New from McCracken and Faust

I’m way overdue in reporting on the current activities of cartoon creator Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home) and his wife, animator Lauren Faust (Iron Giant, Cats Don’t Dance). I caught up with them at the CTN Expo last November where they were displaying their latest projects.

Craig is developing Wander Over Yonder (above), a new character he hopes to bring to life in animation but is only available now in sneak peek form – in a sketchbook and on a T-shirt available directly from Craig himself. The sketchbook is really cool because, though it’s a series of still pictures, it tells a little story about an appealing oddball character. Check it out here.

Lauren has developed a line of girl characters and limited edition dolls (available only at FAO Schwarz) called Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls (below). Apparently it’s catching on, and gaining quite a cult among gals of all ages. I love it when animators like McCracken and Faust use their skills to create their own properties and find ways to bypass the traditional business model to connect with an audience. That’s the way it should be.


  • http://www.hipchickcomics.com Ashanti

    It’s because they’re AWESOME. Much encouragement to McCracken-Faust! Of should I say Faust-McCracken out of affinity?\

    ^_^

  • George

    Outstanding! Brings back the sting of missing CTN, but ordering all the Wander Over Yonder stuff certainly helps ease the pain. Thanks for the heads up Jerry!

  • http://www.theaftend.com Allan

    Thanks for the heads up! I ordered a sketchbook. Can’t wait to get it!

    On a side note, would you believe I can’t find the Complete Powerpuff Girls DVD in any store?! I was starting to think it’s not available in Canada but I just checked Amazon.ca and they’re now carrying it. Still, it should be in stores for old guys* like me who like to choose the bestest copy.

    *not old

  • http://www.voice123.com Voice123 – Voice Overs for Cartoons

    The Wonder over Yonder character looks really cool, hope Craig McCracken can bring it to life and animate it.

    T shirt looks great by the way!

  • Ketil Bleidin

    I`ve got a good feeling about this one.

  • Horacio

    Wow.. the stuff’s not animated yet and he’s selling merchandise already?

    *That’s capitalism for ya!

  • Christopher Cook

    I’ve met Lauren several times and she’s as charming as she is talented. Craig’s a good egg as well. I have a Wander Over Yonder T-shirt.

  • http://scottmorse.blogspot.com Scott Morse

    These two are totally worth supporting in everything they do, so go spend a few bucks. Their work is worth it, and they’re worth it.

  • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

    Very inspiring! It makes me wanna go do the same thing.

  • Horacio

    Does Yonder look kinda like a Fosters imaginary monster?

    Not to put down any of their works because they’ve oviously been successful, but whats the deal with selling merchandise before anything is animated?

    Has making money from Fosters and the Girls worn off?! Are they really that strapped for cash?

    Somehow I doubt it, since those shows were very popular. So what is it with merchandising?? Do people really need to follow and worship artists that much, that you should go off and buy everything and anything that has to do with them?

    Like Ron says, it’s inspiring… but move ON! And create you’re on thing.

  • TheGunheart

    @Horacio: Are we sure he even makes that much money off of merchandising for those shows? I mean, he may be the creator, but given how screwed up the animation business can be, it wouldn’t surprise me if CN got well more than the lion’s share of the cash.

  • http://tedwilsonillustration.blogspot.com/ ted

    Hey Horacio,

    How do you suppose artists make money? By selling….wait for it…ARTWORK!
    The only alternative you seem open to is mass media production through the big networks. Seems to me that individual producers of art should be encouraged as much as possible.
    And “Move on” from what? He CREATED those shows! They’re based on HIS STYLE.
    Kudos to both of them for showing the commercial gumption North America needs to pull itself out of this recession.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    After working with Craig for five years – I can assure you this latest project isn’t about money – It’s about passion.

    As far as merchandising something that hasn’t been animated, it’s called building a brand, which is what everyone is encouraged to do. It creates and audience and makes a property more valuable to producers and investors. He’s also making a graphic novel out of the character. He is doing his own thing.

    He and Lauren could sit back and rest on their laurels, but they love to create and are both super talented. I can’t wait to see more from both of them.

  • http://www.mukpuddy.blogspot.com mukpuddy

    Any good artist will continue to be inspired to create there own things, and it’s great for us that they do!

  • Gobo

    “move ON! And create you’re on thing.”

    Craig IS creating his own thing: a new, fresh character, which he’s establishing with art and merch to stoke public interest before taking it to animation. Yeah, it kinda looks like a Foster’s character, because he drew it — that’s his style. Horacio, apparently you’ve never been to ComiCon, or you’d see tons of artists selling their art… Doug TenNapel with his latest sketchbooks or graphic novel, for example. That’s how artists work.

  • http://kitschensyngk.deviantart.com Kitschensyngk

    I’ve seen Lauren’s MWGG work on her deviantART page. It’s very good.

    Kudos to her and Craig.

  • Lara Smith

    The MWGG stuff is very cute, and I can see it catching on nationally, but – $50.00 for one doll?!

  • http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/ Nina Paley

    Merch is an art form in itself – as legitimate a creative expression as “content.” The Galaxy Girl dolls look great!

  • Horacio

    I guess what i’m also trying to say, bluntly, is that these ideas aren’t that innovating, to me!

    Obviously kudos for making money off your art(*god knows we need that to survive) But i wonder how much this fan base has to do with their names, and not their un-motivated design styles.

    Television animation kinda does that to you doesn’t it? Repeat alot of things?

    Again, just one guy’s opinion. No harm intended.

    Nina: You’re right about merchandise. It’s an art all to itself. I just don’t believe in over doing it. Sponge-bob is fine, cause it’s already a tv hit. But did the creator merchandise his character before production? I personally don’t know the story of that, so i can’t say.

  • http://trevour.blogspot.com Trevour

    Since when was it a requirement to animate something before selling any sort of merchandise? That makes zero sense.

  • Ultra

    Horacio,

    I’d suggest you actually check out the sketchbook etc. before deciding whether the work is innovative or not. I can also tell you that Craig isn’t doing this just to sell a potential tv show. He’s been wanting to do a collection of comic strips for years and this is the beginning. Lauren has also spent a lot of time on the Galaxy Girls and handmade the prototypes herself just for the love of it.

    I’d suggest you broaden your perception a bit. It appears that you think that just because Craig and Lauren were tv animation creators in the past, that the only reason they would create new art is to promote a show. People in animation do have other passions, you know.

    BTW, have you actually worked in tv animation. Your quote:
    “Television animation kinda does that to you doesn’t it? Repeat alot of things?” Seems to be based solely on conjecture and I can tell you it is absolutely without merit in this case.

    As pointed out earlier, Craig’s new character bears a passing resemblance to some of the Foster’s characters, BECAUSE HE CREATED BOTH. If you actually look at the Wander Over Yonder sketchbook it’s much more reminiscent of the work of Vaughn Bode.

    I’d also like to know what you mean by “un-motivated” design styles. Would it be more “motivated” if it was something you liked? You seem to just have a bone to pick; to put it bluntly.

  • jen

    @Lara: $50 is actually not a bad price, considering the quality of the work for something made in a factory. I purchased a Milky Way doll for myself (since the $300-$400 versions hand-sewn by Ms. Faust herself were just a TAD out of my price range) and the doll is beautifully made.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    @Horacio

    It’s cool not to like something – it’s your opinion.

    As far as the mentality of creating merchandise around a character that hasn’t been animated, look at Happy Bunny by Jim Benton and Hello Kitty. Both of those have earned Millions of dollars in merchandise sells.

    As far as getting a following based on an artist name goes, that’s part of brand building for yourself. Thomas Kinkade has done it as well as other artists.

  • http://weirdurl.com zsl

    itt: one troll tries to criticize an adorable book he has not read. everyone swallows the bait.

    Much as I love these sites, these places never have shirts in my size. I’d love that shirt, the blue and white one, since even if I didnt know who made it, it has a cool design regardless. But just never in my size. Time to eat more salad.

  • Horacio

    Just to finish this ridiculous conversation(*my bad), i’d like ot say “to each their own”. We’re allowed opinions on here right?

    Trevour(mispelled?): You’re right, you don’t have to animate anything before you sell your brand, but given that this article specifically says he’s “developing this brand” towards an animated series, that’s where I came up with that idea(*funny isn’t it?)

    Ultra: I sincerelly promote folks in the industry having other passions. I have no beef towards Craig and Lauren(*don’t know them) I’m simply stating my opinion on their designs. Regarding TV animation, it’s obvious that there’s a very small clique of creators and such who get their shows on the air, so designs tend to repeat themselves. And of course i work in television design, otherwise I wouldn’t be saying anything.

    By un-motivating designs, it was simply an opinion. I work in television animation design and am not seeing much variety in america. Maybe because they keep letting past-creators do their alternate ideas rather than look outside the box and let new people in?

    To finish, I am not bashing these guys, I don’t even KNOW them. I’m just frustrated at producers in general who, by hiring past creators and directors, we get similar design results. And I’m not saying these guys shouldn’t get noticed for the “passions”, I just have a beef with the higher-ups in general.

  • http://909pop.com Mike Scott

    Saw a pic of this character years ago and instantly fell in love with it. Aah. Good luck with it.