Thursday, September 27, 2007
A conversation with a young girl animator...
First...who the heck am I commenting on your blog? I'm someone who studied and worked in animation and was a licensed cartoon character artist. Stopped for a few years to raise my young daughter and now works freelancing as a character designer and illustrator. I suppose that's my disclaimer like.."the words you are about to read have a lot of experience behind them"....
I am an avid reader of John K's blog as well, where I found your post. Which lead to your blog..which I read...
I grew up, as you did, a Disney fanatic. By the time I was four, I wanted to work for them. Eventually, I was trained by them as a character artist for merchandise and freelanced regularly. It was a realization of a dream in some ways and an eye opening experience to the Dirty side of Disney. BUT... I have never lost my "awe" of the art. Today, they are not what they once were, but I have high hopes seated on the back of John Lassiter.
As I got older, watched more and more different kinds of animation, my knowledge of techniques..styles...GENRES grew. I love Hanna Barbera and Warner Bros and Terry Tunes and Jay Ward and Walter Lanz.....Aardman...Colossal Pictures, "Aeon Flux" I drool over Miyazaki and Pixar...and I freakin' love Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends. BUT .... my love or dislike of one has no effect on my feelings on another. Cause I see them as seperate styles and genres. I don't compare Norman Rockwell to Rauschenburg. But I like them both. There's plenty of art that's not my cup of tea, but all of it, I respect. Because that's someone's soul up on that canvas or at least their sense of humor. Or someone's three+ years of sweat and skill in that film.
And one can debate anything...on and on..Skill vs. Style...Story vs. Comedy...Cartoon vs, Animation. The actual word "cartoon" comes from Italian cartone "pasteboard, a sketch of a planned drawing or painting done on heavy paper," from carta "sheet of paper," from Latin charta "piece of papyrus". Da Vinci's and Michealangelo's sketches and studies are called CARTOONS. Cartoons are not by definition funny. They are a reflection of life which is all things...funny...touching, sad , grotesque, sarcastic, weird, heartbreaking.. magical.. satirical..political...and damn it, I'll say it....sweet and CUTE.
If you can love Robert Crumb...you can believe that the Frank and Ollie boys existed. Because Robert Crumb is a reaction to that culture. The man lusts after the early twentieth century. Unfortunately for him, he was born too late and into a wacky family...but we all benefitted...from his..kookiness.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck Jones while working on some Warner Bros. merchandise. He was his work. He was sweet, funny, mischeivous, flirtatious and so kind. I also had the greatest thrill to correspond with Charles Schulz. He was as dry and subtlely funny as Peanuts. Artists of that era poured their whole beings into their work. And if there is something horribly wrong with cartoons today, it's that young cartoonists/animators don't get that. When I read your blog... I read a dismissal of an entire generations' work. And that sucks. Take from everything...draw from every artistic expression available..put it in your mental blender and consume until full...then pour out what you don't want. But be nourished by some parts of all of it.
John K- I respect him..I love Ren and Stimpy... I'm not a huge fan of his ego, remember: He is only one source. Choose your mentors carefully or mix and match them. He shows only his way...or the highway. That's fine if you want to be like him. But he took so much from so many....I think the best way to follow him is by following all who came before him. And they...were all classically trained artists. So draw...draw...draw and draw some more. And best of luck. I love to see young women aspiring to be cartoonists..there weren't many when I was aspiring....Kelly