Spongebob Squarepants Designs by Robert Ryan Cory

Spongebob design by Robert Ryan Cory

These Spongebob character expression and pose designs by Robert Ryan Cory raise TV animation to the level of art. The creativity and design in these drawings is invigorating and inspiring.

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  • http://incoherent-thought.blogspot.com Vincent

    Oh sooo pretty. Oh sooo fun.

  • Sara

    OK, I expect lines like “raise TV animation to the level of art” from other sources? But this site? Really? TV animation – not just “Spongebob” – is not “Art”?

  • yvette kaplan

    I think my smile is permanently etched on my face. : )
    What a great way to start the day! Thank you Robert! Thank you Amid!

  • http://ukracattack.blogspot.com RacattackForce

    I always assumed television animation WAS art, no matter how you look at it. These drawings are just spectacular anyway though.

  • http://andrewatteberry.blogspot.com Andrew Lee

    Wow…How high is that horse your sitting on Sara?

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    I second Sara’s thought, and also wonder, though these drawings are really fun and definitely well-executed, how are they any different from John K./Spumco styled drawings (that are as creative, and as well-executed)? I just don’t buy the claim that these drawings *in particular* “raise TV animation to the level of art.” I’m also a bit hesitant to say what qualifies as “art,” because the definition of “art” truly differs from individual to individual–though I guess that’s pretty obvious.

    There were moments in last Thursday’s new Flapjack cartoon that made me think, “Wow. Awesome creative risks are being taken, and personal stories are being told.” I’m much more interested in seeing TV animation “raised to the level of art” on TV!

  • Sara

    I’m not really sure why my horse is supposed to be taller than anyone else’s because I think there is plenty of television animation that qualifies as “art” from both decades past and the modern day. These drawings are great and funny and beautifully done, but I wouldn’t say that they take television animation to heights it has never reached before. Is it really arrogant or conceited of me to think that more TV animation deserves to be called “art,” not less?

  • Sean

    I agree with Emily…. these are fun… but owe a great debt to John K, Bob Camp, and Ralph Bakshi…. Are we seeing anything new here, or even as good?

  • http://www.onanimation.com Dan Caylor

    Very cool drawings. I’ve never thought Spongebob’s design was cool until now.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    No Patrick :(

  • http://tetecarree.blogspot.com David Gale

    These are fantastic. Does any of this stuff make it to air? (haven’t seen the show in ages)

  • http://philrynda.blogspot.com Uncle Phil Rynda

    These are awesome Cory. Way to kill it.

  • Steve Lambe

    Incredible. Corey’s is truly a cartoonist on a higher level. The insane thing that these few drawings are just the tip of the iceberg. He’s got a book filled with hundreds more. All equally as high quality.

    I’m just curious but why is it every time a drawing is considered cartoony, it’s compared to John? Why can’t someone say…oh he’s influenced by Clampett, or Chuck Jones, or even Basil Wolverton. There are other sources of exaggerated animation than just Spumco.

  • http://incoherent-thought.blogspot.com Vincent

    David G. I think most of it made it to air. A lot of them are on and off very quick. But they were there.

  • http://mcdworkshop.com Chris McD

    Cory, you threatened to go online with your work for the last seven years and now you did it and it is real nice.

  • http://zachattackary.blogspot.com Zach Smith

    These are great! Art can still be something that is founded on an already existing idea. I mean do you think Jackson Pollock invented the ability for paint to splatter?

  • Chuck R.

    Sara, I think it’s possible that your original comment was misinterpreted. I agree that we’ve seen excellent work coming from television in the past, but Amid’s original comment is a defensible one (as I interpret it):

    The talent, creativity and sheer chutzpah in these designs provoke a strong response in the viewer —far beyond simply meeting the needs of the show. These are special and deserve a serious appraisal. (No one claims that this is a first.)

    RR Cory, thanks for leaving me amazed!

  • Tom Heres

    Sean: the men you cite are a product of a lifetime of seeing Tex Avery, Cliff Sterrett. Bob Clampett, Basil Wolverton and many others. These drawings, while more appealing and more structured than anything he’s done in years, they do owe a debt to John K., sure, but they represent the most recent examples of a genre of cartooning that is by no means finished. I see no reason to put an asterix next to this in the record books.

  • http://chrisbattleillustration.blogspot.com/ Chris Battle

    This and a nice cuppa joe start my morning off right :)

    I say more coverage of new animation Bloggers/Fickr-ers as they pop up, Amid!

  • Billy Batz

    TV animation IS art buddy.

  • Jeffrey T. McAndrew

    This made my day. Think we will ever get to see a book on the art of Spongebob printed? I hope so. The Nicktoons! book that was printed a couple years back was great, but I want more. I wish this sort of talent and creativity was used more often in shows like Spongebob.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    This great drawing and many others like it routinely make it into SPONGEBOB episodes, which is why I watch it as often as possible. But, it leads to questions…

    1. How do these sometimes frightening drawings make it onto NICK? When the Flying Dutchman vomited up a giant baby head and throbbing guts and bugs I couldn’t believe the sequence was approved for broadcast – but I’m glad it was. Same goes for the many sequences in which the characters are disemboweled, have brains ripped out, and so on. It’s some of the funniest stuff ever.

    2. If it’s possible to get these whimsically grotesque things on kid’s TV, why is almost no one else doing it? SPONGEBOB has been on ten years, yet its successful wild creativity has not spread to other shows. Not much, anyway. BILLY AND MANDY had a touch of cool gore, but it didn’t have the raw power of the sponge. INVADER ZIM was a top-notch killer show. FLAPJACK has some unsavory promise. What else, what else…

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    Those are crazy fun. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sam Filstrup

    Great stuff, it’s to bad the shows hasn’t been funny since the movie. The first three seasons had it down then all the sudden it changed, making Spongebob more annoying then amusing.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    It’s interesting to note that the gore and the grotesque in these Spongebob drawings, as in other shows such as Ren and Stimpy, and Flapjack, is put on a higher pedestal of TV animation in some of our minds. My makeshift theory is that we appreciate it when cartoons have flesh, blood, and bones that resemble a human’s. Furthermore, when cartoon characters react to things, and express emotions, the more they demonstrate that they are humanlike through these gross reveals, using their bodies for expression, the more we feel they are alive.

  • William Goodrich

    Spectacular cameo by Popeye’s tattooed penis masquerading as Spongebob’s limp hat. Such artistic subversion renders Nick’s corporate parent even richer, so Nick permits the odd vomited bloody baby head as long as this decade-old hit helps boost their sinewy bottom line.

  • http://incoherent-thought.blogspot.com Vincent

    FP, Mainly because they are happening to very cartoony characters in a very cartoony way, and within seconds the characters are back to their normal selves.
    As the person that handles the S&P notes and the push backs. It isn’t easy brother.
    I don’t think any of our characters have ever been disemboweled, though they have lost their skins or portions of them from time to time.

  • Robertryan Cory

    Wow…I’m not sure where to begin. Thanks Amid for the nice words…..I don’t even know how you found about this so fast. I guess if my work feels indebted to Spumco it may be cause I worked there or rather that if you draw something solid and funny it gets put in that category. I’m slowly adding more but flickr has a 100mb limit unless I pay which I may do. This work is for Spongebob and my personal work looks nothing like this, I would hold off criticism about whether I’m an artist until then. Thanks everyone for the love or hate
    -cory

  • Stone

    glad to see Cory’s getting some well deserved love.

  • An Animation Clean-Up Artist for a Major Outsourcing Studio

    Yeah….thanks for all those wrinkles, folds, spots, whiskers, wobbly arms and legs. You know I get paid by the drawing, right?

  • Rex The Runt

    I see lots of Basil Wolverton and John K and Camp here – but done with real joy and skill. As for art? Animation is very often art, but as long as many people’s primary reference points are kid’s show and nostalgia ( rather than the other arts ) it will hold the artform back.

    I’ve seen some amazing stuff thanks to the Brew ( ‘Please Say Something’ for example ) but it’s dismaying that the posts which always attract the biggest responses by far are always about Pixar ( does the new film suck? ) or Disney ( does the whole company suck? ) or getting really, really pissed at Cartoon Network.

    It’s like hanging out in the children’s section of a library and complaining there should be more books in there for grown ups. If you wander round to the other side of the shelves you’ll find them.

  • Annie-Mae

    I’ve seen this guys stuff featured through Vincent Waller’s blog>> http://incoherent-thought.blogspot.com/?zx=97f26eeeb6e9efeb . He is amazing and I’m glad he made a gallery for himself somewhere.

  • Paul N

    So random hairs, dripping pus, and throbbing veins are what elevates cartoons to the status of “art”? Got it…

  • http://bobjinx.blogspot.com Bob Flynn

    These just about made my day—probably my week! Cartooning at it’s best—real fluid organic forms that have a physical presence and weight to them. Thanks for raising the bar, and pushing the artform.

  • http://cartoondavid.blogspot.com david

    nice work, Cory! kickass! you need a blog.

    I agree with Steve. Everytime a cartoony drawing is posted they pull the JK card. But a Disney-esque post never gets its balls busted for “ripping” glen keane, milt khal, etc. etc. The JK comments get really tiresome after a while.

    Amid and Jerry both have specific tastes. Sometimes i don’t agree with them, but i still visit the site to see something that will occasionally pique my interest. There are tons of other art blogs to visit that have something for everyone. Why waste your time arguing. Why would i go to an anime site and belittle the art because it’s highly influenced by previous artists of the genre? Because it’s a pointless thing to do. Don’t be a h8r

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    Wow. Thanks for the “check yo’self”-esque post, David. I myself did not mean to knock the artist at all, just think that elevating certain (and not others) cartoons to “high art” is tricky business. These drawings are certainly inspiring, and I am glad that the artist got recognition on the Brew. I’m sorry if my posts were taken the wrong way. These (as others have said) are definitely the coolest looking Spongebob drawings I’ve seen yet.

  • Azz

    These are awesome and while similar in style to John K they are superior because they actually look appealing and are on model.

    I haven’t seen a drawing on John K’s blog in years that has been a)truly appealing b)solid or c) containing the rules that he himself champions so constantly.

    oooo!

  • http://toonamir.blogspot.com Amir Avni

    Brilliant!

  • Kris Pearn

    These are fantastic! Made my day. Thanks for posting.

  • http://andrewatteberry.blogspot.com Andrew Lee

    Totally misread your post Sara…..my bad…..I neglected the emphasis of curly things at the end of your sentences.

    It’s amazing how much I agree with you when it’s all in context!

  • http://www.blackdotstudios.com Ian Jones-Quartey

    These are so incredible.

  • Jason

    The only reason I still watch new Spongebob episodes is the animation. It’s great. But the scripting…ye gods, are they using interns to write scripts now? Because the latest ones have sucked. In recent episodes, Spongebob is out of character and twice as retarded (if he was ever retarded in the first place, which is arguable) and pretty callous as well. And oh yeah, NOT FUNNY. If it weren’t for the great art and deft animation I’d tune the show out altogether. Nick ought to start caring about this show’s quality again instead of just raking in the loot.

  • ArthurF

    I think “The Mighty B” is a huge competitor in terms of setting the bar high – it is a fresh return to some of Ren and Stimply style excellence (when it was) such as background color shifts for expression etc.. but with great character expression, good plots and even addressing a set of female characters while – get this – keeping a continuity between the cartoons, not like each cartoon is totally different looking, which is where Spongebob suffers over every ten episodes, as well as R & N. Another one that was excellent in terms of the character of “Mr. Whiskers” was Brandy and Mr.Whiskers, yes I said it – Disney.

  • Jason

    Mr. Whiskers was an exact and deliberate cross, in looks and personality, between Stimpy the Cat and Roger Rabbit. And it was a very bad mix. Stylistically the rabbit wasn’t as appealing as Brandy and just about every other character on the show looked better than he did. Not good for a major character in ANY show.

  • Sara

    Thanks for clarifying, Andrew Lee. I can see how my comment would have seemed arrogant if you read it as me saying that TV animation in general should not be considered art. Glad to know we agree that there are other examples of TV animation out there that can be considered “art.”

    Again, I think these drawings are great. I just don’t agree that they stand alone in terms of the level of quality coming out of TV animation.

  • Jeremiah

    I’m watching the newest spongebob episodes right now and the drawing of the characters and their expressions is really lacking compared to the past. The difference in these new episodes show how important the ability to draw and reveal expression in the characters are to the success of the show. These characters in the new episodes are simply flat, and I am having a hard time getting into them because of that.
    The act of drawing (cartoon or otherwise) and the ability to use lines and gestures in capturing expression, as done by Cory for example, is Art in my book.

  • http://smomotion.com :: smo ::

    just thought i’d bring it back around, ever since this post i’ve scoped this flickr page out now and again. this guy’s got some chops! and these drawings are awesome and funny i love it! thanks for the post guys!

    i think he has some work in this book: http://meathaus.com/buy/

    i’d really like to grab it once i get some extra moola.