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.