Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

King Of The Hill Walk-Cycle Test Animation…A Behind The Scenes Look At Animation Development For A Hit Primetime Series…

This is a compilation of the Walk Cycle Test Animation I created during the development period for ‘King Of The Hill’, made before the first season of the series which ran on Fox Television Network.

NOTE:(This clip is very repetitive and heavily edited along with the music…just to be abstract!!!)

This is test animation for Hank Hill, Bobby Hill,and Boomhauer.(WIKI)

This animation was done so the animation crew could follow my style of motion created specifically for each individual character.

‘King Of The Hill’ ran on Fox from January 12, 1997 — September 13, 2009, over 11 seasons!!!(LIST OF KOTH AWARDS)

The series was created by Mike Judge, and was produced for Fox at Film Roman studios, who also produced the “Simpsons” for them as well. Many of the directors from the “Simpsons” moved over to ‘KOTH” when that got green lit, along with consultant Brad Bird.

I had worked with Film Roman on a few development properties, and this was my first time working in-house, as a regular full-time employee ,on one of their series. Outside of the development department, I had worked as a Key assistant animator on their “Tom and Jerry” feature, but I did that job as freelance.

Phil Roman ,a mentor of mine who I look up to, convinced me to develop the character animation style for the lead characters in KOTH, make some steady money!!!,… and at that time, the series was new, and L.A. animation artist were hesitant to work on the series, because it looked like “Beavis and Butthead” from New York City’s own MTV animation,which was considered to be bad ,quirky, amateurish character design by many journeyman animators working in Los Angeles at that time.

I liked Mike Judge,… and ‘Beavis and Butthead”was funny, and the style presented some challenges,and the larger opportunity to create or own look, and animation motion style. I love working with diverse illustrator’s and different styles of design, my goal is to make it look like each designer animated it themselves, so this job bringing these characters to life was the epitome of what I like to do with my animation talent, and demonstrate that ability for a worldwide network audience.

I tackled Hank Hill, the star of the series first, and I animated it very fully, in somewhat of a Disney-Feature Animation approach...or at least that is what I told myself!

I posed Hank in a new 3/4 silhouette that had not been designed, and tilted his head back in order to coincide with the direction and performance that Supervisor Wes Archer, and producer Greg Daniels acted out in front of me, …and Wes said to base his walk pattern off of John Wayne, and I put it all together from there.

I work from a rough set of 4 key animation walk poses,construct them for solidity,base the articulation off of human anatomy, and as I get feedback, I incorporate the revisions and changes from the staff and my supervisors, and put a tied down final line around the animation.

The drawings for each character are tagged A,B,and C, so you can identify which version came first for each character animated here.(ANIMATION PROCEDURE)

This is a heavily edited clip,and reflects only the major points in the developmental animation for these characters. I like to do things over, and over, and over again,in order to nail it!!!…just ask any of my former animation students!!!Many did not understand why we changed anything, and most were unprepared mentally to make the necessary revisions,at all.

This is a rare behind the scenes look at how a characters performance is created by a developmental animator like myself, and take note of the several levels of revisions, which I always welcome,and look forward to doing,if it will make the animation even more of a hit with the public.

I can be seen flipping and drawing this animation on the ….”Making of King Of The Hill”…featurette documentary, albeit briefly,but I am in it,  included in the season #1 DVD.(LINK)

I approach my animation much like a professional skateboarder approaches nailing a new stunt…I do it over,and over, and over,… until I get it right and leave standing up on four wheels rolling!!!…

This is completely hand drawn, 2D animation,full animation style as opposed to limited-hardly animated style commonly seen on TV, and just so you know,the wrinkles in the paper come from my hands flipping the paper on an animation board, as used in traditional animation, so, those of you out there that are afraid of pencil and paper….BEWARE!!!!lol..Just know that I can do the same thing digitally and paperless,if that is required, with a Wacom Bamboo or a Cintiq!!!

Does not matter!!!..if you do not believe me…STAY TOONED!!!!







King Of The Hill collection of chracters

King Of The Hill collection of characters


(Animated by Jerry L. Brice for Fox TV and Film Roman Studios 1996)

2 Responses to “King Of The Hill Walk-Cycle Test Animation…A Behind The Scenes Look At Animation Development For A Hit Primetime Series…”

  1. Hi,

    I was just watching King of The Hill and was admiring the gorgeous animation on the earlier seasons. What’s with the uniform, light, pasel colors and the too-spot-on, computer animation? Ugh. THANK YOU for your contribution to the show. I thoroughly enjoy it. Also, thanks for posting this, as KOTH behind-the-scenes features are basically non-existent. I know Mike Judge is shy on camera, but I still think they should have produced something for us to see how the show is made, in depth. I really wish they would bring the show back, because, well The Cleveland Show..’nuf said.

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