Monday, June 29, 2009

She's Got Betty Boop Eyes

I was noticing that in a lot of colorized versions of Betty Boop, her eyes are given color. I dislike this beyond words.

Since the finer aspects of human character are not translatable in any reasonable way, "life," or character must be communicated with exaggerated renditions of the grosser aspects of life. To wit, the massive eyes of most cartoon characters.

In most cartoons, the life of the character, truly the character of the character is found in the eyes. In cartoons more so than in real life, the eyes really are the window to the soul. Black & white characters were designed to be in black & white, and as such that's where their soul lies. If they were going to be drawn in color, they would have been drawn differently.

Take a look at Mickey Mouse.

As he evolved into color his structure also evolved. It's subtle, but substantial. Betty Boop has not evolved (if you forget that she was apparently once a dog), Nor do I think she should evolve. Her image is iconic at this point. Mickey's visage evolved to more or less its modern state by the 1940's. He's had decades to become iconic and evolve ever more finely.

I had a similar complaint of the new Scooby Doo cartoons. The characters never seemed right to me. They look sort of like the original characters I loved. They sound sort of like them. But there was still something seriously off about them. I didn't then and still don't see them as the original characters because the soul behind the drawing is different. It took me forever to place it. Then it hit me; they have whites in their eyes. The animators fucked with the eyes and fucked with the soul of the characters.

The new versions are technically good. Detailed. Express well. All around, they're good. They're different, though. Wrong, to my eye. The character has been fundamentally altered and as such I see them as different cartoons. Betty Boop is Betty Boop. Leave her as is. Who Framed Roger Rabbit nailed it, as you can see in this clip. She's up-to-date with advanced animation, but she's firmly in original character.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First editable

This is just a pinker, more frilly color scheme I was working on. This is some of the final lines. I fixed a problem with her right boob looking a bit squashed, accentuated the curve in the line near her right clavicle, touched up the hair, etc. The little betty in the upper corner are the old lines with the original color scheme. Feel free to futz.

This file's vectors ARE EDITABLE. I made it with Adobe Fireworks, but as far as I know, simple vectors like this should import just fine into CS1, CS2, and CS3 Photoshop.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

First Hi-Res Betty Boop

This is the Betty Boop from my newly created logo. It's in .png format but the vectors ARE NOT editable in this file.

You'll notice that this is a pretty wide-spread image of Betty, but I've edited it slightly. I've made some parts of her body thinner and others fatter to subtly accentuate her cartoony character. I added a second arm and hand in the background to give the image a bit more depth. I've also smoothed out some lumps in the original lines, but I tried to not do it so much as to remove the character of the original drawing.

First post.

I started this blog to celebrate a likely-unhealthy obsession with cartoon vixens. I also started it to share high-quality, high-resolution images of said cartoon characters since they're usually pretty hard to find online. I'll upload the images and also the vector files (either .png or .psd) so you can mess around with them yourself.

My personal favorite is Betty Boop, who is my first upload (*snicker*). I'll also upload images I've made of other famous cartoon vixens, such as Jessica Rabbit. I like Betty Boop because I see her as a yet-unfulfilled promise to women. It may seem like I'm just another perverted guy who likes hot cartoons, but Betty Boop is far more than that, for me.

I'm also what could be considered a practical feminist. I want absolute equality and freedom for women, which has yet to happen. Yes, we have many systems in place, and legally sexism isn't allowed any longer, but practically and culturally, sexism is still rampant. Far more rampant than any other 'ism.

Now how the hell could I construe Betty Boop to be a feminist icon? Simple. She is what women should be allowed to be. She is pure, in fact it is all but explicitly stated that she is a virgin, yet she is also social, free, and overtly sexual.

Talk about a revolutionary concept! And make no mistake, it was. The argument that someone could be both pure and sexual was new and very much a product of the roaring twenties.

Furthermore, I think that the creators of Betty Boop were aware of these cultural overtones, and didn't simply want to make a cute caricature of a flapper. Her entire character structure of overt sexuality, yet being a virgin, and not only being unjudged by her friends and town, but being specifically loved was very novel. I also find it no surprise whatsoever that when the Hays Commission and other organizations came down on Betty, she was censored in such a way as to be pure and, effectively, asexual.

I see Betty and the 1920's as a promise to women that, yes, you can be a flirt, and sexual, and playful, and still be a good person and accepted by society. In fact, the only aspect of Betty that I see as sexist is the fact that she is kept specifically pure, implying that even though a woman can be a flirt, purity is still ideal. But this was the early 1930's, any advancement at all is worthwhile.

The above image is a work in progress, and I'm still tweaking the lines. I'll upload a very high-res version later, after I feel that the lines are good.