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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Animation Books and Book Shows

Tina Price of Creative Talent Network sent a notice about the new animation book look in L.A. I can't make it this year. All my energies for the past year have been taken up with searching for a better job and now with the move. Once the move is over, I will see what I will see.
Here is Tina's announcement:

The Animation Book Look is a gathering of authors and artists from the
animation industry. Co-hosted by Van Eaton Galleries and The Creative Talent
Network, this year’s event will be held in Sherman Oaks, California, on May 17
from 1pm - 6pm. This free festival of book signings and artist sightings is the
only event of its kind in the country.The Book Look will bring amazing artists
and authors to the signing table. More than 75 books will be featured, including
children’s books, Artist’s Sketchbooks, and How-To’s and History-Of’s from
illustration to fine art.The Who’s Who of artists and authors include Jerry
Beck, Toby Bluth, Tee Bosustow, Stefan Bucher, Dave Colman, Craig Elliott, Gris
Grimly, Ryan Hungerford, Mike Kunkel, Jason Lethcoe, Rik Maki, Patrick Morgan,
Steve Niles, Brian and Phil Phillipson, Don Peri, Eric Pigors, Ragnar, Martha
Sigall, Stephen Silver, Bob Singer, Jim Smith, Tom Sito, Amanda Visell, Tony
White, Shigeru Yabu, and Willie Ito.The Animation Book Look signing and sales
event will be held at Van Eaton Galleries, 13613 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA,
on Saturday, May 17, from 1:00 pm-6:00 pm. The event is free, but RSVP’s are
suggested by contacting Van Eaton Galleries at (818) 788-2357. Visit for more details.And be sure and stop by
the CTN Table and say hi!!

Anyone who is in Los Angeles should visit this show and look at the smorgasbord of books on display. If it is anything like last year's show, it should be a lot of fun. And speaking of books, I have just received the incredible book of animation caricatures assembled from the yearly show at the Walt Disney Studio. This book, which was appropriately published on April 1, was intended to showcase the resurgence of drawn animation at that studio. It was published in-house and only distributed to employees.
It really should have been called the John Musker collection since his outstanding work is on nearly every page. The rest of us were just playing along. (Actually many other artists have remarkable work here, but John was so prolific an illustrator, his work makes up about eighty per cent of the book.)
I remember some of the drawings and people like it was yesterday and the drawings bring back pleasant memories of my time at Disney. Less pleasant memories are immortalized as well; Musker, in particular, got into some political material toward the end of his first stay at the studio.

The quality of the work (other than John's) deteriorates after management lays off most of the artistic staff. The layoffs and other developments are deliniated in a timeline inside the front and back covers.
And sadly the first ten years of the caricature show is unrepresented because the artwork from this show was not digitized. But it's a stunning book, and it will be one of my treasures.

How did I happen to get a copy if it was only distributed to employees? There are two reasons.

Along about last November I was contacted by Lella Smith of the Animation Research Library on the lot. She asked if they could have my permission to use some of my caricatures (including the ones of Frank and Ollie that became the 'official' caricatures of these legendary animators) in the book. Of course, I said, but don't you already own them? No, it turns out they didn't. I was promised a book in exchange for the use of the drawings, which was overpaying me by a lot.

Oddly enough five of the six drawings I did for the show are included here. I rarely participated since I was too busy working...I once asked John Musker how he could do up to seventy five drawings per show. It turns out he would sketch during lengthy meetings. Other, fancier pieces by John show up later in the book when he and Ron Clements were sitting idle in their offices awaiting their 'fate' as the management continued to play up the computer wing and destroy the cartoonists. John's drawings from 2004 to 2006 are a chronicle of an artistic massacre. There is one that has a computer evilly grinning and holding a card marked '2D' as the last "Survivor" at Disney's. But help is on the way.
2006's pages feature a very funny drawing of John Lasseter about to land on top of David Stainton like the Sumo wrestler in Bill Plympton's 25 WAYS TO QUIT SMOKING. (Stainton was the former head of Feature Animation, and a chainsaw manager par excellence.)

So what is my second reason for receiving this book?

You never really leave Disney. It's more of a living entity than a studio. Sooner or later, everyone comes back. I don't know if the reach will extend to Canada, but spiritually a part of me will always be there, I guess.


David said...

"a chainsaw manager par excellence"

;-) You have such a great way of turning a phrase , Nancy ! Perfect . (oh, by the way, have you seen DS's website ? omigosh ...)

"You never really leave Disney. It's more of a living entity than a studio. Sooner or later, everyone comes back. I don't know if the reach will extend to Canada, but spiritually a part of me will always be there, I guess."

This is also so true , and damn it you actually made me tear up a bit , just when I think I'm finally over it all.

Nancy said...

HI David,
I did not create the term 'chainsaw manager'. It is a very good description of a certain kind of boss that thank Goodness I'e only experienced once. Here's hoping you never do.
I'll check out DS's website, as you suggest.

As for Disney, I wish them well, but the animation department has a long way to go to get out of the tailspin they were forced into by poor management.

Nancy said...

Hi Dave,
Have you kept up to date with what Michael Eisner is doing?

Here is something:

I have a friend working for him. "Now I know what a billion dollars looks like," he said.

David said...

Bazooka Joe, eh ? Who'd of thunk it ?

Does that mean Dreamworks will be doing a Pud movie ?

Well, seriously, I hope you are settling in nicely in Oakville and I'm sure glad to know you are going to be passing along the tradition to the students at Sheridan. It was 26 years ago (!) in 1982 that I first moved to Oakville to attend Sheridan.

Nancy said...

Somehow, I don't see Mr. Katzenberg working with Mr. Eisner any time soon. But you never know. THE PUD MOVIE sounds a little too, ahhh, adult for a DreamWorks picture.
I am looking forward to working at Sheridan and thank you for your good wishes.