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Cartoon Culture

Classic Cartoon Character TwitterArt

I’m getting a kick out of this TwitterArt by Gregory Wadsworth, a freelance 3D illustrator in Manhattan. He’s creating a chronological series of tweets commemorating Hollywood cartoon stars – in tweets composed of the maximum of 140 characters.

I’m not sure I understand how he does it, but Greg explains:

“The tweets are composed of a maximum of 140 Unicode box-drawing characters. Box-drawing characters were developed to create tables (frames, or row and column separations) for early text-based computer interfaces, like DOS. To create the imagery, each box-drawing “word” – separated with a space or line-break character – has to be long enough so that it wraps under the previous “word.” Here is a list of articles about “twitter art”.

I’m only representing characters that were created for animation. Adapted characters like Popeye and Bonzo aren’t included. It’s limited to headliners who appeared in four or more cartoons, which excludes characters like Gertie and Goopy Geer. For teams like Tom and Jerry, only one character will be represented. Many early characters, whose images were difficult to obtain, were also left out. Some browsers will display the designs better than others. The series will likely end with 1949.”

Beautiful work! Follow Greg and his tweets, here.

  • James

    Most interesting is that he is starting at 1914 with Heeza Liar and continuing at a near-annual rate up to 1949 (or beyond?). Some very good research at some very obscure cartoon stars as well.

  • “Sausage”, whoever that esoteric character is, looks an awful lot like Olive Oyl to me.

  • Sausage is part of the duo of Sammy and Sausage, a boy and his dog rather obviously inspired by Bobby/Fido and Dinky/Weakheart. British Pathe has uploaded several shorts from the series.

  • GW

    It’s always homages to classic American cartoon characters. Why not anime characters or Soviet Russian characters for a change?

    • Do you know of any classic recurring characters from Japan or Russia?

      I’m reading Jerry’s incredibly comprehensive history book “Animation Art” right now and I’m up to the 50s or so, and I don’t really remember any classic recurring characters from any country besides America.

      The best I can think of is Bonzo the Dog from Great Britain, but I think he was more of a comic book character. There’s also Norakuro-kun from 1930s Japan, but that’s all I can think of.

      Most of the cartoons I’ve watched from other countries were short stories that had one-time characters, while American cartoons really tried to find cartoon stars.

      • GW

        Probably not from as far back in time. There’s a tendency in Russian animation to have generic characters that slowly change over time. But if you go further into the future, there’s more stars. Crocodile Gena and Cheburaska, the major characters from Shaybu! Shaybu!, The Koloboks, Karlson, the Vinni Pukh characters, the rabbit and wolf from Nu Pogodi, and Kitten Named Gaf(going by the title). If you count some social propaganda characters that crop up more than once there’s Masha and Uncle Styopa.

        I looked up Japanese animation and you’re right. Nonetheless, I hadn’t meant a similar time period, I’d just like to see something from some other time and place.

    • thanks for the comments

      This series celebrates the first recurring headliners originating in animation, regardless of nationality. Kapten Grogg (1916) is Swedish. Pongo, Jerry the Troublesome Tyke, and [Sammy &] Sausage are British.
      Norakuro (のらくろ) won’t be included because he started as a comic book.

  • Nik

    LOL. ASCII art.


    • C

      Really all it is (nice it still thrives at all these days).