Tag Archives: squids

Adult Swim Fall 2014 Lineup: Mr. Pickles and Squidbillies

5 Sep

Since we pretty much covered a bunch of FOX’s September offerings, I felt like it would be appropriate to talk a little about what Adult Swim is offering for their fall lineup.

Firstly, we have Mr. Pickles.Mr Pickles

Mr. Pickles is a fantastic-looking show about a secretly Satanic and depraved border collie. If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is, and that’s exactly how I like my cartoons. Nuts, insane, just extremely over the top.

Mr. Pickles premieres on Sunday, September 21st at 12 midnight, on Adult Swim.

The art is incredible, and the humor– well, let’s just say I’m just really excited to see where this show goes and if its weird, sick humor catches on or not (I hope it does)!

Lastly, what is it about Squidbillies that makes it so amazing?!?

I can’t say for sure.

What I do know is that the squids are run by the same mastermind behind my beloved Aqua Teen, and the crude, dirty animation is just so special in my heart.

I’ve watched the show since its humble beginnings, and although this next new season that starts September 21 should be season 9, they’re calling it season 8 still (for some reason), and I suppose we’ll just let ’em. I love this stupid family of endangered mud squids that mirror Honey Boo Boo’s family way too much to care.

Squidbillies season 8 on adult swim!

All of that said, we’re fully prepared for even more Adult Swim premiere awesomeness in September — as always, more news to come!

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Interview with Jason Barnes (animator on Squids, ATHF, Archer)!

4 Aug

For this post, we have something special for you — another exclusive interview, this time with Jason Barnes, who has worked on Aqua Teen, Squidbillies, and currently works for Archer!

Animated TV Blog: Hi, Jason. When did you start out in the TV/animation industry? Who did you first work for?

Jason Barnes: I started working in television in 2008. I was still attending art school at the Art Institute of Atlanta at the time when I got an internship at Radical Axis to work on Squidbillies (season 3 or 4?) and ATHF. The internship was unpaid, but the experience was payment enough. They basically taught me how to use Adobe Flash haha. It was fantastic and stressful all at the same time. I mean, I was just a kid. All these animators had at least 5-6 years of professional work under their belts. But they let me do everything from key animation to design work for squids. It was a dream come true since Squidbillies was a HUGE inspiration for me in college. Aside from the work experience, I made some GREAT contacts that have kept me working ever since. In fact, after my 3 month internship I went back to school to finish up my last 2 quarters at AiA, then almost immediately after graduation started working on Squidbillies again.

ATB: Had you known a long time you wanted to be in the TV/animation industry? Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations?

JB: Honestly, growing up I didn’t know you could be in TV/animation without being famous. In high school, I thought you needed to be the BEST in order to work in entertainment (not really true, but it helps to strive for the best, obviously). I had just built it up in my head that if you weren’t John K from birth, you were nobody and you’d never work anywhere. Haha. But the way I “found out” I could be in animation was talking to my mom one day (I had recently graduated high school) She straight up just told me “go to art school. You suck at business and can’t be a doctor, but you LOVE to draw. So. Do it.” And literally within a week I was applying to art school. haha.

…Which I guess leads to the next question… John K’s Ren & Stimpy molded my little child brain growing up. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen on television. I would draw the characters constantly. That show remained a huge influence on me throughout college as well. Then I discovered Adult Swim and that became my bible. Haha. ATHF and Squidbillies actually still inspire me to this day. But now, there’s a TON of things I see online and on television that inspire me. A Rick and Morty screener is currently sitting on my desk waiting to be rewatched. Comedy Central’s TripTank is my new jam. It’s a great format for animation. Pretty much a different style every 2-3 minutes haha, so I never get bored. Plus it’s all submission based content so indie animators can get stuff on air without too much producer interference. A lot of live-action stuff inspires me too. Trailer Park Boys, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, and Fargo are very inspiring to watch, even though I’m no filmmaker. They’ll get me jazzed about certain color choices or shot layouts, hell even character design. Pretty sure Walter White or Ricky from Trailer Park Boys has made it into at least ONE character line-up I’ve done for a studio.

ATB: Not much is known to the public about Radical Axis (animation company), even though they animated two of our (and many other folks’) favorite cartoons, Aqua Teen and Squidbillies. What was it like working for them? Were there good perks to the job?

JB: Radical was great. They gave me the contacts and experience I needed to get comfortable with the industry. They were small and pretty laid back compared to the larger studios out West, and it was the perfect environment for young, budding artists to learn to perform pretty much any task in the animation pipeline. For most of my time there, the crew was only about 12-15 people; usually 4-5 animators, 2-4 compositors, an editor, and a few producers. At one point, there were a little over 100 people working there when Archer (Floyd County Productions) was just starting production on season 1 and needed studio space (So they merged with Radical for a season). It was kinda nuts, Suddenly we were filled to the brim with brilliant artists working on a show that we had NO idea was going to be so successful, let alone EMMY-NOMINATED one day. Haha. As far as job perks go, I got to work with my best friends all day. Pretty perky if you ask me. But yeah, we’d get lots of Adult Swim swag all the time, anything from Early Cuyler trucker hats with “Breathe If You’re Horny” on ’em to Meatwad beanbag chairs. We’d also get movie screening passes occasionally, and once we even got free passes to Dragon Con which was AWESOME. But I digress. Radical eventually dissolved, and people scattered around the country. Awesome Incorporated took over Squids and ATHF almost immediately. Luckily, some animators transferred over to help out.

ATB: You work for Archer today — how does working there differ from working at Radical Axis? For example, what were/are the production times/deadlines for different shows, ATHF, Squidbillies, Archer etc — how does that work?

JB: Well, Archer is kinda insane compared to Squidbillies. You’re talking a 6 artist crew for Squids and an 80+ artist crew for Archer. The switch was overwhelming. The biggest difference between the two is expectation. Archer requires a level of artistry unparalleled in the industry, while Squids is a beautifully loose and dirty show. I wish there was a happy medium between the two, but I’ve yet to find it. Another thing that separates the two shows is obviously budget; Archer can afford to draw out an episode’s production to as long as a couple months, while Squids is pretty much done in 4-5 weeks, for as cheap as possible.

ATB: I see on your IMDb entry (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3439363) that you even worked on an episode of Unsupervised! – another great show – and Out There, which I haven’t even had a chance to see yet. I also know you have a pretty excellent tumblr (thebarnes.tumblr.com) with some great images of your art — do you have a demo reel of your animation available online anywhere?

JB: Haha- IMDB is a little outdated, currently it’s only about 50% of the work I’ve done. I actually worked on all 13 of Unsupervised (RIP) and about half of Out There. Both shows were so much fun to work on. An absolute shame they didn’t make it to second seasons. Unsupervised was expected to not make it; just clashed too hard with FX’s line-up. But Out There was a perfect show; funny, smart, and visually engaging there’s no reason it shouldn’t have been renewed. It was the perfect animated flagship for IFC. The way she goes, I guess…

As far as a CURRENT demo reel… I do not have one. BUT you can find my old college stuff and some shitty internship work from Radical Axis over at TheBarnesVault.com haha. My tumblr is the best way to follow my current work.

ATB: Wow, I agree on Unsupervised being extremely underrated. Do you watch cartoons now, or maybe you have for years..? This may be similar to your answer in the second question above, but what are some of your favorite cartoons?

JB: I’m constantly watching new cartoons, mainly animator’s personal projects on youtube or vimeo. See above. Haha.

ATB: Any advice for aspiring animators?

JB: First off, get comfortable and connected with your creativity. Sit with a stack of post-it notes and just draw if you’re not comfortable with your own style yet. I find the post-it note format keeps things fast, simple, and small; there’s little room for details and overwhelming pressure (especially if you doodle with a Sharpie, that’s my fav). Another thing that’s helped me get comfortable and connected with my creativity over the years is “There are no rules, just tools.” At least when it comes to my own work, I constantly remind myself that there is no one watching over my shoulder telling me how things should look. It calms me down (I’m kind of an anxious person in that respect haha). If there’s one thing I’ve learned about art, it’s that you’ve gotta stay loose and relaxed. Otherwise you tighten up and your work gets strangled and stiff. Feel the flow, as they say. You also gotta FEED the flow, too! Get a tumblr account and start following artists, and then follow the artists that those artists follow/reblog. That’s the quickest way to get connected with other artists and stay fresh on current trends and techniques. Not to mention it’s an endless feed of inspiration. Some truly brilliant artists floating out there in the blogosphere that you won’t find in any production art book or art history book unfortunately.

ATB: We want to thank Jason for doing this interview, and for imparting such great advice to our readers! Thanks again, Jason!