(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Cartoon

“He offered alternative facts”*…

When reach exceeds grasp (in both senses of the word), from @ryanqnorth in Dinosaur Comics.

* Kellyanne Conway (defending Sean Spicer)


As we have it our way, we might we might send an amusing birthday verse to Ogden Nash; he was born on this date in 1902.  A poet best known for his light verse, Nash wrote over 500 pieces published, between 1931 and 1972, in 14 volumes.  At the time of his death in 1971, he was, The New York Times averred, “the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.” The following year, on his birthday, the U.S. Postal service celebrated him with a commemorative stamp.

  • Candy
    Is Dandy
    But liquor
    Is quicker.
    • “Reflections on Ice-Breaking” in Hard Lines (1931); often misattributed to Dorothy Parker
  • It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
    That all sin is divided into two parts.
    One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important
    And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant…
    • “Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man” in The Family Album of Favorite Poems (1959)


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 19, 2023 at 1:00 am

“What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence”*…

From Matthijs Van Mierlo‘s The Gaze, via Laughing Squid, an appreciation of the evocative background art in Looney Tunes cartoons…

When you strip Looney Tunes from all its characters and movement and  music, you discover this hidden dimension filled  with beautiful images that are abandoned, silent,  and kind of creepy sometimes. It’s the complete opposite of what Looney Tunes is. Filled with life and very loud. These background images are liminal spaces. Spaces that are usually filled with life, but are now dead silent…

Layout designers come up with the designs and the lighting and the camera angles for each shot of the cartoon, and those  initial designs are then used by the background artists to create the actual backdrops. These  artists are the unsung heroes of the Golden Age of American animation. An age that ran from  the 1930s up until the early 70s…

One of the things [iconic background artist Maurice Noble] quickly threw out the door was a style of realism that was often used at Disney. …He said that if  you have characters that are mainly lines and flat color, you should follow the same approach in your backgrounds. And if your characters are caricatures of reality, your background art should  be a caricature as well. For instance by adding lots of exaggerated imperfections or by using  stretched out and distorted perspectives…

More at “The Quietly Elegant Background Art of Looney Tunes” via @LaughingSquid.

See also the Instagram feed looneytunesbackgrounds.

* Claude Monet


As we set the scene, we might recall that it was on this date in 2008 that Disney released Pixar’s WALL-E. Directed by Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote with Jim Reardon, the tale of a maintenance robot who falls in love won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (with five additional Oscar nominations), Hugo Award for Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation, the final Nebula Award for Best Script, and the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film. In 2021, WALL-E became the second Pixar film (after Toy Story) to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

While WALL-E was (like all of Pixar’s films) animated entirely by computer, the convention of developing character animation and background art separately survives from the days of cel animation. In a way that echoes the thought that went into the aesthetic of Looney Tunes backgrounds, Pixar artists consulted with cinematographer Roger Deakins and effects genius Dennis Muren to set the tone of backgrounds in WALL-E– settling on the mix of handheld imperfections and unfocused backgrounds that contain the action.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 27, 2023 at 1:00 am

“The Surrealist tradition in all these arts is united by the idea of destroying conventional meanings, and creating new meanings or counter-meanings through radical juxtaposition (the ‘collage principle’)”*…

California-based artist Bill Domonkos takes old photos and footage and turns them into surreal, witty GIF mash-ups. Flashbak reports…

As he says of his multimedia collages:

I experiment by combining, altering, editing and reassembling using digital technology, special effects and animation to create a new kind of experience. I am interested in the poetics of time and space—to renew and transform materials, experiences and ideas. The extraordinary thing about cinema is its ability to suggest the ineffable—it is this elusive, dreamlike quality that informs my work…

I think a lot of my work comes into being by chance. It’s all about making visual associations between things I’ve seen in the public domain. The back and forth experimentation of combining different elements usually leads somewhere unexpected…

More– and more wonderful examples: “Artist Creates Brilliant Surreal Animations from Archival Photos and Film,” from @billdomonkos in @aflashbak.

* Susan Sontag, “Happenings: an art of radical juxtaposition


As we muse on montage, we might send squawky birthday greetings to Donald Duck; “born” (in that he made his first screen appearance) on this date in 1934 in “The Wise Little Hen.”

Donald in “The Wise Little Hen”


“All good things must come to an end”*…

Rusty Foster reports that…

Matt Bors announced that The Nib is shutting down after its retroactively ironically themed final issue, “The Future.” “The Nib has published more than 6,000 comics and paid out more than $2 million to creators.” It will be replaced by: nothing, just another void where independent cultural criticism used to be…

Today in Tabs

The Nib will be online through August; you can still enjoy it’s extraordinary offerings (and buy its issues) until then. Happily Rusty’s Today in Tabs continues– one hopes for a long, long time…

[Image above: from KC Green‘s “This Is Not Fine,” on The Nib]

*  Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde


As we bid a fond adieu, we might recall that it was on this date in 1844 that inventor (and celebrated painter) Samuel F.B. Morse inaugurated the first technological competitor to the post when he sent the first telegraph message:  “What hath God wrought?”  Morse sent the famous message from the B&O’s Mount Clare Station in Baltimore to the Capitol Building.  (The words were chosen by Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of the U.S. Patent Commissioner, from Numbers 23:23.)

Morse’s original apparatus


Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 24, 2023 at 1:00 am

“Man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself”*…

A sobering new study finds that the world’s biggest industries burn through $7.3 trillion worth of free natural capital a year. And it’s the only reason they turn a profit…

The notion of “externalities” has become familiar in environmental circles. It refers to costs imposed by businesses that are not paid for by those businesses. For instance, industrial processes can put pollutants in the air that increase public health costs, but the public, not the polluting businesses, picks up the tab. In this way, businesses privatize profits and publicize costs.

While the notion is incredibly useful, especially in folding ecological concerns into economics, I’ve always had my reservations about it. Environmentalists these days love speaking in the language of economics — it makes them sound Serious — but I worry that wrapping this notion in a bloodless technical term tends to have a narcotizing effect. It brings to mind incrementalism: boost a few taxes here, tighten a regulation there, and the industrial juggernaut can keep right on chugging. However, if we take the idea seriously, not just as an accounting phenomenon but as a deep description of current human practices, its implications are positively revolutionary.

To see what I mean, check out a recent report [PDF] done by environmental consultancy Trucost on behalf of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) program sponsored by United Nations Environmental Program. TEEB [Editor’s note: TEEB is now known as the Natural Capital Coalitionasked Trucost to tally up the total “unpriced natural capital” consumed by the world’s top industrial sectors. (“Natural capital” refers to ecological materials and services like, say, clean water or a stable atmosphere; “unpriced” means that businesses don’t pay to consume them.)…

The majority of unpriced natural capital costs are from greenhouse gas emissions (38%), followed by water use (25%), land use (24%), air pollution (7%), land and water pollution (5%), and waste (1%).

So how much is that costing us?… the total unpriced natural capital consumed by the more than 1,000 “global primary production and primary processing region-sectors” amounts to $7.3 trillion a year — 13 percent of 2009 global GDP… Of the top 20 region-sectors ranked by environmental impacts, none would be profitable if environmental costs were fully integrated. Ponder that for a moment: None of the world’s top industrial sectors would be profitable if they were paying their full freight. Zero…

The distance between today’s industrial systems and truly sustainable industrial systems — systems that do not spend down stored natural capital but instead integrate into current energy and material flows — is not one of degree, but one of kind. What’s needed is not just better accounting but a new global industrial system, a new way of providing for human wellbeing, and fast

None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use,” from @grist.

See also: “The Biophilia Paradox,” from Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99).

* Rachel Carson


As we buy it because we broke it, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980 that Coyote finally caught Road Runner– in Chuck Jones’ “Soup or Sonic,” which aired as part of the television special Bugs Bunny’s Bustin’ Out All Over

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