His name might not sound familiar, but his art style should ring a few bells. Glenn Kennedy was the animator and director who worked on TV shows for Hanna Barbera, Warner Bros. and Disney and to each show he brought over his own unique style of animating, in which the characters were a bit off model, but they had a unique kind of appeal when he drew them, he gave them a roundness and bizarre expressions that weren’t usually seen in TV cartoons back in the day. One of my first encounters with his work was the Tiny Toon Adventures episode “Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow”, in which he animated around 90% of the cartoon. It amazed me as a kid, I had never seen animation with this kind of speed, with these kinds of expressions, with this kind of movement. There was squash and stretch all over the characters and I absolutely loved it. He was also partially responsible for the wackier art style and expressions on A Pup Named Scooby Doo (Which if you haven’t already guessed is my favorite Scooby Doo series). He also animated onDarkwing Duck, Goof Troop, Bonkers, and Jetsons: the Movie (his scenes were one of the few highlights of that horrible film). He tends to get a lot of hate on the internet, oddly enough what everybody hates about his animations (the huge amount of sqaush and stretch, the characters being a bit off model) I can’t help but love. Whenever I imagine my characters moving I tend to imagine them moving in Glenn Kennedy style, his animations always brings a smile to my face.
You were probably expecting this one to pop up at some point weren’t you and for good reason too. Looney Tunes is one of the greatest series of cartoons ever made, it’s hard to think of what to say that hasn’t been said about them, a lot of what modern day cartoons do started with the Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes mainly helped me realize how important characters are. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, these are some of the most entertaining personalties in all of film, and most of the jokes in the cartoons come from those characters. It’s not the story leading the characters it’s the characters that are leading the story (What very little of it that there is). You could put Bugs Bunny in any location like say on a cruise ship and his character is so developed that he practically writes himself. It’s thanks to the great talents of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, and several others who helped bring these characters to life and made true timeless masterpieces that haven’t aged a day and I always look forward to watching them again and revisiting these classic characters.
Now I imagine some of you guys are probably looking confusingly after the Looney Tunes post thinking “Hasn’t he forgotten someone?”
Keep your pants on. He’s right up next.
“Wellllllllllllll, who’s that crazy cartoon king! The one that taught them all to swing!”
Yeah I could have just put this guy into the Looney Tunes part, but I feel that Tex Avery deserves a special mention. This guy… This guy… You know the crazy zany insanity that people usually think of when they hear the word “Cartoon”, this guy was the one who was responsible for that. As stated earlier Looney Tunes helped create the modern cartoon and Tex Avery was a major part of that (He was also the director who created the personality of Bugs Bunny most people are familiar with today). This guy invented the wild take, breaking the fourth wall, and was constantly pushing how wild and creative his cartoons could be. There were some cartoons he did where the characters would just stop whatever they were doing because even they were questioning what the heck was going on. His characters knew that they were cartoon characters and embraced it, and that’s mainly why I love his films so much, he wasn’t ashamed of the fact that he was making a cartoon, he took full advantage of what cartoons could do. Now if they could just release a decent box set with all of his shorts then I would be happy.
Yukiru Sugisaki/ D.N. Angel
Some of you might be doing a double take right now, since this looks completely different from the rest of the entries here. So let me give you a brief history lesson. I was in High School at the time, and Prep Rally was about to start, I hated Prep Rally (I would say why, but this post is running pretty long already), so I desperately asked my teacher not to send me to Prep Rally. So he sent me over to the library, which is great because I love hanging out at the library. I was sitting around thinking of what to read, when I noticed a Manga series known as D.N. Angel. Now back then I didn’t check out much Manga/Anime, because I thought it was all “Dragon Ball Z! Punching! Yelling!” simply because those were the only ones that seemed to be talked about in main stream media. But I remember one of my friends had mentioned this manga to me once, so since I had some time to kill I sat down and read it. I was completely hooked. The story was about this kid named Daisuke, who seems to be an average kid, but at night he transforms into Dark Mousy a thief who steals from museums because… I forget, did they explain why he steals stuff in the manga? Well either way, the story is still awesome, it’s almost like a manga version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It showed me that manga/anime didn’t just have to be Dragon Ball Z stuff, it could have romance, character development, and dare I say it, be funny. I also loved the art style and I still do, it could be dramatic but it could also be very cute and adorable and funny as well. D.N. Angel reignited my love for comics as I soon found myself checking out several more graphic novels which I had never read before and it showed me how much you can do with comics. Unfortunately the series is currently on hiatus, and what’s worse the series US publisher Tokyopop went belly up a few years ago and no new US publisher has picked up the rights to it yet, leaving two volumes unreleased in the US. Even though the series future is unknown this is still my favorite Manga of all time, I learned a lot about how a story can combine comedy and drama to create something truly entertaining.
Yukiru Sugisaki, if you’re somehow reading this, thank you. Thank you for this amazing manga and showing me just what sequential art can do… And please continue the series, I want to see what happens to Daisuke and Dark.
If there is one person who I want to be it’s Jeff Smith. Jeff Smith not only created the greatest graphic novel of all time Bone, but he managed to self publish it himself. In this world full of competition and the overall difficulty of making comics the fact that he was able to create something this huge and this popular is amazing. For those of you who have never read Bone I suggest you change that and buy the complete one volume edition now. Everything about it is wonderful from the story to the characters to the line work! It’s a cartoon masterpiece! A sight to behold! An Amazing- *clears throat* Sorry got carried away there… But you get the point I really love Bone as well as a few of Jeff Smith’s other projects. As a self published cartoonist (well self published online anyway) the fact that he has done so much while still keeping the rights to his characters and stories gives me hope for the future. I hope that someday I can be half as good a cartoonist as he is.
Disney (with emphasis on Mickey Mouse)
Disney of course had to go on this list. When I was a kid I would draw (heck what little kid didn’t) but I didn’t really think much of it. That changed when after a trip to BlockBuster I rented a VHS of old Mickey cartoons (which included Plane Crazy) that began with a brief introduction about the history of Mickey Mouse, talking about how the concept of the character was created and such. After watching the video I soon starting drawing Mickey a lot more and one day I noticed that my Mickey drawings didn’t look like the character shown on the screen. Therefore I made it my goal to keep drawing Mickey Mouse until he looked exactly like the character on the screen. I was soon watching every single Mickey Mouse cartoon I could get my grabby little paws on. I also did research reading tons of books about Mickey, Disney, and the history of animation in general. This lead me to learning about the history of Warner Bros., which lead me to the history of Hanna Barbera, which lead me to Cartoon Network, which lead me to Nickelodeon ect. ect. Then one day I was sitting on the couch thinking of what to draw, then I remembered the story of how Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse and I thought to myself “If Walt Disney can create a character why can’t I?”, and thus I started to draw my sketch of a character who back then looked like Mickey Mouse as a dog, that character would eventually become Zingo Bingo. Disney overall has been a major influence on me from their TV shows to their theme parks to their feature films which are among the best of the best. But it was Mickey Mouse that made me the obsessed cartoon nut that I am today, he inspired me to draw, he inspired me to create my own characters, and he helped me learn just how amazing cartoons really are.
So if you are wondering how I got this way, blame the mouse! He got me addicted!
Of course, this is barely scratching the surface, there are several other influences that I wanted to mention such as Jim Henson, Lauren Faust, John K., Matt Groening, Steven Hillenburg, but if I kept going on I would probably be here forever, so I think it’s best to stop here.
|I've been drawing cartoons ever since I could hold a pencil. My main influences are the classic cartoons from the golden age of animation. I'm currently an artist for the fan made audio drama Doctor Whoooves and Assistant as well as the mod for the tumblr blogs Time Out With Doctor Whooves, Ask Pencil Sketch and the Ask Kermit blog. I'm also the artist and writer for Waggtoons.com, my webcomic site.|