A couple years ago I had a short few exchanges with some guy who wrote a book on old cartoons once and who had started a blog. He wasn't an animator, or actor, or writer or any kind of expert on any aspect of animation, he had some kinda embarrassing day job that you would never admit to anyone..I can't remember...a male nurse or something... but he likes old cartoons (sort of) so I thought it would be fun just to talk about what made cartoons work or not.
The guy had the same old tired opinions that had been written in all the previous books on animation-that Disney was a master at story and acting, Chuck Jones "refined" Clampett's characters and nonsense like that, so I thought, being an actual practitioner of art, story and acting, I might be able to separate all those concepts for him and the few people who might read his blog, so that people could understand the differences between subtle artistic and entertainment concepts.
Well, it didn't work. I would explain the difference between specific acting and generic acting and I would just get back, "But Grumpy is an amazing piece of shaded acting" after I had already explained the difference between solid weighty animation and specific individual personality. I got frustrated and gave up after he just kept repeating the same mantras while not ever answering my arguments.
I realized that you can't explain art and entertainment to people who aren't artists or entertainers. I also hated the whole concept of "blogs". The idea that any amateur layman could write about any subject in the most ignorant fashion. I even hated the word.
...Until Katie Rice started a blog to document her lightning progress in specific character design.
She not only would put up all these great drawings of hers, but she would explain the thinking behind them. And I thought: "Wow! Now that's useful! This could actually help other artists."
Around the same time, Steve Worth had started up the monumental Asifa Animation Archive-http://www.animationarchive.org/the greatest resource in history of not only animation, animation art, interviews with animators-but also all kinds of related art and the artists that inspired a lot of animation artists of the glory days. So now there were 2 great animation blogs that were focused on the things I was interested in! Of course Cartoon Brew had already been around for awhile but I had thought of it as a website-I didn't know what blogs were at the time, and that's more about general animation. A few other classic cartoon blogs followed-Kevin's, Thad's, Andrea's, Marc Deckter's and many more. Now lots of lost art and history are being rediscovered.
I decided to take a stab at my own blog, thinking I would only get maybe 10 or 15 other cartoonists a day. But I did it with the purpose to inspire and educate other cartoonists and give them information that took me 25 years to find through trial, error and making successful cartoons and training tons of artist who went on to their own successful careers. And I did what all cartoonists had always wanted in the animation and cartoon books but never got, I used tons of pictures to back up my concepts and stories. What a radical concept! To my amazement, I got thousands of hits a day (over 2 million so far) and it led to lots of cool work, new friends, discovering new artists and I can see that lost concepts of classic cartoons are now beginning to be understood and embraced again.
And that's all thanks to you folks-even the little buggers who just show up to heckle. I get ideas from people who don't understand a particular concept I had just explained, and then I go on to elaborate in other posts and the concepts become clearer.
So thanks for a great year!
Oh and Happy Valentine's Day all you lovers. Here's a couple cards to print out if you need 'em!
Kali just told me this is my blog's one year anniversary. Well thanks everyone for keeping it going and listening to all my running off at the mouth!
Some stuff coming up:
LADY AND THE TRAMP CAN' T BE BEAT
AN APOLOGY TO THE CAL ARTS STUDENTS
HOW TO WRITE CARTOONS
EDDIE'S AMAZING HEAD
LET'S RETURN TO OSWALD THE RABBIT
THE INCREDIBLE NICK CROSS AND LIFE SUCKS
LOST ANIMATION TRADITIONS TO REVIVE
WHAT MAKES MARC DECKTER TICK?
ART LOZZI HATES MY FAVORITE FLINTSTONES SEQUENCE
BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE RAKETU ANIMATION SWEATSHOP
YOU BETTER GET SERIOUS ABOUT BEING FUNNY BECAUSE I'M STARTING A NEW STUDIO TO KICK EVERYONE'S ASS
GET OVER TO THE ASIFA ARCHIVE AND SEE THE BEST CARTOON SHIT EVER
LET'S GET RID OF THE FILLER SCENES IN ANIMATED FEATURES
PLUTO'S INDEFATIGABLE ASS
AND LOTS MORE FUN!