Playing with a fat black pen on bright white paper drew me to doodling (I mean that in the most polite way possible) a few black and white era animated cartoon characters. And if I was going to start there, I might as well delve straight back to the silent era - thought me to myself.
Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat. Long before that new fangled Felix the Cat in the 1960's with his bag-o-tricks, Paramount produced the biggest cartoon star for the next decade Felix...
...and here's my sketch of him...my style? When it comes to animated characters in particular, I have an extra block against getting loose with them and still keeping them recognizable. Something keeps wanting me to try, though.
Meanwhile, Max Fleischer was doing his own "Out of the Inkwell" series and doing a lot of innovations, such as combining live action and animation and even sound.
Here's his first big star, "Ko-Ko the Clown". Often rotoscope over brother/director Dave Fleischer.
I have never ever ever gotten the knack for drawing Mickey Mouse...it simply eludes me. Turns out I do the same "fall-short" job when attempting Walt Disney's earlier star, "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit".
I like the one on the bottom, but it doesn't look much like Disney's character. Or Walter Lantz' later version either. But I do still kind of like it. The top one looks like an "Animaniac".
After 1928, when Mickey Mouse did his sound gig in "Steamboat Willie", suddenly all the studios wanted their own little black and white cartoon-y star.
Here's Van Beuren's "Cubby Bear" and Harman & Ising's "Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid", the very first Looney Tune.
Ub Ising's "Flip the Frog" and Fleischer's "Bimbo".
The 8 major studios each started off the 30's with a diminutive black and white anthropomorphic cartoon star.
Except Paul Terry. "Farmer Al Falfa". Is there a sketchbook story in there?
Talk to you soon.