Sunday, June 08, 2008

Some Real Coloring and Kids' Books

At last Barney gets his own starring vehicle.
We didn't have VCRs when I was a kid so it was hard to copy cartoon drawings from the actual cartoons. I used to instead copy the drawings from comic books, coloring books and Golden books. These weren't usually drawn by animators (although some were) but it was the best school for cartooning I could get! - Comic strips too, of course.
People are lucky today; they can study classic cartoons frame by frame, there are tons of blogs with info about the old cartoons and even lessons. So why do cartoons look crappier than ever?


Emmett said...

YAY! Thank you for posting these, Mr. K.

I would love to see these sort of images animated. The characters look just as charming and appealing as ever.

David Gale said...

These are mighty fetching! The top 2 are brilliantly composed.

Mattieshoe said...

There really is no excuse for ugly cartoons anymore.

Any animator, cartoonist, or background artist looking for help can just visit your blog and get all the raw cartoon-making materials they need.

Speaking of Modern Cartoons, What's your opinion on "The Mighty B", John?

It's definitely the best-looking cartoon in a while. (not that that should be such an achievement.)
and I can see alot of your influence in it.

it still has a bit of residue from the Flat, symmetrical Fairly Odd parents style that's being imitated everywhere, but it's still pretty fun visually, and the Animation is good.

Joseff!!1 said...

interesting takes on old coloring books, love the first two ones, the colors are awesome,
thanks Prof.


Jim Rockford said...

Wow!,these are really incredible!

My favorites in this lineup would have to be the Barney Rubble sticker book,and the Baba Looey one!

Interesting to see Fred wearing a different color loin cloth!

As to why cartoons look crappier than ever even with the huge amount of brilliant artists from the past to study and draw inspiration from,that is one of lifes great mysterys.

My theory is that its because it takes *actual talent*,time and effort to do so,and with examples like Family Guy,American Dad ,South Park and all the crap japanimation and cgi stuff anyone who can hold a pencil be a "cartoonist whether they have any talent or not.
so they'd rather skate by with as little actual effort as possible.
Its also easier to sell moron execs on more of the same too.

I think most of them are too absorbed in this current degenrate culture to even think to deeply about the past.

Remember,we are living in a culture that embraces ugliness and lack of class.

they cant dress themselves properly,they publish "art books" on gang graffiti,thrive on irony and listen to crap music with repetitive synthetic beats and violent,vulgar lyrics.
So expecting them to be able to
respect and appreciate anything on a higher plane is asking too much.

Its only likely to get worse with all the computer generated crap that removes the artist that much further from the work.

Take a look at the commercials for "Kung Foo Panda".
more ugly designs and characters with 'tude,a forulaic threadbare story and celebrity voice actors.

People actually get paid to come up with this shit?!

I mean come on folks,we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel here!

We'll at least they get to use some more bad puns for the posters!
those are always amusing.
"its pandamonium!"
I think they have third graders think that stuff up.

Anwyay,I'm looking forward to seeing your George Liqour Show!

Hopefully the network exec's wont water your ideas down!

give 'em hell.

HemlockMan said...

I liked that kind of thing when I was a kid. That first one reminded me of one of my favorite comics when I was around seven or so...CAVE KIDS. I rarely see copies in the back issue boxes.

Rudy Tenebre said...

Aw Christ, 90 percent of the merchandising surrounding animated cartoons is abysmal in translation(e.g. these coloring books, and the old Gold Key and Dell comic stuff too) --!

Not even your rigorous collections will distract me from this unfortunate fact, John.

Anonymous said...

That's a good question, John. That's a good question. If we can see old cartoons frame by frame, why do modern cartoons suck? 1. People are lazy, 2. TV networks think that these old cartoons are "boring" and that kids won't like 'em (park a kid in front of Bugs Bunny and he'll watch it for hours on end) 3. Nipplegate. All I've got to say about that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and to Mattie Shoe about "The Mighty B: I've seen it at least twice. I admit, it has some good animation with that flat 2D FOP feel. But plotwise...meh.

Racattack Force said...

These covers are certainty amazing. As for ugly cartoons, blame Hanna-Barbara. As much as I enjoyed these guys, their many stiff cartoons of the 70s and 80s caused the kids who watched these to do some of the same techniques when they became the animators of our current time.

JonnyPlank said...

Why do they look crappier than ever? I have a sneaking suspicion that it has something to do with animators who aren't entirely focused on the animation side of animation. They do most things through a program, and treat the "illusion of movement" like a chore they try to avoid through programs that do lipsynching and tweening for you. The movements look sloppy, because they don't want to draw it all out; they just want to get the idea conveyed and move on to the next scene.

Not all animations fall prey to this, but it's a trend that's been growing. Ruby Gloom, 6Teen, Grossology, Growing up Creepie, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, Jacob Two-Two and others are proof of this. And although these shows do have their moments, these moments are created by a single individual on each crew. Only a few of the people making any given show actually seem to care what it LOOKS like enough to actually try.

And I think that these shows' "style" is largely inspired by shows like The Power Puff Girls and Samurai Jack. Super-stylized shows made by people who KNOW what they're doing; people who understand composition and visual gags.

A lot of new stuff looks like those crappy flash animations from the 90's, where the characters were just individual drawings of parts, and the computer animated them rotating at pre-designated joints.

I think the mass-consumption of such low quality garage animation on the web (Through sites like Newgrounds) may be what helped validate that as a polished product in the public opinion.

...But what do I know? I'm just a visual arts major in Canada, who has a strong interest in animation, because he's a dork who watches children's programing for actual entertainment.

Taber said...

Maybe it's simple supply and demand.

As the knowledge becomes prolific and easy to obtain, it's value diminishes and students take it less and less seriously. Whereas previously where cartoon knowledge and fine art skills were very hard to obtain, those receiving that knowledge valued it very highly and thus retained more of it.

Or maybe we all secretly like shitty looking cartoons.

Kali Fontecchio said...

You should show some of the genius coloring inside the books! Hwaaa!

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

I watched that Kung Fu Panda, and I have to say, I give it a B.

For CG, very not bad. It looked like they actually knew a thing or two about good strong layouts and visual storytelling. Plus, the opening and closing credits looked very 2D and fun.

Like Samurai Jack. And Jack Black's a real animated character in real life.

I always thought if they made a movie about Termite Terrace, Jack should play Tex Avery.

- trevor.

lastangelman said...

Problem Present! Damn, I remember that book. That was my favorite of the Rubble books. Didn't Bamm-Bamm learn how to chisel a sculpture of Barney's uncle or something? Is that your book John or is that from Mike's collection?

That character with the spats, I used to love drawing him because he was different than Fred and Barney. How do you depict a "modern" prehistoric caveman as rich or affluent, right? They all wore animal skins and furs, and no pants. I had my Dad explain to me what spats are and why people wore them. A bit of a double anachronism(?)I suppose for most kids to know - cavemen didn't wear spats and in the nineteen-sixties and nineteen-seventies, neither did wealthy people. I just thought it was weird footwear you found in comics and cartoons.

JonnyPlank said...

In response to Jim Rockford...

Actually, the shows you mentioned do have a value, but it exists entirely in their script. They'd probably do better as radio shows. (Which is actually a damn good idea) The voice acting for those shows, and the jokes are great. But the visual content... Not so much. Even their visual jokes are based entirely on subject matter, and not so much on how it is portrayed. There's no reason for it to be a cartoon, and that's the problem.

And Anime is far from crap when done correctly. The problem is that it's a dying industry, and nobody seems to know how to properly revive it. Hayao Miyazaki is probably their ONLY remaining visionary, and even he's beginning to get set in his ways as he gets older.

Think of anime as the "art nouveau" of animation. Detailed and superfluous. It can be incredible when done right... But with everyone and his dog doing it wrong, it's hard to see that. For proof, watch The Count of Monte Cristo. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. Not crazy and silly, but very dramatic, and the art follows. They break from a lot of anime traditions, and do what real artists do.

On the topic of graffiti... I like graffiti! I dare you to do anything like it! I'm not sure if I agree with the individual artist's reasons for doing what they do... But that's just the way art is sometimes. I see graffiti as a sort of new calligraphy, the young and angry expending their mindless rage on someone's home, hurting them for no reason other than to be loud. It's pointless obnoxious filth. Pure emotion and skill with a spray can, with no reason or logic. And besides that, it's pretty cool looking. A lot of graffiti artists ended up turning their backs on brick walls, and turned toward the canvas. Graffiti can fetch a pretty penny in a gallery! (I would like to point out that there is a difference between graffiti and vandalism. Graffiti is a style.)

And finally, on synthetic music. Again, I like that stuff very much. However, I have to agree with you on the lyrics side of things. I despise mainstream rap culture. I tend to deviate more toward dub, techno, trance, ambience, etc. The non-lyrical stuff can be pretty cool. I'm particularly liking a relatively new band on the scene, called Justice. I think they may have a shot at replacing Daft Punk in popularity, if they can spread enough. Another side is simply synthetically produced music, like a guy using a midi keyboard to make a song out of toilet flush and wind chime sound effects.

That music... Think of it in the terms of any other art form. Artists are inspired by each other. They take bits and pieces of what they hear and see, warp it a little, cut pieces apart, and put them all together into something new. Recycling the old into the new. But these guys do it directly! That actually take the original music, cut it up, paste it all together as they see fit, throw in their own stuff, add a few sound filters, and release it as a new song! They don't need to learn any instruments but their manipulation tools! In this way, a single artist can make music out of ANYTHING he hears! He could even make a full orchestra in his computer, if he wished! And some people have done so. It's unfortunate, though, that many in their field don't seem to see the potential in their work.

I don't understand people who say "Everything's been done". These people are either blind or stupid. There's so much left to be done, it's disheartening, because I know I'll never be able to do it all on my own! And nobody seems to believe me when I tell them how much there is we have yet to do!

Bitter Animator said...

These are nice and all but... are they really as entertaining as 'A Man To Color'? I'm not so sure.

PCUnfunny said...

Looking at coloring books like this just reminds me how dull our youth is becoming today. They are being fed junk like "broken glass" cartoons by Nickloedeon and Cartoon Network. I grew up with alot of crap in my day too but I was smart enough to filter it out and see good things.

"He could even make a full orchestra in his computer, if he wished! And some people have done so. It's unfortunate, though, that many in their field don't seem to see the potential in their work."

I don't know why you don't understand how repugnant that is. That is what hollyweird is doing these days. Give me REAL instruments please and keep synthesizers at a proper level.

Sven Hoek said...

I watched 'The Might B' this weekend and I think it has really nice backgrounds. They are very reminiscent of older cartoons. The stories are rehashed gross-out jokes mostly(which isnt all bad) and Amy does a funny voice but isnt it strange that I will probably watch it again just to see the backgrounds. That's how abysmal cartoons have become these days.


John - Not sure if you checked it out yet? I posted the complete Fip The Frog Coloring Book on my blog. Talk about loving kids? Check this out:

Jim Rockford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Rockford said...

johnnyplank said-

On the topic of graffiti... I like graffiti! I dare you to do anything like it!"

How old are you???

You have the right to like whatever you like,no matter how stupid it is.
but you sound like you're 9 years old when you are an adult and still daring people to do things!

I havent been "dared" since I was in grade school.

"Hey,I dare you stick your head in an airplanes prop while its moving,if you do it and live,you'll be a legend!"

Thats how dumb that sounds.

Sorry,I dont emulate the actions of moronic low lifes who dont mind winding up in jail just for the pathetic "thrill" of being able to impress another ghetto moron by saying,"see that shit on that building,I did that,man".

Graffiti isnt art,its pointless vandalism that costs the taxpayers and bussiness owners a great deal of money to remove.

Art doesnt "just come out that way sometimes",these idiots deliberatley deface someone elses private property.
Its a willfull act of destruction.

are you telling me they cant afford to buy some damn paper or a canvas to desecrate?
This is the computer age,they can make a blog and put their crap there if they must.

Would you like some jack ass spraying the gagage door or fence of your home?

There are all sorts of legitimate ways to "express yourself" and your "art" without doing it at someone elses expense and commiting a criminal act.

there is NO excuse for vandalism PERIOD!

FYI,In all my years of driving around and seeing crap spray painted on buildings and signs etc I never once saw anything even remotely resembling art.

All they're expressing is the ugliness they have inside.
I've got tv and movies all around that do that.
Its just ghetto crap that only means something to another low-life.

I do agree with you about "panda" and most current cartoons.
The humour is almost entirely verbally driven and could easily be done with real actors instead of having a cartoon environment.
Like family guy

Music today sucks.

Shea said...

I love it when the second (and sometimes third) banana gets their time to shine. I wish these were the kind of coloring books I had as a child.

I remember buying a cartooning book from a book fair in elementary school that showed step by step instructions on drawing classic characters such as these. I wish I still owned it.

Rudy Tenebre said...

Commenting on more old news, whew! Ol' Jimmy Rockford's Spenglerian rant (do you know who he is, my little animato-gremmies?)about degenrate culture, vandalism, lack of class (meditate on this word a bit, hhhmmmm) vulgarity in music and a lack of tradition...!! Makes one think of Ward Cleaver slipping on the arm-band and off he goes to Adolf's rally..."mit der Hiemlich bilder, und der vat's cooking doc!!!"

Bedrock Son said...

the covers of the Barney sticker book and the Baba Looey coloring book are really fabulous: too bad illustrators never signed their job:
have you any idea of who has drawned the inside illustrations of the Side Show coloring book ?