It’s an art-form. And a shortcoming. Sometimes you just have to grab your shortcomings like a dick and own them. Shake them around until they become flaccid and become your bitch, and then you use them to your advantage. Or disadvantage.
However you want to look at it, it is the style of Cody and David. Simple. Detail only where it is needed, and a humorous visual to the eye. Putting the images to the page is a simple one, really, especially where promos are the concern, but the process of bringing it all alive is still a beast. Davidlee does it the old-school way of making his frames with pencil and paper, inking them and adding color in the wonderful world of Adobe. The transition to go fully digital is in the process of becoming the norm around here, though it is a slow transition. We love trees and we want to start making it so there isn’t an entire forest laying around the office. We are getting there. Hopefully by the middle of Season One the transition will be complete.
“I sound like a bitch saying it,” Davidlee will often say, “but the friction feels different on tablets and shit. It fucks with me. A lot.”
Even with a simple style of drawing like the one Davidlee utilizes, the change in friction is one that has been hard for him to overcome in the past. Nearly twelve-years ago, Davidlee found himself creating a pilot episode for the first time ever. At the age of eighteen, it was a frightening experience. He did submit the pilot – which he cringes every time he watches these days – to Adult Swim. Since this time he has overcome the fear, along with Cody’s help, of putting his creations out into the world. Drawing tablets have come a long way since then as well, and he is planning on making the switch and forcing his hand to become used to working on them.
“I’m just going to do it. Deal with it and do it. And not turn back.”
The switch will also save a lot of time in the animation process, especially being able to just create directly within Animate CC, and bypass the entire need to draw on paper and then upload it to the workstation on the iMac. Especially considering that ten-seconds of animation is over 100 separate frames.
One of many, many frames from the pilot episode.
“I don’t want the animation to look like we take shortcuts,” Davidlee says on many occasions. “I love tons of work that is out there, but I don’t want our show – as stupid as it is and looks – to look like we relied on a computer to do everything.” After putting many years into the culinary world, Davidlee has learned that often times when the easy way is taken, you get a less than stellar result. Especially with the simplest of things. The art style of the show is also a simplest of things.
“About five-hours of work usually nets about six to ten seconds of animation time,” Davidlee explains to his friend Welton – also a character and voice actor on the show. “I hand draw the frames, the backgrounds, the small shit like smoke from Bronson’s cigar. Upload it all and add some touch ups and color it. I hate the coloring process. It’s so fucking tedious.”
A labor of love the cartoon has become. “I remember when my laptop died, the one I was doing all the work on.” Davidlee looks out the window and stares at the horses grazing. A strange calmness about him as he remembers the day. “I just closed it and sat down on the floor. I almost said fuck it. The hard-drive was fucked. Couldn’t pull anything off of it and everything except for the scripts was gone. All I could think of was how I had to break out all of the backgrounds, all of the frames, and start over. The pilot was supposed to be released in December of 2016, and it was seventy-percent done.”
Davidlee waves his hand in the air and shakes his head.
“Then it was gone.”
Davidlee went a week without doing any work on the cartoon. Seeing the frames laying around would make him angry. People asking him about how it was coming along would feel like a knife to the heart. He was without a computer and was unable to even think about working on it. An iMac was ordered and soon he got his current work station set up.
Nothing fancy, but where he and his dogs spend most of their time at home.
“Once I got the Mac and I didn’t even start uploading anything. I was so bummed by the entire thing that I just didn’t want to fucking deal with it. The flame didn’t start burning again until I got the urge to sit down and pump out the scripts for Season Two.”
Cody and Davidlee have agreed that no matter what happens, they will make two seasons and a special. “Hopefully we will make more. I hope people like it,” Cody says of the agreement to Davidlee.
Now, after all the set-backs behind them, the pilot episode is nearing completion. Look for it late April or early May.