Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Milt Stein - a perfect funny animal man

Here's a cartoonist I like a lot. He's a drawing textbook for all the cartoon skills and techniques I promote.
His basic style is generic 40s animation funny animal. He has all the principles that add up to that look almost perfectly. On top of that he has his own unique stylistic finish.
His most amazing skill is his ability to organize all the principles and design elements with a scene and balance them into a perfect organic and appealing design.
When you have this much hierarchy and visual coordination, you don't need to hide behind a bunch of cluttered details.









I love the way he draws hands. They look like they are right out of the Preston Blair book, only drawn with more verve and contrast and design.
Hierarchy: The few details he uses always form around the larger object they help describe. Like the stripes on the cat wrapping around the position of his body, or the little dirt clumps that help describe the larger mound.

He draws really elegant simple compositions. I wish I had a bg artist who could do this!! Aargh!


Look at these beautiful dynamic action poses.

I love this cat. His stripes are so organic and gritty. Pure comic inking. I wish you could get that in animation drawings.


Such luscious inking!

Organic compositions: His backgrounds are made up of sub-elements that point in seemingly chaotic angles, yet they are all balanced against each other. They don't look wonky.



Everything he does has inherent form and a visual plan. I think the plan in his compositions is the most fun part of his art.

Hierarchy of thick and thin lines: The lines of the overall silhouettes are thicker than the details inside the forms. These bold lines help hold the characters together.




I like that rabbit's nipple ears.
Enjoy superb rare comics at Mykal's great blog!

20 comments:

HemlockMan said...

I like the way he draws cats! When I was a kid I do recall stumbling upon some of these Super Mouse stories in some anthology comics in the stacks in my dad's warehouse.

rad sechrist said...

So nice!

Steven M. said...

That inking is pure gold, as is everything else Stein does.

patrick sevc said...

Oh wow... I can hardly breathe!

Elana Pritchard said...

strip artists make the world go 'round

Damiano D said...

Nice looking stuff. You're really right about the Hierarchy. It really does make the picture. I don't think it's something you notice until it's pointed out to you. Subtle yet important.

Martin Juneau said...

There's a kind of good comics i wish to see often. Seems like most of today's comics have too much details than tell a good story or living the characters. The compositions are very great, so that it help me to fix the mistakes in my own comics.

Thanks for sharing this treasure pieces.

John Rouse said...

I'm seeing stars everywhere today. It's starting to get a little weird.

Roberto Severino said...

Doesn't that cat remind you of Sourpuss? Looks a bit Terrytoonish to me. Anyway, these are fantastic. Thanks Mykal and John!

Shawn Dickinson said...

Love those cartoon cats!

top cat james said...

Yep, the head of Sourpuss surgically attached to the body of Cicero's Cat.

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=338871

thomas said...

one little detail that makes SM a believable character, but would probably get glossed over were it done today. His shoes have heels. It also gives his feet some dimension.

top cat james said...

What's up with the deleted comments?

Elana Pritchard said...

New comic!

Don't Let This Happen To YOu: Polishing Your Computer

muhamed said...

John, my comment is tottaly off topic.
I'm getting some study on my own on animation and i've been frequenting your blogs 'cause of the wisdom pearl that you aways is sharing to everybody here.
So, a constant on animation studies is the flour sack. I've never found content on the animation books that i've got, but there are a lot of student videos on the internet on this subject.
What do you thing about it? Is that kind of exercise good or just bullshit?

JohnK said...

I think it's funny. It's about as useful as 5 second gesture drawing.

Mykal said...

John: I just pure-d love Stein. He's my all time favorite Supe artist. All your insights (as usual) form up my instincts into coherent reasons! You the man.

Pokey said...

Supermouse of course, was to be the original name of Mighty Mouse [Leonard Maltin years ago in his important "Of Mice & Magic" confirmed that having the [after all] much used "Super" for a super hero wasn't the reason, that one of the Terrytoons people created a Supermouse comic. I doubt that this is the same comic, ofr is it.]

I notice that the cat's name is Elmer..doesn't he remind you of a vewy famous oddly accented human wabbit hunter with that voice...:)

Mel Angel said...

This is awesome. I definitely see some Walt Kelly in his dinosaurs and monsters... which is always a good thing. I love the inking on the wrinkles and mouths and necks... set off against the succinct design of the cute characters

Alexander said...

Hi John, first time comment. I follow your blog from time to time, though I'm not a cartoonist (I suck at drawing) I find your take on cartooning to be always interesting. I really hope Life Sucks gets made one day. I tried exposing R&S to my little sister but she didn't like it, turns out she doesn't like any of the stuff from my generation.

Question: What flash animators -if any- do you follow?