10 Rock Stars Reimagined As Cartoon Characters From The 1930s Drawn By This ArtistBy Vika https://pictolic.com/article/10-rock-stars-reimagined-as-cartoon-characters-from-the-1930s-drawn-by-this-artist.html
Kev Craven is a cartoonist from the city of York in England, who is known for his fascination with the aesthetics of 1930s animations, also known as "rubber hose." He experiments with this style a lot by drawing famous characters and, this time, famous rock stars in the form of cartoon characters.
Pictolic reached out to Kev, and in the interview, the artist shared what initially sparked his interest in perfecting his skills in such an old-school style: “I’ve been drawing since a very young age and always had a taste for older cartoons of the 1930s and '40s. Growing up, I could recognize that there was something more appealing to me about the cartoons of that era, and I wanted to learn to replicate it.”
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Kev continued with the interview by sharing how his life changed since childhood, and how he only recently came back to drawing cartoons again.
“Other interests came up in the years between childhood and now, which led me to study film, TV, and graphic design. In the last 5-6 years I have returned to my first love of cartooning and putting it at the forefront of my focus, which has certainly caught a lot of attention online and allowed me to become a freelance artist.”
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We were curious to know what initially drew Kev to the "rubber hose" animation style, and how he first discovered this passion.
“A local TV station would play hours of black and white Popeye cartoons from the 1930s when I was in my late teens. I loved them and wondered about this lost art form. I began to study all the animation books I could find and wondered what today’s popular cartoons and celebrities would look like in the rubber hose style. I didn’t share my work back then, that came much later in 2021. Once the Cuphead game came around, it sparked interest in the rubber hose style again and that sparked me to start sharing and pursuing the art style I loved more,” wrote Kev.
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Kev continued: “I realized that if I wanted to become a good cartoonist, I had to follow the evolution of the animation industry. So the early rubber hose cartoons were the starting point because it’s the foundation of the whole art form and you can follow the evolution from Felix the Cat in the 1920s through to the Looney Tunes of the 1940s. Looney Tunes took the principles and built on them as many of the artists started out working on rubber hose cartoons. I wanted to follow in their footsteps but got sucked into the rubber hose world more than I first thought I would and ended up making a name for myself, which is wonderful and I’m very grateful for!”
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We asked Kev to walk us through his creative process when reimagining contemporary rock stars in the aesthetics of 1930s animation.
“My process is first to find personalities that have quite distinctive looks and attitudes. There are many in the rock star category! I then use the standard building blocks of rubber hose characters, such as the use of circles and pear shapes and, of course, the bendy rubber hose pipes to connect them all together. It’s then a case of choosing how to dress the character and simplify the details as much as possible without losing their essence.
Even though these characters aren’t animated, I treat them as if they will be, which requires a certain design sensibility and attention to simplifying the forms for clarity. It’s always a trade-off with how far I can push it. I do the process from start to finish in Procreate on the iPad and always record myself by holding my phone in my left hand while my right-hand draws. Sometimes they come very quickly, other times I will redraw the work several times before I feel it has captured the essence of the person and the rubber hose style,” explained Kev.
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Kev shared the challenges that he encountered in adapting modern pop culture icons into the "rubber hose" style: “The challenge is the trade-off between detail and simplicity. My question is always what is the least I can get away with drawing and still represent the person effectively.”
The artist also added by sharing the insights he has learned from practicing this long-lost art form for over a decade.
“Things come a lot more naturally now, through years of practice around the construction of characters from books I studied (Advanced Animation by Preston Blair, The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams, and many more). For example, I can draw a hand in most gestures from the library I’ve built up in my mind that has come from copying hundreds of hands from cartoons and books. I use the example of hands because every artist knows the struggle! But rubber hose is like learning a language, and you become more fluent over time. That doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with hands-on occasion!” wrote Kev.
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