Actually, I think that all of the characters on Billy & Mandy and Evil Con Carne got three design passes. When I first started the pilots, CN told me that the they would never air. But they totally lied. So the characters didn’t really get any polish until series production started.
I don’t think we got what would be considered “normal series development time”. But the longer I work in this industry, the more I understand that there’s no such thing as “normal”. Anyway, I hurriedly redesigned all of the characters as best I could before we dove into production.
As time goes on and you draw a character hundreds and thousands of times, you start to refine and streamline. It just happens. But when you’re in the thick of making an animated series, there’s barely time to breathe, much less make updates to the character designs. And the folks animating the characters at the overseas certainly don’t want to be getting messages like, “Hey, I had another revelation about Billy’s eyebrows.” In fact, they’d probably just ignore you.
Fortunately, we finally got a little bit of “development time” when CN decided to split B&M and Evil into their own series. I was able to go into the main model packs for both shows and clean up my own messes. I think the results were a big improvement. In fact, in the case of Evil, the whole look of the series got a bit of polish.
Ghastly was a fun character to write and draw. I like that she’s just sort of a regular, smart, dorky girl who got in with the wrong crowd. And how many scientists these days get to wear a vinyl catsuit to work? Neil deGrasse Tyson might be able to pull it off, but I’d like to think Major Dr. Ghastly did it best.
But that’s not for me to decide.
Anonymous asked: Don't get sloppy.
OMG I wish I’d seen this, like, 20 years ago…
mostverticalprimate asked: You've probably been asked a similar question but is there anywhere to watch Grim & Evil? I've looked all over the internet and I can't find dvds, streams or whatsoever. I'm a big fan of all your work and I can't wait for Dead Meat but I'd love to know if you have anything for me to revisit one of my favourite shows.
Evil is nowhere in sight, but Netflix has been streaming Billy & Mandy this year. They’re on the last chunk of the series, so check it before it’s gone!
ihatefeeling asked: First, I'm really thrilled you're on here, I loved Billy and Mandy when it was still just a pilot. Second, I'm happy to see your new project is chugging on! FInally, as someone who worked on television professionally, do you feel like the internet is at a good point for effective and lucrative independent cartooning? Or do you think there's still a way to go?
Thanks! I’m thrilled to be here! Though perhaps I’d rather be in Tahiti.
I’ll say that putting your work on the internet is probably the best way to pursue a non-lucrative career as an independent cartoonist. Once you go commercial, your work will be more lucrative and less your own. It’s sort of like a set of scales with a pile of awesome ideas on one side and a pile of money on the other. The trick is, I think, balancing the scales in such a way that you don’t lose all the money and starve, but also don’t lose all of the ideas and become some mindless corporate hack.
Cartooning independently on the internet is definitely the best way to attract the attention of commercial jobs. I know people who were plucked right off the internet and given work just because someone saw their stuff at the right time. So putting your work out there is not only a great way to feel fulfilled as an artist, but also a great way to attract the attention of companies that might want to give you money for doing what you do.
But, yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as a lucrative career as an independent cartoonist. Please let me know if you find out otherwise!
slopehead319 asked: Why is Billy so stupid?I mean,its so funny that in school he didn't learn anything!
If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ll realize that most other people didn’t either! ;)
Cloudy with a chance of Dead Meats
Yesterday I shot some more green screen elements for Dead Meat, but the star of the day was the Lo-Fi Trumbull Cloud Tank. Back before CG, but after Real Clouds, there was the Trumbull Cloud Tank. Named after the guy who pioneered fish tank atmospheres for Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the tank is set up by layering fresh water on top of salt water, and then squirting different liquids into the water. Ideally, the liquids form roiling layers of realistic (or surrealistic) clouds.
This is what the O.G. Cloud Tank looked like for Close Encounters:
Theirs was a 2,000 gallon tank with a mechanical arm. Overkill, am I right? I mean, anything more than 1,500 gallons and you’re just showboating.
I would be using a 60 gallon tank lent to me by C.H. Greenblatt and his dead fish.
It all starts with rock salt. You need a cup and a half of rock salt for every two gallons of water that you want to magically turn into salt water. And since we’ll be filling the tank up almost halfway with saltwater, it’s gonna take a lot of salt and a lot of time.
Or maybe I should buy more pots. I dunno. Anyway, once we had enough salt water, it was time to fill the rest of the tank with fresh water.
The plastic bag keeps the fresh water and salt water from touching each other. I feel that plastic bags could, perhaps in the future, be used to keep people from touching. But that’s an experiment for another day.
Lighting the tank was a little trickier than I anticipated, but I was lucky to have some help. You can see the two layers of water in the photo above. Once we saw the line, we were pretty excited. We had bent nature to our will and nothing could stop us!
The only thing left to do was add some evaporated milk, ink, and of course, the secret ingredient… Love.
Only Ralphs was out of Love, so we just used acrylic paint.
The whole thing turned out great and I got some cool, creepy skies for Dead Meat. I’ll definitely do it again a few more times to get more footage. There’s nothing quite like those first few plumes.
I was going to do another run today, but my refrigerator died this weekend and the repair guy showed up right before I started posting this. Turns out he needs boiling water, a bucket, and towels. So he’s got all of my tools tied up. I think maybe he’s secretly delivering a baby in the crisper drawer. If he asks for the evaporated milk, I’ll know for sure.
Thanks again to Skyler Kragt (Twitter: @kragtodile), Taylor Reneau (Twitter: @yesreneau YouTube: yesreneau), and Scott Bartuska (Twitter: @scottbartuska) for all of their help. Tweet them and let them know they’ve mastered cloud based technology.
Oh, and thanks also to C.H. Greenblatt, who has no internet presence at all. So don’t bother tweeting him.
The post after this one is full of images taken from yesterday’s Cloud Tank shoot. Enjoy them. They’re all the exact size of a Facebook background image. Weird, right?
Anonymous asked: Were you truly not the individual posting as you on 4chan, you would have no reason to engage to vehemently. The only time one would have a need to make such an ardent denial of behavior is when they are attempting to distance themselves from their own actions.
I could say something about posting anonymously, but I won’t because my name is Charles McFlappington and I don’t even know how I got here.
I am not on 4chan
For some reason someone’s impersonating me on 4chan. The weird thing is, they seem to have been pimping Dead Meat in my name back when the Kickstarter was going on. And I would say that’s good, except it’s mostly just creepy.
If you’re going to impersonate me, here are a few tips:
"Differenciate" is not a word.
You know nothing about how network S&P works, so keep researching. Generally, I don’t directly engage trolls or tell people on internet forums to “taste my enlarged phallus”.
I don’t dis my fellow artists and animators.
I will probably never call a fan “lil’ pardner”, though it is sort of cute.
Oh! And most importantly, I won’t be on 4chan.
So keep working at it. Or, better yet, go impersonate someone who people actually care about, like Lisa Kudrow or Yahoo Serious.
That one time Billy & Mandy fought robots
I don’t remember that time either, but it was a real, historical event that will soon be told by DC comics. They were nice enough to have me do the cover. It was fun to draw these guys again.
If you want to know what dumbness is coming out of Billy’s mouth this time, check it out soon at your local comic shop, or wherever comics are sold. Wherever that is.