Saturday, January 01, 2011

Pretty Girls by Rasmusson

Hal Rasmusson is a cartoonist who I only know of from the Walter T. Foster cartoon books.
He draws pretty girls like a sonuvabitch.
It's nice of him to explain some of how he does it too.
He's got some real common sense advice. No hippie teacher mumbo-jumbo.

I used 2 different editions of the same book, because some of the pages overlap. The older edition (the skinny pages) has slightly better printing, but the newer one shows more of the images.
Each edition has some art that the other doesn't so I included everything for you.

That's a funny caricature he does of his own butt.
I think this (below) is actually Walter Foster imitating Rasmusson's style. He does a pretty good job of it and added a nice wash ink rendering style .
Foster couldn't resist including his interpretation of his favorite Disney movies. The guy was pretty good at a lot of different things.
I like his Jiminy Man sketches.

Ok, back to Rasmusson:

Note how using hierarchy gives him control over his poses and clear staging. Line of action, negative shapes and good construction.
His comics are well above average in skill and technique, way beyond Archie and most teen comics - even for the time. I'm amazed I have never seen any in the funny papers. I wonder if Chris or Ger can dig some up.
Look at this stuff. Cartoon gold.
The inside cover shows some of the other cartoon books Foster published. Imagine if there were actual courses like this in school? I wish I could find that "How To Draw Funnies" book. Remember when cartoons were supposed to be funny?

I guess I'll have to settle for learning to be cool.
Here is a nice double page spread from the later edition of " Modern Cartoon".
Thanks to everyone who donated in December!

Oh, here is the George Scarbo art from the same book:

Swell, huh?


Zartok-35 said...

You sure know how to pick em'. This stuff is fantastic!

Olivia said...

That girl listening to the radio on the stool is wonderful. She's sexy without being slutty.

I don't understand the need to slap midriffs onto girls to make them "pretty."

Pete Emslie said...

Folks, please note that Hal Rasmusson was another one of those middle-aged, cigar chomping cartoonists.

Hey John, do you have the Ed Nofziger book in the Walter Foster series, on drawing cartoon animals? It's a bit spotty, but I like most of his drawings, especially his Chloe the Hippo panels and the cartoon zebras and giraffes. Some of his stuff is a bit too loose for my tastes, though.

That Scarbo guy is great. When I look at his cartoons of the pigs and bear cubs, it seems like he really went back to the source of the animal itself in order to do his own interpretations.

Bwanasonic said...

Thanks for this fantastic stuff. Do you know the scanning trick of putting a black sheet of film or paper ( I use a piece of black foamcor) behind what your scanning to lessen / eliminate show-through?

solutionsby said...

so beautiful , what a gem!!!! thanks john!

ComiCrazys said...

Wow, I don't have a few of those pages in my copy. I have the larger format one. That Jiminy Man is swell, not to mention the girl-on-girl action. =)

I'll work on finding the Aggie Mack comics. Keep ya posted.

Shawn Dickinson said...

Holy crap! Those girl drawings are amazing!

Steven M. said...

Pure eye candy.

Mak said...

No, no! Christopher Hart, nooo! D8

LukejayS. said...

John K,

I am an aspiring cartoon-guy, who's just a Freshman in high school now...

But anyway, I have had some people that are very inspirational to me critique my work. I was wondering if you could take a look yourself?

I won't be offended by anything you have to say about it. And I know I have plenty of room for improvement, haha.

Your fan
~Luke Stout

Rothello said...

That sure is one helluva great post to start the new year off with.

"Too many start with the head, an eye, a hand, or a foot and try to build a body around that"

Brother I can (shamefully) relate, ha ha.

Gary Wintle said...

Living in Japan, I get zilch for Christmas other than some KFC, so this is certainly an ex-pat Christmas miracle. You made my holiday season!

Is there anywhere to get all the pages? I'd purchase it if it's available anywhere.

Trey Brown said...

these are some of the best spreads ive ever seen. His control seems limitless with all of these wonderful poses. All of his characters' feet and hands have a genius directional quality.

zmerrill said...

These girl drawings that Hal Rasmussen does are very good.

The way he constructs seems kinda different from Preston Blair's method. What differences are there that I should adapt from Hal Rasmussen while learning to draw with Preston Blair methods?

zmerrill said...

By the way, these drawings convince me that you draw Sody Pop and most other characters in a similar manner of Rasmussen's method of construction.

HemlockMan said...

WOW! That guy was FANTASTIC!!! The best cartoonist/comic book artists know how to exaggerate just so. This guy was spot on! You only have examples from a few how-to books? He was obviously a great cartoonist. Had to have stuff available to view from strips or comic books!

More great stuff from Scarbro, too.

One guy from comics who also knew how to draw great sexy cartoon babes was one I rarely read about--Jack Sparling.

Mitch K said...

Incredible! Thanks for sharing!

Bill White said...

Back in the Sixties, this was one of the few "how-to" cartooning books out there. How I loved it. Thanks for the memories, John!

Pokey said...

I've seen the Aggie Mack comics online before on another blog [the name escapes me at the moment].

Aggie Mack would have been a great 1957-58 7 minute teen cartoon (NO musical numbers OR laugh track a la Archie--again, I symphathize with the comment that ya made on TV Party regarding Archie, that Fug-mation BLEW it with Archie--in the PRE-1960s era, oir a retro-cartoon..

too bad Bill Loose's music cannot be borrowed anymore [thanks a LOT Carlin Online!]

Esun said...

Only one dollar? Wow!

SandraRivas said...

Another artist to admire!!! The drawings are great!!!!

Never buy anything from Christopher Hart.

Anonymous said...

GORGEOUS! Thank you SO much John!

I LOVE this stuff. It looks like Freddie Moore's style. Greeeat book. How you get your hands on this stuff I don't know.

Overlap: THE greatest cartoon perspective principal?

I think so. lol

Awesome stuff John, Thanks.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Nice work! The later one is great, but the first one looks like the pearl of greatest price. You don't miss the color because it's composed so well.

I love the size of the old Foster books. They're about the size of a sketch book, so the reader feels like he's thumbing through the sketched out notes of a real artist.

Carmine said...


drawingtherightway said...

On the image with the deer and the bug, there is a little arrow that points above the deer's ear and it has H.B. Does anyone know what this stands for? I'm probably missing something real obvious!

YeOleSquid said...

Thanks for the awesome post. I was struck by how he captures the awkwardness of limbs (especially the feet). I love that none of the poses are so flat footed, they all seem to be rolling on the balls of their feet. Great poses! I'd love to see more

Pedro Vargas said...

Wow, this stuff is great! I really want these books!

rad sechrist said...

I had that book as a kid and loved the art. It's amazing how it still holds up after all these years.

SoleilSmile said...

What exactly did the hippy teachers teach that was so wrong in regards to drawing women? Don't be a voyeur and show some respect?
Rasmussen is great, and proper anatomy is important for weight and form, but gauging from many of the drawings, it seems he's the type who likes to look up a girl's skirt. Eyes on the face, pig!

JohnK said...


Didn't you just spend the last couple weeks vigorously defending these modern animated metrosexual guy mannequin stereotypes?

At least Rasmusson's characters are drawn well and have some life to them.

SoleilSmile said...

The Disney characters didn't have crotch shots, John. What are Rasmussen's eyes doing down THERE anyway?
The Disney character was exemplified for his strength and charm--not his nether regions.

Watch that. Those girls can be just as cute with their legs closed. Traditionally raised girls are brought up to pretend that they have velcro, a magnet or a safety pin between the knees when sitting.--otherwise grandma will come out of nowhere ( even after DEATH) and remind her do so!

JohnK said...

The Disney movies from the last 20 years of full of male crotch shots.

SoleilSmile said...

It must be pretty subtle because I haven't noticed. Then again, I was raised with a dash of Southern with my hippie/ Eastern thought roots, so I don't look "down there". It's un-lady-like and the prudes of the world have enough power to assure that women they disapprove of don't advance in life. So, I don't anger them! , Rasmussen's work, however, is pretty blatant, so I noticed. Furthermore, sexual innuendo is more noticeable on a woman, since we're objectified, so it's tough to miss.
Would write a post about the Disney boy objectification? I'm not a guy, so would like to know what you are talking about, so I don't make the same mistake with my own male characters. The last thing I want to do is offend the prudery gods.

JohnK said...

"Subtle" is exactly what it isn't. Check the model sheet Murray sent.

Pretty blatant stuff.

SoleilSmile said...

Nope, I didn't notice anything my grandmother would ground my uncle for week over. That woman is only going to become more powerful in death ^_^;;
I guess guy taboos will always be a mystery to me.

Carry on...

Zoran Taylor said...

If all these girls looked STUPID, then I would see misogyny, but I don't. They're just young and alive and bursting with sex. If anything, this is a fairly tasteful rearrangement of what, in reality, usually manifests as charmless sluttiness. Frankly, based on the way teenage girls actually make themselves look nowadays, it's nearly impossible to objectify them. You would practically have to draw them as just giant boobs with legs to have done something unreasonable.

SoleilSmile said...

No, they don't look stupid, but the drawings are voyeuristic. Did you ever have that English 150 assignment in college where you have to analyze the difference between a nude that Degas or Caravaggio would paint vs. Manet's Olympia? Former example is considered great art and the latter is considered obscene. The point of the whole argument is that there is a fine line between beauty and obscene.
In regards to the actual skill of Rasmusson's design sense and drawings, I think they're wonderful.

Pete Emslie said...

Harmless sexy cuteness. I also like watching Marilyn Monroe over the air vent in "The Seven Year Itch".

Charles said...

Hi, how are you John. I 'm diggin' this entry, so many possibilities. Also, I wanted to know if you could critque some of my studies if you can. I've recently purchased the book and be doing some construction though I still need guidance. Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

Sugarless C 500mg said...

On seeing those drawings I immediately thought of this scene from Genndy Tartakovsky's latest cartoon:

Eyz said...

Amazing find!
Love it!

Milio said...

Hey John! You ´ve got the most precious animation archive in the world, don´t? Ha,ha! By the way, long life to Powdered Toast Man!

Zoran Taylor said...

Based on what "Olympia" looks like, whoever created that assignment was probably either a narrow-minded moron or a clever devil's advocate, but I'm leaning towards the former. Observe the perversion paradox: If you seek to define it, you may well possess it.

A world of secret hungers
Perverting the men who make your laws
Every desire is hidden away
In a drawer in a desk by a Naugahyde chair
On a rug where they walk and drool
Past the girls in the office
-Frank Zappa, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It"

SoleilSmile said...

Zoran, my teacher was not pushing an ideology, he just raised the question of perceptions by the general society in regards to the expectable vs. the obscene. The class really had to scratch their heads about it. What was so wrong about Manet's Olympia? The answer was: Olympia is considered obscene because unlike nudes the preceded her in the art world--she is LOOKING RIGHT AT YOU. Therefore the salon where she was displayed in Impressionist era Paris, panned her.

It's just one of those funny things about civilization. To get back to my point, one of the major signs of a lady is that she keeps her legs closed at the knees. Just about all girls are taught that from a very young age.

it's a girl thing. Forget it.

Zoran Taylor said...

Forget it? Isn't that counterproductive?

I went back and looked at the poses again, and I am not kidding you when I say that I practically had to strain my eyes to see the open crotches. There was too much other interesting stuff going on. And I am a heterosexual male.
Those knees are unlocked by default because those girls are making a complete statement with their whole bodies. And they all look like they're saying something that would require thought to understand. they look intelligent. But there is sexuality boiling under the surface.
I can think of lots of circumstances where unlocked knees WOULD look crude and offensive. Just turn on the TV and wait about half a minute. I can also think of times where said "ladylike" behavior could appear condescending, intimidating, mindless or even sexual in itself. Actually, I have found it to be a general rule that any strenuous (read - NOTICEABLE) effort to conceal the crotch will appear to be a form of masturbation. Locked legs like you describe usually look more suggestive to me than anything in this post.

Oh by the way, feel free to invite me to dinner anytime.....

paul said...

Someday, Mr. K.,
I'm gonna work for you when I get into the cartoon buisness.

paul said...

Hey John, I think I might have found How to Draw Funnies from Foster. It's on Amazon, so you have to get it there.

Here's the link
The last Funnies book for John K.!