Sunday, November 22, 2009

Betty Boop Film Class Part 7

And here we are. Minnie the Moocher is the Betty Boop cartoon. It's one of Fleischer's three cartoons in the top 25 cartoons of all time. It's a landmark in animation style and construction. It's also the first Betty Boop cartoon that is actually about Betty.

If you go back to the previous few cartoons, you can watch how Betty is slowly becoming more and more the centerpiece of the episodes, but with Mask-A-Raid and Boop-Oop-A-Doop, Betty does not open the cartoon and it all plays out more like an ensemble cast. Dizzy Red Riding Hood opens with Betty, but seems to concentrate on Bimbo. This the first one that opens and closes with Betty alone, her role as a flapper is cemented, and she's now officially a teenager rejecting the old ways of her parents. Awww. How emo of her! I bet she'd just love Twilight.

The video I've uploaded includes audio with very low gain, so turn up the volume. I had to use it because it was far and away the best video quality of all the uploads.

I'm not going to comment much on it. This is a cartoon that should simply be experienced. It's just as trippy as Bimbo's Initiation. The lip-syncing animation is just continuing to get better. I especially like the mouth animation of the prisoner ghosts. The finer details are still lacking, and the patterns are still very exaggerated, but they're much more expressive and quick. One thing that's of importance is the first use, as far as I know, of motion lines/motion blur in the animation of the walrus to illustrate fast movements.

Keep an eye out for Koko to come out of the inkwell, again.

The rotoscoped animation of Cab Calloway's Walrus is really great. But it is a bit jarring when it jumps between that and the non-rotoscoped walrus. Moreover, the lyrics and themes of the song really drive home that, at the time, cartoons were very much aimed at adults. Kids wouldn't understand any of it, certainly not the pun of a cat singing scat. And the animated flip-out that concludes the show I think would have just overloaded anyone under the age of ten.

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Bimbo Wallpapers

My first Bimbo wallpapers! He may not be a vixen, but his name is now basically a derogatory term for women, and I'm pretty sure I'm insulting women by objectifying them on this website, so it all comes full circle. Or something.

4:3 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

16:10 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bimbo Final Editable

Well here it is! The final Bimbo. The lines are tweaked. The colors gone. The details intact. I'm very happy with it.

From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers
Bimbo was simple enough. Apparently, Grim Natwick always hated Bimbo. From an animator's perspective, I can understand why. Bimbo is very much lacking any serious character. He almost seems like a default, background-level construct, only he's the star of the show. Betty and Koko are unique, especially Betty, who's general look has never been matched or copied.

I think he deserves a bit more credit than Natwick gave him, though. Since he was effectively the genesis of all of the cartoon tropes that constitute his construct. He's got the shirt with no pants. He's got the white gloves. He's got the big-ass eyeballs. There's no character to him because when he came out, these elements were new.

I added some texture to his shoes and some shadows under his feet, but otherwise he looks identical to the widely available character sheet. I'll have some wallpapers up soon. Cheers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Betty Boop Wallpapers

I finally got around to making some wallpapers from one of the images I finished.

It's of Betty standing in her famous... gun?... pose. The images are situated to the left to facilitate a pile of desktop icons to the left. I guess it's the opposite on Mac desktops, but if you're using a Mac, you're undoubtedly super-creative and make your own desktop images, anyhow.

I made B&W versions, and as usual I made the lips red. There's just something about that. I'll have some center-positioned wallpapers up soon, and I'll also have the Betty Boop logo done and available. Otherwise, enjoy.

4:3 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

16:10 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

4:3 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

16:10 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

Bimbo Prototype 2

He's coming along just fine. I should have a bevy of wallpapers of him done in a short while. I like the old cartoons. Their constructs are so simple, it makes it very easy to translate them into thick vectors.

I tried to colorize Bimbo, but it just looked like shit. I think that, unlike Betty, I'm going to keep him B&W. Any Bimbo/Betty combos will have to render Betty in B&W as well, or else I risk it looking off. I want to remain faithful to the original ideas and aspects of the cartoons.

A Little Break

I've been taking a little break from vector work to indulge my other artistic endeavor, photography.

I'm producing desktop wallpapers at 16:10 widescreen and 4:3 standard screen ratios all the way up to, I believe, the highest resolutions currently available.

If you're interested, stop by and download some nice wallpapers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Changes to The Site

I've changed the feed going into the CoolIris wall above and the link to the Cartoon Vixens album. I created an album that's nothing but wallpapers and high resolution work, as opposed to just linking to my general feed. You can still easily get to my general feed through the link, it just takes a couple of clicks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

John Lasseter Sticks it to Michael Eisner.

"I've never understood why the studios were saying people don't want to see hand-drawn animation... What people don't want to watch is a bad movie."

Or so says John Lasseter. And by people, he of course means Michael Eisner, a.k.a the guy who shut down traditional animation at Disney.

He's probably also reveling in the fact that he's basically Disney's saving grace. Disney had been doing nothing but milking their properties and driving their value into the fucking dirt for nearly a decade. By squeezing every ounce of blood from their IP, they left art and artistic integrity so far behind they couldn't find it again with Hubble. They truly had become the "rapacious, soul-less" company that Roy E. Disney had accused them of becoming. For lack of a better word, they were hopeless.

But here we are, 2009, Disney's hopes and dreams riding on the work of a bunch of guys that they freaking FIRED. They fired Lasseter back in the early 80's, after they decided that CGI films were going nowhere (how forward-thinking), and they fired John Musker and Ron Clements in 2004 after declaring that traditional animation was dead (how forward-thinking).

Disney fucking deserves to fail, but these guys deserve to succeed. I guess it's good that I like these guys more than I hate Disney. It's because of them that I feel so confident that this is going to be a complete rebirth of the Disney company. It's because of them Disney is saved. It's because of them animation is serious, again.

For 'Princess,' Disney Returns To Traditional Animation Style (

What Ever Happened to Strong Female Cartoons?!

I was watching the first episodes of Rainbow Brite a couple of days ago and it hit me how lacking pop cartoons are. Where are the adventures? The storylines? The shit that doesn't involve middle-school-level drama like Kim Possible?

I've lamented this frequently. Think of all the great, narratively coherent cartoons from the 1980's and 1990's. Where are today's Darkwing Duck, or He-Man? But perhaps more importantly, where are today's Rainbow Brite and She-Ra?

Back then, girls had lots of great role models that still catered to girly fantasy. Both Rainbow and She-Ra had BEAUTIFUL horses. Both had lots of hair and literally coruscating wardrobes. Yet, along with this pandering, they were strong characters who took charge, lead to victory, and solved problems when others were cowardly and bitchy.

Girls today get shows that have been Bratz-ified to the point of nearly encouraging prostitution. Either that, or they've been replaced with good, but incoherent sketch shows like Spongebob.

I can appreciate that the "'tween" psychosocial group entered the mainstream, but as with Michael Eisner claiming that traditional animation was dead simply because Disney's cartoons were failing, it's not that people (and kids) don't want cartoons, it's that they don't want BAD cartoons. And, man, back in the 80's, cartoons were bad with style. Turbo Teen, anyone?

And as this great article discusses (bottom of page), the 'tween model is only part of the problem. You are not being a curmudgeon who simply thinks anything new isn't as good as what you had as a child. Saturday morning cartoons are getting worse.

But the internet is the saving grace! Now, kids who ARE your market can find your work wherever it may hide. I know I rant about letting go of the old revenue models and embracing what the internet can offer, but seriously, LET GO! Give your work away! Put it up on YouTube, offer DVD's, publish blogs, do anything to get your stuff out there!

Bring back great cartoons! Let our kids experience the same great fantasy worlds that kids from not-that-long-ago were able to experience. Don't distill it down to whizz-bang-shit-exploding-Marlon-Wayans-being-an-idiot like they did when they raped my memory of GI-Joe this past summer. Saturday morning may be dead, but the internet is just starting.

I'm going to start this as a call to creators to dig back into the zenith of saturday morning cartoons and try to use it as inspiration to give quality cartoons a rebirth. The internet, and even tools like Flash, can bring quality cartoons to a massive audience with small budgets.

My first vote goes to Rainbow Brite.

The Disappearance of Saturday Morning (