Friday, April 10, 2009

Big House Blues David Feiss - Good action and Beautiful Graphic Style

Here's some very stylish animation by Dave Feiss.
Dave was a child prodigy.
He completely figured out how to animate on his own by trial and error when he was a kid.
He reworked his film camera so it would take still pictures on movie film, then started experimenting.
He started by shooting a new frame every 12 x or so and then saw that that looked too static. He kept doing more and more frames per second and shooting it until he came to the conclusion that shooting each drawing twice, generally looked the best. (On "2's")
He's a complete natural and seems to be good at anything he tries to do. He animated a few scenes in BHB.
He worked from our layouts and my direction but added his own touches like the bulldog throwing punches at the boys.
He was one of the first of the 80s bunch to have a combination angular and organic style at the same time.
His poses are beautiful, aren't they?


Ted sent in a couple of the layouts from the scene. These are what we give the animators. Thanks Ted!
The voice of the bulldog was done by none other than Henry Porch, the guy who picked a lot of the music for Ren and Stimpy.
Here, he read the line a little strange so I posed it out to match and Dave animated it.






Dave went on to create and produce "Cow and Chicken" a couple years later, which I thought was the best drawn and animated cartoon of the 90s.

video

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/spumco/RenStimpy/1BHB/FeissBulldog.mov

28 comments:

Austin "oppo" Papageorge said...

I noticed that David Feiss was also listed as an "Animation Director" in the first season. Did he work on the show, or was he only in the show credits because he worked on the pilot?

Robert said...

David Feiss is awesome, what he did on Cow & Chicken was pretty amazing. I just can't shake the feeling there were two different teams working on that show - some episodes were animatedly beautifully, other were pretty static. Any information on what happened there?

The first episode is still my favourite, especially Chicken's reaction in the last scene:

http://home.casema.nl/frop/cc_episode1.avi

Cartoon Crank said...

I love David Feiss cartoons. What are your thoughts on "I Am Weasel"? I thought that was a funnier and more subversive show than "Cow & Chicken".

Trevor Thompson said...

I know you're against them now, John, but I think the wonky backgrounds in this cartoon work really well.

Maybe I'm just so into this cartoon that I see it through love's eyes.

But it just feels right to me, and I don't think wonky backgrounds of this sort would work on other great Ren and Stimpy cartoons like, say, 'Ren Seeks Help' or 'Son of Stimpy'.

Cow and Chicken was my second favorite cartoon that television produced in the 90's. It seems fitting that he worked on this show.

- trevor.

Andrew Mortlock said...

The boxed off proportions and teeth, and even the eyes on that bulldog look a lot like the mighty mouse/bakshi animations.

sort of an 80's new age/retro pizza hut swatch watch for kids type of thing.

Brubaker said...

I actually remember watching "Cow and Chicken" when the show premiered on Cartoon Network. I used to watch CN all the tmie back then.

Cartoon Network actually aired some C&C episodes a week ago as part of an April Fools prank. Basically, they played the theme song from "Chowder", but rather than showing a Chowder episode, they aired a "Cow and Chicken" episode instead. This went on for several hours before things went back to normal.

Roberto González said...

Yay! More Phil!

I really like the design of the character and the poses are great, I've never seen it in freeze-frame before.

I didn't know David Feiss had worked in Ren and Stimpy until now! Now all makes sense.

Cow and Chicken was good, but some episodes had much better drawings-and scripts- than others. I Am Weasel in particular was sometimes a little boring to watch, I believe it was something about the color choices.

The pilot episode is also my favourite, it was a little more "edgy" than the rest of the series.

There was an episode of Cow and Chicken that was REALLY similar to Ren's Toothache.

My choice for best drawn cartoon of the 90s -apart from Ren and Stimpy- would probably be Dexter's Lab.

X180 said...

Mystery solved. I always thought, to be honest, that Cow & Chicken was the work of some pale R&S imitator.

Maybe it's to do with how budgetary constraints or second-string directors interpreted the concept or something, but the animation never sat right with me—it was R&S zaniness without any structure that I could see. You'd get these big deformed heads and scribbly expressions for no particular reason I could see, other than "That's the way John K does it." And Charlie Adler makes my brain hurt, I'm sorry.

Maybe I should give it another chance, but back when C&C was on Cartoon Network, I had a serious grudge against it for what I perceived it to be—a Cargo Culty version of Ren & Stimpy produced by a rival network desperate for a hit.

Sean W. said...

I always thought Cow and Chicken surpassed the others on Cartoon Network in animation quality. Always loved it, sadly now it's not showing anymore here in Japan. I haven't seen it for 3 years! Here in Japan Cartoon Network is basically now anime and toddler stories. I wish they would stick to one or the other, they both address the same audience, right? The tattered remnants are Dexters Lab, PPG, Foster's, and Billy and Mandy. Interspaced by hours upon hours of eye torment. And the daily golden nougat nugget: The Bugs Bunny show. Sadly though the features shown are all from the later period. I wish they would show some earlier stuff, like Clampett (I haven't seen Clampett aired once in my life) and Merrie Melodies. Not that I don't enjoy the McKimsons and others that are shown.

diego cumplido said...

I didn't like Cow & Chicken, I don't know why. I still don't.

JohnK said...

Dave is a very hard worker, and he did a lot of the key poses himself, but he used to also credit a couple other guys who helped him. Unfortunately, I don't remember their names.

JohnK said...

>>I know you're against them now, John, but I think the wonky backgrounds in this cartoon work really well.<<

Trevor, there aren't any "wonky" BGs in this cartoon.

Whit said...

Dave Feiss was often used as a secret weapon by lesser hack studios because he could animate entire main title sequences by himself, which always looked far better than the shows they introduced. I think he animated the "Alf" show main titles, and we all know what that show was, for DIC.

Sam said...

why doesnt ren talk when he nods his head?

Jordan said...

Dave Feiss! He's also related to Sam Kieth (The Maxx), who I think is the most unique and original comic book artist throughout the past 10 years. Any word on him, John? Feiss drew a couple issues of The Maxx as well.

patrick said...

I always loved Filth!

Trevor Thompson said...

Maybe by 'wonky' I meant overly abstract? I don't know.

Vincent Waller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Roberts said...

I am not surprised this is Feiss here. His drawing style and animation is distinctive.

Thomas said...

Is Phil a pug?

very crisp, Chuck Jones- esque shapes.

Ted said...

Two drawings from the scene:

http://tag.rubberslug.com/gallery/inv_info.asp?ItemID=145288

http://tag.rubberslug.com/gallery/inv_info.asp?ItemID=145287

JohnK said...

Thanks Ted!

I added them to the post.

Vincent Waller said...

Wow I really shouldn't wear my retard hat when typing.


Sam Ren does talk when he shakes his head. he Says: Yes, Food, Shelter.
But the sync is off on this clip.

Dave Feiss did the most extensive mouth charts I have ever seen on a television production. I think Cow and Chicken must have had at least 10 pages each.
It was a fun show to work on.

If am Weasel seemed different it was in my opinion, because Dave tapped into the always entertaining brain of one Richard Pursel. Who if I recall correctly was responsible for many of the choices that were made on I M Weasel.

Chip Butty said...

Whit: I always wondered why so many crappy cartoons had decent animation during the title sequences. Mystery solved. Secret weapon cartoonists!

Maximum Awesome said...

Cow and Chicken - the best drawn and animated cartoon of the 90s? Didn't Ren and Stimpy premiere in 91?

I'd have to pick R+S for the win - C+C drawings were sometimes too cold, angular, predictable and meaningless (his lip is a boxy shelf-shape - his teeth are sticking way out - so what, what does that mean?) - R+S poses always meant something, and kept you guessing what would come next.

Maximum Awesome said...

Cow and Chicken - the best drawn and animated cartoon of the 90s? Didn't Ren and Stimpy premiere in 91?

I'd have to pick R+S for the win - C+C drawings were sometimes too cold, angular, predictable and meaningless (his lip is a boxy shelf-shape - his teeth are sticking way out - so what, what does that mean?) - R+S poses always meant something, and kept you guessing what would come next.

Maximum Awesome said...

Cow and Chicken, the best drawn/animated 90s cartoon? Better drawn than Ren and Stimpy? (R+S premiered in 91, didn't it)?

I dunno, I always thought C+C drawings were angular, predictable and meaningless - their teeth or butts would stick way out, sure, but it never *meant* as much as a good R+S drawing - they were just solid, stylish objects moving around. To me.

I guess "solid" might be what you mean by "well drawn", but I didn't find them as interesting or meaningful.

Maximum Awesome said...

Sorry for triple posting - I guess "preview" is more permanent than I thought.