Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ub’s Classroom

Whoever did the backgrounds at the Ub Iwerks studio loved settings with curves and warps in them. They found their way into the ComiColor cartoons, but they’re more effective in black and white. Here are some from “Mary’s Little Lamb.”

None of the artists are credited so I haven’t any idea who might have drawn these. The school teacher in this one is a standard old crone design used at the studio.


  1. It's like the background artists drew everything as being warped....

  2. Reminds me of "Rocko's Modern Life", where all the backgrounds were slanted. I think the creator remarked that it was influenced by the old '30s cartoons.

  3. The warped backgrounds did give Ub's cartoons of the period a certain sense of standardized studio 'form' that other keeping-up-with-Disney studios didn't have at the same time period. Unfortunately, the character designs were pretty uninspired, and in many of the cartoons (including this one) all the characters tended to move the same way, which further lessened their personalities.

  4. It seems to me, in an unscientific survey, that the curving is strongest in cartoons that Grim Natwick and Berny Wolf worked on.

  5. Some of the background art in Iwerk's fairy tale type of films seems somewhat inspired by the art styling of Vernon Grant. (I'm not suggesting that Vernon Grant ever worked at the Iwerks studio, but I'm saying that someone at Iwerks seemed aware of Vernon Grant's style).

    1. I've never thought of Grant other than he characters he drew, as opposed to backgrounds. I suspect you're right and he was known.
      The backgrounds on some of the ComiColor shorts are very pleasant. I have no idea who painted them but it will be nice to see what they look like fully restored.