As you all may be aware, I started out my professional career as a cartoonist – political, caricature, strips and gags. Even though my boyhood dream was to make animation, it was the print cartoons that really influenced my animated cartoons. My style and sense of humor was all there in my magazine and newspaper artwork, so when I got the opportunity to appear at the annual NCS (National Cartoonist Society) meeting, I said yes.
It was over the Memorial Day weekend at the beautiful Hyatt hotel in fast-growing Jersey City, NJ. They put us up in a wonderful Hudson River view apartment, and the genius caricature artist, Steve Brodner, introduced me. He was the guy that influenced me to leave caricature and go into animation; I couldn't compete with him. I had about 150 cartoonists from all over the country at my show. After, we got a great dinner and party overlooking the magnificent New York skyline. I was able to meet a lot of great friends. Mo Willems, who I've known for 20 years, was there. He's now a major kids' book creator. Also Sam Viviano (MAD Art Director) who was a member of the legendary “Benday and the Zipatones” cartoonist band back in the 80's, with such cartoonists such as Lou Brooks, Elwood Smith, Mark Stamaty, and myself. Then my old friend Patrick McDonnell (Mutts) introduced me to Sandra Boynton of the Hippo greeting card fame.
Me and famous New Yorker Cartoonist George Booth
Me, Sandra Boynton, Patrick McDonnell of Mutts fame and wife Karen
Me and Mo Willems - childrens book creator extraordinaire
Me and Jerry Robinson - DC Comic's "Batman"
The next day I got to meet the great George Booth. During his wonderful show he talked about his early years as the New Yorker's hottest cartoonist. You you may know, as the newspapers and magazines are dwindling, it's a very challenging time for cartoonists, and I believe I opened their horizons with my discussion of my transfer from cartoonist to animator. I do believe there are a lot of wonderful opportunities in animation now – especially if you're a good humor writer or drawer, and I hope their talented kids can take advantage of crises.