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Click on any of the images for a larger version.)Question: First things first, how did you end up animating an opening for The Simpsons? John Kricfalusi: Matt Groening and Al Jean . They showed me an opening that Banksy did that satirized the animation production assembly line system in Korea and told me it was really popular, so they wanted to do something similar with me. At first they just wanted me to do a storyboard and have their regular crew animate it. If we had done it that way, no one would even have known that I had anything to do with it because it would have ended up on model and all pose to pose. I showed them the Adult Swim shorts I had been doing and pointed out that the way things happened was even more important than what was happening in my work.
I really appreciate what you\'ve said. I know that many people watch.
You have to actually draw it. This project was the most fun I. It has really hammered home (to me) the importance of animation in animation. I am so grateful to Matt for letting me have some real fun this summer. Q: For a show that is notorious for being .
Did you have to show them storyboards or designs beforehand? Did they ask for any changes or cuts? JK: I did some character models to give them an idea of how I would draw the characters as caricatures of the Simpsons. They all made it very easy for me and the more rules I broke, the more they seemed to like it. I tried not to break any rules in the characters.
Q: How did they react to your ideas? JK: I had lunch with Al and Matt a couple times and we knocked around some ideas. Matt told me to break all the Simpsons rules. The whole bit is only 3.
We thought we should just do a quick scene that distills and caricatures the essence of the Simpsons. I only got one note: . Q: The thing that strikes me watching this is that this isn. Your style has evolved greatly in the past few years, in terms of graphic complexity and experimentation.
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Has this been a conscious effort to move in a new direction and have you noticed the changes yourself? JK: It. I am just doing small projects now, so I do more of the work myself.
When I was running a studio with fifty artists, I spent a lot of time training, directing and explaining what I wanted. I did as many drawings as I could, but they tended to be rough poses that after going through the assembly line process eventually get toned down. Katie Rice influenced me a lot. She showed me all kinds of funny abstract expressions in anime cartoons and her own drawings were super cartoony, original and cute all at the same time. The way she applied the abstractions from anime (and other influences) she liked was a revelation to me. Around the same time, thanks to Jerry Beck and Mark Kausler I started watching a lot of previously lost 1.
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Fleischer Talkartoons, Lantz Oswalds, Ub Iwerks and Terrytoons. For decades these cartoons have been derided by cartoon historians and even some of the animators themselves.
These cartoons have attributes that far surpass their seeming limitations. They were extremely inventive and the animators were encouraged to do what comes naturally to cartoonists and animators. They were allowed to draw and animate in their own individual styles. In the early 1. 93. The medium was too young.
Every animator figured out their own unique ways of moving things. I absolutely love watching Grim Natwick, Bill Nolan, Irv Spence, Carlo Vinci and others. And the cartoons were musical: all cartoons from the 1. This gave everything that was happening an underlying sense of fun. The tempo was the structure of the action. Amid, you also inspired me when you showed me a lot of 1. In a couple of my recent Adult Swim shorts, I tried to caricature some of my favorite designy commercials.
Those 5. 0s commercials as you know were all animated by the same guys who learned their craft on rubber hose cartoons in the 1. Their stylized stuff in the 5. Q: So much of this goes appears to go beyond the pose- to- pose animation that you did on Ren & Stimpy and into more adventurous straight- ahead animation territory, right? JK: I. This time I wanted to try moving the characters in crazy fun ways, not just looking funny each time they come to a stop. The way we used to do it was: the characters would strike a funny pose, then basically inbetween into the next funny pose, but between the poses, nothing much interesting happened. It was a compromise between the Forties cartoon production system and the practicalities of Saturday Morning television budgets and schedules. The inbetweens are as fun to me as the bookended emotions you are aiming at.
No one is happy one instant, and then mad the next without some kind of unique transition. Pure inbetweening makes the transition mathematical and cold. In reality, a lot of indecision and emotional torture happens between two different emotions or even just two thoughts. If you freeze frame live action you can see that there is no such thing as inbetweens. Rod Scribner used to do that in his animation and it added a lot of extra . His characters just felt more alive and real than other more cautious animators. John Kedzie animated the CG bits.
Sarah Harkey and Tommy Tanner did the assistant animation. Q: You switched a while back from Adobe Flash to Toon Boom. Has the shift in software influenced your style or affected your workflow in any way? JK: Completely. It allows me to try lots of things and delete them if they stink and quickly do them again. I get bored really easily.
I like every scene to be different than the last scene. Animating in almost real time allows me to have fun. If you freeze frame it you may find some surprises which might be considered new. Well, here. For example, when a character squints his eyes during an anticipation, I might just create one eye and draw it as a cartoony graphic, rather than literally drawing the two eyes squashing and squinting in the traditional graphic way we have been doing for 8. Q: What. Neither do 5. UPA style cartoons. But they do have hierarchy and internal logic of some kind.