CARTOON OF A CARTOON! DASTARDLY'S PLANE


A fun drawing exercise where I reimagine a cartoon plane drawn in a slightly more realistic style...

Much Loved Childhood TV Memories

As a kid growing up in the late 1960s and through the 70s the TV was kinda my best buddy. I particularly loved cartoon shows and at that time HANNA-BARBERA were the kings of kids' cartoons with much loved titles such as;  Tom & Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Top Cat, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, etc,

Anyway, my favourites among these classic cartoon series were 'Wacky Races' and it's spin-off 'Stop the Pigeon' (with an honourable mention to the almost forgotten 'The Perils of Penelope Pitstop', where Dick Dastardly was replaced as the villain by the superb voice talents of Paul Lynde as the 'Hooded Claw'). In particular, I loved 'Stop the Pidgeon' which, in it's way was a take on the classic 'Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner' format where the show pitched the villain against their nemesis in a series of ludicrous ambush scenarios. (I'll confess, I was always rooting for the bad guys and found both the Roadrunner and Yankee-Doodle Pigeon irritating little pests that deserved a sticky end!)

The World Loves a 'Good' Bad Guy!

I don't think anyone knows why we all love a good bad guy - I'm sure some university psychologists have written a piece on why this is - but there is some secret appreciation inside us all that kinda likes the idea of being 'bad' once in a while! (I must do a list of 'best bad guys' on this blog at some point.)

Of course, the villain of my cartoon favourite was none other than Dick Dastardly. A wonderfully inept caricature (literally) of a generic Edwardian melodrama baddie - moustache and all - who 'cunning plans' always go awry.

But while Dick Dastardly - and his minion Mutley - made their first appearance in the hugely popular 'Wacky Races' I preferred the cartoon sequel (was it a sequel as it appeared to take place half a century earlier, so maybe it was a prequel) 'Stop the Pigeon'. I think I liked this because it had a vaguely military theme, set as it was on a fictionalised version of the First World War.

We are never entirely sure what factions the two opposing parties - Dastardly's squadron and the pigeon - represent though as the winged vermin is called 'Yankee Doodle Pigeon' we can only assume that Dastardly has thrown his lot in with the Germans (for some bizarre reason). But. as a kids cartoon, the plot doesn't bear too must scrutiny! 😄

Mostly it was the magnificently antique flying machines that interested me and this is what eventually led me to undertake my latest doodling project. I wondered what a [relatively] more realistically drawn version of Dastardly's aircraft would look like?

(I would live to see a live action version of 'Stop the Pigeon' done in the same comic vein as the 1997 movie 'Mouse Hunt'.)

Dastardly Drawing

As usual with my vector doodles I started constructing an outline drawing of Dastardly's machine. I did take a few liberties with the layout of the aircraft by making some of the parts a little more feasible (-ish). 😉

The main strategy was 'padding out' a flat cartoon into a more robust representation of a flying machine, but otherwise the doodle is most definitely still a cartoon (I certainly didn't what to go as far as a photo-realistic 3D model)...

I was quite pleased with the sketch and while I wanted to bring the design somewhat closer to a World War 1 era fighter I stopped short - tempting as it was - to arm the plane with some machineguns. (The original cartoon was specific about keeping it violence distinctly 'cartoonish' and I think they felt that actually arming the planes with 'real' guns would have crossed some sort of line.)

The next stage was, naturally, to colour and shade the plane in a faux-realistic manner - rather like my previous 'what if' projects. All the work was done - as usual - using digital vector art by means of my favourite drawing application - 'AFFINITY DESIGNER'...


As you can see, using vectors gives a wonderfully appropriate cartoon feel to the work, while at the same time adding a certain simplified sense of physicality to the object. I'm guessing that this is somewhere close to how the plane would have looked had Hanna-Barbera (Warner Bros. Pictures) followed up it's intention to reboot all it's classic cartoons in a more modern animated style (as they did with their 2020 computer-animated 'Scoob!').

I guess you could have a good argument with yourself about whether such 'reboots' are a good idea or not? I leave that to you.

Anyway, I completed the drawing in reasonable time (for me) mainly because I was unconstrained by the sort of annoying engineering actualities that hindered my 'What if' aircraft. So, NO this plane probably wouldn't work in reality...But who cares? It still makes me smile. 😁


I have been asked if I will be doing the rest of Dastardly's squadron and while that seems like a fun idea I want to move on to something aside from aircraft at the moment BUT like the fantasy theme...

Staying in the Hanna-Berbera universe this military vehicle intrigues me a bit... 🙂


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PS... I was asked - by and aviation fan - if I might also consider doing the 'Red Max' from Wacky Races..



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December 01, 2021
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