Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Cereal Character Displays by Mel Crawford

at least I think they are by Mel.
Here're the same characters done in a quicker style by Mel:

My BG painters have to from time to time paint characters in a cartoony rendered style. This isn't so easy. It seems like you have to have a knack for it. Some of my painters are great at it.

There were a lot of illustrators back in the 50s and 60s who turned character paintings into an art form.
There are lots of styles to do it in. This particular one is really charming, I think.

Note that they aren't over rendered. The shadows are not in logical places either. They are just put down artistically where the artist thinks they will help define the shapes (because there are no cartoon lines bordering the character you need to separate things somehow) and where they look good and FUN.

FUN and CLEAN are two important elements of cartoon character paintings. If you get over rendered and muddy or too realistic, it defeats the purpose.

Golden books are full of great character paintings and so are the covers of old coloring books.

I'm always on the lookout for painters who can do this sort of thing, so if you are planning to be a cartoon illustrator/painter, it would be good to copy these and glean the techniques.

You can find all kinds of cool old cartoon packaging art at this great site:


Charlie J. said...

Ive never seen Ward characters look this appealing before! Thanks!

SteveLambe said...

Mel Crawford's definitely amazing. Still alive and teaching classical painting classes out in New Jersey I hear.

Love to hear more about your character painting theories, John. Especially how you, Bill, and Scott approached them on Ren and Stimpy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Those paintings in the "Ren & Stimpy Show", were amazing.

I also watched the "Great Piggy Bank Robbery" last night. With your commentary on it.

I went back a freeze framed the scenes you suggested and watched in amazement of the poses of Daffy Duck.

And, those paintings of the Dick Twacy characters were amazing too.

Thanks, John.

David King said...

This Yogi comic cover I posted the other day has some of this kind of modelling, but it's still a litte on the flat side

Yogi's Yummy Tummy Stories

Vince M. said...

Mel Crawford is God! Or WAS God. Or... oh, God knows.

Thanks for these beautiful images, John.

Kali Fontecchio said...

One of my favorites! Thanks to you John!!!!!!!!!

Zwoltopia said...

Hey John, completely off topic,
but will you be willing to do an interview for
about your Raketu commercials?

If so, you can contact me here

Max Ward said...

Might be a dumb question, but is everything you post a good thing to copy and learn from?

mike f. said...

Wow. Mel Crawford goodness.

When are ya gonna contact him? (Maybe he already reads this blog, like Art Lozzi, and has been waiting for someone to acknowledge his cartoony work. Wouldn't that be cool?)

Don't wait too long, John - that whole great generation is slowly fading away.

S.G.A said...

I don't know if this is what your looking for But I have painted cartoons here-
And I am still learning/ experimenting.. with sponges and friskets recently.

Tedtoons said...

I do love that style of character painting, esp. in those old Golden Books, but I also have a bad association with those books. When I was a little child, my pediatrician's office was stocked with them and I remember that my mom would stick a book in my face to distract me whenever I had to get a shot. (you HAVE said that an important element of good cartooning is the Butt-Stab.)

Anonymous said...

>Don't wait too long, John - that whole great generation is slowly fading away.


It's going to be nothing but boomers!

Now, I'm depressed. At least you boomers have your parents to talk to about how things were.

I'm gonna volunteer at an old folks home.