Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sketch dump

 Gratuitous Pinup (Shiny!)

Minty is lost...

"By my green mustache!" it's Ninja Ubu!

Stretch & Squash circa 1939

A fool and his tablet...

It's been ages...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rare "Cotta" cartoons


Ignacio Ochoa has kindly alerted me to one of Oscar Grillo's blogs, where the master has recently posted 4 cartoon pages by the South American print cartoonist Juan Angel Cotta. Check them out.

I first saw a few examples Cotta's work years ago on Shane Gline's CARTOON RETRO, where they leapt off the screen and excited me in exactly the way UPA cartoons frankly don't. Cotta's work seems to be from around the same time: the birth of the "Cartoon Modern" ethos (circa 1946) and although I doubt he was working in a vacuum, his drawing style strikes me as just about the boldest and freest example of that movement, despite the fact that no one ever seems to cite him.

Two pages originally seen on Cartoon Retro: 

Ignacio also posted about Cotta a while back, featuring some nice illustrations on his own site. Enjoy!
(Gracias, Ignacio!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Name change, Game change

Baz doesn't seem to dig the new name. Tough luck, Baz.


Five years ago, I originally named this blog "small room" because 95% of the time I tend to  gravitate more toward things that have a niche appeal than toward things that have mass appeal. That's been true ever since I can remember and it's still true. But the access to the world of niches has gotten bigger, making the room feel much bigger by consequence as well.  And maybe I'm fooling myself but I feel like I'm not exactly who I was five years ago, even in my ever-niche-y tastes. So time for a change.

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Last fall I was driving to some now forgotten appointment  when I had an unexpected epiphany. The sun was shining through the haze of Coldwater Canyon and it suddenly struck me that for the first time since I was four years old that being a cartoonist / animator / artist was not the biggest most important thing in the world to me any more. I went a little further and let myself let go of these long self-defining terms and tested what it would feel like to be whoever I am in without any trace of them. For better or worse i was still the same person, but without the driven aspiration of my chosen vocation. It felt fine.

Oddly enough this late-breaking epiphany has (I think) made my personal approach to cartooning (and a lot of life in general) stronger and more individual than it ever has been. While I'm still a cartoonist / animator / art-type, and satisfied with enough of my past, I currently look to the future with less of a defined notion of what being any (or none) of those things means. Like I've said before, it's daunting but liberating at the same time. As a kid and young adult my goals, standards and opportunities were so fixed in so many self-imposed ways that they became a kind of cage. It is both a relief and embarrassment to say that it has taken me this long to realize that the cage has been unlocked for a while now, but I have been too set in my ways to notice. Until now.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Not gone, not forgotten..?

As regulars, (if any) may have noted, I have been derelict in my blogging dooties of late, nearly four months since my last posting of any kind. My dereliction comes honesty, for the most part, I have been busier in the past half year than in several combined, both on the home and work fronts. Happily, it has all been to the good, altho not really subject for going into detail here.

Here are two relatively old digital sketches, one (above) with a caption representing a fleeting sentiment that crossed my mind months ago but now seems distant and OT for the days present, even though true enough...
This other is a colorful sketch of yet another homeless character inhabiting files, sketchbooks and post-it's that my restless scribbling has crossed. His name is "Baz'" lest I forget, and he is a charming animal, but like too many of my inventions, without a viable franchise to date...

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I have taken a week off this past, hoping to do Great Things, including bringing the blogosphere to it's knees with awesomeness... It didn't happen.  Instead, my first real vacation in a year got caught up in errands, family life, a bit of reading, a toothache and updating my growing collection of Korean Pop Music. Awesomeness abandoned, I'll be returning to the grindstone in a few days; but I was  also recently asked to speak at an event regarding any topic of my choice regarding the field of animation and I came up uncharacteristically stumped. To be honest, I don't know what to say about the field any more. Much of what I had to say can be found in these here archives, and at the present moment, I find myself curiously agog with the shifting and unstable nature of the times ahead. There is positive energy to be found here to be sure, but it is daunting at the same time. The world and industry I entered more than 3 decades ago is long gone, the world of the present is slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future...scarily, but fraught with possibilities I am frankly intrigued by. I can barely begin to describe how tired I get of the baggage of the past and my subsequent eagerness to embrace The New. The firmament is a-changing, as I can see clearly in the entertainment choices of my kids and family and even in my own wandering interests. I welcome it, of course, nostalgic as I sometimes have been, (i was raised on nostalgia and as such assimilated my parent's and grandparent's pop culture as much if not more than my own). Affection for the past, however can't dampen excitement for the future and although I suspect some of the landscape of said terrain will leave me cold, select areas are exciting as ever.

The fifth anniversary of this blog slipped by a few days after my last post, maybe that's why all this comes up at this point.
Five years from now, I suspect the landscape will be wildly different one way or another than what it has been. I hope to be here for it too. Cheers....