Here’s the best thing I’ve found online this week: a three-part video interview from 2001 with all-star cartoonists living in Carmel, California. The participants include magazine cartoonist Eldon Dedini, GORDO creator Gus Arriola, and DENNIS THE MENACE creator Hank Ketcham. All three of them started in animation before finding success as print cartoonists, and sadly, following Dedini’s passing last month, only Arriola is still with us.
To summarize the videos, the following are things that these master cartoonists dislike nowadays: Magazine cartoons, especially THE NEW YORKER (“a lot of times you don’t need the picture”); daily newspaper comics; cartooning skills of artists currently working in both animation and print; ditto their writing skills; contemporary animation that focuses on techique at the expense of character development and humor; and CG animation (in the words of Arriola, it’s so slick “even garbage is pretty.”)
And here are the things they like: Pixar. Yep, that’s pretty much the only bit of modern cartooning that gets some love in this interview. Ketcham says about Pixar, “They do the whole thing in drawing first. They draw their cartoons before they put the technology overlap…that kind of thing may work out fine.”
Also recommended on the same site is an interview with Wah Ming Chang (1917-2003). Chang worked on PINOCCHIO and BAMBI in the Effects and Model Department, and later created stop motion animation for George Pal’s THE TIME MACHINE and THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF BROTHERS GRIMM, as well as designing costumes for THE KING AND I, creating masks for THE PLANET OF THE APES and designing creatures for the TV series THE OUTER LIMITS and STAR TREK. This interview only scratches the surface of Chang’s career, but it’s worth a view.