I don’t watch much TV, and I certainly don’t care about advertisements, so when my dad called me away from my most recent project to see a freaking commercial, I was highly irritated. Even so, I lifted my lazy butt from my office chair and went to see what he was calling me about.
“I think someone ripped off your cartoon style!” my dad said.
He played back the following commercial on his DVR:
I was dazzled! What a delight it was to see old-fashioned, hand-drawn animation on television! I was so rapt in studying the art on display, that I didn’t pay attention to what was being advertised. To be honest, I didn’t care.
My dad said that this animated version of Ken Ham looked like something out of one of my cartoons. I was flattered, but this is clearly the work of a professional studio, not an amateur like myself. Still, I can kind of see where he’s coming from: the small eyes, the big, expressive hands, the exaggerated, Chuck-Jones-like motions: these are all common elements of my sprouting style. It’s so good that I’ve been watching this commercial over and over so I can study it.
Even though I don’t care for the museum’s message, I think they’ve taken a clever approach with this spot. It grabs your attention without being crass, loud, or aggressive. It parades a platoon of fun characters in one long shot, without any disorienting cuts. In this age of sterile, overblown CGI, and frenetic, tweened-to-Hell Flash cartoons, I think people are craving some detailed, frame-by-frame animation like this. I know I am.