Thursday, March 16, 2006

You better learn to love classic cartoons!


OK, listen all you young would-be animators, if you wanna become great you have to learn from the old cartoon masters from the 1940s.
Learn everything you can about how they drew and animated, how they thought and what cartoons they made.
Don't study my cartoons; study all my influences.

Here's a poster I did with Lynne Naylor of my biggest hero Bob Clampett:

I won't tell you too much about him except that I think he was the most influential and greatest of the classic cartoon directors. He was the looniest of all the Looney Tunes animators and was largely responsible for their success and style.
My other big heroes are Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Bob McKimson.
If you want to draw great, copy their beautiful and hilarious cartoons from the 1940s.

Look at some of these fun pictures from Clampett's cartoons:

Kitty Kornered

Falling Hare

Baby Bottleneck

So listen up, kids, many young cartoonists come to me with portfolios full of fake spumco style drawings or worse-graffiti art or the Cal Arts style. Don't do it!

What I look for is good old fashioned 40s style cartoon fundamentals. If you seriously want to work for me one day then do exactly what I tell you.
Buy this book now!
It's by Preston Blair, one of Tex Avery's animators in the 1940s. He animated Red Hot Riding Hood! This is the best book ever written about how to draw cartoons. It costs about 11 dollars and will teach you more than 4 years and $80,000 worth of cheesy animation school.

But after you buy it, be sure to open it!

Draw the characters in it and DRAW THEM THE WAY HE SHOWS YOU HOW TO DRAW THEM!

Learn these important fundamental principles:
Line Of Action
Clear Sillhouettes
These are all words they use in animation school, but they don't show you how to do any of it. Preston explains it all clearly and shows you with great solid and beautiful drawings.

I can't stress how important this advice is. You can't get into Spumco if you don't learn these principles correctly. Don't concern yourself about your own personal style. You don't have one yet. Only 1 in a hundred cartoonists ever develop an actual style. Fundamentals are much more important.

The kind of cartoonists I like are the ones that can see the obvious: that cartoons should look good and that old cartoons are the most appealing. If you can see that, then you might have a chance of learning how to do it. I'll help anyone who can prove it to me.

Now, it's very hard these days to find the great cartoons because they hardly ever show them on TV anymore for some mysterious reason.

You can learn about the history of them at Steve Worth's Asifa animation archive. Go there. Steve is very helpful and generous with his time and knowledge. Buy him a hot dog.
Go and see Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs, the greatest cartoon ever made!

Here's another great site to see frames from cartoons that pleasured your eyeballs.

Go buy some 1940s WB cartoon videos here. Buy the tapes instead of the DVDs! They are easier to use and look a lot better!

I'll talk more about classic cartoons in later posts, but this is a good start for those of you who are interested. Bone up!
I used to freeze frame great old cartoons and taught myself the classic fundamental principles above. You can do it too! And you will laugh a lot whiile you discover these masterpieces.

Good luck!

P.S. Don't copy drawings from Friz cartoons because they are not drawn very well. They are stiff, sloppy and bland.
Chuck is great. So are Bob, Tex and McKimson and so are the late 1940s Tom and Jerrys.
Do it.

Oh, and if you are in college I would be happy to come and lecture and show the best of these cartoons.

If you show me crummy flat cartoon drawings I'll fly apart!