Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chowder is in TV Guide this Week

And they seem to like us! I, however, never won an Emmy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Urinal Bonanza

Here's a funny three-minute movie made by a good friend of mine, Kevin Kramer. It's rated PG-13, so all you kids out there better not watch it. Kevin has written a few Chowder outlines and you'll see his name pop up in the credits occasionally, like in last week's Taste of Marzipan episode.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mahjongg Night

This Friday night's Chowder episode is a very personal one. I wanted to do this story from the moment I pitched the show. Every Tuesday night since I was a little kid, my mom would gather with four of her friends and play Mahjongg, a Chinese tile game that's sort of like bridge. (Jewish women love it!) Four play at once, one rotates out each hand.

Each week, the ladies gather at a different person's house, and the hostess serves up yummy snacks for the rest. So when it came to our house, my mom would set out goodies that we rarely got to have (candies and such). She made egg salad too, and while I'm told it's awesome, I'm not terribly partial to egg salad. Of course, I'd get a handful of peanut M&M's then be banished from the kitchen as they played. As I laid in bed, I could hear the clacking of the tiles and a stream of expletives as the women yelled at each other for taking their money. They weren't big rollers. I think they usually played for something like 35 cents a game, and a big winner would walk away with $5 for the night.

So when you watch it, think of chubby little me, dozing off to the thoughts of chocolate while the sounds of "You bitch! You took my money!" ring in my ears.

(And yes, Truffles is based on my mom. She doesn't really have the accent, but everyone is actually scared of her. And she's tiny.)

(Some random women having their own Mahjongg night. This is what it looks like for real. Notice the snacks on the table!)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Truffles Chases Shnitzel

This was shot in Atlanta when they dressed up for Halloween. It's pretty incredible, even if it is just a loop. Yet every time they pass, it just gets funnier to me. I can swear Truffles comes closer and closer to catching him. Benny Hill music and fast forward makes everything better.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chowder Cake

Here's a cake Atlanta sent us as a congrats on premiere day. I think it helped. We've been getting really strong ratings since we hit the air and we keep growing. Thanks to everyuone who's watching!

And check out this awesome Chowder fan site made by Tyler K! You'll find art and info from this and other blogs collected there, along with news and forums. Give it a look! Chowder Zone

Monday, November 12, 2007

What is Chowder?

Everyone's been asking "What the heck is Chowder? Is he a cat?" Not exactly.
He's a cat, bear, rabbit... thingie. And so is Panini.
I hope that clears things up.

And yes, his nipples are big. The board guys started drawing him that way and it kind of stuck. Be prepared.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fred Fredburger Sighting Tonight

The Billy & Mandy/ Kids Next Door crossover airs tonight at 7 pm (pacific) on Cartoon Network. Fred has a cameo in it. I haven't seen the finished version, but I hear it turned out great. Give it a watch if you like either show.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chowder is a "Throw-Away Series"

Why do I get a giddy delight out of the bad reviews? I dunno. Everyone is very much entitled to their opinion. Here's a fellow from my old college giving his two-cents on Chowder. When I went to school there, I worked at the Daily Texan as a cartoonist from '91-'94. I think the people writing for it were just as cynical back then. Gotta love college students.

"All in all, 'Chowder' is pretty much a throwaway series in an endless string of mediocre cartoons. The animation is nothing special - although the colors are a little trippy - , the dialogue is cliché kids show speak save for a few adult references, and the stories are the same contrived ones we've seen over and over again. It is cute, however, which is more than can be said for a lot of today's cartoons. It might interest your nieces and nephews, but until Chowder gets embroiled in controversy via a sex tape or a crack addiction, very few others will care."

The Daily Texan

Oh, and University of Texas, you can stop calling me for money now, please.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Got Red Ringed!

As thousands upon thousands of xbox 360 owners have discovered, the system is very prone to failure. Well as of this weekend, count me in as one of those thousands. The darn thing went kaput and I got the dreaded red ring of death! So it'll be at least a month and a half before I get a working one back from Microsoft. And just as I was getting into the new Katamari!

Speaking of Katamari, there's a big homage to my favorite rolling game in this week's Chowder. Watch it! Friday night at 7:30 Pacific!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

We Made It!

Well we finally got the show on the air! I wasn't sure we we going to make it for a while there. A big thanks to everyone who helped make the show possible and to everyone who watched. If you missed it, don't worry. CN will be re-running it everyday. Seriously. And there'll be a new episode premiering next Friday at the same time. So keep watching.

Here are some early reviews of the show, good and bad:

The Hollywood Reporter


Animation Insider

The New York Times (I don't think this person watches too many cartoons)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

The residents of Marzipan City are out in force! Thanks to Lori, Thom, his lovely wife, and all the others for making these incredble costumes!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Toonzone Interview

With the premeire just days away, I've been running around like a madman getting everything ready. To get you warmed up for Friday, here's some reading material - a recent interview with the animation website Toonzone. It was definitely one of the more thoughtful interviews I've had. Thanks to Ed Liu for doing a great job.

This drawing was made over three years ago for the pitch packet I first showed to the network. I'll post more of these soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fred Fredburger Doll

Here's the doll I mentioned in the last post. Bet you didn't think it was real.

And yes, CN should sell these, but they don't. And no, unfortunately, I can't get you one. Like I said before, try writing to them and let them know you want this stuff available. Maybe someday they'll listen. Someday far far in the future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chowder Hat

Occasionally CN does something right. Hard to believe, I know. While they never seem to make any noticeable consumer merchandise for their shows (except Ben 10), they have a great in-house department that makes awesome premiums. Unfortunately they're only available to employees. It's good for the employees but bad for the fans. This stuff should be sold in stores, but that's not up to me, and it may be discussed in a future post titled "Cartoon Network: We Don't Like Money."

In honor of Chowder, they've made these incredible hats. Seeing all my friends from the Atlanta office wearing them made me truly happy. Since I've been getting so many bad feelings from Atlanta recently, this little ray of sunshine really helped. They even got one on Dracula, and we all know Dracula don't like wearing no goofy hats!

*Sorry, I can't get you a hat. They were given to employees. Write to CN if you think they should sell them. Pester them incessantly. And ask about the cool Fred Fredburger dolls, too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just Two Weeks Until Chowder Premiere!

Friday, November 2nd, at 7:30 pm!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Chowder Website Update

The official show page has gone live. Thanks to all the folks in Atlanta who worked hard on making it great. Three weeks until premiere!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chowder Sneek Peek!

Cartoon Network has begun running sneek peeks of Chowder. As far as I know, it's a few short clips from the pilot and some of the early episodes. Tune in and see if you can catch a glimpse.

Apparently I was wrong. The clips are running all day today (Monday!)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Today's Forecast

Things feel quite a bit gloomy over here. With the premiere coming up, this should be a very exciting month! But instead there's a pervasive feeling of tension in the air. Like other productions here, we're sort of just dragging along on life support. Please, someone just put a pillow over my face and end it! I'm tired of all this crap.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New Dracula Episode

My last Billy & Mandy episode airs tonight. It's called "Dracula Must Die." I wanted to go out with a bang, and of course, being the generous fellow that he is, Maxwell Atoms let me run wild with the story. It's one of the few episodes that has a direct change on what we know about the characters in the B&M universe. And it even connects to UNDERFIST, Atoms' B&M spinoff special. (A big thanks to Shaun Cashman for his deft directing and Phil Lamarr for his excellent acting)

In my time on Billy & Mandy, I got to create a lot of fun characters: Fred Fredburger, Principal Goodvibes, Grandmama, and of course, Dracula. He first showed up in an episode called "The Home of the Ancients" that involved a bunch of retired monsters. In the original outline, written by Nina Bargiel, Dracula was written as an older version of the monster we all know and love.

But I wanted to put a different spin on him. So I thought about Blacula and what he might be like as an old man. I basically crossed Redd Foxx and James Brown, made him speak in the third person, and viola - Dracula was born. To Grim he was like a sports hero, but really he was just a crotchety old man who wanted to get with the ladies. I think their realtionship really blossomed in "Fear and Loathing in Endsville." We got to see how much Dracula could take advantage of Grim's adoration.

Tonight's episode teaches us something new about Dracula. It teaches us about love. About betrayal. And about revenge. And most of all, that Dracula don't suck. He do the scrape and lick.

Goodbye old man.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chowder Site

The official Chowder website has gone live. Soon it'll have games and other assorted fun stuff. Right now it just has a teaser clip from the pilot. And yes, the pilot is part of the series (it'll be in the premiere episode). This shot was taken outside the Turner building in Atlanta.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another Late Night

It looks like I'll be staying at work all night tonight. There's so much to do and I can never get caught up. I guess I should have figured it would get to the point where I wouldn't even get to go home. All I do there is sleep and shower anyway. The bright side is the network is telling me to work harder. That's always motivating when you're at the office for more than 60 hours a week. (Sarcasm)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chowder Surprise

Here's a peek at a something special. I'm not going to say much about it. You'll have to tune in to the show to find out more. A big thanks to the folks over at Screen Novelties: Robin, Shamus, Mark, Chris, Pete, Ralph, and everyone else whose names I don't rememeber too well, and B.J. from Puppetown Productions.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mung Design Evolution

Looking at these old Mung Daals makes me shudder. I'm so much happier with this new version. Like the Chowders in the previous post, I can't believe how stiff, even, and cluttered he looked. To me the real difference is in the front view. That's the angle I struggled with the most in the previous versions. This time it flowed naturally. I guess that's a good sign.

My original concept of Mung was that he was the love-child of Don Knotts and Yoda. With the pilot version, he's got crap jutting off his head in all different directions. Nothing takes visual precedence or helps gives a line of action.

In the next version, I removed the eyeglass temple from the outside of his face and more importantly, I tried to emphasisze his nose as his most prominent feature. His shoes and hands got slightly bigger, his ears became much smaller. But it was incremental. Too subtle. His features still didn't read well. He didn't bend well. And now with a season behind me, I can see those faults.

So with the new version, the first thing I tackled was proportions. He's all head and neck now; the weight is in his nose. His body is smaller. He's not so stiff, but forms a nice "S" cruve with his head and body. His moustache extends farther than his ears, giving his face a balance point. The bump on his nose has always been a vexing issue. I originally put it there to give space between nose and his eyes. In the footage we've gotten back, his eye and nose often tangent anyways, and the stinking bump blocks his eye! So it's created more problems for me rather than solving them. I've made his eyes bigger, flattened the bump and moved it so the eyes are no longer covered. His eyebrows are clearer too. Now his expressions should read a lot better. There's no extra line defining the side of glasses. And I've removed his far ear in the 3/4; it keeps the curve of his head consistent now. His hands are bigger. His shoes have been simplified and extended, giving him a floppier look.

Now he feels like he has gesture, direction, and balance. And he feels overall sillier. Which is good. I really want this show to be cartoony, and I'm realizing it's time to start pushing the crew to make it that way, starting with myself. For now, I'm really happy with this new design. But maybe in a season or two, I'll think he looks like garbage and he'll get another revamping.

Next to tackle: Truffles!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chowder Design Evolution

As happens with all shows, the characters really come into their own over time. You learn a lot about who they are from a full season of writing, as well as dealing with the animation footage that comes back from the overseas studio. Plus just drawing the character hundreds of times over causes you naturally learn the economies, the proportions, and the necessities of the design.

Being between seasons, I decided to take a stab at reworking the characters using the information I've gained. Chowder was first on the list. Look at the difference from the pilot to now! Wow! He really feels like he's finally coming together. Clay Morrow put it best in describing the Season 1 design: "Everything touches." The theory was that he's a fat kid. It makes for a a mess though. The original concept of Chowder (I'll post the doodles someday) was a fat, shy kid who often hid low in his oversized collar and wore his pants on his head. His features are supposed to be all squished up. That's why I made those shapes on him. But look how even in proportion he is. He's more body than face. Where's the focus?

I'm also seeing how stiff the drawings are. Especially when we are getting some pretty stiff drawings back from overseas. Noooo! The funny thing is my drawings don't tend to be that stiff. I draw "stiff" characters (maybe cuz I'm so uptight), but I usually try to give them some life and energy in the drawing. I think that in locking down a "definitive model," I lost a lot of that energy and life.

After drawing him consistently for a year, I started making his head bigger and bigger, diminishing everything else. I've tried to simplify him by removing the tangenting cheek lines, focus the visual weight into his cheeks, make his eyes read better. I made his hands stick out a little more. I think the most drastic change is in his profile view. Now he has a muzzle and his face doesn't flatten out as he turns. And while his clothing no longer feels oversized, he feels more like a fat kid. He's now all about the chubbyness of his face. And that's his defining characteristic. It only took me a few years to get there. I'm learning.

More characters to come soon!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Screwed in the Teeth

It goes without saying that my job has become a bit more stressful. And one of the wonderful side effects of stress is clenching your teeth at night. I've become so good at it that I cracked one of my molars. But after going through the trouble of getting it crowned, the pain still returned. So I had to choose between a root canal or completely replacing it. Since the crack could eventually cause the tooth to break, I opted to pull the sucker. This was a few months ago.

Now that my mouth has healed, it's time for phase 2! Today they drilled a large hole in my jaw and inserted a monster screw right into it. I'm still numb, so I can't comment on the pain. Tonight should be fun, fun, fun. The oddest thing about it was the torque of the drill on my jaw. This was no delicate dentist drill, the kind ordinarily used for little fillings. It was a Black and Decker with flames painted on the side. The dentist had to wear a hard hat. I had stepped into an episode of "This Old Mouth."

So phase 3 will be in another month or so, after the bone grows around the screw. That's when I get my new, fake tooth.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's Been That Kind Of Day

This is how it felt like my morning started. The rest of the day wasn't so bad, but I had a metaphorical turd wiped across my lip, so that was all I could smell. A good night's sleep will make me feel better. It always does.

Monday, August 06, 2007


This is an attempt to add some color to my drawings. Maybe someday I'll try a full fledged painting. Until then, you just get this pseudo-coloring.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ComiCon Highlights

Well the Con came and went and I had a blast. I met tons of really nice fans and got to show off a little bit of Chowder as well. Here are a few photographic highlights:

Mr. Maxwell Atoms and myself, expressing our true feelings for each other. He had a great farewell panel this year and deserved all the fan loving he got.

A highly rendered Milennium Falcon, complete with highly rendered Jedi. I couldn't beleive the amount of Star Wars merchanise they had this year. It constituted at least 50% of the floor!

A 5+ foot Gigantor sculpture! Last year I bought a 2 foot tall Gigantor from these people. I still love it.

An incredible family that all got dressed up as classic monsters, posing in front of the Ark of the Covenant! This is how you do the con right!

The BEST Zena I've ever seen, along with a real Mach 5! It was a 2 for 1 photo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

ComiCon 2008 - The Call of the Nerd!

Well that time is upon us again, when the great horn is blown and all the sweaty nerds crawl out from their parents basements to descend upon San Diego. I'll be there of course, wandering around through various fart clouds and feral armpit odors.

I'l also be doing a signing at the Cartoon Network booth to promote Chowder. Come on by and say hello. We're giving out some really cool messenger bags with all the current CN characters doodled on them. There will also be a Chowder preview screened between the Billy & Mandy and Foster's panels.

Preview: Friday, July 17th, 12:30 at the CN panel room

Signing: Saturday, July 28th, 10:30-11:30 at the CN booth

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Sometimes someone hates you for no good reason. It's just that your very existence wrongs them. Gorgonzola hates Chowder. He's an apprentice candle holder. Maybe that's why he's so surly. He got the cruddy job while Chowder has a dream job.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rocks Are Magical

We saw this big rock formation when we were up in Sequoia National Park last month. I'm not sure why, but it reminds me of something.

Monday, July 02, 2007

King for a Month

Good news! That Warcraft comic I posted a little while back - It won comic of the month on the Warcraft site! I am Nerd King for the month of June! (I'll take little bits of joy where I can get them.)