comic book scans from Dell Four-Color #168 October 1947
at the magic and wonderfulness of cartoons.
Highly recommended little post to read:
UNCLE EDDIE'S THEORY CORNER!: SHOULD CARTOONS END WITH A MESSAGE?
Stop Coyotes with Ray-O-Vac Batteries!
Yet another great comic story ad from Leading Comics #31 1948
Also in this series of comic book ads featuring the miraculous attributes of everyday kid consumables:
In Celebration of the release of the new ArtRage Studio 3,
I'm bringing back the video tutorials for a return engagement!
I use ArtRage every time I paint a cover for Nickelodeon Magazine. ArtRage is a digital painting program that imitates the look of real paint, as well as other natural media like pencils and pastels etc. etc. The thing that makes ArtRage such a wonderful program is that it's ridiculously easy to use -- you can just jump right in and play!
And it's not like I knew how to paint before I used this program. ArtRage is so easy and so fun to use that I just gradually picked up the techniques by playing around with the program. I've never even read the manual! Okay -- every once in a while I'll look something up in one of the tutorials... but 97% of all the tools and features are totally intuitive.
But it isn't just for play... I've been using this program for professional jobs for the last three years, and I don't need to look any further for a digital art program that gives me exactly the tools I need and the results I want.
(By the way, if this is your first visit, I've been posting video tutorials that show how I drew, inked and painted this recent SpongeBob and Patrick cover for Nick Magazine. The list of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop tutorial videos is HERE, and the original post with the full-sized artwork is HERE.)
ArtRage Studio is the bargain of the century. I strongly encourage you to download this application and try it out. And ArtRage runs on both Mac and Windows!
ArtRage #1 - Intro to ArtRage 2.5
ArtRage #2 - Mixing Colors on the Canvas
ArtRage #3 Painting Reflective Light
ArtRage #4 - More Reflective Light & Colors
ArtRage #5 – Bump Modes & Finishing Patrick
interested in learning how to storyboard, check out my two-hour long DVD workshop called “Storyboard Elements”
click on the DVD
for a free preview
find out more!
After dropping out of my first year of college, I went to a trade school in New Jersey called the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. Kubert School was an unbelievable boot-camp experience where old-school comic book guys from the 40's thru the 70's taught you everything they know about drawing comics and the real world of work. I imagine any art school that focuses on practical illustration and/or animation would be fine. It's really up to the students to make the most of their education.
When I got out of Kubert school in 1985, I applied directly to the Hanna Barbera animation studio. I had spent months creating an entire storyboard from scratch and I was sure it would get me a job. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as good as the work of many other experienced artists, so I was turned down for that job. The bad part is that I got discouraged from that experience and pretty much gave up on drawing for the next couple years!
Two years later, since I was completely miserable working at my job ( I was working as an aide at a psychiatric hospital) I got back into drawing and started creating the kind of funny animal comic book stories that I wanted to see. Later that year, I took my work to the San Diego Comic Book Convention (it was a lot smaller in 1988 than it is now) and I went from publisher to publisher to look for work. Amazingly, I was able to get a freelance assignment out of that convention: I drew two issues of the California Raisins comic book for a very small publisher. I was getting $40 a page for that work and I thought that was the greatest thing in the world. Unfortunately, that company had a habit of not paying its artists, and after two issues the job was over.
I also got an inking assignment for $20 a page. All this time I was working at a bookstore, which would be my day-job for the next six years. From 1991-1993 while I continued to search all over for jobs, I went back to college. I was also doing cartoons for my college newspaper, and through that visibility, one of my classmates had a friend who worked for a small local magazine. Through that lead, I was able to do a number of illustrations and gag cartoons for various magazines. Those drawings were often done for about $10 each.
The point I'd like to stress here is that it is not easy to get hired as a staffer in a particular studio or publisher. You may have to gradually build up your portfolio, contacts, experience and exposure by looking for any opportunity to get your work out there underneath peoples eyeballs so they can see it and get to know you and your work.
In the summer of 1994, I rented a table at the San Diego ComicCon, and set up a booth to sell my comics. I was hoping to make enough money to pay for the food and lodging, and maybe meet some people that could give me some leads on more work. I was extremely blessed that Bill Wray, a director on the Ren and Stimpy Show, was there at the con and interested in my comics. He asked me if I had ever thought about drawing storyboards. Of COURSE I was interested...I asked him everything I could about the work. He said I could call him later when we were both back in Los Angeles.
Bill was very gracious and generous with his time. He gave me some material to look at, and asked me to come back to see him in a couple weeks with some storyboard samples. Even though I was working in the bookstore full-time, I put in tons of hours to prepare the samples. When I showed him the work I had done, he was not impressed. I asked him for feedback and I told him I'll try again. This scenario happened two more times, but I was not going to give up.
One of my friends at Nickelodeon was Derek Drymon. Derek was a storyboard artist on Rocko's Modern Life, a show that was produced upstairs from the place where we were making Hey Arnold. Derek and I got to know each other because we had both put out our own black-and-white self-published comic books. Stephen Hillenburg was good friends with Derek, and one day Steve saw one of my comics in the back seat of Derek's car. He really liked it, and a couple years later when Steve created SpongeBob, he remembered that comic book and called me up to ask me to work on the SpongeBob SquarePants show. This was in 1998 before anybody had ever heard of SpongeBob because the show didn't even exist yet (except for the 7 minute pilot episode done by Steve and Derek).
If any of this sounds like "luck", remember that all these things happened because of three very important factors:
- I was creating a lot of comics work, in spite of not being paid.
- I was getting my work "out there" where people could see it.
- I was gradually getting to know people who would eventually become coworkers
I think it's helpful to prepare artists by letting them know that it's up to them to make their career. You can't wait for someone to hand it to you. People will always show up to help you, but you need to put yourself out there in order to make those connections.
I've continued to build on those experiences when I moved to Disney. I have been a writer, storyboard artist and director in the two-and-a-half years that I've worked at Disney, and I'm still learning new skills all the time. I am always learning new techniques, new software, trying new approaches. I've not even touched on the opportunity I had to concurrently create comic book stories for Nickelodeon Magazine -- fulfilling my earliest dreams of being a comic-book artist. My regret is that I have not been creating my own personal work during the last 15 years, so I am now doing more personal drawing and starting to draw just for the fun of it again.
I want to make clear that I didn't have a specific plan to do all this stuff. The main thing is to aim toward something you want, do the work, get it out there, and be willing to quickly shift direction when events change.
You've got to love what you're doing and continue to do it whether you're paid or not. With webcomics and online video sites, cartoonists and animators can now publish and broadcast their work at absolutely no cost at all! Are you guaranteed to "make it big?" Of course not...but if you constantly improve, get your work out there to be seen and critiqued, and make a lot of contacts with other artists and readers, you stand a much better chance of becoming a full-time professional artist.
Oh, and...be nice to people. Don't be a jerk. It matters more than you can imagine.
Hope that's helpful to you! Best of luck in your journey...
Wot A Night - a 1931 Tom and Jerry funfest from Van Beuren - check out this new DVD...I've been watching it all week!
These Van Beuren cartoons are ALL visual humor (almost no dialog) but they're driven by amazing old-timey jazz scores. I could just listen to the music alone and have a great time. You gotta see 'em!