Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tom and Jerry Layouts - functional and elegant

I found these beautiful layouts from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. They are probably drawn by Dick Bickenbach. Dick was an animator before he became a layout artist so he knew how to make his poses functional for the animators.

These drawings have everything I always talk about in my lessons.

They not only have all the principles of good cartoon drawings, they do the job they are supposed to. They don't merely work as individual drawings. They work functionally as layouts.

The function of layouts is:

to tell the story in continuity
to show each important change in expression, pose, story, event

To be staged clearly, so that you can easily see what is happening
negative shapes, strong lines of action
with all the details of the characters flowing along the lines of action and construction

to leave enough room in the frame for the characters to move



Poses that compose well together



Now Tom and Jerry is a very conservative cartoon series compared to Clampett's, Avery's and even Jones' cartoons. Bickenbach was a very conservative cartoonist and animator working on very conservative cartoons.But, these drawings and cartoons use the exact same principles, tools and functionality that the more creative cartoons do.

On top of that they are very handsome, stylish in a manly conservative fashion and that is completely admirable and awe inspiring from a standpoint of skill and professionalism.


Ed Benedict made fun of Dick's work sometimes, just on the grounds that it wasn't very imaginative and that shocked me. To someone of my generation who worked in an environment where almost nobody had real drawing skill, or functionality, let alone style, Dick stood out as a giant cartoonist.
I would kill to have artists of this caliber work on my cartoons.

A talented animator that worked for me once has his own series now and he complained to me the other day about how the youngest artists on his team had no drawing chops whatsoever. To say nothing of functionality.

I assume that that is because people in their early 20s grew up accepting the primitive execution of South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Dora and other TV cartoons that have no discernible artistic values or storytelling skills at all.

People of my generation also worked on crap and had no good training either, but we at least grew up watching the great cartoons, so the standards we aimed at were much higher.

Today we have no standards to shoot for. Complete amateurism is considered perfectly acceptable by studios, networks and worst of all, the audience.



Dick here worked in an age of supremely high standards, and among the great cartoonists of the day, he was in the upper echelon.

His drawings are not only functional and expert, he has a real charming and elegant subtle style.

You can buy these drawings by the way here:

http://www.animationartgallery.com/atomandjerryvintage.html


Here are some modern cartoon drawings to compare.Symmetrical cluttered frames, no composition, stiffness, no thought or planning involved.
I'm not picking on this particular show. It's no worse or better than a million other modern cartoons out there.

It's a good example of no skill whatsoever.

No principles
No Composition, no poses, let alone opposing poses
not functional

emotionless

soulless

Dead on every level

It's not the artists' fault that:

Networks don't run classic cartoons on TV anymore

The audience's senses have been dulled by uncreative sensory-absent entertainment

schools don't teach anything concrete

Executives don't know what they are looking at

Cartoonists have to follow bad scripts


No, it's not the artists' fault, but it sure is a damn shame to be entering a dark age so shortly after the brightest time in human history.

114 comments:

Barbara said...

amen brother.

Abra said...

Just as a side note, the majority of the people that I've met at my school, and another that I attended in Florida, seem to have spent a lot of their time watching Japanese animation rather than American. I'm not really sure if that's better or worse...

Jim Rockford said...

I think those layouts are from "pet peeve"

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

You need your own network, John.

And if I were Ted Turner, it'd be on, but I'm not that particular TT.

I'm Trevor Thompson, not Ted Turner and although we both have an affinity for color, the similarities end there.

BTW, did you ever hear any of the classic animators trash Preston's book? Cuz I read Dick Williams and Ken Harris call it crap. I wonder why.

Hey, Abra!

Did you go to Ringling? Don't get me started on those talentless hacks. I have to share a town with those mouse clicking 'artists'.

- trevor.

Jim Rockford said...

We are witnessing first hand the effects of the dumbing down of America,today very little takes any skill or talent.
Kids are fed a line of feel good p.c. bullshit in school that everybody is equal talent wise and can do anything they want regardless of whether they have any real skill and are talented or not.
The frightening thing is that it seems that this is now becoming the truth,there are tons of completely talentless people in the entertainment industry turning out crap and making good money at it.
Watch a couple ads for the low brow unfunny "comedys" that we the public are supposed to be enticed into opening our wallets for,like that stupid Will Ferrell skating movie,or the damn basketball one,etc and you'll see what I mean.

There is almost no creativity anymore,we get remake after remake of old films all badly done and filtered through our modern day pop culture sensibiltys.
(I hear talk of a C.G. remake of The incredible Mr. Limpett with Jim Carey!)
the problem is that our current society is composed largely of idiots who dress themselves like convicts and gangbangers.
They listen to crap music and jam hog rings through their noses and spend their money on tattoos and ugly chrome wheels for their ugly plastic cars.as long as they have their porn,beer and wal-mart and tabloid tv telling them about britney spears or paris hilton latest scandal they're content.
These arent people calling out for a return to the quality of the past,hell most of them are probably unaware of it!
they're are content to blindly follow whatever stupid trend is in.

How else can you explain Seth MacFarlane getting the money he does to make Family Guy,yet nobodys willing to cough up the dough to get the "George Liqour Program" off the ground.

Brie said...

Well. All I know is im fourteen, almost fifteen. And. I grew up watching all those cartoons. I could probably tell you the details of each episode if you asked me. Its just. What I did.
I fully agree that pretty much 97.9% of animation today is shit. Possibly even a few points more for the mainstream shows. There are a few I enjoy looking at but theres nothing that makes me go 'whoa'. Id never thought Id miss those old cartoons so much, but. Every time I see a commercial for a new show on CN I just kind of. Want to give up. Its just another reason I really dont want to get in to animation.
There are some clicky animations that are really creative and well done. But. That only happens once a blue moon, methinks.

Thornhill said...

Those Pet Peeve layouts are fantastic!!! It looks like the animators had to follow Bickenbach's stuff much more closely than Eisenberg's.

Thornhill said...

Oh, I forgot to add-- I've never heard of Ken Harris bashing the Preston Blair book, but Dick Williams sure did! Ironic, since the Williams book is considered detrimental for beginners.

Kali Fontecchio said...

These are great- definitely made yer point!

Mitch K said...

It doesn't help when the script and storyboard says, "Put every character in the show in the same shot, even if they're not important."

Working on TV now isn't so great either. I hate having to work on hellish boring ugly Flash shows that are expected to be crapped out fast and ugly. Working on TV actually has, more than once, pushed me to the edge of giving up on cartoons forever. There's just nothing to look forward to working on.

BadIdeaSociety said...

I am not a fan of Drawn Together and I agree with your statements about the problems with composition in modern animation.

I don't agree with the common argument that animation has entered the dark ages. I think the animation industry has been stick in a horrible rut since the 70s and has never fully recover from. Granted, cartoons like Ren and Stimpy, Two Stupid Dogs, and Beavis and Butthead are rare shining lights of quality in decades of Scooby-Doo, Animanics, and the Transformers.

I think anime flourished because American animated adventure cartoons are not entertaining, drama cartoons really don't exist in the American market, and many classic cartoon conventions (visual icons, not animation quality) have become overused.

Anime offered the public new storytelling conventions which give the impression of uniqueness that television executives in the US just don't understand.

I would also argue that the audience that watches anime is not against watching fun, bouncy, sing-songy cartoons; but many anime viewers are a completely different consumer than a cartoon viewer.

On the subject of Tom and Jerry, the purist in me cannot imagine childhood without those classic cartoons. The realist in me also cannot imagine a contemporary Tom and Jerry being entertaining. I know the animation in T&J Tales is stiff WB Animation dreck, but what would a good, new Tom and Jerry look like?

Would the scenarios feature contemporary products? How about Jerry smashing Tom with a plasma TV or Tom videoing his torture of Jerry and posting it on YouTube? Or does a creator have to keep the scenarios back in the past (record players, washboards, and all)?

How does a cartoonist using the fundamentals of the cartoon renaissance fit into the modern animation aesthetic?

I have a request:

Would you PLEASE post specific examples of where you were able to accomplish what you wanted to before working on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse? (Maybe there aren't any.)

Larry Levine said...

I own beautiful 1960's Tom & Jerry layouts drawn by Chuck Jones, but these layouts of the 'classic' T&J (and Spike) are fantastic! Wish I could buy the full set.

Kevin Langley said...

It looks like the animators had to follow Bickenbach's stuff much more closely than Eisenberg's.

Actually, I remember reading Dick say that he really had to follow Joe Barbera's story sketches really closely. Though he admitted he would try and sneak in as many drawings of his as he could.

Though you're right about him being conservative John, Bickenbach is a great example of a fine layout artist.

Gabriele_Gabba said...

Hello John!

Firstly,

Thanks to some fellow college friends that turned me to more of your work, i have discovered this blog and in the process i've discovered where i should be taking my acting in animation.

Right, so!

This post as all of your others are about as valuble as a fulltime course in 2D animation, and i quite honestly think i've learned more from you than any other source.

I have a million questions for you, whether or not you'll reply will be seen in time, but i want you to know this stuff is like awesome juice to me.

Keep it up as i know you will, and don't worry, this kid's gonna do his best to bring back the influences.

Oh and btw, in my country they still play the classic warner bros and disney toons everyday in the morning...

P.S:

First question:

Is animation apprenticing dead? And if not where can i find it?

Raff said...

>> I've never heard of Ken Harris bashing the Preston Blair book, but Dick Williams sure did! <<

WRONG!!

I have Survivial Kit and on page 94 Ken and Richard simply suggest modifications to the bouncing ball in the Blair book. That's it. They even praise Blair in the following page.

By the way, Survival is a complicated book, and yes, it's not for beginners. It's a great read and has amazing inside info but you're better starting with Blair book for exercises.

joey said...

I used to like watching Saturday morning cartoons--back in the late '70s early '80s. And then only in the early mornings, when they would actually show "Real" cartoons-Bugs, Droopy, Tom&Jerry, etc.

I have to remind myself that they still DO play cartoons on saturday mornings... well 30 minute commercials, more like.

Ah well...

I just hope I can do better one of these days.

Ash Collins said...

layouts from pet Peeve. one of my favourite Tom & Jerry cartoons. nice.

its not all bad, even if most studios now are using lazy aniamtion, and rigged animation, at least the place where I studied is still trying to teach practical animation and drawing skills

rpgfaker said...

We should all take the time to draw some really nice Tom and Jerry shorts. Post them up on youtube. Give cartoon network something to think about...

Jack said...

As I've said before, you're always criticizing shows like Family Guy and South Park for "not having the princibles of a good cartoon", when your last 2 shows both failed in ratings and were cancelled within a year.

So how can you critizize sucessful cartoon series when you haven't been able to produce one in over 15 years?

PCUnfunny said...

I love those Tom and Jerry layouts. As for today's cartoons, I mean it's just appauling on every level. What's even worse is that people are dumb enough to defend the "artwork" for these shows. You won't belive how many times I have heard "it's suppose to look crappy on purpose" or "that's their style". Oh and everyone's favorite "the writing is good".

JohnK said...

Jack,

Ripping Friends has been on TV with good ratings for 10 years. Just not here. It's not up to my standards and has a budget of about 1-10th of the shows you love.

The Spike TV Ren and Stimpy cartoon never got a chance. They aired 3 episodes.

Family Guy and all these other shows go through a period where they are almost cancelled, but not after 3 episodes. I have not had the luck of a network stick with something until it finds its way.

APC did very well on the other hand in DVD sales.

None of this has anything to do with the point of the post, however.

Modern standards are non-existent. But people have to watch something, so they'll take what they get.

PCUnfunny said...

Oh and I have noticed that is the type of conservative that feels natural. You can feel the flow of the characters. This is opposed to let say Freleng's work which is rigid and conservative.

Mitch L said...

Yeah.

I also grew up with allot of anime and modern cartoons stuff. That sucked.
But I don't like to look back, now I know better! I wanna get better and want to do things I like to do.

Dear Joshy said...

Dear General Audience,

I hate ranting, yet I find myself doing it. Usually in the privacy of my '92 Ford Blazer and/or shower.


In this case, it's here and now on John's blog.

I'm 25 years old.
Born in 1982.

And I can't help but despise the following:

1) Family Guy
2) South Park
3) The Simpsons (post-mid 90's)
4) 90% of Cartoon Network
5) Dora The Explorer

I have friends whom feed off of these cartoons.

They own every season of Family Guy and yet as they giggle and sigh.....I scoff and cry.

I find no humor in the writing.
I find no visual stimuli in the animation.

I see
crap,
crap,
and more crap.

Crap on top of crap.
Crap sauteed in crap.

I'm not voting for a world of retro animation and the Boomerang channel - - - I'm just begging that we effectively end the stupidification of America.

Family Guy breeds dumb men who prey on first person shooter video games and ESPN.

My
palms
just
got
sweaty.

- Josh

Raff said...

>> the problem is that our current society is composed largely of idiots who dress like convicts and gangbangers. They listen to crap music and jam hog rings through their noses...<<

No. Unless you believe that what you see on cable represents what's out in the real world.

The problem is that the classic entertainment is old. It's hard to know what to do with something that speaks largely to another generation - and more importantly, what to learn from it. The situations that were addressed, and the limits to be pushed in comedy, were different in the 40s than today. That's why - I admit it - I have an easier time sitting through South Park than the Three Stooges.

The reason Ren and Stimpy was so great was that it took what was effective from the past, left the stale and irrelevant elements behind, and added fresh materials to it.

To do that, you have to be selective, and this blog is very helpful in learning what to select.

Michael Polvani said...

John,
You took the words right out of my mouth!
It's as though no one is listening....or looking at what you have to offer on your blog.
Thanks for posting gems like these. It is EXACTLY this kind of inspiration that keeps me well fueled to press on and never give up the goal of quality. The aesthetics created by the artists of yesteryear made the world a better place.
Thanks again!

John A said...

Ken Harris doesn't exactly bash Preston's book, but he does mention in an interview that some of the examples don't work, on some of the sequences, the characters don't always connect with the floor and they kind of float. I attribute this to the fact that some of the drawings might not be registered properly, and also because a lot of the artwork had to be retraced from its original form in order to satisfy MGM's legal dept. I'm guessing that when an artist traces over another piece of animation it encounters the same problem that a piece of animation that has been traced directly from a piece of live action reference experiences. If the proper 'accents' aren't drawn into the sequence, the animation looks weightless.

Aaron J said...

john if "dis-composition" were a word, it'd be very suiting, but what we have here is "decomposition". Cartoons Rot, TV sitcoms Rot, and just the same, MUSIC ROTS!!! People fear and avoid technicalities and hard work, and combined with the minimalist--and randomist--philosophy, the bar of achievement is ever sinking. What's just as disgusting, the common audience raves about its "refined" understanding of the "random funny shows". C'mon people, there's nothing to "get"--it's shit.

Aaron J said...

i really miss HOLIDAY SPECIALS, too.

Will Finn said...

one of the elements that has always chafed me about contemporary series and films is that each show has to have at least twenty main characters. part of the elegance in the TOM & JERRY layouts comes from the inherent clarity and ease of working with as few characters as necessary and making those few as entertaining as possible. and that -- god forbid-- these characters don't talk and do all their acting through pantomime.

fantastic drawings--thanks for sharing.

Beaver said...

I don't disagree...BUT

1.) There's no dialog in Tom and Jerry, they HAVE TO be that creative. It would be a cat standing still and blinking otherwise.

2.) Golden Age of Cartoons vs Internet + Cable TV. How many cartoons were being pumped out then vs. now. How many per month/year? Do they all really have to hold up?

3.) Content and intended audience. The content and intention of this show does not warrant anything more creative than what they have. South Park or this show done to the same awesome level as Tom and Jerry would be wasteful and awkward...."did they really spend that much time and effort on a sperm joke? :( "

Again, I understand and agree but IF I saw Drawn Together done as well as Tom and Jerry I would be upset and creeped out. The quality of animation/layout should reflect the content, in my opinion. No point in polishing a turd.

Acetate said...

Nice to see some Tom&Jerry stuff. One of my faves. As usual I agree with most everything you've said. The thing that will always kill me is the absolute waste of money the newer cartoons are. I'll never understand it. I have several older personal films I made at home on youtube now.I shot them on a coffee table with a bolex, and while the animation itself is pretty creaky, they are way more entertaining than whats on the networks. Type in frank ziegler on youtube if curious.

Mr. Semaj said...

My only pique with Drawn Together is that they were already repeating bad jokes or dragging the good ones out far too long, when they only clocked in 36 episodes by the time it was cancelled.

Also, there is such a thing as shows, like Family Guy, turning their back on their own audience:

Sounds like you guys really want to see a lot more Herbert, so we'll be sure to cram him in there every chance we get.


Okay, I gotta go write lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of more Herbert gags.


On another matter, even when I was little, I always prefered watching classic Tom & Jerry over Tom & Jerry Kids.

What I don't understand is why Tom & Jerry is the ONLY classic cartoon airing on TV anymore. Somehow, it doesn't feel right for it to be shown on a network that hardly pays any attention to its original identity.

James N. said...

Very good post and those layout drawing are beautiful. I'm fascinated by these kind of line drawings.

I also agree 100% on the Drawn Together pictures.

Uncle Phil said...

well.. there are some of us young people that do actually want to work on shows that have these classic cartooning principals. They just aren't really out there. But I'm happy making the best of the shows that I do get to work on. And hopefully someday i'll get an opportunity to work on something that can really push my chops.

Soos said...

Granted, Drawn Together is a painfully unfunny show.

But, John, what do you think of the homage?

JohnK said...

It's an homage? To what?

I've only seen 5 minutes at a time, then I have to turn it off. It scratches my eyes and brain.

Lampshade said...

I heard there was a Stimpy look-a-like in one of the episodes on Drawn Together. Also remember some cop guy freaking out like Ren.

Rodrigo said...

I hate "Drawn Together" with a burning passion. Humor based solely on shock value. Stupid.

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

There's no "homage" to Drawn Together.... just desecration.

As for my Ken Harris statement, I should be more specific. Richard calls it crap ( saying something about people buying anything in print ) and Ken says it would be better to use the Muybridge book.

In fact, hop on over to my blog and read the full interview here.

- trevor.

Jax said...

Gah! I agree with you. Cartoons suck now adays. Spongebob is pretty good, compared to most of the crap they show these days.

And Vince works on it. Yes, that makes me like it better. ^_^

The classics are basically only on digital cable. Boomerang, ToonDisney, and Nicktoons Network. (Yeah, I consider 90's-early 2000's to be classic)

You should write a journal on crossovers.

~Jax

JohnK said...

Hey Andrew

I didn't print your guess, because I do not want to get anyone in trouble.

sorry!

Abra said...

Booo Tooons,

No, I actually went to the Art Institute of Tampa. The students there definitely share the "mouse clicking" mentality though...

I try not to get too caught up in the dynamic of any school that I attend. I listen to what the professors have to say and mingle with the students who seem interesting, but I take everything with a grain of salt. After all, what's so special about them? They're not doing anything remarkable, so they obviously don't have all the answers.

I do really appreciate John for maintaining this blog though, it's a real bounty of useful information.

Andrew said...

I've been censored by John K.?! Now, that's...pretty cool. I understand, though. Your refusal to post my question is answer enough.

Will Selfridge said...

Hey John,

I'm just wondering what you think about more recent shows such as Samurai Jack and The Fairly Oddparents? I must confess I know nothing about illustration or animation, those are just two that stick out in my mind as more creatively-unique cartoons of the recent past.
Or what about cartoons from the early '90's? Animaniacs and so forth, shows that were on around the same time as Ren & Stimpy, some even from Nickolodeon? Animaniacs especially strikes me as a show that may have hearkened back to the Golden Age...
Maybe I'm just looking for that glimmering ray of sunshine amidst the dark hoary clouds of cartoon/comedic despair, hardy, har, har...

Peace,
Will

PCUnfunny said...

Wil:

You realize that every time you mention Animaniacs here John kills someone ? For shame.

Will Selfridge said...

I sort of figured that after I posted, considering that John was making a cartoon against the grain of everything else going on at the time.
However, from a simple comedic standpoint: something like Tiny Toon Adventures, where you'd have Plucky Duck impersonating Groucho Marx, or you'd have Peter Lorre making a cameo on Animaniacs (there it is again)...I had little idea of who those people were when I was a kid, but it was enough to resonate with me as comedy of substance, comedy coming from someplace significant and I don't think you see that nearly as much in cartoons of today.
If I offended any animation buffs, I apoligize.

Peace,
Will

PCUnfunny said...

Wil: Those charicatures of those comedians and actors were rather poor. The Looney Tunes did them far more effectively and respectfully.Also don't worry about offending anybody.Stick around on the blog, you'll learn alot. I sure have.

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Selfridge said...

And not that I came on here deliberately to make off-topic posts (god forbid...), but I watched the Powdered Toastman episode the other day and came upon this on YouTube (hail, Google): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ISil7IHzxc
It's Frank Zappa on CrossFire discussing censorship...pretty cool to see him in an intellectual context.
Anyway...

Peace,
Will

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kali Fontecchio said...

"John, Please let me know if That Animaniacs cartoon I showed you Shifted your perspective at all."

Oh come on, haha.

Loops O'Fury said...

Hi. Here's a true story:

I'm 29 years old. I took years of art classes from childhood up to college. I never heard of a line of action until 6 months ago. Sad, eh? Figure drawing is sure a lot easier now.

Jerry Chan said...

I suppose that great, time proven "Hey we're going to pull the fire alarm in this building" prank was actually useful this time, since I seem to have stumbled upon this blog in my attempts to waste time instead of going back to sleep.

As far as the crap on television goes, I blame the market that looks for the ways to cut costs the most in exchange for a product. Any product.

I think the big problem right now is that none of the people funding telvision/film/etc. want to take risks. What other reason can explain the ten billion sequels released last year (all of which were rubbish, imho)? Instead of risking money on a project that will take more money and might not have a good return, they'd rather go for the show that can be cheaply made and, since the writing is SO EDGY AND EXTREME, is sure to attract a cult audience.

Then again, often times I think that these new cartoons WITHOUT the principles or the production value is a blatant slap in the face to the established principles of animation. How weird would it be if this "style" became the norm, and then older golden age techniques became avant garde? It'd be like the 1930s all over again, except instead of one awesome studio it'd be a bunch of smaller independent studios (even 13 year old kids who pirate Flash) pushing the industry back towards good standards.

I'm no animation historian, but I've noticed that this industry works in cycles, from crap to goodness, back to crap (Van Beuren to Disney and then to Hanna Barbera TV shows). If the early 90s cartoons (Animaniacs, Freakazoid et all) could be defined as good, then we're in a period of suck, which will hopefully be followed by a period of good.

At least that's what I hope. So, how do you think the industry will be by the time I get out of this BFA animation program in 2010?

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Levine said...

Why the anti-Family Guy sentiment??? It's for the most part pretty funny & the limited animation effectively advances the low-brow humor.

Just as a Marx Brothers or Laurel & Hardy fan can admit to also loving The Three Stooges, I find no shame as a Chuck Jones/Bob Clampett worshipper confessing I also find entertainment virtue in Family Guy.

Dear Joshy said...

Here's me executing a random opinion...


Television Cartoons can be used in a very artistic and visual stimulating manner...

..or..

Television Cartoons can be used as a vehicle for "cut-away" gags and tangential frat boy humor.

Personally, I think a majority of the "popularized cartoons" of today are the latter of the two.

Ed Benedict, Gene Deitch, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and our very own John Kricfalusi are relics of a n era that exists in legend.

Seriously.
THIS
IS
THE
DARK
AGES.

I need a Manhattan.
- Josh

Will Selfridge said...

What about Squidbillies? You guys like Squidbillies? I'm sure they're bringing art and animation to a new level...
I gotta hit upon a good example sooner or later! Maybe this is a better one: http://video.aol.com/video/tv-wholly-smoke/1853762

Who knew AOL would carry this stuff?

Peace,
Will

The Butcher said...

"Look: I'm sick of having Animaniacs put on the same page as Tiny toons: it's much, much, MUCH better."

It's the same thing. Same humor (or lack therof), same bastardization of classic characters, same turned-up, ultra-bright colors.

You'll get no love defending Animaniacs here, I'm telling you right now.

The Butcher said...

Please ignore the detractors, John. Keep posting bad examples. If I don't have bad examples to compare to the good ones, I won't be able to train my eyes as well.

Ever since you started talking about drawing principles, I've abandoned my old approach to drawing, even though people liked my stuff. I don't care if the masses accept my work because these days they seem to accept anything. I want real respect, and to be able to call artists like you and Kali my peers. I'm 27. I feel like if I don't start applying good drawing principles now, it may be too late. It may already be too late anyway. We need you.

Joseph said...

I would say the same as Barabara, "Amen" but I do have another thing to add. I believe it sheds some light on the why such terrible animation is coming of some studios nowadays...Foundation.

Most schools now are about teaching students how to get a job in a specific field. I went to a "fine arts" college where they taught drawing and painting and composition...Do they even teach that anymore?

PCUnfunny said...

"It's for the most part pretty funny & the limited animation effectively advances the low-brow humor."

What humor ? A mention of a pop culture reference from the 80's every five minutes ? Why is that funny ? Also non-stop rambling ? And I don't want hear about any so called brillance of it's "parodies". What they do is just lazy plagiarism. Now as a classic cartoon fan I have no shame in loving The Venture Brothers. They have great character designs, wonderful 60's inspired backround, witty writing, and good voice acting. It's way too good be "A Dumb" Swim.

PCUnfunny said...

"It's the same thing. Same humor (or lack therof), same bastardization of classic characters, same turned-up, ultra-bright colors.

You'll get no love defending Animaniacs here, I'm telling you right now."

Couldn't have said it better myself. Well maybe....

Ash Collins said...

i findit amazing that someone can call Family guy funny and then claim that the Venture Brothers is a good cartoon. VB is not only a shower of shit animation and terrible drawings, its also not funny in any way. Family Guy may look awful but its gut-bustingly funny. makes me laugh anyway.

PCUnfunny said...

"VB is not only a shower of shit animation and terrible drawings, its also not funny in any way. Family Guy may look awful but its gut-bustingly funny. makes me laugh anyway."


I am not going to defend VB because if you find random 80's pop culture references funny, then there is no point of a debate. I like humor, not plagerism.

Dear Joshy said...

Listen.

It's all in the eye of the beholder, my children.




Unfortunately, many of you are blind.




I agree whole heartedly with PCUnfunny.


- Josh

Neural Test Subject #645-3 said...

True. There are no original ideas in TV anymore. Just slip in a boob or fart joke and automatically you have a hit on TV. Jim Rockford is right. I'm still surprised that no one, NO ONE has picked up the George Liquor program! It's a great idea. But that's beside the point.

I guess I can consider the 90's animation a prophecy of what was yet to come. There were some great shows, including Ren and Stimpy and two or three others, but, somehow, all those shows and the ones that followed were just aimlessly cancelled again and again and again until nothing but sheer crap was left. And now, those shows are getting cancelled, and we're stuck with even worse crap. The Dark Age of Cartooning have arrived, and all of our best efforts to create something beautiful and something great have been reduced to "Back to the Barnyard", "South Park", and...shuddering..."Gym Partner".

Hmm...and whatever happened to Saturday morning cartoons? I mean...how did Hannah Montana, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and That's So Raven replace Bugs Bunny, Droopy, Tom and Jerry, and Looney Tunes in general? It boggles the mind!

Neural Test Subject #645-3 said...

"It's not the artists' fault that:

Networks don't run classic cartoons on TV anymore

The audience's senses have been dulled by uncreative sensory-absent entertainment

schools don't teach anything concrete

Executives don't know what they are looking at

Cartoonists have to follow bad scripts


No, it's not the artists' fault, but it sure is a damn shame to be entering a dark age so shortly after the brightest time in human history."

I couldn't have said it better. But I have to admit, some shows have a decent taste in humor. Some shows don't resort to fart jokes, fat jokes, gay jokes, boob jokes, 80's references, shameless parodies, and the like. The difference between Ren and Stimpy or George Liquor is that they use some of that humor (all but 80's references), but it's executed finer. I mean, take Family Guy: they switch in and out of the story ever 15 minutes. Ren and Stimpy would take a joke and run through the course of it instead of mindlessly and randomly shoving it into the story.

Neural Test Subject #645-3 said...

"What about Squidbillies? You guys like Squidbillies? I'm sure they're bringing art and animation to a new level...
I gotta hit upon a good example sooner or later!"

(mindless laughing)
Oh, you were serious.

JohnK said...

No more Animaniacs plese.

I'm sure there are lots of sites just for fake cartoons.

Chris E. said...

Yeah! It is a damn shame. If another person and I get into a conversation about animation or cartooning, something like, "I love Aqua Teen Hunger Force" or some other BS passes their lips. It saddens me when I see a grown man in his late 30's or maybe early 40's wearing a Spongebob shirt. (No! He's not gay which makes it even sadder.)

But yeah, another problem IS the audience. There are ugly and unimaginative cartoons that are dead, like Hey Arnold!, and still have a fanbase. Fools were pitching a fit back when Kim Possible was cancelled.

I grew up to the classics and that is what inspired me to become a cartoonist in the first place. People tell me that I need to find the right audience, but I can't. No matter where I go, I'm over shadowed by other cartoonists who just do uncreative crap. I find it depressing to know that my own talents are nothing but a waste. I will say that there is no hope for animation--It is dead.

PCUnfunny said...

"I will say that there is no hope for animation--It is dead."

Ah now, no need for the gloom and doom attitude. ;) Fortunetly we are living in The Golden Age of Animation Information. Thanks to the internet, cartoon historians like Jerry Beck and cartoonists like John K. are educating the new generation. Cartoonists of yester year who were forgotten are now being discovered and are more popular then ever. Classic cartoon education is on the rise so I have hope for the future.

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mattieshoe said...

John, I believe The internet is the new frontier for Animation.

It's an almost pure industry: Where things gain notoriety not because Some Network Executive said so, but because people enjoy it and want to share it.


Of course, getting an investment like that in an all-around conservative society is going to take some work.

Fusy said...

Now I'm sure all you did was google up Drawn Together and search up the first images that you found, which of course, are also found on the Comedy Central Press page and aren't as good as some of the images actually in the show. So here are some screenshots I took awhile back to look at for expressions:

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/7734/hero2ll7.png
http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/9450/hero1ce5.png

Now I'm not going to be all "WHY DO YOU HATE THIS SHOW GAWL" mode, because I actually am a fan of the show. So I'll just talk about the style in those screenshots.

You'll probably not enjoy those expressions because the heads aren't constantly squashing and changing form in every shot, but I believe that you're able to get more expression through the face, not the head. If I were to draw a face without the head, you could automatically tell what face the character is making, as opposed to if I made just the head without the face. Look at this image of Spongebob:

http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/2932/spongebob2nm.jpg

It's basically Spongebob and Patrick's regular designs with an exaggeratingly happy face that makes it work without having to completely change all the proportions of the characters.

It also seems very hypocritical to be talking about bad scripts with nothing but cutaway gags and jokes that aren't revelant to anything when Ren & Stimpy is not exactly a prime example of good writing. I know the whole "You don't have to be a _____ to judge _____", but when you actually do have writing and it's just as interchangable as shows like Robot Chicken and Family Guy, you're not exactly making your opinion shine that well.

And I don't know what you're talking about with South Park. South Park is a fantastically written show. Some episodes better than others and doesn't need all Tex Avery or Chuck Jones style to make the humor work. I laugh more at South Park than I do at Tom & Jerry. And no, it's not the "toliet humor" or "funny cursing" they do they makes me like the show. It's the kiddish characters that have adult knowledge or accidentally placed into adult-situations when playing pretend or going to a candy store like joyful kids and the personalities of the characters that just click very well together.

http://www.southparkzone.com/episodes/613/The-Return-of-the-Fellowship-of-the-Ring-to-the-Two-Towers.html

forseriously.

Gavin Freitas said...

Hey John,
Just read this post and I do feel the same way. It is not the artist fault indeed, they don't know any better. I grew up in the 1980's and yes we did have crappy cartoons on TV but they did play alot of old cartoons like Betty Boop, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera etc. But they DO NOT anymore! I don't even want cable because of this problem, I rather go out and buy DVD's of old cartoons and watch them whenever I want.

When I have kids they will watch DVD's from my collection, not from the networks. I don't trust them to educate my kids (well some of it is ok). The only I can think of that is positive is the internet, artist like you reading this, and man were those cartoons great back then. We DO need to shoot higher as artist, and at my school there is a lot of good artist but they use their talents wrong I think. I am a very energetic person and love those old cartoons, they made me who I am and who I will always be. The only thing we can do is to educate people on the old cartoons, hell I don't care if it's even old Disney (which I think were great shorts) and hope for the best.

That's what's great about this blog John, you are educating us. And for free!! You need to start a school or something John but I LOVE your site here. Would you rather listen to people yell at each other on some stupid reality show? Or a funny humorous cartoon and have a line or two get stuck in your head for the rest of the day? I'm going with the cartoon folks and I hope you do the same...

Mr. Semaj said...

But yeah, another problem IS the audience. There are ugly and unimaginative cartoons that are dead, like Hey Arnold!, and still have a fanbase. Fools were pitching a fit back when Kim Possible was cancelled.

Those two shows were both victims of executive quotas. Hey Arnold! died, because Nick wanted Craig Bartlett to sign an "exclusivity cause", where he would work ONLY for Nick for at least two years, at a time when Craig was ready to move on and do something else. It was because of Craig's refusal to sign said cause that a 2nd Hey Arnold movie was never made. (Not that the first one was that good to begin with...)

Kim Possible was victimized by the Disney Channel's 65-episode rule, where no matter how popular a show was, it HAD to end at #65. They eventually revoked that, and some of their more popular programs were given new seasons beyond the 65 mark.

Hey Arnold DID have problems before its time was up. It was originally based from a claymation figure who later became a magazine comic strip character, all of which translated into the urban-adventure series it began as. But by the end of its second year, no longer was it about the daydreaming football-headed kid. It soon became an elementary school drama, and was based on a crazy girl who had a terrible crush on Arnold, as well as some of his equally annoying friends.

I'd like to thing something better was in store for Kim Possible. Unfortunately, the main character needed to be interchangable with the other Disney Channel "tween" idols. (And there are just too many things wrong with the "tween" brand name.)

Newie said...

But John K You are the MAIN WARRIOR on this front, why are you not the MAIN guy in TV Cartoons (i ask myself this question many many times), i can't understand it; THIS is what's wrong, whatever is keeping you out is what's wrong and you will know the REAL answer more than anyone alse on the internet maybe even in America.Look at those characters the big guy is bruce timm the there's japanese characters spOnge bob mixing and stuff... IT SUCKS!!
thank god for FLASH i can move out of Los Angeles and do my thing for the fun of it.
John K you are part of the problem because you are underestimating your imortance, look how many times they copy your shit it's like.
Why does this happend??? it's like a dislike of quality ...it's because artist are weak and they like to draw and business men are greedy and they exploit rather than create we need business men who are /artists as well that's why Disney was successful...i think.
John K you have to think like Walt more be more aggressive and take more financial risk your talent will always save you from ruin (Leyendecker used this theory; debt and the threat of financial ruin is great for the creative drive).

MasterK said...

Ren and Stimpy was canceled and nobody cared, because John K. wasn't working on it. However, although the Nick produced Ren and Stimpy was bad, it shines by comparison over other cartoons, because it was still following the principals that John laid down when he started the show, it just watered them down. A whole bunch of cartoons were like this. Just curious, who is this friend, and what is the successful cartoon he created.

Also, I agree that there isn't a dark ages, but a cycle. Every once in a while, something really unique and creative will be created and change the course of animation, and then be crushed by network executives, nonetheless changing everything. Chances are that it will be nothing like Ren and Stimpy, or Looney Tunes. It will be completely unique and different. Eventually, it will be watered down enough to be barely recognisable. Than the crap cycle will begin again.

Here are some of my favorite cartoons that were crushed after two seasons.

Ren and Stimpy
Invader Zim
Sheep in the Big City

Here are some shows which have become phenomanons and have tons of knockoffs

Ren and Stimpy
South Park
The Simpsons
Family Guy

Family Guy gets props for ripping itself off.

Jax said...

Ok...reading this again, I feel like bashing my head into a wall. WE NEED GOOD CARTOONS. PC UNFUNNY, TACO, YOU CAN HELP ME!

I'm Flareth13 on the Spumboard. We gotta make a plan, so we can have good cartoons.

And John, keep on drawing. Maybe a TV show idea will surface.

PCUnfunny said...

Can't you people who love South Park and Family Guy go to the Toon Zone forums ?

Bugs said...

Are you allowed to appreciate John K's blog without being a huge fan of "Ren and Stimpy"? I would hope so. I'm not a huge fan of the show -- moved a little slow for me -- but I love this blog. There's more to this blog and more to its author than just "Ren and Stimpy." Are you allowed to enjoy this blog and, at the same time, think "Animaniacs" is, in general, a pretty good cartoon show? I would hope so. Yet, the vitriole of some of the comments above would seem to suggest otherwise. In the wide world of "really bad cartoons," of which there are many, "Animaniacs" isn't even in the top 500. Sorry kids, you'll just have to come to grips with that. Just spin the dial...you'll come up with about five hundred really rotten and lousy cartoon shows pretty fast. As for making good cartoons today, I suggest all of you who are unhappy with the current state of the cartoon market get to work!

Bugs said...

Are you allowed to appreciate John K's blog without being a huge fan of "Ren and Stimpy"? Why not? There's more to this blog and more to its author than just "Ren and Stimpy." Are you allowed to enjoy this blog and, at the same time, think "Animaniacs" is, in general, a good cartoon show? I would hope so. Yet, the vitriole of some of the comments above would seem to suggest otherwise. In the wide world of "really bad cartoons," of which there are many, "Animaniacs" isn't even in the top 500. Sorry kids, you'll just have to come to grips with that. Just spin the dial...you'll come up with about five hundred really rotten and lousy cartoon shows pretty fast.

Dume3 said...

"In the wide world of "really bad cartoons," of which there are many, "Animaniacs" isn't even in the top 500."

That's true. We need more perspective. Compared to likes of Aqua teen hunger force, Animaniacs seems like a work of genius.

MasterK said...

bugs- you like animaniacs better than Ren and Stimpy?!
GGGGYAAAAAAAAA! PAIN!
Seriously though, of course you don't have to like Ren and Stimpy :) I personally love Ren and Stimpy, but don't like the Ripping Friends as much.

Larry Levine said...

"Can't you people who love South Park and Family Guy go to the Toon Zone forums?"

pcunfunny, Family Guy at this moment is part of what's keeping 2D animation alive. Simpsons & King of the Hill are long past their prime & may be scaling back episodes next season, Disney only has one traditional animated feature on their schedule.

FG's pop references are terrific & in no way plagiarism! They're one of the show's unique quirks for 40+ farts like myself.

It would be great if 2D animation returned to the days of Jones, Clampett & Avery--but it never will, just as film comedy will never see the likes of The Marx Brothers or Laurel & Hardy again.

We can embrace animation history, but as with all history, it belongs to another era.

Mr. Semaj said...

FG's pop references are terrific & in no way plagiarism!

Having watched FG since the beginning, the show today is nothing to crow about.

someonechoseplog said...

"It's no worse or better than a million other modern cartoons out there."

NOT true. Drawn Together is possibly THE worst show to ever pollute our televisions, ever. The fact that good cartoonists, artists and writers get shoved under the rug and THIS shit gets put on TV is blasphemy and insulting to the human race.

PCUnfunny said...

"FG's pop references are terrific & in no way plagiarism!"

They just stick something random in over and over again for no reason. Lazy plagiarism by people who don't know what entertainment is. They are keeping nothing alive, except the fact that animation must suck. The show stinks to high heaven.

Bugs: You missed my point entirely. If you like all that flat and fake stuff that's fine but keep it away from the topic at hand. This blog is about appericating classic cartoons or cartoons with good prinicples of animation. I also don't care were the position of Animaniacs is in the sucky cartoon list. I find comparing crap to crap a waste of time.

PCUnfunny said...

Also preserving 2-D aninmation is far less important then perserving the credibitily of the medium. If the animation goes all CGI, fine, but do something great with it. I am not going support a new crappy Disney feature just because it's hand drawn.

PCUnfunny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Levine said...

"preserving 2-D aninmation is far less important then perserving the credibitily of the medium. If the animation goes all CGI, fine, but do something great with it. I am not going support a new crappy Disney feature just because it's hand drawn"

There was never creditability for 2D animation during it's heyday. Only after the animation art boom of the 1980s did the mainstream population finally see it as art.

As with any form of entertainment, from day one there has always been more crap than greatness. I grew up with junk like Courageous Cat & Minute Rice..uh, Mouse airing 4 times a day! H-B knew they were producing junk during the 70's & 80's but Bill Hanna used to say it kept a lot of animators working, which included vets like Tex Avery. Some people may not like Family Guy but the fact is it's very successful & pays a lot of saleries--which is a good thing for the artists who work on it.

Principle is great but it doesn't pay the bills or student loans. Disney recently released a highly praised Goofy short so there is still greatness to be found in 2D animation.

Juz said...

I actually felt this great wave of sadness when reading the tom and Jerry blog. I was lucky enough to ignore alot of the crap cartoons of my genration and love(and still to this day!) Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones etc.I find it really sad that as a young/new animator you have to conform to over-designy crap style in studios and there is barely any call for full, traditional and respectable animation style. Its a terrible way to start your career by learning bad design and principles from the start if you dont want to go into freelance. I do tend to do my own thing but some people just go along with whatever they are told is the 'new' and 'cool' thing to do-what credibility will they get in 2/3/10 years time?!
We should start a revolution again-1930 Part II!!

PCUnfunny said...

Larry, your logic is extremely backwards. You only seem to be caring about that 2-D is around no mater what garbage is produced using it. That dosen't make any sense. I am not supporting a bad animated film or Tv show just because it uses hand drawn animation. Also Family Guy should be praised becuase it's paying some poor artists', who must hate working on that show, salaries ? And don't tell that "priciples don't pays the bills" crap either. If the studios gave a good show or film a chance, it would work. Though not animated, the James Bond series recently took that same risk. The lead actor was cast that many people knew was cast along with a rougher characterization of Bond himsself. The film, CASINO ROYALE, ended up being the most successful film in the series. Oh and an animated example, Courage the Cowardly Dog. That was one the last great shows cartoon network that had not only great principles of animation, but a unique and unconvential style. I think I have made my point.

Fusy said...

PCUnfunny: Just because something is not a masterpiece of animation, doesn't mean it's not a good show. Just because a show doesn't stick to it's plot doesn't mean the writers can't write. Just because people aren't stretching and squashing and making everything off-model doesn't mean animation is in its dark ages and we should all try and rise up and riot the networks.

Because someone enjoys plopping down on the couch, turning on the TV and watching "REMEMBER THAT TIME" jokes where they can just laugh and feel good rather than being all into a story shouldn't mean that audiences today are dumbed down. Some people are idiots when it comes making a cartoon, and most of them are fan-fic-hungry people who do nothing but repeat jokes already in the show with a poor script writing format and think they're geniuses.

However, there are others, like one of my friends, who enjoys watching many types of humor. One of which, includes Family Guy and Drawn Together and absolutely loved the Looney Tunes episode when the "animator" was messing around with Daffy's cartoon, and he's a great writer . If people wanted to watch something story-deep, they could watch Monk or one of the sad Futurama episodes or Arrested Development or something.

So seriously, knock it off with replying to every person who supports a show you hate and attacking them for being human and having a different opinion than yours, Jesus Christ.

You obsessively saying "FAMILY GUY IS GARBAGE ALL THOSE WHO THINK SO GET OFF THIS BLOG GAWL!!" is like me saying "TOM AND JERRY SUCKS ASS BECAUSE IT'S BASICALLY A BUNCH OF CHASE SCENES ALL THOSE WHO DISAGREE, GTFO." when really, Family Guy is good in it's own sense that it makes people laugh and Tom & Jerry is good in the sense that it has fluid animation and allows future cartoonists to study off of.

But really, trying to compare Family Guy and Tom & Jerry or the Looney Tunes is like trying to compare a sword to a laser gun. They're both in the "weapons" section, but that's one of the only similarities between them. I mean, if we're going to go ahead and stretch that far just because they're both animated shows, then lets go ahead and compare the old Mickey Mouse cartoons to the 3D works of Pixar. They're both cartoony animations, so it's okay, we can totally compare those two completely valid contestants.

As a note to the blog though that I didn't mention before, I have no idea why John K. would list "Dora the Explorer" as one of the poor animated shows. Not because I think it's great animation, but because it's a show. For kids. Kids who are trying to learn spanish. 5 year old kids who are trying to learn spanish. No cartoonist should've listed that as one of the modern-day cartoons. I mean, come on, lets just throw Blues Clues and Franklin up there with it.

Larry Levine said...

pc--entertainment,animation included, is subjective. I think Chuck Jones was the greatest animation director of all time, Milt Gray will tear his work to shreds.

I personally like Family Guy, which is why I praise it. That said, FG is also a product, which all animation (and film making in general) has always been, to make money for the studios that produce them. Even Walt Disney who strived to raise the level of the art still had to answer to bankers & RKO.

And yes, I'm glad FG is successful not only because I enjoy it, but also for the fact it keeps cartoonists working.

All this said, the medium still needs mavericks like John K & Chris Sanders to shake it up with greatness just as Jones, Clampett & Avery once did.

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnK said...

Animaniacs plays like it's made by people who hate cartoons and are forced by Steven Spielberg into making something that imitates old cartoons.

The songs are absolute torture. They sound like the kinds of songs 5 year olds write. They don't rhyme correctly and the meters don't add up.It must have been agony for the musicians who had to try to set it to music and force too many phrases and awkward rhymes into a consistent tempo.

They have every single writers' flaw in them. They explain every joke, tell you when to laugh, beg for legitimacy by having a million celebrity references and on top of that, they act smug, as if they are actually superior to something.

They make references to Broadway musicals that kids would know nothing about, and no ordinary straight person would want in a cartoon.

The voices are obnoxious, like scratching your fingernails on a chalkboard.

That whole style is completely insincere and you can tell that none of the writers want any part of it; they all wish they were in live action and are slumming having to do this low class cartoon stuff.

The reason cartoonists hate this kind of stuff sometimes more than cartoons that are drawn even worse, is because they pretend to be made by cartoonists, when the actual cartoonists who worked on them were treated like dirt.


The real cartoonists could have made better cartoons if the management was actually sincere about making old style cartoons in the way they were really made - by cartoonists, not by Scooby Doo writers.

I know a lot of the cartoonists that worked on Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and they were stuck having to draw from scripts written by people had no idea what cartoons were about. They hate the cartoons.

It would like hiring the Beatles and forcing them to play music that people with tin ears wrote for them, instead of just letting them make their own music.

That's the last I will say about it. I find it hard to believe anyone can be obsessed by such things.

Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnK said...

I should have said the GOOD cartoonists, not every cartoonist.

The mediocre ones are generally happy just to have a job.

Larry Levine said...

John, Cartoon Brew just announced that Ollie Johnston passed away.

Mr. Semaj said...

To John:

I'm not an Animaniacs fan, though a part of me wish I got into it earlier, but thank you for finally giving the Animaniacs fans out there what they've been asking for.

To Fusy:

Some people would rather stay in their bubbles of prejudice, and they're the same ones who can't form their own subjectives to begin with - i.e. Anything that isn't in sync with the gospel according to their "god" is incorrect.

He'll learn the hard way that the world can't be seen in black and white.

PCUnfunny said...

Semaj: I am perfectly capable of making my own opinions and there is stuff I like that John dosen't like, Friz Freleng for example. Next time be a man and confront me if your going to be nasty.

Dear Joshy said...

Really...
If you think about it, people..

Animaniacs does exactly what Family Guy does.

It uses campy writing to distract its viewers from experiencing a cartoon.

Which isn't to say its a bad thing.
It's just unfortunate.

Personally, Jay Ward did the same thing. But with finesse!

The Simpsons and Family Guy are xeroxed copies of Rocky & Bullwinkle.

But the toner is made of turds.

Anyway, hate it or love it, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

The bottom line is, when you mention Animaniacs amongst admirers of traditional animation, it's like mentioning Dali at a Monet exhibition.

Tell
it
to
the
judge.


- Josh

Bugs said...

John wrote:
The (Animaniacs) songs are absolute torture. They sound like the kinds of songs 5 year olds write. They don't rhyme correctly and the meters don't add up. It must have been agony for the musicians who had to try to set it to music and force too many phrases and awkward rhymes into a consistent tempo.

To respond: as one of the musicians who worked on the show and played on the sessions, I found the scores to be musically accomplished. As for the songs, yes, they had a lot of phraseology, but the meters worked and as for the rhyming, check out the finished product: the rhymes are on the money.

John wrote:
They make references to Broadway musicals that kids would know nothing about...

Response: Whether kids understand the Broadway reference or not is irrelevent. That every audience member needs to know the reference is not a criteria for a good cartoon.

John wrote: ...and no ordinary straight person would want in a cartoon.

Response: Homophobia does not become you.

John wrote: The voices are obnoxious, like scratching your fingernails on a chalkboard.

Response: The voices are fairly diverse. Perhaps a voice or two might rub someone the wrong way, but all of them? How?

John wrote: The reason cartoonists hate this kind of stuff sometimes more than cartoons that are drawn even worse, is because they pretend to be made by cartoonists, when the actual cartoonists who worked on them were treated like dirt.

Response: I have not heard this. The artists on this show were treated like dirt? News to me. How?

Martin Juneau said...

I lived in the 80's and 90's and i used to watch saturday mornings cartoons until they ended in the mid-90's but after i start to appreciate cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry and just before Harveytoons and Woody Woodpecker.

I can understand your argument John. We need real talented artists and cartoonists, but a lot of peoples looks caring only for Family Guy, Drawn Together and Animes as well they had no real storyline and feelings between the cartoonist and the audience.

Shameful for our generation! We need to bring back this cool old cartoons on Television.

Dear Joshy said...

"Straight" can refer to a person who isn't "insane" or "inebriated".

FYI.

PCUnfunny said...

"The voices are fairly diverse."

Yeah they were either annoying or boring.

Toonimated said...

You are so right about the modern cartoons. It's just not appealing to the eye anymore.

eamon said...

Practically everyone posting on this blog could do well to spend less time arguing about which cartoon is worse than another,and spend a little more time practicing the drawing principles exhibited in the layouts...I know i could use the practice.

Steve Carras said...

Will Finn, good point [you made that in 1988 in the one off "Cartoon Quartley" in a column about decline of animaiton qualities] about the quanitity over quality of characters in a series.

JohnK,, good point about the flaws of "Animaniacs" [and I recall the
comment you made under a non de plume in a certain magazine about the nails-on-chalkboard voices]. The thought of the more modenr use of Warner vintage characters ITSELF is another sore point, the one-dimensionality of all of them by the 1980s..I stayed away from 2003's failed "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" for that VERY same REASON.

And I like your "Allan Smithee", "Raymond Spum".

Happy Spum!

asdf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pokey said...

John K said:
"Animaniacs plays like it's made by people who hate cartoons and are forced by Steven Spielberg into making something that imitates old cartoons.

The songs are absolute torture. They sound like the kinds of songs 5 year olds write. They don't rhyme correctly and the meters don't add up.It must have been agony for the musicians who had to try to set it to music and force too many phrases and awkward rhymes into a consistent tempo.

They have every single writers' flaw in them. They explain every joke, tell you when to laugh, beg for legitimacy by having a million celebrity references and on top of that, they act smug, as if they are actually superior to something.

They make references to Broadway musicals that kids would know nothing about, and no ordinary straight person would want in a cartoon.

The voices are obnoxious, like scratching your fingernails on a chalkboard.

That whole style is completely insincere and you can tell that none of the writers want any part of it; they all wish they were in live action and are slumming having to do this low class cartoon stuff.

The reason cartoonists hate this kind of stuff sometimes more than cartoons that are drawn even worse, is because they pretend to be made by cartoonists, when the actual cartoonists who worked on them were treated like dirt.


The real cartoonists could have made better cartoons if the management was actually sincere about making old style cartoons in the way they were really made - by cartoonists, not by Scooby Doo writers.

I know a lot of the cartoonists that worked on Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and they were stuck having to draw from scripts written by people had no idea what cartoons were about. They hate the cartoons.

It would like hiring the Beatles and forcing them to play music that people with tin ears wrote for them, instead of just letting them make their own music.

That's the last I will say about it. I find it hard to believe anyone can be obsessed by such things."

I agree with you completely.