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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Book News

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH: The school year ended with a terrific show from the RIT animation students. Focal Press editor Paul Temme made a special trip to Rochester to see the program and it did not disappoint him. I like to show that my 'methods' actually work, and so student work illustrates some of the exercises.
All the negative examples are mine. I'm having a lot of fun messing with storybook characters such as the Three Bears and the Three Little Pigs.

Summer arrived this week; it's well over ninety outside though a nice breeze from the lake makes it not too intolerable. Worse weather will arrive later. The apartment has special curtains that help reflect the heat, so I'm prepared for the inevitable brownouts.

My own student film showed at the Museum of Modern art at the beginning of the month. I also invited friends, spent too much money, and showed the RIT seniors' work to a number of people and also to the curator of the new Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in SoHo. Their current show, SHE DRAWS COMICS, is curated by noted historian Trina Robbins. It features original comic art by women cartoonists such as Edwina Dumm, Grace Drayton, and Dale Messick who were famous in their day and are not given their proper due in most comic histories. This museum has no shingle or sign outside and it's a must-see in lower Manhattan. Go to see this show!
A new book on the female NEW YORKER cartoonists, FUNNY LADIES, has just been published. I had no idea that "Sher Mund" was shorthand for Barbara Shermund. It's also a crying shame that there were many female cartoonists in the original New Yorker but their number greatly declined in the Sixties.
I've decided that there should be a certain percentage of female artists in my book since I'm fed up to the back teeth with the guy-centrism that is even more apparent in animation than it is in comics; a comic artist can publish her own book, but a female animator must work on a project with other artists, the vast majority of whom are male. Quick, name a female animation director. --Thought so. (Yvette Kaplan and Jun Falkenstein come to mind in the USA. Europe does better; Joanna Quinn makes wonderful films and there are other female directors on the Continent.

So I have a few artistic contributions from Nina Paley, Nina Haley (no relation), and RIT students Brittney Lee, Kimberly Miner and Sarah Kropiewnicki. And of course there's my stuff all over the place.

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art will host RIT in a special animation show this fall! The curator was impressed enough with the works I showed to suggest that a student make a presentation; and I believe we can arrange to get one of this year's seniors who has to come back for one more class (for some reason) in the fall term. I'm going to recommend showing maquettes and color work as well; we can 'have wall space' which means it might not be a one day's presentation. This will be excellent publicity for the school's animation program and the museum. I'll write more about it when it actually gets scheduled.

I don't know if we'll be able to have a book signing there too in January when PREPARE TO BOARD is published, but I wouldn't mind it. Right now it's more important to get the student work in front of the public. There are some excellent films to choose from and by no means all are senior projects.