So this James Hood fellow is the new ‘resident’ illustrator for Adam and Joe at the Big British Castle…
Ok so I’m jealous. I’ll admit it.
I feel terribly petty about it, but Adam has plugged this guy in every show since they came back from their long sabbatical and it fills me with both with an inner rage and envious bile.
Damn him. And his ‘resident’ status.
I feel this way about anyone Adam and Joe mention – During Text the Nation particularly. There’s an immediate and INTENSE resentment towards the person whose emails have been read out. I want the world to IMPLODE violently so I’m the ONLY surviving Adam and Joe listener so they HAVE to read out my email, even if it’s just a list of my groceries for the week.
My rage against Mr. Hood is however largely because I genuinely don’t like the way he draws. At all, on any level – which I will go into in detail below.
So lets put my pettiness and territorial jealousy to one side and critique this mans work as objectively as I can (snort)
Please feel free to disagree as volubly as you like about my critique and please post any rebuttals in the comment section below. I always feel a good crit is meant to inflame and aggravate.
Lets dive right in there:
To begin – I dislike scribble drawings.
I mean, really, this faux-naive cartoon style is in itself so immensely irritating.
I’m not talking about Outsider art or even the naive style of painting (both of which I enjoy), because they have some other redeeming qualities beyond perfect and immaculate drawing. Colour, texture, humour, content, intensity of detail.
I’m talking about badly drawn cartoons that seem (to me) to be stylistically manufactured to wallpaper over poor drawing skills and laziness of observation. (I’m channeling Foz and Gary here, can you feel it?)
I’m happy to forgive it as a ‘style’ if the drawing is secondary to the content.
Perhaps the content is dark or biting or funny or witty (á la Shrigley) but if nothing new is brought to the table either stylistically or in terms of content I don’t know what there is to look at.
Therefore I find James Hood’s work rather mediocre. He brags about having won ‘Young cartoonist of the year’ – twice no less. For what I’m not really sure. (meow pussy cat)
1. His work is not funny ha ha.
2. It’s not even funny I’m-laughing-on-the-inside.
Adam said he ‘liked the naive style and almost grotesque drawings’ but it isn’t enough one way or another. There’s not really enough of anything. Not weird enough, not detailed enough, not funny enough.
And it’s all so Tesco’s basic. He could fill this page end to end with characters instead of largely using the Photoshop paint-bucket fill tool to colour it black
Someone on the comment feed compared him to the illustrator Andrew Rae (hardly to Rae’s credit). Rae’s work is in fact very carefully drawn and is crawling with small but interesting details.
Hood’s work on the other hand feels heavily stylized. Heavy being the right word. It’s all flat and lacking any subtle touches. The ‘shaky hand’, the little half-finished lines, the lumpiness, the one-tone colours in pastels.
Yawn yawn. Generic cartoon network/Nickleodeon minus the fun animation and silly voices.
Am I being hugely bitchy? Probably, but nonetheless I think my criticisms are valid ones.
Below is a Nickleodeon cartoon called ‘Arrgh! Real Monsters’ which reminds me of this style. Lots of half lines and scratches and lumpiness. There are a variety of cartoons like this. But I particularly like the monsters in this one. They have fun little quirks and live in the sewer eating unpleasant things.
Hood’s likenesses are also poor – this is coming from someone who really struggles to produce decent likenesses. Perhaps that’s what irks – I struggle – this guy just poops out some shoddy scribble and is PLUGGED, oh my lord how he is plugged, on the show. (So much resentment)
Unless labeled as such I wouldn’t be able to tell that this was about Adam and Joe at all. I mean come on man, take the time to draw Joe a chin. Don’t be so bloody lazy.
To his credit however, I think his output is prompt and very quick, as it has to be to make one for every show for the next 12 weeks.
So to conclude – I’m just not feeling this guy. On any level. Drawing, humour or observation.
And I suppose am vaguely disappointed in Adam’s taste in illustration (although I suppose it does sort of fit the studenty-scribbly aesthetic I’ve always imagined A&J probably have.)
You may of course, dismiss this critique as biased and vitriolic, and some of it, perhaps is (Young Cartoonist of the Year. Snort.) but largely I stand by my critique of Jame’s work.
You know, it’s OK. It’s not bad, but it’s not good.
It’s just so….Meh.
Scribbles. I mean, what can I say.