Showing posts with label 1985. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1985. Show all posts

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BG Painting - Jetsons 85 Backgrounds

Believe it or not, but this look was revolutionary in 1985.

Because before those images above, 80s cartoons looked like this:

Everything was pink, purple and green - and had balloon highlights.It was the oddest color combination imaginable, yet that's just about all anyone did when I came into the business.

I can't even believe this stuff.
So when they sent me to Taipei to supervise the layouts on some new Jetsons, I took it upon myself to also take over the BG and color department.

When I first looked around the BG department, I thought it was weird to see Chinese painters painting all these sick American cartoon color combinations and I asked them to paint more like traditional Chinese and Asian colors.

And to use some neutrals like grays and browns to balance the more primary, secondary colors.
I also wanted her to use more limited palettes.
Or to use related colors rather than having every object in a room be a screaming pink or purple.
I had a bunch of fights with management trying to find somebody who would paint in a style I liked. One day they had an art show of all the Chinese artists' own work, and I found one artist (unfortunately whose name I can't remember) who had beautiful traditional Chinese paintings on display. I went to the head of the studio and asked him to put her on the show. After a fight, he agreed and I started working with her. I showed her Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom, some original Jetsons and some Disney cartoons and Italian fashion magazines and asked her to combine elements of those with her own style and these BGs are the first ones she came up with.I always liked cartoons with mood and here were some first attempts at it.

Purple kept sneaking in there but not so garishly as what I was used to seeing in the 80s.

These were radically different than the other Jetsons being made at the same time in other countries and I stirred up some trouble back in LA because of it. Wanna hear that story? I gave Bill Hanna a great excuse to yell at someone.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New HB Post

click this:


Sunday, November 23, 2008

L.O. 12: Jetsons 1985 - Trying To Bring Life Back

WHAT ANIMATION POSES LOOKED LIKE IN THE 80SBy the 1980s the whole concept of animated characters having life (let alone being fun or cartoony) was not only gone - it was considered evil and irresponsible.
Now this was considered perfectly acceptable professional work here. When I had to work on stuff like this, I was sick inside and felt horribly guilty for contributing to such a disgraceful decadence. Even on shows like these I would try to draw some lively poses, but would always get beaten down by the producers and supervisors- in some cases, even people who once animated on classic cartoons that did have life! "We don't do that anymore John" I would hear all the time - with no explanation why not.

This would have been a wild take here for Scooby Doo, a show that today seems to have a big fan base. Someone explain why to me!


Scooby Doo was a blander version of Astro, who was actually funny and had a real character design.
I remember Mark Kausler being really mad at me for going overseas to train people to do layouts. I don't blame him; I was taking away jobs from Americans. Lou Scheimer used to brag that Filmation kept all the jobs in America, which somehow made him a patriotic American. The way he kept all the jobs in America was by only having 3 drawings in each episode and killing the souls and destroying the imaginations of a whole generation of American kids.

In reality, it was the animation union that sent our whole business overseas by jacking up all the salaries of even the simplest non-creative jobs. producers had no choice but to go to Asia. Otherwise, on the crappy budgets the networks gave them, they couldn't afford to make cartoons in America anymore. The union would have completely killed the business off.

The way I looked at it, animation needed to become lively again, and I didn't care where it would happen, as long as someone was doing it. I still feel that way. There are so few people anywhere in world anymore that are even capable of drawing life - or even have the desire to - that I believe we should utilize every one we can, if we ever get the chance to make real cartoons again.

I hoped the example of a cartoony show might inspire other cartoon studios to wake up again. I went to Taipei thinking that this might be the only chance I would have of getting some life back into cartoons. The only department left in America where you could have any control over the final poses in a cartoon was layout, and by the 80s all the layouts were going overseas anyway. The Jetsons seemed to me the last chance to inject some fun and cartooniness into a series. This led in a couple years to me bringing back jobs to America that no one had previously thought were even important to the creative process. We had a lot more artists on staff on Mighty Mouse doing layouts than Filmation or Hanna Barbera or Dic had in on any show. We continued doing layouts on Ren and Stimpy and also brought back real background painting. We even did a lot of the animation in North America.

The most fun character to draw in the Jetsons was Astro. He was naturally more cartoony because he was a funny animal. He talked like a retard which was also good raw material.

I don't remember the actual story of this sequence, but it looks as though Astro thinks his beloved master is going to kick the bucket.

Now here comes the real sick character. Joe and Iwao created "Orbitty", a character that didn't fit at all into the Ed Benedict world of the Jetsons. He was more like the 80s HB greeting card style that they used in shows like the "Monchichis" - whatever the Hell that was all about.
Orbitty was so awful that even the HB writers hated him! They would write in scenes that would abuse Orbitty and I followed along in that tradition wherever I could.