It's not every day you get to have a drink with a legend. A while back, Me and Bill Plympton met up with Richard Williams and his wife Mo when he was in New York for his MOMA show. Bill happen to sit next to Mo, and the way the seats were configured, I had Richard all to myself (not that Mo isn't awesome). Over the course of an hour, I was able to talk to him about everything from working under Art Babbit, Ken Anderson, and Milt Kahl, to their techniques, personalities, similarities and differences. (below, a really crappy iphone photo of me and Dick.. kind of looks like a security camera photo)I was hesitant to get the conversation away from regular stuff like what we're up to, and how the weather is in Bristol, (i'm always up for conversations about England).. but then i just finally said, "richard.. i'm sure tons of people ask you this.. but what was it like to work with Art Babbit?" i was happy to see his eyes light up.. and he just talked for 1/2 hour straight, his jet lag seemed to disappear. One of the things that stood out was that Art Babbit did a lot of "pick up and trace" animation... which is the process of picking up the top sheet of paper, pivoting it at the joint of the character, and tracing the new position. This is a technique that I do all the time and i've always thought it was a lame cheat. We also talked about the value of solid drawing, as well as a personal theory i have, that animators spend so much time finding the "easy" way to do things, that if they just did it the hard way, they would finish quicker! he slapped me on the knee and told me he couldn't have said it better himself. I also LOVED the stories of how Art and Ken were IMPROVING even into their 80's. Dick said he witnessed it personally. These guys were the real thing. Outside of that, we discussed self taught animators, something we have in common.
Name Dropper is going to be a new item on Scribble Junkies, especially since bill does it so often:)