It was my good buddy Rick Farmiloe who turned me on to the CTN gathering, or convention or whatever it is. The CTN stands for “Creative Talent Network” – its a broad description for a meeting of great animators, cartoonist, character designers and storyboard artists. Basically, any art-based animation creator.
It is organized by Tina Price, and in fact I've done signings in her booth at the San Diego Comic Con in the past. Well, I've recently returned from the event in Burbank, CA, and I must say it was one of the more fun experiences of my life.
It was held at the Burbank airport Marriot and I was invited to do a lot of events – an interview with the great Bill Kroyer in the Big Room kicked off the weekend. I showed Winsor McCay's “The Flying House” (my version) and the pencil test of “Cheatin'”. I also did an intimate workshop where I talked about my work process. The convention floor was packed with super artists like William Stout, Dean Nagel, and Andrea Deja. Then there were some old friends just cruising the aisles. David Siverman (Simpsons), Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold) Matt Groening, Spike Decker, Jerry Beck, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, Robert Valley, and the brilliant illustrator Peter DeSeve.
But the highlight for me was reconnecting with the genius Oscar Grillo – I met him a few years ago at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival, and I've been a subscriber to his “Drawing a Day” service. He was one of the greatest animators ever, but he got tired of the biz and retired about 10 years ago. It was a very sad day, because he was such an original and entertaining illustrator/animator.
If you can track down his stuff, do it! His work is amazing, and you may see a little influence of his genius in my own work.
One of the final events was a gigantic signing of the new Sketchtravel book, people like James Jean (who worked on “Hair High”) and Robert Valley, Peter DeSeve and myself – sponsored by Stuart Ng books. It was the largest in terms of number of artists I've ever been involved with – about 12 different contributors.
I plan on attending next year if I'm invited, and you should go too if you're a fan of great animation – I give the event an A!