The Rise and Fall of American Animator Butch Hartman

All the cartoon addicts of the 1990s and 2000s are familiar with the Nickelodeon channel and the artworks of Butch Hartman.

Even if you didn’t know his name back then, you must have remembered his famous creations like Danny Phantom.

So, if you are interested to find out a little bit more about the creator of this artwork and others, follow this article.

Early Life

The full name of Butch Hartman is Elmer Earl “Butch” Hartman IV. As you might have figured, Butch wasn’t his real name. He got this as a nickname and decided to continue it in his adult life.

By profession, he is an animator and producer, along with a voice actor and a writer. His most famous Nickelodeon series include Bunsen is a Beast, T.UF.F. Puppy, Danny Phantom, and The Fairly OddParents.

His production company name is Billionfold Inc. He served as The Fairly OddParents’ Executive Producer for its entire 16 years run.

Born in Highland Park, Michigan, Butch Hartman had spent his early childhood in another area of Michigan- Roseville. New Baltimore, Michigan, saw the growth of Butch Hartman as an adolescent.

Before attending the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, he did his graduation from New Baltimore’s anchor Bay High School in 1983.

While a student, he even appeared on The Match Game- Hollywood Squares Hour, where he won around $3,000.

Personal Life

Currently, Butch Hartman lives with his wife in Bell Canyon, California. His daughters are Sophia and Carly Hartman. He is Christian and has three brothers who are younger than him.

Hartman owns a non-profit organization called Hartman House and Julieann, his wife, in 2005. This organization supports developing nations and poor areas in the United States.

The organization has helped build two homes for Guatemala families and also fed the Thanksgiving meal to around 7200 families.

Moreover, it is also funding an Uganda school. In the events that this body organizes, Hartman is seen drawing artworks and autographs for children.

Career

This is the best place to reach out if you are interested in knowing about Butch Hartman art. Hartman’s animation career goes far back to when he was a student of CalArts. He was an animator intern in Don Bluth’s film An American Tail.

Moreover, he also participated in Match Game-Hollywood’s three episodes before graduating.

He also tried his hands as a storyboard artist and character designer in the My Little Pony series. However, he didn’t have any experience in the field, so he didn’t stay there for long.

Butch Hartman had even worked with Ruby-Spears in the initial days of his career. Dink, The Little Dinosaur, and It’s Punky Brewster feature among his works with Ruby-Spears.

Moreover, he also worked on Pocahontas’ video reference crew.

He worked as an artist at Hanna-Barbera’s model department in the 1990s. After that, Fred Seibert, the Studio President, employed him to make shorts named Phish and Chip and Gramps for the show What a Cartoon!

If you were a fan of Cartoons, then Cartoon Network should have a bright memory in your mind. You will be delighted to know Butch Hartman became the storyboard artist, director, and writer for CN shows like I Am Weasel, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, and Dexter’s Laboratory.

His work with Nickelodeon started after the expiration of his Hanna-Barbera contract. He then worked with Seibert in Frederator, his studio on Oh Yeah! Cartoons.

Zoomates was short for Oh Yeah! Cartoons and the two co-creators of that were Butch Hartman and Seth MacFarlane.

Does the last name ring any bell? Well, it should. He is the creator of Family Guy. Butch Hartman met him while the former was serving his contract at Hanna-Barbera.

butch hartman

Nickelodeon chapter

December 1997 was the time when Butch Hartman saw his first breakthrough through The Fairly OddParents. This was originally a short series in the master show ‘Oh Yea! Cartoons.’

However, Nickelodeon eventually decided to do a full series with these shorts. Hence, in 2001, when the show premiered, it even crossed the ratings of SpongeBob Square Pants at some points. However, usually, it never lost its second position in ranking after that mega-hit series.

The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, was the third production. After that, the series ceased its production. However, 20 more episodes were supposed to be released, and on February 18, 2008, the 6th season of Fairly OddParents had it’s released.

After that, in 2009, Wishology was aired, a trilogy from May 1 to May 3. However, The Fairly OddParents continues to be the highest hit on Nickelodeon after SpongeBob Square Pants.

Butch Hartman and Danny Phantom is another pair that resonates in a cartoon fan’s mind. After the huge success of The Fairly OddParents, Nickelodeon’s president asked Hartman to create another engaging show for the channel. This show was later the most famous Danny Phantom.

He even started his own producing company to start producing his project. The company’s name is Billionfold Inc.

There was huge critical acclaim for Danny phantom, so much so that some even consider that show to be the best in Hartman’s crown. Its production ended in early 2007, and Butch Hartman acknowledges this as his best production.

Breakdown of Hartman’s work

Butch Hartman wrote three episodes in the Season 1 of Danny Phantom. 101st, 102nd, and 103rd episodes go to his writing credits. The first in the lot is titled Mystery Meat, followed by One of a Kind, and then finally, Splitting Images.

In Season 3 of Danny Phantom, he wrote the 302nd, 304th, 305th, 306th, and 312th, episodes. They are titled “Infinite Realms,” “Torrent of Terror,” “Forever phantom,” and “Urban Jungle.” And “Phantom Planet.”

The third show for Nickelodeon by Butch Hartman was T.U.F.F. Puppy which ran in 2010. Planet Sheen also had a premiere in the same year. However, the series didn’t run after its third season.

The final show in Butch Hartman’s list of creations is Bunsen Is a Beast, which aired on both Nicktoons and Nickelodeon from 16th January 2017 until 10th February 2018.

Meanwhile, on 8th February, Hartman announced his discontinuation with Nickelodeon on his YouTube and Twitter accounts.

Other works and engagements

Apart from these, he also has done some other significant works. Butch Hartman’s lesser-known initiative is The Noog Network; This is a kids-friendly channel for cartoons and lives shows.

Butch Hartman even ventured into newer zones, such as the domain of podcasts. His October podcast, Speech Bubble, mainly deals with pop culture, movies, cartoons, and several other topics. Many voice actors, such as Vic Mignogna, Grey Griffin, Jerry Trainor, Tara Strong, and Rob Paulsen, have been featured in his podcast.

The latest animated series of Butch Hartman is HobbyKids Adventure which premiered on 22nd June 2019. PocketWatch produced this series which was primarily created for YouTube Channel HobbyKids TV.

He didn’t stick to creating only for children. Hartman had even published a book named Mad Hustle that talks about the different stories and facts regarding pitching and selling any show in the American film industry.

Another of his engagements includes a Kickstarter campaign that he did for a streaming service named OAXIS Entertainment.

After it met all the find raising criteria, people got to know its initial Christian links. However, Hartman later publicly announced that even if faith constitutes an important part of his life, the streaming service and its productions were not based on or motivated by faith.

In February 2021, he again announced his return to his most glorious chapter at Nickelodeon as the producer of The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder, the sequel to The Fairly OddParents. The show premiered on 31st March 2022.

butch hartman

Hartman Hips

One of the peculiar characteristics of all the characters that Butch Hartman had created had one particular trope of creating exaggerated body parts.

However, as he created a show for children, thus he had to keep in mind not to sexualize the characters he was portraying.

Following this idea, an animated woman was born with more mature bodily features than any other female-bodied person. This character came to be known as Hartman Hips.

Are you curious about the etymology of the name?

If you want to show your character as more mature than others, how would you do that without sexualizing them?

One way to do this is to narrow the waist and shoulders of the character and enlarge the hips. Often, the latter portrayal is also viewed as part of a comic depiction which passes on well when a family sits to watch the show.

However, the same is not true in the case of big breasts. Hence, this character derived her name from her large buttocks.

Moreover, as Butch Hartman and other artists like Genndy Tartakovsky and Stephen Silver had used these tropes, the alliterated version of the name arrives- Hartman Hips!

Moreover, you should remember one thing if a character only has large hips, it won’t be in the Hartman Hips category. They will have to have small shoulders and busts. Only then would they qualify as Hartman Hips.

Butch Hartman controversy

Apart from art, another thing that Butch Hartman is synonymous with is the Butch Hartman controversy.

Butch Hartman’s campaign for Oaxis Entertainment was the first controversy that he signed himself for.

According to some, it was his streaming service, launched by crowdfunding using his name and reputation. Using Kickstarter, he raised a huge amount of money, as much as $268,000. This was used for funding Oaxis.

However, the donors and Hartman came to a standstill and had a clash of interests regarding the ultimate motive of Oaxis.

Even though he later confessed that Oaxis had no faith-based propaganda, a later Christian Private conference leaked some other information. In his talk at the conference, Butch Hartman was seen talking about some future faith-based plans of his.

The donors in Kickstarter were secular and felt tricked by the entire Oaxis Entertainment campaign. Even if the campaign never outrightly mentioned Christianity, the underlying tonalities were quite clear.

Thus, the reputation after this Butch Hartman controversy got quite rocked, which never really saw an upward turn.

Even though the campaign’s goal was fulfilled, the entertainment network has not yet seen the light of day. For the last two years, the website of Oaxis Entertainment has read “almost ready,” but the time has not yet come for its launch.

Other issues and downfall

In the meantime, hash Hartman has even engaged in other accusations, like saying hurtful and insensitive things on YouTube.

In some videos, he even said that modern-day media is responsible for suicide and depression. He implied that in his generation, kids were more resilient.

According to him, even if his generation went through hard times, they survived it, unlike people in this generation.

Another accusation in the Butch Hartman controversy that is trending currently is the plagiarism of artwork. He drew Mikasa Akerman from the famous Attack on Titan. However, Hartman’s artwork had striking similarities with one fanart of a Japanese artist whose Twitter name is @028. This person readily condemned Hartman for such plagiarism.

No one could get any statement from Hartman regarding this matter. However, no one can no longer wonders why these controversies are taking a toll on his reputation.

His YouTube channel is also gliding in a downward spiral. Subscribers no longer subscribe to his channel, and his recent uploads hardly have more than 10,000 views.

Even to a layperson, 10,000 views might seem a lot, but this is nothing for a figure like Butch Hartman.

Especially because he had seen the light and glimmer of success earlier, the fading of that shine due to these controversies is an unfortunate affair.

Final Thoughts

Butch Hartman and his creations still live on, no matter his controversies. But the fact that those didn’t leave his back is evident from his fallen fan base!

Shusree Mukherjee
Shusree Mukherjee
With 10+ years of experience in SEO content writing, Shusree believes content can move mountains while you deep dive into a pool of new experiences through learning and unlearning. Shusree loves to write on travel, health, beauty, celebrity, food, and all that jazz.

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