Thursday, February 28, 2008


Fascinating pictures on the net these days! On ASIFA-Hollywood's site, Steve Worth just put up some drawings by Clampett's writer, Warren Foster. As you can see, Foster was a pretty good draughtsman.

I talked to John K about these and mentioned with surprise that they seem to have been colored with ordinary crayons... or maybe pastels, I can't tell. John wasn't surprised at all. John once visited Tex at Hanna Barbera and asked if he would sign his copy of Adamson's book. Tex not only signed it, he did an elaborate drawing which he insisted on coloring with crayons. When he couldn't find any he begged John to wait while he hobbled down the hall (Tex was an older man by then) to find some. In Tex's view a drawing just wasn't complete until it was crayoned.

I agree! I love the way crayons enhance a pencil drawing. Crayon, when it's done with a light touch, reminds me of the way watercolors and pencil interact. Each emphasizes the delicacy and grace of the other. When my kids were little I used to give them a new box of crayons with great ceremony and fanfare. I explained that what they were getting was a professional tool, beloved by animation artists. They didn't buy a word of it. They thought I was just being cheap.

And talking about Tex, here's (above) a picture from Mike Barrier's site showing the young and vigorous Tex sitting on a rock with an animator friend. Holy Cow! Tex had muscles...and HAIR!
Look at the cut of his bathing suit, which seems a little high and Gunga-Dinish compared to modern trunks, and check out the shoes (slippers?)!

Looking at this picture, and recalling how cool Red Hot Ryder's low-cut boots looked in the drawings I put up last week, convinced me that men should always wear black leather dress shoes with a bathing suit. Maybe even thin black socks. A sliver of jet black on the bottom of a character really separates him from the ground and makes a solid, here-I-am-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it kind of statement. Look what black hooves did for Porky!


Nico said...

Wow, great Tex photograph!

The point you made about men wearing black shoes (and perhaps socks) with their bathing suits is a fantastic idea. why, it's an AMAZING THEORY!

Kali Fontecchio said...

I can't stop starring at that last picture..........................................I wish I had a printer!

Tex and Clampett are dreamy!

Bitter Animator said...

I was looking for crayons a while back and couldn't find enough colours. Art shops where I am are crap.

Where does one find felt in more than four colours? I want to do a picture made in cut out pieces of felt but I can't find any on this awful planet I call home?

Answers on a post card please.

Love the drawings. You're totally right about the interaction between the pencils and the crayons. The natural feel of the line work is not overwhelmed by the colouring.

On an unrelated note, any idea what the best examples are of really limited animation? I mean, the more limited the better. Roger Ramjet is a great one, which Mr.K was posting about and got me thinking about it, but what else?

kellie said...

Both my kids have just had birthdays - what a palaver! Next year I'm taking your advice and giving them both crayons. Paper only if they behave themselves - after all, there's still some white space on their walls.

Actually I'm worried, the wall above my seven year old son's bed is covered with writing in pencil and ballpoint, BUT NO DRAWING! Do you have any advice on how to nurture drawing in a young child with two overbearing artist parents?

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Bitter: Really, really limited animation? Ask Steve Worth at the ASIFA archive site. He's the expert on that kind of stuff.

Kellie: Glad you asked! I learned through painful experience that an artist parent should never attempt to give art lessons of any kind to young children. The teacher at school can and should do it, but not you.

It's a good idea to work at a table big enough so they can pull up a chair and draw with you, but never make a suggestion about how what they do could be better. In fact, show only a very small interest in what they're doing. Don't make a fuss over it or offer to frame it. Don't put it on your wall or show it off to friends while the kids are around.

Make art materials available for them, but have them already available so you don't have to hunt for them. Pretend that they're yours but that you'll reluctantly let them use them. Make it seem like you don't have time to devote much thought to it.

Kids go through a natural and necessary stage where they rebel against you, and if they associate art too strongly with you, then they'll give up on art
when they temporarily give up on you.

Oh, yes....never ever give an art lesson unless they specifically ask for it. If they ask, make the explanation a bit dry and deliberately short so they'll crave more.

I could say a whole lot more about this, but that's a start.

Kali: You're all hot and bothered by the young Tex?
Good for you!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Do you have a copy of the drawing tex made for John? Is

Craig D said...

QUOTE: "It's a good idea to work at a table big enough so they can pull up a chair and draw with you, but never make a suggestion about how what they do could be better. In fact, show only a very small interest in what they're doing. Don't make a fuss over it or offer to frame it. Don't put it on your wall or show it off to friends while the kids are around."

HERE are some drawings my (then) not quite 4 y.o. daughter did. Yep, it was just another session of the two of us at the kitchen table, as you described. these were her own, unsolicited cartoon ideas.

Anonymous said...

Cloven hooves work for Porky but they don't do a thing for creative executives.

JohnK said...

Great post, Eddie!

slight correction: I didn't meet Tex at HB. Bob Jaques and I met him at Cascade studio on Willoughby St. in Hollywood.

He drew a Bugs Bunny for both of us and colored them in crayons.

He was really nice, and embarrassed about the book and our praise too. He said "Oh, this old thing" and blushed that we were making such a fuss over him.

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

That other dashing young animator next to Tex looks a little like Chuck.

Could it be? Chuck lived by the sea. It's true, in a land called Honah-lee.

Those look more like pastels than crayons, though. I've never seen much in the way of subtle color in Crayolas.

- trevor.

Charlie J. said...

Wow, Tex is hot!

Did you and John know Tex? Do you have any stories?
I've heard Clampett stories but not Tex stories from you guys!

chrisallison said...

looks like hard pastel coloring, but i could definitely be wrong. wax crayons and oil pasetels can't leave that type of subtle texture. wax and oil break off into big globs and are pretty messy. i'd say that would destroy the linework, but John just said that they were crayons.

I second the call for more information and stories about Tex Avery. I think he's the greatest.

David Germain said...

That other dashing young animator next to Tex looks a little like Chuck.

According to Michael Barrier's site, the animator is Jim Pabian.

Stephen Worth said...

I scanned the drawings, and it was definitely something waxy like a crayon, not soft like pastels. The discoloration of the paper is from being rubber cemented into the scrapbook. The discoloration actually improved the Carl Urbano drawing, but it didn't help the Warren Foster sketches at all.

See ya

Weirdo said...

Awesome post. Those are excellent drawings. An inspiration to cartoonists everywhere.

Vincent Waller said...

Great post Eddie.

Roberto said...

"I second the call for more information and stories about Tex Avery. I think he's the greatest."

Ditto. That makes me the third person that wants to hear about these stories about Tex (his 100th birthday was a few days ago).

Avery in a bathing suit? That's the first time I have ever seen that photo. Thanks for inserting that, Eddie.

As for the drawings themselves, they are absolutely excellent. I love the anatomy, especially on the women.

PCUnfunny said...

I didn't know John met Tex ! I also didn't know Warren was such an amazing artist.

"Tex and Clampett are dreamy!"


chrisallison said...

Thanks for the insight, Steve! Crayons, imagine that!

kellie said...

Craig D, those sketches by your daughter were great. My daughter is a similar age. One of the things she enjoys best is painting with my acrylics. She paints snowmen and other snow creatures with white acrylic on brown corrugated cardboard.

I think the right materials can really help a young child develop confidence. Cheap hard colored pencils are hard to get a result with compared with softer watercolor pencils or crayons. And cheap watercolor on thin paper doesn't give a child a fighting chance.

The great thing with acrylics is that they make it easy for a child (and an adult) to paint over, explore and change the image as they go.

When I was a child, though some years older, I used to love Talens watercolour dyes. What a dramatic result!

As for the horrible brushes that are sold with some kids' painting sets - ecch!

Spizzerinktum said...

Best advice regarding getting your kids interested in art EVER. Especially the part about "reluctance". There's nothing like telling a kid that something is verboten to get them grabbing for it while you're doing the wash.

This approach could be applied to most anything, really: "Cook dinner? Why, Junior, you're far too young to be handling sharp knives." "Laundry? YOU? Not for a wee tyke, this grueling, masculine toil."

I recall being tricked into mowing the lawn--well, a modest portion of it--with a decrepit push mower simply by being told by my father that I wasn't strong enough. (He was right.) "Oh, PLEEEASE, can I mow the lawn? Can I? Can I? PLEEEEASE???" My big brother was busy pushing the rusted monster through the thicket of suburban crabgrass. "He gets to do EVERYTHING!" I moaned. "It's not FAIR!" (How I hated my big brother and all those perqs he racked up for being the oldest. He even got to clean the pool.)

Suddenly the mower was all mine, and I felt special. Special and powerful, like Tex in that photo. Maybe if I'd had those hoof-shoes I could have made it through that oppressive wall of ratty scrub.

You sound like a swell dad, Eddie, in addition to all your other stellar qualities. I just hope you didn't pull the lawnmower trick on your daughter.