CSiCarly for the MAD show

September 7th, 2010 | Posted in MAD Magazine

Last night’s debut of the new animated MAD show on the Cartoon Network was certainly fun. Working on the show has been a real experience so far, and I am looking forward to continuing to work on future episodes… although as I understand it my role has been reduced to doing work for about every other episode. I have spent a lot of time during the first 5 I have worked on trying to figure out how to adjust my work to better fit in with what the animators need in order to produce the segments based on my art. The main challenge has been to simplify my linework so when the characters are redrawn in Flash the animators don’t need to interpret too much.

Last night’s “CSiCarly” segment was the first one we did back in May. I started out trying to get a feel for what the animation folks were wanting, so I did a few sample images for them using different levels of line work. Here is an example of the test caricature of David Caruso… the one on the left is more of the look I would do for the magazine, and the one on the right was my idea of simplifying the drawing:

The one on the right was still a little too detailed, especially in the hair… so I tried to simplify even more with Caruso¬¨‚Ć and the additional characters. The basic process is that I do a single full body image of each main character for the segment, plus do a few key expressions if some are called for. The animators also have a pile of “extra” drawings of generic people I have done with they are basing the “extras” on. Still most of the art is done by the animators, and I think it’s more fair to say my work is a “contribution” to these shorts than it is real character design. They are doing all the heavy lifting.

My main concern was that, by the time I altered my own style to fit in with the animation and the animators did their thing with all the expression and talking and such, not much of my art would be recognizable in the final product. After seeing the premiere episode I thought I could definiately see my work in there… it was a lot of fun to see it on TV.

I’m not sure week to week when I’ll have something in an episode or not, so you’ll just have to stay tuned to the show and see if you can pick out the stuff I contributed to!


  1. Mike Wade says:

    Don’t worry about viewers not recognizing your art work on the show. My wife knew immediately which was yours, and she doesn’t read your blog everyday, like I do!
    Thanks for showing the differences between a magazine drawing and the “simplified” drawing…well, simplified for you! It was fun to see a drawing “come to life.”

  2. julio cesar naranjo says:

    Hi Tom the MAD! show will be next week on cartoon network for Latin america, i saw the trailers on your blog and i just cant wait to see your work in motion. Take care.

  3. TDawn Maddox says:

    awesome, will definately keep tuned! 🙂

  4. Jose says:

    Is the show online anywhere? I looked for it on my DVR, even did a search and couldn’t find it.

  5. Rozalynn says:

    LOVE IT love the show it is so funny i brings memories watchin it when i was a kid reading the comics. Now my daughter can love what i love.

  6. Adam says:

    OH! I forgot about it!!!!!!

  7. Adam says:

    Managed to record and watch a rerun. I think CN runs it at least 2-3 times a week. All I can say is I LOVED IT! I hope they can keep this pace up. Is it wrong to say I thought of Robot Chicken a bit?

    Groovy Commercials, too. Love the new Fred and Barney!

  8. Peter S. Svensson says:

    I instantly knew it was you the second it came up. I was worried that your art was just being appropriated without your involvement, so to hear that you’re active in the show’s production made my day.

    Keep up the good work.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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