Speedy Cartooning

It’s time to GET IN TOON! with speedy cartooning. The artwork below I do for fun. They are quick warmup drawings I do to get my day started or drawings I make to clear my head.

All the illustrations are completed with a sharpie or a prismacolor chisel tip multiliner. I draw quickly. If I spend five minutes on one then I’ve spent too much time on it. I draw in marker to be confident in my lines and draw fast trying to quickly capture the motion and emotion of the character/scene. The artwork below are all gone but I do sell these at shows for $5 a piece. If you ever see me at a convention, it’s the perfect time to get one and if you don’t see one you like, I’ll draw a speedy cartoon for you on the spot!

Hope you enjoyed these speedy cartoons and remember…there is always time to GET IN TOON!

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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!

Smurfy-day Mornings of the 1980s

La La-La La La La-La La La La La

That was a tune I heard every Saturday morning throughout the 1980s. It was the tune sung by those forest dwelling creatures, the Smurfs.

I was a big Smurf fan when I was a kid and I still am. You can see by these photos. The first is the shelf above my drawing table. The second is of my comic collection. I love them so much they aren’t put away in boxes and proudly displayed on my bookshelf. They are currently being published by Papercutz and I highly recommend visiting your local comic shop and picking them up. The last picture is of my closet door where a Papa Smurf poster hang.

Although the Smurfs hit the Saturday morning airwaves in September 1981, they got their start 23 years earlier. The Smurfs first appeared as a Franco-Belgian comic in 1958 created by Pierre Culliford popularly known by his pen name, Peyo.

At the time Peyo was working on a comic called Johan and Peewit as they are called in America. Peyo was telling their adventures since 1947. Johan and Peewit was a fantasy sword and sorcery story set in the Middle Ages. In one adventure, a magic flute was causing havoc within the kingdom. Johan and Peewit got help from the Smurfs to deal with the flute. The Smurfs were so popular that by 1959 they appeared in their first solo adventure.

Before airing on Saturday mornings and being produced by Hanna-Barbera, the Smurfs made their first animated appearance in the European movie “The Smurfs and the Magic Flute”. It was based on their introduction comic and directed by their creator. I’m sure I’ll discuss this movie in the future so I won’t say much about it now. All I’ll say is that it was made in 1976 and if you are a Smurf fan it is worth the watch.

Now that you know a slight history, it’s time to GET IN TOON! with classic animated series with a nine year run, The Smurfs.

Premiering September 12, 1981 the series focused on the Smurfs. They were blue skinned and measured three apples high (about 3 inches). All the smurfs, but a few, wore white pants and a white hat. Papa Smurf wore red and had a white beard. He was the only smurf with facial hair besides Grandpa who appeared years later in the series. It’s almost impossible to tell Smurfs apart as they all look alike. The way to tell them apart was by their names which were based on their traits. For example there was Jokey who liked to give others exploding presents and laugh. Lazy preferred to sleep. Handy built things and Hefty was the strong one. Brainy was a bookworm and Vanity loved looking at himself in the mirror. They all lived in the Smurf Village in mushroom houses.

Very few humans knew of their existence. Johan and Peewit knew them of course. As did Homnibus, Mother Nature and the evil wizard Gargamel. The show primarily featured Gargamel and his cat Azreal trying to capture the smurfs. Gargamel wants the greatest wizard nor did he have any good luck. His home was a hovel. Made of stone with a straw roof, Gargamel was always up to no good but the Smurfs always foiled his plans. Sometimes when I go back and watch the show I actually feel bad for Gargamel. I don’t root for him to win and catch the Smurfs to turn them into gold (come on he is the bad guy) but I feel bad because of how he was written. It obvious Gargamel had a rough life. He’s bullied by every other wizard and ogre the like. His financial situation was bleak and when he’d lose, Gargamel would whine. Even though he was the villain all Gargamel was trying to do was improve his life. To me that’s great writing. Here in a simple kids cartoon we’re given a character who seems simple on the surface but is a very layered character. That’s some good storytelling. There was even a couple of times Gargamel showed he had a heart like in the 1982 TV movie, The Smurfs Christmas Special. It’s because he shows his heart I feel for Gargamel. It shows there is good in him, even if it’s buried incredibly deep within him. Without that Gargamel is a stereotypical bad guy that just does bad things for the sake of being bad. Honestly, Gargamel having a heart is rare. Beside the Christmas special, there is only other one time I remember. I don’t remember when it exactly was or what the episode was about. It was sometime between season 6 and 8 when Gargamel had a young apprentice named Scruple. All I remember was a kindness Gargamel showed to Scruple. It was only for a moment but it was there. At least, that’s how I remember it.

I love animation so much and there is something in almost every cartoon that will make me say, this is my favorite because…, but Hanna-Barbera is my all time favorite company. The art of the Smurfs is a thing of beauty. Taking Peyo’s style and adding the Hanna-Barbera flair made a lasting influence on my art. My style is very much Hanna-Barbera meets Peyo as you can see from artwork below.

Now let’s take a look at some of the art from the Smurfs. You can see how the art influences what I do.

The Smurfs animated series was targeted to children and the stories were very easy to follow. Episodes worked in two different ways. One week we’d see a full half hour episode while other weeks there would be two shorter stories within the thirty minute time slot. The stories were adapted from Peyo’s original comics. One of my favorite episodes was called “The Smurf’s Apprentice” where a Clumsy Smurf wanted to be Papa’ apprentice and was upset when Papa told him Brainy is more than enough of an apprentice. The next day Clumsy finds himself at Gargamel’s and steals a page from One of the evil wizard’s spellbook turning himself into a scaly lizard creature. With the help of Papa and his friends they return to Gargamel’s hovel to find the antidote.

The original Smurfs animated series lasted nine years and has made a lasting impression on children of the 80’s. In recent years the Smufs made a come back in CG animated films which I’m sure I’ll discuss in a future blog. Between comics, television, and movies the Smurfs have been around for 70+ years which demonstrates staying power. You can find some of the Smurfs series on DVD. I own a few of the DVDs, however I have been unable to find the completed series on DVD. I’m not sure but I don’t think the completed series is available in the United States. I highly recommend this series to kids of all ages.

My Studio

My job has me working inside and outside my home. Outside my home I teach a lot. Whether I’m in a classroom, at a library, or even a comic book convention, I spend the majority of my time talking and teaching about cartooning and storytelling. When I’m working from home I spend my time in my studio. Yesterday, a buddy of mine asked to see my studio setup. I snapped these photos and posted them to my Facebook page. When I was a kid (and still as an adult) I like to see other artist’s studios. I enjoy seeing what they keep around that inspires them. So, I decided to share my photographs here to show you what inspires me when I’m working.

This is my traditional drawing area. The table is my old drawing table. I use a tabletop drawing board because I can remove it to use the table for other projects like painting, puppet building, or paper crafting. My art supplies are on the table as well as under them in a large ArtBin. As you can see I like to keep a lot of decorations around. The shelves above the table are my Hanna-Barbera shelves. I’m a huge Hanna-Barbera fan. The shelves include FUNKO POP figures, Smurf figures, and other figures I collected throughout my life.

Right next to my traditional area is my digital setup. On this six foot folding table is my 27 inch iMac with my 27 inches Wacom Cintiq HD and my scanner printer combo. I don’t really keep much on there besides all you can see on top of it. Above I have a bunch of pictures that inspires me.

On the other side of the room you will find my bookcases filled with books and figures.

Next to my bookcases you will find my filing cabinets. One has a bed for my cat which he never uses. He prefers my chair.

In the corner you see my closet which is filled with art supplies, sketchbooks and other stuff.

This door is my entrance back to reality. Here are a couple more shots of my studio.

Well, that’s where I love to GET IN TOON! I hope you enjoyed the tour and I hope it inspires you. I’m a lucky one to have a studio space. Some aren’t so lucky and some have bigger working areas. It really doesn’t matter what your studio looks like as long as you have a comfortable space to create your art.

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