Saturday, January 05, 2008

Takin' a little break...and Thanks!

Hi folks,

I hope you don't mind if I take a couple days off. I kinda wore myself out on the last few posts. Looking in detail at some of that Clampett punctuation really got me thinking about some new theories and ideas. I wanna let 'em gestate while I study some more stuff.

In the meantime, I'd like to thank some of the latest contributors to the site.

Hector Martinez

Patrick Sevc ***! a modern Medici!

Lisa Riggins

Leo Brodie

Allan Turner

Chris Baranowski

Jeff LaMarche

Laura Olsen

Amir Avni (Who's gonna clobber everyone, because he does the lessons and applies them to his work)

Daniel Chambers

Maybe you guys can let me know which posts you found most useful. And if you've done any lessons, post a link in the comments.

Did I miss anyone?

Coming up:

Curley Howard's custom visual language and punctuation inventions

The marvelous color stylings of a Cal Arts grad

Jack Benny's brilliant ads

More Ken Duncan

Tex Avery's clarity

Can cartoons ever be as funny as live action?

Practice Your Principles:

By the way, you don't have to wait for me to make new lessons to further your own progress. Just take some old cartoons and still frame them and apply what you are learning while copying the poses in the cartoons. The more you do this, the more you will understand how the principles work and the more you will build up a variety of poses, acting and other skills.
All these cartoons use the same basic fundamentals. If you don't have a good freeze frame on your dvd player, or don't have many old cartoons, this blog (and others) are full of great poses for you to copy.
Start with the line of action.
Build the basic forms around the LOA. (Check the negative shapes and don't eat 'em up!)
Break the basic forms into the next smaller level of forms.
Add the details and make them flow around the forms.
Check your copy against the original.
Critique it and find mistakes.
Redraw it and correct the mistakes.
Apply what you learn to your own drawings.
Work for me.


Guilherme said...

Hi John!

Of course! Take the time you need. Its amazing the contribution you already gave to the community.

For me the posts about cartoon language are the most importants and I will tell you why.

I work with a disney animator and he is capable to identify the function of each drawing in any animation sequence ( storytelling, key, extreme, antic, breakdown, inbetween, ... ) and also knows the order for making and validating each drawing. He is also capable to control the volume, time and spacing.

Well, I am not that fan of many of disney animations, but I really admire the existence of some principles and methods to guide you.

Is it possible to go further in this topic about golden age cartoons?


Mitch K said...

Amir can already clobber everyone!

Larry Levine said...

John, Enjoy the weekend!

Looney Moon Cartoons said...

Can't wait for Curley Howard's custom visual language and punctuation inventions. Your recent posts have been very informative. Just great stuff all around!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to Curly Howard's visual language as well. My dad just got me into Jack Benny, so anything on him would be great.
But like Guilherme said, take all the time you need, you have already helped alot of us so much. Looking at your stuff for about a year has made me appreciate Warner Brothers/Hanna Barbera and old time comedians so much more now, and its transformed my work as well.
Thanks for everything!

Anonymous said...

Hi John
I scanned some more Preston Blair stuff I've done recently. It's been hard to keep up with Christmas and jobs and crap, but I'm coming along.

Take a look if you've got the time:

As for what I'm finding most helpful...I can't decide. It's all great. I love how you vary the lessons and rants and stuff so it doesn't get boring. It's not all drawing lessons in a row, or all storyboard theories in a row, it gives people time to absorb it, and keeps the learning fresh. I just wish I had the time to properly keep up...

Thanks for everything John, I'll give you some dough soon, now that I actually have it again.

Josh Heisie

Timefishblue said...

Every kind of post is useful and thought provoking (in different ways) and they fill each other in, so I don't think any specific type of post should be focused on exclusively, but I know that's not what you meant.

Thanks so much john!

chrisallison said...

It's pretty impressive how lush the animation is that you made with Ren and Stimpy with limitted resources. I'd like to hear your theories on how you approached all those shaking, shivering animations, staggers, and moving holds on takes. Shakes I do still aren't too convincing and and I just don't know what I'm missing.

I'd like to know specifics about stuff like timing, spacing, drawing placement. My DVD player sucks to frame by frame, so I can't really tell if these things are on 1's or not. Seems like in most shakes, you use 3 drawings and draw the elements on a circular path. Other than that, I got notheeng.

Obviously there aren't concrete rules that are the end all be all, but more dialog about your specific approaches would really be of benefit to us animators, so we don't have to build the house from scratch, ya know?

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million for checking on my stuff. I'm working on it whenever I have the time!

amir avni said...

Thank you John, for the wonderful instruction and inspiration

I find all your posts helpful, but I particularly love your posts about Clampett: History and analysis of his unique inventiveness.
I love the posts about what makes cartoons CARTOONY and how no other art-form can compete with that quality,
The qualities of humanity and naturalism in entertainment,
Your production art, like Yogi Bear storyboards and layouts are also great.

But don't wear yourself out, Enjoy your break!

--Oh Mitch! You're such a charmer

PCUnfunny said...

I am workin' hard John but I feel to embarassed to post alot of my crap. Anyway, enjoy your vacation old boy.

NextGen (Hector) said...

Take all the time you need John! Although it will be weird when I check the blog everyday and don't see anything new. Even when I know you're on break, I still come to the site! :)

Keep up the excellent work and when are you going to open up John K's Cartoon College? Enough with the teasing!

You fan,

Matt Greenwood said...

I think the best ideas that you've covered have been about what cartoons can do that other mediums can't, and also covering what live action can do that cartoons can't. I think that's a really important theory to cover because it puts things in perspective and breaks down why cartoons exist in the first place because it seems like a lot of people lose sight of that - even people who draw cartoony, wacky drawings.

Telling us what cartoons can't do as a medium or can't do as well as live action really makes you realise what you have to exaggerate in animation to make up for what you can't express as effectively in animation.

The posts about humanity and sincerity also make you notice things in cartoons and basically any movie, stand up routine, cartoon, anything. It's a clear and interesting way of putting things and makes you see storytelling more logically.

And of course breaking down the principals of animation thoroughly I'm sure has helped just about everyone that visits in some way.

Those terms are thrown around a lot but not related to people in such an understandable and logical way. You notice yourself subconsciously taking these things in when you go to draw a background or character or notice things in cartoons you didn't before.

So I guess those are the things I've enjoyed the most and found most useful.

Kelly Toon said...

John, what I would really like to see from you, if you haven't already explained with examples, is a post on caricaturing. How you do it, what you look for in a face, tips and tricks to push and distort in a way that is fun and stylized but still true to life . . .

if you or anyone else can point me to past posts on this subject I would be much obliged.

I often do copy the stills posted here and elsewhere . . . just gotta scan and upload them to my blog!

LÜKEjaywalker said...

kelly toon, John did a lot of posts about caricaturing the first few months of this blog. Just use the sidebar with links to previous months.

The main thrust of what he said was, don't try to caricature in the style of other people; try to express how you FEEL about the person (or thing) you're caricaturing. Make sure that comes through.

Other than that it was basically: draw the face a few times to get a good likeness, then start expressing how you feel about the person into subsequent pictures.

LÜKEjaywalker said...

I love the breakdowns of your likes and dislikes, John.

Just post where your mind is at any given moment and I'm sure to enjoy the reading!

Timefishblue said...

I've been thinking a lot recently about what you would have to say about Edward Lear. Is he actually important at all, or have I just not seen enough similar and better stuff from that time? He seems like a guy who knows his principles and is really good at design/caricature.

Mitch Leeuwe said...

Thanks for all the informations and lessons you give!

I will see forward for you're future posts.
I like all the lessons about drawing, construction and clean up. (that's because that are the things I now am struggeling with and learning) It really encourages me to keep practicing the hard stuf!

I will try to post more practice on my blog. And will try to improve my English, hehe.

patchwork said...

I looked up Medici. Haha, shucks! Yeah, kick your feet up and enjoy the weekend. Gives us a chance to read the stacks of other great posts on here.

chrisallison said...

oh yeah, eye theories!

boootooons ltd. said...

take a break, john! we'll all be happy to see these theories you're trying out.

- trevor.

Hector G.M. said...

Hi John,

I've visited your site since the beggining and this is my first time commenting.

I would say that the recent posts where you analyze cartoons like Tale of two kitties, with sample movie clips, and all that have been tremendously helpful.
I am amazed how much more you can get out of these cartoons when taking a closer look at them and analyzing them.
Thank you!

-Hector Martinez

boootooons ltd. said...

you know, if you could have kali film you again ( like you did for the HECKLING HARE lesson ) and show us the finer points of inking and line work, that would be invaluable.

i DAMN sure know i could use some help in that department.

- trevor.

mindwrecker said...

A break-! Yeah, no kidding! Honestly, after following this page for over a year, I don't know HOW you find time to put up as MUCH as you do, with as much detailed WRITING as you do. --Don't you ever sleep?? Probably not much, I suppose, I've already known a coupla genius-types who only caught a few winks now and then and went like mad the rest of the time- with me trying to keep up.
This page is a continual inspiration; I wish I had the time to submit drawings and work out neat problems with the rest of the gang, but I like to sleep and do other work now and then.
Those other late boomers like us who've grown up wanting more study and serious thought about these "trashy" forms of media have waited a long time to see the attention that you and others give to these topics; AND you make it fun as well. Before, what did we have--? Leonard Maltin. Well, god love him, I'm glad that you devote so much time to promoting old-timey wonderful "kid" stuff and art. Bless ya.