Craig McCracken
On stupid dogs and powerful girls
Emru Townsend: You used to work on 2 Stupid Dogs?

Craig McCracken: Yeah. I art directed that show.

What exactly did you do as art director?

Basically I just designed the look of the show for the first season. You know, all the characters and stuff and worked with the backgrounds and color, and things like that.

When you say the characters, did you design the original two dogs, or was that Donovan Cook's idea?

Donovan had versions of the dogs that were somewhat similar, but he wanted me to take them and re-evolve them, so I designed them to how they look now, off of some loose sketches and rough ideas that Donovan originally had.

And I presume you also came up with that guy, Hollywood.

Yeah, all the other characters are mine.

How did you come up with the name Hollywood for him?

That was Donovan's. Most of the ideas and stuff were Donovan's, and I was the visual guy, designing most of it.

Well, the visuals themselves were what struck me about Powerpuff Girls. Is that the only thing you've got in the cartoon shorts thing?

Yeah, that's it right now. I'm working on a second Powerpuff right now. I've got other ideas that I'm working on, but it's not in the throes of production yet.

The thing that got me when I saw it in Ottawa was the design of the whole thing. It seemed to be to be very much influenced--well, to be a slightly deranged version of Astro Boy.

Yeah, a little bit, a little bit. I like that kind of stuff. I'm not a huge fan of Japanese animation, but I like more graphic design and flat stuff, you know, early Hanna-Barbera-looking stuff.

Were you consciously going for an Astro Boy kind of thing?

No, not consciously. They kind of--I designed them originally off of Keane paintings, in the 60s, those kids with the big, sad eyes? I was just doing drawings of those, and I drew these really small drawings, and they just kind of evolved into that. Their hands got bigger, and their bodies got a little bigger, and their heads and eyes got bigger. The original drawings look like little toy dolls, and they just sort of evolved into this kind of thing.

Any reason why you picked Keane paintings?

I was just drawing. I was doodling. I just thought they were funny. There wasn't any conscious thing, I was just, "Oh, those Keane paintings are funny," and I was just sitting around just drawing girls with big eyes.

I always thought of them as slightly ominous.

Yeah, they're a little strange, that's why I was kind of attracted to them.

Much in the same was as Hello Kitty is kind of ominous. The Keane drawings have these huge eyes staring at you, and Hello Kitty has no mouth.

Yeah, exactly. I also like that Hello Kitty look, that Sanrio look, I think that's kind of an influence.

So basically the Powerpuff Girls thing came out of just what, a couple of doodles you drew of these three little girls, and you thought, "Hey! Wouldn't it be great to add super powers to them"?

Yeah, exactly, that was it. I was working on my second-year student film, and I wanted to do a superhero-type show, and one thing I was working on was a Mexican wrestler. I didn't really know what to do with it, but I did these girls, and I just took out the wrestler guy, and I stuck in these little girls.

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Eight people - eight lives - one universal groove