The animated duo Beavis and Butt-Head are back in a new Paramount+ series. 29 years after their MTV debut, Beavis and Butt-Head still look the same, still wear their AC/DC and Metallica T-shirts, and still sit on their couch. Creator Mike Judge discussed his artistic inspirations for the boys in a recent interview, and revealed a surprisingly highbrow Picasso influence.
Judge was a guest on Dana Carvey and David Spade’s Fly on the Wall podcast on Aug. 3. He explained how Picasso influenced Beavis, and other factors in creating Beavis and Butt-Head. New episodes of Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.
Mike Judge gave Beavis Picasso eyes
Both Beavis and Butt-Head have striking appearances. Beavis has big blonde hair, a jaw sticking out in an underbite, and a sharp pointed nose. His little eyes were Judge’s homage to Picasso.
“I’m not trying at all to compare myself to great artists, but Beavis’s eyes I thought were like Picasso eyes,” Judge said on Fly on the Wall. “When I was in high school, I took an art history elective, I used to just start drawing Picasso stuff in my notebooks. I don’t draw very well, I was never proud of what I draw. Occasionally I would do a pretty good caricature of a teacher. With Beavis, I kind of did Picasso eyes on him which none of the other characters in the show have. It’s like Mickey Mouse is Mickey Mouse but all the side characters, they had to commit to them being mice.”
Butt-Head was inspired by a Charlie Brown character
Butt-Head has dark hair and wears braces. Judge said he based some of Butt-Head on Pig-Pen from the Charlie Brown cartoons.
“I’m not a great animator at all but I wanted them to look like they were drawn by a deranged 14-year-old,” Judge said. “On the original Charlie Browns, I love the way Pig-Pen was animated kind of sloppy and messy. I was imagining Butt-Head’s hair like that. Once I drew them, it just seemed like they can’t say anything clever. There were guys, kind of different people I knew growing up in Albuquerque I was like, ‘Are they really that dumb? How do you — can you read at all?”
Beavis and Butt-Head’s laugh had to be subtle
Beavis and Butt-Head are famous for their incessant laughter. Judge handles the voice for that, but always has to instruct his animators not to make the boys too expressive when they laugh.
“Butt-Head has the gums and the braces,” Judge said. “When you have braces, people when they’re smiling, the corners of their mouth don’t really go up unless it’s a huge smile. When he laughs, his mouth is going down. All these animators way better than me, they’d have them do shoulders up. It’s like no no, that’s not how they laugh. You’ve got to animate my horrible style.”