Thursday, January 12, 2012


By now you've probably heard that these guys are back on TV.

And if you're interested in hearing how
they ever got on TV in the first place,
head on over to CARTOON BREW to read the post
by the show's producer, John Andrews.

It's a great window into how the ground-breaking series came about.
But I've got some stories, too.
After all, I was the Production Designer on the first season.
Which pretty much meant that I was the $1.98 version
of show creator Mike Judge.

It was my job to go through all his films, drawing by drawing,
and find out what made him tick.
I got copies of all his sketchbooks and picked apart how he drew his characters.
How he timed his animation.
How he colored his backgrounds.

I then translated these to model sheets that the rest of the production would use to draw the Mike Judge way.
A style that is all at once quirky, naive, inconsistent, and 2043% perfect for it is.
Even so, Mike was always leaning on us to improve upon his drawing.
But J.J. Sedelmaier insisted on keeping Mr. Judge's drawing style
exactly the way it was.
That was part of what made Beavis and Butthead so great.
And personally, I thought Beavis and Butthead WAS great.

At the time, there was nothing like it.
It was primitive.
Yet had a definitive style.
It was crude.
But with a sly intelligence.
It was ugly.
Yet full of character.
And most importantly...

It was ?$%&# funny.

There was nothing on TV like it.
There was also no other production like it.
We were actually animating the show in-house
and digitally coloring and compositing it in LA.
This was virtually unheard of for a TV series
at the time since 99.5% shows were sent overseas.

It was crazy.
No one knew what they were doing.
Things hadn't been done this way before.
But we made it work.
Spectacularly, if I may.

So why not give you some anecdotes regarding that first season?


We couldn't hire some people on Beavis and Butthead
because they couldn't dumb down their drawing enough.
They were simply TOO good.

I have never had that problem.

The character design for Daria (who eventually got her own show)
was done by no less than 35 people. Mr. Judge had a very specific idea in his head for how he wanted her to look. Unfortunately it was stuck there.
I must have done 50 designs.
Sooperstar character designer Ben Price probably did another 50.
We kinda looked like this afterwards:

Mike drew a couple roughs we played around with. Still nothing. Virtually everyone in the studio gave it a shot. Mr. Sedelmaier even jumped in. I don't think we ever got an officially approved design. Time just kind of ran out.


I contributed to the death of the hair-metal band band Winger.

Love me or hate me for it...
Twas me.
Even before Beavis and Butthead, I used to draw myself wearing a Winger shirt when I wanted to make myself look like a dork.
So when the first script with dorky Stuart hit my desk I slapped Winger onto his shirt like,


In general, we weren't allowed to put real band names on shirts
because getting permission to use them was a tedious process.
But when Mr. Judge saw the Stuart design he was all like,


Years later, I heard that Kip Winger was on the Howard Stern show and claimed that a good part of the death of the band
was the Beavis and Butthead thing.

You're welcome.

Because Mr. Judge was so busy,
I often sat in the recording studio designing characters
and then slipped them under the door
to the recording booth to get them approved.

After the success of the first season, MTV decided to take the plunge and open their own animation studio.
And I had to make a choice.
Go there.
Or stay at Sedelmaier's.
I stayed.
But I kept this:

An original layout complete with Mike Judge post-it revisions.

Love it!


jjsedelmaier said...

Mr. Warburton. Nice B&BH post ! I think it's more than fair to say that it was Bill Peckmann who eventually nailed Daria ('s design). She was revisited graphically for her own series, but it was still basically Bill's hand.

Asterisk said...

I wish there was a show dedicated to animated music videos

Bouncer15111 said...

MR.WARBURTON MAJOR NEWS! on the final level of Punch Time Explosion (both versions) the final battle takes place in a room filled with TV's showing pics of levels from the game. the bigest one in the center, well it shows the KND ones!

Michael Klaus said...

The note reads, "Butt not so wide and TV needs to cut it off at half ass". Good advice for any TV show!

jjsedelmaier said...

That "note" was a dictate from the MTV censors. You could show the crack but not the entire ass. . .