Thursday, May 27, 2010

Feel the Love

Canadian artist Jessica Borutski has received mixed messages on her Looney Tunes designs.

Jessica Borutski has spent nearly two years redesigning characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd for Warner Bros.

When the company broke the news online, some angry fans lashed out by posting nasty comments aimed at Borutski ...

Borutski said she wasn't prepared for such negativity.

"My heart sank a little bit. It was hard to see such hatred," she said ...

Here's the deal, Jessica. You're in Animationfandom now. A lot of these folks specialize in hatred. Change their favorite character, direct a movie of which they don't approve (Alice, maybe?) and the long, serrated knives come out.

Get used to it.

The only sliver of encouragement I can offer is that a lot of the board artists actually working on the shows for which you redesigned Bugs, Daffy, et al think your drawings of the characters are just fine. One even showed me a clip from one of the shorts and pointed out how good Porky Pig looked.

But what do they know? They're just the people who are making the series.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

People making the series are often the ones too close to it--
Which includes Warner, who's spent so much time around Cartoon Network, they've literally forgotten the difference between which shows have fandom and which to snarkily retro-kitsch parody...They can't seem to tell their "friends" from their "enemies" anymore, and everything gets goofy insincere pop-stylization, just in case.

Anonymous said...

A real shame people are being so nasty, and that she is offended by it. Drawbacks to freedom of expression, I guess.

I think the designs would be fine for children's backpacks or coloring books or something. I don't care for them at all -- I think they have no subtlety and resemble something from a Fred Seibert cartoon -- but I think it's pretty cool that she was given the opportunity to design such classic characters. I would have jumped at the chance (and probably been massacred online, too).

Anonymous said...

What inspired the outrage was not "hatred". It was love - love for the classic Looney Tunes characters. The chick gives Bugs Bunny bowling ball feet and just generally makes him look crappy and she expected everyone to adore her? Some people are still smarting over Loonatics Unleashed. The girl needs to get a clue. Really, her version of Daffy is okay, because it doesn't stray all that far from the original designs. But what was she thinking when she butchered Bugs? I sincerely doubt she have gotten so much "hate" if she'd done a decent job with him. The design is just plain awful. It'd be awful if he was just a generic rabbit, much less the symbol for Looney Tunes legacy. If he's an example of her design sense, hopefully she'll stay far far away from Mickey Mouse.

As a caveat, she doesn't deserve all the blame. Whoever approved her designs was also terribly terribly wrongheaded. Sometimes I wish the suits up at Warners would just leave the LT characters alone. They still seem to have no clue what to do with them.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Love Fest that is the 839 Blog! Heaven help anyone who tries something new (Jessica) and heaven help anyone that stays true to their style (Mr. Burton comes to mind) because the All-Knowing who frequent this lil corner of the web will lash out.

There is nothing wrong with her designs.

Not a damn thing.

Don't like 'em? Don't watch.

Just sit there in your lil darkened room and play your precious classic DVD collections over and over and over, except for when you stagger outside, wave your cane and tell those damn kids to stay off of your lawn and turn down that crap they call music!

"Why in my day, music had a beat you could dance to, and Bugs was drawn properly! Progress - BAH!"

One has to imagine that back when an artist was drawing deer on the cave walls in ancient France that some clan elder was clicking his or her fat tongue and going on and on how that's not the way a deer should be drawn.

Jessica - your work is solid. Congratulations are deserved.

Take a bow.

If you are looking for love in the Land of Fanboys you are a fool's errand.

Anonymous said...

Yeah this industry is full of hate and bile. These same people who hate on this project loved what John K and Ralph Bakshi did with Mighty Mouse.

Towards the end of the Looney Tunes run, every director still working on them drew the characters like shit - sorry but Chuck Jones just had to gay up every character he touched towards the end and the rest gave Bugs et al no personality to the characters.

I think she's done a great job for the task at hand and whether I end up liking or hating the new Looney Tunes, it will have no relevance for how much I love the original ones.

So chin up Jessica, don't let the nerds get you down. 99.9% would trade places with you in a second, if they had the talent...

Anonymous said...

I've seen this conversation in various forms in several places, and here's what I see over and over again: Daffy looks O.K./good/fine, but Bugs is just wrong. Here's my question: what about Porky? Wile E? Sylvester? What do you think of them? Why no opinions about how those characters fared in the redesign?

Answer: because you haven't seen them.

Most of the opinions on this redesign are based on a couple of images of a couple of characters. But that hasn't stopped people from charging headlong into passing judgment on work that, for the most part, they haven't seen yet.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I'm gonna wait to see the cartoons before I form an opinion. But that's just me (apparently).

Anonymous said...

The vile this is generating in the animation community is embarrassing. It's obvious from the comments who really has worked in the trenches and dealt with notes from execs and higher ups, and who the wanna-be posers are. The fact alone that she has received physical threats over this is ridiculous!
Guess the lesson here is to always turn down any work based on childhood favorites, or be raked over the coals by a bunch of fanboys.

Dave said...

Fanboys are aiming their anger at the wrong person(s). Jessica B is one of the most talented designers working in animation now. She didn't think this idea up out of thin air (i.e. retool the classic WB characters). She's a pencil-for-hire, just like all of us who work in the biz. She did the job requested by the client. Any of the designs she did were ultimately approved by the people in charge of the show. If you don't like it blame the people in charge, not the pencil-for-hire.

Do I think the WB characters like Bugs and Daffy needed to be re-designed ? NO. Are her redesigns better than the original 1940's/50's designs of those characters ? Not in my opinion. (but as stand-alone designs, if we never knew the classic designs, they are nicely done ... although I really don't care for her interpretation of Bugs at all, however it's certainly not as bad as the later Chuck Jones version of Bugs ) . Will I watch the show ? Probably not. It's not made for me. I'm not the target audience.

But fanboys please don't hate Jessica Borutski for doing a job she was hired to do.

Grow up.

rufus said...

it's effing 'cartoons'. jeeez.....
them fanboys should chill!

rufus

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the hatred is really unjustified. She got the assignment to draw the Loony Toons in her style, and she did it. The end.

Everyone SHOULD be mad at Joe Dante for Back In Action.

Floyd Norman said...

Maybe Jessica and the fanboys could sit down and have a beer with Obama.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Jessica. It's not your fault that there are people out there that are too stupid to realize that all the Looney Tunes characters have been redone, retooled, and redesigned even "back in the day" when men were men, women were women, and cartoons weren't scrutinized to the point of absurdity.

This whole "debate" is so ridiculous it makes my head hurt. There's no single design for these "classic" characters...Bugs looks remarkably different from when he made his first film appearance. So does Mickey Mouse. So does Woody Woodpecker. Buy a clue, haters.

Anonymous said...

I'm sensing a lot of smarting and deliberate rushing to Jessica's defense just because of the last couple threads--
If it's "unfair" to pick on Jessica because Warner doesn't know how to market their cartoon icons anymore (and thinks they have to go the anti-HB neo-stylization route with every one of their toon icons), it's no more accurate to say "Jessica is holy and blameless and you're all picking on her because you picked on Tim Burton, so there!"

Well, I'll pick on Tim for his own shortcomings, and I'll somewhat pick on Jessica, although both while being aware which guilty studio parties may be more directly to blame. But don't presume to say that these opinions are not somehow motivated by a respect for the field, either as professional at the desk or sitting in the cheap seats as audience.
As 6:52 says, if we look "angry" to the casual observer, we don't get angry about things we don't care about. If Warner was worried that we'd "forgotten" the characters, well, they should take heart that we seem to have put those fears to rest.

King Louie said...

"Maybe Jessica and the fanboys could sit down and have a beer with Obama."

Wait? Whah? Did she get arrested for breaking into her own house and the president accused them of being racist idiots???

Anonymous said...

Lighten up on the girl....it's not just HER design sense, she was directed to the point whereas the characters were OK'd. Next, the characters have always changed, even within a decades-time. The trick to pulling them off is finding the right team of people who can write the good stories, do the layouts and backgrounds and animation to the tastes of todays' audience. If there are documents stating what the days' audience was in the 1940's,that would be an interesting study.
However, I dont think anyone needs to be going off on this young lady. If they disagree, then let them put forward THEIR good work and see what we have to say about it, and how they take it as well.
Nyuk nyuk.

xRTGx said...

The haters would of hated any redesign, regardless of what they looked like. She's a freelance artist working alongside the rest of us, and she was given a great opportunity that most artists in this industry would kill for. She designed the characters in a way that the client wants them to look. If there's something to take issue with here it's not her work, It's Warner Bros. They're the decision makers.

She used to work for Spumco, so she's from the John K. side of the tracks. Most of the haters are usually big fans of John K.'s work, which just goes to show the hypocrisy in this industry. The haters are just jealous of her success because they weren't all personally consulted before their beloved characters where changed.

Anonymous said...

hatehatehatehatehate! Isn't haing fun? I love to hate! Let's hate each other! I hate you and you hate me! hatehatehatehatehate!
HAHA!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Jessica. It's not your fault that there are Looney Tunes fans out there with eyeballs and TASTE.

Anonymous said...

Whoa last anonymous. You are a dick.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Jessica. It's not your fault that there are Looney Tunes fans out there with eyeballs and TASTE.

And while we must realize that Jess was just following doomed orders, and hers not to question why... ;)
Considering the issue at hand, I can't help looking at the "new style" Bugs, and hearing that one cartoon where the mysterious Offscreen Animator redraws Bugs as a cheesy pop caricature, and Bugs sniffs, "Continue to draw me like dis, buddy, and we'll BOTH be outta woik!"

Anonymous said...

I realize the main fault lies with whoever decided that genuine American icons needed to be redesigned, but the fact she is *surprised* people reacted strongly demonstrates a serious level of unawareness about what she was working on.

Anonymous said...

^I agree. Those new Looney designs are as jarring as those wrong-sounding Muppets in those cheezy new Muppet videos on Youtube.

Seriously, some old franchises *can* be revived if it's done with insight and style. (Witness the excellent Ghostbusters video game). But some franchises are better off being put to rest. I'd love it if Bugs and company could regain the old magic in a new, fresh way. But I just can't watch Bugs with bowling-ball feet. Sorry, Jessica. No offense meant.

yahweh said...

Guess what? No one cares if you dorks, still living in parent's basements, like these designs or not. This show isn't being made for you and if none of you supported it the difference in the ratings wouldn't even be measurable. These designs and this show are being made to capture a new audience and hopefully create new fans that can bitch and moan about the next time these characters are redesigned.
In the meanwhile it would be nice if some of you professionals (and it's doubtful how many of you are professionals) could support someone who has done something 99% of you will never get a chance to do - be a character designer.
If she had just copied whatever version of these characters you guys think should be the standard then she wouldn't exactly be a character designer and you guys would probably whine about how she's just tracing someone's old designs.
Get an effing life!
And she needs to realize she has zero chance of pleasing you and worry about pleasing the people that matter - her bosses and a new fans.

Anonymous said...

'In the meanwhile it would be nice if some of you professionals (and it's doubtful how many of you are professionals) could support someone who has done something 99% of you will never get a chance to do - be a character designer.'

I'm a professional, and I usually dont count, even among professionals......

That's not so. I am able to troubleshoot and come up with a solution when need be. I love be directed. What about you?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I don't blame Jessica. I blame Warner Brothers for not hiring a better designer--someone in touch with the characters.

Anonymous said...

So they should have hired someone like...hmmm...you?


That was a pretty douchey thing to say.

How's your character design career going...?

Anonymous said...

^You know, the old "I'd-like-to-see-YOU-do-any-better" is a schoolyard argument at best. Anybody who's seen Chuck Jones' designs, and Robert McKimson's designs, of Bugs Bunny knows damn well Jessica's designs are inferior in every way:

http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/newsletters/images/1943_McKimson_ModelSheet.JPG

Jessica simply went too far afield with her design. And her reasoning for it - that, for instance, she gave Bugs Bunny huge feet because she, personally, loves big feet on cartoon characters - shows a naivete that could hardly be called professional. Guess we ought to be glad she isn't into kawaii...

Anonymous said...

No, that's not the argument at all, douchebag. The argument is someone who's opinion is much more important than yours felt she could do the job and is obviously satisfied with the job she did.
Your opinion is just that - your opinion and the fact that you use the "Anybody who's seen Chuck Jones' designs, and Robert McKimson's designs, of Bugs Bunny knows damn well Jessica's designs are inferior in every way" as proof that you're right shows what a poor debater you are and just about nullifies your opinion. And unless you're in some postion to make a decision regarding the future of this show who really cares what your opinion is...?
I personally don't like Bruce Timm's designs of Batman, et al. , but you know what? It doesn't matter what I think because the people that do matter - Timm's bosses and his audience seem to disagree with me.

Anonymous said...

Why does some of the hate feel like it's stemming from the fact that she's female, and has brought some of those sensibilities to her designs? Why are we debating a show that hasn't even been on the air, no one outside of WB has seen these characters move yet.
Why? Why can't we just all get along?

Anonymous said...

**No, that's not the argument at all, douchebag. The argument is someone who's opinion is much more important than yours felt she could do the job and is obviously satisfied with the job she did.**

Ohh, "douchbag". I find that pretty immature, and I'm not even the one you threw your tantrum at.

Is this Jessica your girlfriend or something? Talk about "bile".

I wonder if those "important" people you seem to think so highly of are the same "important" people who okayed Loonatics Unleashed and Looney Tunes:Back In Action.

After looking at Jessica's horrible rendition of Bugs, I'd have to say "yes".

Anonymous said...

...& how many times was Jessica told by some exec to make her design look more cartoon network-y.

-Gee we love your designs but if we wanted them to look like the old characters we'd just use the old model sheets. How about making Bugs' feet rounder?
- really? But see in my design...
- do you want a paycheck?
- round feet it is!

...& how many of us have been in that exact same situation?

Anonymous said...

Why does some of the hate feel like it's stemming from the fact that she's female, and has brought some of those sensibilities to her designs?

Because animation is a boys' club, with most of the boys insecure.

C.M.B. said...

Why does some of the hate feel like it's stemming from the fact that she's female, and has brought some of those sensibilities to her designs?

Because it doesn't stem from that? Where does it feel like people don't like the fact that she's female? And if animation is such a boys club, how come I don't see the same negativity towards other females in animation? Lauren Montgomery has directed several DC animated superhero movies by now and she gets almost nothing but praise. People were ready to pounce on any attempt to reinvent the LT designs the moment the pencil hit paper. Gender isn't the issue here.

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