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Using Humor in Art

Who doesn’t love to laugh? Certainly me. I’ve always loved humor and applying it in unusual places (as long as it’s appropriate). I even applied humor to a PowerPoint presentation I had to do in high school.

But I also enjoy making my artwork funny. Some of the pieces include a rooster riding a unicycle, a man playing an instrument with a lion in his boat, and a dingo eating a baby (which was not my original idea, but a tragedy turned into a comedy). You can find them on this blog through older posts. I’ve also done silly “Harry Potter” fan art when I was younger. I still have the drawings in my room. However, I won’t share them online. Not just for possible copyright reasons, but also because I don’t find them funny anymore. My family would consider them weird at the time. Now I agree with them.

While still on the fan art topic, I photo-shopped Rafiki holding up Kenny from “South Park” and made it my computer screensaver. Just like with the wacky “Harry Potter” drawings, I think it’s best not to post the laptop background. But a few people have admired it.

Comedy is often not easy to execute successfully. However, I’ve made people laugh with a video I animated about a snake swallowing an entire wedding cake, which you can find on YouTube if you search, “Sunayna Prasad here comes the snake”. I think I could make a great comedian, but I don’t think it’s worth it for me.

Nevertheless, I still enjoy cracking people up. Not only with my artwork, but many other ideas, as well.

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The Mystery to Why Some Cartoon Characters’ Faces Aren’t Shown

Have you noticed characters’ hidden faces before? How did that make you feel?

I don’t know about you, but it has always annoyed me—especially when there is no reason explained. Why do so many animators hide certain characters’ faces? This practice has been going on since the early days of animation.

Sometimes, animators change their minds and decide to show those characters’ faces later in the cartoon. This has happened in TV shows such as “Codename: Kids Next Door” (Numbuh 1 – 4’s parents’ faces show later in the series), “The Fairly Odd Parents” (Timmy’s parents’ faces show after the shorts end and the main series begins, and Remy’s mom and dad’s faces show later, too), and “Tom & Jerry” (a woman’s face shows at some point).

At times, there are also reasons for why some characters’ faces do not show. In “The PowerPuff Girls”, Miss Bellum’s face is hidden because the creators didn’t want people to be distracted with beauty. In other programs, it’s because the creators want the audience to focus on certain characters and not others.

Then there are those where no reason is given, like in “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”, Mac’s mom’s face is never show and there is never a reason why. That has probably bothered a bunch of viewers and me. Is her face unattractive? Does she look like someone one animator hates and they hide her face to avoid getting in trouble?

I rarely watch live TV these days. But these moments remain memorable.

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Where are Those 2D Films? They Seem so Rare These Days

Who grew up with 2D animation? I certainly did. Not just TV shows, but also movies. I watched certain Disney classics in 2D, such as “Aladdin” and “Cinderella”. One of my earliest, very faint memories is me seeing “Hercules” in the movie theater when I was 3. I also saw “Tarzan” in the cinema when I was 5.

Enough said about my earliest memories. 2D-animated theatrical releases were still common in the early 2000’s. By the middle of that decade, they were dying out as CGI was on the rise. In fact, I got so used to 3D animation that I was surprised when 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog” was hand-drawn.

For the 2010’s, however, only a few 2D-animated movies were released into cinemas. While there is and was some stop-motion, pretty much every movie that came out during this decade was CGI. I generally have no problem with 3D cartoons. However, over-doing it gets tiring and even feels like the companies are a bit lazy. I’m not the only one missing hand-drawn animated films. There are others like this everywhere.

Many young children who have grown up with mostly CG films found 2D animation primitive and lacking the technology available today. I, however, often find mid-twentieth century hand-drawn animation more appealing than CGI. Even though I was born in 1993, I still got to see older cartoons, including those from the 1930’s. Too much of anything gets overwhelming. That is why I’m hoping (if enough people in the general public request this) that 2D-animated films will return in the 2020’s, even if none of them come from Disney.

Unfortunately, for many people born before the turn of the century, Disney discontinued hand-drawn animated full-length features after 2011, their last one being a “Winnie-the-Pooh” movie. Originally, it was going to be 2004’s “Home on the Range”, believe it or not. Their reasoning was that hand-drawn films were too time-consuming and CGI was the new trend.

CGI is great, but my ideal taste for movies would be an even balance of live-action, stop-motion, CGI, and 2D. A little bit of everything is good for me, and should be for everyone, especially young children today. They’ll never know the beauty of how animation originally started—unless even just some film companies return to them. As of now, 2D animation basically just exists on TV or the Internet.

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Ranking of Disney Princess’s Fathers

While mothers rarely exist in Disney films, fathers often do. Some are likable, and others aren’t.

I know I said I would rank the Disney princess’s dads. However, I am not going to do all of them. Some don’t have paternal figures in their movies, such as Snow White and Cinderella—they have evil stepmothers. Anyway, the princess’s fathers I will rank will include King Triton, Ariel’s father, Maurice, Belle’s dad, the sultan, Jasmine’s dad, and Powhattan, Pocahontas’s father.

Note that these are only my personal opinions with the ranking from least to most likable. Also, be warned that there are spoilers below.

4: King Triton

I find King Triton to be one of the least likable fathers in Disney films. He has a terrible prejudice toward humans (even though he and the other merfolk are all half humans as well as half fish), a very hot temper, especially with Ariel, and doesn’t seem to suffer consequences for his actions, such as destroying the things in Ariel’s grotto. That moment made him so evil, I hated him more than Ursula. No wonder some YouTube video considered King Triton a good character who was actually a villain.

If Atlantica had CPS, and they penalized King Triton for the destruction of Ariel’s grotto as well as his other major flaws, and took all his daughters away, including those (possibly) over 18, I would have supported that. We all should be responsible with our actions and if we can’t, we suffer consequences.

Destroying your child’s huge collection out of anger is the equivalent to setting someone’s house on fire. Not only did I find it disappointing that King Triton never apologized to Ariel for the destruction of her stuff as well as either re-created it with his rake or provided her new items, but also never paying the price for that. That doesn’t include him trading places with Ariel to be Ursula’s polyp prisoner or when his seahorse messenger told him that he couldn’t find Ariel, Flounder, or Sebastian.

On the bright side, King Triton does advocate for Ariel when Ursula tries to hurt her after she went from being a human back to a mermaid, and allows Ariel to become a person with legs again to rejoin Eric. At least he changes his views on humans.

3: The Sultan

While not nearly as hot-tempered as King Triton (if anything, the opposite), he neglects Jasmine’s access outside the palace. The “Aladdin” live-action remake states that the sultan forbids Jasmine to leave the palace because her mother was killed out there. However, in the animated version, it’s only because she’s a princess. Couldn’t he just require Jasmine to be escorted by bodyguards instead? That’s how it is in real life for the royals, president and his family, as well as other highly elite people. Secret service bodyguards are mandatory for them.

Another flaw is that he forces Jasmine to get married by a certain year in her life (either her 15th or 16th) within a few days from when she first appears in the animated movie. And the guys who come to the palace and try to ask for her blessing are all old enough to be her dad, except Aladdin when he is disguised as Prince Ali. The sultan seemed to acknowledge him as the first young male to come as a suiter for Jasmine.

Since Jasmine is a minor, this whole situation is actually forced child marriage. I know it’s an ancient time period and a female getting married at no younger than 18 would probably be the equivalent of a woman getting married for the first time at age 50 today. Still, there are dangers to forced child marriage. Having a minor forced into marriage could be insensitive to those were forced to get married before the age of consent. There are still countries where that happens.

While the sultan is drastically more likable than King Triton, he still could do for some improvement (not counting the end of “Aladdin”, when he changes the law and lets the princess marry whomever she wants, even if he is not royal).

2: Powhattan

Powhattan allows Pocahontas the freedom to explore and wander, except during dangerous times. While he doesn’t have a temper and is usually patient with his daughter, he does have prejudice toward the English settlers. Luckily, that changes.

1: Maurice

Maurice is patient, sweet, and tolerates all types of people, including those who don’t understand him and consider him crazy. His relation to his daughter, Belle, is very heartwarming. Belle loves her father enough that she is willing to take his place as the beast’s prisoner. Out of all the fathers on this list, Maurice is the only one I feel sorry for. The villagers think he is so insane, he and Belle are almost taken to an asylum.

So, there you have it.

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Let’s Get Down to Business…to Analyze “Mulan” (1998)

Warning: contains spoilers***

I was 11 when I first saw “Mulan”. I also wrote an essay about the use of femininity in the film when attending college.

Speaking of which—I didn’t find the attitude toward females in the movie to be offensive when I was 11. In fact, I saw it as historically accurate. I was well-aware of how girls and women weren’t allowed the same rights as boys and men. So, it came up as no surprise to me that Mulan couldn’t go to war as a female.

When her dad is called to the battle against the Huns, Mulan disguises herself as a male by cutting her hair and then putting it up, faking a manly voice, and having to behave like a male. It only lasted so long.

Coincidentally, there was a true story of a lady who pretended to be a man to fight. That was Joan of Arc. Anyway, I think Mulan identified herself as not-very feminine. She fails the bridal test at the beginning. But she befriends the other soldiers, all of whom are male.

Also, she is considered an official Disney Princess, even though she’s not a princess at all. She wasn’t born into royalty, nor does she marry a royal (unless Shang, whom Mulan marries in the sequel, has some mysterious connection to royalty that nobody is aware of). I heard that she was only added to the Disney Princess line because Disney wanted an Asian character (I guess Jasmine doesn’t count, even though Arabia is in Asia).

Nevertheless, I consider Mulan to be a good role model for girls. She is one of the few Disney females to be a warrior. I’ve always wondered how the film, “Mulan” would’ve been handled if it’d come out in the 1930’s. Would it have been banned for improper female character portrayal? I don’t think 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” would be released today, as is.

While Mulan is a memorable and likable character, her dragon mentor, Mushu, appeals to me too. He is voiced by Eddie Murphy, who also voiced Donkey in the “Shrek” movies. And what’s funny is that Mushu’s characterization is very similar to Donkey in “Shrek”. However, “Mulan” was released three years before the first “Shrek” film. But I saw the first two “Shrek” movies before watching “Mulan”.

Like other Disney films before “Mulan” beginning with “The Little Mermaid”, I would rate “Mulan” 5 out of 5 stars.

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The Mystery of the Maturing Appeal of “Winnie the Pooh”

Many of us grew up with “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”. We enjoyed the characters, the morals, and much more.

However, in the 2000’s, according to my observation, “Winnie the Pooh” apparently became more suited for small children. From the products geared toward little kids, and most of the fans being in their early childhood, I had considered “Winnie the Pooh” kiddie.

But thanks to movies, like “Goodbye, Christopher Robin” and “Christopher Robin”, “Winnie the Pooh” might be appealing to older crowds again. While I didn’t see “Goodbye, Christopher Robin”, I did see “Christopher Robin”. It is anything, but kiddie, let alone the PG-rating (which is pretty much like G, and has been since the 90’s or early 2000’s).

I won’t spoil anything from “Christopher Robin”, but many of the content and elements used are more sophisticated and appealing to adults and bigger children. Perhaps Disney wanted to make “Winnie the Pooh” more interesting to older audiences—maybe they didn’t wish to give the general public the impression that “Winnie the Pooh” was only for small children.

Nevertheless, I am glad that “Winnie the Pooh” no longer seems to attract just little kids. The same seemed to happen with the Disney Princess line in the 2000’s. That also used to allure merely early childhood, but is now enticing older crowds (some people have had Disney Princess-themed weddings).

While some franchises, such as “Barney” and “Teletubbies” will probably always attract mostly small children, it’s great that Disney tries to engage all ages.

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My Top 3 “Robot Chicken” Clips

Unlike most people, I’ve always found the idea of clean entertainment being dirty to be funny (no offense). Of course, as long as children aren’t exposed to it, it’s no problem for me.

That is why I like “Robot Chicken”, which is a stop-motion animated program on Adult Swim where they make clips of different already-existing movies and TV shows and make their own little stories. And yes, a lot of the entertainment used was originally clean, such as “Peanuts”, “Scooby Doo”, “Disney”, and much more.

And now, without further ado, here are my top 3 favorite clips from “Robot Chicken”

3: The “Muppet Babies” clip called “Kermit Kong” (I think)

Kermit is acting like King Kong while holding onto Miss Piggy. Gonzo and a few others are on planes. They squirt water onto Kermit and he falls onto the ground.

The scene reverses back to Nanny’s home, where the Muppet babies were just playing make-believe. Kermit has died, and Miss Piggy tries to get his attention. Nanny comes and has everyone clean up the crime scene. Miss Piggy is still sad, but Nanny says, “He never loved you.” Then she forces Miss Piggy to move along.

This clip is a bit milder than other “Robot Chicken” clips. It’s also clever and engaging. I admire the part when Miss Piggy refers to a tall stack of chairs as “The Empire State Building”.

2: The “Beavis and Butthead and Teen Titans” Crossover Clip

Another thing that differentiates me from others is that I’ve always liked the idea of clean and mature entertainment crossing over. So, I was excited to discover the “Teen Titans meeting Beavis and Butthead” video.

Robin needs Beavis and Butthead to complete some important tasks. Of course, Beavis and Butthead behave like their usual uncivilized selves. Danger comes. While the Teen Titans are fighting a monster, Beavis and Butthead are eating nachos. Then Robin is hurt.

I loved when Beavis and Butthead sang a “Batman” parody tune to Robin. That was clever. The whole clip was amazing. Robin, however, said, “Yeah” instead of “Thank you” when Butthead complimented on his belt. Does Robin have manners? Who knows?

1: The “Lord of the Rings” clip written by J.R.R Tolkien JR JR

A man is introducing a new LOTR story written by the author’s 6-year-old grandson, J.R.R Tolkien JR JR. Then a sneak peak shows up. It shows Merry and Pippin having a conversation. Then Gandolf comes and warns them of danger in a silly way. Everyone flies on planes (Obviously, out-of-premise for the LOTR universe) and tries to defeat a three-headed peanut-butter-and-jelly monster.

This was, perhaps, the funniest “Robot Chicken” clip ever created. From including Hannah Montana, the PB & J monster, and to the breakout of singing “The Muffin Man Song”, this made me laugh my brains out. Bravo!

So, there you have it. I haven’t watched “Robot Chicken” in a while. But I hope to return to it soon.

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I’m Here to Review “The Rescuers” (1977)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

People are gathering at the UN. So are the mice. They received a message from a little girl named Penny that she needs help. Miss. Bianca and the janitor go to assist her at the orphanage she lived at. There is also a cat named Rufus who tells the mice about a woman named Madame Medusa, who’s kidnapped Penny before. Madame Medusa is desperate for a particular diamond.

The mice continue to guide Penny. But Madame Medusa won’t surrender with her plans. She even uses her pet alligators to hunt for Penny when she runs away. Her assistant, Mr. Snoops, tends to be nervous with her and more relaxed with his attitude toward Penny. But when things worsen, everything changes.

There are elements in this movie that make it differ from other Disney films. For example, the mice and cat can talk to Penny. While talking animals are super-common in Disney movies, it’s rare that they talk to humans. Usually, they make their natural animal noises around people. Another instance is when Penny prays that things will improve. With the exception of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, religion rarely plays roles in Disney. In fact, the characters are often not allowed to say the word, God. None of the characters get the classic musical numbers, except for the work anthem at the beginning and the twist of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” the kids sing at the end when Penny is finally adopted.

Speaking of which, while it’s satisfying that she got parents, it was a little disappointing that it took a while. But I understand in some ways. The adoption process can take a while—sometimes, several years.

This film was decent, but not one of my favorites. I did notice the “may day” moment similar to the balcony scene in “Aladdin”. It could have been recycled. Disney does reuse moments and movements a lot. Anyway, the reason it was just okay was mainly the engaging element. It didn’t keep my attention too much compared to other films. So I would rate this movie, 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Simple Shapes vs. Outlining Drawings

Who has drawn before? Pretty much all of us. We learned it in school. However, only a section of us have developed a passion or talent for them.

Most of us were probably taught to outline our drawings first as children. And that is fine. But if you go into illustration or animation, you’ll have to learn about drawing using simple shape blocks. Why? Well, consistency. The smallest can be greatly noticed by the general public.

While I still outline some drawings, when I want to be serious, I now use simple shapes. The image below shows a drawing I did using simple shapes.

It wasn’t meant to be finished as it was used as a reference template for someone I’ve worked with. Yet, you can see the simple shapes as building blocks for each character or element.

There are times where it’s acceptable to outline or be very simplistic. Like in math, you may have been asked to draw out problems but not use details. The focus was the problem and not the art. But I’m no math expert.

Anyway, if you’re in a hurry, by all means outline everything first, like you were probably taught as a kid. But if you’re a serious artist who wants to hone your illustration or drawing skills, then simple shapes are a must. I was taught this in college.

I don’t have a picture that I clearly outlined. Well, I’ve practiced using other drawings. But I threw them all away due to space issues in my room. Also, they weren’t my ideas.

Yet, I can tell you the technique. I would select a semi-realistic image and decide on the person’s age range and gender. The choices for age range were baby/small child, older child, teen/young adult, middle aged adult, or senior. I would use an image from the face to chest instead of the whole figure. I would tell myself to observe the outlines but not to trace. Pretty much no image came out exact. However, most did turn out similar. And I accepted that.

I would practice at least a couple times a day. Then I would move to the next level of making them look like cartoons of themselves. That was very, very difficult.

Why semi-realistic, you may ask? One, it’s the style I’m most attracted to. Two, it’s neither too realistic or too cartoony. Many people prefer cartoonish style over realistic. But I feel cartoonish is a little too easy for me.

I would like to return to that soon. You could try these techniques too. Good luck.

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It’s the Best Day Ever for My “Spongebob Squarepants” Analysis

In honor of the 20th anniversary, as well as give a tribute to the latest creator, Stephen Hillenburg (R.I.P), I am going to analyze “Spongebob Squarepants” and my opinions on it. This post will include moments from the TV show and the 2004 movie.

We all know the premise. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? You know the answer. You should probably know all the main characters too.

Remember that theory where they all represented the 7 deadly sins? It was more creative and interesting than other conspiracy theories, where the premise is just a dream or imagination. However, that theory has been debunked. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it.

The characters are great. Spongebob is funny, entertaining, and silly, as well as very immature for his age. Speaking of which, his age is inconsistent. His boating license says that he was born in 1986, which would have made him 13 when the show was released and about 33 today (I believe the license said his birthday was in July). The 2004 movie hinted that he has been working at the Krusty Krab for over 31 years. But the creators said that Spongebob has no age. He is just silly. Confusing, huh?

Another detail I noticed, especially in the earliest episodes, is that when Spongebob sings, his voice sounds totally different. This happened in the “Ripped Pants”, “Sweet Victory”, and “Pizza Delivery” songs. Why is that? In later songs, such as those from the 2004 film, the “F.U.N.” song, and the “Campfire Song” song, Spongebob’s voice sounds exactly like his normal speaking voice. It doesn’t seem like this has ever been explained.

Now onto the other characters. Patrick is just as immature and silly as Spongebob. No wonder they’re close friends. But why is Squidward called Squidward if he is an octopus? Although he’s anything but easygoing, he is still likable. The moments when he and Spongebob fight are hilarious. And Sandy? A squirrel who lives underwater in an air dome, yet misses Texas? She sang about missing Texas in one episode. And like Spongebob, her voice changed too. Although this was obnoxious, it was also funny when Spongebob and Patrick distorted their bodies and went, “I’m Texas”. Lol.

Mr. Krabs is great too and greedy for money. He also has a daughter named Pearl, who is a whale. Like others, I assume that she must’ve been adopted.

Anyway, another memorable character is Plankton (as well as his computer wife, Karen). Plankton—that little creature who is evil and wants to steal the secret formula to the crabby patties, (which, by the way, might be vegetarian). I love the episode where Plankton decides to turn Mr. Krabs into a baby to steal the formula. It was so clever. The ending to that episode was very, very funny. I laughed so hard that my mom told me to take deep breaths.

Unlike most people, I didn’t mind the post-2004 episodes. The old ones are good. And I get why many hated the episodes after that. They had new writers. However, I liked “Spongebob” for about a year or two and then lost interest for years. So when I reunited with it, I didn’t see any differences to the old episodes. I thought those episodes were completely fine.

That being said, there are old episode moments I like. “Is mayonnaise an instrument?” Ha, ha, ha. That line never gets tiring. The “Employee of the Month” award episode was super-humorous, as well.

Now one plot hole I noticed is that outside the ocean is real life, not a cartoon. Yes, in that dream episode, Sandy had a dream where the land was cartoon. But, hey, that was just a dream. So what happens if a scuba diver goes underwater? Do they freak out about becoming a cartoon? Would they reveal this to everyone on the land?

I believe the characters can understand and communicate with humans, like when David Hasselhoff brought Spongebob and Patrick back to Bikini Bottom in “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”. There is a sequel where the characters become CGI’s and are on the land with people. I don’t know the plot. But from the trailer, the humans seem to casually accept them and not freak out. I could be wrong, though. Also, why is there an additional ocean under the water? Humor, I guess?

So that’s really it for my analysis. I don’t know how the show will perform after Stephen Hillenburg’s death. Hopefully, things stay well. I don’t watch “Spongebob Squarepants” regularly anymore. But I still have enjoyed many moments.