Saturday, July 21, 2007

Howdy Doody and Sonny The Bunny by Art Seiden

Art Seiden -Man artist invades Kid's World

When I was a kid, I wasn't crazy about Art Seiden. He fit into the "Serious artists who occasionally try to draw cartoons" category. I hated all things serious!

C'mon kids! Let's take the MAN Train to REALISTIC-VILLE!


Like you know when your parents would buy you coloring books that didn't have cartoon characters in them? "Jack and Jill playtime at the Beach"...realistic drawings of kids doing boring things. Outrage!

Well I thought of certain artists as being from that group, and now and then they would infiltrate happy-cartoon-world and try to trick us. But I was never fooled. I know real cartoons when I see them!
Art Seiden did the weirdest damn Hanna Barbera Golden Books you ever saw! You wanna know a dead giveaway of how to spot a realistic artist masquerading as a cartoonist?

They draw the heads too small. Tiny head cartoons made me furious as a fun loving youngster. I remember when Filmation started and everything they did was from small head world.
Small heads with half drawn flesh colored eyes!
Hanna Barbera started copying the Filmation small head flesh-eyes hate-kids cartoons with Scooby Doo in 1969 and that was the end of the world for me. I'll never forgive Filmation for ending fun in cartoons.

I've since forgiven Art Seiden though for intruding into the cartoon world with his tiny heads. He has a lot of nice painting techniques and color combinations that we could absorb into the world of real cartoons.

I've come to accept Art Seiden now and it's a huge load off my soul.

How Art Seiden actually draws when not forced to draw cartoons.



AND OTHER HORRIBLE SMALL HEAD BORING PEOPLE WHO TEACH YOU MORALSUnderwear-God says: "Who's responsible for tiny flesh colored eyes?"

Thanks to Kali for inspiring this post!


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I was a victim of the colouring books 'made by Grinches', but it was more in the vain of those crappy late 80’s/ early 90's cartoons, than of Old Abe making a bungalow for himself. You know the ones that your comrade Eddy had worked on. However, I do remember of a Mighty Mouse colouring book that I got at Red Robin when I was 5, but regrettably, I left the book when my family had to leave.

Oh, and I have a couple of questions John.

- I remember reading this book about the history of Canadian animation, and it had a rather nice chapter dedicated to you. In one such passage, your first character you ever created was Jarzan. Did you still kept these drawings of this character?

-Is it true that the first (and last) time you had worn a tux was at the age of 8 or 10? Why is that?

- Could you please tell us some more stories about you days at Hanna/ Barbara, or even your experience with your idol, Bob Clampett?

John said...

Seriously I think your totally right John I may not have been around then but from what I can tell the last of the good cartoons(which still did'nt compare to earlier cartoons!) came right around the Scooby doo era.I could tell that even when I was 5!

Chloe Cumming said...

hee hee

I'm such a square. I draw small heads and secretly yearn to be in your cool cute cartoonists gang... but I am a hopelessly serious smallheaded flesh eyed jesus colouring book oddball.

I love those bears behind bars! I'm feeling their mild awkwardness.

mike said...


Classic. So true. You put into words what I truly think is the case. I too hated the realistic don't-give-a-damn-about-the-kids cartoons. Who were they trying to fool? Damn.

Awesome. I've been subscribing to your RSS feed for a while. Really really enjoy it a lot. Thanks ;)

Jim Rockford said...

I think most kids would rather eat a platefull of raw brussel sprouts than color that mind numbing crap!
Who thinks up such boring (and odd) subjects for coloring books? It must be Grinches...or maybe Mean Morgan! fun hating adults whose souls were crushed long ago.
An Abraham Lincoln colroing book?!
Gee mom,you shouldnt have!

pumml said...

Thanks for posting these. Looks like I have more children's books to buy!

Anthony said...

If Suzy had just eaten her cauliflower, she could have had the "How Jesus Died" coloring book.

and yes, I remember way back, instantly hating those stoopid flesh colored eyes.

JohnH said...


Oh, awesome!

Anonymous said...

(-gag reflex-) spinach cookies??

PCUnfunny said...

I think the people who drew the Jesus coloring book should be charged with child abuse.

el_lang said...

I wish I could show you at least one of the colouring books available on the news stands in Buenos Aires,you just need to imagine deformed unlicensed versions of disney and universal movies like shrek and so,I remember I had one of the pink panther when I was a kid.

SlashHalen said...

I did have a few coloring books growing up, but not many. And most of them were the schools and not really my own.

But all I remember about them was that I didn't really care what they looked like. I didn't seem to care if they suck back then, as long as had got to color in them...... I was a stupid kid.

And yea, I did have this weird hate for Scooby Doo. I don't know, mabey it's because they would play his cartoons so damn much, and they looked like hell.

NathanS said...

Well they may not be to your personnel liking and rather narrow definition of cartooning. (for those who don't know cartoons (or cartone in the original Italian) started out as full-size study drawings used to help prepare for the finished painting.)

But the design and talent put into the character design in the likes of The Super Friends,and other cartoons that had the hand of the great master Alex Toth in them.

Though often let down by the less talented animators that worked on the cartoons the power of Toth's great designs, and yes cartooing still shined through.

Sean Worsham said...

I saw cartoonists draw really tiny heads before, but exaggerates other parts of the body like the arms n' stuff for humorous effect. Does this necessarily make them realistic artists that are masquerading as cartoonists? I can understand the filmation animations and later hanna-barbara action shows, but not something as say that circus flea, "Mighty Angelo" from the Chuck Jones short, "To Itch His Own" (where the tiny head was used for humorous effect).

Don't forget, Segar's Popeye had a small head too as well as the other characters such as Wimpy, Bluto and Olive Oyle (heck all of them did):

But yeah whoever did those Jesus coloring books probably were tortured in the process. I don't care whether you drew realistcally or were a cartoonist, that is the kind of art which would drive anyone mad. That and at least Seidan's pieces patterns and color were good and interesting despite being weird. Good stuff John, but in my humble opinion if it is interesting to watch then it's not a total loss.

el_lang said...

about your comments for Art Seiden`s work , was he really "forced" to draw cartoons(he was under an stric contract,just an employee )... ...or did he... just liked cartoons,or some kind of "art for kids", and so he got into it? .
I would not dare to draw something that goes against my artistic principles,and I dont have any much complex principles but... ...those are the kind of things that confirm my desition of living painting pictures and being a poor third world guy who barely speaks english and not to try to find a paid job as artist(I know is clear that is uncanny that someone would buy me a picture ),
and of course I draw and paint tiny heads ...

Android said...

Yes! As a kid I *hated* the half-drawn eyes with a passion. I could just about bear a more "realistic" style, but when they never even finished the faces... bah. Pug ugly people. Who wants ugly cartoon characters?

limaCAT said...

Thankyou for pointing me out that flesh-coloured eye. Dear God, it's awful! And it always escaped me...

Well... I used to have that style when I did not know how to draw :)

I.D.R.C. said...

Yogi is about to drop a dookie for the ranger.

Joanthony said...

well then i guess small heads r something u can get mad at. But what i really hate is the tiny eyes cartoons are suppose to be entertaining to the audience and whats a cartoon without bulgy eyes lol

JohnK said...

>about your comments for Art Seiden`s work , was he really "forced" to draw cartoons(he was under an stric contract,just an employee )...<<

No, I'm sure he wasn't forced. But he had to eat, right? He's not gonna turn down a cartoony job on principle is he?

I mean I drew lots of shows I wasn't suited for just to pay the bills.It didn't make me happy.

Hey Sean,

You got me there on Popeye. 5 heads tall or so. There sure isn't anything else realistic about those characters though!

But I'll bet if a serious artist drew him, it would end up uncartoony-like those 70s Hanna Barbera cartoons!

JohnK said...

But the design and talent put into the character design in the likes of The Super Friends,and other cartoons that had the hand of the great master Alex Toth in them.<<

Toth is a decent comic artist and that's where he should have stayed.

The greatest animators in the world couldn't do anything good with designs like those. (some did work on Super Friends and it still looked terrible)

They don't work for animation and would cost way too much to make them even remotely smooth.

The Fleischer Superman cartoons broke the Fleischers because of the cost and that's about the best I've ever seen superheroes animated.

Popeye is way more entertaining because it's more suited to animation.

Ardy said...

That Jesus Coloring book reminds me... I found an cartooning book in the vein of Preston Blair called "The Big Book of Cartooning in Christian Perspective." I'll upload some images from it if anyones interested. It teaches you how to draw dinosaurs and then suggests that they were killed off during Noah's flood.

lastangelman said...

Gee Whiz , I wish I had all my small head coloring books. To make up for the lousy drawings, I'd use water colors, only black, brown, green and gold crayons, glue leaves and cut up bits of magazines, paint way outside borders, do the backgrounds, try to make it interesting or strange. I remember getting yelled at by the substitute teacher in class for not following the assignment to just color in the pictures, then the teacher got yelled at by the vice principal for stifling creativity. "We're not here to encourage busy work, we're here to encourage their minds, you numbskull!" The shouting match in the hall was loud, I remember, then everybody was allowed to color in their coloring books any way they liked in class. WE didn't see the substitute teacher again, but I've seen so many people like her since.

Jeff Read said...

The Jesus coloring book is what Little Suzy got for being good.

Bad little children who don't eat their vegetables go to hell. In hell there are no coloring books. Or cartoons.

It gets worse: Check out what little Suzy is getting for Christmas this year contingent, of course, upon her behavior remaining upstat through December.

Arschblog said...

I was not a big fan of coloring books and I got lots of them when I was a kid. I never color the drawings in it , but I like to draw my own pictures on the empty pages(I did the same with other books I had).

Someone told me; if you want that a child get more creativity in making artwork, it's better to give him blank paper.

Tom said...

Where does the seminal comic art of Jack T. Chick fit into all of this? And those anti-Catholic Archie comics of yesteryear?

Carlos said...

Great post. I have to think that this homogenized walking corpse style of "cartoon" is only going to increase as Laurel and Hardy and Three Stooges shorts and old Bugs Bunny cartoons are relegated to late night TV on cable channels. There was a time before cable, when EVERYONE growing up had these common touchstones as local TV stations ran all this great stuff in the mornings and the afternoons. Who here over 30 does'nt remember watching Little Rascals every day after school? Now all the things that fire your imagination have been relegated to the doghouse of TV. What kid today has any hope of seeing a Bob Clampett cartoon....ever?

Jarek said...

Hey John,
Was the "Wonderful World Of Ducks" Golden Book illustrated by Mel Crawford as well? So much character, and so funny.

Chris E. said...

I find it funny that you mention small heads being a bad thing for cartoons. People tell me that I draw heads too big. I would like an honest opinion on it if it's no trouble for you.

Thanks again for another insightful topic.

Jim Rockford said...

"Bad little children who don't eat their vegetables go to hell. In hell there are no coloring books. Or cartoons"

I think in hell they show 70's and 80's saturday morning cartoons 24 hrs a day and all they have are Abraham lincoln and Jesus coloring books and 4 crayon nubs,all primary colors....and no sharpener!

JohnK said...

Hi Chris

yeah, cartoonists always draw the heads too big in life drawing class. We have to force ourselves to measure proportions.

Cartoonist's eyes naturally edit what they are looking at into the most interesting parts.

I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. It just is.

Teachers told me I drew the heads and eyes, hands and feet too big. They were right!

Chris E. said...

Thanks, John. That makes a lot of sense. I guess I draw cartoon heads sort of big because a characters face is what I want to draw the attention to. I also like the exaggerate the designs in hopes that they will at least look fun to those who look at them. I'm hoping that I am accomplishing that.

I've received critique from comic book artists who think that I'm supposed to draw with more detailed. And then you have those anime freaks who think that you're supposed to draw each individual strand of hair. I always thought that for animation, you should keep it simple.

Thanks again. I do appreciate your reply.

Pokey said...

I'm glad that among the Archie titles, I'm glad that "Katy Keene" [one of my favorites whether the Bill Woggon original or the John Lucas 1980s revival] was NEVER animated...despite visual and verbel humor,as Katy's comics regardless of which era, didn't lend themeselves IMO to animation.

[P.S. I don't think that I'm the ONLY red blodded hetero male to draw my own uh, gimmick reminder alert, fashions for Katy! or the others! BTW I can name them all, Sis, Gloria, and at least in the 80s Katy Keene, Lucki..]

Ironic, how a cartoonish series, with a series of rivalries [Veronica against Betty, Reggie vs everyone in general], wound up so realistic a la "SuperFriends", with the characters getting along. It pains me to have to BENEFIT of a froggin' doubt to "Josie" with Al;exandra's i9mportant villiany a la Veronica, and in Katy Keen's world Gloria, intact [the witchfract removal being a different topic]. All I can say is Archie was Filmation, and not so much that Josie [made by start of the shark jumping Scooby Doo period of the following studio] was made by Hanna-Barbera so much as the fact that Archie was Filmation and Josie WASN'T.

So in short, I'm glad Katy wasn't animated.

Pokey said...

John, we can't forget, as for Hanna-Barbera's 1969 downfall, "Cattanooga Cats"[ain't that DAPHNE BLAKE in a girl cat suit, even the scarf and all?] Pebbles, and IIRC Josie had the same outfit..

Austin Reed said...

Gawrsh, the penis-chinned Seelie thing is repulsive.