Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stimpy's Invention

This cartoon almost never got made because the Nick execs hated the story so much.
Some great Bob Camp poses I had to cut just so we could be allowed to make the cartoon at all.
They were afraid this cartoon would be too scary for kids.
The cheeriest (and one of the funniest) fellow in cartoons.

Bob J did such a great job on the animation direction and even went to the Filipines to follow it through, that I had to go to bat for him again just to get him an upfront credit. Nick always hated when I asked for extra credits. I have no idea why, but that was the case. They themselves added all kinds of credits to the show - of people who didn't do what they got credit for, and half of them that we never even met!A couple Bob Jaques animation drawings from Stimpy's inventions.

some frames of scenes I drew the layouts for.

This whole scene I added at the last minute to replace all the scenes I had to cut from the story:
I'm not sure, but I think this might be a Chris Reccardi layout.

Stimpy's Invention was 2 months late because of Nick delays and because they hated it and sat on it. The next year, they told us to make more cartoons like Stimpy's Invention and Space Madness.

Hey Vincent, do you remember any of this differently?


  1. Boy im i happy you're back with your awesome stuff John... for a moment there i feared not being able to enjoy this again...
    Thanks so much.

    Cheers from Buenos Aires.

  2. uf!

    great to see your blog open again to the public!!


  3. I loved watching specifically this and Space Madness on Much Music (I think, right?) with my brothers back in the day. Beautiful insanity.

  4. Simpy's invention is my 2nd favourite episode, next to Man's Best Friend. The emotional intensity of this is unmatched by any other series.

  5. Hey John,

    I just wanted to thank you for turning the blog back to public - when I saw it go private last week, I figured it was harassment. I'm very sorry to see I was right.

    Thanks for continuing to share your work with us. I'm more of a lurker, but I enjoy your lessons and your thoughts. It's awesome to see people in the industry trying hard to produce quality animation, instead of the same ol' sludge.

  6. John, thanks for the posts - all of them. I was unable to access your blog during the last week and it made me realize how often I use your blog for a cartoon resource. Thanks for opening it back up. Cheers!

  7. What magazine is the Spumco feature from?
    I'd like to read the whole thing.

  8. Great to see you back online, John. I've had blue meanies leave nasty comments on my blog too. Turning on the comment moderation scared them away just fine for me. Of course, your blog is on a much larger scale than mine need to be taken.

    Just remember that you're automatically above any internet troll. Your accomplishments are your own animation studio, two network shows, and basically a long distinguished career. Their biggest accomplishments............ leaving comments on your blog. They've got nothing. Most of your average troll skulks away with their tails between their legs as soon as they realize that.

    Stimpy's Invention is indeed the best of the best of the original Ren & Stimpy episodes. Animation does not get much better than that.

  9. John K's Blog is back!! Happy, happy, joy, joy (singing while in lederhosen)!!

  10. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Awesome stuff!

    I'm glad to see the blog back again, I was worried! Even though I haven't been able to stay on top of the lessons, I refer to your site constantly for help with my own stuff, and will work through the lessons one day. You are doing a great favor for mankind, Mr. K!

    I love the Kaspar sketches, especially Ranger Horst dreaming about his lusty bubushka lady.

    Josh Heisie

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Hi, I've never commented before. I just wanted to say I didn't realize how much I loved this blog till it was gone. Its a great source of inspiration. Thank you.

  13. Oh, they were absolutely right about it being too scary. That episode scared my parents something terrible; I had to make my dad sit down and watch 'Fire Dogs' before I was allowed to watch R&S again.

    The big babies...

    Really bizarre that they hated giving you credits at the start, too. You watch movies nowadays, and they seem so keen to give credits to their software designers and lawyers and janitors, until it literally takes five minutes to sit through all the names... And Nick wouldn't give you ten seconds at the beginning?

  14. These Ren and Stimpy process posts have been solid gold!

    Nerdy question:

    I noticed the different colored pencils on the Bob Jaques cleanup drawing of Stimpy. I've usually animated all in blue but I'm starting to get more into just straight up 4B or 6B leads. I was wondering what kind of pencils you guys used while animating or if the different colors were used to denote things like holds on certain body parts, color ref for inkers, etc. Or if they were roughed in blue and cleaned up in black on the same sheet. something like that?

    The layout at the bottom has such a solid feel to it too!

    [also just wanted to say if for some reason this blog goes invite only i'd really love to keep up on it. it's a huge inspiration and help. thanks!]

  15. ha and looking again i can see that the blue is to denote that the colors don't get a hard outline in the ink...hmm...

  16. On the cel where Stimpy is holding the underpant: is it a mixture between xeroxing and hand painted outlines?

  17. Yep. They all are. You wouldn't believe how long it took to convince someone to let me use some colored outlines once in awhile.

    And I never liked xerox. I like hand inking best.

  18. And I never liked xerox. I like hand inking best.

    At least you got some of that quality back with digital ink & paint, though I think that it still doesn't look as good as hand inking. In many cartoons, I like the subtle shadows which are caused by the thickness of the cel. Makes the characters feel more like a part of the scene, instead 2D layers pasted on top of each other.

  19. Thanks! Sometimes I feel like i'm working in a vacuum and it's nice to get info from people outside my sphere on things like pencils and paper etc. I'm getting excited for this book of yours!

  20. Yes. The main note I remember on Stimpy's Invention, was the reaction to Ren smiling so wide that the top of his head separated from his lower jaw, and bounced around like a happy cork. That was just too horrible and jarring to air.
    But I would only get the first wave of S&P notes. If I couldn't convince the powers that be that their notes were hurting the show. It would get kicked upstairs to you and Vanessa to wrestle over.

  21. Might I say i adore this Cartoon, and second. I was almost going to cry myself to sleep fo rthe next few weeks if this wasn't open again, so thank you Mr. K We missed you very much ;)

  22. Yay! Your blog is back up! Please keep it this way, I'll probably sulk for the next few years if it closes permanently. :<

    That's weird, too; I was just watching this episode when I thought about your blog.

    Also, Stimpy's Invention made me smile so much. It did freak my mom out, but my dad being a fan of R&S, he rolled around on the ground singing "Happy Happy Joy Joy."

    These production posts give me so much inspiration, too. I swear, one of these days, I'm totally going all out and making a cartoon that's not crap. (by which, I mean, the stuff they show on Nick and CN today... eesh)

  23. Thank you for re-opening your blog, i was worried there. It would suck to loose a great inspiration, and a great teacher.

    One of your many blog followers.

  24. I've said it before and I'll say it again - "Stimpy's Invention" is hands down the greatest creative achievement in the entire history of animation.

    I'm not joking.

    I'm not exaggerating.

    I'm not even saying it because it's a nice thing to say.

    It. Just. IS.

  25. Yes! Thanks for returning to the public with your priceless knowledge. I'll repay the generosity when I get back to New Zealand. Chur.

  26. YES! Your back! Thank you, I love seeing all your behind the scenes stuff of Ren and Stimpy. I can't wait for the Spumco book!

  27. Thats funny that Nick hated this episode so much,Stimpys Invention and Space Madness were my favorites.
    I am curious as to what the scenes were that you had to cut to appease the Nick execs,could you clues us in?...I'd like to know what kind of inspired mayhem we missed out on.

    P.S. Glad you made your blog available to us all again,when I checked this morning it was private invitation only.

  28. "The next year, they told us to make more cartoons like Stimpy's Invention and Space Madness."

    Isn't that ironic? When Nick started up Games(sic) Studios, they did try their hands at cartoons like the afterformentioned (see: 'Ren's Brain', one of YOUR fine ideas, and that Scottsman in Space dealio). And, apologies in advance to anyone offened, look how THAT turned out.

  29. Great to see you back, John!
    I was so bummed because I thought you would never come back. But at least now, everyone doesn't have to worry. Thanks and never stop what you do best!
    As for the post, those "extreme"-Ren-Drawings are just genius. It' a shame most of them couldn't be used.

  30. I'm so glad you're back! This is my favorite art/cartoon related blog and I've learned so much. I'd hate to see all you have to offer here be gone.

    p.s. wordpress, bloggers competitor, has a feature that allows only those with previously approved comments to leave comments. It might mean less comment management time. Supposedly it's easy to move a blogger blog to wordpress.

    Happy Happy Joy Joy!!!

  31. "Great to see you back, John!
    I was so bummed because I thought you would never come back."

    John was gone? I just know that, yesterday, the blog was blocked off to all but invited readers. Horrors! What does one have to do to be invited, anyway?

    I have been reading John K. Stuff for about a year now. I've learned so much about drawing and of the industry's character through these posts. To block it off except to the elite would be cutting off a wealth of knowledge and inspirational material for everyone. Glad to see that's not the case.

  32. You really know you like something, once it's gone. So I'm glad you're back on track - Thank you alot for your wisdom

  33. I'm glad I checked the site again. I thought it had gone private. Was that a decision to go that way, or a glitch? As I've said before, even though I'm not a graphic artist I get a huge amount of inspiration from this blog. It gets the brain sparking.

    Yes, "Stimpy's Invention" is my second favorite Ren & Stimpy cartoon, also. Second only to "Space Madness". And I like it for most of the same reasons--funny visuals, hilarious audio, and a super-great song! Who can forget that song? I know I can't! I've tried! I've tried! I've tried to forget it! But I can't!

  34. Great to read you again!
    "Stimpy's Invention" This is my favorite episode along with "Space Madness",they have everything good!The very first time I saw R&S it was on Nick TV messages,so I was very curious about this Picasso Style noted on Ren's Mad Expressions,somewhat like the famous painting Les Mademoiselle D'Avignon,so I discover this amazing cartoons,but also I found something more interesting,they also know how to talk about philosophy,one about a "Controlling Happy Helmet" and the other the idea to put a real "History Eraser Button".

  35. Phew, i was afraid i would never be able to read your blog again!

    What made you put your blog on private?

  36. it's a joy to see your blog open to public again john! if you could, please don't turn the account for invited readers again? please?

  37. Stimpy's Invention and Space Madness are still my two favorite R&S cartoons!

    Thanks so much for bringing your blog back to the public. I did assume you had taken it private because of a few bad apples and I crossed my fingers and hoped it would be back. I don't comment much but always follow what you post and always learn something. Good to have you back.

  38. Thank God you're back! This blog is a treasure. Clearly no one else is capable of guarding the extremely dangerous Cartoon Eraser Button.

  39. Ren's walk cycles when he has the helmet on are really great in this episode.

    The movement and floaty bits made a lasting impression on me. Brilliant stuff.

  40. Back in the day, I'm describing the character "Menthor" from the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents to The Wife. I explain that he's a spy for the bad guys, but when he wears the Menthor cybernetic helmet, it compels him to do good.

    She looked at me and said "Oh, like the Happy Helmet".

    In the words of Robin Harris, "I hung up cause I knew she was right".

  41. Ren & Stimpy rules!!!

  42. when ren hits him self with a hammer its so F....N offel!this is such a dark colored episode of ren & stimpy!

  43. Anonymous5:31 PM

    This was my second favorite episode ("Sven Hoek" was my favorite). I still have that "Ren and Stimpy" magazine that has that "Outlaws of Animation" article. Had you really intended "Ren and Stimpy" (the original version) as a kids' show? I certainly believe it but lots of people insisted, "No, it's an adult show!"

    Anyway it must have been so much fun to work on... loose drawings. When I'm warming up to do drawings of my own characters, I actually first draw Ren and Stimpy because it helps me "loosen up" a bit.


  44. @JohnK ; HA! It's amazing that next season they asked you "make more cartoons like Stimpy's Invention and Space Madness". Dickheads. Studio executives would look great carved into chunks with a machete. Cartoons would benefit greatly. Hearing about all the great stuff that was cut makes me homeeeeecydeeelllll towards studio execs....

  45. I guess that Nickelodeon wasn't sure what kind of reaction 'Stimpy's Invention' would get from its viewers, and when it was well-recieved, and knew this darkly twisted humour WORKED, they wanted more episodes like it. The episodes only got weirder after that.

  46. I love Peter Lorre. I think he's one of the best actors in history and there's nobody today who's quite like him. His voice is often mimicked, but his talented is never bested. He was adorable, a genuine guy, and had such a distinctive face and such a gravity in his acting that while watching him I simply could not tear my eyes away. I think I love him...

  47. Cartoon history. One of the good ones!

  48. You guys aren't scumbags, you guys are awesome. Same goes to you John; your layouts are awesome on R&S no matter what.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.