Somewhat More Realistic Cartoon Characters

Trying to improve upon classic comic and cartoon characters is like messing with Mother Nature. Still, there's nothing wrong with re-imagining a character from a different point of view. Tools like Photoshop make it easier than ever to give texture and shadow to plain line drawings, so converting our favorite cartoon characters into a more realistic style is too tempting to pass up. This is sometimes called "un-tooning."

Artist Tim O'Brien drew his more worldly version of Charlie Brown and named it Chuck Brown. This was created for a show called "Monsters".

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Movie makeup effects artist Rick Baker designed Popeye as a real, as in really scary, person. Kinda makes you wonder what he'd do with Olive Oyl!

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Pixeloo has done a lot of untooning. Possibly his most popular image is of a real life Jessica Rabbit.

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His Mario is pretty well-known also. Pixeloo has also untooned Stewie, Homer Simpson, and a gallery of other animated icons.
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Polish surrealist Jaroslaw Kukowski created the painting The New Millenium in 2008. Another site called it "the Teletubbies on their home planet". The Teletubbies are costumed characters instead of cartoons, but a painting still makes them look more real!
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Tycho is a character in the webcomic Penny Arcade. This Worth1000 Photoshop entry by JinxRLM made him more realistic. See other untooned characters in the Reality Toons Photoshop contest.
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Toronto artist Adnan Saleem of Destination Creation pictured what The Simpsons would look like in a three-dimensional style. There's not a whole lot you can do to make Marge's blue hair look at all real! Saleem later redid Homer Simpson in a manner that was a little more faithful to the cartoon.
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Photoshop artist Mata Leone untooned Stan Smith of the show American Dad, among many other cartoons, comic book characters, and even paintings.

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500South-Park-sketch

In season nine of South Park, the main characters are wanted by the police. A witness made a sketch of them, and this is what it looked like. It is a bit jarring to see a drawing that looks more true-to-life than the actual characters, especially right there on the show!
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Other artists have taken the abstract South Park characters and redrawn them more realistically. The above set of family portraits is by Deviant Art member NorthernBanshee.
550_southparkKuroi_TsukiAnd another version of the same boys from Deviant Art member Kuroi-Tsuki.

This is just a small sampling of the many cartoon and comic characters getting the realism treatment. More are popping up every day!

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Sophie Gamand
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This Photographer Is Changing People's Perceptions of Pit Bulls, One Flower Crown at a Time
Sophie Gamand
Sophie Gamand

Like many people, Sophie Gamand wasn’t always the biggest fan of pit bulls. As a volunteer photographer for animal shelters, she used to tense up any time she saw one.

And then something changed. In 2014, the New York-based photographer decided to confront her fear and take on a project that would force her to interact with pit bulls, My Modern Met reports. Initially, she wanted to see for herself if pit bulls were really as dangerous as people claim they are, and what she learned surprised her.

She “discovered the sweet and gentle nature of pit bulls, and how obedient and eager to please they are,” Gamand tells Mental Floss. “They are goofy, loving, and very attached to people.”

Equipped with her new mindset, she decided to photograph the dogs individually with colorful flower crowns adorning their heads in hopes of challenging the public's perception of pit bulls. And it worked.

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

Gamand says animal shelter staff often tell her that her photos, which she posts on social media with a brief description of each dog's personality, have saved countless dogs from being euthanized and have helped many others find forever homes. “They have helped dogs get adopted who had had zero interest for months or even years,” she says.

Over the last few years, she has photographed over 400 pit bulls, and her images will be published in a forthcoming coffee table book titled Pit Bull Flower Power: The Book. It will be released in October for Pit Bull Awareness Month.

She says the stereotype of pit bulls being overly aggressive is “completely unfounded,” adding that genetics have little to no influence on a dog’s personality. What makes the difference, though, is proper care and training, which is why she’s dedicating her life’s work to helping the dogs find loving homes.

Plus, the dogs love the photo shoots. "These are all shelter dogs who spend most of their time in a cage," Gamand says. "They are so happy for all the attention, treats, and love they get on the shoot. They love nothing more than to be good boys and girls—learning tricks, sitting to get a cookie. It’s their special moment. Each shoot is a team effort between the handler, the dog, and myself."

Her photos have spread far and wide via social media, and she now receives requests to visit animal shelters all over the world, from India to Kuwait to China. Prior to Pit Bull Flower Power, Gamand’s first book, Wet Dog—which features, you guessed it, adorable dripping dogs—was published in 2015.

Keep scrolling to see more of Gamand's Flower Power series, and check out this project and others on her Instagram page and website.

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

A pit bull with a flower crown
Sophie Gamand

[h/t My Modern Met]

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Christie's
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A Rare Copy of Audubon's Birds of America Could Break Records at Auction
Christie's
Christie's

American artist and naturalist John James Audubon published The Birds of America in the first half of the 19th century, and his massive “double-elephant” folio of life-size bird illustrations remains one of the most ambitious nature books ever produced. On June 14, a rare edition of the four-book set is hitting the auction block, and it's expected to fetch up to $12 million—more than any Audubon book ever sold.

This edition of The Birds of America was owned by the dukes of Portland from around 1839 to 2012. Because it was stored on the shelves of the family's Nottinghamshire, England estate for nearly a century, the set's prints of watercolor drawings have remained remarkably well-preserved.

In 2012, the copy was auctioned off to philanthropist and businessman Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. for nearly $8 million. Knobloch donated the books to the Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF) before his death in 2016. Now, the KFF is sending the books to auction once again. This time, all proceeds of the sale will go to nature conservation.

Set of red leather-bound books.

New York City auction house Christie's describes the set in a listing as "among the finest copies in private hands of this icon of American art, and the finest color-plate book ever produced." Each of the 435 double-elephant folio pages measures 39.5 inches by 26.5 inches, the largest sheets Audubon could get his hands on at the time, and they feature 1037 birds from 500 species. The books are bound in red Moroccan leather with gold detailing on the borders and spines. The four-volume set also comes with the Ornithological Biography, a collection of five books describing the specimens in The Birds of America and their habits.

Christie's estimates the set will sell for $8 million to $12 million when the final bid is placed later this month. To date, the most expensive copy of The Birds of America was a first edition acquired from Sotheby's in London for $11.5 million. That sale also broke the record for the most expensive printed book ever sold at auction, a record held until 2013.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American bird.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

All images courtesy of Christie's

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