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Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web, and Short Film Paperback – August 24, 2010

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JOE MURRAY is an author, illustrator, animator, and filmmaker most widely known for his two hit animated shows, Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, both Emmy winners and with global fan bases in the millions of viewers. He has written and illustrated three children’s books, including Who Asked the Moon to Dinner? His production studio in Southern California has been in business for over 25 years. Visit Joe online at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823033074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823033072
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MikeL on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Of course most of you reading this are interested in animation, and some of you may even dream of making your own animated television show someday. I know I do. I've had that dream since I was seven, and I've been working toward my goal by animating since I was ten. Unfortunately, even if you think you have a good concept for a show, you have no idea how to get it made, so your idea will probably just sit in your brain and you'll eventually take it with you to the grave.

Or at least, that's how it used to be. Luckily, the creator of Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo wrote a book that can help. Now you can know everything you ever wanted to, thanks to Joe Murray's Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web and Short Film. (Goodness me, that's a long name for a book).

Creating Animated Cartoons with Character give readers the insight into what goes into creating an animated series from concept to bible to pitch to production, all using examples from Murray's own career as well as those of his friends, such as Stephen Hillenberg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Will you need an agent? Will they steal your ideas? The answers to questions every aspiring creator has are answered here. This book will force the reader to examine his or her motivation for attempting to make an animated series, as well as giving the reader a realistic idea of what to expect, or rather, what not to expect. Murray brilliantly explains how to create likeable characters and how to prepare a pitch. He also offers practical advice that can be used in just about any job, like not being a jerk and keeping your ego in check.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kjohnson1585 on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Animation is a woefully little-examined field, and while nowadays several animators often write or blog about their experiences and techniques, it's much more difficult to find a streamlined, straight-forward examination of the entire process. Joe Murray, creator of hit shows Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, does exactly that.

With a clear, comprehensive style, visual record, and insightful Q&As with other big-name animation experts, Murray pretty much answers every possible question one may have along the lines of developing a cartoon from the ground up. Pitching, design, character, scheduling, working with networks - everything is explained in as much detail as possible. There are some moments early on where the details are skipped, like how he moved on from local comic-newspaper artist to a full-fledged studio, but the details are about the network cartoon business, not so much his life before then.

I would say that the only issue I have is that there's a heavy use of metaphors, and while I understand it has such a writing trope to help the younger or the unfamiliar understand the business better, Murray is clear and concise enough with his initial explanations of events that it makes such analogies moot.

If you are curious about the business, eager to pitch your own cartoon, or looking to work in animation in any format, I would highly recommend this. Very down-to-earth and approachable, informative without being condescending, and - well, let's be frank: it's the entire approach by the guy who created one of the best animated shows in mid-90s. That alone makes it a must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Casey A Lowe on September 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those who haven't caught on yet, this book was written (brilliantly, I feel) by the great Joe Murray, creator of the hit shows "Rocko's Modern Life" and "Camp Lazlo". I got my copy of this book the other day and was shocked at how thick it actually was! My immediate thought was that it would be filled with big pictures and sparse text; a pleasant surprise awaited me as I flipped through it. It's much more dense and thorough than I expected. The book is actually very well thought-out, entertaining, and informative. The pictures that are included (which are sized just right, not just filler) pertain to the text and are really quite inspiring.

A bit on the content: Mr. Murray starts with a brief Bio that includes some great illustrations from earlier in his career, followed by a very brief animation history lesson. This is a great way to start the book, since you can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been. He commences to plow forward by picking his brain about his own process in creating characters and stories, following them from initial kernel of an idea in your head to getting them on paper to creating personalities to pitching your idea, preparing a mini-bible for the pilot, producing the pilot, taking it to series, maintaining your sanity when this is your life day in and day out for years, etc. He does a fantastic job of illustrating the realities of the business while still infusing plenty of his creativity. His thorough commentary provides a step-by-step insight into what to expect (and prepare yourself for) in the creation of a television animation series. The icing on the cake? Mr. Murray also includes several interviews with other series creators and talents, picking their brains about their own process and insights on the industry.

I cannot recommend this book enough for both creatives and fans of cartoons! :^)
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