‘Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo’: See Adam Muto’s story notes

Sept. 30, 2014 | 9:02 a.m.
adventuretimeartofooo p288a Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo: See Adam Mutos story notes

"Adventure Time" executive producer Adam Muto's extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

adventuretimeartofooo p288b Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo: See Adam Mutos story notes

"Adventure Time" executive producer Adam Muto's extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

adventuretimeartofooo p293b Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo: See Adam Mutos story notes

"Adventure Time" executive producer Adam Muto's extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

adventuretimeartofooo p294a Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo: See Adam Mutos story notes

"Adventure Time" executive producer Adam Muto's extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

adventuretimeartofooo p295a Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo: See Adam Mutos story notes

"Adventure Time" executive producer Adam Muto's extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

adventuretime digital evite final Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo: See Adam Mutos story notes

The invitation to the launch party for "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

Fans of Finn, Jake, Marceline and the rest of the zany cast of “Adventure Time” are invited to a Los Angeles release party Thursday for a new book about the show’s art.

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” offers interviews with the show’s creator Pendleton Ward and its writers, storyboarders, animators and voice actors, as well as an extensive look at concept art, storyboards, early character sketches, background paintings and the series’ show bible. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive preview of some of Adam Muto‘s illustrated story notes for various episodes of the Cartoon Network juggernaut. Check them out in the gallery above.

The invitation to the launch party for "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

The invitation to the launch party for “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

The lavish, 352-page volume, authored by artist and animator Chris McDonnell, is due out Oct. 14, but will be available at Thursday’s release party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the iam8bit gallery in Echo Park. McDonnell and “Adventure Time” artists Ako Castuera, Cole Sanchez, Seo Kim and Kent Osborne will be on hand for book signings.

The party will feature a gallery of original “Adventure Time”-themed artwork, trivia, giveaways, and the chance to play Little Orbit‘s new console game “Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom” before it goes on sale Nov. 18.

The massively popular and Emmy-winning Cartoon Network series, currently in its sixth season, follows Finn, a human boy, and Jake, his magical shape-shifting dog, as they fight monsters and rescue princesses in a whimsical, post-apocalyptic candyland called the Land of Ooo.

Hero Complex caught up with “Art of Ooo” author McDonnell to talk about the book and the series.

HC: How did this book project come about?

CM: Pen and I had had friendly correspondence before about other things – he is a contributor to the “Go For The Gold!” sketchbook anthology we put out at Meathaus, for example – so he was aware of the various cartooning, animation and design things that I do. I sent him a copy of my “Sasquatch’s Big Hairy Drawing Book” to get a blurb quote. I think he’d probably seen the Ralph Bakshi art book that I designed, which is a good comparison to the execution of this book. So I got an email out of no where one day: “Hey man, wanna do a book?” or something to that extent. Then Abrams got involved and after some discussions I had the project.

I was excited and apprehensive about not only designing but writing the book. Though Jon M. Gibson and I had billed each other as co-authors of the Bakshi book because it was a true collaboration of effort and research, Jon had been the primary author of the text while I had been primarily designing. So outside of the “Sasquatch” book which is a drawing activity book, this is my first book as an author in the more traditional sense.

HC: It’s such a big project. What was your focus?

CM: Essentially my focus was understanding. I wanted to understand the processes and motivation behind this show’s production, and I wanted to hear it from the show’s artists themselves. So you’ll find extensive direct quotes from the team behind the show all through the book. It’s intended to work as an inspirational art book and an informative, worthwhile read. It takes half a day to read, I’ve tried it a few times during its production.

"Adventure Time" executive producer Adam Muto's extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in "Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo" by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

“Adventure Time” executive producer Adam Muto’s extensive, illustrated story notes for various episodes are featured in “Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo” by Chris McDonnell. (Cartoon Network)

HC: There is so much information, so much artwork, so many little gems – sketches on napkins, storyboards, the series bible. What was the most surprising thing you found? What was your favorite “get”?

CM: I spent a concentrated week of artwork collection and interviewing in-house at Cartoon Network Studios during which I got most of my material. I live in Philly, so that was the primary window of time that I had for art snooping. I had total access to the show’s server with all production art for the entire series. That, and of course every episode to grab images from. But I knew that I needed the other stuff that has never been seen before: the personal sketchbooks, the development drawings. The artists may have found it funny that I was there in person in front of them but instead of interviewing them, I mainly wanted to dig through their detritus. (Interviews were mostly conducted later via voice and text). I wanted to go searching through files under desks, old folders, Post-it piles and anything that I could around the artist’s desks. I would spend all day meeting with artists, grabbing piles from them and then stay into the night scanning.

Late in the week, maybe the last night I was there, Adam Muto surprised me outside of my cubical where I was scanning with an incredible pile of his own Season One development drawings and the original very first Pen Ward drawings of Finn (Pen) and Jake. This last-minute delivery makes up a good chunk of the book. I think Adam was a little embarrassed by the amount of his work that I put in the book, but each of his story notes pages are so intricate and full of creative ideas that I insisted on their inclusion. You can read them and see the connections to themes that later appear throughout the series.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+

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Comments


One Response to ‘Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo’: See Adam Muto’s story notes

  1. Kevin says:

    Excellent Interview; an exciting project!

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