Chuck Jones – The Evolution of an Artist

Chuck Jones – The Evolution of an Artist

Hi my name is Tony
and this is Every Frame a Painting. If you grew up like I did, you
probably watched a lot of Looney Tunes. And if you paid attention to the credits then you recognize this name. -“My full name is
Charles Martin Jones.” -“This is not where I really belong.” -“I belong behind the camera.” Chuck Jones is one of the
all-time masters of visual comedy. Between 1938 and 1962
he directed more than 200 cartoons
for Warner Bros. Ten films a year,
six minutes per film. What’s astonishing is that they hold up
more than 50 years later. And among them are some of the
greatest short films ever made. But none of this happened overnight.
It was a long process. So today, let’s take a look… at how a good artist became a great one. -“All right.
Let’s get this picture started!” -“No! No!” The most famous aspect
of any Chuck Jones cartoon (and the parts you probably remember)
are the jokes written by
Michael Maltese and Tedd Pierce. Nearly every gag here follows
a classic two-part structure. The first part… leads you to make an assumption.
The second part… proves it wrong. That’s it. Assumption: Reality. And in the early cartoons,
the jokes are fantastic and they happen one after the other. But here’s the truth:
the gags are only the surface level. What really sets these films apart is the amount of work
that was put into character. And that process took a long time. -“All characters are
a process of learning.” -“It’s hard for people to
understand who watch actors… -“…to realize that, actors come with
an ability. They’ve played other parts.” -“Hello.” -“When you bring in a drawing,
all you have is a drawing.” -“And you have to put in the character.” Consider the case of Daffy Duck. When he first started out… Daffy was more or less insane. -“Gosh what a screwy duck.” But over the course of 15 years,
he changed from being the one who laughs
to being the butt of the joke. This Daffy is less crazy but
it’s easier to understand what he wants. He wants money. He wants to be a star. In short, he wants glory. -“This looks like a job for… -“…The Masked Avenger!” In fact, all of Chuck Jones’ characters
have very clearly defined wants. This one wants a home. This one wants to daydream. And this one just wants
somebody to love. -“Ah my little darling.
It is love at first sight, is it not?” Notice that every desire here
is very simple. And the simpler the desire,
the more vivid the character. Once you know
what the character wants you can figure out
the next question: How does this
particular individual move? -“Every action is dictated
by what goes on inside of you.” -“You have to be able to think
the way the character thinks.” -“If you can’t tell what’s happening
by the way the character moves…” -“…you’re not animating.” -“I am a snake and
you have charmed me, no?” -“It helps to have the dialogue…” -“…but the dialogue is not
the thing that makes it work.” -“The story should tell itself
by the way it moves.” So let’s say you know
what the character wants and you know how they move to get it. What about the jokes? What happens to the assumption… and the reality? Well, now the assumption includes
the personality of the character. For instance, we know that
Daffy will always pick a fight because it’s part of
his desire for glory. -“Take over.” Likewise, we know
the Coyote’s device will fail so Jones can play this gag offscreen which ends up making it funnier. But there is a danger to this approach. If you just focus on great jokes
with the same well-defined characters you can easily get trapped in a formula. -“Sometimes I feel
very sorry for the Coyote.” -“Sometimes I wish he’d catch him.” -“If he caught him
there wouldn’t be any more Road Runner.” -“You wouldn’t like that, would you?” So to avoid this problem,
Jones did something. This is one of the
defining aspects of his work. It’s a word that he uses and
that other people use about him. -“Beep Beep!” -“It also stands out as an example
of the kind of discipline…” -“…Chuck Jones liked
to set for himself.” -“This is the vital factor in
all comedy or all drama.” -“What are your disciplines?” Discipline. The challenges and
restrictions you set for yourself. Like designing a character
with no mouth. Or no face. Or using no dialogue except for this. -“Hello my baby, hello my honey,
hello my ragtime gal.” Because animation lets you do anything you have to think about
what you won’t do. And in Jones’ case,
there were lots of rules about the world, the characters
and their behavior. For instance, Bugs Bunny
never picked a fight. Somebody had to do this… -“Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!
Kill the wabbit!” …and only then would he fight back. -“Kill the wabbit?” -“Bugs Bunny is not just
an insane rabbit.” -“Somebody’s always trying to get him.
And he’s retaliating.” -“He has to be provoked.
And we learned that.” -“It was very important
that he be provoked.” -“Because otherwise,
he’d be a bully.” -“Of course you realize
this means war.” A similar restriction happened to
how the characters expressed themselves. Early on, they tended to go through
a quick barrage of facial expressions. But over time, these grew less and less. -“Particularly in the later films
Chuck became very fond…” -“…of using the smallest
possible gestures…” -“…facial gestures to get laughs.” -“Chuck’s facial expressions
were the best in the business…” -“…Because he was a minimalist.” -“All humor grows from two things.” -“All humor, I believe, comes from
human behavior and logic.” -“If it’s not logical
it’s not gonna be funny… -“…And if it doesn’t come from
human behavior…” -“…how the hell
do you know it’s funny?” Think of it this way:
this is human behavior. -“Ha ha! Now!” That was logic. And the logic is something
you improve at over time. But what about human behavior? How do you improve at
understanding that? The truth is, there’s only one way. And it’s not by watching films. -“When you talk to Chuck,
he is always encouraging you…” -…to go to the source:
to study real life, to study art…” -“…and apply that to your animation.
It’s not just drawing funny faces.” Jones believed it wasn’t enough
to just watch movies. You had to have interests
outside of film. You had to study real life. Most of all, he encouraged this: -“Reading. Read Everything.” -“It doesn’t do you
much good to draw…” -“…unless you have
something to draw…” -“…and the only place
you can get anything to draw…” -“…is from out of that head.” -“And the only way that
you can exercise the mind…” -“…is by bringing new ideas to it…” -“…So it’ll be surprised.” -“And say ‘God I didn’t know that.'” -“That’s the greatest thing
in the world…” -“…that ‘Gee I didn’t know that.’
And there you are, you know?” There you are.
It’s not just about gags. Not just about characters. Not just about discipline. It’s about studying the real world
and learning something new. Then putting that back into the work. In other words, inspiration. And the great thing about
this kind of inspiration? -“You can find it anyplace.
You can find it anyplace.”

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “Chuck Jones – The Evolution of an Artist

  1. Felipe Vejarano says:

    What's the cartoon name at 3:45?

  2. Reece Crump says:

    Can we talk about scoob and shag's depiction of buggs bunny and how it contrasts with the 'never pick a fight' restriction of the original?

  3. TheReyKing says:

    Man !!!!! I’m watching these cartoons and what a greats memories! Put smile on my face ! Definitely, and not doubt about, best cartoons of all time

  4. Larry Byrne says:

    I heard the cat's suing Pepe for harrassment.

  5. Lord Takahashi says:

    Back when Cartoons were good, and adults could even enjoy them..

  6. Zac Bergart says:

    great video/analysis

  7. Ty Neggs says:

    With some underlying racist stereotypes.

  8. Vidar Mathisen says:

    530 thumbs down how is that possible 🤔

  9. VintageDriver says:

    this animation intemporal porr kids they miss this

  10. Robert Walton says:

    Growing up watching Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplan and The Marx Brothers ("Of course you know, this means war!") doesn't hurt either. Everything said in this video essay can be applied to, and found in, silent comedy (Well… if you include Harpo as being silent–which happened after they realized he didn't have to speak to get a laugh on stage).

  11. Tickle Fingers says:

    I absolutely LOVE Looney Tunes. I was lucky enough to grow up at a time when Looney Tunes played in the afternoon for TWO HOURS every weekday, along with Tom and Jerry. It was my favorite thing. I know it helped mold my sense of humor and fostered my creativity and my sometimes (often) overactive imagination. I'm sitting here watching these clips just laughing my ass off. The humor, character development, expressions, etc. we're just sooooooo damn good! The cartoons today are just so bad in comparison.

  12. saswath bevoy says:

    Youtube suggestions ,
    I bow before thee🙏

  13. 1oolabob says:

    Bugs Bunny was my personal hero for many years. I actually wanted to be capable of handling conflicts the way the Bunny did. Wile E. Coyote, on the other hand, had a dangerous obsession with the Roadrunner, which was the same as Elmer Fudd's obsession with killing Bugs, but with a different face and more speeches.
    Truthfully, a lot of my understanding of life and human behavior came from Looney Tunes.
    Somehow I forgot to think of Chuck Jones as an artist, but he was the great artist of my generation.

  14. Maxie Pattie says:

    hate love mistakes life death rain dry alone alone alone …art is such a waste of time because it comes from everything you have seen

  15. Alfnir Bjornson says:

    Modern cartoons could learn from this

  16. Patrol Pilot says:

    Good I miss this stuff. No year long story, no need to try and be smart, just clever gut busting fun. Long Live Looney Tunes!!

  17. TheMrbubbles1378 says:

    I remember if it's a Chuck Jones episode it's always a good episode… Although I only watched the re-runs.. But that was the tell that it was gonna be a good one.

  18. Invader Zim says:

    Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.

    -President Franklin D. Roosevelt
    American President (1882 – 1945)

  19. Adr Sngp says:

    He could not make Tom n Jerry as good as Hannah Barbara.

  20. Briar Wolverine says:

    The quality of these cartoons are way better than today's.

  21. Brian Adams says:

    Why did this make me so emotional???

  22. ronniebillhicks says:

    Always loved EVERYTHING Chuck put together,…….my favorite'!!

  23. Paul says:

    Hope this guy gets some pussy soon. This video reeks of virginity

  24. Dragonstone says:

    That "You know this means war." line Bugs Bunny, so nonchalantly gives after being hit by the bull, got me real good when I was a kid. I still remember how funny it was to this day.

  25. ~sandwitch~ says:

    This was excellent, thank you very much ^-^

  26. Buzzdlightyear says:

    Gold. Thank you for this inspiration‼️💯

  27. Callie Dan says:

    Very well done thank you.

  28. The Red Rabbit says:

    When I was a kid, I always said Looney Tunes was stupid because the idea of a talking rabbit was ridiculous.

  29. Roger Dale says:

    The magical triad— Chuck Jones, Mel Blanc, and Carl Stalling. It'll never happen again…Magic.

  30. Seth H says:

    Duck Amok is my favorite cartoon of all time.

  31. earthatom7 says:

    Hand drawn cartoons are like listening to a vinyl record nowadays

  32. Dwayne McAuley says:

    I loved Looney Tunes when I was a kid, I watched too much of them.

  33. Gabriel Freitas says:

    He sounds like Hank Hill

  34. Franchoise Price says:

    I would love to meet Chuck Jones I was raised watching Bugs Bunny I still do to this day

  35. Anthony Drayton says:

    I always loved Daffy.

  36. Daniel Climent says:

    This man was a genius 👍🏻

  37. blachubear says:

    Watching Looney Tunes & Chuck Jones were part of my child hood in the 70's. Good times.

  38. Ryuujin1078 says:

    Ideas and philosophies that most modern animators…lack

  39. Tim Hansen says:

    I preger Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. I do like Jones' sci-fi shorts where Maurice Noble did the backgrounds.

  40. babak deghat says:

    scared the f out of me as a child

  41. b c says:

    Chuck Jones in The Who 30 years Max.R&B says, great friend of drummer Keith Moon. Is it true?

  42. Philip Pickerill says:

    Whenever this shows up in my recommended feed I watch.Never get tired of watching this well made and scripted video essay.

  43. yixnorb says:

    Cartoons were much better when they didn't have to be educational or informative. I think even kids can differentiate between cartoon violence and real life violence.

  44. Floyd Helms says:

    Thank you Mr.Chuck Jones.

  45. Ben Monday says:

    Thank you.


    thank you

  47. gautham vasudev says:

    Today's toons are done by the unread with utter disconnect to the real world….

  48. David W. says:

    "Bugs Bunny never picks a fight" may be true for Chuck Jones shorts, but empathically not true for his early years.

  49. VA7ACG says:

    Chuck Jones made the world a better place. Period!

  50. Shadman Shahriar says:

    "To avoid this problem, Chuck Jones did something" – WHAT? What did he do? My boy Coyote's being hungry and all, can't taste the frickin' bird he's been chasing for years and you say it's FIXED? No, sir, Coyote needs his frickin' fast-running, truck-driving, traps-evading, meep-meeping protein of a flightless frickin' blue bird. 😤😤😤

  51. Steven Sandhu says:

    Holy cow connect all dots you say Chuck read all the books you say Chuck inter-vine all the books you say Chuck. Nay, I’ll just watch your cartoons Chuck.

  52. Ishkabibble says:

    that deadpan NPR tone he uses is annoying as he[[ . like the story though.

  53. Magnifico Giganticus says:

    I want a Bugs Bunny scalp massage.

  54. ballad2212 says:

    Pepe Le Pew- Serial Rapist😉

  55. Guilherme Tonon says:

    nice video, man.

  56. Emerald-Eyez 7 Zemi says:

    Chuck Jones is a Legend.

  57. Mububban23 says:

    I had tears of laughter just watching those snippets. So many happy memories watching those cartoons as a kid with my dad, and now I can share them with my kids too 🙂

  58. Baron von Moorland says:

    Let’s hope YouTube dos t consider this “Hate Speech”

  59. Shaindarkart says:

    praise from steven spielberg is high praise.
    Chuck was a legend!

  60. David Donnell says:

    People thinks it's just a drawing but theres more than that in a character

  61. Molly Ranker says:


  62. Johnny James says:

    Carl Stalling, who scored these cartoons learned his craft by scoring silent movies on the mighty Wurlitzer in Kansas City.

  63. Irishstile Perryman says:

    0:59, That is hilariously funny!

  64. Iván Barcia says:

    With the end of the TV as the dominant media and the arrival of computer animated graphics, the art of animated cartoons died. The loss is enormous and irreplaceable. The quality of the visual language and storytelling in this classic cartoons is nowhere in the equivalent products nowadays. Another great form of art, like cinema or pop music, that died with the arrival of the new century.

  65. bryce b says:

    R.I.P. Chuck Jones, you will be missed

  66. latenight cashews says:

    this is one of my favourite video essays about film. it made me rethink everything i thought i knew about filmmaking, it filled me with wonder for cinema, it made me excited to learn more about all of it.

  67. Gabriel Abraham says:

    Loved your video made me remember of my childhood! Deep nostalgic feeling

  68. Gizmo says:


  69. shizyninjarocks says:


  70. Brandon King says:

    this is back when cartoons were good. cartoons have been terrible since the 2010's started.

  71. Rocky Ugsod says:

    This is the cartoon I knew and loved.

  72. coolnegative says:

    This is my favorite era of Looney Tunes. I love the whole aesthetic and story telling.

  73. irmdog says:

    Too bad modern day political correctness keeps these cartoons off the air now, I have not seen these on TV since the 1990's. Channels like the Cartoon Network only play cheap, Korean made, short attention span crap now.

  74. sbtopjosh says:

    He's what we call a Legend..

  75. InWorld _Vmir_ says:

    When I was a little kid; I watched some early cartoons of Daffy Duck. I was really afraid of his laugh,I couldn't recognize what it was like ,but now I can.

    I turned out to laugh as he did.

  76. Ramiro Vilu Railef says:

    Awesome!… many of us have in our personality some of looney tunes and merry melodies…. the humor within the inocence… so needed nowadays! wonderful work!

  77. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson says:

    Looney Tunes or Looney Toons

  78. NHMO OYTIS says:

    His autobiography was called Chuck Amuck after the iconic cartoon Duck Amuck! 7:46 tells you why Hollywood today sucks and can only produce unoriginal garbage.

  79. nismo510 says:

    These clips had me laughing to the point of tears I think I failed to grasp the cleverness of some of these gags as a child. Time for a looney tunes binge

  80. Wadalapichu says:


  81. 94XJ says:

    This was way too short!!

  82. Drum Ape says:

    What a brilliant man.

  83. Steven Taylor says:

    Two words describe his work, comedy gold…

  84. nongthip says:

    Let us not forget the great Friz Freleng.

  85. LuckyGnom says:

    People will hate me, but I never liked Looney Tunes: jokes aren't funny, a lot of violence. There is no doubt that artists that made a cartoons are professionals, but as a kid you don't care about it. You care about cartoon being funny and there is nothing funny in one guy slamming others. Just ask someone to hit your kid and ask your kid if it was fun for him.

  86. Florin says:

    Fred Quimby was also awesome

  87. Jason Jones says:

    If they would just lay off with the narration, we would be much happier to just watch the show with out someone talking over the top of it..

  88. Arjun Dev says:

    those were the golden times!

  89. berner says:

    Bugs and Daffy were my first and proudest fap ever.

  90. Jonathan Oren says:

    Thank you so much! I feel like a young kid again. Saturday morning cartoons 😁. I was 5 Years old when I saw my first bugs Bunny cartoon. I am now 53 wow!

  91. Precious Metal Head says:

    6:40 is my cat on my face if I’m not showing him attention. 🐈

  92. Yadu says:

    artists (that draw) evolved animators didn't

  93. David Lyle says:

    Chuck Jones I can’t thank you enough for all the joy you brought me and my siblings while we were kids growing up !

  94. Marco Evans says:

    Awesome man, thx😃

  95. Emily Caballero says:

    6:27 actually has my DYING, I’ve never seen that clip before

  96. Ramiro Fonseca says:

    I liked Robert McKimson's Bugs Bunny cartoons better. I didn't like the way they drew Bugs after about 1952. He was really cute in the late 40's to about 1951 or so.

    Still, though, these were the greatest cartoons of all time and Bugs Bunny, along with Fog, ah say Foghorn Leghorn were the best.

  97. icbm7 says:

    Should have been 6 minutes long.

  98. Mike Church says:

    I'm surprised you didn't include Tom & Jerry and How the Grinch Stole Christmas

  99. Art1985 says:

    Sometimes it's too bad that we loose such good things from the past. No such cartoons will be made in the future.

  100. Shinigami Lee says:

    A smart person finds inspiration everywhere.

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