Interviews

A (Super Smash Brothers) brawl is surely brewing! Cartoonist Danny Cortes on retro drawing throwback project

You may have seen a recent viral thread of pictures on the internet recently of the whole Super Smash Brothers Ultimate roster being drawn in the throwback rubber hose animation style (recently done in the smash hit game Cuphead). We got to talk to the cartoonist behind the stellar project, Danny Cortes, as he details some behind the scenes information about the ambitious “Every Smash Bros character drawn in the rubber hose style” project.

Thanks for letting me ask a few questions! A lot of people know you as the guy who’s making “every Smash fighter in the Cuphead Rubber Hose style!” What was your inspiration for starting the project?

So, I actually had the idea to draw every smash fighter in this style since 2017, when Cuphead came out! I was enamored by the style, and I also love the wild cast of characters in smash bros, so thought it’d be cool to fuse the concepts together!! The thing was, I wasn’t very good at the style when I started out, so I’d spend the next 3 years studying the nuances of what makes the rubber hose style so great! I knew when I started this project that I wanted to keep the integrity of the original character design intact, while staying true to the style, and I feel as if I’ve accomplished that throughout this project!!

It seems like a daunting task to make a new drawing every day. How’d you prepare for the daily schedule?

So I had actually made a backlog of all the fighters before I posted any of them. I knew it’d be a huge project, so to avoid burnout, I worked in silence from August 2020 until December 2020 to have all the main fighters drawn and ready to post! The only thing that I didn’t account for were the alternate characters (which I wasn’t planning on doing at first) but the project blew up so much, I figured it’d be a crime if I didn’t include them! And of course there are also revisions to characters which had to be made as the project was ongoing so that every character is up to my standards, like legit, I had to draw Link and Samus out like 4 different times until I got them right!

Were there any problems translating certain fighters or traits into a uniform art style?

This was an issue I had to tackle early on! Smash has a wide array of character designs, from cartoony, to anime, to realistic, so I had to look at a bunch of references, like how Disney handles their character design for their classic films!! Disney, like Nintendo, has a wide array of character designs, but they all work together! You have your classic characters like Mickey and Donald, as well as more proportional designs like with their princesses, and who could forget their menacing looking villains! And it goes much deeper that just Disney because I used multiple other references of character sheets from Fleischer animation studios, Warner Bros, Tex Avery cartoons, Roger Rabbit, to even Cuphead itself!

This question is inevitable. Who’s your Smash main?

So I actually main Mega Man, Banjo and Kazooie, and Duck Hunt!! I love being annoying with ranged fighters hahaha!

 

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A post shared by Daniel Cortes (@dannycortoons)

Slightly related, but what was your favorite drawing in the project so far?

Easily Steve and the rest of the Minecraft crew! I’m so in love with the way I translated their blocky designs into the style while still staying true to the original characters!! I actually used the Dwarfs from Snow white as reference (Because they’re miners), King Dice from Cuphead (Cause he has a block head), and a simple rubber eraser (because I wanted them to be bendy while still being blocky at the same time)! It was a fine line to tread with that one, and I believe I nailed it!! And the rest of the internet agrees because that one’s actually my most liked drawing on my Twitter and Instagram!

Other than Smash (and perhaps Cuphead), what other games are you playing right now?

The last game that I really put a lot of hours in was Minecraft! I’m a little late on the hype train, but I started playing March of 2020 when quarantine began, but I didn’t REALLY start playing until Steve was revealed to be in Smash! I started playing with a bunch of my discord friends and the journey to find the stronghold and beating the Ender dragon is definitely one of my best gaming memories now!

It looks like you’re having fun with this project! What personally makes the rubber hose style appealing to draw?

To me what makes the rubber hose style appealing, is the fact that it’s a style that looks really easy and simple to draw, but you’ll quickly realize it’s a lot more complex than what you thought! It’s a style that is drawn in 2D, but has depth to it and needs to be thought of in 3D when drawing it! Along with that, drawing exaggerated poses that really show off the personality of every character is also really fun, especially when they have strong silhouettes!

As an artist, what would be your dream job or project?

Oh man, I’ve had the dream of being a show runner for a cartoon since I was 10!! It’d be a dream to pitch a cartoon that I created to a network, and have it be green-lit into a fully-fledged series! I love getting people excited over an idea or project as well as directing and leading them!! I have so many ideas in my head for stories that I want to tell, and I’d love to share them all in a professional, appealing, (and most importantly) sustainable way!!

You recently turned 21 (happy belated birthday, by the way!), how did you celebrate?

I actually started off the day with my parents! We went to this really nice diner and ate breakfast together! Then I hung out with my closest friends! We all met up and ate together and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory! I may have eaten double my calorie intake for that day considering I had two giant meals over the course of a couple hours, hahaha!

 

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A post shared by Daniel Cortes (@dannycortoons)

What is some advice you would give to artists who want to follow their creative pursuits?

Just make stuff. It’s always a good thing to keep yourself busy and sharpening your talent!! It’s always frustrating at first, but every artist has gone through that same process, including myself!! So of course practice, but invest your talent in something that you identify with and can call your own!! Behind every artist, there’s always gonna be a multi-year struggle to get to where they are now!!

How can people find updates on you or your portfolio?

This reminds me that I have to make a website ASAP! But for now, I’ll be posting my work on both my Twitter and my Instagram, I’m @DannyCortoons everywhere!

Finally, do you have any last words for our readers? Maybe hints at future stuff or music recommendations?

Yes! Go watch What’s the Buzz featuring The Book Bee!! It’s my animated short that I directed, storyboarded, voiced, and animated for school last year!! I’m extremely proud of it, and I’d highly appreciate it if you guys would check it out and share it!! Maybe you guys will be able to see more of The Book Bee and his show very soon if everything goes according to plan!

You can check Cortes’ short film, What’s the Buzz above. Stay tuned for more news here on Gaming Trend.

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