The Art of Jay Ward Productions: A Visual Essay by Darrell van Citters

This week respected animation director Darrell van Citters will release his new book The Art of Jay Ward Productions. The 352-page book contains nearly one thousand illustrations featuring the studio’s classic cartoon characters including Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

Van Citters has not only created a lush coffeetable book, he aims to rewrite the studio’s history. The artwork of the Jay Ward shows isn’t typically celebrated for its artistic merit, but Van Citters makes a strong case that the studio’s artistry is worthy of critical appraisal. He tells Cartoon Brew that one of the book’s primary goals was “to identify and properly credit as many of the artists as possible for their previously unheralded work.” Certainly, many great talents passed through the studio, including Bill Hurtz, Roy Morita, Pete Burness, Sam Clayberger, and Shirley Silvey, to name but a few.

In the following visual essay, Van Citters traces the lineage of some of the studio’s most famous characters and explains the contributions of different artists.

The book, which is published by Van Citters’ personal imprint Oxberry Press retails for $49.95. It will debut this weekend at the CTN Animation Expo and will be available afterward at or

  • demonvaska

    Got to thumb through this book yesterday and it’s quite excellent; good scans on good paper and very informative. A lot of hard work went into cleaning up many of the scans where the originals were practically ruined.

  • Funkybat

    A great visual history of the development of these legendary characters! Between all the art and the writing this looks like a must-buy. $50 is a bit dear for me, but I’ll find a way to scrounge it up.

  • theGee

    Looked through the essay. All I can say is those are some crazy line choices,

  • Satchel

    They stole it from the Bauhaus. Nothing UPA did was new in art but it was perceived as groundbreaking in commercial animation, chiefly by UPA.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I can see how that came about.

  • Sherm Cohen

    I picked this up at CTN and it’s a million times better than I’d hoped…full of REAL production artwork and revealing stories of the creative team. I’ve always wanted to know who created all those wonderful designs, and all that info and art is in this book!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Just thinking of the statue having been a wreck lately, I don’t suppose proceeds of this will go to restore it. Just throwing it out.

  • Joel O’Brien

    …and I thought Clear Channel was the ‘brains’ behind “less is more”…