Friday, April 25, 2008

Bobby Sox By Marty Links


Here's more proof that girl cartoonists have certain qualities in their work that are beyond us inferior boys.Tell me what you see in these drawings and I will add my notes later today.









50 comments:

ladrones ink said...

all the gestures are amazing!

Jeremy said...

I love the lanky proportions of the characters

cartoonretro said...

I've been a fan of this strip for awhile. They aren't very pretty or flashy, but she captures a subtle naturalism in the poses that most male cartoonists (who tend to idealize or sexualize) miss. There are elements to her style that remind me of Owen Fitzgerald.
S.

Matt said...

I love the way she draws legs and feet. They're fluid and exaggerated without looking noodle-y or absurd. There is a nice sense of realism there.

JonnyPlank said...

I see more subtle ways of showing strong emotion in the characters. The facial expressions and posing aren't as dramatic and extreme as, say, Calvin and Hobbes.

Although the posing isn't always interesting, the character designs are. Their outfits and hairstyles change constantly. The designs are cartoony and fun, but the way they're posed is rather conservative and human.

I like the excessive backgrounds, full of all kinds of little things. Makes it feel like it's in a little 'world" unto itself. I like thinking of a comic book panel as a little stage or terrarium

That said, I find some of the drawings very boring, and wouldn't find them interesting at all without the text. The pages with her father, in particular. The pages with the two female characters laying around on the main character's bed are probably the most interesting to look at.

Gabriele_Gabba said...

*deeeep breathe*

Characteristics i see:

Long slender bodies, large flat feet, clothing is simple and often blacked out in articles,long slender fingers, cute freckles, inking has contrast between careful and loose, small upturned noses and open mouths make for good appeal. Lovely light drawings yet, they are all perfectly weighted ( something i need to practise! ) There is also really nice composition in these drawings. -Every frame is completely readable and i know just what's happening with the characters.

Damn them goilZ and there FEM powers :D

Franky said...

This style reminds me of teen versions of Dennis the Menace - Hank Ketcham's work?

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

If these same drawings were handled by a lesser artist, it would seem cluttered.

There's a lot of detail in the background, and if it weren't handled properly, it could look very busy.

Also, the staging is very clear, and very natural. Even if, as in the last panel, the angle isn't conventional, the visual storytelling is clear and to the point.

I admit that, despite the long legs, the lack of flair inherent in these drawings is unattractive to me, but that's just opinion.

But these awkward legs are visually pleasing, somehow, unlike Dagwood from 'Blondie'.

Also, it's difficult to keep a one-panel cartoon fresh and fun, and you either pull it off or you don't. It's either brilliant, like Eddie said about 'The Far Side' or it's horrid like 'Family Circus'. No inbetween.

- trevor.

Johnny B said...

I thought this looked familiar- and I realized that this was one of the cartoons featured on Archie's TV Funnies in the early 70's. Rather than call it "Bobby Sox", they named it "Emmy Lou"- she was constantly mooning over Alvin, though. Don't remember much else about it, except it was dreadfully animated in that Filmation 1970's way...

Zorrilla said...

Good construction.

Good solid backgrounds, most of them documented and not generic. The artist did her homework.

Lovely character design, kid faces in huge, tall bodies are great for teen characters.

Natural and subtle poses.

The cover is cute and has lots of movement and life.

Bob said...

It kind of reminds me of anime b/c its really girly and lanky. There is also some nice assymetry for the outlines of the character's bodies. I think Franky is right and it does remind me of Ketchem's work, but Ketchem's work doesn't capture the curvy, lanky, feminine assymetrical lines that you see in Links. Ketchem's feels more masculine and conservative, grunt, I'm enjoying that you are posting these artists up a lot because its nice to see different stles like kurtzman's exaggerated style compared to Links subtle style

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

Oh yeah, and the characters themselves are well constructed, and can be drawn in various angles without having to cheat.

Also there's a balance of organic and non-organic objects. Like Page 73 where the smoothness of the soda shop is broken up by wrinkled clothes and the bowl of fruit. Same deal on page 82.

On Page 81, the drawer to the left of the panel, is drawn with straight lines, but has some wrinkled clothing poking out. This break the monotony.

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
craig said...

Hi John,

I read your blog daily- and usually end up laughing my ass off with your comments about hideous animation/design. I wanted to ask you about something unrelated to "Bobby Sox"...
My company recently built a website called Ani-Jobs.com which is an independent FREE community space for members of the animation, vfx, and gaming community to find jobs, network, and mingle. I noticed that you recently put up banners about your new line of t-shirts and was wondering if we could do an "ad swap" with your blog. We will post your t-shirt ad (or another ad if you have something else to advertise) in our top banner spot, if we can provide an ad to you about Ani-Jobs.

If you have questions about our site, or are interested in our offer, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!
~Craig
craig@ani-jobs.com

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

The characters have opposing poses, they fit around and frame one another. There is a good use of negative space on the cover, between the two dancers.

It's easy to read the emotions of the characters. There are strong poses and lines of action.

Page 84: The girls skirt, and the boys top are both inked in. Since both tops are not inked, it breaks the symettry of the picture. The angle of the collar and the angle of the girls butt compliment and draw the eye to each other. The background is not overly complicated and the open doorway frames the two characters nicely. There is a mix of organic and non organic shapes, the straight siding on the house compared to the organic shape of the bush.

Page 73: The composition is interesting, and from a more dynamic angle (the staging isn't just left-to-right). The girls are inked heavier, drawing attention to themselves first. They also frame the boys, drawing the eye to them next. The magazines near the boys have no cover detail, helping to make them stand out.

Page 81: Even though both girls are lying on the bed, they aren't lying the same way, they are two natural, assymetrical poses.

Page 82: The same inking theory as page 84. The dark inking of the skirt and coat compliment each other and help the eye follow the path it's supposed to take. The fridge frames the two characters. There are organic and non-organic shapes.

Page 83: More creative inking. The round hair cut and skirt compliment each other. Organic and non-organic shapes.

Page 85: The artist is not a slave to formula. She draws hands differently in each picture. The girl in the background has three fingers on one hand, four on the other. Each hand is drawn differently and stylishly, breaking monotony, but at the same time not being distracting.

Page 90: The two main characters have inked in clothing. The two shapes compliment each other and draw attention to one another. The window frames the boy inside, and the girl in the foreground.

The artist has a clear understanding of construction and perspective. She draws inspiration from life, drawing specific objects (like the doors, tables and lamps) not vague representations or symbols of the objects.

Am I on the right track?
Josh Heisie

Sarcastro said...

Seems overly busy to me; Like the way the detail in the girls faces are lost on page 72. Who's talking there?

I prefer the crisper, cleaner lines of Hank Ketchum or Jaime Hernandez... or Jaime Hernandez doing Hank Ketchum!

Mattieshoe said...

You can tell almost immediately that these cartoons are derived from a Woman's view on the world. They all have a light, feminine quality, especially in the facial expressions.

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

Sometimes, though, the pictures seem too busy. The girl with glasses doesn't have enough negative space on her face (like on page 83). The feature are hard to distinguish from the hair and freckles.

On page 72, the girls are not framed, and the open closet behind them competes for attention.

Page 92 is pretty well composed, but the faces are hard to read and the background is too busy.

That's my two cents.

Mattieshoe said...

By the way, look how unhappy these artists Working on Family Guy are!

http://www.tv.com/video/3270/animatics-behind-the-scenes?o=tv&tag=video;title;0

The artist seems to be working really hard to try and take the life out of his drawings.


The storyboards should NOT be more interesting then the finished product.

ernie kim said...

Besides having just the basics down of composition and line work, she gives every characters clothing something particular. Even with a black and white pallette, she still personalizes every character regarless of the same face.

This keen attention to texture and pattern is apparent in another woman artist, Ramona Fradon. She created Metamorpho and pays attention to many of the textures of her superhero's body and ablilites.

DonkleDuck said...

Her use of positive and negative space. The drawings are busy, but very panel has an inked in area that neatly draws the viewers eye to the gag.

The Butcher said...

I see cute, pudgy heads constrasting elongated, lanky bondies. It's pretty cool.

Ted said...

Yin yang-ing blocky black clothes...

patchwork said...

It's like Zits, 55 years earlier, drawn by Edmond Kiraz's sister!

Brad said...

Wow, she's got an incredible sense of space... especially in the second image, like, how the feet and legs are there, and still contain the same emotions as the faces... same for the hands and fingers in most of the shots.

Extremely subtle emotions displayed in every part of the character, and still doesn't look 'busy,' even with the detailed backgrounds...

hayden the wise said...

number 83 looks a lot like the simpsons staircase

Mattieshoe said...

"number 83 looks a lot like the simpsons staircase"

..Which looks like every staircase ever made.

Hacky Crapper said...

Not just the lanky legs, it's those big feet! Placed in just such a way, it seems so telling...

Vanwall said...

Almost every one has a door as a framing device, usually partially open, and if not, at least strong verticals - but always light and non-threatening. There's a kind of androgynous quality to both boys and girls, but the girls still look like girls without being overly sexual and the boys still look like boys, altho "nice" boys. No unnatural stances, they almost slump somewhat.

Pete Emslie said...

As others have already noted, whereas males tend to have a flair for dynamic posing and action, the female artists seem to have a greater knack for bringing out the more subtle shades of human emotion through the expressions and body language. I've certainly witnessed this time and again in the character design work of my Sheridan students.

The boys love those extreme action poses with plenty of forced perspective in the limbs, and they tend to draw in very broad strokes, sometimes getting a bit too loose in their handling of structure in the process. In contrast, the girls often take a more whimsical approach to posing, bringing out the characters inner feelings in a charming and appealing way. For the record, they tend to draw cleaner too, resulting in images that read clearer to the viewer. To be sure, I am generalizing here, and there will be many exceptions to these two sets of "rules" I have described.

Admittedly, I tend to prefer the more charming and whimsical approach myself, and therefore really enjoy the work of the more talented girl students. Not to mention the fact that girls are unafraid to draw "cute", whereas the guys are often wary of coming off as uncool with that sincere approach and are more than likely to add an ironic twist to their drawings. Both approaches are quite valid and will find their respective audiences, though, so I try not to discourage the students from taking the route that is more natural to them so long as the resulting drawings are communicating well to the viewer and are showing good structure and movement.

Good topic, John. As we just had our Industry Day screening at Sheridan this Thursday, the films of our graduating students that seem to show these qualities are still fresh in my mind. By the way, it was an unusually strong year for fully animated, personality-driven films. I was quite happy with what I saw.

Wray said...

I really like these. Some of the wit is just plain perfect. The dad was great when he said he'd almost eaten her flower. hahaha. This stuff's the best.

Car2oon said...

There's a charming sloppiness to the gestures. It adds some innocent humanity to the characters and their actions. And I in think this way it succeeds in mixing vitality and life to poses that are often drawn statically. Actually, the gestures find themselves to be in-between stronger poses, finding a nice balance in their form. It's delicate.

Mitch K said...

They look like real girls and not just sex objects! They're drawn how girls really are. That's the difference. It reminds me of those summer days when the girls used to get their sundresses full of grass stains. Oh the crushes!

virpi kettu said...

thanks new fun things again! animation in still...?! find that unlike many other one screen cartoonist he has a big sense movement in his pictures. and he is a big sport for the Z shape design in the scenes. great details posited in a lines of balance and there is always something going in or out of the screen. the leave piercing in the up middle of in the page 92 is a weirdo but by erasing it i see why it is there...it is a funny shape though.
good saturday morning read ;makes me feel proper...

Captain Napalm said...

That top one has great combined poses. It's also a rare example of an effectively used tall/narrow panel. It takes really good staging to pull that off, but here it works because it mirrors the shape of the door frame, so there's a certain logic to it.

PS: Oh, that mischevious Jim Reardon....I just discovered (via YouTube) that he caricatured Eddie Fitzgerald (fittingly as an Itchy & Scratchy animator) into the first Simpsons episode he ever directed - he's the guy sees Marge's anti-violence rally from the window and promptly draws her into the next episode as a PC squirrel who gets beaten to bits by baseball bats! And judging by the voice, ("Hehe...I'm so damn funny...") either Dan Castelanetta met Eddie in person or Jim did a REALLY wicked impersonation for him to copy. But Eddie himself (who's videos are brilliant) commented and said "Thanks, man! Now I can PROVE it!"

/\/\ikeB said...

Nice posing, but the proportions are all the same. Kinda boring when all the proportions are the same.

limaCAT said...

love the acting

Graham Ross said...

What I think is kinda cool is how the artist uses solid shapes and textures to draw the eye toward the characters...away from the clutter of the backgrounds. Good composition.

Also, the gestures of the characters are pretty nice.

Jim Rockford said...

Just some things I've noticed.
The characters heads are very small unlike most cartoons.
they also have a "softened" gentle look about them.
The Characters are incredibly willowy & hands and feet are exaggerated.
Nice natural posing and interesting backgrounds,they manage to be detailed,yet not overly cluttered looking.

Aside from the drawing,You can tell it is written by a woman too because it tends to dwell on and analyze male/female relationships.
this theme keeps recurring and the strip becomes a one trick pony too quickly.
Just my opinion.

Nate said...

careful placement of blacks to draw focus reminds me of gluyas williams.

Nate said...

they key here would be balance. the figures have great balance between spontaneity in th elines and shapes and the solidness and dimension of form. The backgrounds are totally 3-d and detaied but never cluttered or overwhelming. The subjects always read clearly, yet are otally immersed in the dimesnionality of the environment. Moreover everybody is pretty cute. Even the dumb boys looke like adorable babies.

slowtiger said...

Others already have analyzed everything, I just have to add that the appeal of those drawings might depend on the kind of "female image" they deliver. Aren't those the cartoons you grew up with? I know that I react strongly to a certain set of attractors which come from cartoons I saw in magazines when I was a child.

I collect some of these - in Europe there was a bunch of cartoonists doing those, plus everything from Kings Features. Additionally there were illustrations even in the cheapest pocket books, often done in a rough and loosely inkk-and-pen style. I should try to dig some of those up next time I visit my parents ...

Compare Bobby Sox with the work of netherland artist Fiep Westendorp: ( http://www.fiepwestendorp.nl/__english/nieuwsitem.php?id=59 ).I just discovered her lately, a friend recommended her to me.

Dor Isaac said...

No sir, I don't like it. Formulatic and stiff.

Marlo Meekins said...

I always liked this comic because the characters all have my body. I am an egotist.

marin_explorer said...

I see what might pass for Freudian symbolism in a few strips...

Custom Coaster said...

I really enjoyed her work with the figures and the faces, but it's a real bad hang up that she was cut short in her srip and cartoon, that and it's a hard time finding more of the character and her Art. In short thanks for the treat!!

Aaron said...

great attention to detail. Real rounded cartoony heads on tall bodies. That's pretty unusual. Sharp wit.

Aaron said...

Very natural poses

Steve C. said...

Great art by Marty Links..oh, little known fact, the character appeared in a Mr. Ed episode in 1961.

Steve C. said...

I can easily imagine a late 50s animated TV cartoon of this [with the appropriate Bill Loose stock music and such in the background..definitely not Hoyt Curtin or Ted Nicholas Scooby type music that "teen cartoons" many years later in the late 60s would implement!


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