Monday, January 15, 2007

BGs and Style - part 3 - Contrasts in Direction, Size

Contrasts are tools of communication. They are emphasis. They are tools you can use to make your own unique statement.

Now, having said that I need to add that if you don't already have skills, then you won't understand contrasts and won't be able to use them with control. So learn your construction and other basic principles before you concern yourselves with this advanced concept.
A conservative person fears contrasts. Contrasts draw attention to themselves. This Donald on the left has contrasts in sizes, widths and shapes. A small head, long beak, fat belly, skinny chest, feet that are longer than they are wide.

The Donald on the right has a beak that is the same length as its width, a head that is the same width as the beak, feet that are the same width as length, a chest the same size as his belly.

Donald has been toned down and evened out. The Disney style is the direct result of Walt's extremely conservative taste.

Tom and Jerry are also extremely conservative. Hanna Barbera TV cartoons after the first year became very conservative to match the nature of the studio's owners.


This Disney pig is made up of the same shapes and sizes piled on top of each other. To me it is completely bland and boring. But I'm not conservative. I like excitement and ideas and bold statements of creative conviction.This Tex Avery model sheet is much more interesting and FUN to me. The tiny heads of the characters nd huge fat bodies are extreme contrasts. You laugh at the boldness and audacity of the idea. Tex's statements are always completely clear. He is not afraid of contrasts. They are his tools of communication.

Bob Clampett is even more comfortable with contrasts and that's a reason I like him so much. He uses contrasts not only in his drawings, but in his acting, voices, cutting, music, staging, personalities and everything else he touches. He even lets his animators all draw in their own styles and casts them according to what scenes he thinks they will be most effective at animating.
Now, you can be conservative with skill and appeal, as these Disney designs above are. Skill and cuteness can go a long way in entertaining a non skilled person. Skill in itself is a contrast. If everybody had it, it wouldn't stand out.

That's why today, in an age where skill is almost absent from culture, Tom and Jerry looks so radical and wild. It looks like superhumans did it, and by the standards of today's entertainers the Tom and Jerry creators were superhuman. They could do what only a handful of people could do then and nobody can do now.

Today's art and culture has such low skill standards that almost anyone can become famous in arts and entertainment. Could 50 Cent make it in an era that produced Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Williams, Count Basie and scores of towering entertainers?

If you add contrasts and personality to skill, you get art, not just mere craft.

Tom and Jerry and Disney are craft. Clampett, Jones, Avery and the Fleischers were art.

A truly creative skilled person is not afraid of contrasts or clear statements. All the musicians I mentioned above fit that description. There were some musicians in that era who were skilled but lacked personality, dynamics (contrasts) and were not as interesting as the non-conservative ones.

Here is a conservative skilled drawing of a girl.


Here is an imaginative creative drawing. What's the difference? Katie's girls are full of contrasts. The contrasts give the girls their unique differences that make them individuals, rather than generic symbols.

Conservative art without skill is the norm today. It is the evilest combination and will destroy what was once a great civilization if it continues.

Conservative art with skill is useful as a learning tool. It is not thrilling or uplifting to the human spirit, but it beats the Hell out of amatuerism.

Creativity without skill cannot exist-or it cannot be used effectively. Contrasts won't help unskilled work.

Contrasts added to skill equal interest, dynamics, statements and art and magic.

OK, get what contrast is?

There are many types of contrasts, not just the obvious ones of size and shape.

Here are some to start you thinking:


59 comments:

Peggy said...

So what's contrast without skill? I suppose that'd be all the examples of modern cartoons that're full of "style" and not much else...

JohnK said...

Todays' cartoons are both bland and unskilled. No contrasts.

Anonymous said...

Very well put! Things I have tried to understand for years are so easily explained in this blog. Great connection between music and animation too. Nothing is creative anymore... Excecutives find a niche that makes money and they run with it until the idea is completely ehausted and we all become zombies, listening or watching the same thing over and over. I find very few things these days that are not carbon copies of previous finacial bread winners.

JohnK said...

Hey Smo,

I accidentally erased your post.

If you send it, I will post it.

Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Sure, those poses of the clampett dog are great drawings (full of contrasts, strong posing, exaggeration, etc), but the dog itself as a design is pretty boring. Nothing dramatic in the proportions or shapes. It's practically Disney's pluto.

I hate to say it, but it's the same with the majority Spumco designs. Fantastic acting and posing...but as a design...pretty bland in proportion and design. Great cartoons should be a mix of both strong design and great posing.

We all know Disney's stuff is boring, but some great stuff did come out of there....paticularly Ward Kimball's work. Toot Whistle Plunk Boom, and Mars "Above and Beyond are a great fusion of strong design and funny animation.

JohnK said...

Angles do not make a design.

Mcnuggetinator said...

Ah, this is what I've been trying to achieve in my art work, lately. Does contrast also come from mixing up the lines (Straight lines, rigid lines) and curves (s-curves, rounded curves) of the drawing as well, or am I just typing jibberish.

Anonymous said...

"Could 50 Cent make it in an era that produced Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Williams, Count Basie and scores of towering entertainers?"

lmao. So true.

Excellent points in style. Just yesterday, I had a similar talk with one of the few peers in my grad program that exhibits serious artistic talent. As I've mentioned before, my school's trade is in 3D, but regardless, he and I are one of the few who appreciate what you do, John.

But enough preface, we basically pointed out that 3D animated movies today lack any stylization. In 2D, Chuck Jones could redraw a face a million times till he was happy. 3D animator's don't get that luxury, so very few films can get stylized characters, much less stylized layouts. If I went off of what you said, you could say that most of the time, the 3D style is "conservatively" skilled, because the character's proportions will always be "correct", but without any serious foresight, you're stuck with very conservative imagery. Madagascar tries to be stylish (by merely throwing in angular looking character construction--I wasn't a fan), but the characters are still as stiff as every other 3D flick.

I've thumbed through some preproduction work for The Incredibles", and the film pales in comparison, but it got closer than most do today. There's definately skilled artists working on these films, but too much is still lost in translation.

Cayen said...

I don't really agree with SugarPete.

However everyone is entitled to thier own opinion. I really can't stand modern cartoons. There's something, I dunno, soulless about them.

John for the love of all the future kids PLEASE take back the industry.
I can't name one single cartoon that actually makes me want to watch it.

JohnK said...

>>Does contrast also come from mixing up the lines (Straight lines, rigid lines) and curves (s-curves, rounded curves) of the drawing as well<<

Yes, but not randomly. Learn construction first. The rest may follow.

Anonymous said...

Well, Sugarpete, you can't say Ren and Stimpy are bland or generic designs. They are very different to any other cartoon characters, and especially Stimpy's big nose is something I always found odd and fun to look at.

Interesting post. Of course I think everything is art, I mean, a skilled drawing is also art in my opinion, maybe not as exciting as THE OTHER art, but still. Anyway I kind of agree with John. Can't understand how do you find Tom and Jerry boring to look at, though. Yeah, I guess some of the later shorts are generic. But The Zoot Cat, Quiet Please, Solid Serenade, Flirty Birdy? Those have as much as energy as Tex Avery! I don't know, in those cartoons I really don't notice they are generic...in fact, there are some off model poses and lots of fun.

Now that we talk about proportion I have always have this doubt. Some of the early Ren and Stimpy cartoons, especially Big House Blues had some problems with proportions. In the very last scene I remember Ren seemed awkwardly tiny...I always thought it was intentional, as if you were looking for a radical, underground, crazy look, but now I can see it was probably a mistake, cause you seem to be interested in good construction and proportion.

Personally I didn't mind those problems with size too much. I prefer problems in size to generic looking poses. In fact there were sometimes some problems with size in classic cartoons, but the character posing was great. In modern cartoons they normally have the relative size of the characters perfect to each other, but the poses are very boring.

The reason why I bringing all this is that I guess I have problems with sizes too. I can do a tiny character like Jerry for example, especially if I don't draw him solo. When I start adding all the elements it somehow gets bigger. I don't mind too much cause , in my mind, it's more important that the character looks great, but average people would find weird that I drew such a giant mouse, you know. Is there some way I could fix that?

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of Ward Kimball, but I have never understood the fascination people have with Toot Whistle Plunk Boom. It's an expertly crafted piece of work and I appreciate it's place in animation's history, but I don't think it has the same appeal to most people that a lot of the work that John holds up here as the good examples.

Like everyone else, I learn something new with every post here. I love the whole distinction that was made in this post between art and craft. Most people don't even acknowledge that the two are completely different.

JohnK said...

I think I will do a post about Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom vs humanity.

Anonymous said...

I agree, today there is very low skill in our culture. Thanks, John K. for saying that! I’ve been a commercial artist for over 25 years – worked at many jobs and companies. I know how good I’m not but have done O.K. Most of the kids today have no skill. (I’m talking about drawing) I think today it’s too easy to want to become an artist. Oh, mommy and daddy will put me through art school. No one’s ever told a lot of the kids I’ve worked with that they don’t have much talent. I’ve gotten a lot of looks when I look at crap and tell them what I really think. But hey, they’re supposed to be professionals – they’re getting paid. The art schools certainly won’t tell the truth – they want the tuition. Maybe it looks like superhumans did the old cartoons because they were the ones that were supposed to become artists, not anyone that thinks they have talent.

Then there’s today's music…

Thanks John K. lovin your blog!

Jorge Garrido said...

I'm going to proceed cautiously with this lesson. I don't wanna get ahead of myself.

John, this is off-topic, but did Ed draw these early Yogi concepts?

http://www.vegalleries.com/old_site/hbopc.html#yogi

>I hate to say it, but it's the same with the majority Spumco designs. Fantastic acting and posing...but as a design...pretty bland in proportion and design. Great cartoons should be a mix of both strong design and great posing.

You think Spumco uses bland designs? There are tons of contrasts and appealing forms:

Size contrast with Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy is big, Ren is small.

Ren has a large head, and, when needed, large hands and feet that contrast his tiny body. Big heads and big eyes make him have appeal because he looks like a cute baby.

Ren's eyes are completely organic, sometimes set close together overlapping, sometimes apart. Now within those eyes there are contrasts, too. Sometimes they come to a point, but never in a symmetrical way. They're different on top and on the bottom and the change is never rihgt in the middle. His pupils and irises are never the same shape but are still related to the size and shape of the large form they are in, (the eyeball) and can also be changed as needed.

His lips hang down limply into an angle which contrast the round forms of his head and ears.

Ren's proportions are closer to that of a baby, while Stimpy's are of a human head crossed with a frankfurter. While Ren's eyes are farther down and he has a higher forehead, Stimpy's are higher up and smaller, more like an adult. Stimpy's eyes also change shape as needed, but not as much as Ren's. His mouth is basically his entire body so there is always room to put angles, epecially in his jowls, like Yogi Bear. Stimpy's eyes are never the same shape.

Stimpy's entire form is full of fat rounded shapes, but there is also stylization in his hands, with their lack of palms and angles inside the fingers. Angles on his cat ears (obviously)and wehre his brows meet on the top of his head, which contrast his overall rounded cartoony facial features. The hairs on Stimpy's head are all different lenth but they increase in length at a natural rate. They're not equally or mathemtically longer than the preceding hair. Those ball lip things under his nose always point in opposing directions.

There are also tons of variable in their designs because John hates it when people adhere religiously to model sheets. Skilled variety=appeal.

Sometimes Ren's face is very realisitic, like a human's. Sometime he looks like a bug, with those soft lips and eyes that point in opposite directions in a dead stare.

Sometimes Ren has age spots. Sometimes his hair looks like pubes, sometimes it looks like a buzz cut.

Sometimes Ren has a tail! Sometimes he has a man body and more contruction in his chest and "reeb"cage.

Sometimes Stimpy has holes in his nose, which I actually dislike.

Plus, Stimpy's entire design is inherently appealing, way more so than Ren. It was easy for Games to make Ren ugly, they had a tougher time doing that to Stimpy so they had to make him really flat, yet those Games episodes were still better than anything being produced at the time, in part to the appealing character designs that were latent in the Games artist's drawings. If you don't belive me go watch "My Shiny Friend" the best pure Games episode.

Yeah, I've been watching alot of Ren & Stimpy lately. What of it?

Besides, sugarpete, this post was about BGs.

Anonymous said...

In my previous post, last paragraph I should have said "I CAN'T do a tiny character like Jerry"...silly post, but I wanted to make it clear if somebody really cares about my extra-long commentaries XD. I'd try to be make them shorter in the future.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you regarding the 1950s Tom and Jerry's, especially near the end of their run, but there's definetly nothing conservative or generic happening when Irv Spence animates those characters.

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

I recently posted saying that a comment you made on contrasts was sort of an epiphany for me, but I definitely overspoke, because these recent posts on the topic have been infinitely more helpful. Looking at the model sheets you posted a couple days ago, I could clearly see that the Disney and Blair sheets had the best construction and most appealing figures, but now I see that the appeal was largely due to the conservative designs (which, as you point out, isn't necessarily bad!). And before, I had almost no idea what made a design conservative in and of itself, but when you pointed out the incredible consistency within the later Donald Duck, it suddenly made perfect sense. Thank you thank you thank you.

p.s. I started drawing some real-life girls (from photos) today to start to try to better understand human construction and variability. If you or anybody else would check it out and offer any advice, I'd appreciate it.

JohnK said...

Irv Spence is much blander in the Tom and Jerrys than he is in Tex Avery's cartoons.

He is severely handicapped by the design and the generic material.

Anonymous said...

As a cartoonist, you would enjoy

http://genevievecartoons.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

wow.. thanks again john k for a great lesson.

Pat Lewis said...

That Disney pig may be bland and boring, but at least they drew him with a buttcrack! Another mind-blowing post as always. Thanks, John!

Anonymous said...

Who said angles make a design? I just said Ward Kimballs stuff was great. There are lots of straights vs curves in there.

Jorge Garrido....sure Ren and Stimpy's silouettes are different, but if you place them next to each other, they are practically the same size. When you have two main characters starring in a show, you make sure they are contrasted as much as possible. Stimpy could have been much bigger. Similar to Junior Bear and his Dad....or George Liquor and Jimmy.

My other point was that they are fairly boring in their design. Nothing unique that wasn't done already with their WB ancestors. John took the cartoons of his heroes and recreated them with his own sense of humor. That was what was unique about the show.

Nothing groundbreaking visually, he just reminded us of how great Chuck and Bob Clampetts cartoons were during an era of super horrible 80s cartoons.

JohnK said...

>>My other point was that they are fairly boring in their design. Nothing unique that wasn't done already with their WB ancestors.<<

This is so crazy I can hardly believe it.

Ren and Stimpy are completely different designs and even made of different construction theories.

There were Disney animators who couldn't draw them because they were so different than what had been done before.

George Liquor is a whole pile of new design theories too.

If you can draw Tom, you can then easily draw Jerry and every other character in the series. With many of my characters you have to learn each one from scratch, because they don't follow a formula.

Ask the artists who struggle trying to draw them.

Anonymous said...

>>Today's art and culture has such low skill standards that almost anyone can become famous in arts and entertainment. Could 50 Cent make it in an era that produced Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Williams, Count Basie and scores of towering entertainers?

I totally agree, I'm pretty sure everyone who loves arts does. The problem today is that greed blocks progress, the industry sees growth in financial terms.
Art becomes detached from the art industry: If a bad product keeps making money, and the public accepts it, why make a good product?

JohnK said...

>>The problem today is that greed blocks progress, the industry sees growth in financial terms. <<

Quite the opposite is the problem. I keep saying this: We need more greed, not less.

If corporations let creative people be creative there would be a lot more money to be made.

Ren and Stimpy made a billion dollars and put Nickelodeon on the map and built their studio for them.

Shawn said...

Sometimes conservative drawings are necessary, depending on the story. If Alice went to Wonderland looking like a Katie Rice character, then she would look as wacky as the Wonderland characters. Then there would be no contrast.

Anonymous said...

These last few posts are great! Drawing keeps getting more and more exciting with all this information. So much knowledge to be had! Between drawing model sheets I keep playing with Eddie's head shape. Eddie is fun!!!

Anonymous said...

That would be cool.

Anonymous said...

Oh ya-

Katie is so talented! Inspirational for us girls.

Haha- 50 Cent versus Hank Williams. Ha!

What about James Cagney versus Tom Cruise? They're both short, but there's quite a big difference in talent.

JohnK said...

>>Sometimes conservative drawings are necessary, depending on the story. If Alice went to Wonderland looking like a Katie Rice character, then she would look as wacky as the Wonderland characters.<<

Alice could be specific without being wacky as Judy Garland is in The Wizard Of Oz.

The "wacky" stuff in Alice is not very wacky anyway. It's generic wacky.

Adam B said...

Im working at a studio were we have to do twinning on purpose.Each side of a character is a mirror image or the other side.

Anonymous said...

Bland and unskilled.....egads'

Anonymous said...

Hey John,
another xcellent post. I think I will need a long time to achieve every aspect of your theory, won't stop learning from you guys!

See you next time!

Anonymous said...

Man, I loved Tex Avery's cartoons.

On the subject of style and craft in 3d that someone brought up earlier with the Incredibles, one of the things thats always been messed up about 3d animation is that its near impossible to do a stylized character without them looking...well....frightening.
With 2d, you allow the audience's brain to realize that things have depth, even though technically, its still a flat drawing on paper/cel/canvas/banana.

With 3d, depth is an actual physical element. And when characters in 2d that have great 2d design are brought in 3d, it often looks hideous. Bob Parr was 3d, and stylized just enough to look human, yet cartoony. Had they made his style any more extreme, he'd have been a deranged monstrosity to look at.

Take for example the Ren and Stimpy toys that used to be everywhere. Ren is one of those characters who looks bad in 3d. The toys barely looked like the chap.
Same goes with toys made of other characters with good 2d design. Every time someone makes a toy of...oh for example...Dexter's Lab, it looks so fucked up and incorrect. Heck, take an old Yogi or Fred Flinstone toy and compare it to the drawings.

And thats one of the problems with 3d. You can only make something nicely stylized to a point until it ends up not even looking like what its supposed to represent.

Like Stimpy. In all honesty, he looks nothing like a real cat. But he's a cartoon, he's not constrained by the physical limitations of our world. But we see him as a cat. And know he's a cat. Styalized by John's gnarly drawing skills, anyone can tell he's a cat. Even if they'd never seen him before. You can show it to someone who's never seen a cartoon and they'd say "thats a funny drawing of a cat."

But lets think if someone had never ever seen Stimpy, and then saw him in 3d animation.
They'd have no idea what he'd be! He's just not a character for 3d. He looks awesome as 2d, and 2d he should stay.
But with 3d, you stylize, and it looks, well, like disturbing mutants.
I think the most stylized 3d characters (without looking like horrid blobs) would be the people in Baginski's "Fallen Art"
And thats probably the limit on how far one can stylize 3d before it starts to look icky and ugly and wrong to the eyes.

Thats whats always been great about 2d animation. Anything literally can happen, and your mind can accept it fine and smile at the joy it brings.

Anonymous said...

There are posters who seem to be confusing modern music with the shit we hear on the radio and see on x-factor. There are exceptional musicians and artists scraping a living, you just have to find them rather than relying on what you're fed. That's how most of us probably found this blog, by following our interests and seeking an alternative voice to the common crud.

Of course this is not ideal. The greats should be getting the air time, and they would be if people weren't so lazy with their interests and actually put some effort into seeking quality for themselves, outside the cave. Likewise I suppose with all art forms. Though perhaps in animation the quality is currently even harder to find.

The problem is shit floats. If we stopped ranting about 50 cent he'd get a little less publicity. Magazines waste too much space advertising mediocrity. Why do I know who Paris Hilton is? Not because I've ever seen her "work", but because I've seen her papparazi mug shots everywhere and heard too many people ranting about how she shouldn't be famous. The debate and the slander is what made her. We could instead be talking about those few who deserve it and who are still alive and working.

Like Mr K.

Anonymous said...

sugarpete: You are beyond reasoning, which is a real pickle seeing as how you can't SEE for yourself that you're argument is already wrong. Left-brained analysis aside, any artistically inclined personality can just percieve that R&S were clearly a tour de force in animation.

toonamir: You have a valid point. As long as the money rolls in, the execs don't give a rat's ass about the quality of the cartoon. They might the be kind of folks who, ahem, think R&S has been done a million times before. But the general public isn't that impaired. The paradox lies in that fact that good "money making" animation requires higher costs (if I'm not mistaken), so it's not even green-lighted. Higher risk, but higher return. Disney almost went bankrupt because of this philosophy. He never wanted to compromise his product, so he did at times have to cut a few subtle corners, but the demand for his work eventually grew and paid off.

Oh, and btw John. Here's just one of several blogs belonging to a really talented Pixar artist. It illustrates what I was trying to say about what's lost in translation.

http://n8wragg.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

in response to the scmhuck who called Ren & Stimpy's designs bland:

I dare you or anyone* to find any other character before or since with Stimpy's fat-neckless-sausage-bean shaped body that doesn't look like an egg on stilts.

I'm also going to eliminate some neckless characters that might be confused for the same design. There's the Tasmanian Devil character which doesn't count because he has shoulders and technically a very stubby neck. His jaw just happens to go down to his abdomen. The other are those UPA-style big-nose-profile characters from pink Panther and such. It's arguably that some of them were neckless, but they usually had stiff egg-like bodes that looked like they were on stilts.


*This includes you john because you probably have the widest knowledge of other designs AND you know your own influences.

Anonymous said...

great post. thanks. i have a wierd comic online at www.dogboyfilms.co.uk/jonescomix
have a little peep-

anthony

Anonymous said...

Alice as a Katie Rice character just blew my mind.

Too much whackiness does have its drawbacks. I thought the characters in the "Tenacious D" cartoon moved like blobs of mercury on amphetamines: giving me sensory overload, and not letting me savour them, unlike the characters in "Coal Black," or Fleisher surrealism.

The British artist John Searle did these fantastic, horrifying political caricatures, but he shot his wad too early. Once you've made the Second Minister for Whatever look ten times worse than Chthulu, you're at a loss when drawing a truly monstrous subject.

It all devolves into goggly eyeballs and hypodermics for teeth: not really shocking anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

Mr. Tom Smo pointed out to me a few posts back that you're planning on starting a new company. It just put together a portfolio to apply to ConceptArt.org Atelier, so it's up if you're into taking a look:

www.peterlazarski.com/apply

I haven't studied your lessons yet but I'd be grateful for a baseline critique if you're willing. My email is listed on the page. Big images too, so mind the load times.

Thanks again sir!

Anonymous said...

Gotta say, though, before I sound like a raving conservative, that the "Stimpy's Pregnancy" cartoon, at least what I saw of it on this site, was a masterpiece.

Shocking, sure, but I've never seen such psychological depth in cartoon characters. You push the envelope, and it doesn't always work for me, but that's part of the price of being ahead of the pack.

Anonymous said...

Hey John, no worries!

I can't remember what I said specifically, but I'm pretty sure it was along the lines of: thanks for all these great "learning" posts. they've really been a great foothold, and my friends and i have run with them for studying timing and design and things of that nature.

when i get my new apartment next month i'm going to get a bunch of the NYC animator crew together a couple times a week to draw and animate from old model sheets and cartoons and things like that, to re-learn what working in tv is making us all forget!

thanks for the inspiration!!!

Anonymous said...

I am really digging these posts! It's almost too much to absorb at once. But I am filing them away, for when my skill improves enough to apply them properly.

As a side note, I found this link that might be helpful if you decide to turn all of this knowledge from your Blog into a Book

akira said...

A simailarly aged Frank Sinatra would kick 50 cent's ass, with our without weapons. Add the rest of the Rat Pack to the brawl and they'd easily take out eminem and all of those guys. Also, Ella could kick the shit out of Beyonce. I'm not sure about Hank Williams though, but maybe after he got his ass kicked he'd become an even better songwriter/ performer.

akira said...

to jack ruttan:
you really should see the whole "Stimpy's Pregnant" cartoon! and in glorious DVD quality! buy rent or steal the Ren and Stimpy Lost episodes DVD. I think "Stimpy's Pregnant" is the best R&S ever, but Altruists and Naked Beach Frenzy are really high up there, too... and even the lesser of the lost episodes contain some of the best scenes ever animated(like Stimpy smoking in firedogs 2). anyways, it's definitely worth the price of admission!

The Butcher said...

Does 50 cent even count? He's no more a musician than I am a space cop.

Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant post. Thank you!!

Seth

I don't really care said...

Forgetting for the moment that there was no context in which he could have existed, 50 cent could've made it in the 1940's for the same reason Barney the purple dinosaur could have made it. They both do the same thing. I'm not trying to dis 50. I'm being serious. They both show people how to behave. Neither of them are virtuosi, they are educational television.

50 makes party music for thugs. That takes care of about 10% of his audience, who are enough like him already that nothing needs to be explained to them about why they like it. The other 90% are trying to learn something about how to sound, behave, or project themselves.

Instead of asking if 50 cent is valid, we should instead be asking why it is so hard for modern virtuosi to get the attention they are due, or to exist in the first place.

Anonymous said...

"Instead of asking if 50 cent is valid, we should instead be asking why it is so hard for modern virtuosi to get the attention they are due, or to exist in the first place."

Good point, I think that the talent and skill is out there... It just doesnt sell. 50 cent, Barney and the Teletubbies sell. Marketing executives only care about one thing... Getting rich. Not art.

Anonymous said...

Mouldey is correct-and-a-half about today's music scene.

Pandora is a good tool for finding those fabled "good musicians". They are out there, you just have to look.

Anonymous said...

They need to release a Tex Avery box set if they haven't already ( not to mention all of the ripping friends episodes) on DVD, Instead of shelling out mind numbing garbage all over the TV screen.

Luca Tieri said...

So true John!
But, it's so hard make understand cartoons'way is more funny to the bosses industries? Damn the differences are so clear! Good and beauty things bring money too!
What monotone vision have they.
Poor us and poor new generation!

wizardjenkins said...

You talk about many of these designs as being bland, but what about the tone and subject matter of the film? You held up some drawings of Annie from The Iron Giant as an example, but the Iron Giant is a fairly serious film that takes place in "real-world" 1957. I'm curious as to how you think she ought to have been designed and animated to make her more appealing, yet still be believable in a serious drama. The kinds of character design and animation you do is fine for the tone of the films *you* choose. I especially enjoy how you time your animation, because it's so good. Almost no cartoons seem to pay any attention to timing anymore. Yet, the characters that you draw seem to emotionally fall into one of two camps: psychotic, or retarded. It seems like they're usually in the extreme throes of stupidity, lust, or neruosis. The female characters often look so brainless. I'd like to see you tackle characters and subject matter that is outside your ususal realm. Is something so serious/important that it can't/shouldn't be made "wacky"-- for lack of a more descriptive word?

wizardjenkins said...

You talk about many of these designs as being bland, but what about the tone and subject matter of the film? You held up some drawings of Annie from The Iron Giant as an example, but the Iron Giant is a fairly serious film that takes place in "real-world" 1957. I'm curious as to how you think she ought to have been designed and animated to make her more appealing, yet still be believable in a serious drama. The kinds of character design and animation you do is fine for the tone of the films *you* choose. I especially enjoy how you time your animation, because it's so good. Almost no cartoons seem to pay any attention to timing anymore. Yet, the characters that you draw seem to emotionally fall into one of two camps: psychotic, or retarded. It seems like they're usually in the extreme throes of stupidity, lust, or neruosis. The female characters often look so brainless. I'd like to see you tackle characters and subject matter that is outside your ususal realm. Is something so serious/important that it can't/shouldn't be made "wacky"-- for lack of a more descriptive word?

wizardjenkins said...

You talk about many of these designs as being bland, but what about the tone and subject matter of the film? You held up some drawings of Annie from The Iron Giant as an example, but the Iron Giant is a fairly serious film that takes place in "real-world" 1957. I'm curious as to how you think she ought to have been designed and animated to make her more appealing, yet still be believable in a serious drama. The kinds of character design and animation you do is fine for the tone of the films *you* choose. I especially enjoy how you time your animation, because it's so good. Almost no cartoons seem to pay any attention to timing anymore. Yet, the characters that you draw seem to emotionally fall into one of two camps: psychotic, or retarded. It seems like they're usually in the extreme throes of stupidity, lust, or neruosis. The female characters often look so brainless. I'd like to see you tackle characters and subject matter that is outside your ususal realm. Is some subject matter so serious/important that it can't/shouldn't be made "wacky"-- for lack of a more descriptive word?

Anonymous said...

So basically, contrasts are a tool for use by those who have mastered other more foundation skills of drawing. Contrasts help to add interest, make both complimentary and contrasting images stand out against one another, and if done in the right hands it can unify an entire work. Without a contrast, black wouldn't never seem so dark, and white could never be as bright. Contrast help to bring out the best. Sooo, how am I doing so far?

Anonymous said...

Check out Bill Nolan's animation in Lantz' OSWALD series - such cartoons as THE FOWL BALL (1930) - for some wonderfully wild cartoony contrasts, in the simple yet surreal black and white universe of the early sound era.

Luca Tieri said...

>>The "wacky" stuff in Alice is not very wacky anyway. It's generic wacky.<<

Totally agree. Plus, original Mary Blair stuff was mooore wacky. It's a pity they missed it.