my 8 bucks, and my own personal Preston Blair book should be arriving from Amazon in a couple of days. I've started a blog that I'm hoping will eventually show that listening to your advice leads to fantastic results.

FunnierAndCuter said...


I think i've got it now...And maybe well enough not to be beaten over the head by amid...

Anonymous said...

yes, yes, yes, I promise to keep practicing--I take the pledge. Judy W

Robert Hume said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert Hume said...

Yes John but don't you think there can be exceptions to every rule? This is frustrating to me, because I read an article you wrote when I was about 17 talking about everything you felt that was wrong with the animation industry(including the fact that cartoons were no longer cartoony). This changed my life, but even though it inspired me to persue making cartoony cartoons, at the same time that article gave no clear instructions to me as to what to do next. I was all on my own, already going to a school that didn't even teach 2d animation. I had to figure out most of what I know do know about animation and cartoons all on my own.
Now here I am about 10 years later and I'm finally receiving clear instructions from you as to what EXACTLY it is we need to be doing to become these great cartoonists, and now your saying that it's too late for me!?! I can't except that John. I WON'T except that! Please give some of us a chance. Hard work can make up for lack of years, I REALLY believe that.


Robert Hume said...

Milt Gross! Milt Gross was an artist that improved as he got older you told us John. I know your not expecting any of us to be a Milt Gross, but I'm just trying to make a point. There are exceptions, right?

Gabriel said...

Ok, I'll do the lesson this afternoon, but I'll also join the geriatric whiners (I'm 25).
Van Gogh started doing his art when he was 27, and at first he sucked as you'd never believe. Maybe it was a rare case, but don't give up, older folks, lets do this shit!

Ham said...

Dear John,

I am 18 years old, and I have to say, you are probably my #1 Idol in the whole world ever. OK. Now the butt-kissing is out of the way, could you tell me what you think of this comic?

I go to a cruddy art school here in the UK, and the teachers hate my guts so much that they almost kicked me out because I was 'doing the wrong kind of work'. Well I'm sorry that I don't enjoy drawing to music with my eyes closed (yes they actually asked us to do this, needless to say I just drew a massive penis on the sheet of paper we were given), and I'm sorry if I don't just gulp down all the garbage they spew out 24/7 and produce boring useless junk like every other student on the course.

Yeah, basically, I've hit 18 and sort of realised that I've wasted my teenage years when I should have been getting better at cartooning just doing basically nothing. See? Even now I'm pissing about on the interweb rathern that upstairs in my room drawing.

I get better with every drawing I do, and this deeply saddens me, as I know I could be so much better. It's my ultimate dream to move to the US and one day end up working for you.

I've got cynicism and spirit by the bucketload, people actually regularly comment on how cynical I am. Well would they prefer blind naeivity?

I hate most things and will one day get good enough to bring back real cartoons.

OK this has got real long, I hope you notice it, I just would like to know what you think really. Thanks!

Hamkins said...

Oops, if you can't get that link (you should just be able to highlight the whole lot) here's it in two bits:

Cheers! Also, I can't believe I'm corresponding with THE John K.!

Robert Hume said...

"Van Gogh started doing his art when he was 27, and at first he sucked as you'd never believe. Maybe it was a rare case, but don't give up, older folks, lets do this shit!"

lol Thanks for the encouragement!

Hey John, I'm going to revisit the lesson later on today and figure out how to post a link for you.

Your most dedicated/rejected student,
Robert Hume

polanimation said...

Here's my first drawings.

I didn't do the egg drawings yet - I'll have to buy some eggs first.

Tankadin said...

And I believe Cezanne was getting on up there when he started painting as well. There are countless models to give you old people hope. But the point is, let John pull your strings!

Anonymous said...

John K, what the hell are you doing?? You'll only break their hearts when they discover tv producers and advertising 'creatives' are only looking for the worst crap they can find. "Make it edgy and fresh" the ask but they're only happy when you give them the opposite. Everything you say is right and only a few smart people are listening. Don't stop, PLEASE!


Russell said...

Today I set up my blogging acct. and post the scans of lesson 1. I just forgot to put that in my last note. Sorry!

anhdres said...

sounds great john, let's give the preston's ideas a try again!

i have the book by chance mostly, once here i found it on a book fair when i didn't knew much about animation, but i recognized the quality in a blink.

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

Wow. I have to respectfully disagree with your comment about age. Mostly because I'm over 24, but also because I was so ungrounded and not ready to receive the information available.

Weeell Alot of your readers are older. LOL! We'll have to prove you wrong. But I can see your point, I had alot of unbridled passion in my 20's...

There are those of us that are, for what ever life circumstances, (finacial, maturity you name it) that have to take their opportunities in life as they come. There were tons of opportunities then, but I wasn't ready to take them.

I think it's important to bring it up because there are a few out there who are likely to share my sentiment.

A girl of less character would probably be crushed, but since I'm a cartoon myself, I'm quite elastic... The perfect person to take orders obediently *work for a famous cartoonist* ;)

Okay Mr. K Today I take the challenge.

Andy Seredy said...

Lesson 1

Ok reading the replies to the blog, I'll redo the drawings this weekend for more exact duplicates. I'm just stoaked to be getting all this info.

JSL said...

>>I think this blogging is much more effective than any book. It's interactive and I learn as I blog, and there is an army of fans willing to help me with screen grabs and film clips.

A publisher wouldn't understand any of this and would tell me what to write and then would hire a "book designer" to screw up the layouts.<<

>>well I would be happy to do some books, but doubt a publisher would be interested.<<

John K.,

I am a graphic designer with 9 years of book design experience. If you want to make a book, I'll lay it out. I'll follow whatever guidelines you set, make whatever changes you like, and if you're really afraid of major publisher editing, you can publish it yourself, and I'LL produce it. Just storyboard it out as if you were making a cartoon and I'll do my best.

The last time I checked, Infinity Publishing will print from a b/w PDF file, with as many illustrations as you like, for about $500 + expenses (color may be a different story).

You want to make a book, let's make a book.


Robert Hume said...

FINALLY figured it out John, here's the link to my Lesson 1...


Thanks John!


jorge garrido said...

Keep giving lessons! I'll post mine soon!

Brian R. Hischier said...

I created a Blogger account just to leave this comment. That's how important it is I think for professionals to continue showing amateurs how unprofessional they are and how much farther they have to go than mere talent will take them; that their accomplishments are to be honored but not revered; that they are not where they need to be, regardless of the praise. You are an anomaly in the blog world, John, and I encourage you to keep it up. Those of us out here who hold excellence as the highest goal (just above a never-ending ravishing desire to continue learning one's craft) read your site often to see it in action. Sincerely,
~Brian R. Hischier

Super Daz said...

Hi John,
Im 36, unemployed, unemployable probably.
These lessons are interesting.
I'm doing a digi media course nad we are going to do some animation soon.
I reckon these lessons have something valuable for anyone interested in animation, drawing, cartooning, even if they are not going to work a day in their life...
Please keep up the good work

Super Daz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
manyhats76 said...

I wish I has a teacher like you when I was in Animation school. I'll give them a try.

I'm learning Japanese so I need to do something to recharge my craft.

Leafy Snout said...

Finally got my scans up, here is my address:

My Left Nut. said...

John K,

Please continue with the lessons. I plough through shitloads of books but what I really find helpful is someone with practical experience showing applied examples of the fundamentals I read about. Stuff like squash'n'stretching, distortion, smearing, blurring, how a fat guy's ass should wobble, how a pelican's beak can look like a scrotum etc. I find it easy to absorb what you teach because of your infectious enthusiasm and I also don't have to wade through bullshit. Keep it up, I am very grateful!!!

JohnK said...


Yes John but don't you think there can be exceptions to every rule? <<

Yes, but exceptions are rare or they wouldn't be exceptions.
I'm an exception. I'm still more radical than all the young whippersnappers that work for me. I suspect Katie Rice will be an exception and will remain pretty experimental and anti-mediocrity for a long time.

Most people "mature" in their mid-20s and stultify and then accept the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Like Aimee, I'm in my 30's but accept your challenge John! I've been drawing cartoons since I was old enough to hold a crayon, marker or pencil, my mom still has the drawings stashed in a little binder. Hopefully my steady diet of WB and MGM shorts that I started consuming back then has been absorbed to some degree. I dropped out of art school in the mid 90's since there was little point in staying in school when I could make a living as a 'creative professional' without a degree. Even though I'm older I have never stopped learning or striving to be a better draftsman and cartoonist. I will post my drawings from this lesson as well as send links to Stephen.

Robert Hume said...

Well I'm pretty immature John so I don't think you have to worry about me! haha I'm still going to keep trying though, your teachings are VERY valuable to me.

P.C. Unfunny said...

John, can you really make it into the business today without having a degree of some kind ?

Anonymous said...

Well you've definately done something for Amazon's sales. I'm sure the book was stated to be dispatched within 24hrs. I waited one day until I knew my wages were in and now I have to wait 4 to 6 days. :(

So while I'm waiting I've grabbed the scans you posted and I'm working on them.

Anonymous said...

I would love to take the lessons...if I lived in the U.S.A. Since I'm from Spain and I don't have planned to travel that much right now I'll have to learn from the Preston Blair book.

And, god, I'm 25, don't tell me I can't become any better! You kind of scared me with that commentary...

Greg P said...

here's mine

I did these while standing up at work, so they're from memory. I'm working now on some cleaner drawings, from the book. would it be helpful to have a blog?

Greg P said...

sorry, that's .htm, not .html:


randi said...

>>Anonymous said...
John...sometimes if you want to do it right you have to do it yourself..<<

As a weary veteran of life experience, I'd scratch the "sometimes".

I was going to argue that the interactive nature of this blog (plus the fun and admonishments and clips and links and stuff) can't be duplicated in any book, but then John said it first, so now I know I was right. :-D

Hey, since we're all sick to death of reading the same questions over and over as more people find the site, maybe somebody--not me, as I am attention-span-challenged--cobbling together an FAQ is a good idea, hm?

randi said...

>>greg P said...

here's mine
I did these while standing up at work, so they're from memory. I'm working now on some cleaner drawings, from the book. would it be helpful to have a blog?<<

It'd be helpful to have a chair, too! ;-)

Nice work, greg p. I especially like the dog drawings. (That is a dog, right? I only ask because he is lacking ears.)

lutz_animation said...

I will have to agree to disagree. Please keep up the lessons here you have alot of eager students that are very excited about the work. I would also like to point out a very interesting book "Draw The Looney Tunes" It is a manual on drawing the Warner way. I would like to know your opinions on this one.

Eebs said...

Hi JohnK! I'm not an animator/ student of animation or anything, but I hope you'll keep up your lessons. I will continue to support the site in whatever way I can... buying merch, clicking ads, what have you.

Tom said...

Yes keep givin' the lessons!

That's why I use the internet, for free stuff!

Robert Hume said...

"And, god, I'm 25, don't tell me I can't become any better! You kind of scared me with that commentary..."

I wouldn't take that too seriously. I know what John is talking about, but it's a sterio type, one that can only hurt you if you believe in it. Just keep doing what John and Preston say, and above all just keep drawing. That's my game plan, I love it when someone tells me that things are only one certain way! It makes it whole lot more fun to bust your ass to try an prove them wrong! ;)


Josh Boelter said...

I'm not an animator, nor do I have any desire to be an animator, but I still find these lessons interesting. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I really hope you continue (and I will take advantage of the advice and lessons despite the fact that I'm past my prime at 33!).

Thanks, John!

Romney said...

I am 21, determined, and have talent....Please John, keep giving these lessons...I went to CalArts last year as a freshman...Those Fucking Assholes left me in the dust....Who fucking needs them anyway....I would really like to show you some drawings and see what you think....Your fan
Romney Caswell

Whiggles said...

Hey John,

Please keep posting these lessons. I've made up my mind I'm going to follow them and keep working to try and improve my abilities before it's too late (I'm 22!). I've started up a blog showing my horrible first attempts here:

P.C. Unfunny said...

"I will have to agree to disagree. Please keep up the lessons here you have alot of eager students that are very excited about the work. I would also like to point out a very interesting book "Draw The Looney Tunes" It is a manual on drawing the Warner way. I would like to know your opinions on this one."

John already said he hates that book,those models of the LT gang are corporate approved stiff crap.

Roberto González said...

Thanks, Robert Hume. I'm not an animator myself (I would like to be one) but for now I'm interested in comic books. Animation industry here in Spain is pretty fucked up, John K. would be even more unhappy in this country. But I'm interesting in drawing well, anyway and I would love to learn the classic style, though I use another type of styles depending of the work (even styles that John K. would perhaps find crappy).

KenM said...


If you'd like to take a look, I've just posted some work from page 1 of the Preston Blair book on my blog. More will follow soon but I wanted to get in there with something before you guys move on.

Thanks again!

Here's the link:
Lesson 1 - Part 1

cableclair said...

John, question. What's more productive:

1) Being brave with the lines but fucking up a lot still, no erasing.

2) erasing a lot till you have the line right.

I am going for nr 1 right now. Should I try and "fix" it make it better with another color over it?
Right now I'm using the same pencil and it becomes a dark crappy mess when I go back to it too much.
should I use a different pencil so you can tell the difference? before after? Or just draw the whole thing all over again, start over till it is perfect? I want to get more confident in my lines.

More of my scans are coming up later tonight.

Anonymous said...

Here's my results from from the first two pages:

Lesson 1

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Here's my results from from the first two pages:"

Very nice Brian.I see you also added a few characters.

Toren Q Atkinson said...

Are you kidding? I'm still doing my homework on lesson 1. Bring it on. I'll post my sketches soon (or link to said post)

artistkitty said...

Who could pass up an opportunity like this (especially if you want to be a real cartoonist/animator)?

I've already drawn some eggs and will post more stuff as soon as I possibly can.

cableclair said...

woooow Brian! Way to go!!! Gah. I just drew for hours straight and I feel like someone who just had her first jog, trying to catch her breath feeling stabs in the side as she looks at her peers who are waaaaay ahead haha. Darn. I feel painfully slow. That's what you get for guesstimating and eyeballing and not being precise enough all those years in the past. Tomorrow though I'll be at it again. hut hut hut!

Gabriel said...

I'm still working on this lesson, and I realized a shocking thing no one here followed: Preston actually wants us to draw all of those heads (moustache guy, granny, barney, bulldog, elephant) in SEVERAL POSITIONS, just like we did with the egg!! Gee, that'll take all my night!

JohnK said...

>>Preston actually wants us to draw all of those heads (moustache guy, granny, barney, bulldog, elephant) in SEVERAL POSITIONS<<

don't bother with that yet.

Just copy all the drawings he has there-with construction.

mrianda said...


I think that this is great.

my drawings are at...

tark said...

hi john!
here my part of the first lesson:


i really would like to know your opinion!

Gabriel said...

Yay, lesson 1 done!

Angus the Leper said...

>>Most people "mature" in their mid-20s and stultify and then accept the status quo. >>

What a load of crap!You sound like a crabby old man. Maybe people in USA do because they want to conform to make the money making a lame series like Fairly Odd Parents.

Ryan Kramer said...

definitley keep teaching! I have learned more from that book than any other means of education thus far...seeing you dictate lessons just makes me indulge even more.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I started copying these sheets while following the instructions, thinking "Well, if John puts so much weight into it, there has to be something there", and now I realize that these are really strong fundamentals, which will help you to become safe and free yourself from restrictions, if practised long enough. Though I am not really an artist myself, I already experienced that these fundamentals made me draw the figures on the sheets A LOT better than just eye-copying them without any intellectual concept behind it. I´m very impressed, thank you John for this experience, though I will most probably never work for you. ;)

kim-c said...

> After 24 if you haven't already become really good, you will stagnate and your powers of learning and your rebellious youthful attitude will have died.

I think that's wrong. It's more true to say that after 25-27 if you haven't made a solid foundation for further learning, it's a little late to think that you're going to be really good.

If you have built up a solid foundation before 25-27, even at 30 it's not too late to work hard and be awesome at doing whatever you're doing.

Jouleous! said...

Hey, John. =) If you ever get to reading this comment of mine, I'd just like to say I'm one very lucky (aspiring) animator and cartoonist to have discovered your blog.

What a treasure-hoard of wealth and information! I truly admire your determination to share, your skills and your goals. Ever since I was 15, I never stopped learning from your original Ren & Stimpy episodes and I still am not stopping. Where I'm living now, it's hard to get good stuff like what you're giving all of us now, especially for one who's burning with passion in what he's doing like me.

I'm only sorry I found your blog only recently. Please do not stop the lessons; continue to inspire and guide us all! =)

Regards, Tan Julius

not so young artist said...

You know, I know this guy of the name Richard who is living proof that there are exceptions to John's little age rule. He didn't start drawing or taking his work seriously until he was 29, and over the past five years he has excelled RADICALLY and is an inspiration to every artist who knows him, both young and old. He worked very hard..VERY hard...but he was able to break through the stereotype John has discribed, and his work is now just amazing!

-not so young artist

Anonymous said...

>After 24 if you haven't already become really good, you will stagnate and your powers of learning and your rebellious youthful attitude will have died.

I don't think any of us would even be interested in trying to learn these things from you and PB if we were really all as stagnate and devoid of our powers of learning as you say. Remember this is the Internet John, and even if exceptions are rare, you have an audience here that spans across the Globe. Chances are one of the artists reading your blog here are an exception, and you might very well be chasing this amazing student a way from learning animation with this depressing outlook of age vs art. Maybe that's why you've had so much trouble getting artists to take your advise seriously. You haven't been targetting this advice to artists who are mature enough yet to understand it's value. Just a thought.

tim denee said...

OK, I gave lesson one a crack.

More later today!

Anonymous said...

"I don't think any of us would even be interested in trying to learn these things from you and PB if we were really all as stagnate and devoid of our powers of learning as you say."

Wow, good point!

"Remember this is the Internet John, and even if exceptions are rare, you have an audience here that spans across the Globe. Chances are one of the artists reading your blog here are an exception, and you might very well be chasing this amazing student a way from learning animation..."

Hey, another good point!

"Maybe that's why you've had so much trouble getting artists to take your advise seriously. You haven't been targetting this advice to artists who are mature enough yet to understand it's value. Just a thought."

Hey ANOTHER great point, wow this dude/dudet is on fire! Although to John's Credit he HAS been in the industry working with ALL KINDS of artists for several years. He probable has a pretty good grasp on how rare these diamonds in the ruff actually are. However being 27, I still agree with everything your saying here, GREAT POINTS! ;)

cableclair said...

Grah! I don't think people should get sooo worked up about one little sentence. maybe I'm wrong, but maybe it's just a way to filter out the people who don't reaaaaaaaaaaaally want to do it. Because people will always try and discourage people to persue a "risky" profession that has anything to do with creativity in whatever way they can.

It's not one of those things you can kinda wing or something. You have to be really passionate about it and give it your all and a little bit extra more. And some more on top of that.

So you can sit and sulk and be discouraged. You can get angry about it, and defend yourself, but you don't need to. In my opinion nothing says I proof you wrong more than just give the physical evidence without apologizing for it.So stop whining. And just DO IT. It's the only way to find out if you're cut out for it or no. And if not, alas, but at least you gave it a try and don't have to wonder about it the rest of your life, what IF I worked a little bit harder. Just believe in yourself and give it your all. And that's all there is to it. Obstacles are only obstacles if you allow them to be. Teh end.

Corey said...

Here you go, John

Lesson 1

Graham said...

THe lessons are great John. I'm in grad school. For me it was a way to move out the California and get an education at the same time. It's also a way to support myself while I study animation.

Erm, I'm 28 too...can't I be rebellious?

Keep up the lessons!

Craig said...

Physical age is one thing. Mental age is a whole different ball game. 30 yrs here and still moving forward. I interned with John 8 years ago for 3 months, then ran out of money. He is extreme in his points of view, but even if you have a beef with how he states them, he is usually right. Keep the classes going John they are great.

Stephen Worth said...

I just updated the Students Blogroll at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Blog. Please make sure your assignments are posted there, so it's easier for John to find them.

Lesson One: Construction- The Head
Lesson Two: Squash & Stretch- The Head
Lesson Three: Proportions-Checking Your Work

If your blog posts aren't listed there, or if I have listed them on the wrong page, please email me at and I will add you to the list.

Have fun!
Stephen Worth
ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive

Jeremy P said...

Please keep giving them, sir!

I swear to stick with it, this is the offer of a lifetime, and I will not pass it up!

Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hmm I love the idea behind this website, very unique.

Anonymous said...


Esteban Rodríguez said...

Dear Mr. Kricfalusi:

I think that calling us older artists ´stagnant´ is kinda unfair, Mr. K. When I was younger, I so dreamed of becoming a cartoonist and animator because of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery´s work. Then around 1991, I knew Ren & Stimpy, then later on, The Ripping Friends. I was so full of illusion and hope when I became a ´Spümco Secret Membership Lodge´ [I still can tell you of the priviledges both for guys and gals] and meeting you one day. Now, after all these years, after looking hopelessly for ´The God damn George Liquor program´, ´Baby sitting the Idiot´, & ´Weekend Pussy Hunt´ episodes, I find your blog, your wisdom and knowledge and you call Us ´stagnant´.

I am 30 years old now and still want to be an animator. I am working on it at a small animation studio.

I think I´ll take those animation lessons. I still think I want and need to learn from the Big shots.

I never stopped believing, Mr. K.

GG said...


I'm almost ashamed to say. I purchased this book September 21, 2005 and haven't done a thing. I'm a network tech and maintain computer networks and repair desktops/laptops. I created one flash cartoon years ago but want to be able to submit something to Newgrounds someday. I'm a female animator wannabe. I'm going to try and finally do something with the book this weekend.

kamylyon said...

Yes, I want these lessons!

My copy of John's book is on the way from Amazon and I'll start posting in the next week or so.

btw: I'm 50, let's see how stagnant I turn out to be...

milk n' bone said...

Hi John! or should i call you Professor Kricfalusi :D

Greetings from the Philippines!

I have visited your blog through a friends post a few months ago. I've been lurking the cyberspace looking for lessons specially in animation and THIS IS JUST IT. I'm so glad i can have them for free! Unfortunately i didn't have a blog account back then (had to think of acct name and all that stuff and And oh I'm taking up AB Multimedia Arts and we have animation classes too.

I just want to say this is such a blessing! Thank you for the lessons you give that we can have for free, and the heartache to challenge us artists.

It will be a pleasure to be your student here. I'll be joining!

Art Zombie said...

hey john what of your a 29 year old with the mentality of a 16 year old?
Any way I gonna take your challange and show you what for

A Borst said...

I found the Preston Blair book when I was 10 and have been drawing from it ever since.

My Daughter is 5 and she found the book sitting on my bookshelf and she sits at the table and draws from it all day. I can already tell that she will be a better artist than I

John Aquino said...

Please do continue the lessons. Generally employers expect me to train a little bit on the job and then be able to read their mind as to what they want next.
So your stipulation is a bit of a switch. I wonder if maybe that's where some of the students misunderstood your original aim.
Thanks for the clarification.

Albert said...

I'm way past 24, but I'm still ready to kick new ass and learn more goddammit!

artisan21 said...

I am interested in taking lessons from you, Mr. Kricfalusi. I have been fascinated with animation all of my life and would be honored to learn from a seasoned professional like yourself. My pictures I have illustrated are posted on Please tell me what you think

Thank you for your assistance. it is duly appreciated.

–Steve Peck
Saint Paul, MN

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna start doing these lessons! Once I get my blog set up, I'll post your lessons.

By the way, that was actually very inspiring. If anyone should be giving lectures at art schools, it should be you. What it would take months to learn, you could teach in an hour or two.

Matt said...

Wow, I am currently in a coffee shop over 1000 miles from my home. I find the most amazing animation lessons and I can't do a damn thing.

When I get home I am going to make that 8$ book my Bible. From what I have read so far this is the most effective utensil conceived thus far. I feel as if I'm losing valuable time for being on vacation, and my mind is quickly running out of time for retaining information. I strongly believe these lessons could give me great insight, as they give me even more help than the book alone.

Lady said...

Please please please keep doing this!!!

Anthony Cromartie said...

I hope I haven't come too late-but John I am EXTREMELY ready to dive into this.

I study the Richard Williams book, but feel like a more 'live' approach is what I could use. Classical animation is the main thing I want to learn, and with the push of 3-d at so many schools now feel like outside resources are one of the best options I have.

In other words-I'll do whatever it takes to learn.

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