Q: I love the MAD show on Cartoon Network! Its got just enough MAD Magazine in it to seem like part of the “Usual Gang” but is also different and appealing to the “Robot Chicken” crowd. How did the show do? Is there going to be a second season? What did you think of the work you did on the show?
A: I’ve been told MAD on the Cartoon Network did very well in viewership and with viewer response, although I do not have any numbers to back that up. It must have done pretty well, as they announced that it was being picked up back in November. I have already done character design for one of the second season shows, so it is full steam ahead. There will be another MAD panel presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, although I will not be participating in that this time. Scheduled to appear are producers Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek, along with MAD Magazine editor John Ficarra, art director Sam Viviano and “Spy vs. Spy” artist Peter Kuper. (That’s happening Friday, July 22nd from 10:00–11:00 a.m., Room 25ABC). I am not sure when the second season premieres, but I would guess early September.
Working on the show is fun, and I’ve been surprised at how much of my drawing style gets preserved between my character designs and the final animations. The only exception to that was the last episode segment I did work for called the “Big Fang Theory”. There the animators loosely used my designs and put a more zombie-like spin on the segment. I though what they did looked pretty cool, even if my work wasn’t very evident in it anymore.
What I do for the show is definitely not full animated character design. I do a single, full-body pose for each character with a slight 3/4 view using simplified linework and very basic color treatment, and then a few extra heads with different expressions and angles…usually a straight-on and profile view. Then I will do some static poses if called for of either main characters or cameos by other characters. Some episodes have been as few as three to five characters, and some have been as many as sixteen. The animators take these and do their magic on them. I don’t actually see the results until the show airs, so it’s always fun when that happens.
I’m looking forward to working on the show again this year. The people at Warner Bros. Animation are great to work with.
Thanks to Jack V. for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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