Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kurtz College Cartoons

Harvey Kurtzman has a powerful talent for directness in his drawings. He makes strong definite statements with very few details.
His continuity is equally direct and clear.

He is creative in the old sense of the word - meaning full of inventiveness and ideas.
He can even make crowds clear and easy to read.


He gets a lot of gags into a single assignment- all these last crowds are from one masterful illustration!


http://comicrazys.com/2010/05/15/the-missing-art-of-harvey-kurtzman-varstiy-magazine-spreads-harvey-kurtzman/

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of ComicsGrasshopper and the Ant by Harvey KurtzmanThe EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales Volume 1Harvey Kurtzman's Jungle BookMad Strikes Back: Mad Reader, Volume 2Inside Mad: Mad Reader, Volume 3 (v. 3)Utterly Mad: Mad Reader, Volume 4The Mad Reader, Volume 1 (Mad Readers)The Son Of MadLittle Annie Fanny, Volume 1Little Annie Fanny, Volume 2: 1970-1988Playboy's Trump! The Complete CollectionHumbug (2 Volume Set)

22 comments:

Luis María Benítez said...

Never heard of him before. This blog is like going to school. I'm going to look for more of his stuff. Thanks John!

Shea said...

Reminds me of the kind of situations I used to draw as a kid. The absurdity in some of the characters is very nostalgic for me. I don't know where that went. I want it back! These have motivated me to harken back to my youth :P

AtomicTiki said...

Wow! These are great, I had no idea his work was so prolific, I've seen it and it's influences in a lot of places.

Outstanding!

HemlockMan said...

I met Harvey Kurtzman once. In Florida. He was probably the sweetest cartoonist I ever met.

Roberto Severino said...

Kurtzman is one of the few cartoonists I can think of who can even draw funny, well-drawn crowd scenes like the ones in these college drawings. I could never draw crowd scenes for crap, so this is very inspiring.

If I had the money, I would definitely all those Harvey Kurtzman books you linked in the post, and eat up all the great artwork in them, but alas, I definitely wouldn't be able to afford it all.

Thanks for giving all of us a break from that eyesore you posted yesterday. Who gives a "Shrek" about that garbage?

Elana Pritchard said...

freakin awesome

Eric Noble said...

This is all pretty kick-ass cartooning. Harvey Kurtzman is fast becoming one of my ultimate heroes of cartoons and comics. I know that if I work hard, I will one day have half the talent that he had. Thank you for sharing these with us John. You always manage to provide such inspiration to me.

Whit said...

Kurtzman was also a top notch layout artist for other cartoonists. He helped keep their staging clear.

Ray said...

Kurtzman was sort of before my time, but I grew up on another MAD artist whose work was very similar, Sergio Argones. Now I see where he was influenced. Thanks.

Fábio Oliveira said...

Wow, nice post...Great inspiration.

This is a part of my work: www.desenhafabio.wordpress.com
I´m trying to live as a cartoonist here in Brazil.
I´ll be glad if you could make me a visit. I´m beggining a new carrer, and it´s very important your oppinion! Tanks master!

Um forte abraço ([],s)!

Fábio.

talkingtj said...

you ever notice how the artist who are able to fit so many characters/situations into their work keep it simple and not so detailed while these complex modern artist are so hyped on as much detail as possible that your eyes cant scan it all and it often seems/is cluttered? alex toth had one major rule-k.i.s.s keep it simple stupid!

Niki said...

I really like the two-fisted tales, I read whichever ones I find. I Haven't found many though.

thomas said...

I think you can kind of compare Kurtzman and Milt Gross in that they have so much going on in a single frame and that it all expertly composed. The action in Gross is only more unhinged and expressionistic.

RooniMan said...

Kurtzman's layouts are beyond compare.

Zoran Taylor said...

@Thomas - Kurtzman's cartoons sometimes look to me almost like tight cleanups of Gross doodles. They have somewhat similar styles.

Chris said...

I was annoyed that these weren't included in The Art of Harvey Kurtzman. My own copies are very brittle, as you can see. I lost some more of the edges taking them out of the sleeves, scanning and returning. I won't be doing that again.

There's a lot more that The Art of book is missing. Search Ger's blog for more great Kurtzman goodies, chief of all, the elusive Madison Avenue Magazine comics.

SandraRivas said...

I am so glad you are showing us more amazing cartoonists such as Kurtzman!

This is better than what I learned in my college.

I hope one day I can buy all of his amazing art books.

Reg said...

These are so great; the drawings are fabulous, on every level.

Has anyone seen these London 2012 Olympic mascots? It's the worst character design I've ever seen.
http://tinyurl.com/2d3ejqr

raul said...

ey
maybe you are interested in this picture of the coyote
it is a future short!!!!!

http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/20looney4-popup-550x234.jpg

Nate Bear said...

Oops. I meant to post that on the other post. ungh....

Nate Bear said...

AUGhgh! :P

A couple months ago, as an alum of SVA I was able to attend this semi recruiting/this-is-what-it-takes-to-work-here even that Dreamworks did at the school's new theater. I arrived about 10 minutes late, just tin time for them to show the "creative" process for a scene from the new Shrek. Of course they showed the storyboards with the actors' voiceovers first.

Those drawing were actually amazingly appealing and funny. The storyboard artist's take on the characters (Shrek and Rumple Stiltskin) were very cartoony and expressive. The gags were rendered hilariously. Even the timig was funny. (pretty good for a cartoon essentially running at about 0.04 frames per second!)

Then they showed the same scene in various level of CG renderedness. And jeeez, they ruined all the fun. By the time they got to the fully rendered cinematic version, tHe uncanny valley never ran so deep. Trying to imagine these robo-beasts as believable characters was out of the question. Half the gagas were bare a tenth as funny because all the exaggeration and funny facial expressions were halfheartedly forced upon their inflexible wire-frames. Even the timing of the gags were ruined, because all the movements were overly smooth.

It was basically a first hand look at how great cartoons can be ruined by the modern studio system.


The rest of the program was a series of examples of "good" demo reals of recently hired students. Some of them were much more imaginative and fun than anything I've seen come out of Dreamworks. I think the industry would be better off if a bunch of new animation grads were able to form their own studio from scratch rather then have to work for the few established studios who seem to only have a capacity for smooshing potential and imagination.

seckscab said...

You can definitely see Kurtzman's influence on Terry Gilliam, who worked for him prior to Monty Python. Gilliam's actual cartoons (not just the cut and paste shtick he did) were very similar in design.