Friday, October 27, 2006

Color Theory - steal from anime if you can't think of anything yourself





Like Eddie says, this is a cultural crisis! The Japanese are beating the crap out of us at our own game!
http://uncleeddiestheorycorner.blogspot.com/2006/10/thoughts-about-anime.html

Look what a wonderful variety of color styles the Japanese cartoonists come up with just as a matter of course!

Color seems to be the thing that anime does best.

It's a tad bit on the cold side for me, but then the Japanese are a cold race.
We westerners on the other hand are naturally emotional and warm and inventive, yet our stupid-ass corporate franchise controlled society is stopping us from what we could easily do-beat the crap out of cold cultures that are still imitating what we did from the 1930s to the 1950s!

This stuff makes me crazy!

So much fun and eye candy. Every mood imaginable.
If you are a painter and are stuck for color ideas, just steal a pile of these!
After copying these color schemes, you might be able to see the general concepts behind them and start to create your own schemes.





But there is no excuse for bad color in America anymore. The internet is a vast library of ideas.

All I did was type "anime" then "FlCl" in "the Google" and a wealth of genius color ideas came up.

You can do it too! Look up anime, fashion magazines, nature photography-anything but modern American cartoons to break your habit of only using 3 approved cartoon color schemes.

With all the easily accessible inspiration available today, why the Hell is there still shit like this?
AAAAAAARGH!!!!!
Thank God our pals the Japs are keeping visual pleasure alive. Let's pay attention!

This last one isn't too impressive color wise but it just goes to show you how Japanese artists know what the public wants and are not stingy at giving it to us whereas stupid evil conservative modern Americans refuse to give humans natural things that humans like.

http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=search&sval=RD01&article_no=2738

126 comments:

Jorge Garrido said...

>Look what a wonderful variety of color styles the Japanese cartoonists come up with just as a matter of course!

Anime is a super respected mainstream artform in Japan. They let their cartoonists get away wiht anything!

>This last one isn't too impressive color wise but it just goes to show you how Japanese artists know what the public wants and are not stingy at giving it to us whereas stupid conservative modern Americans refuse to give humans natural things that humans like.

I love how Anime has tons of fan service, black sterotypes and risque jokes, they are truly stuck in the past. They started oof imitating 1930's Disney and Flesicher, added some 1960's Jungle Book style disney, and refined it until it became a homogenized Anime and Manga style around the 70's. Every single anime or manga is a variation on that style, except on rare occasions Akira Toriyama and a few others. Lookat their giant eye shapes and the pointed chins. Astro Boy and Gigantor were inlfuenced by Flesicher, as well.

John, did you know Art Lozzi posted on Kevin Langley's site?

http://klangley.blogspot.com/2006/05/robert-gentle-and-art-lozzi.html

He even left his email address.

For great WARM and wacky colours and charactrs, try Akira Toriyama, of Dragonball fame. The earlier the better! He uses red tones very effectively and he does great dinosaurs!

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=akira%20toriyama&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

Anonymous said...

It's the zionist media! It is they who force upon us brain-dead cartoons!

Well, you know, you don't HAVE to turn on your TV set.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

I'm just about the most dedicated fan of Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki in America, so I clearly agree with you that we should look to the East for inspiration. However, I don't these particular examples you've shown are the best ones available. Much like in America, the current state of animation in Japan is far stogier, far more conservative, and far more cliched than the glory days of the 1960s and 1970s.

There are far better examples of anime we could turn to. One that I'm shocked you haven't shown is Mind Game, the 2004 film by Masaaki Yuasa. It's about as forward-thinking and adventurous as animation gets, and certainly carves out its place on the frontiers of modern anime. It's still very unknown in the West, which is absolutely absurd. If anyone should jump on Mind Game, it's John K.

Of course, I'd also recommend the Toei Doga films of the '60s, which is where that whole gang of Takahata and Miyazaki sprang from - as well as friends and pioneers like Otsuka and Kotabe and Okuyama and Mori. Three films I strongly suggest every one see are Animal Treasure Island (1971); Puss in Boots (1969); and Horus, Prince of the Sun (1968), the movie that pretty much gave birth to modern anime.

Those films show a better sense of movement, of composition, of tone and color than practically anything today. I've been preaching on my soapbox at my Ghibli blog about these movies long enough. Goodness knows, you should all be getting the hint.

There are other excellent examples of Japanese animation to watch, like Omohide Poro Poro and Gauche the Cellist and Jarinko Chie. Yadda yadda yadda.

Needless to say, there's more to learn from Japan than spikey-haired teens, naked chicks, and giant robots. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Ollie said...

Great! I'm glad you used some examples from Cowboy Bebop and FLCL. Two of my favorites.

Another anime that had great colour was Paranoia Agent.

Billy Bob said...

Nice post Mr. K,
I like both anime and classic american cartoons but it's nice to see you point out the effective use in color in japanese toons (i know you otherwise hate the stuff). One thing that always got me though is how much richer colors seemed to look before digital coloring got big, particularly in anime. They seem to have more glow and radiance, while digital coloring seems a tad duller and somewhat more artificial, any comments?

Art F. said...

fan service is great! the "fan service" concept, which is to flash some kind of risque action, cleavage shot, upskirt shot, etc., would NEVER fly here. not to mention Cartoonists are treated like Gods in Japan. as they should be!

Anonymous said...

happy Halloween John
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a170/bizzlebear/ART/3dPumpkin.gif

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing a very even contrast in your criticism. It makes the theory easier to interpret when you give the mutliple examples pointing out the bad and then counteracting it with the good.

-Marc.

Ben said...

i've been following your blog for a while now, but this is my first time actually responding to a post. for a long time, i've been trying to achieve what you where talking about, but having you break it down with the examples puts it all into perspective. i really apreciate what you taking the time to talk about this stuff. all the things they never bothered to teach while i was in school.

it really made me happy when you posted the FLCL stuff. the gorillaz stuff too.

feel free to check out my stuff and tear it apart:
http://johnnybuddahfist.deviantart.com

i look forward to your next post.

drgmdp said...

hi john, i've been reading your blog for a few weeks now and i just want to tell you that each day i like it more. you can't find this color lessons you're giving us nowhere else, and i'm sure most illustrators/animators/guys-working-on-anything-related-with-graphics really appreciate it. i do. keep the good work

diego from argentina

Shitbitch said...

"It's the zionist media! It is they who force upon us brain-dead cartoons!

Well, you know, you don't HAVE to turn on your TV set."

You see, this is what aggrivates me about conservative types; they lack taste, so therefore don't mind if mainstream U.S. pop culture is currently shitty, or they deny it.

That's why, for example, you never hear any of them give a damn about indie music. In the music industry, the major labels will often pay the radio stations to play their songs. While they're not necessarily trying to leave small labels out, they could really care less about them being promoted. But according to the "conservatives", big record companies are considered "good for capitalism". They'll argue that either A) it's not payola, it's "today's targeted audience demographic of consumers with whom the music is popular with,", and that they "don't purchase indie music because it's not as profitable" (in english- they can make shitty music and play it repetitively because people's standards are so low these days, and their attention spans so short, that they'll enjoy it like the morons they are, making it "hip" and "trendy"!) or B) payola "isn't that bad of a thing when you think about it, because other businesses pay companies to sell their products".

Argument A could be applied to the modern animation industry as well, since payola may be involved here, too: "classic animation isn't as profitable as the modern type, because it's not as popular with today's targeted audience demographic of consumers" (translation- they can make shitty cartoons and get them on TV because people's standards are so low these days, and their attention spans so short, that they'll enjoy it like the morons they are, making it "hip" and "trendy"!)

Here's the two source articles:

http://www.slate.com/id/2123483/

http://normgregory.com/category/radio/
(bottom of page)

PCUnfunny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-jabajaw- said...

This may be a redundnat or ignorant quetion but I am a wana be animator and I am wondering if anyone can tell me why great godly animators and artist like John K, Don Bluth,Ralph Baski, etc arent being paid to do these movies and cartoon shows anymore?What has happened in the last decade that made it easy for lesser to no talented people to aquir the righ to make crap and have it published?And then be given praise!!

Sliced Oranges said...

Again, you hit the nail right on the head. Keep it up.

-jabajaw- said...

I think a lot of elements in anime surpass a lot of todays American cartoons.Such as Color,story,composition.(I think anime character designs are still behind, all the charcaters in a series all look the same with different costumes and hair color)All they lack is the ability to animate!Shows like One Peice make me sick!It looks as though it was shot on like 8's or 12's!I know that it is partly because they have to do an eisode like everyweek or whatever and they have hundreds of episodes to do.But that aint no excuse to do half ass work.Unless its gonna come to america and make million$ on kids WB or Toonami!!LOL

punto said...

> still imitating what we did from the 1930s to the 1950s!

I didn't know all the 30s and 50s cartoons were done in canada! :p
you sound like you have an immaginary line separating you and the japanese, but where is that line? and is it more valid than all the other lines? when you say "we", does that mean the canadians? or the americans? or both? are the mexicans included? what about the rest of the american continent? europe? All the lines that separate you from the americans, europeans, mexicans and japanese are all imaginary, painted by a bunch of guys with guns 200 years ago.
Why not just accept them as your brothers, and celebrate that some of our brothers can handle colors?

stiff said...

Hey John,
It's slightly off-topic, but since you mention anime, what are your thoughts on anime layouts? I watched Inuyasha for a few minutes recently cuz it was on, and noticed that the layouts were rarely as bad as the movie posters you've been showing recently; I've also been impressed with the layouts in Samurai Champloo, which you've referenced in this post...do you have any plans to address these in the future? Maybe I'm just easily impressed, I dunno.

stiff said...

sorry, that wasn't Champloo, that was Cowboy Bebop.

Staunts said...

FLCL rekindled my love for anime when I thought all hope was lost.(all I had been seeing was crappy Dragonball Z and Pokemon garbage.)Aside from the wildly experimental animation, FLCL has some of the best backgrounds seen in anime. I've always been mystified by the lack of life put into backgrounds in most anime but these guys actually cared about that stuff.

Randy Siplon said...

>It's the zionist media! It is they who force upon us brain-dead cartoons!

Well, you know, you don't HAVE to turn on your TV set.<

But wouldn't it be nice to turn on your TV only to find a cartoon actually worth watching. I think that is more the point John is trying to get across. The old "if you don't like it don't watch it" mentality is bullshit. There should be better cartoons being made, period.

I have to admit I was taken back a little at first seeing all of the anime images on your blog. Good point though about Japan. They're also becoming better at baseball than us. Cartoons, baseball, what's next? Hockey. I don't see that happening.

Sam Logan said...

There are a lot of things that drive me $%*#@!?# crazy about anime conventions, but they were never easier to overlook than when I was watching FLCL for the first time. What a weird, imaginative, wonderfuly screwed-up cartoon.

Cayen said...

Hello

I'm a little known artist who has been trying to teach himself to draw, (not having money for school sucks). However thank you for posting this blog. I've been learning so much about color from your examples that my art is now starting to change to reflect what I've been seeing. Please post more, this stuff has been awsome.

As for the anon, he doesn't have to turn on his TV. However potential artists who are out there will see this crap and continue to pursue it as "good art". A voice of change has to start somewhere.

Trioptimum24601 said...

Been really loving your colour theory posts, John. I was watching The Simpsons today and all of a sudden it hit me how horrible all those pinks and purples and yellows all mashed together really are. Bit of a shock, really, considering how long I've been watching the show.

Also, if you can, listen to Daniel up there and track down Mind Game by Masaaki Yuasa. The animation style is purposefully very rough and wildly experimental, but I haven't seen a feature length animated film that imaginative and fun in years.

Anonymous said...

Double YES! Two extra outstanding posts. This is what I was trying to talk about in my comment in the previous entry.

I'm surrounded by this stuff every single day, and it's marvelous. I don't care much for the stories... they're usually submental, like American comic books that are supposedly for "mature adults," but are still the same old "beat 'em with your fists until they submit" power trip fantasies. Fun for a while, but ultimately empty.

On the other hand, the color designs are amazing. And there are even more sophisticated examples, like this guy, Toshiyuki Tanaka. He has amazing rendering skills.

Here's a link to an image of his:

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f331/hyde01/canabis_p33.jpg

Range Murata, Masamue Shirow and for pure appeal, Rumiko Takahashi, all do some amazing work.

From living here, I've come to think design itself is a particular Japanese virtue. There's something of a perfectionist attitude here, and the idea that spaces and elements to everyday life should be well-designed. There is definitely a lot more care put into doing a job well than in the West.

At the very least, people care about doing their jobs properly, whether it's stamping your passport or producing designs for animation.

Which is funny because that also means going to the bank or dealing with the municipal authorities can be a Kafkaesque experience...

Anonymous said...

The stupid link didn't come through!

The Link

Ze (Zuplemento.com) said...

In your last post I was thinking about manga/anime stuff (don't know why), but I thought it would kind of piss you off and be offtopic.

So, it's very nice to seeing you posting about it the next day o_o!

I have a venezuelan friend who does japanese stuff (with a little european touch), sometimes i don't know how he manage to do the color thing. REIQ:
http://www.reiq.ws
http://reiq.deviantart.com/gallery/
What you think? (If you got the time and it is worth it)
He does the 'different tints' that you talk about!, all the time.
(sometimes I don't even care what is drawed, the color thing stands out so much for me)

I'm telling everybody to come check your latest posts!!! \m/

Ze

Anonymous said...

You had me right up until you said "race" instead of, oh, I dunno... culture? nation? people?

Leave the Eugenics out of color theory, please.

Chloe Cumming said...

I think I suffer from colour-overexcitement… sometimes when I go in art shops it makes me so excited I need to poo.

Similarly the colours in some of these images are really exciting… I’m really beginning to see where you’re coming from. I see these combinations and my brain immediately starts working on how I could steal them and modify them and convert them via my favoured painting techniques.

I love the girl with the peachy hair.

It’s easy (for me) to get lost in a world of old master painters and Rembrandt browns and Turner greys, but to not exploit the riches of the pop culture available to us through the internet right now would be criminal! Wanting to start connecting all the threads…

Even if you don't like a lot of the product, it seems somehow there's a lot more logic and integrity to the Japanese animation industry, in relation to serving the public and respecting an artist's right to perfect their art... however I'm ignorant about all this stuff really, and continue to appreciate these chunks of visual education.

Fire Exit said...

FLCL has to be one of the most attractive Animes I've ever watched. I wish there was more than 6 episodes of it.

It's also really well written, it's just great in general.

I can't really say the same for Slayers, not my cup of tea really.

Max Ward said...

I would have never thought anime would have good color.

Anonymous said...

Man, I used to like anime, the more sci-fi genre... but it just seems soooo commercialised now. And all the American cartoons spawn off of anime and create their own dreadful style- digimon type animations (there's over a dozen different rip offs now). I like anime color style though- it's not too vibrant and flashy like modern Disney anime, and it's not too harsh on the eyes. Some of the cartoons out there you need to wear 3D glasses to be able to watch em'

Great stuff John! Keep it up man!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Happy Halloween- the easter bunny died for our sins so that we could have the choice to eat chocolate eggs over reals ones! Bada bing!

Lupin said...

Wow, as a lover of anime I must say I'm quite happy to read this post.

It's interesting that you mention that if you can't think of a style of your own, you should copy some of the better anime out there, but sadly enough it seems that a lot of modern cartoons try and 'steal' from anime..or at least what they think anime is all about. Which to them mainly means stuff like the sweatdrop joke, switching the aspect ration to widescreen during action shots. There's a few decent attempts at imitation anime but most of the time they try to copy it by halving the animation budget and taking out all the stuff that made it cool in the first place. The thing with anime is that it's often based on an existing manga, one that has its own style as manga often isn't as restrictive on what an artist can do. American animation often isn't based on something that already has style. Worse is when they sort of copy anime and try to merge it with a 'style' of their own, which can result in something evil like Winx Club. One that's somewhat tolerable is totally spies I guess, though that one suffers from the color scheme horror you mentioned before.

Yesterday I was watching a direct to video special of a series called Rurouni Kenshin and I tried looking at the skies in the background with what you mentioned before in the back of my mind and noticed they used at least 6 different colored skies during a few scenes, all with considerable detail. All the colors were used to convey the mood of scenes and I thought the entire thing looked fantastic.

I've been watching cartoons since I was small of course, but I've loved anime since I was 8 (I'm 27 so I've got quite a history in it). Like I said before, I try not to approach the subject like some crazed fan. I know it has many faults, but when I watch some anime it just gets to me so much I can't help but love it.

Even something commercial and overdone like Dragonball Z has some merits. The tv-series is extremely bad, but the original manga is quite interesting. And even if you hate Akira Toriyama, his style is very defined and not standard anime, it's easy to identify something he was involved with. Even in Japan he's quite recognized as a more conventional artists even.

This post is getting quite long, but I can talk about this subject quite extensively.*L*

el-ed said...

this is wonderful too: http://sabrina.jp/

Shitbitch said...

I've updated my blog, if you are interested in my topic.

The GagaMan(n) said...

Wow, John K praising anime. Now I've seen everything.

A lot of the examples you showed aren't even the best you could find (a lot of them are fan wallpapers, for examples, but how are you expected to know that?) but FLCL is defiantly one of the best, as is Cowboy Bebop. Also try out Mind Game and Samurai Champloo, please! These are all animation's from Japan that don't fall under copy-cat junk that they make so much of.

Tibby said...

I've always wondered what your take on Anime is.

I think there is a lot to learn from anime. Especially now that many local USA and Canadian animation production houses are trying to imitate Anime.
"Teen Titans" ring a bell? But American producers don't get it - they only think of the money - not the art. And that is where the problem lies. Teen Titans on Cartoon Network is a great example of what Anime' enthusiasts like to call "Fake Anime". It's trying to carbon copy anime because apparently that is what is most popular with the audiences now. But Teen Titans is just what it is - a pale attempt at a anime copy and something produced just because they want to jump on that bandwagon.

Anime has much different levels of content because the Japanese have different cultural values than Americans ... er Westerners. They aren't so stodgy about content because the Japanese realized that animation wasn't "Just for Kids". It was a medium and an art form that developed for the spirit of art. Not for simply money and ratings. There are different levels of viewers in Japan - they have kid stuff, like Poke'mon and Hello Kitty. Then teen rated stuff, and adult - like Hentia. American mindset holds only 1 audience for cartoons in mind - little kids. And the cultural values are different on what is deemed "appropriate". Thank the moral majority police - the FCC for restricting a lot of what goes into local animation.

Remember 1 thing - it is American (and Canadian) studios who ship their basic animation production over to Asia. And it was American and Canadian animation studios who taught them how to do it. By shipping out the basic "lower end" jobs and outsourcing the work, you created the demise of local based talent, and production. Now what was considered cheap animation labor - surpasses most of what America and Canada spews out today. Most of all the cartoons today are produced and outscourced thru S.Korea, China and India and Japan. Their is no one to blame for the demise of local talent in animation industry except for yourselves. Don't blame it on how expensive local talent is - what are we aspiring cartoonists/animators supposed to do? Start working for less than minimum wage and live more like those countries? That's really the only way we could compete. Remember how you Mr. K stated once about how good the production work for some Ren & Stimpy cartoons made over in Korea was? Thank you for putting the nails in the lid of the coffin of the animation industry. You taught them how to do it, by being as cheap as can be when it came to production. Now they rule the animation industry.

Now it is we who should learn from them. Okay - some of their overall animation technique can be limited and 2-framed. But from a real artistic standpoint, there is tons to be learned from Anime. Love it or hate it - its the mainstream, in-demand form of animation today.

Kitty said...

anime is cool! I can tell much work goes into it.

Owen said...

I saw this and just thought it was a stunning use of color. http://www.deviantart.com/print/399896/

sean said...

anime is such a generic style. but i do agree they have good taste in color.
P.S i updated my blog on this site and added some pictures

Ryan Kramer said...

i could care less for anime style characters, but i do catch myself oogling over sweet colors sometimes...

john, you're absolutely right! American cartoons need more T and A!!

Anonymous said...

Anime has subconsiously influenced hair fashion in the 2000s- people will say your crazy if you say something like that. My godamn roomate at college said he was trying to style himself off of Dragonball Z DBZ Dee-bee-zee. Anime is also the incentive for alot of people getting nose jobs, and the pursuit of physical perfection nowadays. Anime we could do without really, and I prefered it when it was sci-fi underground back in the 90s- it isn't funny no matter how big the eyes become, the noses shrink, etc-there is nothing humorous about anime. Too much anime will f uck you up anyways

Anonymous said...

John, what is the name of the episode where Ren and STimpy travel around selling meat on a stick?


setsumei@tiscali.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Hey, John . . . have you actually watched any of the shows you posted stills from? In particular FLCL and Maho Tsukai Tai (Magic User's Club)? I'd be interested to get your takes on them, although I wouldn't want to cause you undue suffering. I found the animation work on these to be several notches above what we usually get from, well, I was going to say Japan, but actually, just about everywhere. MTT is pretty cutesy, so handle with care. FLCL is crazy enough for anybody, although it doesn't make a lick of sense. Unlike most anime, it has a well-done English dub as well.

Some of the others are more "difficult" to sit through. ("You're Under Arrest" -- shudder!!)

Come to think of it, John, you might really dig Dead Leaves (from the creator of FLCL) -- I mean, really dig it! Doesn't fit in well with a discussion of color theory, though.

"Mind Game." Get a copy. Now. That goes for all the rest of ya too. Region 2 DVDs can be had from www.cdjapan.co.jp . Most DVD players (especially the cheapies) can be convinced to play Region 2 if you know which code to enter on the remote.

Steve Buccellato said...

These posts about color are fantastic! I'm grateful to Heidi MacDonald for directing me this way on her blog. Thanks for sharing , John K!

Staunts said...

>Also, if you can, listen to Daniel up there and track down Mind Game by Masaaki Yuasa.<

I'll throw in another reccomendation for that one as well. Mindgame is like the ultimate in Japanese psychedelic 'indie' style animation. They're sort of related to the FLCL people as well through a circle of really creative Japanese artists and animators. Gainax, Studio 4C and Production IG.

Anonymous said...

John, what do you think of FLCL besides the color? I was wondering if it's an acceptance to your dislike of anime.

Anonymous said...

That last image was a sinful one and god shall punish you for your endorsement of it Jonathan

Brett W. Thompson said...

Nice post as always :) I do love those colors too :)

Ted said...

Tibby, you brought up Teen Titans and then saddled American animation with being "just for kids". But Teen Titans is part of a mass of DC animated shows that have strong appeal for older fans as well. Teen Titans was probably the most kiddie DCAU show since BTAS started (the Zeta Project and Static Shock may have been more kiddie, but they were out of the mainstream DC universe), but even it deals with darker issues of betrayal that one would traditionally associate with something "for kids", and doesn't assume the audience can't pay attention to continuing story arc elements.

JLU is an even darker, more adult entry. Look at the second half of the boxset that came out last week; it's a grim storyline where the heroes can be wrong and terrible things can happen (altho things are put right in the end; it's not based on Alan Moore superheroes, after all). It's not Akira, but it is definitely something that can be enjoyed by adults.

The trend in the DCAU isn't promising; we've recently gone from Justice League, ultimately treated like shit by Cartoon Network burying its final season with a lack of announcements and a freakish burning off of episodes, to Teen Titans, which can appeal to adults, to Krypto, which other than some fleeting amusement at things like Ace the Bathound showing up and the Joker's hyenas being villains cannot be classed as for anyone but kids, to the new Legion of Superheroes, which can be enjoyed by adults more than Krypto but doesn't seem to be rising to the level of broader appeal that Teen Titans had.

But this is a thin slice of time here. For more than 10 years the DCAU offered strong appeal to older fans. Hopefully they can dig themselves out of this current hole soon.

Jorge Garrido said...

>>fan service is great! the "fan service" concept, which is to flash some kind of risque action, cleavage shot, upskirt shot, etc., would NEVER fly here. not to mention Cartoonists are treated like Gods in Japan. as they should be!

Fan service can also be having a really easilly complicated robot that only appeals to fans or having crossovers with other anime or doing anything just for the fans. I think all cartoons should be all fan service!

>Even something commercial and overdone like Dragonball Z has some merits. The tv-series is extremely bad, but the original manga is quite interesting. And even if you hate Akira Toriyama, his style is very defined and not standard anime, it's easy to identify something he was involved with. Even in Japan he's quite recognized as a more conventional artists even.

A lot of pointless filler doesn't make that big of a gap between manga and anime. Some episodes had great animation. Besides, Akira Toryama is the greatest manga artist in the world and his style evolved immensely. HE started off cartoony and wacky, like in Dr. Slump, and it became angular and grim, like in later Dragonball Z. I love it becasue it's entertaining and it's superheroes meets mythology.

PCUnfunny said...

Okay This time I go it ! So once gain,Monkey Punch's artwork and brillant use of color. His biggest influence was MAD magazine.

http://members.at.infoseek.co.jp/typerlpn3/sub5_3.htm

http://members.at.infoseek.co.jp/typerlpn3/sub5_4.htm

Jeff Pidgeon said...

Hey John,

Is there a place to buy your latest Weird Al/Tenacious D. videos, as opposed to just watching them on YouTube for free?

Anonymouse said...

Why do you say "whereas stupid evil conservative modern Americans refuse to give humans natural things that humans like". Most Hollywood executives are super liberals. Why do you think pornography is so mainstream nowadays?

Operation GutterBall said...

John, on the Japanese anime topic, you gotta check out DEAD LEAVES!!! It uses a comic book style color scheme( using solid black for shadows). But the animation is wild!!The animators went nuts on this one.

JohnK said...

>>Why do you say "whereas stupid evil conservative modern Americans refuse to give humans natural things that humans like".<<

Everyone is conservative today no matter what their political label.

JohnK said...

Hey Jeff

click the link on my blog at the right to Weird Al's new video and order it online!

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to know how you like flcl, john! :D

the plummer said...

hey john...could you do this for your humble little students on color?

take a screenshot from shrek...and color it RIGHT.

i know it'll still be ugly characters, we'll ignore that and forgive you this once.

=D

Anonymous said...

I noticed a few of those images look to be done by individual artists and not put out by the production company. Maybe you should link to the artists' pages that came up on the image search.

Also
" You had me right up until you said "race" instead of, oh, I dunno... culture? nation? people?

Leave the Eugenics out of color theory, please."

Quoted for truth. I'm not sure if you were trying to be funny or sarcastic but it sounded pretty close-minded. I respect your work a lot but “but then the Japanese are a cold race.” Could have been worded much better.

Jordan said...

Hey John (and everyone!)

My friend just showed me this cool website where you can search through old posters from the 30s and 40s by the WPA

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaposters/wpahome.html

or here

Some amazing posters!! For example search by Keyword and type in "skull" or whatever keyword, and you get links to beautiful beautiful old painted posters. Talk about amazing color and design... I'd be really interested which ones stand out to you.


Jordan

Billy Bob said...

Mr. K,
I love the color design lessons but while doing that please don't forget on how you were going to explain how the stylized toons of 50s and 60s had form but modern ones don't, I've been studying amid ami's blog to tie in with his "CARTOON MODERN" book and trying to see the concepts you outlined in the work of oreb, kimball and benedict there. Anyway's please contine!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

A few of us have mentioned Yuasa's Mind Game earlier. Thankfully, someone has uploaded the entire movie at YouTube. Subtitles are included, so it'll be easier to follow. Be sure to watch it sometime and see what it does for you.

There's another animation film from Japan that's very similar, visually, to Mind Game in a lot of ways. It was called Belladonna, or Belladonna of Sadness. It's a 1973 film which is essentially a psychedelic sexploitation film - kind of like Barbarella on a rediculous amount of LSD, and somehow tied into Joan of Arc, feminism, the power (and threat) of female sexuality, and the French Revolution.

The subject matter may not work for everyone, but it was a complete break from pretty much anything else in Japan. Its use of artwork, color, and animation are nothing short of astonishing.

There are trailers for Belladonna on youtube, and you can find a fansub copy on the internet with a simple Google search. If nothing else, it's something the artists and animators here should take a look at. It'd be interesting to hear what they thought.

David L. said...

John, I'm curious as to what you'd think of the standard 2-3 color silkscreened poster. I do a bit of it, and would like to better apply the color theories you have been talking about recently to it, but the medium that I'm using feels a bit limiting.

For an example of what I mean, I'll point out tstout.com. Some of the color schemes I think are absolutely garish, but some seem to work well for me with the very limited palette. What would your advice be to get around those limitations and make the colors work well together and stand out?

cemenTIMental said...

John, really great to see you give anime the credit it deserves colour-wise!

I see a shocking amount of anti-anime sentiment amongst supposed animation fans, i think mostly it's just congative dissonance. Japan ACTUALLY HAS a thriving animation industry which upsets a lot of struggling western animators i think. :)

If anyone has REALLY watched a reasonable cross section of anime then they should be able to appreciate the generally high level of direction, colour styling, composition and yes, despite the cheapness of many shows, ANIMATION! even if the content isn't their cup of tea.

Great to see posts like this opening people's eyes to the quality that Japanese animators are allowed to consistantly put into even their totally mainstream work without having to struggle.

Let me add yet another recommendation for EVERYONE to watch Mind Game!!!

Also the same guy's new series 'Kemonozume' which is similarly mindbogglingly good and innovative.

You can order in Mind Game dvd with subtitles, or download Mind Game and Kemonozume fansubs via bittorrent... is it ok to mention animesuki.com? because if so that's where you'll find them! :)


Anime is a super respected mainstream artform in Japan. Have to disagree; it's actually a super disrespected mainstream artform! :)

Manga (aka comics, tho please tell me i don't have to explain that distinction to a bunch of animation fans in the year 2006... RIGHT!?!?!) is truely respected and mainstream tho.

Anime is still by and large intended for kids and otaku even in japan... however clearly most people over there watch some stuff that is animated, even tho they wouldn't really claim to be into anime.

/\/\ikeB said...

Hi John,

Yeah a lot of anime sells - modern american cartoons just "target market".

You probably have these already, but check out the fleischer cartoons of superman for colors. I absolutely love the color schemes and layouts.


You can download a bunch here ( apparently they're public domain now )
http://www.toonamiarsenal.com/features/superman/

Anonymous said...

Japanese make better quality animations than Americans- the artwork, color schemes, character designs, all superior, but, the one thing they can't do is make a humorous 'cartoon.' American cartoons are alot more childish and silly, therefore you can't possibly take anything like that serious. Ren & Stimpy was brilliantly rubbish and irelevant- the only reaction it could generate was for the viewer to laugh AT it. Nearly all anime I've seen haven't carried one joke-

Akira
DBZ (Dee Bee Zee)
Guyver
Sailor Moon
Pokemon
Urotsukidoji
Devilman
Doraemon (i can laugh AT this but I need to watch it to te point of madness)
Vampire Hunter D
Ghost in The Shell
hell, even Spirited Away and other Ghibili anime- sweet, but by no means lol *make a list of all the anime you can think of- the characters are seemingly perfect (massive eyes, michael jackson noses, thin, ultra spikey hair), they're all total serious, and not at all silly looking... if you met these characters in real life, you would just stare at them with no reaction

Anonymous said...

It's not only the great drawing lessons on this blog but the honest social commentary that keeps me coming back. You just don't hear this kind of honesty and insight anywhere today, certainly not in my socially and politically repressed town: Brisbane, Australia. Probably because you're over 40 and you've seen a bit of history, living somewhere with free speech, and have a half-decent brain and bit of guts. Keep up this inspiring rant. Simon. Brisbane. Australia.

Robert Hume said...

Wow, yeah I can't believe I've been missing all these GREAT color Theory Posts!!! I've been all busy moving my crap out to Cali. Great and VERY informative stuff!!!

Here bellow is a friend of mine I worked with back in Florida. He is still learning as a painter, but I think he is becoming very good with his colors!

http://goombaman.cgsociety.org/gallery/

-Bob

The Butcher said...

John K talks up anime. Has the world gone mad?

I personally love about 20 percent of the genre and the rest of the cutesy, trendy crap is all the same to me. If you like anime color, I suggest you check out Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust if you haven't already. It's amazing.

And by the way, the Japanese are a race. What's the big deal? Do you get offended if you're filling out a form and they ask you what race you are? And if you don't like the fact that a lot of Westerners view the Japanese as cold, go over there and tell them to stop including brutal rape in half their cartoons. Stop looking for racism where there isn't any.

Kevy Metal said...

While I don't like/ don't appreciate anime, I can respect their color theory and all of those examples speak volumes.

Eric said...

I think you'd quite enjoy FLCL if you watched it. It's a whole lotta stuff that would make censors frown, with a lot of funny references to American products and stuff.

Anonymous said...

To ThE BuTcHeR,

Vampire Hunter D is awesome, artwork wise, but it's not funny. Because of that, I'd only watch it perhaps 3 or 5 times at the most. I'm more likely to watch something if it cracks me up. There are, alot of programmes out there labelled as comedy, and don't carry one funny. There are horror movies that are actually genuinely funny- take Jason X for example, it 'parodies it's own genre!'

Ren & Stimpy reminds me of 50s cartoons, color scheme, the clutural aspects of it (you have the guy with slippers on who's only represented by his legs n slippers), but with a very 90s out look.

Cartoons look better with a more subtle color scheme, and not one that makes you feel like your being bombarded with ultra violent colors. Also, you can have a cartoon/series that is really just a cash cow, uses all the gimics to hook kids in, and is really naff. The Turtles was somewhat watchable compared to alot of the crap of today, but I only really took to it because everyone else liked it at school, and it was labelled as the next big time. Same with WWF- ridiculous thing to sell to kids, but because it was packaged as the craze, I bought it.

Chris E said...

That's pretty much Japanese cartoons in a nutshell--all eyecandy and no substance.

Eric C. said...

Wow John, I used to hate anime until you showed me the path. I amazed on your theorys on everything in animation and illustration. I remember hearing from the past how people would laugh at how you take cartoons extremely seriously. But I can totaly see on your point of view how it's not just a hobbie, but a way of life.

You truely have a grand passon on what you do and I like people like that.

Thank you John for what you've contributed to us with your work, theories and ideas past, present and future. And I promise in my behalf, In part of my carear, I'm going to bring back quality and value back into the artform of animation.

_Eric ;)

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

Yes, the colors are awesome, however the drawings themselves irritate the hell out of me. I'm with Eddie on his post...too much big eyes, shine marks, spiky hair and stupid stories.

Anonymous said...

>>Japanese make better quality animations than Americans- (etc.)<<

. . . and blue eyed kids are better than brown-eyed ones. What the Sam Hill are you talking about, oh fellow anonymous one?

>>Nearly all anime I've seen haven't carried one joke-<<

Not exactly a comprehensive list of Anime there, but if you missed the jokes in Sailor Moon (which is a comedy/satire with a Princess-Bride-type sensibility) then you either weren't paying attention, or you were watching a VERY bad English "adaptation." I'm not recommending it to the readers of this blog, necessarily, just sayin'.

So didja enjoy Urotsukidoji? Thought it was animated well, didja? (For the uninitiated, Urotsukidoji is the series of low-budget animated videos from the 80s that introduced the world to the concept of tentacle sex. Its redeeming qualities are negligible.)

Serge said...

People say anime is a very generic style, but anime is not a style, anime its an animated version of a japanese comic book,anime can be very risque but theres usually very few original stuff, when something is succesful in japan they copy it until it stops being so succesful, just take a look at robot series, they been doing them for decades, and when evangelion came and added a better plot to the formula everyone started copying it, making references to religion and stuff. That also translates in visual style. If theres something generic thats the way of doing animation,what you see on japanse animation its an animated version of a comic wich is mostly not done by the artist that made the comic book, theres exceptions like hayao miyazaki,who besides drawing the comic book and thinking of the plot has control over the animation process, but mostly the original artist has nothing to do with the animation process,so if you to see even better color schemes and stuff take a look at the artist work, not to animation screen shots,take a look at manga for some really cool style and check out artbooks if you want color, because manga is black and white. So even do the minions at animation studios in japan are really good,thats not the artists work, check out the differences between color and style from the dragon ball animation to an akira toriyama illustration, definetely less generic. (early dragon ball or dr. slump preferably)

Serge said...

Also i dont think is fair to put american versus japanese animation, because theyre really different, american animation does many things much better than japanese and vice versa. American humor is mostly visual and cartoony or at least used to be, and japanese humor is mostly in the dialogue, and japanese animation has always been limited so you dont get really great acting, but that doesnt mean anime isnt funny or it cant be.Japanese animation was probably inspired by disney but the style is really original and inspired it takes a lot from early japanese flat drawing style so its also unfair to call it a rip off from america, i think its just deviation from the norm. The thruth is that today western animation riping off anime directly in every sense, and in a really lame way, just check out that ninja school crap on jetix, its a direct rip off from a show called nintama rantarou or something like that. I think both western and eastern animation are having a really unimaginative period right now. Theyre both doing corporate crap. With a few exceptions of course.

Billy Bob said...

In terms of busting into new genres and types of dramatic storytelling, I think anime evolved during the time that american animation was stagnating (like 70s and 80s). In terms of DRAMATIC stories (to an extent) design and staging, they really went in some interesting directions. Now what would that be like if we took those above elements and combined them with the solid principles that John K. has been teaching us? I mean, I'm an anime fan but even i know that once you get past the pretty colors and slick designs the animation is crappy and there is almost NO acting (generalizaton, there are some ones that do, but you gotta search and they aren't really anagalous to acting seen in american animation).

Shawn said...

You've got me paying attention to colors on EVERYTHING everywhere I go now.

Makes me wish I could go back in time and repaint everything I've ever done, because it all looks like poo to me now.

Anonymous said...

Golden Boy is a funny anime. Dragon Half too.

queefy said...

Love Hina has a good story and its really funny.

Just stay away from the anime! The comic is much better.

Anonymous said...

'and blue eyed kids are better than brown-eyed ones' - I never wrote that 0_o

Legend Of The Overfiend is my fave anime. I collect the animation cels-

www.geocitie.com/dave1999artwork/homepeiji

Well Doji is the only hentai with a concept story. All other hentais are cheap spawns of doji.

Holy moses John! You're knocking Legend Of The Overfiend, and you did those not so funny Adult Party ren & stimp episodes!

Anonymous said...

- and Sailor Moon is funny? I watched two episodes and that was all I could take

fabiopower said...

Excellent, interesting and didactic discussion!

Anonymous said...

Their colours are great, now they just have to work on writing, comedy, and having a non acne ridden amv making loser fanbase

Vanoni! said...

I'm a little worried about the people who are reading this post as "I'm so happy John finally said he loves anime! Now I can ignore all the previous color discussion and just blather on endlessly about all my favorite Anime!"


- Corbett

D π said...

Let me preface this comment by saying how I love John K's work. You (John) bring up a very good point that is often the topic of the shoptalk that I have with my colleagues.

That said...

When K says, "...It's a tad bit on the cold side for me, but then the Japanese are a cold race.
We westerners on the other hand are naturally emotional and warm and inventive..." He sells his argument short.

This is absurd, off topic, undemonstrated racist dialogue no different than that "Zionist Media" comment. It's greatest damage to the other great observations K made is in that it refuses to recognize some of the REAL reasons why these color samples are so great. And wounds his credibility as a scholar.

True the Japanese are not myopic in their observation of outside examples of color and culture, and they don't just steal from their contemporaries like many in the American (I'm not including Canada or France in this "western" generalization) animation business do. But K seems ignorant of Japan's RICH history of design and color and the century long exchange between the Japan and the west. If anything John demonstrates a lack of understanding of history. Without the French and Dutch artists like Lautrec, Degas, Van Gogh.. borrowing from the Japanese artists in the 19th century, Disney may have never had the source material from which to steal many of its great color choices, which John so reveres and assumes that the Japanese animation culture would be lost without. John, do yourself a favor and look at the work of Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai, Yoshitoshi and other printmakers as late as the 1950's; you will find that the Japanese had a strong domestic grasp of color and color theory.

It makes me wonder if John has ever met a Japanese person or watched a Japanese film. In fact Japanese pop culture media is often more sentimental than their American counterparts, where violence and adolescent power fantasies are dominant. I mean, I'd never say that Western people are imperialists with a penchant for genocide and institutionalized racism.

I've always loved K's risqué approach to animation regardless of my opinion about his views or personality. I've often wondered if his choices in design are the product of a sincere love of diversity or the product of latent yet closeted homosexual and racist tendencies. This statement is uncalled for. I have one question for you John, "if westerners are so "warm and inventive", how come the west, for the most part (including John K but excluding Bakshi), have been doing the same thing for 50 yrs. progressively worse and more derivative. And how come I've never heard a Japanese person say such a cold and racist thing about American people"

By the way, I'm not Japanese... but I've been to Europe and Japan on several occasions, and I failed to notice this gap in warmth that you are talking about. Instead, I marvel at how much beautiful work all mankind has managed to create, and how wonderful the diversity is. I was surprised at how much the German's and the Japanese have in common (besides nationalistic, socialist imperialism).

Whatever, I still love the work, John, and it's a free country, say what you want... But I gotta rebut, call attention to that statement you made and how utterly backwards it is.

FLAMINGPINECONE said...

See everyone here IS stealing from anime, it's just they steal the bad stuff like eye shapes and giant mouths and those little upside down U eyes. Also alot of people try and draw like Akira Toriyama (Dragonball Z fame) when the man himself reuses his own shit.

Anyway on to the positive: FLCL (Fooly Cooly, Furi Kuri, ect)is amazing, it took all the cool things that we did in the Golden age (impossible gags, wild custom expressions, ect) and everything cool about modern anime (hot chicks, warm colorings, slick use of line width) and pulled of more artistic feats in a mere 3 hours than American animation has done in the past decade. Not to mention it did all this and told a story! FLCL is as perfect an anime as I can ever imagine getting, a masterpeice.

Sorry to babble on but FLCL is a big favorite of mine and I could go on for days on how cool it is.

dickhead said...

The Japanese aren't a race, they're an ethnicity. Oriental is the race.

andrew r said...

"It's a tad bit on the cold side for me, but then the Japanese are a cold race."

Because this attitude has never entered your stuff (that I've noticed), I can only wonder if this is a scheme to get some reaction so you can make a future post about what hypocrites we are for enjoying Coal Black while blowing up at two lines in your post.

Whatever, that's better than actually believing in "races".

Rodrigo said...

I'm sorry John, but the people that came up with tentacle porn and Conan The boy from the future cannot be cold.



R.

D π said...

I agree with Andrew that the ‘connotation’ of the word race is largely a mythical social construct. However as an illustrator/animator one must be very aware of the aesthetic truth of race. We are a radically diverse species, ignoring the cultural and racial differences can lead to weak artwork. And there may be some truth to some racial stereotypes, but not enough to merit the use of them to label and divide people.
I’ve always noticed those old racist cartoons (coal black) on this site and others, but under the pretense of gleaning creative instruction from it or recognizing it as part of animation’s cultural heritage, similar to how “Birth of a Nation” is often cited outside of it’s racial context as a benchmark in cinema …so I took it as just that. Also I don’t believe in hiding history no matter how dirty.

BUT!

John’s broad statements about Japan vs. “The West” demonstrates that he does indeed have some pretty ignorant views. Personally I don’t read allot of his words, but whenever I find out about his work, I watch it, because it’s great. This is not gonna change. And indeed I prefer an honest, bold racist to the ‘Common Great North American Closeted Racist’ (Americus Racist Zenophilius), but from these words that I happened on accidentally, I now know that K’s understanding of art and animation is clouded by his ignorance. Maybe this is one of the reasons why he has had such a hard time garnering and maintaining the mainstream success that the aforementioned Jaimie Hewlet has.

BTW John, I’m pretty sure Koji Morimoto worked on some of the original Gorillaz animated videos. (fact check me on that)

What he shoulda said was. This stuff is great, regardless of where it’s from! Study it…

JohnK said...

>>What he shoulda said was. This stuff is great, regardless of where it’s from! Study it…<<

I thought I did.

D π said...

No what you really said is that 'this stuff is good, but inevitably flawed or less than what westerners can do because we (as westerners) have some inherant advantage due to where we are from.' or at least that's how i took your words, "It's a tad bit on the cold side for me, but then the Japanese are a cold race.
We westerners on the other hand are naturally emotional and warm and inventive, yet our stupid-ass corporate franchise controlled society is stopping us from what we could easily do-beat the crap out of cold cultures that are still imitating what we did from the 1930s to the 1950s!"

sorry if i missunderstood, you.

JohnK said...

well what you quoted from me is different than how you are paraphrasing it, but go look at the Daffy Duck post.

If you can show me a Japanese cartoon or piece of art that's as warm and alive as that, I will adjust my opinion.

But their color and special effects and mechanical animation is unbeatable.

D π said...

Yeah that's a great sequence.
I love that stuff. It really hit's the hammer right on the head.

I am not so sure of what you mean by warmth, but if you mean sensitivity to expression and the amount of thought that goes on in the drawing, I would cite Studiio 4C's mindgame for a recent example and the sequence in totoro where the little girls are exploring their new house.

If you mean emotional content, it's all over the place.

If you mean hysterics and exagerated movements... try "dead leaves"

You have picked an exceptional example for comparison. I personally enjoy both the exageration of american animation and the minimalism of the Japanese. I don't equate it with warmth or cold.

I can see many instances where the western approach becomes as cold in its superfluous gesturing as it's japanese counterparts can become cold in it's economy. EG. look at a lucky charms commercial lately?

But I do agree that that clip is a merging of great talents.

D π said...

Also listen to traditional Okinawan music. Closer to the blues than anything eric clapton ever produced.

checkout Kawase Hasui's prints.

Going to dinner... if I think of any more, I'll let you know.

FLAMINGPINECONE said...

Hmm anime is pretty rigid animation wise, usually it's very stop/start, with motion placed in what the director thinks is the wisest spot, usually action stuff and none of it every 'cartoony.'

The only anime I've seen that has a comparable sense of movement so alive and human as Daffy is FLCL, there is this one scene in episode 3(Marquis de Carabas, Maru Raba) where two characters are arguing and there body language and lip movement is almost sureal it's so acomplished.

I know I've rambled on about FLCL alot but it's one of the few anime where you can easily tell whose in control of what scenes, and one director does a damn good job of character acting, almost Scribner level.

Check it
FLCL Episode 3

Excuse the blue skys, but please take note of the well timed music and quick butt stabs.

Anonymous said...

>>If you can show me a Japanese cartoon or piece of art that's as warm and alive as that, I will adjust my opinion.<<

Mind Game. FLCL. And (especially) Dead Leaves. You REALLY must check out Dead Leaves.

It may not be Clampett, but it comes a heckuva lot closer than the bulk of our "emotional and warm and inventive" homegrown stuff.

Anonymous said...

>>If you can show me a Japanese cartoon or piece of art that's as warm and alive as that, I will adjust my opinion.<<

Mind Game. FLCL. And (especially) Dead Leaves. You REALLY must check out Dead Leaves.

It may not be Clampett, but it comes a heckuva lot closer than the bulk of our "emotional and warm and inventive" homegrown stuff.

Ted said...

Anonymous 8:28AM, there is definitely successful humor in your list of "haven't carried a joke" shows, tho it is fairly far between as is natural for the action nature of them. Notably, the DBZ episode where Goku and Vegeta learn to drive. If you want to include the original Dragonball, there's a ton of dirty old man humor (and there are echoes of that in the early part of DBZ). This came out in one Nintendo Famicom Dragon Ball game, where you have to go around and collect panties. Disturbingly (or just hilariously), in the US NES version of the game, known as "Dragon Power", they inverted the panties to make them sandwiches.
You also list Inuyasha, wherein the "sit boy" jokes are occasionally funny, the "Kagome always has an embarassing disease as an excuse" jokes are on a rare occasion funny, and the flea and fox demon characters often provide humor.
And I'd say it's pretty funny in Akira when Kaneda is acting all chipper and happy.
Comedy series may be a better bet to look for humor tho (with humor being generally reliant on culture, much of it won't translate properly). Bobobo-bo bo-bobo is a good example readily findable on Cartoon Network on Saturdays. Crayon Shin Chan is another example that's recently been on Cartoon Network.

JohnK said...

>>Mind Game. FLCL. And (especially) Dead Leaves. You REALLY must check out Dead Leaves.<<

I watched a bunch of flcl and it was technically mind boggling, but cold as ice.

Still very impressive.

Jorge Garrido said...

>I watched a bunch of flcl and it was technically mind boggling, but cold as ice.

Try something more entertainment/humour/super-hero orieented, like early Dragon Ball.

>If you want to include the original Dragonball, there's a ton of dirty old man humor (and there are echoes of that in the early part of DBZ).

I loved the pervert humour in Master Roshi and Oolong. When he treid to get Lunch to take her top off and pretended his martial arts training uniform was bra and panties and amde everyone dress up in them I nearly died laughing!
Don't go for artsy stuff, go for action and laughs!

FLAMINGPINECONE said...

Now that you think of it, FLCL can sometimes be very clinical, almost too good? Maybe just a biproduct of light bloom and computer coloring.

But mostly I didn't feel the same cold shoulder John got.

I just remembered that new Astro Boy series that was made, it had an amazingly high budget and I remember it looking really good and even looked like it was done on cells.

It was a while ago and I am too lazy to hunt for inform. If I do find some info I'll post it.

cemenTIMental said...

Seems to me this whole 'warm/cold' thing is mostly personal opinion with a little bit of prejudice thrown in :) ...unless anyone cares to clarify what cold means in terms of animation, then it just sounds like 'i don't personally like it.' That's fair enough but don't claim that's inherent in the work.

If anime seems 'cold' it's probably because you aren't japanese, don't speak japanese, have no context for (or interest in) the cultural and pop culture references, etc etc etc... sure some of it is commercial work churned out without much feeling, but to hold FLCL up as an example of professional but 'cold' animation seems totally weird to me... those animators really cared about what they were doing... they just didn't show it in quite the same way that an american animator decades ago would,... strangely enough! :)

Anyway if John or anyone wants really 'warm' anime I recommend (yet again) MIND GAME (someone uploaded the whole think in chunks on youtube ... that's NOT the best way to watch of course but better than nothing if you can't be bothered to order the DVD or download from Bittorrent), Kemonozume, and also Satoshi Kon's 'Tokyo Godfathers' and 'Millenium Actress' both of which contain some great acting, tho the style is very much non-cartoony by and large... and the content super-sentimental tho i think that's maybe not what you mean by 'warm'... but certainly proves wrong the old WWII propaganda idea that the japanese are cold and unemotional....

anyway am starting to ramble/...

If Mind Game is deemed 'cold' then we're clearly talking about a totally different meaning of the word...? :-P

Franky said...

This is what I get for going on vacation, John. A post about Anime with images of cartoons from my former and current employer. sheeesh!

Jack Randall said...

What do you think of the colors used in Robots, John?

fineartist said...

Copic markers rock!

Anonymous said...

The commenters saying there isn't anything funny about anime should really try Azumanga Daioh or Kodomo no Omocha.

Anonymous said...

Most of the stuff coming out of the US stinks. I think today's cartoons are poor copies of the powerpuff girls. Does everyone have to have thicklines around their cartoon characters, cutting the characters into parts. Stuff was way better in the late 80's and 90's. Animaniacs, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko's Modern life, etc. I miss classical animation like Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry.

I swear I think most of the poor quality stuff I've seen lately is bad ripoffs of anime.

I also noticed some anime's (Dragon Ball Z/Neon Genesis Evangelion (The anime before the comic??)/Ghost in the Shell) take shots straight from the comic (storyboard i guess) as well as dialogue. I like the line art in dragon ball z. Akira Toriyama was influenced by Charles Schultz. I love how his style conveys motion with lines.

Look it's Charlie Brown!

http://www.dbzgtlegacy.com/showpic.shtml?http://www.dbzgtlegacy.com/manga/scan51.jpg

I haven't liked disney's animated human beings lately. They all look
like they've been done by amatuers using flash. It started with Aladdin I think. Pocahontas characters sucked and well all of them have sucked since. I like anime characters much better. I agree with an earlier post on the lack of a jaw in anime but the character design wipes the floor with disney's latest stuff.

Maybe that is the secret. Make a comic then sale it in Japan and then make it into a cartoon! Then bring it to the rest of the world.

Shitbitch said...

"Stuff was way better in the late 80's and 90's. Animaniacs, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko's Modern life, etc. I miss classical animation like Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry."

You really think Animaniacs was good?

Anonymous said...

Was it good.. I don't think it is comparable to the others I listed. I do think it was the best thing I saw Warner Bros put out in the 90's. It and Tiny Toons. I did find some of the stories entertaining but I was around 10 years old too. I know a lot of the appeal was nostalgia for Merry Melodies. I haven't seen it in over a decade. I'm not knowledgeable enough to tear it to shreds. I am ignorant! I know I would rather watch Animaniacs than Family Guy, Time Warp Trio or American Dad or any show where the characters are obviously shapes glued together with black lines.

I don't think it compares to old stuff like. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZuskX4wEA

I love how the characters really move in that clip. Tiny Toons and Animaniacs were much more static (or is that my imagination been so long since I've seen them). That is what I really hate about the Family Guy. The characters are really static. They don't move. Anime turned me off at first because the characters were still a lot. I'd like to see some movement so I know what I'm looking at is alive. I mean even video games like Zelda have the characters atleast bob up and down, swaying side to side.

Interesting link:
http://www.archive.org/details/animationandcartoons

I am ignorant maybe reading this blog will help me :P

Anonymous said...

Was it good.. I don't think it is comparable to the others I listed. I do think it was the best thing I saw Warner Bros put out in the 90's or atleast what I enjoyed most by them. It and Tiny Toons. I did find some of the stories entertaining but I was around 10 years old too. I know a lot of the appeal was nostalgia for Merry Melodies. I haven't seen it in over a decade. I'm not knowledgeable enough to tear it to shreds. I am ignorant! I know I would rather watch Animaniacs than Family Guy, Time Warp Trio or American Dad or any show where the characters are obviously shapes glued together with black lines.

I don't think it compares to old stuff like. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZuskX4wEA

I love how the characters really move in that clip. Tiny Toons and Animaniacs were much more static (or is that my imagination been so long since I've seen them). That is what I really hate about the Family Guy. The characters are really static. They don't move. Anime turned me off at first because the characters were still a lot. I'd like to see some movement so I know what I'm looking at is alive. I mean even video games like Zelda have the characters atleast bob up and down, swaying side to side.

Interesting link:
http://www.archive.org/details/animationandcartoons

I am ignorant maybe reading this blog will help me :P

K. Hammond said...

Boy oh boy, I am ecstatic over this!

I always had a small hatred toward anime. Mainly because of it annoyingly high fan base and how lame and truly unfunny it can be. Anyone can always think of the plot line, "A secretive bad boy or sweet, dangerous boy goes in some sort of quest to stop or find something where is he met with their love interest, a good girl or an assertive girl with a team of meaningless sidekicks. Wow...that's hot. Can't wait for the next episode. I bet Kamatasheoshimmyshimmybangbangs will still be hiding his personality to the fans.

Every type of anime is the same with the similar expressions which will not make you feel or attach yourself to the character. The lead can die in the middle of the series and I bet no-one would care.

But like you said, anime choice of colors and special effects is jawdropping at times such as FLCL. FLCL is piece of work. The animation and effects left me near orgasm. The animators seemed to work their buts off to make all that but I guess they were too lazy in giving the character flavor.

I myself shouldn't talk because I need to experiment more in facial expressions too but at least I know I need to improvement on that which is always a step ahead.

The GagaMan(n) said...

How about trying out some more of Maasaki Yuasa's work (The Mind Game guy) such as the bit of animation he did for the Chibi Maruko Chan and Crayon Shin Chan? Those are pretty darn cartoony and technically stunning, byt also warm and charming. There's some Realplayer clips of this stuff here: http://catsuka.com/focuson_anim.php?id=yuasa_masaaki&page=2
The third clip down in particular is great fun.

There's also clips of Hiroyuki Imaishi's work here:
http://catsuka.com/focuson_anim.php?id=imaishi_hiroyuki&page=2
Re-Cutey Honey in particular, despite being very primary in it's colours, may be just down your alley =P

morbo said...

i think that american toons lack wormth, not the japonese ones
and so do the american books for kids that i've read, compared to eastern european, asian, italian, german, british ones
eastern europe had an invasion of animes right after the fall of communism. american cartoons of all sorts were on also, but a whole generation of kids fell in love with animes - series that were very different from pokemon, dbz, sailor moon and other more worldwide high profile films of those and the more recent years
i really recommend spaceship sagittarius
the characters, especially the main ones, aren't very aesthetic but the colours are great(they really struck me back then, after being mostly used to disney films)
the story on the other hand is amazing, deep, worm,funny, dark at times, in one word human
it isn't anything near cold, and more so maybe because it is based on an italian comics
some others were saber rider, macron, voltron, candy candy, sandy bell, heidi, alice in wonderland, etc, etc, right up to (or down to) sailor moon
even though it was on 15 years ago the series is a real phenomenon on any eastern european forum thread that deals with animation (as long as there are people at least 21 posting on it)
no american cartoon has ever had the influence of animes in europe
american cartoons that you say are alive are superficial in their liveliness, unless you mean by it the actual moving, physical,patterns
but as for helping to develop your imagination they are way behind the animes
and animes are never corny
there are great american cartoons, and yours among them, but they are great for different reasons than the animes
and of course there is a lot of bad american and japonese animation

morbo said...

so, spaceship sagittarius
for stories and colours, not so much for the aesthetics of the main characters
great anime

Anonymous said...

ahh i was reading what people thinking as you bring this subject.. for me, i think anime is more than coloured, tts not just colour and appeal (cute and stuff) but the story count too, watching different type of anime i knew that is more than that.
i am fan of anime and cartoon since kids when in the tv there was bugs bunny, tom and jerry i watching doraemon and sailor moon . and what i really apreaciate about anime is they have story to tell..
not just humour, but like kind of friendship, adventure, romance that really not far from daily life or really beyond that like howl moving castle :) etc is really good tough because they using technology to clean up and colouring, i just suggest that if john k and friends try to clean up and colouring using software like flash to do animation. its would be one step stone to go :) more faster that way,, using a wacom tablet is like holding pen. is draw ing but looking on your screen,,

i really appreciate your lesson i still want to be animator, i like type of cartoon because its giving me freedoom to do character design., not only human but drawing animal. thank you very much

Vincent said...

TheButcher said: "And if you don't like the fact that a lot of Westerners view the Japanese as cold, go over there and tell them to stop including brutal rape in half their cartoons. Stop looking for racism where there isn't any."
----------
You mean *all* Japanese people share the same opinions about brutal rape as portrayed in cartoons? There is a difference between describing an issue in a culture and attributing cultural aspects to an entire "race" of people.

The American Heritage dictionary defines racism as:
" 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race."

With that in mind, if you see this as an issue in Japanese culture, use the words "Japanese culture" and make it clear that it has nothing to do with a race of people.

Also there are Japanese that negatively view fanboys/fanatics of any topic (otaku) and this discusses it: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aW86rqbFUcoU&refer=japan

vajela said...

I enjoy Time Warp Trio
Matthew
http://www.petitiononline.com/ssotwt/petition.html

Alvaro said...

I like the colors and the designs but I don´t like very much the stories. However, there are a few that I like, as Cowboy Bebop and Mind Game.

J.R. Spumkin said...

The thing is, like Jorge pointed out, is that anime lets its cartoonists get away with anything.

Look up "Elfen Lied", and you will probably see, among other things, tits and bloods in the same cartoon. The Japanese allow their cartoonists to experiment (at the same time, look at chibi. The cuteness may either blind you, annoy you, or paralyze you) with styles and such.

Why can't we have that no more, John?

And I'm with Jorge on Dragon Ball. If need be, I could give you links to a couple of breakdowns I'm working on at the moment!

-J. Spumkin

Nonya said...

I really did enjoy anime. But that was when I was young and allowed the American media to teach me about what anime is, and what anime looks like.

But now, anime has influenced many American artists and they all have the same, cheap, bland pornstar image. Do we really want to be praising the same Mary Sue crap we Americans show in our live-action shows?

I am sorry but after a few things I've seen on the internet, I am glad America is the way it is. Let the big bad conservatives do as they wish--if this place was half as bad as some made it out to be then shows like Ren & Stimpy wouldn't have stayed very long.

I don't know what rock you people are living under but there's so much American smut put out to where it would make the most liberal person blush.

I am tired of anime fanservice because that's what is shipped into the US. The good anime is never dubbed and you would have to learn an entirely different language just to enjoy something that is far from subpar. Most simply have fanservice because that's the only way they'll sell anything. It's not always about freedom of expression, it's about getting horny teenagers to purchase a product.

My drawings are still anime influenced, http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f131/Crystalica/BoredC/Drawinx/DarkXanya.jpg
but that does not mean I love it to death. My style has developed over the years and I don't quite draw like that anymore. I'm continuing to mold my style. It's like a never-ending process.

I just hate how the American youth hate their own Western styles and praise Japan for any ill-proportionate anime bimbo some Japanese guy thought up in a matter of 4 minutes skimming through a Playboy magazine. I love both. I loved Rocko, but I also enjoyed Speed Racer and Sailor Moon.(I was a kid give me a break, I know SM and SpeedRacer isn't great) Granted there are those who do not indulge in such gimmicks, but the anime in America does.

I don't know why these American kids hate western cartoons so much when many anime shows have the most American, Caucasian-looking females.

The colors schemes might be better, but comedy-wise I prefer western than random anime expressions done all the time. Foghorn whapping that dog on the butt with a plank and running away always gets me every time.

Compare the original version of the Power Puff Girls to the Japanese version. It ultimately stinks even in looks and comedy. This is just my opinion,though. I loved the PPGs,as tomboyish I was. It was one girly show I could admit to liking. The Japanese made this show entirely girly-they turned it into Sailor Moon.

Compare the transformations to Sailor Moon's and you'll see just how similar they are. So when we're not bastardizing their culture they're bastardizing ours.

Max said...

I hate to comment on such an old entry but unfortunately I just now started following your blog.

It is interesting to see you complimenting what I consider to be mediocre anime in majority (FLCL excluded). I guess it should be obvious if you're not that into anime in the first place!

I have seen some very interesting artists and series in the past few years. If you're interested you might find these enjoyable (though I'm sure these 125 comments are filled with recommendations):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS4HGzXPT6Q - This show, Kaiba, has the most unique style I've ever seen in a modern-day broadcast series. It is very reminiscent of a Tezuka-age style with very abstract retro-feel environments. The plot is very emotional to an extent you wouldn't expect from such a style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf1eGqkeotA - Studio SHAFT has some brilliant color schemes. They were short on staff while producing this show, but if you skip to 5:45 you can see some very interesting action animation. In a later episode the climax was almost entirely unanimated in the airing. It's unfortunate that such a good studio is having a staff shortage.

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/otoufu/material/portfolio_tamago/portfolio.html - One of the most interesting and creative anime-styled portfolios I have seen.

http://jnthed.blog.shinobi.jp/ - Very bizarre and sexual but technically amazing art.

http://huke.blog.shinobi.jp/Category/9/ - Very dark and gritty theme to his work that's an interesting juxtaposition to the young girls to me.

Those are some of my top favorites at the moment.

The criticism you release in your blogs is nothing I haven't known about myself for a long time (over-derivative of modern styles etc.) but reading your entries is allowing me to think more profoundly about it and I feel like I can feel myself loosening up mentally just from reading. I'm going into 3D game design as a career so I hope to develop a style that can be applied thusly. Games have essentially the same problems cartoons are having lately. Well, at least there's no Total Drama Island video games...I think...