Sunday, May 31, 2009

I <3 THE 80s??

My versions of 80s cartoons continue! I've asked most of my friends, and I'm convinced that Katie Rice is the only person besides myself who remembers this show... Here's my drawing of Maya the Bee!!


Maya was a children's anime show from Japan, and while it was originally produced in the mid-70s, it aired on Nick Jr. in the mid-late 80s and that's when I watched it. I remember it being SUPER cute!!

It was about this little girl bee named Maya and her adventures in the forest with her best pal Willie. They also had a grasshopper friend and some other supporting characters but the last time I saw this show was when I was 5, maybe 6, so the memories are a bit fuzzy!

Well hopefully my drawing gives justice to the show's cute factor. Here's the ink I did, pre-color/textures.

My takes on 80s cartoons continues soon, so keep checking back here!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

THE 80s ARE BACK??

I don't know if it's the same where you live, but when Kali and I go shopping together here in L.A. these are the kind of outfits that we see lately. The plain and simple truth is that the 80's are BACK!!!

It's so insane to be seeing VIBRANT, BRIGHT COLORS considered hip and stylish now. Remember when ZERO color and hip-hop clothes were in? Yeah, it was only a few years ago! So with this new trend of the decade I'M from, I thought it'd be fun to draw up my versions of some of my favorite animated shows I grew up with in the 1980s. Look for my next couple of posts to feature them!

Here's my first shot at one of my favorites: INSPECTOR GADGET

Despite a lot of limited animation and poor budget, I just like these characters a lot. Penny and Brain were always so cute! For those interested, here's what my crappy roughs and ideas look like before I scan them in and do the computer/tablet thing.

And here's just the ink, before background, colors and textures.

My takes on 80s cartoons continues next post, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

THE TOP 11 GREATEST CARTOON TAKES

I'm back, with another tops list! You know, one of the earliest elements of animation is the cartoon "take". We've all seen them; heads shrinking or expanding in shock, tongues stretching outward, and of course eyes bugging out with plenty of pulsating veins. But what are the most creative, outrageous, and CRAZIEST takes to ever be animated? Today's post aims to find out. It's...



#11:
Donald Duck
in Der Fuehrer's Face

A crazy cartoon take from the Disney studio's animated library was actually extremely hard for me to find. In fact, compared to most of the takes that'll be in this list, this is pretty tame. The truth of the matter is, Disney just wasn't as outrageous as the other Hollywood cartoon studios. The ending of this World War II-themed short dares to be different however, in which Donald is having a nightmare that he is a factory worker in Nazi Germany. As he starts going mad, his head stretches up like E.T., then as he starts babbling he suddenly gets extremely wonky and wiggly! Even though it's not too weird, it's definitely one of the most insane scenes to ever come out of Disney.





#10:
Homer Simpson
in Treehouse of Horror V

Now I know what you might be thinking... how the hell did a clip from The Simpsons manage to get on a list like this? Well, just take a look at it. As Homer goes mentally insane a la Jack Torrence in The Shining, he suddenly starts getting really crazy-looking. Look at the animation and how exaggerated, rubbery, and well, actually CARTOONY he gets! Definitely a very rare moment for the normally-static Simpsons, and definitely deserving a spot on this list. BTW, Homer's scream at the end of the clip slays me!



#9:
Screwy Squirrel
in The Screwball Squirrel

Ah, what's a list about great cartoon takes without Tex Avery? Definitely one of the highest masters of animation, Tex practically invented the cartoon take. Here we see an early MGM short by Tex, featuring his short-lived character Screwy. When he suddenly realizes that he's played a gag on Meathead Dog that has gone too far even for HIM, Screwy grows multiple heads and- oh, just watch!



#8:
Wile E. Coyote
in Operation: Rabbit

Out of the dozens and dozens of films that Wile E. has appeared in along with the Roadrunner, my favorite appearances of him are by far only the couple of times in which he's been Bugs Bunny's adversary. There's so much more to his character in these ones, as this complete egomaniac who's obsessed with his own "super genius".

The reason his take is so great in this particular clip is that it ISN'T a big crazy reaction. He's completely still, except for his pupils shrinking. It's so simple, yet we can all tell the fear he's experiencing right here. I think one of Chuck Jones' biggest strengths was his ability to communicate a character's thoughts, feelings and motives while they barely have to even move. It's kind of the opposite of Tex Avery, in a way. Genius, or dare I say, super genius!!






#7:
Betty Boop and Bimbo
in Mysterious Mose

Would you ever believe that Betty Boop could have a cartoon take? You bet she can, especially while under the helm of the brilliant animation of Grim Natwick. Grim's Betty cartoons consist mostly of her earliest films, where she's not quite the Betty that the public is as familiar with today (she's not human in these, but a girl dog!). These cartoons are surreal, stranger than all hell, and downright works of art. This first clip is of Betty's reaction to Bimbo's crazy horn playing... look at the SIZE of her eyes as she looks on in complete terror!!!





And for good measure, and also because I couldn't possibly pass this shot up without sharing it here, another scene involves Bimbo doing a crazy dance in which his head flates and deflates into a multitude of different shapes. Ahh, pure cartoony goodness.





#6:
Roger Rabbit
in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

This scene from the movie is not only a great bunch of takes all back-to-back, but the entire sequence of what happens when Roger takes a shot of bourbon is one big homage to all the cartoon characters who have ever flipped out from a drink that's a bit too stiff (a.k.a. The Alcohol Take). Popeye, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Tex Avery characters- you name 'em, and they've most likely had a scene like this. So, Roger definitely deserves a spot on this list for an all-around fitting tribute, from an all-around great movie.





#5:
Daffy Duck
in Draftee Daffy

Here's a short (directed by my hero Bob Clampett) that definitely needs to be freeze-framed. As Daffy is trying to escape the Little Man From the Draftboard, to avoid being drafted into the US Army, he in constantly foiled time and time again as he simply cannot lose the little bugger. All of Daffy's freak-outs are brilliant in this short, but this one takes the cake.




Let's freeze-frame that sucker!




#4:
Tex Avery's Wolf
in Northwest Hounded Police

The same concept, from a different director. The Wolf tries to escape Sergeant Droopy of the Mounties, and no matter where he hides Droopy is right there waiting for him. This results in completely freaking the Wolf out more and more each time! But the biggest and best comes during this scene, where Droopy surprises him at the plastic surgeon's office. Look at those eyeball veins! Listen to that horrifying wild pig squeal! This might just be the creepiest cartoon take ever!





#3:
Tex Avery's Wolf
in The Shooting of Dan McGoo

You can't go wrong with Tex Avery's Wolf, as he grabs both numbers four AND three on this list. Here is an example of the "pretty girl take" (complete with wolf whistle), which we have all seen countless times again and again. But this is one of the very first ones, therefore the penultimate "pretty girl take"! It's the one that started it all. Beat it boys, ya bother me!





#2:
Ren Höek
in In The Army

Ren and Stimpy are known for bringing bulging eyeballs, throbbing veins and displays of complete insanity back to cartoons in the early 90's. But what can I possibly say about this take? It might be one of the most insane drawings ever put onto the animated screen. When Ren gets caught being lazy by the fearsome army sergeant, his skin literally MELTS off of his skull, which proceeds to explode outwards and is paired up with the most blood-curdling shriek you've ever heard. When I first saw this as a kid, I didn't know what to even think. It literally blew my mind. I think all I can remember saying was, "...can I watch that again??"




and the #1 greatest cartoon take is...!!


Daffy Duck
in Book Revue

Another tally for Daffy, another tally for director Bob Clampett, and one big fat shiny award for my favorite cartoon take ever. I think what is truly remarkable about this take is the sheer simplicity of it. Daffy doesn't lean back and his eyes bug out all crazy. Nor does his tongue stretch out or his body goes into twisty convulsions. Nope, none of that. Daffy simply transforms into ONE. GIANT. EYEBALL. That's IT. It's so sudden, so surreal, and yet so simplistic, that it's incredible to me. Do the honors, and enjoy for yourself!




Thanks for reading, and for watching!

Monday, May 18, 2009

ME OH MY, MUSIC AND MINKS


So if you're a frequent visitor of my other blog, you'll know that I'm pretty obsessed with actress Zooey Deschanel. So I thought it was time to try and pay my own tribute to her!

Check her out! Here she is in a live action/animated music video for her band She & Him!


Concept/lazy turd art by me, for upcoming Jo the Faux webcomic!!

Practicing Jo as much as I can. I wanna make Ben proud!

Lately Kali and I have been religiously listening to this lovely lady during our car rides- folk ballad singer Joanna Newsom!!

Her voice is SO high-pitched and cute. She sounds like a little baby who can sing! Her music is like something you'd expect to hear in medieval times, except with crazy lyrics about stuff like paying the bills, or kicking her dinner in the face. With karate!!


Okay why not, I guess I'll show some of my crappy early roughs. These were just meant for practice in trying to figure out how to draw her. These are attempts only! Yucky. Actually I kind of like the top left one, though.
Thanks for looking! Bye-bye now!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

HAPPY MUDDER'S DAY

Here's a recent commission for my trusty blog readers Rich and Jeff. Thanks guys! Kowalski loves you.

I'm still open for paid commissions, folks!
Email me and I'll draw you some CARTOONS!!


And this is for my mommy.

Everyone better go give your mom a hug and kissy today, or else the Mother's Day goblin will come and EAT YOU ALIVE.

And here's some funny doodles Caseybug did of me! Haha, aww thanks Casey!! I need to return the favor soon! (wink, wink)

Friday, May 1, 2009

THE TOP 12 CATCHIEST DISNEY SONGS

In my opinion, Disney has always been the animation studio that led the way for the music of Hollywood entertainment. There's no doubt about it; the tunes composed for the cartoon shorts, the animated features, and the theme parks are fun, clever, and some have even become staples in everyone's lives.

There are even some songs buried deep within the very fibers of Disney's history that you wouldn't even remember unless they were reminded of it, but once you do, it all starts coming back to you. But which of these songs are the most fun? The very catchiest? Or even the most "oh my god, this song WILL NOT LEAVE MY HEAD!!"? Today's post aims to find out. It's...

The Top 12 Catchiest Disney Songs!


#12:
Little April Shower
from
Bambi

To start off, I've just gotta mention that this song literally comes out of nowhere! In a movie that could hardly even be considered a musical, Little April Shower is a random song about the simplest of all things: rain. It's out of nowhere, it's not exciting, and it's light as a feather. But boy is it catchy.



Even some of the animals in this musical interlude look a little confused as to why this random song about woodland precipitation is playing! But oh well, I love it. Drip, drip, drip!


#11:
The Ballad of Davey Crockett

This country favorite was part of the early Disneyland TV show, and it has definitely made its mark on the world since then. Davey Crockett and his coonskin cap were on the minds and heads of every kid of the baby boom era, and I'm sure the catchy theme song helped!



#10:
The Three Caballeros

Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles make up the trio of The Three Caballeros. With clever lyrics, zeppy pacing, and incredible animation lead by Ward Kimball, I can't say enough good things about this. It's simply one of the zaniest and best in Disney's musical history, hands (and pistoles) down!



#9:
Casey Jr.'s Theme
from Dumbo

Here's a interesting song, because there are two different versions... a short melody in the Dumbo film, and then a much longer song with extended lyrics in the form of a Casey Jr. train-ride attraction at the Disneyland theme park. So as both versions can be considered one song, I have to say that this is one tune that is stuck in my head forever once it chugs along through it.



This song actually gets me excited for some guy named Casey Jr. to come to my town and set up circus grounds. Once you give this tune a listen, you won't argue that it's the greatest one ever made for the track. Casey Jr.'s back!


#8:
Minnie's Yoo-Hoo

It's really funny how often this video clip keeps popping up on my blog. Regardless, it's still one of my favorite Mickey moments, as well as a pretty awesome song. It's also a very strange one. It's clearly not Mickey's usual voice, and the animation (especially in his mouth and lip sync) is way too bizarre and crazy for Disney! You'd think someone at Warner Bros. might have had a hand in it. While we may never know for sure, this is one finger-snapping yoo-hoo tune that won't ever leave our brains!



#7:
Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho
from
Pirates of the Caribbean

A pirate's life for me! Before Johnny Depp, there was a boat-ride attraction with the catchiest song that you've ever heard come out of a theme park. That song belongs to, of course, Pirates of the Caribbean. This 42-year old ride is still floating along, and the song's popularity is no exception.



What's interesting is that for a song that's so popular, not many people know the full lyrics to it. In fact, "Yo, ho! Yo, ho! A pirate's life for me!" are the only words that most people know from it at all! So check out the video above and try to finally memorize those lyrics! And even if you can't, merely listening to this treasured pirate shanty will have it on your mind for days.


#6:
I Wanna Be Like You
from
The Jungle Book

With big thanks to jazz artist Louis Prima, the immortal voice behind King Louie, this has got to be one of the biggest and best songs out of all the Disney features. The timing, pace, animation, is all genius.



As you listen to this, can you just imagine the real Louis Prima band playing this song and going absolutely nuts in the Disney recording room? You can really sense how much fun this was to record, because you simply cannot help but tap your foot to this beat. Believe me, I've tried.


#5:
The Merrily Song
from
The Wind and the Willows

Starting off this film on the right foot, Mr. Toad and his new best pal Cyril enjoy a destructive ride through the countryside, merrily on the road to Nowhere At All. This song is ENGRAVED into my brain, it is THAT much fun to listen to. Hear for yourself!



The music is whimsical, the lyrics are fantastic, and the mere listening of it makes you wanna leap up and join the characters on their infamously wild ride. And any song that grabs you and sucks you in that much is more than eligible for this list's #5 spot.


#4:
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
from
Song of the South

You'd think a song with a title that's just random gibberish wouldn't catch on and become tiresome after a while, but nope, Uncle Remus' happy country-side melody has become one of the most famous songs in the world.



Even though the Disney studios of today have done everything they can to sweep the actual "Song of the South" film under the rug and away from public knowledge, this song still comes out on top by being one of the most recognizable tunes from the studio's history. What other phrase can you say to describe it besides.. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!


#3:
The Humphrey Hop
from
In the Bag

This song from the extremely small series of 1950's Humphrey Bear cartoons was so catchy that it actually became its own hit record single! And why not? GOOD LORD, IT'S CATCHY AS HELL.



I cannot be more serious in saying that I can't stop thinking about this song once it enters my mind. It will never, ever, ever leave. I mean how do you even make a song about picking up garbage catchy? I have no friggen idea, but if anyone can do it, it's definitely Disney.


#2:
It's A Small World After All

Yyyyup. Love it or hate it, the feature song during the It's A Small World attraction at Disneyland is not only one of the simplest, catchiest songs you've ever heard, but its power is enough to drive even the strongest of minds insane.

I'm serious, this song can drive someone CRAZY.



This song is so irritating, so incredibly cheerful, so never-ending that we aren't sure what to feel when we hear it. Does it do it's job at portraying the children of the world, and uniting the countries and cultures of Earth as one? Who the hell knows? But one thing's for sure; it definitely deserves one of the highest spots on this list of memorable Disney tunes.


and the #1 catchiest Disney song is...!!

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
from The Three Little Pigs

Undeniably the most popular and important song to ever come out of the Disney studio. As soon as movie-goers looked at the Big Bad Wolf as a symbol of the Great Depression that was happening around them, this song literally took America by storm.



Toys, games, lyric books, record singles, kitchen appliances- you name it, the Big Bad Wolf song was on it. And exactly how often can a song actually help DEFINE a time period in America's history? Not. Bloody. Often. So if you ask me, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf has the history and the power all in it's own to deserve the #1 spot on Disney's Catchiest Songs list.

Thanks for reading, and especially for listening!