50s Design Book and Blast #9 Update

Clark's chewing gum storyboard by Ray Favata

Here’s a quick update on the two biggest projects that I’m dealing with at the moment. First, the latest on the Chronicle book. It’s now officially titled CARTOON MODERN: STYLE AND DESIGN IN 1950S ANIMATION and I’m happy to report that it’ll be wrapped up within the next month or so. The page count continues to climb, and at the moment it’s looking like the final total will be 200 pages. Even with this many pages, it’s been a complex and challenging assignment for my book designer to fit in all the artwork that I want to have included in it. But he’s managing to do a superb job of packing in the visuals, while keeping the art at a decent size and giving the page layouts room to breath. Our goal is to make sure there’s no superfluous pages in this book; every page is going to have a rare piece of art or photo. I can’t wait to share the results with everybody in April ’06.

Also, this week, I started working full-time on the long-delayed ANIMATION BLAST #9, in hopes of meeting the new December release date. I’m incredibly excited about starting up again on this issue and finally finishing it up. I’m also really excited to announce a major new article in this issue that is written by MONSTERS INC. director Pete Docter. The article gives some long-overdue credit to the amazing (and amazingly forgotten) Disney animator John Sibley (1912-1973), who is best known for his animation on the Goofy shorts, including HOW TO RIDE A HORSE, TIGER TROUBLE and HOCKEY HOMICIDE. Pete’s a big fan of his work and he spent a long time tracking down and interviewing Sibley’s colleagues and researching Sibley’s animation style. The piece he’s written is nothing short of incredible, and sheds all sorts of new light on Sibley’s life and work.

One piece that will no longer be in BLAST 9 is “Buy! Buy!: A History of Studios From The Golden Age of TV Commercials.” I’d started this piece long before I started working on the 50s design book, and what ended up happening is that I incorporated most of the article’s research into the book. It seems kind of redundant to reprint the same info in the BLAST now, so I’m giving the space over to more original research like the Sibley piece. I’ll have an updated contents listing on the BLAST #9 preview page soon.

Thanks again so much for everybody’s patience on this issue. I’m going to try my best to make this the strongest issue of the BLAST yet and not let anybody down.