Jarrod Fairclough Presents: The Ramblings of a Muppet Nerd – The Museum Of Jarrod Art
Jarrod Fairclough - Hello. Me again.
Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm studying animation, about to begin my third and final year. It means that I'm constantly doodling and drawing, and various times this had led me to draw Muppets, both of The Muppets and Sesame Street categories. Now, I am no professional by any means. I'm no Dave Hulteen, or Chris Smigliano, or anyone like that. I do this for a bit of fun, and I thought maybe I could indulge myself a little. Speaking of indulging myself, remember when I wrote that love letter to Jason Segel a while back? I have to admit I got a little self-conscious when I found out he reads this website. It means he read the letter. Do... do you think he likes me? Anyway, awkwardness aside, allow me to talk about each of the drawings, and look out for special comments by a mystery guest, which I'm pretty sure I already revealed was going to be Joe Mathieu ages ago...
JOE MATHIEU: Cute, sketchy version of Ernie and Bert looking somewhat embarrassed about something. The Ed Koren line makes them appear insecure and a bit nervous. Their hair is exactly how I used to draw it in the early 70's when I drew them with pen and ink.
JOE MATHIEU: 1936; the year Jim was born. The Muppets have a period, sort of Steamboat Willie, look about them. I have to admit that I first saw Sesame Street on black and white TV!
JOE MATHIEU: Very nice. I would still like to see everyone bunched together, though. Aren't rainbows beautiful?
JOE MATHIEU: Everyone seems happier now that they are in color! I think they would be even happier if they were mashed closer together. Jim always liked the characters smashed together; look at all the group photos with Jim in the middle. He liked all the heads touching, making an all-over pattern. Where's Miss Piggy?
JOE MATHIEU: There's a handsome group! I love the funky architecture growing out of a grassy field, especially with the addition of a medieval castle on the right! I always loved drawing the Count, but the underside of his cape always gave me fits; working digitally would have been a god-send. What exactly is Grover carrying?
Joe, Grover is carrying a cape.
JOE MATHIEU: I have no idea what this is about, but I love it! These drawings are a lot of fun. I can't help but remember that when we started drawing the Muppets for books and products in the early 70's, Jim did not want a codified style where everyone was forced to draw the characters in the same style with the same technique. He encouraged everyone to interpret the Muppets in their own way. I think it has gone a bit in the other direction these days, but that was how Jim liked it. Also, he didn't think that the drawings had to be overly accurate representations of the puppets, either. I think he felt that the puppets had their physical limitations that the illustrators didn't have to be hobbled by. Good job, Jarrod!
Okay, before we continue, two things. One, "I have no idea what this is about, but I love it!" may just be my favourite review ever. I'm currently getting a website together, and at the top of it I've put that line. Two, I've often thought that the characters are all looking too much the same in all the Sesame books lately. It's nice to know that Jim loved a different look, and it may just be my delusional state, but I read that also as "Jim would have loved this drawing."
Okay, now, next are a few images I didn't get Joe to comment on, because I either forgot or I didn't expect him to comment on it.
that Scandanavian fan art site I saw a much better Kermit-Jim Puppet picture, one I love so much I'm considering printing and framing it.
Thanks again to Joe Mathieu. I genuinely cannot put into words how good he has been to me over the last year or so! We've traded e-mails back and forth, and he's become a bit of a mentor in my eyes!
So that's just some of my Sesame Street and Muppet drawings. I'm sure in another six months or so I'll have enough to do another MOJA article. Next time I'll be talking about the wait for The Muppets, and how I managed to see it so many times for free (and no, I didn't download it).
Life is a happy song, my friends. And it's also a fillet of fish. Yes it is.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org