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Flippin’ Flapjacks: The Thurop Van Orman Interview!

January 30th, 2007


Thurop was one of THE first persons in Animation I Know I wanted to Interview upon first receiving this awesome Channel Frederator gig. He was also one of the first persons who welcomed me to the Character Animation School when I first transferred in. We shared a cubicle together, and it was there I first saw glimpses into his great character design work, humorous tittering inducing stories, and an early version of his soon to blow up Flapjack Series. The time spent there with him, was one of my favorite memories I have of CalArts.
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few Channel Fred Q’s Buddy!


CH.FRED: Where were you born?
T: Norfolk Virginia. But I only lived there a month. Then I moved to Florida.

Who are some of your influences?
My brother Jonny, E.H. Shepherd, Richard Scarry, Maurice Sendak, Mercer Meyer, Ronald Searle, Crumb, Gary Larsen, Sergio Aragones, Jim Henson, Steve Hillenburg and Craig McCracken.

How long have you been animating or drawing?
I’ve been drawing forever, and started animating for a video game company in ‘99.

What was your first job in the Animation field?
Gameboy games at Xantera, and then Powerpuff girls.

What companies have you worked for?
Cartoon Network. Its been real good to me. I’ve also done a little work with a stopmotion company called “Screen Novelties”. They are some of the best animators and film makers around.

who were your best cube-mates?
Jeaux AND Nate Cash!

What are you working on currently in the animation industry?
I have been developing a show called “the Misadventures of Flapjack” at Cartoon Network for the last couple of years. It’s been the time of my life.

So, what’s Flapjack all about?
Its about a kid who lives in a whale (Flapjack), and is corrupted by a salty old sea dog (captain K’nuckles). Together they search for the legendary “Candied Island “.

Very cool. How was it working on your own project?
Amazing! I never want to do anything else!

What were some of the hurdles and obstacles you had in your way, and how did you deal with them?
I don’t know, its been pretty smooth sailing, except all of the waiting. Oh, and poverty. Development doesn’t pay much.

When can we expect to see some Salty Sea Adventures with Flapjack on the air?
Hopefully fall 2007…
*(Update! I just got word from Thurop via Myspace that Cartoon Network just Greenlit Flapjack for Series!!! Way to go Buddy!)

What do you think makes for a great cartoon?
If a cartoon can make me uncomfortable, then I’ll be tuning in again. If it can make me uncomfortable while I’m laughing my ass off then I’ll never miss it.
If I get misty eyed, because it’s so sweet or heartfelt, I get uncomfortable. Because it’s a cartoon. If while I’m uncomfortable about the irony of crying during a cartoon, they hit me with the hilarious kind of irony, well I reckon thats hollywood gold.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to break in or just beginning in the industry?
Well, maybe just one. The most reaccuring theme I see from people who aren’t getting work, is that they don’t specialize. They have portfolio’s with storyboards, and character designs and paintings and all kinds of junk that says “I don’t know what I’m doing”. If you want to do character designs for instance, ONLY have character designs, and be able to draw in a bunch of different styles. If you are really versatile within one job title, you will surely get a job.

What are some of your hobbies outside the world of animation?

You are a father now, has that changed your perspective on animation or art in anyway?
I think that my main character (Flapjack) has stolen a lot of expressions from my son (Leif).

See any resemblance?

If you could have any super-power, what would it be?
Holding my breath.

Is there anything you want to say to the people out there in Channel Frederator Land reading this?
Well, not really. They’ve probably been on the internet long enough already…

Portrait of the Artist w/ the Tiny Tina
And on that note, let’s all take a break from computer land, walk outside and get a deep punch of refreshing air to the face and lungs. Enjoy a little bit of sunlight people! Anyone wanna go out to the beach with me? All this salty sea talk is getting me pumped! Thanks again T-Bone! Congrats on the Greenlight my friend!
Keep those eyes peeled on Channel Frederator, Yr #1 SOURCE for Animation News & Interviews!
It’s good to be BACK. Be on the lookout for a few great interviews I’ve got lined up… You won’t be disappointed.

Who Do YOU want to see On Channel Frederator?
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Awesome interview Jeaux! This guy’s show looks awesome! The art direction looks really original! Nice stuff!




I had to leave CAl Arts in 2001 to move here to join my wife, but still enjoy the memories. Thanks for being such a great artist and sticking to your vision.
I look forward to seeing “FlapJack”on my tv here in New York.
Bruce Richards
“Beginning Perspective”

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Reply here

jeaux, does this guy have a blog or website I can check out?


Thanks Steve! Glad you liked it! Thurop currently doesn’t have a blog, or website, yet. I’ve been trying to talk him into looking into getting a blog for his show for awhile now… the closest we have is Thurop on Myspace, where I pilfered these images.


Congrats Thurop…this looks amaaaazing!!! Kent says hi!!


Congrats, Thurop! It’s been a long waiting game indeed, but it couldn’t have happended to a nicer guy.

…and that tentacle punch to the face pic is HILARIOUS.


Congratulations, Thurop. C’mon, fall, 2007.


Awesome Thurop! Its for reals! I want to watch it now.. but waiting for something cool is fun too. =]


Great going Thurop! (And welcome back Jeaux!)


Thanx Fred! and Thanks again Thurop for the awesome interview-izzle!




Congrats Thurop! I’m very proud of you. I can’t wait to see it.


Thanks guys! I’ll try not to eff it up…


oh boy.


GO THUROP!!!! You rock!!!!


Congratulations, Thurop! No one could deserve it more. I can hardly wait!


So Yeah. That’s my brother-in-law. Congrats, Thurop!


Hey Thurop! The Hughes family is super excited for you! We knew it was just a matter of time before everything worked out. Congratulations. We’ll definitely be tuning in on a regular basis!


taaysty tid-bits..good job jeaux!


Congrats Thurop! I can’t wait to see it on TV! All that hard work and patience has paid off!


Excellent! Good job, can’t wait to see all the adventures each episode. Nice work, we knew it would all come together for you.


You go Bro!


good job Mark, you have been amazing since highschool, look forward to seeing more


Way to go Thurop! I’m truely Proud of YOU! LOVE


I can’t figure out weather Thurop looks more like an early santa or a late popeye…


That’s my boy! We’re all excited for Flapjack!


Good luck on your cartoon, Mr. Orman!


I hope when I’m older I can make a show like this


Man people are not taking this show too well.

I went to and I read the reviews.

I was shocked to read that most of the forum posts and reviews consisted of





I like it and think it will serve as an excellent addition to Cartoon network’s vault of good cartoons.

Most of those people are just made because Spongebob been being kicked around lately.

If it has two friends, and one of them is mean then it’s a rip-off.

They can all go screw themselves.

Why doesn’t anyone appreciate fresh new talent to the network anymore?

All they want is stuff from Spongebob alumni and that’s it.


That is why I don’t read fansites, James. The show is definitely original, but I have my own concerns that it might be too sophisticated for the average Cartoon Network viewer, who is spoonfed regurgiated anime crap.

I seriously hope this cartoon succeeds. The only other original show CN has is Chowder, and this would set a nice balance against Chowder.


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