Monday, December 1, 2008

EL TIGRE nominated for two more ANNIE awards!!!

We just found out that El Tigre has been nominated for two more ANNIE awards!!! For those who don't know, the ANNIE awards are like the Oscars or the Emmys of the American animation industry.

In 2007, El Tigre received four nominations (Best TV Animation, Best Music, Best Character Design & Best TV Show) and won two (Best Character Design and more importantly Best TV Show!).

So this year, we were not really expecting anything. As you can imagine, we are super happy and surprised with the following noms!!!

-Best TV Writing for Scott Kreamer's hilariously genius script for "Mustache Love"

-Best TV Character Designs for my humble doodles for "The Good, The Bad & The Tigre"

These two nominations are really for everyone who worked on the series. It's so satisfying to see all the hard work the incredible crew put into our little show is yet again recognized by our peers. Congratulations to the whole El Tigre crew!!!

Below some of my designs for "The Good, The Bad & The Tigre"

Friday, October 17, 2008

How to Make an El Tigre cartoon - part 1

I will now go through our usual process to make each El Tigre cartoon. I have broken it down to 10 steps and I'll be really condensing some parts so please bare with me.

Television budgets and schedules are very VERY demanding so we had to be very disciplined to make the best cartoons we could in the time allowed. I am extremely proud of the fact that we were always on time and on budget. It's to the credit of our amazing crew that we pulled this off!

As much as I loved how the show turned out, I can only dream of what it would have been like if we had more time.

These were rough guidelines and never a "formula". We weren't going to force anything in if it didn't feel organic.

Almost every single story was based on something that happened to someone on the crew. And it wasn't just Sandra and I, all the writers, directors (like Dave Thomas with Zebra Donkey) and board artists pitched in their childhood experiences. We had WAY more stories than we got to make!

All the "reality rules" of the Tigre universe were pretty clear. People, and especially El Tigre, could get hurt and even die. Throughout the series a lot of characters actually died, which I loved. Without this, there was no real threat and nothing was at stake. But we made sure the show had funny action instead of violence. Which was a lot harder than you think.

And this doesn't mean Tigre "won" in every episode. Doing the right thing wasn't always "legal" and vice versa. We loved exploring the moral grey areas in each of his conflicts. As you can imagine, my favorite episodes were the ones with the bittersweet endings.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The design in El Tigre was an honest attempt to reappropriate a lot of stereotypical Mexican iconography commonly used throughout the world. Especially in cartoons. Not sure we pulled it off but the attempt was genuinely heroic!
Sandra and I really tried making our characters as culturally authentic as we could but still universally empathic.

Aside from Mexican popular culture and folk art, some of our inspiration came from the art of Miguel Covarrubias, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Guadalupe Posada, Diego Rivera, Sergio Aragones & ancient Mayan art.

I bet you can't name all the references for each.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where did El Tigre come from?

These are more panels from the Siggraph presentation.

When Sandra & I started developing the idea for El Tigre, we tried something that we had not done before for inspiration. We usually based our ideas on things we felt knew on a cultural level and liked aesthetically & conceptually. Just to make it hurt more and be a little braver, this time we would base the show on our personal life experiences. At the time we realized that all of our favorite music, films, books, etc... they're all based on real things! Things that happened to the artists & creators.

Growing up in Mexico City, my grandfather was a big military general, and my father was an architect. When I was little, all my aunts and family friends would always say, "You're so much like your grandfather," or, "You're so much like your dad. What are you gonna be when you grow up? Are you gonna be an artist, or are you gonna be a general?" And that's where the dilemma of Manny being a superhero like his dad, or a supervillain like his grandfather, came from.

Same thing with my grandfather. I'd go visit him, and his office looked like a supervillain's lair, with all this crazy stuff in there.

And that's how I saw them, as a kid. I'd go to my dad's office, and he'd draw me whatever I asked him to draw, and it just seemed like he had superpowers.

So the world in El Tigre is how we remember the Mexico we grew up in
as kids.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

images from the Siggraph presentation, part 1

I tried picking out the most drunk pictures I could find from the El Tigre kick off party at El Carmen to introduce our panelists. Next to their pictures you can see what everyone looked like in the series...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Siggraph 2008 "El Tigre" Behind the Scenes

Kat Elliot & Jared Kuvent invited us to do a panel about how we made El Tigre for the Siggraph 2008 Computer Animation Festival. I'll be posting the whole presentation here in case you can't make it.

"El Tigre": Behind the Scenes

Thursday, 14 August, 3:45 - 5:30 pm
Petree Hall C

In 2007, Manny Rivera leapt onto the screen in Nickelodeon's Annie award-winning production "El Tigre." This colorful series follows the adventures of a capricious 13-year old and the villains and superheroes he meets along the way. In this session, the creators, directors, art director, and technical director reveal everything there is to know about story, storytelling, character development, design, and animation. Along the way, they explain how Flash is used as an animation tool for television.

Jorge Gutierrez

Sandra Equihua

Supervising Producer & Director
Dave Thomas

Gabe Swarr

Technical Director & Art Director
Roman Laney

Line Producer
Tim Yoon

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Animation World Network interview

A few days ago the amazing Andrew Farago (curator of San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum & the creator of The Chronicles of William ) interviewed me while I rambled like a baboon for AWN about El Tigre and other past work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What is this blog about?

Before I start with the highly embellished history (or at least my version) of the creation of the El Tigre, I need to explain what this blog is and is not.

If you are looking for anti studio rants and blame game finger pointing, then this might not be the blog for you.
(If you want to hear that stuff, buy me some Tequila shots and I'll tell it to you straight.)

BUT if you would like to read a romantic and earnest retelling of our experience making El Tigre, then you are in for a treat. I think.

Monday, July 21, 2008