Monday, February 11, 2013

The Delaware Art Museum

catalogue cover by Sterling Hundley

Crayon drawing of Scrat which appears in the exhibit.

I am taking part in what sounds like a terrific show at the Delaware Art Museum called State of the Art, Illustration 100 Years after Howard Pyle. I say it sounds terrific because I haven't actually seen it yet, due to the blizzard named Nemo (thank you, Pixar) which slammed the northeast on the night of the opening. The show is described below by, David Apatoff, the curator of the exhibit and a collector and connoisseur of Illustration, past and present.

In the century following Pyle’s 1911 death, American illustration has diversified into a creative empire that includes a wide range of exciting art forms. From animated feature movies and computer images to graphic novels and conceptual art, America’s storytelling artists use the latest technologies and the newest media to tell an ever-richer blend of stories to ever-broader audiences. 
For this exciting contemporary exhibition, Guest Curator David Apatoff, illustration scholar and author of biographies on Robert Fawcett and Albert Dorne, highlights the following eight artists: story illustrator Bernie Fuchs; graphic designer Milton Glaser; MADcaricaturist and comic artist Mort Drucker; The New Yorker cover artist and character designer for animated films, Peter de Sève; editorial artist John Cuneo; painter and book artist Phil Hale; painter and magazine illustrator Sterling Hundley; and Pixar production designer Ralph Eggleston.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blah! Blah! Blah! by Ward Kimball

  The image below was sent to me recently by an old high school pal of mine, Robert Arkus ,who found it on Facebook and thought I might find it interesting. Not only did I find it interesting but despite the fact that it was written years ago to someone else entirely, it spoke very directly to me and I suspect it will to many of you fellow visual artists as well.
  I hope it won't seem too egotistical to say that I get a fair amount of correspondence from artists, young and sometimes not so young, who struggle with their work and come to me for advice. The queries, while flattering can also be exhausting to answer. Questions like, "If you have a few minutes, could you give me some secrets on how to become a successful illustrator?"or "I really love character design, can you tell me the quickest way to do that?" are virtually impossible to answer. While I truly do understand the desire for tips and shortcuts and secret recipes, they simply don't exist. And though I have struggled to answer many a letter like this, there are many more that I simply didn't have the time for. Below is a typewritten note (written on a typewriter!)  by the great Ward Kimball, legendary Disney animator, to an aspiring young animator named Will Finn. It is the perfect, no-nonsense reply to anyone seeking advice,  inspiration and a well needed kick in the ass. The fact that it was written forty years ago does not diminish it's message to us in the least. Every line of it is the honest unvarnished truth about becoming an animator or illustrator and to some extent, a well rounded human being. For me it is a welcome splash in the face with a cold bucket of reality.  A reminder that success in what you do doesn't just happen to you.
You make it happen.

And in case you were wondering, Will Finn, the recipient of this letter, went on to become a great Disney animator himself.