Bugs Bunny – The Origins of an American Icon
Jan 27th, 2017 by Aldouspi

It's usually pretty easy to trace back the origins of a character. You just flip through animation history until you find their first appearance. But for Bugs Bunny, that history is a little more complicated...

What's Up Doc? Well, Bugs does not have a specific creator. He's a character created by a committee. You see, unlike the rest of the Looney Tunes characters, Bugs Bunny doesn't have any one definitive origin. To Understand where he came from, you have to break up the roots of the character into stages.

One of the earliest instances of a Bugs Bunny-like character in appearance was in the 1938 short "Porky's Hare Hunt," a remake of Tex Avery's "Porky's Duck Hunt" which first introduced Daffy Duck. In this cartoon, the Bugs Bunny prototype is more or less insane, due to him being a re-skinned Daffy. Shortly there after, the rabbit's name came about in 1939, when it was scribbled on a model sheet by Charlie Thorson as "Bug's Bunny" - note the possessive apostrophe, in reference to Ben "Bugs" Hardaway the director of "Porky's Hare Hunt" and one of the several artists involved in the creation of Bugs Bunny. Next, in 1940, the character was handed over to Tex Avery, Bob Givens, and Mel Blanc.

These three creative fellows, together, would shape the attitude and personality of the Bugs Bunny as we know him today. Bugs represented the collective talents of some of the best creators in the business. And throughout the years, he would be passed around to an incredible roster of artists like Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, and Chuck Jones. Each of them tweaking and refining the traits of what would become one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time. Bugs is up there with characters, like Superman, in terms of sheer longevity and pop cultural endurance.

But Bugs doesn't seem dated as if he is just a character from the 1940s. His anarchic, gender-bending, wise-ass personality is pretty progressive even by today's standards. And he's aged so well because he isn't locked into any one specific pool of relatability. Something like the Flintstones might be revived again and again, but that Honeymooners era sitcom approach doesn't really relate well with a modern audience. Bugs, on the other hand, can work in any situation because he's incredibly versatile. And that's why he's appeared in more films than any other cartoon character in history. He's about as frequently used in film as Sherlock Holmes, Hitler, or God.

I suggest Bugs Bunny's adaptability comes from his personality - which is a mishmash of traits from D'Artagnan, Rex Harrison, and Dorothy Parker, but he isn't an imitation of anyone else, like how Yogi Bear is a very blatant imitation of Art Carney.

And that's important when trying to make a character stand out. A kid mimicking Bugs Bunny is mimicking Bugs Bunny, not Clark Gable or Groucho Marx, because those influences never turn into caricature. Bugs is immediately identifiable because of his attitude, his voice, but most importantly, his movement. Characters don't move like Bugs Bunny.

Bugs: Well, shut my mouth and call me Cornpone, if it ain't the little ol' South. There's very little sheer physical expression in the animation of most cartoon contemporaries at the same budgetary tier as Looney Tunes. What you see with them is hands at the waist, feet together, static posing... There are a lot of limiting factors to blame for that. Certain character designs don't even allow for any sort of dynamic expression, but it's that movement - the number of changes in a second of animated film - that really brings out the personality. For Chuck Jones: An example of useful movement to define character animation, you have to go to "The Three Little Pigs" which was a Walt Disney cartoon made in 1933.

It was three characters that looked alike, yet acted differently - and you could define them by the way they moved or their physical expressions. And then, all of a sudden, everyone in the movie industry realized that they had on their hands, a new method of communication which could establish character.

And rather than animating on ones like Disney did, Warner Bros. chose to animate on twos to get fluid motion while keeping the budget relatively low. "Ones" meaning one frame per image, "twos" meaning two frames per image. Animating on twos makes the images less smooth, but snappier - which benefits a fast-paced slapstick style of comedy. Additionally, Chuck Jones very often used a technique called smear posing. This is using a series of abstract smeared shapes for the "in betweens" to get from one key frame to another. This is a technical way to simulate that smooth motion. The movement wasn't always realistic, but it was believable.

According to Charles Solomon: That's why the ballet moves in "What's Opera, Doc?" are so well executed. As caricatured and as absurd as it is, when Bugs does his fish dive into Elmer's arms he lands with perfect port de bras, his limb placement is all but impeccable.

The makers of Bugs Bunny cartoons also used music effectively. There's an elegance in animation that's accentuated by a live orchestra when Loony Tunes uses classical music. Rossini's "William Tell Overture" where Bugs as Leopold Stokowski conducts a tenor through his aria. To this day, I still hear "Ride of the Valkyries" as "Kill the Wabbit" Bugs: Kill the wabbit?

Bugs Bunny was a very important figure in my childhood, and probably yours, too. And despite Bugs being the corporate mascot for Warner Bros., he didn't fade into that role. He's always very much been a character of his own.

Now, Disney and Mickey Mouse are synonymous with each other. Mickey's a more recognizable icon, but it's dissolved into that logo. He's put up on a pedestal to be tame and inoffensive, which gives him that element of international appeal. But Bugs is a hardline New Yorker: brash, rude, defiant – unmistakably American - which adds another layer to that cultural barrier. Mickey's the better T-shirt, but Bugs makes you laugh; he's an entertaining character - not just the face of a corporation.

The rabbit is effortlessly cool, always in command in the face of all danger, yet somehow still the underdog. You always root for him even though you know he's gonna win 'cause he can kick your ass dressed as Scarlett O'Hara. Bugs is who you want to be, not Mickey Mouse.

As found on Youtube

Chuck Jones shows how to draw Bugs Bunny

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Oct 24th, 2012 by Aldouspi

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What defines a good animation college? Everyone has their own ideas when it comes to choosing a college, and defining what makes a good animation college is no easy job. Because of the personal nature of selecting a college, the one which best matches a prospective student’s each individual preference would be considered the best animation college for that student.

There are several key considerations that come into play when deciding on the best animation college. First and foremost, the quality of the animation program and the academic courses offered, not to mention the faculty who will be teaching animation, are very important. Related programs that complement animation, such as graphic design or video game design, should also be considered. We highly recommend considering the financial costs of the program and whether the student was offered any scholarships, grants, or possibly other forms of financing as well. One solid method of gaining insight to the quality of the program is to research the animation college’s alumni: are there many successful animators among them?

Non-academic factors also play a big role in determining good animation colleges. Good animation colleges typically also offer internships or job placements at animation studios, which would provide valuable on-the-job experience, and this should also be looked into by any prospective student. The animation college’s facilities and services that are provided to students for their use should also definitely factor into a prospective student’s decision between good animation colleges.

What other aspects are important to consider in a good animation college? Any prospective student should carefully consider the setting and location of the animation college. After all, the student will be spending a couple years living there. Is the college in a quieter rural area or a busier urban city? How easy is it to travel around using public transportation? What sorts of off-campus activities do students typically partake in? For example, a student who enjoys playing sports may wish to attend an animation college that offers strong college athletics programs.

Finally, the decision is up to the student, so choose carefully!

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