Friday, April 24, 2009

Unique Color By Mel Crawford In Touché Turtle

Kali scanned her whole book for me just so I could rave about how much I love these paintings.
Mel Crawford is my favorite cartoon book painter anyway, but this book is one of his particularly striking ones, just for color.
His colors baffle me. I don't know what theories he uses to pick and combine them with.
They are totally unique to him.

He never uses the actual colors that the characters are in the cartoons, which is to his credit, because that makes the books all the more fun. Like Hanna Barbera candy.

Everything reads perfectly, even with all the odd color mixtures.

Look at the neat colors in Dum Dum's butt. A dull grayed blue, and on top of that a sort of pee beige. Who would think of combining those 2 colors?

All this stuff is just too happy in its weirdness.
I just have to stare at this stuff because it's so original and surprising. Look at the colors of the bed covers and the bed posts. They give me a piss-willie.
You now, the cartoons these are based on are pretty bad, but they are designed by another genius - Ed Benedict. Just having good design sure does a lot for a cartoon - and its spinoffs like these kids' books.






All this cool stuff was made for the most pampered generation of kids in history.

Then they grew up and made everything bland, so no other kids could ever have as much fun again. Go figure.

Bonus


This one below is by a different painter - I think Paul Julian - also very nice.


14 comments:

Aniforce said...

Great drawings. I like the turtle and the dog in these illustrations better then in the animations

Kali Fontecchio said...

I experimented with blue and beige after looking at this again- they were made for each other!

pumml said...

Thank you John and Kali for putting up the scans of this terrific book! John,

I've been trying to study Mel's color use lately... for his cartoon books, it seems like he used his great taste to ask, "What would make this image more lively and fun?". At each turn he puts down an unexpected color to soften or strengthen the color below (or next to it). Never simply a tint of the base color, never overdone, and always pleasing. Something Art Lozzi was always great at, too.

I've recently done a tribute painting to one of my favorite Mel Crawford books for an upcoming show. I'd be happy if you took a look: Magilla Gorilla.

smbhax said...

I wonder if he had a background in oil painting. In paint, if you wanted a dull green like Dum Dum's butt in the lower right corner of that page, you might mix that dull gray-blue and dull beige to get it--but when you're coloring dry, like he may have been for this book, instead of just mixing them uniformly, you can brush one over the other, so the contrasting colors are both visible at once, making it more exciting to the eye.

DuckTwacy said...

WTF is a piss-willie?

Gina said...

I love this sort of painting, and these are some adorable illustrations!

I've been wondering, though - what sort of paint is usually used? Gouache? Acrylic?

MLP said...

All this cool stuff was made for the most pampered generation of kids in history. Then they grew up and made everything bland, so no other kids could ever have as much fun again. Go figure.Yeah, but this was also the generation of kids that started to have educational TV imposed upon it during cartoon time by parental decree: the Mr. Whoopee segments on "Tennessee Tuxedo", the Weisenheimer segments on "The Funny Company", and "Schoolhouse Rock" interspliced with Saturday morning cartoons. So in consequence we grew up with the notion that parents should spoil the fun -- for the kids' own good, of course. Here in Chicago, this reached its logical conclusion: mandates about educational content in kids' TV programming helped to destroy all of the classic WGN kids programs of my youth (most particularly "Bozo's Circus") Small wonder, I say, that we gleefully ruin everything for subsequent generations of kids...

R.Dress said...

Eye Candy Indeed. He's the best.

Ahahnah said...

Those are appealing. I think he is using cooler colors (push back) and warmer colors (push forward) to add the sense of depth.

drawingtherightway said...

Why didn't they use these colors in the actual cartoon? In fact is it even possible to use these colors in an actual cartoon? Sorry if its a stupid question but I ask this because off hand, I can't think of a single animated cartoon in history that looks like these images(even golden age toons).

Kerssido said...

I approve of any artist who draws cute turtle characters. And the colours are amazing--very soothing.

patrick said...

thanks for posting these, I want to try painting some!

Whitney Pollett said...

These colors are so sweet. They instantly make me feel like I'm in a more innocent time. Winnie the Pooh makes me feel this way too.
siiigh

Daniel said...

This stuff is fantastic. Aside from eBay, where I'd have to search specifically, is there a place I can track down all these old books?