Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don Hertzfeldt

I first heard of Don Hertzfeldt my first year at Columbia in History of Animation. "Billy's Balloon" was the the very first thing the teacher showed before kicking of the semester. There's nothing like starting a new semester with a Hertzfeldt cartoon. I've loved his work ever since. I even got to meet Hertzfeldt a few years ago at the Musicbox Theater. He's a really nice guy. For those who don't know, Don Hertzfeldt is an animator of short cartoons. His early works usually have a message and are always full of dark humor. "Billy's Balloon" is supposedly about domestic child abuse. His later works are a bit longer and the messages are a bit more grim and clear, but Hertzfeldt still tries to keep a sense of humor.

What fascinates me most about Hertzfeldt's animations is his simple style. His characters are made up of simple lines and shapes with "stick figure" limbs and giant eyeballs. Most of his films are against a plain white background. Despite the simplicity, his illustrations are very refined. Many fans have tried to duplicate his style, but not many can achieve that clean look. It's easy to spot the real Hertzfeldt toons. Check out his website, Bitter Films, and his DVD "The Animation Show" which he put together with Mike Judge. It features many other cool animators.


  1. Another distinctive feature of his animations is that they're so wiggly. I guess, from a traditional standpoint, that's a bad thing, but they just add so much to his charming depictions of squiggly things drowning in their own anal blood.

  2. Love Don Hertzfeldt! He's made some of wonderful short cartoons. So simple and sweet and a little disturbing at the same time.

  3. I am a banana!

    I mean - Rejected is the best animated short ever!

    I mean - Hertzfeldt is a master of pushing his medium. His minimalist style allows him incredible degree of control over our perception, and since we're ever so eager to interpret the line as a part of an object, when Hertzfeldt starts fucking with the line, and the page it's drawn on, he also constantly tricks our perception. So little stuff on the screen. So much impact.