Monday, January 07, 2008


A curious example of artist who tries to improve a finished painting. The original is on the left, a paperback cover bought in the mid-70s and the later one to the right, which has no signature. You can see where the original signature was painted out. I don't know why Frank did that but he improved the painting as far as the woman but the original centaur looks better, more simian-like.
On a another subject, recently I have been trying to sell my old work and it is painful but it has slowly dawned on me that it is for the best, not just the need for money but the art should be spread around and not hoarded for some imaginary day of reckoning. Also it prods the artist to do more work. Just be sure to get a copy for the scrapbook. I don't consider myself an artist, but I like the term cartoonist. It sounds better and not too many people like using it. They seem to prefer animator, painter or artist. The term cartoonist somehow became derogatory for unknown reasons.


Jose said...

wow dig that reworking of the painting on the right. the centaur's expression on the left looks pretty funny. looks almost suprised that there's some babe riding his back. frazetta was a real....artist.


i wonder, do people call dudes like avery and clampett and chuck jones 'artists'? that word seems to almost take out the fun in what they did. though it seems that artists and cartoonists alike seem to starve at some point.

Jose said...

waaait a minute. that book cover is really damn cool. i wish books still carried proper cover art. that and movie posters too. both a dying art, if not dead already.

how did boring Photoshop jobs of like people faces or something, beat stuff like Frazetta paintings?

Jim Smith said...

Jose, I think animator is the term I hear for guys like Avery,Jones Clampett, but I still prefer cartoonist. It describes something that is specific and unique as opposed to more realistic animation which I like too, such as Fleischer's Superman. And Fleischer did some of the best cartoony stuff too. No other studio has done that, but Disney has come close. Clampett started doing animation John Carter of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs but it was never finished. I can only dream about how that would have turned out. The test footage that survived looks very cool.

Jose said...

damn damn damn! i'm trying to look for that surviving test footage now. clampett meets edgar burroughs. christ, what that must've looked like.

and fleischer to me will always make me think of those awesome superman cartoons. probably some of the first cartoons i ever saw growing up. god damn they had great color, from what i can remember..

Jose said...

ah, wait. found it easier than i thought. this it?

talking about Fleischer and all..

Jim Smith said...

Thanks for sending that Jose. I have not seen it for awhile. That long shot of the cavelike bg in the middle is great. It looks like the people were rotoscoped. This is a good example of rotoscoping in a cool way. Normally it looks like cheating. Clampett must have been in his late teens or early 20s when he did this.
Also the end titles are really cool with that great lettering. Oh what could have been!

Jose said...

and dig that horse!

Trevour said...

I like "cartoonist" better anyway. I hope one day I can call myself that - but as of right now I think of myself as more of a "craptoonist!" See that play on words there?

Jose said...'re not...groucho marx by any chance..?

Kevin Koch said...

This is really interesting.

There's nothing about the new version I like better. The woman now looks like a bored supermodel with breasts so big they're down to her navel. Her attitude is no longer ambiguous or intriguing. The horse-body on the left is pushing off some unseen ground, and you can feel the potential energy being converted to kinetic energy. The horse-body on the right is floating/flying through the air like My Little Pony, and the front legs have gone from a powerful gestural pose to I-don't-know-what.

The Centaur is now doing some professional wrestler posed glower, where in the original he looks like he's been captured in that millisecond between realizing he's being watched and reacting to the watcher. It's the kind of facial expression you usually only see in great, candid photographs.

Plus all kinds of interesting subtlety has been hammered out of things like the hands, the spear, etc. The original version is evocative. The revised version is veering towards Boris territory.

Jim Smith said...

Kevin: Perceptive comments there, man. To me the girl in the redo looks good for the obvious reasons, more butt anatomy, breasts, etc. The original centuar always looked better to me, but I couldn't say why for sure. As you say, it is the expression and the pose of the legs. I wonder why Frank did this, though it's likely for the same reasons most people want to "fix" their work. I'm just glad they published the original way back when before he repainted it.

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