Friday, July 30, 2010

San Diego Comic Con

There are many reasons why I went to the great San Diego Comic Con this year. One is to sell the new “Hair High” and “Guns on the Clackamus” DVDs. Second is to promote the new Rizzoli's coffee table book “Independently Animated, Bill Plympton” that will come out next year. Third is to promote the documentary about myself called “Adventures in Plymptoons” by Alexia Anastasio. Fourth is to help get publicity for the theatrical release (finally!) of my feature film, Idiots & Angels, which I just learned is coming out in L.A. at the Laemmle Cinema on October 29th.

Because San Diego ComicCon is so important, there's a gush of press people there, so each year we use the event to promote our new projects. All my old friends are usually there-- Peter Kuper, Spike of Spike and Mike, Lloyd Kaufman, Mike Richardson, David Silverman, Harry Knowles, Peter DeSeve Peter Chung (who's doing a new show called “Fire Breathers”, in 3D no less) Larry Hama (of G.I. Joe Fame) and of course the great Ralph Bakshi.

Max Allan Collins

Lucie Spain, Alexia Anastasio, David Silverman

Ralph Bakshi

One of the highlights was a gallery show at the great Chuck Jones Gallery just one block away from the convention center. It was on a Friday night and it followed the Stan Lee show the night before. We had a great crowd, sold lots of art and had a lot of fans. And everyone who bought a piece of art got a free caricature of themselves by Bill Plympton! Check out the full collection of gallery photos here!

I've just started to Twitter, so check me out on the Twittersphere. I'll continue San Diego on my next blog, see ya then!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Firebird Effects by Ted Kierscey...

I ripped this extra off of the Fantasia DVD anthology, a set that every animator should own (buy it! worth every penny). It's simply stunning the amount of detail and dedication to timing and mood that Ted Kierscey was able to put into this sequence. It puzzles me that Ted Kierscey is not a household name, which he clearly should be. I show this sequence to my students every year, just to remind them(and myself) what this medium is capable of accomplishing. In particular, what the pencil on a piece of paper can accomplish; texture, tangibility, and an overall essence that only a hand carved line can create. I've watched this so many times, and it never fails to invigorate me to animate!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gustav Vigeland..

A friend of mine from England turned me onto the norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) about three years ago. I was already pretty deep into the idea of constructing larger forms from individual figures(something I saw during my time in Indonesia), but this influence really set me on my present course. I don't have a strong desire to work in sculpture, but I think that the solid drawing principles that I admire have a sculptural quality. It's all about weight, and Gustav is a prime example. EVERYTHING he did has immense weight.. you can feel it pressing against the earth! Ironically, the monolith configuration he has constructed are totally impossible to perform in reality, but his representation of the action makes it believable. When you're seeking to create the bizarre, it's effective to construct things in a believable way. The most strange things are best to illustrate within reality, otherwise you risk venturing into that fantasy world, and inevitably lose grounding and meaning. A piece from Sculpture Park in Oslo on the left by Vigeland, and one of my "columns" street art from 05 on the right.
Interestingly, very little of his sculptures have left Norway, partly due to a contract Vigeland made with the city of Oslo in 1921. He was given a large studio near the center of the city, and in exchange, he agreed to bequeath to Oslo all works in his possession as well as all original models of future sculptures. He lived and worked there from 1924 until his death in 1943. Over that enormously productive 20 years, with Vigeland’s design and direction, grew an 80-acre sculpture park and museum entirely devoted to his work.

The sheer scope of Vigeland’s work is astonishing. The park contains 192 sculptures in granite and bronze, with more than 600 figures. Then there's a museum, housed in a building originally erected as studio and home which includes some 1600 sculptures, 12,000 drawings and 400 woodcuts. Check out Vigelands work, perhaps it will inspire you like it did me!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Animators Unearthed by Chris Robinson..

A new book is out by Chris Robinson, it's a good read, and I'm not just saying that because I'm one of the animators featured;) actually, two NYU faculty are represented, myself and John Canemaker.
"Animators Unearthed" is an introduction to some of the world's top animation filmmakers, whose faces and voices remain largely unseen and unappreciated outside of the animation community. Chris Robinson discusses why it's been neglected and where you can find the work. He aims to bring this art form, and its creators, to the forefront by tracing the history of this personal and artistic animation. Throughout its history, animation has been primarily defined as cartoons that make people laugh, a medium of gags, caricatures, animals and fart jokes. Most people have no idea that there also exists a more personal, provocative and poetic side of animation, one that is not made for money and mass audiences. Robinson profiles 20 animators, known in the field, including: Patrick Smith, Don Hertzfelt, Chris Landreth (2004 Oscar winner for "Ryan"), John Canemaker (2005 Oscar Winner for "The Moon and The Son"), Joanna Quinn, Run Wrake, Chris Hinton (Oscar nominee), Bob Sabiston ("Waking Life", "A Scanner Darkly"). After spending 16 years fighting the stereotype that animation exists for kids and laughs, Robinson's tome spreads that message to introduce these incredible artists to a wider audience. Most of all, he hope that people will come away with the feeling that animation is a great art form that rivals any of the classic arts.
A noted animation commentator, curator and historian, Chris Robinson has been a director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) since 1994. His previous books include Unsung Heroes of Animation (John Libbey & Co., 2006), Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy (IUP, 2007) and The Animation Pimp: AWN Official Guide (Course Technology, 2007).

On another note, sorry I've been so lame about blogging. Blogging tends to get in the way of my lying around time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Guard Dog Global Jam

I was at the wonderful Florida Film Festival where I saw a short animated film that was amalgam of circles taken from artists on the internet. It was a very cool film but what really intrigued me was the idea that one could make a film using artists from around the world and never actually talking to them or meeting them.

After thinking about it, the idea came to my mind that perhaps I could remake one of my classics using animators from around the world- kind of a Global Jam.

My most famous film "Your Face" would be great but it's one complete shot so its hard to break up into short sections. Then I thought "Guard Dog." That's perfect- it's made up of 70 little shots, a great animal star (everyone likes to animate animals) and its Oscar nominated!

So two weeks we opened up the competition for animators from around the world to submit for their favorite shots on Sept. 1 at noon EST. And the selection will be made on a first come first serve basis.

Unfortunately I can't pay filmmakers who join in the fun. But I will give them a credit in the film- a free DVD and an original drawing from my "Guard Dog" series.

I think the finished product is going to look very cool when it is finished. However I can't foresee it getting a whole lot of sales since its kind of a squeal to the original "Guard Dog." But I believe it will be a wonderful collaboration of the wide range of styles and humor available in animation.

Check out the rules that are included on and stay tuned for an update on the project. Also I've just decided to give a special prize for the single clip that I think is my favorite.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Dear Readers,

Here is a drawing by famed Canadian Animator Cordell Barker (“Cat Came Back”, “Spaced Invaders”, “Runaway”) that perfectly captures the myth and reality of being an animator. Its wonderful. I just wanted to share it with you, although I must say I really love my drawing board. Thanks to Cordell.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Events, Salem, Comic Con and More!

This summer there are a lot of Plympton activities that you need to be aware of.

I start by taking my summer Oregon vacation after the 4th of July, where I have two major events. The first one is a double show I'm doing at the Salem Cinema located on 1127 Broadway (at the corner of Broadway and Market Streets) on July 11th.

At 5pm, I'll be showing all my safe-for-kids short films, the Dog series, and the premiere of “The Cow How Wanted to be a Hamburger” in Oregon. And then, the 8 o'clock show will be for adults only – Some sex, some violence, and a lot of laughs. Plus, I'll be creating some drawings and telling some stories. Everyone who comes gets a free Bill Plympton sketch – so if you're in the Salem area, please stop by and say hello.

Then, on July 19th, I'm having a big DVD party at Dante's Cabaret, 1 SW 3rd Ave at Burnside from 6 – 10. A lot of the actors and crew from Guns on the Clackamus will be there and we'll be showing clips from that film. Also, we'll be celebrating the Hair High DVD release. It's open to the public, so bring your friends; it'll be a blast!

Then on the 21st, I'm heading down to San Diego for the prestigious Comic Con. I'll be sharing booth #5552 with the duo who are making my documentary, "Adventures in Plymptoons", Alexia and Kevin. We have three major events to tell you about. The first is my panel on Thursday at 1:30 – 2:30 in Room 8. I'll be showing lots of cool things – besides some of my commercial work, I'll show "The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger" and a clip from my new feature film, Cheatin'. It has a unique style. We'll also be screening a clip from the documentary "Adventures in Plymptoons", which will be introduced by Alexia Anastasio, and of course, everyone who comes gets a free Bill Plympton drawing.

The second event is a screening of my newest short, “The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger” at the Comic Con Independent Film Festival on Thursday, July 22nd at 3:25pm. The screening will be held at the Marriott Hotel and Marina, In Marriott Hall 1&2.

Thirdly. on Friday night from 7 – 10, we're having an exhibition at the Chuck Jones Gallery, located at 232 Fifth Avenue. We'll be showing all the best drawings from “Idiots and Angels”, my “Dog” series and select artwork from other shorts, including "The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger". We'll also be playing some of my classic shorts and other extras. It's open to the public, so please stop by and bring your friends. I'll see you there, and have fun at the con!

We have two new surprise announcements coming up, probably within the next two weeks, so please stay tuned to Scribbles Junkies! You're going to love these announcements!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Annecy Part Trois

Serge Bromberg before the Tango.

The Annecy festival was a huge success. Already I'm starting on my new film to hopefully get me invited back to the festival in 2011.

I took the train back from Annecy to Paris and did a few meetings about the Frenel book called “Bill Plympton: Portrait of a Serial Cartoonist.” I had a free afternoon so I decided to see the Louvre. As many times I've been to Paris I've always been too busy with interviews and signings. Now I finally had some free time to visit “the greatest art museum in the world.” Apparently it started out as a fort complex, then became The King's residence and office buildings until The French Revolution when it became the residence of all the great French and Italian art.

At the Louvre

Ready to jump in the canal.

I figured my time was limited so I stuck to French painting (Renaissance to 1860's). Wow. Never in my life have I seen so many religious paintings of Jesus and his crew! I've had enough pictures of Christ to last me to eternity. There was, however, some wonderful art by Millet, Corot, Delacroix and Ingres. Even a Goya. So it was a very rewarding experience. I OD'd on so much art I forgot to see Michelangelo's “David” and DaVinci's Mona Lisa. Doh!

Hopefully next time I visit France I'll be able to see the rest of the Louvre.