I had a few minutes tonight, so I thought I'd post this cat sketch I did last night. It got me thinking about some of ways I've been influenced as a cartoonist.
I love the Disney movies of the 60's and 70's that used the Xerox process to print their animation cels. You can really see the power of the animator's pencil strokes, especially in Aristocats, Robin Hood, and The Rescuers. In the age of DVD technology, there's no reason a budding animation artist can't take advantage of the masters' techniques.
I've had such wonderful opportunities to work with and be mentored by such incredible talents as Mark Swan, Ric Estrada, and Bob Simmons, whose influence can be seen in much of my work. I hope in the future I can learn more from them. Studying their work has added value... They're available to explain the why's and how's of what they've done.
Then there are my contemporaries, those in my generation who have found success, whether creatively or financially or both, in the animation industry. I can't look at a Shane Lewis animal sketch without marveling at the appeal, I'm constantly amazed by Seth Hippen's strong draftsman approach to art, and Jed Henry is fearless when it comes to incorporating non-traditional styles into his cartooning.
What I've learned is this... You're never going to be a better Ollie Johnston than Ollie Johnston is. You're never going to out-Milt Kahl Milt Kahl. But you can take some cues from them and add your own person flair to it. No artist has ever been exactly like you and no artist ever will be. You have an opportunity, if you are determined to succeed, to show the rest of us something we've never seen before.
Have a great day!