Monday, March 13, 2006
Background Painting 1 - Kristy Gordon
This is the incredible story of multi-talented Kristy Gordon.
I love this painting of the Finishing Tree! It's so gloriously rich! Doesn't it remind you of the one you grew up with?
Here's a theory about color that started at Spumco and eventually made it to Powerpuff Girls, Time Squad, Samurai Jack and a few other lucky cartoon projects:
It used to drive me crazy that all modern cartoons were painted using the same colors in the 1980s, basically pink, purple and green, and on days when cartoon painters were extra daring, they might use red or blue.
In other words, cartoons were usually painted with primary and secondary colors only and in most of the business today, they still are - except for those few cartoons that were inspired by Ren and Stimpy that in turn were inspired by Mary Blair, Frank Frazetta, Golden Books, N.C. Wyeth and many other styles that had fallen out of fashion.
OK, for example, if I was to hand out this background to a typical painter, the grass would come out middle green, the tree middle brown and the house would be pink and purple.
I'm fascinated by how colors work. I almost always have car accidents when I'm driving by myself because I notice all kinds of things that get me going.
I used to stare at lawns and I noticed they weren't really green and certainly not green like out of a tube of cartoon color paint. I could see the dirt under the grass peeking through the green blades, and the dirt colors itself were varied and not consistent. Don't ask me why, but things like this make me crazy with excitement.
So when Kristy started painting for me I told her all my weird color obsessions and she thought I was some kind of lunatic. I said, "Whatever you do, don't paint cartoon video box colors in my cartoons!"
I told her my dirt and grass theories and we drove around and flipped the car onto some lawns in Ottawa so that Kristy could get a first hand feel for what was thrilling me so.
She then painted tons of dirt cards, and slowly tried different techniques of layering the greens on top of the browns until she came up with the gorgeous painting you see above.
Kristy is a natural master of technique and detail. She just oozes with style and artistic elegance.
Once she understood what I like about color, she started painting all kinds of lush BGs for the show.
A lot of fans and cartoonists misunderstand what I want from my artists. They think I want the Spumco "Style" and I don't. Cartoon Network can have that. I want good fundamental substance and individual styles from the artists' own souls.
Has anyone ever treated teats so reverently as our little genius Kristy has done for you?
Superficially, Kristy's backgrounds don't look like the backgrounds in the original Ren and Stimpy series . They aren't filled with spatter and drybrush, but then many of the original cartoons weren't either. But now when everyone thinks back, that's what they remember the Ren and Stimpy style to be.
I want mood in my scenes, the techniques can vary all the time.
Think of the great lush paintings Scott Wills did for "Son Of Stimpy" or the stylish BGs Bill Wray did for "Robin Hoek". (go look at his killer cartoony paintings!)
Great painters will work in many styles if you let them, and I not only let them, I yell at them if they don't! I'm such a greedy fan of art that I need my eyes pleasured all the time and I get bored when my artists settle into a style that the fans can call the Spumco style.
Kristy is an incredible artist who is interested in many different aspects of art. She draws, and animates and does layouts...she paints killer landscapes and you should order some now and plaster them on your walls to show the world what magnificent taste you have!
On a sad note, cartoon paintings are out of fashion again. Most cartoons have photoshop fake paintings now, or none at all! Whenever I see a cartoon that has flat BGs that don't differ from the look of the characters, I feel totally cheated. You should too! Especially when there are great artists, like Kristy, Bill, Nick Cross and many others who can do so much to make you feel good.
BTW, I think the drawings for all these paintings were done by the wonderful Nick Cross, who I will post about later this week and I'll show you his killer work from Lost Episodes of Ren and Stimpy.
Kristy also does voices for me! She is the beachball girl in Naked Beach Frenzy and many other funny characters in the LOST Episodes which are coming soon!
Worship her now!