I've never been shy about my devotion to the Hanna Barbera cartoons from the 60's, and the huge influence they've had on my work. I think this time period of the Hanna Barbera Studios was the gold standard for humorous TV cartoons, and it has yet to be equaled. I'm sure those whose youth was spent in front of a TV during the decades that followed will disagree with me, but this is my newsletter, not theirs, so there.
Each series had it's star obviously, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Secret Squirrel, etc, but I always seemed to be drawn to their side kicks. Whether they existed to clean up the star's mess, or suffer the result of the star's dim witted carelessness, they always seemed more interesting to me.
There's a running joke in the cartoon world that features usually non threatening characters becoming threatening for whatever reason... Poodles from Hell, Cereal Killers, When (insert docile character here) Go Bad.. you get the picture. Maybe I had that idea floating in my head at the time, but for whatever reason, I drew a sinister version of Baba Louie from Quick Draw McGraw just for fun in my sketchbook, and shortly after, that grew into this....based on one of my favorite cheesy movies, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, (that wasn't too hard to figure out, was it ?)
Let me know what you think. And if any of you work for Hanna Barbera / Warner Brothers, maybe you can mention to the powers that be, that this would be a cool design for t-shirts, or maybe even a new series...just putting that out there. :)
If you love music as much as I do, I'm sure certain songs conjure up images in your head. I suppose that's the sign of a good song, much like a good novel, short story or poem, the words paint pictures in your mind. Song lyrics are no different. Song writers have been creating colorful characters since the dawn of music, Mack the Knife, Dolly from Hello Dolly, Rosalita, Eleanor Rigby, the list goes on and on.
I remember hearing The Hollies' Long Cool Woman back in the early 70's when I was in 7th grade, and from the very first time I heard it, I vividly pictured a very seductive, cool, sultry woman, in dark glasses and a long black gown, working her exotic magic on the singer, as they sat in a dark seedy, underworld bar.
Jump to the other end of the spectrum, and you have the Gin Soaked BarRoom Queen from the Stones' Honky Tonk Woman, a free wheelin', fun loving, fast lane livin' lady of the night.
I've always drawn and for the most part, I've always listened to music while I drew, but it wasn't until very recently, that i've incorporated my love of music into my art. For the longest time, I purposely created my designs with the children's market in mind, cute, funny, warm and fuzzy, that type of thing.
but when I doodle for my own enjoyment, the art is always a little more mature, quirkier, and alot of times, has a music theme about it. That's how the design above started out. this theme just seems to come more natural to me, so I decided to run with it for awhile.
Alot of rockabilly art (of which I'm a big fan of), incorporates a wolf or a dog, (same family). I must have been listening to some early rock (late 50's, early 60's, maybe some Duane eddy, or Carl perkins, I can't really remember, but I doodled the dog character above... just the dog, nothing else. As i was doodling him, the movie Grease popped into my head, and I thought, hey, this guy needs a tough, sexy girlfriend from the wrong side of the tracks, hanging on him.
I drew the "girlfriend" and right away, i realized, this needs a cool car. so I googled "50's car", meshed some reference pix together and viola ! and man, I gotta say, I hate drawing cars, but this design needed a cool car, so I sucked it up.
Usually I would stop there, and call it a doodle and just be done with it, but..... This called to me Everytime I looked at it. I felt it could be so much more. so I colored the figures, and the car, and the vibe just started to build. a 50's type convertible, a greaser, guitar playin' dawg, his hot sexy cat girl friend... this needs a drive in... a drive in and a gas pump... at least that's what the voices in my head were saying. so I listened, and this is the end result. I liked it so much, I had it professionally printed on aluminum substrates, and I like it even more. I hope you do to.
Why am i a cartoonist / humorous illustrator ? because I can't be anything else, as "dramatic" as that sounds. sure, I probably could get an office job, and crunch numbers, or drive around from town to town selling what ever product I was supposed to be selling, but I wouldn't be as good as the really good number crunchers or product sellers are, because I would be constantly distracted by the images dancing in my head.
As a young child growing up in the sixties, I was exposed to some of the coolest saturday morning cartoons, some of the brightest, eye popping package designs, and some of the most emotional, coming from the gut music, ever to be created. As I started to develop my style, I kept subconsciously referencing this images and sounds from my youth. Maybe it's just being nostalgic, but they just took me to a place that was so naturally easy for me to create in, and that still holds true today. The only difference now, is that I reference things even further back then my youth, for inspiration.
Show me some advertisement graphic from the 40's and 50's, show me a saul bass movie poster, or a rick griffin poster from the fillmore, any cartoon Hanna barbera produced during the 1960's, and I just have to start drawing something. Put on some Howlin' wolf, ike and Tina turner or ten years after, and the fever starts to climb. What can I tell you... I'm a cartoonist, we're a strange breed indeed.
The Martytoon Newsletter
The Thoughts, Designs & Process of Marty Qatani aka MartyToons.
Hi and welcome to the first blog post / newsletter of the all new revamped MartyToons website. Where to start ? I suppose a quick intro is in order for those of you who may be unfamiliar with me and what I do. I'm a cartoonist / character designer/ humorous illustrator. That sounds like a lengthy title, but none of those by themselves seems appropriate enough by themselves to describe what I do.
If I call myself a cartoonist, people tend to think I create a comic strip.... not true. If I call myself just a character designer, it seems a little limiting to me. I like to think I do a little bit more... make people think... wake people up, help someone remember a happy thought.... maybe even put a smile on people's faces.... hopefully. Calling myself just a humorous illustrator, just doesn't seem to have any "punch", "pizzazz", "sparkle"... you get the picture. I do like the sound of "Creator of Visual Enhancements for Artistically Challenged and Cartooning Impaired." It has a pretty cool ring to me, but it's a little hard to fit on a business card and still look cool.
What can you expect here ? How's a little doodle sound ? A little peek into what goes on in my working process and maybe even in my thought process ? That's my plan... I hope you enjoy. So let me dig into my archive, maybe shed a little light on happened and then invite you to comment. Sounds good ? Good... then lets get to it.
This is an early sketch of one of my favorite designs I'm working on. It's inspired by one of my favorite music artists, Cat Stevens, who know goes by the name of Yusuf Islam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens . Check him out if you get the chance and are a fan of 70's "Soft" Rock, and especially if you're a fan of songs about being positive, hopefullness, and becoming a little wiser.
Music is playing more and more a part in my designs. I love many styles of music and I always have it playing in my studio while I'm creating. Alot of times I let the music direct what I'm going to sketch when I intentionally sit down to sketch, sometimes I'm not planning on sketching at all, but I hear a song and an image will just pop into my head, and I have to get it down on paper. I believe that's what happened here, but to be honest, I came up with this sketch several years ago, and I can't remember the exact circumstances that gave birth to this.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it. Got any questions ? Feel free to comment below.