Friday, November 27, 2009

HB Fun

Here are some neat images from 2 of my favorite sites.


I love the look of these early HB cartoons. The BG colors in 2 Corny Crows are really clever and tasty.
Sometimes I think it's harder to pull off simple than complicated.
These layouts have everything I talk about, with just enough detail to give them organic texture.
I think I will take that superficially simple "Nowhere Bear" cartoon from the other day and compare it, creatively point by creative point to some big budget modern animated executive created leviathan. Any ideas of what movie I should use? That furry picture would be good. Or the afro-'tude-frog-princess-revert to our roots and sell more princess dolls picture? There are too many to choose from.

I'll leave out the amount of inbetweens comparison, because obviously if you have an unlimited budget you can afford as many inbetweens as you crave.


P.S. Is there someone who lives in the San Fernando Valley who is good at the technical stuff I'm always asking about? I could trade someone a drawing and t -shirt for an hour or 2 of your time.


RooniMan said...

The simpler the better!

MJ said...

Why has it got to be the 'afro frog princess'??
You should watch your tone.

JohnK said...

I'm sorry. Is "Afro" now a bad word? When did that happen?

What's the correct term for a black frog. Is "black" bad too?


Sean Volpicella said...

Google "best animated films" and then a recent year and you'll get an abundance of crap to choose from.

Example: "best animated films 2008"

David said...

'Tude is alive and well at Disney:

Elf 'Tude Dude --click HERE--

You'd think after John had totally skewered this "tude" thing that anyone would be embarrassed to pose their character's like that.

Shawn Dickinson said...

All words are bad, and all opinions are bad. We should all stop talking and be robots.

Is "robot" a bad word?

joAco said...

Haven't seen Fantastic Mr. Fox, but I'm looking up to it angerly.
And I don't like that you have to compare it to cartoons, when it is not trying to be one.

It's a wes anderson movie, and the story he wanted to tell know required animals. what was he supposed to do? make it cartoony? why?!?!
Can't animation be beautiful with out been fun in the way that you think it has to be funny?

What do you think about Madame Tutli Putli?

JohnK said...

"Can't animation be beautiful with out been fun in the way that you think it has to be funny?"

Sure it can. Is that Furry picture beautiful? Looks like 70s fan art to me.

Kris said...

I'd be curious to see your comparison to either of those two movies. Fantastic Mr. Fox might be a better choice just because it's so beloved already, and more people have seen it or will see it this weekend. Most of the U.S. can't see The Princess and the Frog for another couple weeks.

The Butcher said...

"I'm sorry. Is "Afro" now a bad word? When did that happen?

What's the correct term for a black frog. Is "black" bad too?


I don't think I've ever met or heard of any black people who mind being called black. If you call them anything else, then they get mad. Afro, african american, negro (or it's ugly cousin the n-word). They don't like any of that.

I think black is fine.

JohnK said...

Hmm. I guess I'll let everyone else argue it out. I hear "afro" and "african american" all the time in the news.

I wish someone could explain why some words are offensive-especially after they have been used as the appropriate terms for decades.

There oughta be an announcement by the National Association for the Association Of Colored People every couple years when they change their minds about what they wanna be called.

I wonder when they will change the name of their association? You can't say "colored people' anymore from what I gather. Someone should notify them.

Anyway, anyone who gets mad at the use of any of these words oughta really be mad at that Disney movie which doesn't seem to have anything to do with with being black.

joAco said...

I think Wes Anderson's aesthetics are beautiful on its own. it's beautiful how he composes and tells stories in his live action movies.

When he get to do animation he doesn't betray his way of thinking about time and humor just because he can "use" the language he needs to settle his movie. How whas he supposed to it? Humans in disguise? 3D?
Are Ronald Dahl's stories cartoony?

Shawn Dickinson said...

>>There oughta be an announcement by the National Association for the Association Of Colored People every couple years when they change their minds about what they wanna be called.<<

We don't say "colored" anymore either. I was told so by a white liberal.

Sean Volpicella said...

@ David:
"You'd think after John had totally skewered this "tude" thing that anyone would be embarrassed to pose their character's like that."

I don't think any "one" person came up with that character, whoever it is, and I think that's precisely why nobody is embarrassed to have it in a stupid pose like that. It's most likely a product of a collaborative effort for some 3d movie, and nobody came up with that character for any reason other than to contribute to whatever project they're working on, so they don't take any pride in it and therefore don't care how stupid it looks, as long as it's appealing to kids. So they're okay with giving it a dumb "tude" pose. I can guarantee you it has no personality either - just look at the quotes on that page:

"I told you to pull it together, not crumble like a Christmas cookie!"

Good lord.

Kali Fontecchio said...

Who did those top pics? Hawley Pratt? Al White? Al Dempster?

Zoran Taylor said...

That first cover is the highest-saturation colour I've ever seen you post out of admiration. I actually think it's a bit much.

Niki said...

Fantastic mister Fox should be the comparison. I liked the humor a lot but the layout makes it look strange.

Trevor Thompson said...

Afro isn't a bad word, John. It's just gotten a bad rap.

Get it?

That furry fox movie looks like ripe fodder for you, but to make the comparisons to a traditional ( albeit extremely colorful ) movie might drive the point home better.

I'm offended by the word 'robot'. I prefer the term 'slave' because of it's controversial aspects and the fact that it's easier to spell.

Jonathan Harris said...

Hey now, say what you like about the movie but you'd best not be applying the furry label to Roald Dahl's novel.

JohnK said...

No, the book looks like a cartoon. A wiggly one, but a cartoon. I can't imagine why they adapted it into the furries style.

I couldn't believe the trailor when I saw it.

joAco said...

to be called "white" is offensive, I think.

I want the world to reffer to me as "European American". And just that. if anyone call me "Euro", I'll get mad.

joAco said...

I wander what kind of live action movies you find funny...
I mean, wich other kind of fun stuff you can enjoy besides cartoons.

Mr. Tat said...

I would like to see a movie that is on DVD so that you are not limited in your selection like with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. But you can go ahead and do The Princess and the Frog or Fantastic Mr. Fox since you hinted at them.

But for the sake of suggestion, there's films like Home on the Range, The Secret of NIMH, The Iron Giant, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Wall-E, or many others I have failed to mention.

I don't mean to share a hatred for anything already hinted, just a curiosity to see a thorough analysis of what works and what doesn't.

ca60gregory said...

Princess movie full of tude or not, I really hope it does fantastically well,
I suspect that if all the Disney people here in Vancouver manage get back into features, it may help improve the job market for the rest of us.

Mattieshoe said...

Looks like the artists behind the Crazyfox ads have hit the big time.

Hey, If it's good enough for a non-sustainable business scam, it's good enough for your kids!

ca60gregory said...

"I wish someone could explain why some words are offensive-especially after they have been used as the appropriate terms for decades."

I suspect its completely arbitrary, Bored people sitting around coming up with new things to get upset about.

Anonymous said...

But John, aren't you always complaining about the lack of clarity and controlled image composition in modern movies? Wes Anderson, the guy who directed the Fox movie, is the king of composition! I would've thought you'd love him and that Fox picture!

Wes Anderson's Composition 1

Wes Anderson's Composition 2

Wes Anderson's Composition 3

Trevor Thompson said...

You know, you'd think they'd do well to reproduce Quentin Blake's style in animation.

Think about it. Since the trend is to keep the original animation style as close to the original book illustrations as possible (Where The Wild Things Are, Polar Express), and no producer wants to spend a fortune on production, why WOULDN'T they do it in Blake's style?

It can't be hard to adapt Blake's drawings to animation. Right?

dave said...

i think what's getting his goat is that you felt the need to include 'afro' in the description at all, when one likely would not, were it a, for lack of a better word, more raceless frog. the flip side of that is, why the hell did they feel the need to anthropomorphize the frog with obviously black traits?

people for whatever reason, will call a white guy a guy, but when referring to other races, its black guy, asian guy, etc. like it or not, people find this offensive.

Isaac said...

Film critics love The Fantastic Mr Fox, and when this weekend is over we'll find out if audiences like it, since this is the film's first weekend in wide release. It's not much in terms of animation or staging or photography, but the acting and dialogue is poignant enough to make it work.

Mr. Semaj said...

I wish someone could explain why some words are offensive-especially after they have been used as the appropriate terms for decades.

People have nothing better to do. As far as I know, the word negro is Spanish for "black".

Anyway, anyone who gets mad at the use of any of these words oughta really be mad at that Disney movie which doesn't seem to have anything to do with with being black.

Which is probably the better choice, since people were going to complain about it being "too black" anyways.

Some people are never happy. :(

ThomasHjorthaab said...

I love when you post HB stuff man!:D...
Always great!

A few words on all that babble about white, black and so on... Can you just ignore it? If, and I say IF, you take it as an insult, can you please just ignore it? I'm sick of it... Call me white! call me Euro, I don't care man:D

And John, sorry for taking your comment space, but come on guys, do not spent anymore time on complaining about this crap, please:P

Cheers John!
Still appreciate the return of your blog:)

C said...

Quentin Blake's illustrations had a lot more life than the damn foxes in the movie. They look like animated taxidermy.

I'd say Dahl's books are probably as close to "cartoon" as books can get. He wrote for kids, not parents (and was not afraid to scare them with flesh eating giants) and the books pretty much ran on nonsense. There's reasons why he was such a favoured author.

K. Nacht said...

A couple hours for a t-shirt? You stamp SUCKER on the forehead on the way out? HAW-HAW!!

Looks like the discussion degenerates again, eh Johnney?

While we're on the topic of race, what're ya, boy? Water Polack? You have the face of a Pole. A sort of smushed elfin look: high cheek bones, smallish broadly spaced eyes almost symmetrical. Nietzche claimed the Poles were the French of the Slavs. He also said he was even more Pole than he was God-!! Tenacious folk, fer sure. Like the Irish. We know you get on well with the Irish, and the Italians. Tenacious, hot blooded races. I'm sorry, is this inappropriate?

JohnK said...

Hey Jorge, you're being sarcastic, right?

I think I'm living in another dimension than the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I read in your John Ford posts that strong, controlled composition was one of the things you missed about old films. Then along comes a filmmaker who's most famous for having a strong sense of composition, colour, and cinematic ability, but you still don't like him? Even his staging and blocking is reminiscent of Hanna-Babera cartoons, which I know Eddie hates, but I thought you liked. Doesn't that kind of thing add to the comedy and storytelling?

MJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnK said...

Hi Jorge

I didn't see any of that in your examples. Everything was sepia colored and framed dead center.

David Bernal said...

Hey John, I was going back through your post trying to figure out the definitions of some words (like cartoon, character, and appeal cause most of the definitions I´ve found haven't satisfied me for the purpose of studying animation) and although you have defined them/explained them with various examples I would love it, and think it would very very useful, if you had a post/tag with definitions of words ala dictionary kind of thing :) oh! and btw the words I am particularly interested in defining are: art, emotion, principle (like in principles of animation), caricature, cartoon, appeal, simplicity,
exaggeration (and which you think is the difference between caricature and exaggeration), readability (and which you think is the main difference from simplicity) design, rhythm, contrast, story, character, and acting. thanks! and thanks again so much for the AWESOME blog!

mike f. said...

Full disclosure: I haven't seen Fantastic Mr. Fox (or any other Wes Anderson movie, for that matter.)

That said, the trailer for the above mentioned film had me laughing out loud - at its ineptly crude characters, apparently created by someone who doesn't know the difference between good model design and bad taxidermy. Honestly, I've seen better stop-motion puppets in student films - made at a fraction of one day's coffee-and-danish budget for this film.

As far as voice acting goes, I happen to think George Clooney is a fine contemporary actor (and also an extremely nice guy in person. I met him at Warner Bros. several times.) But his voice isn't especially distinctive or stylized enough for a cartoon character. If your cartoon isn't larger-than-life in every department, including the soundtrack, then what good is it? Why are you even making cartoons? You may as well do live-action.

When I was a kid, cartoons were voiced by geniuses with unlimited vocal range, like Mel Blanc, Gary Owens, June Foray, Don Messick and Daws Butler. Nowadays, it's some slumming A-list actor looking for an easy payday, signed by a starstruck line producer with delusions of creativity.

Who really believes that live-action "name" actors hidden in the credits will add a nickel to the box office of an animated film? And why the hell are suits picking the voices, anyway? That should be the creative domain of the director.

I look at puppet character designs from George Pal Puppetoons - made sixty years ago for Chrissakes! - that blow these characters off the screen. I'm a bit surprised that more people in the animation community and commenting on cartoon blogs don't seem to be aware of that.

Pete Emslie said...

John, I'm surprised at your blatant insensitivity in using the term, "Afro-'tude-frog-princess". Obviously she should be referred to as an "Amphibious American".

LeoBro said...

>A couple hours for a t-shirt? You stamp SUCKER on the forehead on the way out? HAW-HAW!!

Umm, I hope you're joking. John puts in countless hours on this blog, and nobody gives him a t-shirt, so what does that make him? I've donated $ and I still feel like I'm getting a great deal. Wish I could give more. I would be honored to give a few hours to help him with the blog. I would if I still lived in the SFV or could do it long-distance.

Just as way to say thank you.

Yowp said...

John, too bad you grabbed the background re-creation of Huck's farm after I fixed the colour. Someone will have to explain to me why the colour on the left side of the frame on these DVDs is different than supposedly the same colour on the right side. I thought it was just my computer, but I've seen the same thing on Kevin Langley's site.

The BGs were painted by Sam Clayberger. he did a wonderful job and I'm surprised he only did five cartoons. I guess he was freelancing and moved on to other things.

Oh, thanks for the link, by the way.

And I don't get the whole furry thing. I find it creepy, to be honest.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you and Mike about the horrible puppet design, John. I also don't like the voice acting, although in this case they WERE picked by Wes and all the actors recorded the film together. The first time I heard Clooney I thought it was Denis Leary. And he uses the same actors in every single one of his movies, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, who I HATE.

As for everything being composed dead center, that's Wes' trademark (among other things) and he sort of was influenced by Jacques Tati in that respect. He composes a lot of shots almost symmetrically, even the props, extras, and sets to create a weird heightened reality. His movies aren't supposed to be realistic. I don't LIKE his movies but I admire them.

Although I like this cell phone commercial he did with Brad Pitt.

Mr. Semaj said...

Two questions:

1) Has anyone seen the movie "Precious"?

2) For those who did, how would you feel if it was an animated film?

K. Nacht said...


May I say, as a past donor, and no slouch, John receives ad revenue, donations, merchandise promotion, the inherent satisfaction of opining and airing his spleen to countless sycophants,and, as is unfortunate, this blog is the only thing preserving John K.(TM)'s currency in the hellhole of contemporary media. So cry me a river about the thankless hours he puts into sharing the priceless knowledge he has accrued over the decades FOR NOTHING-!

JohnK said...

You're assuming an awful lot there, K.

I wish it were half true.

K. Nacht said...

Well, damn me for a fool. While eating my assumptions I opened my wallet. Merry Christmas, old master, and forgive my paltry sum from modest means.

mike f. said...

[Although I like this cell phone commercial he did with Brad Pitt.]

Thanks for posting this French ad, Jorge. I wasn't aware of it before. It's basically Brad Pitt doing Tati, gesture-for-gesture.

(I used to think Pitt was just another flavor-of-the-month prettyboy. That is, until I saw his weird, offbeat performances in 12 Monkeys and Snatch, and realized he's actually brilliant at dark comedy.)

I don't agree with your assessment of Tati as a director, however.

No comedy is really trying to be 100% realistic, and Tati was definitely a stylist. But artificial camera setups and symmetrical compositions weren't part of his usual filmmaking m.o.

It's true he used them in Mon Oncle, but that was for a specific reason. The art direction of that film was related to the story - which was (partly) a send-up and commentary on self-consciously hip pop art and modern design. (Compare it to the camerawork in Hulot, for instance.)

Tati's hero was Buster Keaton, one of the most cinematically sophisticated comedy directors in history. His camera setups were visually striking and usually flawless, not self-consciously artificial. But they still always had storytelling in mind. The readability of the gag was always most important.

Anonymous said...

You probably know more about Tati than me, Mike. I know Mon Oncle is one influence on Wes Anderson, but so is The Graduate, Annie Hall, Paper Heart, Harold & Maude, and The Magnificent Ambersons. I like when filmmakers have a variety of influences and innovate more than they "homage." Wes Anderson is one of those filmmakers, and I do admire him (more than I "enjoy" him.) When it comes to aping Tati, though, I'll take Punch-Drunk Love or Mr. Bean over Wes Anderson any day.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, jeez, I meant Paper Moon! I have indie on the brain!

Mattieshoe said...

Merry Something, John!