Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tiny Toon's Ideal 1

Tiny Toons began with a blasphemous premise but some lofty ideals that I agree with. The crew - as Jorge pointed out, was put together mostly from the Mighty Mouse and Beany and Cecil crews. It was quite a star list of talent they had.

The cartooniest and most enthusiastic artist was Eddie of course. Here are some of his sketches of the Looney Tunes babies.This Bugs character looks pretty conservative for Eddie. They are really good, but I'm surprised he had to write "acceptable off-model". I wonder who needed to be convinced it was acceptable? I bet the model department wasn't!
I really like Eddie's Porkys. These show a special love for the character.
You gotta be a real cartoonist to realize the creative beauty and humorous potential of Warner Bros.' seemingly most conservative character.
These are some great poses below. It's weird to see Porky wearing pants, but somehow Eddie manages to draw him as if what's under them is aching to come out. He knows what people like about Porky.

You know somebody can really draw if they like to do back poses - and can make them funny! Many artists are afraid of drawing characters from the back - not Eddie. He embraces the backside. This Porky below is really appealing. Damn those pants!
Here is definite proof that Eddie can draw cute!
I love how he can get perfectly clear poses, construction and attitudes in just a few lines on a tiny thumbnail drawing. Eddie's storyboards are super fun to lay out, because he's done the hard part for you. I don't know how you can go wrong with storyboard drawings like this.
Story Artists No Longer Are Allowed To Tell Stories

Nowadays, they make the storyboard artists not tell stories anymore and do something totally irrelevant to the job instead. Guys who should be staging and writing the gags are too busy cleaning up their tiny drawings and drawing complete detailed backgrounds to have time to think about story. No job category does what it was invented for anymore, it seems.

Here's the Daffy character looking much better than I ever saw him on the screen
He had a really bizarre design in the cartoons. - a giant brain with a tiny little vestigial beak. (I did a bunch of giant brain tiny Toons drawings making fun of it)
Eddie was one of the first directors during the idealistic days of Tiny Toons' birth. (Or reincarnation) He was the perfect choice. He had a unique "voice", a strong individual drawing style and a really funny way of seeing the world - as you all know from his genius theory blog. Plus, he knew all the cartoons that they were basing the baby version on.

Tiny Toons (not the characters) came out of the Mighty Mouse and Beany and Cecil experiments. It was originally supposed to be a continuation of their ideals - the ideals I had been fighting for all through the 80s - which were to give cartoonists back the industry that had been stolen from us and let the cartoonists create the whole thing from beginning to end. They even started by packing the studio with MM and B&C artists and "writers" - who were actually artists in disguise. Mainly Tom Minton and Jim Reardon who wrote so many funny MM episodes.

Tom Ruegger told me he loved Mighty Mouse and had already imitated it in "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" for Hanna Barbera. Being once an artist himself and having some sympathy for us, he said he believed in the same things as I did, and he set up the studio for WB and Spielberg. Steven himself is a big cartoon fan and wanted cartoons done the way they used to be done at WB's original studio, not some crappy Saturday morning thing that was just like everything else.

Tom started with my adapted-to-TV unit system and doing layouts in-house (which everyone else was doing overseas) and having artists write the cartoons. I think they still used scripts like we were forced to on Mighty Mouse and that may have been the parasitic worm that eventually devoured the system.

This was all happening at the same time Spumco was starting production on Ren and Stimpy, and once we got into heavy production I began stealing many of my artists back from Tiny Toons and installing a more advanced artist/unit system. There was a lot of overlap between the 2 studios.

I'll show you some more takes on the same characters Eddie drew by other well known cartoonists.

...and tell more stories. Eddie, you can correct me if I get anything wrong. Or Tom or anyone else that worked on that first season in paradise.


Jenny Lerew said...

You should have done this post years ago. ; )

Eddie's TT boards were the most fun for a character layout artist to work from that you could imagine. Really a visceral pleasure.
That's all the more impressive considering how good all the other board artists were that there at the time-like Bruce Timm and Barry Caldwell and pretty much everyone.
It was a real eyeopener that the shows that came back looked almost nothing like them (with a few exceptions) but no one could fault the great finesse of the original boards.

JohnK said...

Hi Jenny, I would have, but I didn't know I had all these xeroxes until I started digging up art for my book.

Hey, do you remember how many cartoons were picked up for the first season?

Your pal,


Amanda H. said...

Oh man, I used to watch Tiny Toons all the time way back when.
...I feel old, lol.
Although I'm hard pressed to remember anything specific...I think they had a baby version of the Dodo bird, am I right?

Paul B said...

I love the way Eddie can separate two characters when they are together, and with just a few lines!

I think Eddie have some of the great cartoon voices in history and his laugh is simply genius.

He made the asteroid scream in the Quisp commercial?

Do you know if Steven Spielberg liked Ren & Stimpy?

Whit said...

65 half hours was the order for the first season of TTA. They sold 80% of the market with the name Steven Spielberg and the title "Tiny Toons" alone. Wouldn't sell today, even with that big a name attached.

Jenny Lerew said...

How many were picked up? Do you mean the original ep order for syndication? Wasn't it something like 26? It must have been more than the standard 13. Minton would know that...I was just a tiny cog.

I have at least one or two of Eddie's boards somewhere. If I find them would you like to have copies--I'll bet he can't find his own! Not in his 'Xanadu' archives.

JohnK said...

I would love that Jenny! I remember too that Jim Smith did some great boards. You don't have any of those do you?

Racattack Force said...

I believe that 65 episodes was picked up for the first season, with all the animation being shipped out to different companies (some good, some bad). Never saw the characters make any poses or expressions like that in the series: that would have be fun to see.

"Nowadays, they make the storyboard artists not tell stories anymore."
As far as I know, some series allow the storyboard artists to "write" the stories.

JohnK said...

Really? What shows?

Do they do layouts afterwards in house?

Sven Hoek said...

Eddie is really gifted. HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!!

His art and his laugh are works of art.

C said...

I like how the back shots move cute. Well, you can imagine them moving, that is. It's like a pig toddler or something.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

I drew all that stuff. i was hoping to inspire people to get more back shots and McKimson-type head rolls in the show.

There's a few original poses but most were copied from the TV, mostly from Clampett and Jones cartoons. I see some Glen Kennedy pose ideas in there too. Glen did some wonderful work on that show.

I wrote "acceptable off model" on the sketches because so many artists were doubtful that the studio would accept that kind of posing.

Amanda H. said...

Did another study. Tell me what you think

SugarPete said...

"Really? What shows?

Do they do layouts afterwards in house?"

Spongebob, El Tigre, Mighty B, Chowder and Flap Jack all do/did layouts and scene specific posing on their own shows. They don't lay out every single scene in the episode of course, but most of the important scenes are done to make sure the animators hit the right quality of poses and expressions.

In terms of storyboard, At Nick the storyboard artist use scripts but have total freedom to inject lots of their own jokes. At Cartoon Network, they're given a small list of important plotlines for the episode and are free to fill in the rest of the story.

I thought you would have known this since most of your artists work on those shows mentioned.

Kristina said...

Wow, those are some super-cute drawings.

That's a good point about drawing characters from the back. It's hard because you don't have the facial expression to rely on, so the body language has to do all the work. I think I'll practice more back poses.

Kingsley said...

Hey John. Thanks for posting the awesome drawings by Eddie. They were fun to look at.
Are you going to make it to the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank, CA this weekend?

patrick sevc said...

I may regret this in the morning, but here's my first attempt at a Kaspar layout, for your critique. Thanks!


Racattack Force said...

I'm sure that Chowder and Flapjack has the storyboard artists write the episodes, with the writers just doing the outlines for them. Unsure about layout though: need to check.

Jizz Wad said...

Great drawings!

I never thought 'Tiny Toons' lived up to their intro. They'd prepare you for a wild time but the only thing that stood out was the female rabbit 'Babs' being funny. A funny, confident female cartoon character.

I'm pretty sure they used to push thinly disguised morals and social lessons too. Urrgghh.....

Oliver_A said...

The first encounter I had with Tiny Toons was the direct to video film "Tiny Toons - How I Spent My Vacation". I really loved it as a kid.

Just recently, I happened to watch it again, and while some of the gags don't hold up well, I was really surprised that it still had some really good stuff in it.

@Eddie Fitzgerald

Did you also work on this film? Was it really supposed to have a theatrical release? And who directed the Plucky Duck/Hampton and Elmyra/Jungle sequences, because I strongly think they are funny as hell.

Brubaker said...

"I see some Glen Kennedy pose ideas in there too. Glen did some wonderful work on that show."
I can't help but laugh. You're probably the first person EVER to say nice things about Glen Kennedy's work on "Tiny Toons". Kennedy's animation is often considered the worst in the show.

Trevor Thompson said...

Tiny Toons was fully aware of people's love of a pantless pig. There was an episode where Hamton ( the Porky character ) takes off his clothes to go skinny dipping and the cops show up.

He has to make it home naked the whole way and when he gets there his friends throw him a surprise party.

Dipp said...

As a hardcore fan of Tiny Toons I can say that I DID see all of these poses, drawings and expressions on the actual show.

John, I know it's hard to accept that something from the 90s that you didn't do was actually good.

I can see the underlining frustration depicted by calling these guys "Porky" and "Daffy"; when my generation clearly remember that their names are "Hamton and Plucky"

It's hard to accept that these guys started as something unoriginal and derivative, but ultimately they became their own characters, with their own clear and strong personalties that in many cases rival their predecessors (Hamton VS Porky and Elmyra VS Elmer comes to mind)

Racattack Force said...

"Kennedy's animation is often considered the worst in the show."

Never understood why everyone hated Kennedy's work on the show: I've always found it fun and lively. The episodes his company did were my favorites, if only for the animation.

drawingtherightway said...

Hey John according to it says that you were a model designer for 1 episode of Tiny Toons (Who Bopped Bugs Bunny). Is this info correct and how did that come about?

JohnK said...

I don't remember that. The only "models" I did were for laughs, just to make fun of the existing ones.

We did a storyboard called Haunted House that Spielberg liked, but got rejected by WB.

So we rewrote it and adapted it and used it for Ren and Stimpy

patrick sevc said...

I've never seen so many of Eddie's drawings in one place, it's a real treat. Thanks for the eye candy!

talkingtj said...

couldnt really get into that just seemed tame when you consider the surprised so many people i admire were on that show..were there a lot of restrictions on it?..there was one episode..the one where the duck character(child?)kept pressing all the buttons on the elevator, wouldnt let anyone else do it..that episode was both magical and real,was eddie on that one?

Jenny Lerew said...

John, you did do models for Kent on that episode. I have copies of all your drawings of the elephant...remember? They're really beautiful, stunning stuff.

Eddie, as I recall it the note about "acceptable off-model" meant that those would be the sorts of heads YOU would find "acceptable" from your layout artists, not second-guessing anyone else! You drew those for your crew(and anyone else who fancied them).

"Summer Vacation" was a lot of fun because for that show the segments were broken up by the various crews and the artists--yes, the board and character layout artists-"wrote"(i.e. sat around and thought up ideas, physical business and dialog in group sessions)nearly all the material. With the directors. The writers did also, but there was more input from us on that than before or (usually)afterwards, I think-but it always varied from show to show.
I worked mostly on the Jungle stuff for Barry Caldwell(who drected that part). A lot of the Spumco guys worked on the "National Lampoon's Vacation" thing with the pig and duck--great layouts and poses and boards in that. It really was a blast and those were good times working there-a very relaxed atmosphere and not a very large staff(including the non-artists), all on part of the 11th floor.

Mr. Semaj said...

Eddie had the right idea serving as the series' (only) writer-director, bridging the gap between the writers' room and the artists' room, something I've suggested before about other shows that fell victim to the writers' elitism.

RooniMan said...

"You know somebody can really draw if they like to do back poses - and can make them funny!"

I'll have to remember that.

drawingtherightway said...

John K said:
"We did a storyboard called Haunted House that Spielberg liked, but got rejected by WB."

I'm pretty sure that Jim Smith posted some of these on his blog the one time.

Oliver_A said...

@Jenny Lerew

Thanks for the information! The Plucky/Hampton story has always been my favourite part of this film, and you can easily tell by the drawings that this segment was developed by "the usual suspects". ;)

The fact you call the working experience on this film as positive is totally reflected in the final product. Watching it for the first time again 4 months ago, I never expected that it would still make me laugh. Thanks for some good childhood memories!

Keith said...

Love this blog John, I have been aware of it for awhile but never took the time to read through a bunch of the posts. learning a lot from just reading it so far. going to have to try and do some construction practice from stuff posted on here.

I want to make my own 2d games and since my other love is classic cartoons I think I should pair the 2 together.

Adam said...

These drawings are amazing! The acting, the posing, the energy. They are all so specific and just ooze that appeal factor. And all done is so very few lines! Very inspiring stuff, thanks for posting these. Now I wish Eddie would post more of his own drawing theories on his blog.

torquesmacky said...

You've put up a few drawings from the "Haunted House" TT cartoon before, but it was called "Hi, Spirits" instead. It looked like it paired Hamton and Gogo, and even with the freaky notions that come out of your head I'm having a hard time guessing how that coupling would work.

Roberto González said...

John saying positive things about Tiny Toons? This is the end of the world! I predict next posts will be full of criticisms.

I agree the concept was somewhat blasphemous but like I said once here I think it was a good idea to create these new characters that are very similar to the original ones but they are not them.

I mean, young Bugs, Daffy and Porky would have been better than Buster, Plucky and Hamtom if they have used designs that were exactly like the original ones, only shorter. What I mean is that to me it would have been a lot more blasphemous to give "young Bugs" a T-shirt instead of creating a character called Buster who looks very similar to Bugs but he wears a T-shirt. Something like "Yo, Yogi" is REALLY blasphemous.

On the other hand Baby Looney Tunes makes the characters SO bland in their personality that I also find it blasphemous even though they kinda keep their original designs. IMHO it would be nothing wrong with a young Looney Tunes or a Baby Looney Tunes series if they looked and acted like baby Bugs in "The Old Grey Hare".

I also think the Tiny Toons: How I Spent My Summer Vacation movie has some of the best stuff they ever did in the series. It's probably the best "Looney Tunes" movie ever done, if we talk about full-plot movies instead of collections of shorts (Of course The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie was very good). In fact, the Tiny Toons Movie is about the most similar to a not-filler type of movie I've seen in the last two decades of animated features. Everything in the movie is about the gags, there are not pathos, messages or sappy scenes to be found, they even included jokes in the credit titles!

I think it's great timing to talk about this subject now that Warners is trying to do another series with the Looney Tunes. It seems this time they want them to look more like the classics, but I'm still not very confident about the whole thing.

Roberto González said...

Oh, and Dipp is right I think...I'm not sure if they really used ALL those poses in the Tiny Toons show, but I'm also quite certain I did see a lot of them.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Jenny: Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, that was just for my unit, but I'd hoped for a wider informal circulation. Those drawings seem very stiff to me now. It took years for me to learn how to loosen up and get a more fluid line.

Dave Mackey said...

"Tiny Toons" was a great show for its time, but 20 years later some of it doesn't quite hold up. I think one of the things was that there was no consistent vision on stories - I think every day there was a different story editor. There were a lot of WB old-hands who were working on the show - Art Leonardi directed a bunch of it, and Tom Ray and Norm McCabe did a lot of the timing/slugging. I'd have to look back and check exactly who else was there, but I vaguely remember Bob Givens and Pete Alvarado helping out there.

Eric said...

NOW I understand why, back in those days, I saw Tiny Toons and said "Wow, this actually doesn't totally suck." Of course, the sarcasm was a product of the lowered expectations we all had at the time for any new animation. Thanks for that back story.

Dan said...

"Glen did some wonderful work on that show."

Well, he did in the "Gang Busters" and "Best O' Plucky Duck Day" episodes, but others it varied. I mean, it looked fine in "The Acme Bowl" and "Fields of Honey," it was rather overkill on "Hare Today Gone Tomorrow" (and a tad lumpy), and on some like "New Character Day" and "High Toon," it was just... blah!

But I bet Glen Kennedy's animation would've worked pretty well on Ren & Stimpy!

michaelschott said...

One of the best cartoons ever. Tiny Toons is brilliant. envious John?

michaelschott said...

One of the best cartoons ever. Tiny Toons is brilliant. envious John?

Powerpuff Guy said...

Did you rewrite a Tiny Toons episode as a Tiny Toons episode?

Unknown said...

Great drawings. So much emotion and expression, just like the show itself, despite some claims to the contrary.

In fact, I think these characters had more life and more appeal than their forebearers, personally. Especially taken collectively. Their relationships were much more dynamic, and the satire wink-wink industry humor really tickled me. I honestly loved this show. Wish Warner Bros. would go ahead and do a new version with these characters, like they were rumoured to be considering several years ago.