Monday, June 21, 2010

Eisenberg and Hazelton* Contrasted

Harvey Eisenberg's natural style was fairly traditional - basically very rounded characters like 40s animation: Tom and Jerry. When he started having to draw comics using Ed Benedict's more stylized angular characters, he went through a transitional period where he tried to adapt.
His clean compact and controlled compositions were evident right away, but he had some trouble figuring out how to tilt the characters' angular heads at first.
Yogi's perspective doesn't make much sense in the panel above.
His cheats became more subtle as he got used to working in this style.His staging is always very controlled and easy to read.
Gene Hazelton - who had a similar background in animation had some differences in his style. He works more on a part by part design basis. Each individual piece of his picture has a pleasing design and style, but the overall staging and composition is less organized than Eisenbrg's. Drawing your pictures piece by piece, rather than from the big elements down to the smaller ones inevitably leads to a more cluttered look.

I think Gene was more concerned about how the characters looked, and he filled in the trees and background elements in all the spaces left between the characters.
Gene's specialty was stylish cuteness. He was known for his cute kids...

Harvey's kids are cute too, but a bit more pudgy, less Valentine's card sweetness - and again he is more concerned with the balance of the composition, the negative spaces, framing of the characters and readability and flow of the whole picture.
Gene is also known for his cute women.
Here's Gene with a less cluttered composition. With cute fishies.Here's Harvey showing off perspective and his easy organization (hierarchy) of a lot of detail.
I loved these strips when I was a kid and thought that the artists must be animators, because the comics seemed to have elements of modernity, appeal and style that was more evident in animated cartoons than in the general comic strip style - which was traditionally more stiff.

another giveaway:

Eisenberg - these men have overall forms that are pulled along the lines of action. Their details- hair, clothes, arms, facial features all are kept tightly conformed to their dynamic overall statements.

Below are Gene Hazelton's men. They have lines of action too, but less direct. Their details are sticking out more and breaking up the overall flow and statement. - but each individual detail - the shape of the eyes, the fingers etc. have interesting angular shapes.
Each part of that phone receiver draws attention to itself, but the parts contradict each other and break up the overall shape of the phone.

Harvey thinks from big to small. Gene thinks from small to small and hopes it all adds up in the big picture.

*** Mark Christiansen thinks that the art I'm attributing to Hazelton here is actually Iwao Takamoto. He could be right, although it looks to me like Hazelton at least did the finishes and the faces.

Either way, these are all great cartoonists and the differences between Eisenberg and the other artists are still evident.

Thanks Mark!

Mark is a wonderful cartoonist too, so go check his blog...


Tony said...

I enjoyed reading every part of this post. Great juxtaposition

Paul B said...

despite differences, both draw very well.

I made a couple of excersices in the cartoon college

Wanna check it?

Noel said...

Could you please explain why Eisenberg's Yogi doesn't "make sense" all i'm good at seeing is if it's a nice drawing or not i would never have thought that this drawing doesn't "make sense",so could you explain that if possible.

Sherm said...

Well, they BOTH can draw like crazy. These guys are so entertainingly and appealingly solid, it's just mind-blowing.

Unfortunately, when I was a kid I ignored these comics in favor of Neal Adams and other attempts at a "realistic" look in comics.

I'm so glad people like you and Ger have championed these all-too-neglected masters.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. While they draw differently, I love both of their styles very much, and it's obvious that they could already draw well.

I'd love to see a post on Ed Benedict and Tom Oreb's styles compared and contrasted like you did here.


Hey John,

Actually, the other strips were drawn by Iwao Takamoto, and not Gene Hazelton. Gene may have done some rough thumbnails, but the final art is definitely by Iwao.

JohnK said...

Hi Mark,

How can you tell?

There seem to be a lot of hybrid strips that look like they were roughed by one artist and finished by Hazelton.

RooniMan said...

These strips are great and rich in appeal.

Jorge said...

Hey, John, a few years ago Amid Amidi mailed me a bunch of previously unseen Angel Face dailies, which I scanned and put online:

Erik said...

Haha the Dutch stereo type in their trailer... and their sons name is hans...

I am dutch, and ofcourse i always wear wooden shoes... If i saw these people in the netherlands
i would defenately think that their tourist in their own country...

Anyways, i realy like the two panels where yogi is fishing and the one where the trees are cut down. Realy nice angle and a clear view of whats going on.
I think my grandpa still has a lot of these Hanna Barbera comic books in the attic. I might look them up one day.


Thanks so much for the nice words and blog plug, John. Very much appreciated!

Oliver_A said...


Have you checked the comment with the link on your page?

Gene Hazelton originals

Martin Juneau said...

What i looking from this Yogi Bear comics is how they having fun to play with composition, perspective and angles but have the right tools to executed this without too much troubles.

BTW Mark, i seen your blog. You have a gorgeous art style and very inspiring. Your Yogi drawings have full of lifes that i wish to see like that in many cartoons re-incarnations even if it wasn't.

Taber said...

Hey John, I don't know if you're still planning on doing your cartoon class, but I'd be very interested if you are.

I've been doing the exercises you suggested and I have some images posted if you'd care to take a look.I feel like I've made some real progress from a year ago just from doing the exercises.

These were done over a year ago:

And these were done just a couple days ago:


Kali Fontecchio said...

Love that drawing with the girls and a poodle. SO pretty!

rodineisilveira said...

Jonhhy K.,

Beisdes comparsion between Harvey Eisenberg and Gene Hazelton in the Flintstones and Yogi Bear comic strips, we also have references of other Hanna-Barbera artists on these strips: Dick "Bick" Bickenbach in the Flintstones comic strips; and Iwao Takamoto and Jerry Eisenberg (Harvey's son) in the Yogi Bear comic strips.
Also we had some Yogi Bear Sunday pages drawn by Pete Alvarado.