Posts Tagged ‘Cartoons’

Surprise Filling

February 12, 2016

That surprise filling in a Valentine’s Day Chocolate:


and in case you’d like to HEAR what that TASTES like:


Polar Bears…

January 9, 2016


Polar bears are NEVER cold!

and in case you want to HEAR what a Polar Bear’s dimpled tushy sounds like:




November 24, 2015

our dog “bubbles” likes to sunbathe…


The Agony of Mrs. Claus

January 4, 2014

The Agony of Mrs. Claus

another half cartoon, half animated GIF.

Future of Cartooning: Kartoon Karaoke!

August 24, 2012

In my never ending quest to make a living drawing cartoons, I created my first app: Kartoon Karaoke! What is this wonderment?  The video explains all:

People have told me you can’t make iOS apps with Flash and that Flash is dead, long live HTML5!  This was done with Flash CS5!  Actually the hard part was uploading to Apple, which has nothing to Flash and from what I’m told by iOS developers, is a pain in the keister for all iOS apps!  I can provide all the gory technical details if you wish.  But for now, here are all the gory conceptual details:

First, my objective: How does an idiot fulfill a dream to be paid for drawing cartoons?

I’d love to animate the next Bugs Bunny but dislike the creative collectivism of the animation industry. I prefer the individual cartoonist who creates and executes his idea alone with only an editor offering spelling corrections and lawsuit preventing advice such as “remove the Nike logo on the sea monkey’s shirt.”

So I created a comic strip called “Family Pants” loosely based on my Dad and Mom locking horns during dinner every night. (Hence the subject of this blog.)  While proud my work generated a modest following, there are only 6 syndicates on earth that syndicate comic strips. If you’re not selected by those 6, you’re as dead as Flash. I worked for King Features Syndicate as a Popeye and Betty Boop ghost artist and still couldn’t get the attention of the few in power.

I took what I learned from King Features and self published my comic strip online. While selling comics directly to fans is possible, it’s more of a hobby than a living. Often online success is an elaborate business card to get those 6 editors interested in hiring you for traditional paying media. Eventually the same people saying HTML5 will kill Flash asked, “Who they hell reads comic strips anymore anyway?” So I left King for a NYC internet design company called Funny Garbage to direct animation in a growing new media.

I then took my 4 panel comic strips and animated them. I became a one man production crew even doing voice overs, except for one voice lent by my Mom. I believed technology would evolve comic strips into short online animated cartoons as it did a century prior when printing advancements evolved black and white comics to color. An idea ahead of it’s time, there weren’t so much as 6 online cartoons syndicates to pitch to. Sites that do showcase animation often defer payment, trading publicity and hopes of traditional paying media work. Again, the internet was used as a fancy business card for traditional media. (More fodder for this blog.)

With with print-on-demand technology, I even made a 22 minute Family Pants cartoon DVD and sold through Amazon! But without expensive traditional media promotion or audience with the select few in power (more than six but still really difficult to contact) I’ve only sold a handful of DVDs. Oddly many to my Mom…

The internet’s money maker, and what separates it from traditional media, is it’s focus on the user or audience instead of a star performer.  It’s appeal works because the audience wants to think of themselves as the stars.  So creatives who dream of making their own videos or writing their own stories are unlikely to make money posting their creation online, but if they create an experience that allows USERS to take center stage the rewards will be greater.  However, creating such runs opposite to the initial goal of being paid to make MY own cartoons.

So how do I make my cartoon, but make users feel a part of it? Moreover, what is an established and profitable business model?

Enter the Kartoon Karaoke APP!

My first idea was to create a Family Pants cartoon APP which allows the user to view my cartoon, but also ad-lib character dialog where the audience becomes the performer. In modern comedy, writers create only story outlines allowing actors to ad-lib dialog. It’s less work for the writer, the actors are happier becoming the character rather than reciting scripts and the audience enjoys performances which feel “real”. A Family Pants ad-lib dialog APP would be a unique internet experience and I’d be evolving the comic strip to animation cartoon!

But, I’m no programmer. An APP that records and shares video with an online community was beyond my ability and resources. Plus how many users are actually good at ad-libbing? I doubt Robin Williams would buy as many copies as my Mom…

My second idea was a “Guitar Hero” meets Family Pants cartoon APP! Users would read dialog via a bouncing ball into the mic. Say the right line and score points. As Family Pants was written with silly non-sequiturs, game play would be tongue twisting goofy fun. I’d be modernizing cartoons while paying tribute to their past as the bouncing ball concept was invented by animation legend Max Fleischer, creator of Betty Boop and animator of Popeye! Eat that King Features!

But… the idea was ahead of it’s time again. Flash technologically cannot make such an iOS app. At least with my programming ability.

So my third idea was the current Kartoon Karaoke APP wherein characters put on a stage play and the user must quickly pick their lines of dialog and action from a scrambled script. Choose the right line and score points. Choose the wrong line and create silly non-sequiturs! I was able to program it entirely on my own using Flash! While it made no sense for Family Pants characters to put on stage plays, I retired Family Pants, my Mom’s voice over career and created new characters: Dog, Cat and Fish… the Terrific Thespian Threesome!

Hard to describe, it was seen as an educational reading and listening comprehension APP. One fan put it, “It’s a whole new genre!” I described it as a little bit cartoon, a little bit storybook and a little bit game.

I hope for you, it’s a whole ‘lotta fun so I may be paid to make more Kartoon Karaokes!

Stupid Stuff We Love

January 26, 2011

The Family Pants blog is usually devoted just to Family Pants, but after a friend sent some artwork, it was too good not to share.  (And technically a joint venture with James Yang is also not Family Pants related… so… here’s to breaking rules.)

Dane Love was a talented artist who recently passed.  This is some of his stuff he created with my friend’s father called “Stupid Stationary”.
Can you imagine it animated?  Maybe the Stupid Stationary Company can make a comeback!

[Click on the icons to see the images bigger.]


Family Pants’ The Holiday Hedging Horror

January 9, 2011

What I did Over Christmas Break… and then some:
Why I finished a new Family Pants Christmas cartoon of mayhem of course!  Unfortunately, I missed Christmas, New Years’ and even Three Kings Day to unveil it!  So better late than never, I present Family Pants’ The Holiday Hedging Horror!

The Back Story or Who Needs Outsourcing in This Economy?
The “Holiday Hedging Horror” was written back in ’08 when the price of gas jumped through the roof.  I myself ran out of gas to finish the cartoon.

Plus I’ve been busy with my political cartoon, “Angie” about smaller government:

and a single panel gag cartoon called “Oxymoron” about… well strippers, nipples and silliness hoping to be the world’s first Twit-Toonist:

Panel cartoons and comic strips provide something to show for it with less than 1-2 hours of work.  Plus I could “work” on it while going for a walk or Christmas shopping as ideas that pop into your head only need a moment or two to jot down.

But with animation, you need to be shackled to your desk for non-stop work.  I thought there has to be a way to make cartoons faster.  Many productions achieve this by outsourcing labor.  Or “insourcing” by taking advantage of cheap slave labor we call “interns”.  In our current economy, and for some time now, economics, or the bottom line, has driven our industry over innovation or smarter thinking and planning. But it was innovation which grew America into a world power, not cheap labor!

So one day after rising gasoline prices yet again, I became motivated to finish this gag.  After watching some Gerald McBoing Boing and a great cartoon from Cartoon Brew called “Depth Study” by Terry Toons, I thought a simpler Family Pants design would ease my work load.

I was also motivated by Mondo Media’s Dick Figures and  Their sloppy and loose style lent itself to be animated quickly yet actually very well.  And it’s “new”!  (So many art directors claim the “50’s” style is lost on kids who don’t know what era we’re referencing.  So what if it’s lost?  If it’s funny and in budget, great!  And if people who do know art appreciate it, all the better.  Why “bad” art is “in” I’ll never know.  Perhaps non-artists who produce cartoons feel less inadequate if the style is not far from their own limited ability?)

The original cartoon from 2008 was 80% done before I abandoned it.  Here is as far as I’ve gotten before abandonment.

Here’s a still of the new style again.  Rather than worry about making the line smooth, I kept the line rough.  And like Terry Toon’s  Tom Terrific, I didn’t even opaque the character, letting his lines bleed through other lines.  The innovation being better design… (hopefully anyway…)

In addition to the simpler style, I completely re-story boarded the cartoon using cuts to work around action, still telling the story but without animating everything.  The innovation being better thinking and planning the cartoon.  Here are the rough boards I worked off of.  Compare this to the original which has no cutting around action.

With thumbnails in hand, I roughed in the cartoon directly into Flash using a new Wacom tablet called the Bamboo Fun.  Here are a few stills.

I added my dialog tracks to the Flash time-line which I recorded using a Mini Disk recorder.  I can’t be sure, but I believe I hear some static on the recording.  Perhaps it’s that the equipment is old?  Or did I mess up the recording somehow?

I edited the audio tracks in the Flash time-line and animated to them, following the roughs.  Then I exported a SWF and imported it into Premiere.  In Premiere I added sound effects.  I could have edited audio in Flash’s time-line just as easy. Premiere is pretty versatile, but not faster to move around in than Flash.  It is however far more technically superior.  Flash audio editing is good for web stuff, but Premiere can generate audio as professional as you can imagine.

Flash’s Pain in the Butt Export
Since Flash 4, Adobe hasn’t figured out how to render out true QuickTimes from Flash.  Flash spits out a SWF, then “screen records” it into a QuickTime.  If your machine has balls, it could come out right.  However, unless you have a NORAD diesel machine, your record could skip frames or have artifacting.

The work around is to export a PNG sequence, then open the sequence in QuickTime Pro to render out a true QuickTime.  Even for a 2 minute cartoon, this could take a while.  As I’m the client here, I’m not bound to make nit-picky “tweaks”.  Imagine a horde of client changes?  Phew!

Instead I imported the SWF into Premiere to render from.  Technically, 20 guys could email me each 60 second SWFs for me to assemble end to end and render out a full blown HD quality QuickTime.  I’ve successfully done this using QuickTime Pro 4 and Flash 4 for Family Pants’ “Hole in ‘Da Roof!”.  But today, I need a far more expensive program to do the same thing.

At least with Premiere, you can do some real sound editing.

All in told, I think the 2 minute cartoon would have taken 3-4 days if I worked 8 hours/day right through.  (In addition to a busy holiday and 2 comic strips, I’ve also been sick!   I know… excuses, excuses…)

My Mom’s Nativity Set vs. Han Solo:
My Mom’s Nativity set set always had jungle animals in it.  I guess as the years went by, she added more animals to the mix she acquired along the way.  Many of them were in different product branding styles and proportions, perhaps from old toys.  Quite a strange mix to an outsider.  Long before “The Lion King”, my Mom said it was all the earth’s animals bowing down to Baby Jesus.  So when I drew Blanche’s Nativity set, of course I added an elephant, 2 giraffes and a lion without thinking.  When I was done, my wife asked, “What are they doing there?  Jesus was born in a manger!”  And then it dawned on me how silly it was.  I had to keep it.

Also, I remember getting yelled at not to play with the figures as my Han Solo action figure ran past Joseph and the sheep near the tree.  Han was of course on some adventure climbing a giant Christmas tree with lights and garland.  Perhaps on some tropical Wookie forest planet… that celebrated Christmas for some reason.  But the one thing you could never mess with was the Baby Jesus.  “Be careful of my Baby Jesus!” Ma would yell from the kitchen upon hearing some jingly thrashing about the tree and what sounded like a faint humming of the “Imperial March”.  Of course in the Family Pants universe, Frank would always unwittingly mess with Blanche’s Baby Jesus!

And one last bit of anatomical perfection…

Hope you enjoy!  At least until next year…


Syndication Idea v. Syndication Investor

May 3, 2009

The Pixel Pintura, a YouTube user, sent an interesting comment on my YouTube channel about my Family Pants syndication idea.   I couldn’t answer it entirely in the small YouTube comment box, so I’m posting an explanation here.

Basically Joel said the Family Pants online syndication idea sounded good and wondered why I wasn’t doing it.

There’s been a few ideas so far on making money with online cartoons:

1) Find a sponsor like TV.
Say, Pepsi pays for a Family Pants cartoon provided in the middle of it they stuff a commercial.  This works, but more successfully on TV.  So why would Pepsi bother messing around online?  Now the harsh reality.  The internet is not TV.  It may look like TV, but it’ll never be TV.  Stop trying to think it will be TV!  It’s like trying to make the book publishing industry like the radio industry.  There might be cross overs… a radio personality writes a book, or books about radio personalities, but the industries are different and always will be.

2) Have people pay a tiny fee to see the cartoon online.
Most people pay enough for broadband to begin with.  Would you pay 10 cents to see a Family Pants cartoon?  I’ve had a hard time getting people to pay for a Family Pants DVD.  I’ve recently I’ve offered it for free on YouTube, hoping to gain interest.

3) License cartoons online.
You, the viewer doesn’t pay.  Sponsors like Pepsi doesn’t pay.  Instead websites pay for “instant content”.  Let’s face it, making web sites more attractive costs money.  Instant content is a logical and cheaper solution.  These days the websites who are looking for “instant” content and get “user generated” content.  So say I make an application that allows YOU to make Family Pants cartoons yourself.  Poof!  I get 100 cartoons done for free and with little effort!

But having other people make cartoons is not what makes being a cartoonist fun.  I want to do it!  So my idea was taking a comic strip syndication approach.  Make the cartoon.  Sell it cheaply, but many, many times.

The question is Joel, is online animation syndication not around because it’s a bad idea?  Or is that because nobody important has invested in the idea yet?  Lots of fine human beings like yourself have said, “Hey man… that sounds pretty good!”,  I’m still looking for investors!

Anyone have a rich uncle?

Family Pants’ Hole in ‘Da Roof! on YouTube!

April 16, 2009

After years of pecking away on this epic 22 minute pilot cartoon, only few have had the nerve to shell out hard earned moo-lah to buy a copy!  Now here is Family Pants’ Hole in ‘Da Roof!…. FREE in easy to swallow parts!

And if you want real quality… so life like you can actually watch it on your TV!  Then buy a copy here!

Hey, There’s A DVD for Sale! (Remember those?)

April 9, 2009

A Family Pants fan has recently asked if or when I’ll have a DVD of Family Pants available… Well I already have!  I guess I had it hidden in this blog.  So here it is in all it’s glory, un-hidden!

This is the CREATE A SPACE store where you can get a Family Pants DVD: 

And this is the same DVD at