Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Howie Post's Attributes

Howie Post is by far my favorite Harvey comics cartoonist. He has the most fun style. It's like he is caricaturing the Harvey house style and bringing out all its best elements.
"Appeal" is more than just a principle. To me it's the sum of the other fundamental skills. It's controlling your visual skills in a way that makes the result the most enjoyable and exciting to look at.

For me, without appeal a cartoon is not worth watching or reading. It's the appeal that first grabs your attention and draws you in to the story, to see if there is anything else that's worth your time. I know that's very old-fashioned thinking. When I was a kid, it went without saying. You read the comics and read the cartoons first because they were fun to look at. If they were ugly, you wouldn't get far enough in to find out if they had other attributes.

Howie Post has tons of appeal. Real eye candy.

Great Backgrounds
His backgrounds are cartoony, stylish and inventive. Oh... and bold!

Design and Style
He has the strongest graphic style of any of the Harvey cartoonists.

His compositions are not only totally clear functionally - they go much farther than that; they are designs in themselves.

His characters are very cartoony. It's rare to see strong style and cartooniness working so seamlessly together.

Actually all the girls Howie draws are very cute. Poil, Audrey, Wendy, Lucretia and the rest.

Howie's stories have some really magical characters and designs.

I'm going to do some posts on each of these aspects of Howie's work.


Anonymous said...

I traverse between Shane’s blog, your blog, Jim's, Chris Battles Blog, Destefano, Will Finn's (whom I greatly admire), Bob Camp's, Jason Groh's blog, and Bill Wray's….

I always gain something, and have yet to leave empty handed.

If I do work with you one day, I hope I can return the favor for the amount of time you old farts take to provide us with such valuable wisdom.

Have a good one,

From an aspiring animator/ cartoonist

Gerhard Cruywagen said...

Man this guy can draw! Such fun! Appeal could even be his middle name.

Niki said...

Appeal driven thinking isn't as old fashion as you might believe. I do that too, and next comes movement. I've noticed recently that there are plenty cartoons were the character don't even move! but that's besides the point.

I really like how he draws the girl ghost, and the old witch. I should really look into Mr. Howie.

Dave Mackey said...

It's a shame by the time Howard Post got to the Paramount Cartoon Studios, these characters were no longer being done in animation. It would have been interesting to see how he would have handled Casper, etc. as a director, vs. the staid approaches of Kneitel and Sparber.

Rudy Tenebre said...

Post is wonderful! I don't know that anything beyond these formal strengths is "worth your time".

Repulsion can also be effective: Goya, Daumier, Bakshi, Grosz...

craigp said...

His work still looks very contemporary to me; like some of the more cartoony (in a western sense) manga artists.

Shawn Dickinson said...

He draws great pigs!

Larry Levine said...

Beautiful examples of Howie Post's work, too bad animated Famous Studios/Harvey counterpart always looked so painfully bland.

Caleb said...

Damn, he makes it look easy. Did he do the inking also?

chrisallison said...

Cool. I really like Howie Post. Thanks for sharing!

Colter said...

These comics are great! I can definitely see the appeal, and the reason behind it as you explained.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Hey John, this isn't related to your post for once but I recently sort of fell in love with the idea of storyboarding. I don't know why. It just suddenly hit me. So I was wondering if you might consider doing a blog about it in the future.

I have looked for resources and found that you can find some animatics on youtube but they are few and far between. So far my favorites are actually Disney ones because how how powerfully they get the story across in just a few drawings its just amazing. I want to do that!

I also discovered that a lot of scenes cut from Disney movies are powerful. Like. Brilliant. Moving. They would MAKE the movies. What you get in the final cut is so much more watered down than I ever imagined. Its really sad to me because some scenes are just excellent.

I'm an emotion whore so I really appreciate that sort of thing. XD

Anonymous said...

Oh! I'm sorry you DID do some blogs about storyboarding, I just missed it when I was looking through the links on the side.~

HemlockMan said...

You are completely correct about the "appeal". I adored those late 50s/early 60s Harvey comics. There was absolutely tremendous appeal in the Howie Post artwork and it grabbed me and held my attention when I was a child. As with Barks being the "good" Disney artist to every kid who was reading those comics, so Howie Post was the "good" Harvey artist. I could always pick his work out from the others--and there were a lot of good artists working at Harvey. Almost everything they produced in their fantasy comics was, to use your topic subject, appealing.

El Funzo said...

Self-admittedly never heard of Howie before this post, but this is definitely the kind of comic I would've dug when I was little if I wasn't in the mood for Spiderman. Cute designs and backgrounds that accentuate the story rather then being an afterthought.

Though any answer on what exactly Spooky's talking to near the end of the post? Looks kinda like an anthropomorphic wish-bone. Which is pretty imaginative in itself!

Thomas said...

Those pigs sure are smug!


Raff said...

>> If I do work with you one day, I hope I can return the favor for the amount of time you old farts take to provide us with such valuable wisdom. <<

Ain't it great to be in touch with your heroes? I never got a word to Jim Henson or Benny Hill or others who inspierd me.

So I do sincerely thank John.

Rev. Lenny Bruce Proust said...

His pigs show a lot of Walt Kelly influence, I think. He's great.. I used to read lots of Harvey comix when I was a kid.

Thomas said...

I looked back to the great post on Howie Post's trees. The trees were one of the first things I noticed when this post went up.
He just took the opportunity to use the trees to do these abstract riffs with.

The spoonmen were like an interesting take on Snap , Cracle And Pop. Love those rocket spoons. The frame of them flying in the clouds is especially nice.

James E. Daniels said...

I've grown up loving Howie's style! I was introduced to his later stuff for Marvel Comics' STAR line. (Mad Balls, Care Bears, Heathcliff...)
Have you seen his work for an issue of Lil' Pals from Marvel Comics from the early 70's?
Check it out here:

eeTeeD said...

john k says:

Howie Post has tons of appeal. Real eye candy.

His backgrounds are cartoony, stylish and inventive. Oh... and bold!

He has the strongest graphic style of any of the Harvey cartoonists.

His compositions are not only totally clear functionally - they go much farther than that; they are designs in themselves.

strong style and cartooniness working so seamlessly together.

i don't agree.

his work was simplistic and sloppy. it went off model because he didn't CARE about his work. he has called comic books throw away art, and he has said he worked to live, not lived to work. cartooning got in the way of his true love, hunting and fishing in the poconos.

you stack the deck by showing earlier work he did for harvey. work that talented inkers like lee donahue carefully reworked to fit into the harvey house style.

here's a better, truer example of howard post's art:

simple. sketchy. sloppy.

Anonymous said...

On working to live, rather than living to work: I hear a lot of 'work worship' but most of my favorite... anybodies, loved life before work. Like Frank Frazetta.

I think working at something you enjoy, or love, is great, but the motivation for doing it should be something greater. It doesn't have to be work worship. I doesn't have to be, "I'm gonna animate a film to move an entire generation!" or "I'm going to make the best damn film I can make" and just stop there. That's work sure. But the real reason you do it. The backbone of it. Is simply to do something you don't hate, or something you actually enjoy, to support not just yourself, but people you love, I think, most importantly.

My number one motivation for wanting to do animation, art, music, any of it, is to do something I enjoy as a way of supporting those I love. That second part is the more important one. Not to be forgotten. It comes before anything and everything else. And I think its an important key to TRULY brilliant work.

If you have love, if you live life, if you adventure, etc. than it will show in your work, it will boost your creativity, your work will be a part, a by-product, of the life you live. Instead of being your whole life.

If you are making your work your life, even if its a great job you love, like animation, than you're missing something. And it will probably show in your work!

Anyways, that's my two cents.

I know its a little unwarranted for me to give this rant. But its something I find important and I'm too opinionated to shut my big mouth. XD

- T.G.