Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lloyd Turner Interview - Storyboard Artist/Writer at Looney Tunes

If you were interested in yesterday's post about how stories are written at cartoon studios, there is a really fun behind-the-scenes- interview with one of the storyboard artists/writers at WB in the 1940s at Mike Barrier's site.

Lloyd Turner was in Art Davis' crew and later worked for Bob Clampett on Time For Beany.
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He went on to Rocky and Bullwinkle and other Jay Ward cartoons.

He also wrote many live action sitcoms, including The Jeffersons, All In The Family and Mork and Mindy - unless there were 2 writers named Lloyd Turner!

Anyway, read the interview and you'll get a real feel of how they go about writing cartoons, with all the dirt and studio politics involved!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Language Of Cartoons

As we all know, cartoons ideas and stories are written with drawings, accompanied by words for dialogue.
The drawings don't need to be finished, totally on-model drawings of the characters. The cartoon story writer has to be more concerned with the story- continuity, acting, staging, gags clarity.
If the story man has to worry about doing cleaned up perfectly on-model characters and finished background drawings, then his mind is not free to think about story.

The storyman wants to show the continuity through the characters. The characters need to appear spontaneous and alive and motivated from within. A really good story man can draw fast and confidently, which automatically gives the continuity a spontaneous - this is really happening now - quality to the work.

That's why storyboards are generally simple and don't have a lot of extraneous detail. When you see a storyboard that is very clean and does have a lot of intricate detail, you can assume that the artist was not thinking about the story. He might have been thinking about impressing an executive, or preparing the drawings so that an overseas studio can just xerox them up to use for layouts, which is a very wrong use for storyboards. It generally adds up to general stiffness, lack of spontaneity, formula staging and storytelling.

The story artist still needs to use some of the same tools that other cartoonists use-clear silhouettes, line of action, opposing poses. All these tools make the acting and story clear and easy to read. They give direction and purpose to the ideas.

He needs to understand the characters and the dynamics between them, so that he doesn't draw each character acting and posing the same way.

Here are some Dan Gordon storyboards for the first Flintstone cartoon. Lots of life and spontaneity.

Here's a Flintstone board by someone else with no life and formula staging. This started the trend towards cartoons where the cartooning doesn't matter. The characters just become surrogates that exist only to mouth the generic words of the people we've come to call writers - who are really just "writers - for -hire", a totally different animal than an actual writer. The irony is that it was probably cartoonists themselves that started this horrific trend, and made it easy for non-cartoonists to take over our business.
There are a series of semi-historical articles at the animation archive that tell how storyboards and the general writing procedures evolved at animation studios. Pretty interesting and very logical.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bobby Sox By Marty Links

Here's more proof that girl cartoonists have certain qualities in their work that are beyond us inferior boys.Tell me what you see in these drawings and I will add my notes later today.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

For Richard

Humpty Dumpty Magazine - Dan Lawler Illustrations

Here are some paintings by Dan Lawler.
Not only is the technique beautiful, the character designs are great too!
I wonder if he had anything to do with animation.
Too bad some dirty little kid got ahold of these and scribbled all over 'em! He needs a little discipline to beget love.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A President Who'll Kick Some Ass

What's the point of trying to reason with the dirty foreigners? So we've lost status around the world, eh?

Well maybe that's because we can't finish what we started.

Maybe this guy can. no more wimps for president!

There's only one way to win back respect for America and this guy knows the way.

Oh, by the way, I've broke over 5 million hits this week, so thanks loads, everybody!