Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Best Cartoon Character Design Ever


These are great to draw from. You can learn a lot about construction drawing toys...Can you believe that one of the most popular characters of all time is made up of rude parts?
This is probably the opposite of what Frank and Ollie mean by "appeal", but the sheer weirdness and humor of this design makes Popeye totally appealing. As soon as you see an image of him, you wanna know more.





A great character design lends itself to all kinds of brilliant off-model toys.



34 comments:

Cartoon Critique! said...

That second Popeye looks like he was whittled out of a potato

AdamYoung said...

True. I always loved Popeye BECAUSE he was one of the most disturbing looking cartoon characters ever.

Wilde said...

That Pop-Ice Guy is growing a hammer out of his chin.....LOVE IT!

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. R Darbyshire said...

And here's a bad toy from a bad design, as if you needed further evidence to back up your claim:

http://www.bowlingdelights.com/prod_images_large/111921.jpg

R.Dress said...

Spinach Ice pops!

Isaac said...

They still sell pop-ice here in summer.

Michael, I don't know what's wrong with that toy you show. I do know that as a kid, I wouldn't like to play with any of the Popeye toys or Simpsons toys.

Steven said...

Popeye isn't even the weirdest character in the series. The men in tuxedo in the episode (clip show) where Popeye gets an award are just plain mental qua design. I wish I could post screenshots, but I don't have them.

I don't even know the title. But while looking for the episode title I did find some interesting things I had never seen before. Popeye fighting japs and Nazis! Why did they ban that? As John has mentioned before, it perfectly emphasizes how ignorant Americans were and it depicts the ideas about the Axis of Evil back then.

Christine Gerardi said...

Wow, I really like that first one! Popeye is such a champ.

Trevor Thompson said...

The 'pop-ice' Popeye and Olive are brilliant off-model examples... and fun!

- trevor.

Ted said...

Isn't the 6th photo more on model to the strip at the time than the Fleisher cartoons ever were?

El Chongo said...

of course popey i knew that. mind in the gutter yesterday. those your toys? or mike fontenelli's

Andrea said...

Steven, those "Tuxedo Guys" from the "clip show" Popeye are Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante,and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, big stars over at Paramount. That cartoon is pretty disappointing though, because it was done during Famous' really cheap era. They took an idea that could have been handled in a much more lavish manner and turned it into one of their standard "cheaters".

Those are some pretty disturbing toys, John. I especially like the Popeye and Olive dolls that look like they're ready for bed, a disturbing thought all on its own!

Franky said...

You got me totally hooked on Popeye cartoons, John.

And why doesn't Popeye's restaurant serve burgers, olives, or spinach?

ciacco said...

These are some scary toys, Im going to draw them now. Can any one tell me how i can post my drawings?
I need John K to give me some of his wisdom in the dark art of cartooning.

glamaFez said...

Until now, I never noticed that Popeye has nipples on his knees.

Larry Levine said...

John, How do you rank the various takes on the Popeye design: Segar, Fleischer, Famous Studios, Bud Sagendorf, Hanna-Barbera, etc?

Caleb said...

There's so many things to like about Popeye's design, especially his knees and elbows. I also love how there was never much back-story. Like what happened to his eye? Why does spinach make him stronger, is it the Earth's yellow rays? There's room for your own imagination to fill in the history.

Owen said...

I have a similar Olive Oyl by Gund Toys:

http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1943/114/112/1380480316/n1380480316_30329296_9218.jpg

Hans Flagon said...

Segars Popeye recently became public domain, at least in the UK or EU. So if you want him selling spinach in Amsterdam, you need not ask anyone.

I doubt the same hold true for any additions the Fleishers added along the way.

Adam B said...

To johnK
I don't understand this blogging thing yet. Please have a look at this Bugs-drawing I tried to copy.

http://lelleadam.blogspot.com/

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Zhbt4wqikFA/SXkEbzbRVYI/AAAAAAAAABM/dk1UxRVLOMM/s1600-h/kopia+av+bugs+bunny-seriealbum.jpg

Onjo said...

I didn't know where to leave you a message, but get ready for your next topic -- Tom and Jerry are getting the CGI treatment

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117998898.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

mike f. said...

Steven, those "Tuxedo Guys" from the "clip show" Popeye are Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

It's the end of the world.

Bwanasonic said...

In the 70's, my friend Woodley and I started a virtual religion around Popeye cartoons. The *real* ones, with the opening and closing cabin doors in the credits.

Niki said...

My dad loves Popeye cartoons. He loves pretty much all cartoons, but he absolutely raves about Popeye, Bugs & Daffy, etc. Mom hates cartoons though, besides Pokemon...I think she's on the same wave link as the execs! I don't want to meet more of my mom!

mike f. said...

Tom and Jerry are getting the CGI treatment

It's really the end of the world.

Zorrilla said...

2 & 3 is one of the most nightmarish things ever!! You can almost hear the evil laugh and the kids screaming.
Great stuff!!

Zach Bellissimo said...

The 9th figure is probably my favorite. Nice shapes balanced ontop of one another. And the limited color is snazzeh.

M. R Darbyshire said...

You can almost hear the evil laugh and the kids screaming.

Only modern kids are pansy enough to be scared of these toys.

Zorrilla said...

A couple of studies of photo 1

Zorrilla said...

>Mom hates cartoons though, >besides Pokemon...I think she's >on the same wave link as the >execs! I don't want to meet more
>of my mom!

Last night my mom was watching Bee Movie on TV, and out of the blue she said something like, "what a beautiful cartoon!" (???!! hahaha)

I guess moms ARE their target audience!!

Ivan D said...

Tried my hand at drawing a few of these Popeye toys: http://ivandstuff.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-yam-and-i-yam.html

Williaint said...

You know, the original Donkey Kong game was actually based on Popeye.

krakit said...

You could keep posting cool
character toys every day and
I would be in blog heaven.

I have a great Stimpy soft vinyl
toy that squirts water from his
mouth. If you have any photos of
Ren and Stimpy toys done right to
compare to Ren and Stimpy toys
done wrong, that might make for
an interesting blog post.