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Archive for the ‘graphic design’


Available on Amazon.

December 15th, 2010

Book cover illustrated & designed by Carlos Ramos
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [cover]

OK, here ’tis on Amazon.com, Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios, before Christmas, as we hoped. Not sure if they can actually deliver it by next week, but you can check. The official release date is in March, so at least you can get a head start on everyone else. In the meanwhile, you can preview the whole book below to see if it’s worth it to you.

Here’s the blurb (and here’s the entire introduction):

Please, consider the unconsidered art of the original cartoon title card.

For almost a century, the art of the cartoon title card has not been disparaged, disregarded, or dismissed. It has been completely ignored. And by the 1970s it had almost completely disappeared.

Over 200 full color original title cards from hit Frederator cartoon series, including The Fairly OddParents, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Fanboy & Chum Chum, Adventure Time, and eight more.

Frederator loves you.

Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios

Coming for Christmas?

November 28th, 2010

Book cover illustrated & designed by Carlos Ramos
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [cover]The latest from Frederator Books, Original Cartoon Title Cards, should be out soon. Eric Homan and I have chosen a subjective compilation of 200 of the title cards from our productions over the years, including some of the best from The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Ape Escape Cartoons, The Meth Minute 39, What A Cartoon!, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, Random! Cartoons, and the first season of Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time. You’ve probably seen some of them here or here, but I’ve got to say, seeing them printed large size (the book is 8 1/4″ wide by 6″ high), is pretty darn cool.

“Official” publication should be in January. But, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to offer it early (maybe as soon as next week) to Frederator blog readers. Stay tuned here for more information as it comes. In the meantime, here’s a preview of the essay at the beginning of the book.

…..

The unconsidered art of the cartoon title card.

I started searching the internet for someone who could write an essay to introduce this book of Frederator Studios’ cartoon title cards. Surely, someone with an writer’s eye had a few choice words to say about decades of cool graphic design.

Nothing.

There were several places where beautiful vintage cartoon cards are displayed, usually for filmographic or historical purposes. But, for all the pages devoted to critical analysis and display of another pop culture icon, the movie poster, there wasn’t a full paragraph of consideration I could turn up about the kind of art we’re displaying in this book.

Well, I’m no art historian, so they won’t be any scintillating examinations here. But, just let me point out that it might be worth checking out the dozens of talented artists and creators who have shared their work with us here. All sorts of styles are represented, from homage to the one and two color cards we saw in the silents, to sumptuous, nuanced illustrations that are hard to appreciate in the 10 seconds they’re usually displayed on television. Breadth of craft is also demonstrated here, from simple typography, pencil on paper, computer generated images, even paper cut outs.

Within minutes of ruminating about cartoons for the first time –professionally, that is; they probably started dominating my mind as soon as my parents got their first TV– there was no choice. The model for my productions needed to be the great shorts during the golden age of the early, mid-20th century: Looney Tunes, the Disney’s, the MGM’s, even the first TV shows of Hanna-Barbera. And there was no joking about the template. Our films would hew as close as possible to these classics from front to back. Studio logo, character name, episode name, seven minutes of squash & stretch hilarity, and “The End.” No deviations, please.

It took a few years to get anyone to agree that we could even make these kinds of cartoons (thank you kindly, Scott Sassa and Ted Turner). And, among the creative posse making the first 48 shorts there wasn’t one push back about the idea of the title cards, they loved everything cartoon. It helped that I was the president of the studio, but that really had nothing to do with it.

The talent we’d lined up were chomping at the bit to reintroduce –no, reinvent– the very idea of cartoons, since the production industry and the networks had almost completely abandoned the form almost 30 years before. Disney had long seemed embarrassed by their ‘cartoon’ roots, but even the 1980 revival of the famous Warner studio couldn’t admit their strength and named itself “Warner Bros. Animation.” Our team trained themselves in a business that had turned its back on their love, but they were undeterred. When we announced our complete dedication to the form, they lined up in force and embraced every aspect of our program, eventually creating a tidal wave of success that made cartoons the dominant form of animation throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

The networks were another story. It’s fair to say that we’ve had resistance to title cards for almost everyone one of the almost 20 series that have been sprung from our three shorts series of the last 15 years. It’s never the budget issues, which would have been my first arguments against them, if I’d been so inclined; it is not inexpensive to make between 50 and 150 of illustrative, finished artwork per season. No, unfortunately, there’s probably a failure of imagination. “Other series don’t do it.”

Cartoon title cards indeed seem to be an unconsidered art. Everywhere but here. Feast your eyes for as long as you might wish, I guarantee some gorgeous rewards.

Fred Seibert
New York, 2010
Original Cartoon Title Cards from Frederator Studios [back cover]

Obscure can be kinda cool.

June 25th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.4
Frederator Postcards Series 10.4, mailed June 25, 2010 Limited edition of 200

Adapted from
Pvt. Cecil Gant
The Grass is Getting Greener 78rpm
Gilt Edge Records
Hollywood, California

More Frederator postcards
…..

There isn’t any information that can be found on the internets about Gilt Edge Records, other than Private Cecil Gant recorded for them in the 1940s. And I don’t really know all that much about Cecil other than that he wrote a neat song (”I’m a Good Man But a Poor Man“) I recorded on an obscure blues album in 1974.

But the label design is cool, obscure is fun, and I really loved the song we recorded.

“Original Cartoons, Volume 2: The Frederator Studios Postcards 2006-2010

May 8th, 2010

Original Cartoons, Volume 2
It took a while to get the gallies right, but the second collection of Frederator’s postcards is available over at Amazon.com (the first one’s there too).

Eric Homan is our resident postcard collector, but that’s not the main reason he has an insightful interview here. Entertainment journalist Michael Goldman wanted to get the scoop on how Eric developed the last round of big ideas in our Random! Cartoons shorts incubator, including the background on Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time. Their cards, and all 39 of the original Random!s, are included in the book.
back
And that’s not all! The complete postcard series 6 through 9 are here, including the black & whites, and the History of Frederator set. And, the non-series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! collectibles that were made for the International Licensing Shows, and a bunch of stragglers that were produced here and there over the years. Plus, a preface by the guy we work for at Sony Pictures Animation, Bob Osher, and a short introduction from moi.

So, check it out. Broke? Too cheap? Here’s the free PDF download:

Original Cartoons, Volume 2: The Frederator Studios Postcards 2006 - 2010

Hello, posters.

April 27th, 2010


Thursday, April 29, 2010, 7:00-8:30pm
Parnassus Cafe, University of Washington School Of Art

“Original Cartoon Posters from Frederator Studios”

April 26th, 2010

book cover 1 FREDERATOR POSTERS
There’s no book release party this week, but nonetheless our poster book is available for sale over at Amazon.com.

I’ve had a lot of fun with our self promotion over the years, especially posters. It turns out I came of age during posters last great hurrah in the 60s, when every kid had day-glo posters pasted all over the bedroom walls, horrifying parents everywhere. But slowly over the years posters went from a commercial necessity to a collectible art item. I wanted in on the action, and sporadically commissioned posters in the 80s, often as promotion for my advertising agency, but it wasn’t until the cartoon biz my jones fired up in earnest.

Starting with What A Cartoon!, where I wanted to give our shorts creators their due, and continuing with Frederator’s launch, I’ve looked for a good excuse to litter some limited edition walls myself. Sporadically, we try to get an annual New Year’s release, and then something practical (usually budget) gets in the way. Certainly, we try and get something going for most of our new cartoons too.
back

So, keeping in the tradition the book collection of our first series of postcards, we collected 12 years of Frederator posters together for your viewing pleasure. As a bonus, there most of the HB What A Cartoon! posters too, plus a lot of one-off digitals for events you might or might not be aware of. And some Comic-Con collectibles too! “51 illustrations” in all, as it hypes on the back cover.

You might have seen the earlier digital download draft, but here’s the final, published version, if you want to take a quick, electronic gander.

Original Cartoon Posters from Frederator Studios

PS: Don’t forget to check out the cool Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time stuff that’s included.

Where it all began.

January 23rd, 2010

The visual Craft of William Golden

Talk about unsung heroes. For those of you interested in graphic design or broadcasting or branding or marketing –or you’re just a media freak like me– you really should read this book, The Visual Craft of William Golden (hit ‘Full Screen’ up above, or download a PDF; it’ll be easy).

William Golden is the father of broadcast design, having been completely responsible, under Frank Stanton and owner William Paley, for the look and feel of the television network of the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS to you younger viewers), the first network to take into account every single aspect of it’s image and vocabulary. Most famous for the most famous TV logo of all time, the CBS eye, Golden was a philosopher and an artist in the most philistine moment of the 1950s. He was the man who was able to make one believe Paley’s conceit that his network of “I Love Lucy” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” was actually “the Tiffany Network.”

Golden wasn’t just about the logo, as a quick visual inspection of the book will bear out (but, check out the cool ways it was used, obviously but subtly, like on page 32). But, read it instead, you’ll get some great insights as to how a great creative work is done even at a behemoth like a TV network.

One quick, related, digression. George Lois used to tell me the story of his early job working under Golden’s art director Kurt Weiss, the man who actually designed the CBS logo. His gig was redrawing an original CBS type font, a Didot variation. Lois told me he worked for weeks on the “8″ alone because Golden insisted that the cross lines couldn’t actually meet, and George had to do it over hundreds of times to meet his exacting expectations.

Sadly, Golden is only known among broadcast design freaks like me (I had to become one to figure out how to do my job at MTV). He passed away (young, at 48) and the reins were handed to senior designer Lou Dorfsman who, unfairly, got the lion’s share of the credit for origination as the network matured and publicity accrued in the 60s and 70s.

Like I said, take a little time to read this hard to find book. It was rewarding to me the first time I sat down with a rare copy in the 80s, and it’s wisdom has only become richer over time.


(video via grain edit and Lined & Unlined)

Joyeux Noel from David Cowles.

December 24th, 2009

My favorite holiday card this year, from artist/director David Cowles.  (Not only does it pay homage to my favorite Beatles album, but this year my sons have gone Beatles crazy from Rock band. Perfect timing.)

Thanks David! Merry to you too.

PS: Check it: David also designed and directed this commercial –my fave this year– for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

The doo-wopping of television.

February 4th, 2009

Frame grab from “Top of the Hour”, by Marv Newland/International Rocketship
1985

“The Fred/Alan television branding execution often started with defining a network’s sound.”

Slowly over the last few years I’ve been putting some of my archives online. For me it’s easier to organize than shelves and drawers.

Anyhow, one of the things I uncovered was this fave that I think regular readers of Frederator Blogs are going to love. My partner Alan Goodman and I took one of our favorite doo-wop groups, Eugene Pitt’s The Jive Five, and built the on-air Nickelodeon brand around them.

Frame grab from “The Jive Five”, by Jon Kane/Optic Nerve
Jive Five

With the help of our producer Tom Pomposello, and animators/production companies Eli Noyes & Kit Laybourne, Joey Ahlbum, Colossal Pictures, David Lubell, Jerry Lieberman & Kim Deitch, Marv Newland/International Rocketship, and Jon Kane/Optic Nerve, we established Nickelodeon’s identity at a moment they were teetering on complete and abject failure. And, we had a righteous ball doing it. (You can get the whole story here.)

Fred/Alan IDs 1985-1991 from fredseibert on Vimeo.

The title’s the thing.

October 26th, 2008

Victor The Delivery Dog 
“Victor the Delivery Dog” title sequence, by Niki Yang

Well, not really. But ever since I got into the cartoon business the classic way of introducing a short animated film keeps animating me.

In anticipation of our belated debut of the Random! Cartoons shorts (December 6 on Nicktoons, in case you were wondering), I just posted 31 of the title card sequences over on our site. (Yes, there are 39 different shorts, but some of the sequences are animated, some just haven’t made their way to me yet.) Most of them were designed and illustrated by the shorts’ individual creators. I think you’ll enjoy the wide range of approaches they’ve taken as much as we do.

And as a bonus, here are some frame grabs from our original shorts program, What A Cartoon!, from before I was smart enough to save the original artwork.