Monday, December 20, 2010

For Yowp: Look For The Low Ear

There are many ways to spot a Walt Clinton character, but the easiest trait to look for is the low ear.
If you draw a line from the ear to the nose it will go up to the nose on a diagonal.
He likes to put the ear right at the back of the head touching the collar.
What I like about his style is that it feels like a middle aged man cartoonist's view of the world. Everyone is kinda dumpy, irritable and has bad posture. I think cartoons (including comics, magazine cartoons etc.) for the first 70 years were largely drawn by middle aged dumpy cigar smoking men - it's kind of our medium. Or at least it was. Now it's more like a medium for gays, nerds and emos.
Clinton drew some of the best 1st season Flintstone episodes. He really makes Fred look dumpy. Look for the episode where he becomes a rock star - "Hi-Fi". It's hilarious.
Clinton also likes triangles.Triangular heads, low ears and a triangular nose are dead giveaways.
Here are some Quick Draw layouts by Ed. The human characters are very different than Clinton's.
Note the high ears.

Now compare Walt and Ed to that master of the primitive, Tony Rivera
Rivera must have been related to Bill Hanna or something because he ended up doing more shows than any of the professional layout artists. His stuff makes me crazy. It looks like a kid drew it.
I wonder what the animators thought getting layouts like these. This cartoon is animated by the great George Nicholas, but he is stuck using the stick figure poses that are given him.
Here's a nice hand by Rivera, predicting the 90s and everything that came afterMore on Clinton later...


Steven M. said...

Oy, those Rivera layouts are horrible. Clinton and Benedict's layouts were far superior.

Luis María Benítez said...

"Now it's more like a medium for gays, nerds and emos." Certainly, I think in the past more adults were in charge of the gags and animation. Those gags from Foghorn Leghorn are the ones you expect from grown ups, not from kids with laptops. But today.... oh today it's everywhere mostly crap.

ComiCrazys said...'s kind of our medium. Or at least it was. Now it's more like a medium for gays, nerds and emos.

John, you gotta warn us when you're gonna say stuff like that. I almost spit my iced tea out onto my laptop! =)

JohnK said... I wrong?

Ryan Cole said... I wrong?

You're right, and you're also alienating half your readers, if not more. I love your outspoken nature Jon, but every so often you should watch your language, old man.

JohnK said...

? Is Emo a dirty word?

Ryan Cole said...

? Is Emo a dirty word?

Vaguely, it depends who you say it to, really. But that's not the point, the idea of coupling the current industry that you spend so much time ragging on with the people who are reading your blog to learn so many lost cartooning practices seems counter-productive, doesn't it? Why would you risk offending the groups that animation's future greatly depends on?

JohnK said...

What did I say that was offensive?

The only group I insulted was my own: dumpy middle aged cartoonists.

Mattieshoe said...

You're right, John, but perhaps leaving sexual preference and the stereotypical attitude of gays separate would have made your point seem clearer.

Trey Brown said...

I agree with you john. Because in the context of this post it doesn't offend me. However, most of your followers know by now that you have a great distaste for modern cartoons. Saying that theyre made by gays, nerds, and emos could suggest that cartoon quality is dictated by the minority class a person classifies him/herself. But you and I both know that's not true. Right?

Yowp said...

Ed designed the dog in Heavens to Jinksy with a lump on the back of the head above the collar (in profile). I wasn't sure that was really Ed's work but I see he did the same thing with the moneybags character in Motor Knows Best. I never noticed it before. (Ken Muse must have driven Ed nuts in the Jinks cartoon as the cat balloons in one scene).

Thanks a lot for this. I'm looking forward to seeing some telltale signs on cartoons without humans (for example, Clinton's "The Lyin' Lion" features Quick Draw, Baba, the orange Snagglepuss and a sheep, another great George Nicholas effort).

By the way, judging by e-mails I get about my blog, there are gay people who like the old animation and have a disdain for today's product. Today's medium doesn't seem to be theirs.' I haven't heard from any emos, though.

Isaac said...

The stick-figure poses dominate animation because the audience doesn't seem to mind. Very few people can tell the difference between this and this. Where you see stiffness and formlessness, people just see two characters standing.

ComiCrazys said...

I wasn't offended. Nor did I find it offensive. I meant that that line cracked me up! =)

Paul Salvi said...

The GNEs have taken over everything except Mack Bolan novels.

SunshineFox said...

See John, once all the "new kids" get old and dumpy I'm sure some sense of artistic merit just might kick in, but that's why we will always need the current old men to kick us in the head till we get there :)

Zartok-35 said...

Clint truly was one of the greats. I love how off-balance his facial features tended to be.

Tony Rivera is not too good at all. Too sterile.

Jeffrey said...

Well, I'm an emo nerd who has many gay friends, and I think John is hilarious. Though, I blame the current blandness on SUV driving soccer mom yuppies ruining everything because they want to make the world "safe" (read as "bland") for their artifact children (thanks, Frank Zappa), but we can agree to differ on that. I think, not entirely, but part of the reason cartoon artists are bland is because they are being paid to be bland.

Esun said...

I dont think cartoons are ONLY a medium for gays nerds and emos nowadays. But i kinda see what John means.

This generation is a generation of softies and unsociable whimps, who will express themselfes with superficial, dumb comics and cartoons with superpowered heroes who try their hardest to look cool. Thats basically the content of todays cartoon shows.

But, as always there are exeptions in both america and japan so i dont think you can generalize the whole industry.

Jay said...

You really don't see a problem with saying "the gays"? What if we swapped that with "the blacks"? Doesn't sound so nice, does it?

Shawn Dickinson said...

"The only group I insulted was my own: dumpy middle aged cartoonists."

I'm proud of my dumpiness.

Especially if it keeps me away from drawing 3D versions classic HB characters with f**ked up human marble eyeballs.

bergsten said...

Thank you for helping me identify Modern Cartoonists. What with cigar smoking and obesity (and for that matter, aging) being politically-incorrect, it was becoming really hard to pick them out.

Are you a better cartoonist if you are all three?

Jesus. Is this the biggest thing you all got to worry about?

bergsten said...

@Ryan -- heaven forfend (look it up) an animator should offend somebody.

SandraRivas said...

I love Clinton's drawings. The ear at the back of the head is a cute style to me.

But yeesh. I almost jumped when I looked at Rivera's drawing. Way too primitive as if there are no principles or any type of appeal.

Emo isn't a dirty word, nor is it offensive. It's just another term for "depressing".

"Dumpy middle aged cartoonists". Hahaha! Well they were talented cartoonists for sure!

Nachotururu said...

word, John!
That's what you get from political correctness. Calling a thing by its name is so offensive nowdays. But nobody complains about you putting men down as much as you want, that's correct.

Sven Hoek said...

There is a certain type of person who goes into an industry that forces people into surrendering their talent and natual abilities for a bland, tired and unoriginal form. Dumpy, middle aged men usually wont stand for that kind of thing for long, so who do you think would?

Im a dumpy, middle aged white guy and I just dont have a lot of patience for crap. Its not just animation, the mediocrity has permeated the entire culture. The music business is in sorry shape, full of untalented hacks and wimps.

Sorry if that offends some untalented hack or wimp somewhere, on second thought, go screw yourself.

Bill said...

"Now it's more like a medium for gays, nerds and emos."

This explains why I always say "Nobody knows what the heck they're doing anymore" when I read modern comics, watch some of todays Reality TV, cartoons, etc.

Even car designers don't know what they're doing with all these skinny lights, little windows, and over chromed grilles.

We need actual experienced people in those fields, not a bunch of over-aged nerds that try to appeal to children or college kids.

This also explains why I don't laugh at todays cartoons\comics, and even when animes try to be "strong" it isn't just being themselves, its getting into a Spielberg level of drama and crap I don't care about.

I can see the differences in these designs you mentioned, I'll take the top ones over those too basic bottom ones.

Elana Pritchard said...

God forbid women should ever draw any comics. What a crime against humanity.

JohnK said...

Some of the best cartoonists today are women.

murrayb said...

John, sadly, I think your right.

384Sprites said...

Dude, your observations kill me (in a good way). Great stuff, I love the comment about the "emos". I'd dig hearing your take on 90s cartoons after reading that last statement.

murrayb said...

I got it from here, to be fair, there is tons of good stuff up there, some of it drawn by dumpy old men.

Raff said...

>> It's kind of our medium. Or at least it was. Now it's more like a medium for gays, nerds and emos <<

Hate to rip in, but this comment also bothers me, and anybody who brings up "political correctness" is missing the point.

Fine, so the grumpy middle-age guys did a lot to initially define the medium, but when I see an elite of middle-age animation pros (I needn't name the usual suspects) scoffing, waxing nostalgic and saying that outsiders "don't get it", it reminds me of snooty hipsters and Vice magazine. If you want to point out how something can be made clearer and better, that's excellent and vital. It's when the line crosses to "they can't be one of us because they're a bunch of these and those" that it becomes petty snobbery.

Stone said...

I think it's really just "people with no opinions regarding the real world or possessing life experience to speak of" That you were getting at. Kids who spend a majority of time immersed in someone else's product and don't go outside and form opinions through interactions with people whom they might otherwise never encounter certainly are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to trying to entertain the masses or say anything worth a damn when creating their own worlds.

many of my peers (I would include myself a few years ago) just sort of sit around, doodling and waxing on how superior they are to "the masses" while avoiding uncomfortable and tense situations.

get into fights, form bad habits and don't be afraid to get one over on your fellow man. The funniest, cartooniest people I know are criminals!

Brian Goss said...

I don't know about gays and emos and nerds making cartoons, but I do know that every time a good cartoon comes out, like Mighty B., it doesn't last long.

Martin Juneau said...

The fact that John mention animation today is a medium for gays, nerds and emo is a bit too far to me. Personally, i don't blame these peoples who was the much nicest peoples than the bland white hipsters of today who invanded the society.

Comics whatever their nationality from the last decade is hilarious at a point, because you have always the same generic male/female leads you have seen in the 90's Anime. Even comics for kids have now curse words who prove they have no control anymore in this industry. And John's right. The best cartoonists of today are womens when Nina Paley and Alexandra Caneppa are along my favorites.

Jorge said...

Awwwww! I think those Tony Rivera designs are funny! If there was a show today that looked like that I'd watch it in a second.

Look how ignorant those hands are. It looks so retarded- like Bill Watterson's hand scribbles with angles. It makes the character look so retarded.

Elana Pritchard said...

Then why wait until now to give credit? Do it in the original post, for pete's sake.

Adam Tavares said...

There's a difference between making a general statement about a group of people and systematically oppressing them. Stereotyping is not the same as racism.

As long as we don't write individuals off because we think they're the living breathing embodiment of a stereotype I don't think any real harm is being done. I believe more harm is being done by not allowing us to use stereotypes.

Stereotypes are the personality equivalent of a mathematical average. We can use them to communicate ideas that are otherwise impossible, the same way that the field of statistics is impossible without averages.

I'm tired of having public discourse dumbed-down because some people don't realize that averages, in math or in society, don't exist in reality.

No American family has 2.3 children and there is no Italian that wears only tracksuits and disco medalions, eats nothing but 'espegetts', runs with the mob, and says, 'whatsa matta you!'

So some stereotypes are tired cliches, aren't really accurate, and can be embarrassing but realize that keeping people from making any stereotypes prevents us from having funny cartoons or any kind of communication that can comment on society in a meaningful way.

It's all in how they're applied.

Mykal said...

John: Please explain: why are those low ears so damn funny?

Also, regarding gays, nerds, and emos: You are right on. I'm a nerd, and I love cartoons; and my son, whom I respect and love more than life, is both gay and an emo, and he, too, loves cartoons. In fact, at my son's last visit, we laughed our nerd, gay, and emo asses off at the Mighty Mouse collection. He’s gonna be at my place over the holidays, and I say it’s Huckleberry Hound or maybe Ren and Stimpy time.

I am sure there are more subsets of humans that like cartoons: but gays, nerds, and emos certainly make up a core constituency.

Luke said...

Riviera didn't work for Filmation? He was more than qualified.

Deer People who are flaming John K's use of emos, nerds, and gays,

Get over your selves, you sound like focus groups who have nothing better to do than whine, grow up, it is not a big deal if you stop pretending to care about that crap.

Zoran Taylor said...

@Jorge - Are you referring to that strip where Calvin turns into one of his own drawings? Funniest use of faux-primitivism EVER.

Anonymous said...

I respect and understand the validity of the underlying points you're trying to present here, but I truly wish you would refrain from using the word "gay" to describe your negative feelings about the industry. This is not the first time, and it is deeply saddening. Particularly because there are a lot of young cartoonists who are looking up to you via this blog.


rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

Enjoy also to compare the Dick "Bick" Bickenbach's layouts and the Paul Sommer's layouts on the Quick Draw McGraw episodes with the layouts done by Walter Clinton, Ed Benedict and Tony Rivera of this same unforgettable hit from Hanna-Barbera and see the results.