When I was in grade school my favorite books were anything by Dr. Seuss and my favorite cartoons were the Warner Brothers LooneyTunes/Merry Melodies. Flash forward a few years and I'm creating dozens of designs for the Looney Tunes series and having a ball doing it.
Last night as we were driving back to Nashville from my father's 90th birthday celebration in Indiana, my lovely wife, Vickie was sitting next to me looking at her ipad when I heard that familiar tune that is played at the opening of all Looney Tune cartoons. Sure enough, she was watching our favorite cartoon of all time, Chuck Jones' masterpiece "What's Opera Doc?"(The figurines on our wedding cake were Elmer and Bugs in drag). I couldn't help but glance over occasionally to see what was going on. I mean, how could I miss seeing Elmer's massive shadow cast on the mountain's rocky face in the opening scene? Or Bugs, with golden braids flowing, reclined on the back of the rotund white steed as it gracefully glides down the hillside? I'm smiling now just thinking about it.
The cartoon is a masterful combination of dialogue, music, animation and beautifully painted backgrounds. I couldn't help but notice how closely Maurice Noble's backgrounds resemble the ones in my most recent books. Well, okay... my backgrounds resembled his. I've always stated that Dr. Seuss was the biggest influence in my writing, but I hadn't realized what a huge influence Maurice Noble had in my illustration style until seeing those images from "What's Opera Doc?" last night. Well, I'll be sure to give him more credit in the future!