I'm genuinely curious about this; Is this the only way this guy can draw?
There are other cartoonists who can draw really cool shit but are somewhat restrained by style of the shows they work on (ie. Genndy and Dexter's Lab), but this sort of stuff is all I've ever seen from him. Are there any other examples of his artwork floating about?
Lots of people prefer a style far over others.
He is so consistent with this style, I would bet he can pull off some very good work. You din't get so damn consistent with any style without having at least an inkling of talent. He just doesnt like using other styles.
He probably can draw differently but isn't highly skilled or finds it too much work. And once you've been working within a certain style for a long time it gets harder and harder to draw differently.
Also this. I don't know if he had formal training, but I went to art college and you are taught numerous disciplines in any decent one. Still though, there were people who worked in a very limited style like this and still made it through. Even their life drawings look a little odd.
Pen went to cal arts, and I'm assuming they teach you to some degree, so I imagine Pen can draw decently. But nowhere has he ever been show to draw anything outside his style. No portfolio work or anything like that.
>And once you've been working within a certain style for a long time it gets harder and harder to draw differently.
This is true. I can draw well myself, but I've pigeon-holed myself because I stuck to drawing in one particular style. I'm good at what I do, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be able to do more varied stuff. I should probably get on that.
That said, I look at Pen's stuff and wonder how he can be satisfied drawing like that if he can indeed do better. Personally, I wouldn't be satisfied, but different strokes I suppose.
Then it's a good bet that he can draw in other styles, but probably doesn't on purpose. There was one guy in my class who's life and object drawings were incredible, but pretty much any other time he drew simply like that. Partially because he could bang out an assignment like that in an hour whereas if he worked to do something more realistic it would take a lot more time.
That's pretty common for working artists. Take a look at Mercer Mayer, he's most known for his quite simple cartoony children's books. But he's actually an incredible artist and his earlier books are gorgeous. Unfortunately, you can't make a lot more money off a beautifully illustrated fairy tale as you can off a simple set of cartoons. So if you're trying to make a living through it a more simple style is practical.
A sad reality.
Ever seen how Matt Groening really draws?
The truth is that even the lowliest Korean inbetweener working on their shows can draw circles around them.
Oops, somehow erased a sentence before posting.
I'm not making a dig at either Groening or Ward. The simple truth is that drawing skill isn't being valued by the networks, the studios, the schools, or even the audience. It hasn't been for a while, and their success is simply a reflection of that. They're good in the areas they need to be good at. Drawing isn't one of them.
Really?? Wow. Well, to each their own I guess. Personally I couldn't disagree more, but everyone is drawn to different things. I still think he's a good artist when working in that style, I just much prefer his more illustrative work.
>They're good in the areas they need to be good at. Drawing isn't one of them.
I concurr. Pitch a good enough idea and let the korean monkey artists/money hungry executives do the rest of the work.
It's kinda weird how his drawing style of the Simpsons never really left its early days and is reminiscent of the earlier seasons.
I guess it was all the other artists that touched them up to what we saw at around Season 11.
I do see this as a problem, though. While they are good at what they do, the way these kinds of shows dominate the US TV landscape relegates animation to being a sub-genre of comedy, rather than the other way around. This started with animation outsourcing. There are fewer ladders for the visual-minded animator to climb, so they go into other fields like games or movies, or specialize in visual development/design.
It has been a while since I've seen truly awe-inspiring animation from Western toons. There's still great design and color and writing.
Animation is just too damn expensive to make high quality for tv I'm afraid. The only way they can get away with it is with a style that's cheap to produce and making it a comedy because no one wants to watch a badly animated drama.
Daron Nefcy isn't an amazing artist, technically. I'd say she more supports the 'artistic skill is not a requirement for showrunners' argument... but maybe it's borderline...
I think a lot of people are confusing complex art = good/better art. A lot of animation has simple styles so that it can be accomplished for tv but it is obvious in many shows that the people working behind the shows try to put in as much detail into a simple style. Look at the backgrounds in Adventure Time and Gravity Falls. Adventure Time has a lot of outfits for multiple characters as well. Just because something looks simple doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of artistic talent behind it.
>comparing Adventure Time's solid color flood fill shitfest "backgrounds" to the desktop-worthy masterpieces of Gravity Falls
Fucking prole. You probably think Korra's blurry smudged matte paintings are good backgrounds too.
I can never place Ward.
Sometimes his work is simple and crude, but full of bizarre energy and life. It's the sort of thing that befits a proper cartoonist: he doesn't need hours-worth of highly rendered illustration if he can accomplish a certain level of charm and style with only a handful of ruddy lines.
Other times, (it's an older one, but pic related), it's as if he genuinely does not understand basic notions of structure, rhythm, or harmony and is simply scribbling.
Adventure Time really doesn't put much detail into anything. Which is fine, it's going for the notebook doodle/educational game look (at least it used to, that seems to have become very muddled now) and that works. But as you can easily see as the show wears on, it's not always a good idea. Hell, AT's a great example of how simple art can both enhance and detract from a show.
>I'd love another animator-centered cartoon.
Adventure Time has gotten talents like James Baxter, Masaaki Yuasa, and Graham Falk to create some truly strange, wonderful, animator-focused work.
I can perfectly understand what he's going for. That crudeness in that sketch embodies everything people liked about the pilot and first season of the show (but more so the pilot). It was incredibly childish, like a sketch done by a grade schooler in his notebook during math class. It's silly, it's poorly drawn, but it has all the charm in the world because it's honest and from the heart of a kid.
The problem is that other people decided to try to reproduce that charm and, of course, weren't as sincere and genuine as Pen, so now we got a bunch of shitty AT rip-offs that copied shallow elements like simple character designs, casual conversation voice acting, fights just because, etc, but miss the point.
They got James Baxter to do one small loop of animation, and the rest of the ep looked like garbage (and I love Adventure Time). Looked to me like Pen's art had actually degraded.
Graham Falk can barely even draw. But I think his episodes are neat.
One again Japan wins, since they have more studios that don't outsource the actual animation.
The backgrounds are pretty good, anon. You obviously never pay attention. There's more to it than just the hills outside Finn's house.
>and the rest of the ep looked like garbage (and I love Adventure Time). Looked to me like Pen's art had actually degraded.
You stupid fuck, that's the korean animators, not the storyboarders.
I know you're trying hard to cherrypick, but that isn't a good background.
There is a whole lot going on, but none of it looks genuine, none of it looks alive. There is too much fucking clutter that it actually blocks you from taking in the scenery. It's like those CGI Goblin Town scenes in The Hobbit.
He's mostly just a story-writing dude. But very rarely he will work on a storyboard.
I said art. Pen drew most of the storyboard for that episode, and then the Koreans animated it. The ep had wonky drawings, like bad scary wonky. Maybe he was just trying to be as wacky as possible.
This show has really pretty backgrounds that are really ugly at the same time. I dunno how they do it.
>Pen Ward does the same exact thing over and over
>MacFarlane, Bibleman, Groening, or any other big cartoonist does their style with minor variants
>Rehash, recycle, repetition, etc
Hartman is good when he actually goes into comic hero style form. Plus he did that Crash Nebula thing, which was at least somewhat significantly different than his usual artstyle. Can't write for shit though and I think drugs melted his brain.
What I don't understand is this:
I am an artist. I'm talented enough that I can basically pull off general realism, (maybe not photo-real, but pretty close.)
When I scribble, my understanding of art informs my scribbles. The things I scribble have a modicum of structure and form, because that's how an artist's brain works.
Those sorts of elements aren't present in Ward's doodles.
>He's talented and is somehow willingly subduing his abilities in order to pull of a certain, specific aesthetic
>He's untalented and basically gets by on the verve he puts into his drawings.
I don't mean to hate on Ward. His stuff is likable and funny regardless. But I'm really not sure which one of those options it is.
I'm just saying, Danny Phantom really changed after he went to a different religion. Instead of all of the ghosts being heavily implied as dead people they changed to straight up supernatural beings. The show really started going downhill around that time
or incredibly good connections
or incredibly jewish name
>Either he's talented and is somehow willingly subduing his abilities in order to pull of a certain, specific aesthetic or he's untalented and basically gets by on the verve he puts into his drawings.
Or maybe he gave his boss the most confident, strongest handshake you could imagine.
If that's the case, then why is it that we only see crude, artless doodles from Ward?
If he's talented, then why don't we see work befitting a properly talented artist coming from him?
Again: not hating, just questioning.
oh yeah, let me just bring up a few articles on smokinggun.com ....
you fucking idiot, these people wouldnt still be in business if there was evidence, they are good at what they do
it's the lack of depth
they use nice textures and add plenty of color but there is no set perspective and some objects are defined only by shape, which in a drawing without perspective is useless.
Look at those trees, they may as well be laying flat on the ground. You actually see a lot of elements in squidbillies backgrounds that look like they could be 3d objects or they could be flat images painted on the ground.
Because we mostly only see his work on Adventure Time, which is his favorite style to draw in. And even that shows true talent even in its simplicity a lot of the time, there's a reason people liked it so much when it was first coming out. It's creative and evocative in ways that regular cartoons weren't at the time. You can't consistently do that accidentally.
In a somewhat unrelated topic (now that we are talking about nepotism, luck and getting a gig in the /co/ industry): The columbian cartoonist VLADDO had a curious story about his first work.
He went to one of the capital's biggest newspapers unannounced and got in the same hour an appointment with the president of the building. After telling that he drawed cartoon strips for a living, the president asked VLADDO to do some example of his work in a paper while he went to another room (Vladdo noticed later on this was the bathroom) The president came back, looked at the scribbles and said: "Ok, you're hired."
Since then he has worked in many newspapers and magazines.
Critics like you need to understand context. There's a point to the gross amount of lit candles cluttering the space.
It is basic in terms of color because productions like Adventure Time are considerably rushed compared to the work schedules of feature length animated movies.
But you're not bringing up any show with more inferior aesthetics than all of the stuff you see from Canada: 6teen, Total Drama Island, Johnny Test. Those shows are clearly riffing off of the popular Tartakovsky and McCracken.
Adventure Time used to have pretty good animation. I don't think the animation process was any different, but the storyboarders worked harder with the drawings that are used as the foundation.
Anyway, there's only so much that can be done with this process where all the animation is done overseas.
I don't agree. There are many shows with simplistic designs that move well and have dynamic poses. Look at the animation in Superjail or Steven Universe. Both shows have simple character designs because it is very difficult to animate complex designs well on a budget.
Backgrounds contribute to the whole of the tv show. They are done in a style that reflects the character designs which is why Adventure Time has a really recognizable background art because it is in the same exact style. Shitty animation is always accompanied by shitty background art just look at Johnny Test.
>There are many shows with simplistic designs that move well and have dynamic poses.
That's true, but why are you relating it to backgrounds. Background artists have a lot of time to do just a few still images. Those don't have to be simplified like character designs.
Adventure Time's original backgrounds were by Ghostshrimp. I wouldn't call his style simple.
I may have rambled in my post but the gist of what I'm saying is that the backgrounds and character designs have to match to make a cohesive look for a show. Adventure Time does a really good job at this because the characters look like belong in their environment.
a lot of people complain about AT starting a bunch of modern cartoon trends, but it was really Flapjack and Chowder more than anything, they paved the way for creator driven shows with looser art styles.
Yeah. Not too well. I've drawn all my life, but I've been stuck looking at it as a hobby for years before I ever considered desiring to take it professionally. 25 now and plan on making some comics. But I've been working on story ideas, and I flat out don't believe in hiring out a partner to draw for me when I have nothing to show . I'm getting used to my style and forcing myself to draw what I'm not comfortable with. I have a plan, and I'm still in this ruddy experimental phase.
>The percents you DO put it, though, should reflect that whole 100% though
I was just confused by this, is all.
I guess you could blame AT for a trend in humor. Or Regular Show. Flapjack was more of a straightforward kids' show, it didn't have that same humorous detachment from its own fantasy elements.
I think the reason Pen got into Calarts is that he had always been experimenting with animation. Whilst his drawings are simple and a bit messy, I've seen some of his animation which has good motion and rhythm.
You know who's amazing. This fucking guy.
>The refraction of light through the ice makes the top face look different
Goddamn, Mercer, how did I not know you could do this?
This is a thing that a lot of people are ignoring, I think. We can't see any of Pen's life drawings or anything, and he does have a pared down aesthetic (which I like, personally) but if you look at some of things he personally animated, you can tell he has a real knack for the ANIMATING part of animation. His stuff is really charming and fluid. That, paired with being funny and a good storyteller can be a good combination even if you aren't the strongest technician. I think Genndy Tartakovsky even claims that he was the worst technical drawer in his class at CalArts.
>I think Genndy Tartakovsky even claims that he was the worst technical drawer in his class at CalArts.
By that I meant that Genndy thought of himself as the worst drawer when he was in school. I have no idea if Genndy and Pen have ever met.
animation student here. let me try to clarify some things
>can p.w. draw?
that's a loaded question which requires further explanation of the word draw but in this situation let's define it as the ability to draw cartoon characters and figures.
i haven't seen any of p.w.'s work that isn't in the super simplified style of A.T. but i also haven't really bothered to look much. judging solely by the fact that he went to cal arts, i'd say the likelihood of him being a decent draftsman is pretty good. however working in such a simple style for so long can affect his drawing skills. if his figures have defined anatomical features, his understanding of anatomy can with time partially erode. that's not to say that anatomy is the be all and end all of drawing, but the more complex a character's design is, the more skilled you need to be.
this could have been worded a bit more clearly but i hope it made sense if not im glad to try to answer and questions
Ward is talentless hack, he's had big animation connection since childhood, his mother was good friends with Matt Groening and also involved with art community herself, just goes to show all it takes is connections not talent.