Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Hi all. The theory on how to spot a hack computer artist is in the "Working Like Mad" at the bottom.

And as promised here is all the juicy detail on the controversy on my protestor illustration!

The Complaint:

While I know all about freedom of the press, I would request that some kind of pseudo-retraction be printed in the next article. I'm concerned about potential backlash - our article was not meant to be a make-fun-of-name-calling-hate-all article, but rather a discourse on the reasonableness of the JAG protests. In no way were we calling anyone stupid, nor suggesting anything about the rather interesting-looking character with the bullhorn.


I just put copies of the newspaper in the mail for you. You should know that there has been an uproar about the "protestOCI" illustration I had you draw for the article criticizing the students who protested the JAG recruiters on campus. I've forwarded the email I got from one of the authors, and some people who are involved (on either side) have agreed that the cartoon is offensive because of the phrase "I'm with Stupid" (because the article doesn't resort to name calling). I've decided to print a clarification in the next issue, along the lines of the fact that the authors did not endorse the illustration (don't have time to get permission from the authors about printing graphics, and this is the first time I've had negative feedback!) and that it mischaracterized/exaggerated the arguments that the authors were making.
Do you have any take on this? I never had a policy regarding permission to include illustrations with stories, but maybe I should...as much of a pain it would be. The newspaper also cannot be insensitive to the stories we cover.

My Reply:

I guess in the subtext of it all it isn't simple name calling. It's a reflection of my own personal experience attending some of the large Chicago protests back in 2003. I'd see many people there that seemed to understand what message they wanted to get across. I'd also see a lot of people that would express about as much excitement as if their girlfriend had just taken them to the ballet, or their boyfriends dragging them to see Star Wars. I got a sense that not a lot of people were sure why they were there and had probably brought a long a few people that weren't sure why their unsure friend brought them. They probably could have just explained themselves with a sign along the lines of "I'm with stupid." I'd be highly entertained to see a sign like that within a mob and could probably relate in some instances. So essentially that article made me imagine that this situation could be going on there and the illustration could finally place the sign in the hands of the friends of uncertain protesting friends.

As for the girl with the bullhorn, oh well. Take what they will from that. Maybe she is confused about more than why she is protesting, or not. I dunno, I didn't really confide sexuality in her, she's a cartoon and can be who she likes and take on different roles. Plus I probably would have drawn a doo-rag on her if I wanted to imply more of that sort of thing. Maybe she is screaming "The eggs, bacon, and toast is ready!" in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't know.

Well at least attention is being paid and it's healthy for some to have opinions. I'd rather not see everyone have to carry that kind of sign.

As far as policies go don't impose those. You run a great paper that allows for free speech and it should be kept that way. Soon you'll all be pointing an "I'm with stupid" sign at me and others with those policies. I'll double check on anything that may be insensitive, but I hope I had a strong enough reason for this one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Dehumidifier Must Be Emptied, but First...

Hot off the scanner press these are three recent illustrations I did for the Chicago Kent School of Law newspaper, The Commentator. In last month's issue my protestor cartoon caused controversy. I'll post the correspondence in my next blog. These should be ok though, unless someone dislikes voting, Mexican, religious, fetuses in the uterus of America.

A logo for The Bar Review:

This illustrates an article on some of today's political issues:

This article dealt with Wiki's and, whaddya' know, blogs:

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Influence

No this isn't a blog about this guy here:

After reading John K's recent posts I figured I'd fish around in my head and bring up who 3 of my influences are and share them with you.

Bill Peet is a great influence. My dad used to get me his books out of the library to read and I loved the illustrations in them. Those books always felt very unique to me. He wrote an autobiography aimed at pre teens/teens that was full of his illustrations and covered a lot of personal moments. One of which I'll never forget, he had to draw Donald Duck so many times that he stormed out of the studio screaming "No more Donald Ducks!!!!"

Sam Kieth can take anything and make it rock. He recently did the Batman:Secrets series which is full of some awesome Joker muggs and has another one for Oni Press called My Inner Bimbo. I started reading the Maxx by the time issue 12 was out. I can still see the cover of that issue. A very bitter looking, splattery, thumb shaped, severed head of Mr. Gone. Wow. I was a young lad and that story was kind of intense. Check out issue 32, you'll see a letter of mine in the back. Me and one of my best friends drew hundreds of Maxx drawings, it was such an interesting looking character to begin with and Sam could really get the most out of it.

Here I found the cover of issue #12!

Mike Patton influences me through his music. It's very encouraging to a mind that has desire to generate cartoons or weird imagery. The Faith No More stuff is great but it is structured and travels somewhat of a straight path. If you want to hear Mike Patton's mind and voice go free check out Fantomas, Tomahawk, and Mr. Bungle. Wow! I don't know if the guy is a fan of cartoons or not, but some of the things in that music flip a switch in my head. I hope he is a fan because I'd like to collaborate. The last Fantomas album to come out, Suspended Animation, takes it all over the board with cartoon sound and music as it's spine.

And in regards to the top picture. I love the rogues gallery of Dick Tracy villains. I will honestly say I never read a full Dick Tracy story, but I'm familiar with the art. For Gould to reach me with just that, he's really got a gift. He's well on his way to being an influence to me, I just need to learn more about him. Anyone know of a good Dick Tracy comic collection to pick up?

Riding the swift weekend horse (they always go so fast)

-Mad Taylor

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Withmic Stwains of the Hawnting Refwain

Hello out there,

Here's a few cartoons that I did for a law school newspaper based in Chicago called The Chicago Kent School of Law. I've had the duties of cartooning for the paper for about 3 years. I did the layout for about a year and a half too. These are the most recent cartoons completed this weekend.
The first has to do with banned books. Next we have a lame couple of protestors. They had me do a logo for the Restaurant Review portion of the paper. The final has to do with annoying sports announcers on tv. Feel free to comment and if you have cartoons you're throwing up on this thing, lead me to em'.

-Mad Taylor

Cartoon Gold Mine

Evening all,

I've been given some animation magazines from the early to mid 90s which contain priceless articles and essays, between these and the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive, I truly have come to California and struck gold. All through college I wish I had this stuff to reference. Maybe this was the right time to get these though because they are scraping out all the scum that tends to grow in your brain from 4 years of art fart school.

This picture of John K and Bob Clampett was in one of those magazines. You know that picture of President Clinton shaking JFK's hand? This in the animation world is eqivalent to that only these guys are smart and know better than to run for president and instead make the best cartoons ever. Bob was a great mentor to John, and through reading John's blog and some of his writings in these magazines, he's shaped up to be a damn good mentor as well. Listen to John and research Bob's legacy and maybe 23 year olds in their friend's garages will come across animation magazines that cover the resurgence of cartoon animation in the early 2000s and there you might be next to John.

Later on I'll share some newspaper cartoons I just finished up for a law school publication all the way over in Chicago. See you then!

-Mad Taylor

Friday, September 22, 2006

One Friday Evening

More changes requested today on our project. Our client proved to be a little narcisistic and didn't like his caricature throught the piece. Also we were told to throw in some humor...finally! So it won't be up this weekend yet like I was hoping...sorry.

Here's the picture I promised yesterday that was inspired by The Ghost Dance Sequence from the Adventures of Goopy and Bagha.

I want to catch the Jackass movie this weekend...and it's possible I may be getting my own animation desk. I think once I get that it's going to change my life. I've gone pretty much my whole life without my own true drawing board. 4 years of art school and not a single drawing board, can you believe it??? My computer took up the one they furnished in the dorms. When I was young I got to use my dad's. When he had to sit at it though I was given a splintery wood board to draw on, which sat on my lap. I hope finally having an inclined surface, with a light underneath to boot, will finally get me speeding down the path of true animatordom.

One Friday Morning


I'm currently in the Santa Monica studio working away at 1:30 am. I think the deadline for this thing we are working on is tomorrow, but it seems they'd rather make changes too it all the time instead of letting people see it.

I think a good artist knows when to stop, and doesn't make changes anymore on whatever project he or she may be occupied with. I think we could have stopped a while ago. Some of the changes we made were of use, others are just time killers. The worst ones are the ones I know are crap, but they just want to "see." I still put time into it with hopes they like the sight of their own crappy idea. It will be forgotten that they suggested it to you and all of a sudden it's your crappy idea. What a world.

As an artist I got that tinge and that tug on my sleeve from my conscience saying "that'll do, move on." I think this is the green light that goes on in an artists head. I think a crappy artist can't stand to walk away from something and always has the yellow light. "Should I stop or go" they ask themselves. Change change change all the time because whatever it is they work on still reveals their true identity of a crappy indecisive artist.

Take an ax to horses head and make a fatal blow, but keep hacking away at the poor animal and you won't make it any deader.

Wow I need to go home and get some rest. The 10 freeway at 2 am is sure a fun drive, no one is on it really. With some good music it becomes a nice reward after a hard days labor.

I watched a really cool video clip posted by Stephen Worth on Eddie Fitzgerald's blog. I drew a cool picture inspired by it that I will put up here later. Check out the clip here:


Lots of good movements and had me thinking of how good silhouettes can really translate well. Did they have to make changes in this? Maybe not, I like to think it was all improvised and what they got was what they got. Pretty bold.

-Mad Taylor

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Working Like Mad

Hello all. I just got a job as an animator over in Santa Monica. We work in Flash and our first project should be up on the web soon. I'd love to reveal the details, but you'll just have to wait until the link is up here (which should be soon hopefully).

Flash is a great animation tool and I enjoy using it plenty. I wouldn't just rely on Flash as an animator though. I think it's important that to be considered a cartoon animator you can draw. I'm sick of these computer clans claiming to be artists. They just mastered the art of hacking, only instead of getting into people's bank accounts, they got into the animation world. Now that's not to say computer animation sucks, there's some great computer stuff out there and it has opened up a new world of animation and spawned great talents. These people I address use the computer as a means to cut corners, important ones. They go so far to cut corners that soon after they aren't artists anymore, it's too far gone from art when you cut corners on a computer. No animator I ever respected just filled in the right numbers in an empty box or knew what boxes to check mark for that matter. It's easier for these folk to impress crowds as well because computers can hand off some pretty dynamic looking things very easily. Pay attention to who is showing you this crap though. These computer hack personas are easy to spot and here's how you'll know:

#1 They will annoy you. They tend to get too hyper active when talking about all the amazing things computers can do. That's because it will help them to cheat more and look better when they actually suck.

#2 They at least like to watch cartoons, sure. Try to ask them anything about animation history though and they won't really know much. Try to discuss it, they won't care.

#3 Have them try to teach you something they do on the computer. They can't explain their process very well. They mumble. They also move very fast with the cursor and click too much. They are simply magicians, who if assigned to teach a magic class, can only wind up putting on a magic show.

#4 If they went to art school ask what classes they took. You think they'd say anatomy and figure drawing at least. Most don't. Tell them to go jump in the lake. They may also spout out to you classes that qualify them more for a job at Best Buy than in animation.

So beware the computer animation hacks. Oh and here's #5:

Ask to see their storyboards. They'll either not have any, or they will, but bird shit on your shoulder will become more inspiring.

Here's a drawing I did the other night before bed.

-Mad Taylor