Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Amateur Cartooning at its Best

I think there is definitely a place for amateur cartooning. In fact, every pro was an amateur at one time. Even Frank Frazetta probably drew awkwardly when he was 5.Doing cartoons on no-name brand products in dollar stores is a good way to break in young cartoonists.One of the best places to find wonderful amateur cartoons is on store windows at Christmas. You gotta start somewhere! Hey, do me a favor and take some pictures of store windows near you and upload 'em and send me a link. I could make a best of Christmas post!
I remember we used to laugh at amateur art when it appeared on so-called professional products. I would have found this box art completely hilarious when I was a teenager, but now if you saw this design on an animated movie poster at a bus stop, no one would bat an eye. This would also be considered totally acceptable on a name brand cereal box or on television, so it's not quite as funny as it would have been 30 years ago.

This Mexican ice cream bar is still funny though. Thank God, someone is hanging on to culture.

32 comments:

Kali Fontecchio said...

And the eyes were gumballs. MMmmm.

The Butcher said...

I still find some crappy drawings hilariously bad. That tiger on the cereal box is histerical.

My brother and my friends used to sit around doing really crappy drawings. We would say something random like "nuclear shit man" and speed draw what came to mind. My brother's was the worst, therefor the funniest. He drew a soft serve turd with protective clothing on like at a nuclear power plant. We found it hilarious.

Evan said...

haha i remember those bugs bunny popsicles. looking at it now tho... how weird is gray ice cream...

Toncho said...

Exactly, when it has the word "Amateur" in it, it is conceivable... When they copý-paste into feature films or TV series it becomes insulting.

Keep sharing the bitterness Mr. K!! (Just kidding)

Zach Bellissimo said...

John, I would love to see your own renditions of amateur cartoons. Being a skilled cartoonist and all, it might be interesting to try to draw like an amateur, don't ya think?

The Butcher said...

"Exactly, when it has the word "Amateur" in it, it is conceivable... When they copý-paste into feature films or TV series it becomes insulting."

That's very true.

Kris said...

I'd still laugh my ass off if I saw that tiger in the cereal aisle.

Severin said...

What a coincidence! I'm getting the chance to paint my amateur art on a restaurant wall soon!

The owner wants me to trace some frog cartoons she found printed on a blanket, but I'm going to try and convince her to let me freehand my own, non-stolen frog designs. If you're interested, I can post pictures when I'm done!

The Butcher said...

"John, I would love to see your own renditions of amateur cartoons. Being a skilled cartoonist and all, it might be interesting to try to draw like an amateur, don't ya think?"

Oh, but he has done that.

http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2006/03/barber-shop-3-funny-pages-aint-funny.html

Sean Volpicella said...

Oh god, Bugs.

Oh god.

thomas said...

Its great that the tiger's (?) whiskers are so far apart, and not on its muzzle! The vest is even greater, with the tiger stripes that have morphed into lightning bolts, and its the greatest, that his vest is open... more sexy! ... It's Grrreat!!!!!!

Daniel said...

I always thought those ice creams tasted so chemically. I liked the gum balls though.

Here's some Reluctant Dragon Studies. Are you accepting any more people into Cartoon College?

Mr. Tat said...

Even great artists have their beginnings.

There could, maybe, one in a trillion, be the possibility of someone drawing with the non dominant hand. Or armless?

martinus said...

A couple of years ago I came across a collection of South African "underground" cartoons. We hve some amazing political cartoonists here, but no notion of alternative comic art. I bought it immediately(I was fooled by the shiny cover illustration) and on the one hand I was severely disappointed at how horrific 95 percent of the content was. However, in hindsight, those awful cartoons have given me lots more laughs than lets say a mediocre collection would have.

PowerRangerYELLOW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PowerRangerYELLOW said...

Hey Butcher,

real amateurs create accidental humor and will often do things in a unconventional manner since they don't know anything else.

a professional can never truly replicate what makes the amateur's work unique in the first place.

This is why creative endeavors that are genuinely bad are so much better than creative endeavors that are intentionally bad.

Niki said...

Best thing about the cereal, is that's the same kind I buy.

mr paal said...

I love this stuff it's so endearing :)I've been collecting off model/amateur art from the haven of the genre - ice cream vans in the UK!

This is my favourite:
(second post down)
amazing tom and jerry

The Jerk said...

here's an example of extreme (and hilarious) amateur art in "professional" places"
http://x41.xanga.com/822c2af4c2130179095004/m136711660.jpg

C said...

I think I prefer the Giant Tiger mascot to that thing!

Steve Hogan said...

Man, I would not stick my tongue onto anything with eyes like that.

Pete Emslie said...

The Forelli Frosted Corn Flakes Cat is my favourite cartoon character of all time. He's just so cool when he takes a big spoonful of Frosty Corn Flakes and then exclaims (in his hip 'tude slacker voice) "They're Grrrrrrooooovy, man!"

That dude is awesome...

John_Fountain said...

Call me a dweeb, but I absolutely LOVE "amateur" cartoons!
There's something extraordinarily heartwarming about cartoon drawings that are rendered without a hint of cynicism or pretension.
I truly see it as great art - no "irony" or "kitsch" attached... I honestly love it. Say what you will about the obvious "flaws" of that Santa Claus painting, but it has a sincerity that you simply can't find in hipster art galleries that showcase ten thousand Ryden clones.
As a kid growing up in my tiny hometown of Kalamazoo Michigan, I was always "the one who could draw" and was consequently tapped to do a million church newsletters, store signs, bake-sale banners, etc.
So when I see stuff like this, it just makes me smile. It makes me think that SOMEONE out there is probably very tickled that they got to put their creative inclinations to use and the praise they receive from their grandparents for the poster for the charity rummage sale is every bit as legitimate as some art-snob telling you that your work is "evocative" (if not more so).
Sure, they may not go on to have a "career" in art/cartooning, but so what? If you can make someone happy with a drawing, then I say that's "mission accomplished."

Whit said...

"...a professional can never truly replicate what makes the amateur's work unique in the first place."

Here's ONE way a professional can sort of replicate an amateurish style: draw (or better yet, animate an entire film) with the non-dominant hand. When a naturally right-handed artist forces him or herself to draw left-handed (or vice-versa), the result may be shockingly unexpected enough to enter in an independent animation festival and even win. This fine trick will not work on people who are ambidextrous for obvious reasons. If you draw with both hands and want to draw really bad, you'll have to hire people standing in front of Home Depot, just like Hanna-Barbera used to.

Thomas said...

Three pictures of Christmas decorations by Belgian cartoonist Jean Deras. (Click on the first pic to see the other two.)

www.stripster.nl/pagina.php?id=676

Honestly, I don't think these are bad. They look very fun to me. But amateur Christmas art is what you asked for!

SandraRivas said...

When I was little, I was always afraid to eat ice-cream of my favorite cartoons for some odd reason.

Elana Pritchard said...

God, I would kill to design a generic cereal box.

The Artist Aficionado said...

To think these people can be found almost anywhere on Deviant Art.

Jason White said...

that's so funny! i just did some holiday window art for the first time for a local coffee shop. i just posted some pics. it was fun to do.

Matt said...

I know if any one of me or my friends saw that cereal box, we'd be laughing for hours on end, if only at the fact that the tiger appears to have just sampled some marijuana.


They're Grrrrrrrrreat!

Waqas Malik said...

love the eyes on Bugs! there looney, just like the character.

furrykef said...

The cereal box didn't strike me as bad immediately. If I'd seen it at the store instead of here, I'd probably have thought nothing of it.

So I'm taking a closer look and the problems are just getting more and more obvious. I'm going to post a critique of it, just to force myself to identify all the problems. (Also, it may be of use to people who are even less skilled than I am -- not that many such people read this blog. ;))

What I see is...

First, there's the line work. Most of the lines are extremely thin and uniformly so. This makes the shapes stand out less and is not particularly appealing to the eye. The forearms and hands in the foreground are much bolder. This isn't a bad idea, but the contrast between the thick lines here and the thin lines elsewhere is comical. The lines are also not very well controlled. They wobble and shake in a way that does not seem very intentional.

His right arm (our left) looks very strange. It does not seem connected to his shoulder in any way.

Similarly, the foreshortening at the elbow of his other arm does not look quite right. The forearm seems shorter than the upper arm. His arms might also be altogether too short.

The facial expression does not seem to convey anything at all. What does it mean? At least Tony the Tiger's expression is recognizable as some kind of excitement.

There's something really odd going on with the shape of his eyes. And what are his eyes looking at, anyway? Doesn't seem to be the viewer or the cereal.

The pose is dull. It looks like it's trying to convey some dynamism, like a fighting stance, but it has none of the tension or intensity of a fighting stance. The pose and expression together remind me of someone who's bored or sleepy -- probably both -- and just phoning in his performance. The pose also does not read well in silhouette.

I have no idea what the lines on his torso are. They don't seem to be tiger stripes, or do they define the shape of anything I can identify. The shirt doesn't look very good either... the V shape seems to taper much more steeply on the right (our left) side than on the left. This could possibly be chalked up to perspective, except this drawing is screwy enough that we can't even be entirely sure what angle the torso is supposed to be.

The species is unidentifiable. What kind of creature is this? The stripes on the forehead suggest a tiger, but it doesn't have the right ears for it, nor are any other stripes visible. There might be one on the underside of his left arm, but it could just be bad inking. The character design suggests something more like a puma or something.

Well, did I miss anything? :)