Learn from John Kricfalusi and Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton and John Kricfalusi

Today, two of the biggest names in animation–John Kricfalusi and Bill Plympton–each announced that they were starting up classes to teach animation. Their models are very different.

John K. is calling his “Cartoon College.” It is a free, invitation-only private blog in which he’ll spend time giving individual notes to the promising artists that apply. He admits in this introductory post about the program that part of the motivation for giving away free training is selfishness:

The kind of cartoons I make require these skills, and I can’t afford to teach them during a production. Cartoon budgets go down every year and so I need people who already understand what I’m looking for and are functional. I always want to do layouts in my cartoons – it’s what separates my cartoons visually from so many others, but layout is mostly not done anywhere anymore. Nowadays, they just design the characters from a couple different angles, take them into Flash and then move the still pieces around like paper doll puppets. I can’t make my kind of custom stories and acting using that system. I need talented and SKILLED people to help. It’s worth it to me to help out before a production begins, but it will be up to you to practice and apply and critique yourselves according to what you learn. I will give some critiques and everyone here can learn from each other’s studies.

Bill Plympton is starting up his class in the real-world. Beginning September 16, for 14 consecutive weeks, he will teach a two-hour class every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm. It will take place at his studio in Chelsea, Manhattan. The cost is $1000 per person and is limited to 15 students. According to the description which he posted on Facebook, students will:

Learn how you can make amazing films that can earn money. Learn the tricks of drawing, design, layouts, storyboards, writing, humor, directing, backgrounds and editing. Learn the business of animation, budgets, funding, selling, distribution, festivals and cost-cutting tricks. Call (212) 741-0322 or email at Plymptoons (at) aol (dot) com for more information.


  • Chris Leonido

    Wow…This is going to be very and I mean very interesting.

  • http://www.onanimation.com Dan Caylor

    Like white on rice…

  • http://fluidtoons.blogspot.com Brett W. Thompson

    Awesome! It’s great to see two masters of the craft share their knowledge.

    Wish I could do both!!

  • Gerard de Souza

    Hey. Don’t forget Don Bluth! http://www.donbluthanimation.com/
    They’re making a short and the man himself interacts and critiques on forum. Lots of members making huge strides in their animation.

  • http://www.wardjenkins.com Ward

    “…but layout is mostly not done anywhere anymore.”

    Totally not true. Not sure where he’s coming from with that statement, but I did all my layouts when I was directing.

  • Simon

    yeah the last 4 animated tv series I worked on didn’t have a layout department. Would have solved a lot of problems if they did.

    I would love to do both these courses

  • http://www.zoepiel.com zoe

    To what extent is JohnK’s class intended to be a training course to produce assistants who will then work for him?

  • Dave G

    John’s class is totally free. You’re gonna argue with such a deal in a deep recession?

  • http://www.bobtoons.com Bob Harper

    Wish I could take both – John should charge and use the money for producing his stuff.

  • Paul N

    “To what extent is JohnK’s class intended to be a training course to produce assistants who will then work for him?”

    From his comments, it looks to be the primary reason. It’s great that he’s doing it for free, then.

  • http://superrugged.blogspot.com MJ

    cal arts is cartoon college!

  • Ian Merch

    I have to say that Bill Plympton’s class actually costs LESS and lasts longer than the animation school I went to. Seems like a neat thing to experience

  • shouldbeworking

    Plympton’s class is a DEAL!

  • http://johnpannozzi.blogspot.com John Pannozzi

    Whatever happened to the John K. art book?

  • amid

    John Pannozzi: I’m currently working on it. Will be out in summer ’10. It’s shaping up to be a good one!