Friends are there…

Popping from the funny pages, Garfield and Friends hit the Saturday morning airwaves on September 17, 1988. This successful show lasted eight years. The format of the show was in three parts. First was a Garfield short, then a U.S. Acres short, and ending with a final Garfield short.

Garfield has been done in animation so much that I’m going to focus on U.S. Acres. Garfield’s creator Jim Davis launched U.S. Acres as a newspaper comic strip on March 3, 1986 and ran until 1989. Garfield and Friends was my first introduction to the U.S. Acres and my only way to have them in my life since my local newspaper didn’t run it.

The show was set on a farm and featured Orson Pig, the leader. Roy Rooster, a greedy loud mouth that bothers the group. Wade Duck, is cowardly with a such a fear of water that he wears an inner tube around his waist at all times. Booker, an extremely confident chick that never catches worms no matter how much he chases them. Sheldon, is Booker’s unpatched brother. He is the intelligent and philosophical one of the group. Bo Sheep, was a bit different from his comic version. In the comic he was wasn’t very bright but perky. In the cartoon he was depicted as a surfer dude. Still a bit dim but always calm, cool, and collected. Lanolin Sheep, is the opposite of her brother Bo,l.

Much like most Saturday morning cartoons of the 1980’s the plots were simple. A short adventure with a lesson in the end. The humor was fun and what was expected from a Jim Davis cartoon.

The classic Jim Davis style is seen throughout the cartoon. Characters were simple and clean in design. The backgrounds were simple and normally brightly colored staying true to Jim Davis’ style. Check out the pictures below.

Gregg Berger voided Orson as well as Odie in the Garfield segment. Funny story. Gregg also voices Grimlock in the Transformers cartoons and I was supposed to be on a panel with him in November 2018 discussing the Transformers. Unfortunately, I got sick and had to cancel my appearance. I hope I get another chance to meet him as I’m a fan of his Garfield and Transformers characters. Roy was voided by Thom Huge who als voice Jon Arbuckle in the Garfield segments. Wade was voiced by Howard Morris who was the original Gopher in the first Winne the Pooh movie. In the Garfield segments Julie Payne Dr. Liz Wilson an voiced Lanolin in the U.S. Acres shorts. The multitalented Frank Welker voiced the rest. Frank Welker is best know as Fred Jones on Scooby Doo as well as Scooby since Don Messick passed. If you look up Frank on IMDB you’ll find that he has 834 acting rolls and still counting. I did some research and I couldn’t find anyone with more acting credits. I’m not sure if there is a cartoon Frank Welker isn’t part of.

U.S. Acres was a fun 6-8 minute short that I enjoyed each week. I look back at the enjoyment this cartoon brought me. Although I watch all types of cartoons, I’ve always leaned towards cartoons with animal characters. Maybe it’s because I grew up on Mickey Mouse, the Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, and Yogi Bear. Maybe it’s the clean and simple style or because I just enjoying drawing animals. Whatever the reason, U.S. Acres is a fun cartoon. Garfield and Friends is currently available on DVD and on the Boomerang app. You can also find some shorts on YouTube.

I now leave you with a short I found on YouTube. and I’ll be back next week. Until then, remember…there is always time to GET IN TOON!


Tip Tuesday

It’s time to GET IN TOON! with Tip Tuesday.

Today’s tips are about supplies. Artists use a variety of supplies and I’ll be showing you photos of what I use.

This is my digital setup. I have an 27″ iMac with my cintiq 27QHD with ergonomic stand. There is also my Canon scanner/printer. I don’t use that as much as I used to these days. When drawing on the computer I primarily work in Adobe Photoshop.

Above is my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. This is my on the go digital studio. On the iPad I love to work in Clip Studio Paint but I also use Procreate and Comic Draw.

Moving on to my traditional setup you can see my drawing board. It’s a tabletop drawing board so I can take it down to work on other types of art. The markets in the back are a combination of Copics and Touch markers. The art supplies next to my drawing board change depending what I’m doing.

This is my light box. I’m a very sketchy artist when I’m roughing out my work and my light box comes in handy when I’m doing my cleanup drawings.

Now what do I carry with me?

A clipboard and a pencil case.

This is my clipboard. It holds standard 8.5″x11″ copy paper which is my preference to sketch on when I’m just playing with ideas.

My clipboard is a storage clipboard and here is what I keep inside.

Now on to my pencil case.

I love this pencil case. It was given to me as a gift and has been my go to case now for the last couple of years. Take a look inside. You can see how much it holds.

One side I use for just my inking pens and the other is mostly for my pencils but I do keep a few inking pens in there too.

Now on to the today’s tip.

Don’t worry about the supplies when you’re starting out. Artists have spent year learning how to properly use these supplies. They experiment with paper, pens, inks, etc. but they all started with simple tools.

Start with copy paper. It’s cheap. A regular number 2 pencil is an HB pencil. It’s a middle of the road pencil and great for practicing simple shading. A pencil sharpener and eraser are needed too. I prefer a kneaded eraser as it doesn’t leave crumbs and is fun to play with. When you’re ready to start perspective, you will need a ruler. As for inking, I always say start cheap. Felt tip markers are the way to go. There is a very good chance felt tip markers will bleed on copy paper but with practice you can control that. Next up, the drawing surface. I love my clipboard as I can draw on my lap or I can put it on a table. When it’s on a table I like to put something under it to raise the board a bit and create an angle like my drawing board. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have a light box. A window on a nice sunny day works just as good.

Those are my tips for today. Join me next Tuesday when I’ll be back with another tip.

Until then, remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!


Welcome to GET IN TOON!

If you have visited this site before you will notice it has been through some changes. If you haven’t been here before let me explain what GET IN TOON! is. GET IN TOON! is my educational blog devoted to the art of cartooning. Whether you enjoy comics, animation, gaming, and more, this blog offers free tips and tutorials on how to go about creating them.

My name is Michael Grassia and I am a cartoonist. Basically, that means I draw humorous images. I have always had a passion for cartooning since I could hold a pencil and at 8 years old I began to take my craft seriously. The rest of my life I devoted to learning everything I can about cartooning. Animation has always been my main love in cartooning. I grew up watching a lot cartoons. If it ran from the late 1970’s to the early 2000’s you can be sure I watch it. I do watch present day cartoons but nothing beats the classics for me.

In September 2017 I released my first educational app “A Simple Guide to Storytelling” which teaches storytelling though the comic strip method. It is available on both the iOS App Store and Google Play for a reasonable price.

I plan to post at least once a week but more if I can. In addition to my posts I will have some free downloadable materials to help your cartooning journey. So stay tooned for my next post. I leave you with the cartoon drawing I did of the FLASH and remember, there is always time to GET IN TOON!

the flash