Saturday, August 28, 2010

Comic 2

I'm still not sure on what type of inking I'll do on my strip.

I'm trying to give the two witch characters a "round" feel, and it looks like brush is the best way to convey that. I'm no expert on brushes, unfortunately, so I compromised by using both a brush and a fountain pen. The resulting test drawing looks OK, so I'll probably draw a few strips like this to see how it looks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I decided to give comic strip a try again. Working on sample batch. Here's one I did (part of a storyline).

I've experimented with many different kinds of pens over the years. For this one, I wanted to give it the look of a rough pencil, so I've decided to use a felt tip pen (the kind you find in office supply stores), which works well with what I'm looking for.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New kitten

I haven't drawn a comic in so long that I'm almost out of practice. Anyway, we got a new kitten in the household and was practically infested with fleas. It took several baths and pest sprays to finally get rid of them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I was going through some old scans and found this, an early "FoxTrot" strip making a reference to a Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Up Doc". Man, the strip's style really changed over the years. For comparison, this is how the strip looks now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Animation sketches

Sketches by Mark Kausler (top) and Mike Kazaleh.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bill Plympton and self-distribution

Self-distributing content is a big thing now, especially with the rise of the internet. However, it's not limited to the world wide web at all. Self-distribution is also possible in other mediums, including movie theaters. It's just alot harder.

That's what Bill Plympton is going to do with his feature film Idiots and Angels. Already a success in making independent short cartoons, two of which received Oscar nominations, he has managed to secure cinema screenings for his film in New York and Los Angeles, two of the most difficult places to get any movies played. And he's writing about it at AWN. Read it here.

Hopefully he can get the film shown in other cities. Where I live, the closest possible places are Memphis and Nashville.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sidney's Family Tree (1958)

(original title card)

Released December 1958

Directed by Art Bartsch
Supervising Director: Gene Deitch
Story Director: Tom Morrison
Voices: Lionel Wilson
Design: Eli Bauer
Backgrounds: Bill Hilliker
Music Composed and Conducted by Phil Scheib
Animation: Johnny Gent, Vinnie Bell, Mannie Davis, Bob Kuwahara, Ed Donnelly, Jim Tyer, Larry Silverman
Storyboard: Larz Bourne, Eli Bauer
Production Manager: Sparky Schudde
Executive Producer: Bill Weiss

This was the second of the Sidney the Elephant series produced by Terrytoons, and also the last one that had Gene Deitch's involvement (the rest were made after he left to Prague). It was also one of the few Terrytoons to get Oscar nomination (lost to a Bugs Bunny cartoon Knighty Knight Bugs).

Its funny how Sidney was the only Deitch character to continue after his departure. Considering that Bill Weiss wanted kiddy fare for the ever-growing Saturday Morning lineup you'd think he'd use something like Gaston Le Crayon, which featured rather typical cartoon antics not far off from Heckle and Jeckle. Sidney was probably the most psychotic of the cartoon characters, an elephant that suffers from severe neurosis and acts like a kid (or wants to act like a kid). Despite being a talking animal series I wonder if any kids ever got the humor in, say, Sick, Sick Sidney (1958). Nontheless, while Sidney's neurosis was toned down after Deitch's departure, they were still more entertaining than the rather dull Hector Heathcote or Hashimoto cartoons that would eventually came out.

Sidney's Family Tree depicts our hero trying to be adopted by a mother; it was explained in the theme song (edited out in television airing) that Sidney's parents joined the circus and abandoned him. After few unsuccessful tries a caring monkey wife adopts him. Unfortunately her husband doesn't approve and decides to lead him to a trail that would cause his death. As comedy logic explains, his attempts are unsuccessful.

Jim Tyer's animations are, as usual, wonderful and fun to look at. The animation of the girl elephant walking by, and Sidney's reaction upon seeing her, is also nicely done (Anyone know who did that? Johnny Gent?). However, note that the animation of the mother saying "you know how we always wanted a baby" is choppy, while the husband's reaction immediately after is played out smoothly. This is a problem I've noticed in many Terry shorts produced at the time, where there is at least one piece of animation done in choppy fashion. I have no idea if they simply forgot (or ran out of time) to do inbetweens or it was the work of a careless animator.

The film's Oscar-nomination status would later become a plot-point in a Tiny Toons episode called Who Bopped Bugs Bunny, where a jealous Smedley the Elephant get revenge on Bugs for winning the Shloscar.

As per usual, the video below is pan-and-scan television print. To make up for it I included a couple of screenshots from the original CinemaScope print.

Friday, August 6, 2010

List updated.

I updated my 16mm want list. Any help is appreciated.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chowder Grows Up

Some of you may remember the interview I did with Chowder creator C.H. Greenblatt over the series finale.

Well, Cartoon Network is finally airing it this Saturday (8/7) at 7:30 pm E/P after a 5-hour Chowder marathon.

Just a note.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Apache on the County Seat (1973)

Filing under "something I'd never thought would show up", Hulu recently added Hoot Kloot to their ever-increasing lineup.

Hoot Kloot was a theatrical series produced by DePatie-Freleng and distributed by United Artists for a year from 1973 to '74. The titular character is a sheriff of a small town, his only assistant being an elderly, talking horse named Fester (both voiced by Bob Holt). Occasionally they would encounter Crazy Wolf (Larry D. Mann) as their recurring "bad guy".

The series is considered to be the weakest of the DFE lineup and was often shunned when TNT and Cartoon Network reran them for years on their Pink Panther show. However, there were a few that's worth watching. One of them is Apache on the County Seat (1973), directed by Hawley Pratt.

While Apache was released as the second in the series, it was actually the first one made, as a pilot. It was originally pitched for TV on NBC as a back-segment on the Pink Panther half-hour show that was on air at the time. However, NBC took a pass due to one scene in the short which showed Kloot encountering a tribe of Jewish Indians celebrating Bar Mitzvah.

Its a shame that the rest of the series doesn't have this energy. The layouts by Dick Ung are great and the splotchy background painting by Dick Thomas gives a nice atmosphere to the setting. The animation by Bob Richardson, Manny Gould, Warren Batchelder, and Don Williams aren't bad either. However, considering that most studios stopped doing short subjects by the seventies, as well as the fact that DFE started focusing more on creating content for Saturday Morning TV, maybe it was to be expected regarding the lack of energy.

Watch the short below (sorry, only available to anyone in the US):