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Thread: Former Simpsons artist identifies his scenes



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    Former Simpsons artist identifies his scenes

    Hello,

    Former Simpsons layout artist here. I stumbled across this forum by accident. I found some old posts that credited (or blamed, depending on your point of view) me with certain scenes that I never actually worked on. The poster (one Zartok-35, I believe) also misspelled my name, to add insult to injury. He or she seemed to think I drew "off model" homers.

    I'd like to set the record straight, but unfortunately this site says that I can't start new threads. Is there any way that I could start a thread and post images of scenes I actually worked on?

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    Ringo Next HANDSOME.S4.E6.XMAS.GUYS.XviD's Avatar
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    EDIT: Nope, after one post you can make one. You know, cut back on spam.
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    pineapple shoes Dark Homer's Avatar
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    (moved posts to own thread)

    @zartok-35, you must answer for your crimes!



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    the Frying Dutchman Sinterklaas's Avatar
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    This should be pretty interesting. Got some dirt on the writers or other interesting early Behind-The-Scenes stuff while we wait for zartok-35, Mark?

  5. #5


    Thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight.

    A while ago there were a couple of posts on this site by a certain Zartok-35 claiming to identify my scenes and drawing style: http://www.nohomers.net/entry.php?59...antel#comments http://www.nohomers.net/entry.php?5-...-Black-Widower The only problem was that the scenes in question were not by me. At least, none of them sparked any recognition. (It's been a long time since I worked on the show, so I'll admit I can't recall every scene I've ever worked on.) I have no idea how this person came to the conclusions he/she did, or why he/she is so confident about them. It's odd to read descriptions of your drawing style, especially when they aren't accurate.

    It would be hard to pick out any layout artists' scenes on The Simpsons, since it is such a model conscious show, and the scenes go through so many hands before it ends up on TV (layout artist, director, Korean animators, assistant animators and cel inkers -- when they still used cels). One would be hard pressed to pick out the work of even the best draftsmen on the show -- in my opinion, Sondra Roy and Paul Wee. However, I'd like to list some of the scenes I remember working on, and others can decide for themselves if Zartok's description of my work is correct.

    The first scene I ever worked on was Bart as a school hall monitor stopping a kid on a skateboard, in the episode Separate Vocations. I didn't know much about layout, so I practically animated the entire scene myself, which pleased the director Jeff Lynch. In Black Widower, I did the scene of Selma reading Bob's love letter in the bathtub, sinking in the water, and extinguishing her cigarette.

    The one show I recall the most working on was Marge vs. the Monorail. I laid out the opening sequence -- the parody of The Flintstones where Homer leaves work and crashes into a tree. I also did the scenes of Burns and Smithers trying to hide toxic waste in a tree up to Burns getting fined in court. I also drew the scenes of Kent Brockman interviewing Lurleen Lumpkin (who slept in a ditch) and actor Kyle Darren. I know I did some scenes of Homer as the monorail engineer, but I can't remember which ones.

    In Last Exit to Springfield I drew the layouts for when Homer urges his fellows workers to not give up their dental plan to the scenes of the crew beating up a muscular man they thought was heckling Homer.

    The last show I worked on "in house" was Deep Space Homer, but only on the first act. I had to lay out a complicated scene of Homer passing through an x-ray machine, sort of like the one in the movie Total Recall. I remember another scene where Homer yells something like, "Inanimate!? I'll show you inanimate!" and then holds still.

    I forget which episode it was from, but there was a scene were I drew Abe Simpson in drag trying to seduce Hitler. It was the only scene I ever requested to work on while I was on the show, because I wanted to draw Hitler. I also got to design Goering and Mussolini for background characters, as they were a last minute addition and no character designs were created for them.

    The last episode I freelanced on was Moe Baby Blues, where Homer gets his head stuck in a Venus Fly Trap and has to eat his way out. (The attachments below are some of the drawings I did for the sequence.)

    MoeBabyBlues_01.jpgMoeBabyBlues_02.jpgLisa_01.jpgHomer_03.jpgHomer_02.jpg
    Last edited by Mark Colangelo; 06-19-2012 at 03:36 AM.


  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Matty View Post
    This should be pretty interesting. Got some dirt on the writers or other interesting early Behind-The-Scenes stuff while we wait for zartok-35, Mark?
    I never met any of the writers. They were miles apart from us -- out in West L.A. The artists were housed in a dumpy building in North Hollywood. (That was Film Roman, when the show was at Klasky/Csupo it was located in Hollywood.)

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    really CousinMerl's Avatar
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    This is definitely an interesting thread. I wonder what zartok-35 has to say about this.

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    Card Wars super Amadeus zartok-35's Avatar
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    I only have one thing to say: I was young then! I'm very very sorry; I wrote that 'Dinosaurs 'post a few years ago, and I've learned much more about properly identifying animators, and have done allot more reasearch since then.
    Last edited by zartok-35; 06-19-2012 at 10:50 AM.

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    paranormal investigator merry frizmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Colangelo View Post
    Hello,

    Former Simpsons layout artist here. I stumbled across this forum by accident.
    Yeah, I google my own name too.
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    Take on the World Walid's Avatar
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    good thread

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    Ringo Next HANDSOME.S4.E6.XMAS.GUYS.XviD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Colangelo View Post
    I forget which episode it was from, but there was a scene were I drew Abe Simpson in drag trying to seduce Hitler. It was the only scene I ever requested to work on while I was on the show, because I wanted to draw Hitler. I also got to design Goering and Mussolini for background characters, as they were a last minute addition and no character designs were created for them.
    Ah, yes.

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    loves mashed potatoes Jims's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Friz View Post
    Yeah, I google my own name too.
    Don't be a jerk.

    Thanks for the explanation and the sketches, Mark! Very cool stuff.


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    Card Wars super Amadeus zartok-35's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure this is you're style, Mark.



    Compared to your layout drawings, the top of Homer's nose is drawn the same, as are the eyelids, and the top of Homer's head.

    You're also the only animator with credits through "Black widower", "Selma's choice", and "LETS", where this style clearly appears.


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    paranormal investigator merry frizmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jims View Post
    Don't be a jerk.
    Woah man, I just stumbled onto this forum by accident to see people quoting me and calling me a jerk to add insult to injury.


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    Ringo Next HANDSOME.S4.E6.XMAS.GUYS.XviD's Avatar
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    Go back to your park bench.

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    the Frying Dutchman Sinterklaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zartok-35 View Post
    You're also the only animator with credits through "Black widower", "Selma's choice", and "LETS", where this style clearly appears.
    All 3 episodes were put on model, cleaned and animated by Anivision, though. Don't really see the similarities you list, especially the eyelids look drawn differently to me. The eyelids of Hitler look more similar to those of LETS Homer, though. But that could just be the model sheet of the time. The Simpsons aren't exactly known for their varied arrange of facial acting or posing: the animators were always forced to mostly stick to just a couple of emotions, mouth charts and boring poses.

    Hey Mark, most of the layouts I've seen from other animators from the 90s look much rougher than your Moe Baby Blues ones, especially the bodies. Did you tend to clean up your drawings during the first seasons too?

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  19. #17


    Quote Originally Posted by Handsome B. Wonderful View Post
    Ah, yes.
    Yes, that's the one! Do you happen to know the name of the episode? (I'd really appreciate it.) All I remember is that it was directed by Jeff Lynch.

    Also, thinking back on that sequence, I know I did the scenes with Hitler but I don't remember drawing Abe. Abe in drag might have been my scenes too (it would be rare for a director to break up a sequence like that between two layout artists, but it's happened before), but I just don't recall with any clarity actually drawing it. Such is the problem with age.

  20. #18
    the truth is out there zach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Colangelo View Post
    Yes, that's the one! Do you happen to know the name of the episode?
    Whacking Day

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    the truth is out there zach's Avatar
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    great stuff by the way.

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    pineapple shoes Dark Homer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Colangelo View Post
    I love Lisa's expression here! Good work, man

  24. #21


    Quote Originally Posted by zartok-35 View Post
    I'm pretty sure this is you're style, Mark.
     


    Compared to your layout drawings, the top of Homer's nose is drawn the same, as are the eyelids, and the top of Homer's head.
     

    You're also the only animator with credits through "Black widower", "Selma's choice", and "LETS", where this style clearly appears.
    I don't recall any of those scenes you posted. If you could put them in context, maybe I might remember. The problem is that most of the artists tended to draw the Simpsons characters alike -- since the show was so "model" conscious, as opposed to Ren & Stimpy where the models were pushed to more extremes. The only way I could tell the different layout artists from one another was by viewing their actual pencil drawings. Some artists like Sondra Roy made the characters a thing of beauty in her pencil sketches. They looked cute and appealing, with an elegant subtly but most of that was lost once it was animated in Korea. (The Korean animators got paid to turn out animation quickly, not accurately.)

    I tended to sometimes flatten the top of Homer's head (you can see it in the pencil drawing you posted), rather than draw it "rounded" like you claimed earlier. It was easier to move Homer's head in a dimensional way if one thought of it as a rectangular box first, rather than one made up of flat circles. Also, keep in mind that the directors would go over all the layouts with the artists and sometimes make changes, which the artist had to incorporate into their finished layout. (That was only the first round. After the animatic screening there might be more changes made.)

    Another way to tell is how the characters move (but here too the Korean animators tended to even things out). Some artists and directors tried to push the poses to make the animation stronger, while others were content to move the characters in the bland Matt Groening approved way.


  25. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by Jerkass Homer View Post
    Whacking Day
    Thank you!

    I recall working on that episode until around one in the morning one night, along with the director Jeff Lynch and a skeleton crew, in order to make the animatic deadline. Jeff Lynch animated the scene of Homer practicing his ninja moves on the pop-up snakes in his back yard.


  26. #23


    Quote Originally Posted by Jerkass Homer View Post
    great stuff by the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Homer View Post
    I love Lisa's expression here! Good work, man
    Thanks!

  27. #24


    Quote Originally Posted by Matty View Post
    All 3 episodes were put on model, cleaned and animated by Anivision, though. Don't really see the similarities you list, especially the eyelids look drawn differently to me. The eyelids of Hitler look more similar to those of LETS Homer, though. But that could just be the model sheet of the time. The Simpsons aren't exactly known for their varied arrange of facial acting or posing: the animators were always forced to mostly stick to just a couple of emotions, mouth charts and boring poses.
    Exactly! Couldn't have said it better myself.


    Hey Mark, most of the layouts I've seen from other animators from the 90s look much rougher than your Moe Baby Blues ones, especially the bodies. Did you tend to clean up your drawings during the first seasons too?
    Everyone draws differently. Some artists kept their drawings "rough", meaning they were sketchier, and contained the construction lines that help define the forms. We were told that it was acceptable to turn in our layouts this way. Other artists drew very clean, such as Pete Shin. (And he did it fast, too. Yet it was always perfectly on model.) Silverman drew somewhat clean, too, without needing any under structure to guide him. Some would draw the construction in a light colored pencil (usually blue or red), then apply a darker lead pencil line over it. (I believe Sondra Roy did it that way. Or she might have just kept it in blue pencil.) I found out that a rougher drawing left a lot of interpretation for the Korean animators to make.

    My own rough drawings were too messy to use as is, so I would go over them and clean them up. I like to draw fast and loose first, in order to get some energy into the pose (depending if it was a certain type of action). Later, after it was approved by the director, I would clean it up, put it more on model, etc. I also, on rare occasions, did "key" animation drawings, if I wanted to get away with making the animation a little more exaggerated than what the writers or Groening normally wanted. (And it was only slightly more exaggerated than the usual Simpsons style. We're not talking Looney Tunes here.) When the writers and producers saw the animation in an animatic, they didn't obsess over individual drawings, and instead looked at the overall movement of the character. Those scenes were usually always approved without changes, even though if they saw the individual drawings they would have shat a brick. If I didn't do it that way I would always get notes from the director that my drawings were "too cartoony" and needed to be toned down -- always a depressing thing to do for a cartooninst.


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    Card Wars super Amadeus zartok-35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Colangelo View Post
    I don't recall any of those scenes you posted. If you could put them in context, maybe I might remember.
    Certainly! The first screengrab is part of the scene in "Black Widower" where Bart labours to explain the impending dangers to Selma.
    The next scene is from "Selma's choice"; in this scene, Homer is monologuing to himself about how funerals are boring, and there is nothin good to eat. The fact that you animated on this while also working on "Marge vs the Monoral" and "Brother from the same planet" at practically the same time is very impressive.
    The last one is the scene is from Last exit to Springfield, where Homer is in with Burns in his office, and he thinks he's coming on to him.
    I hope this helps. I would love to find out as much as I can! Your mentions of Sondra Roy are excellent!

  29. #26


    Okay, thanks. I'll have to watch those scenes on DVD and see if they jog my memory. I'll get back to you later.

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    Card Wars super Amadeus zartok-35's Avatar
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    Sounds good. I really appreciate this oppritunity!

  31. #28


    Quote Originally Posted by zartok-35 View Post
    The fact that you animated on this while also working on "Marge vs the Monoral" and "Brother from the same planet" at practically the same time is very impressive.
    Well, while I love hearing that, it's not really true at all. I just want to clarify that those shows were all made several months apart. In fact, Black Widower was made during the 3rd season. Then there was a season break before I worked on the next episode for the 4th season. So there was a long time between those two episodes.


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    Card Wars super Amadeus zartok-35's Avatar
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    Oh yes, I was refering to "Selma's Choice" there. Those 3 episodes came out right after eachother.

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    Ringo Next HANDSOME.S4.E6.XMAS.GUYS.XviD's Avatar
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    This is most certainly my favorite thread in a long while.

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