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Friday, January 28, 2011

Creating Animated Cartoons with Character

Another great book worth the purchase! Written by animator Joe Murray, creator of the Emmy-winning shows Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, this book is essentially a guide-line for those of us wanting to get into the animation business. It features not only some neat production art from both shows and the short films he's done, but it also has some great pointers on how to make a TV-show with great characters in mind. I have to admit, the man gives great, solid advice.

I personally enjoy Murray's work, probably because I grew up watching Rocko and came to love Lazlo when it premiered. I ain't kiddin' when I say that Rocko was the only cartoon from the 90's to rival the insanity of Ren and Stimpy! Other than that, every character he's made has a distinct design and, most importantly, he has a GREAT concept of character. I love how every story he writes stays in focus with the characters and how they can relate to a modern audience.

If you're interested, you can get the book on for about $15. A good deal!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Looney Tunes Show

This post is something that I wanted to get off of my chest for a while. Judging by the title, I think you already know what it is. So here we (Or I ,rather) go...

To begin, this show has been bashed by so many animation fans simply because of the new character designs by one of my favorite modern artists, Jessica Borutski. (And it's not even out yet!) I liked her two shorts, I Like Pandas and The Good Bunny With the Bad Teeth. That constellations idea she had for a show was really cool too. Overall, her art is very pleasant to look at and she definatly has developed a style of her own.
However, back last year, she was bashed for her designs on a new Looney Tunes show. If you haven't seen it, here they are:
That's just Bugs and Daffy. So why are people bashing Miss Borutski, you ask? Well first of all, some animation fans, like me, grew up with these characters and really don't want to see their appearances changed on this kind of level. If you noticed, the characters are more angular than before and they have extremely simplified shapes so that they can be animated easier on a flash program like ToonBoom or whatever it's called. A lot of animation fans really hate this kind of thing and prefer the lush style of traditional animation. I know I refer the old way over flash.

Even the plot of the show got people fired up in a bad way. Well, instead of being their usual, slapstick selves, we get to see what life is like for Bugs, Daffy, and the other Looney Tunes outside of the Warner Bros lot. We see the rabbit and duck (both voiced by Jeff Burgman for the first time in 10 years) living together in a house. Trust me, they didn't want to see them looking like this:

Now now it comes to this: what do I think of them?

Well, they are appealing in their own right. I'm not too angry about the radical change of appearances. Even 70 years ago, the great directors and artists of Termite Terrace had changed these characters slightly to fit their own styles. Jones, Avery, Clampett, McKimson, Freling, Davis, Tashlin, and all the other animation directors had their own way of designing these characters and modeling their personalities to their own desire. Even I do it! (I think I'll try this again in a while in color too.) For instance, I give Bugs' ears black tips, a feature not seen since Elmer's Candid Camera in 1940. Say what you want, I think they look kind of cool.

I actually like some of these designs myself. While Bug's new look mis growing on me, I really enjoy the way Daffy, Pepe, Marvin, The Gossamer, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn, Sylvester, and Petunia Pig. (kudos on Borutski for reintroducing a character not seen since 1937) I think my favorite overall is Sylvester's look. It kind of reminds me of McKimson's look for the cat: a big nose with short legs.
I accept the fact that these are Borutski's own versions of theses classic characters and as true admirers of animation, we should try to look at the positives. After all, she's doing something that not a lot of new artists get the chance to do: reintroduce these classic characters to a new generation with new concepts and ideas. I think it's only fair that we should at least honor Borutski for her efforts and goals for this show. If you have kids, then I would expose them to both this new show and the classics that are beautifully restored on the boxed DVD sets. If they like one over the other, that's fine.

As for the show's writing quality, well... look for yourself:



I wasn't impressed by the first clip, but I thought that the second was a little better. (I just noticed Mac and Tosh made a cameo)

I think I'm going to wait until February when this show comes out and take a look for myself. To be honest, it looks better than some of the other attempts of reintroducing the Looney Tunes or classic cartoon characters in general. (Remember Loonatics?.... I thought not. And don't make me mention that godawful Yogi Bear movie!) Keep in mind that this is going to be completely different from the classics of the golden age because humor has changed over the years.

For now, I'm keeping my optimistic perspective for this new show and hope it turns out better than people claim it is. My only hope that after this Borutski can have a shot of doing more of her own original ideas for TV. So rest your sphincters, gentlemen.

Phew! Glad I got that off of my chest!

Oh, and Happy New Year to you readers.