I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Off to the Philippines for a conference

Nostalgia. I'm slated to participate in an animation conference in the Philippines the week of thanksgiving. As I write this I'm preparing to go on the long plane ride. I've returned twice last year after a twelve year absence. I grew up there and I have fond memories of a simpler time. The image above is of a historical home in Batangas (a prominent family's home during Rizal's younger years) common at around the turn of the last century and I remember my grandfather (father's side) had a home very similar to this.

The conference aims to develop the country's animation industry with the focus on creating original content. I did a series of talks in th summer of last year at several universities back there about this very same topic and I am very encouraged and applaud these goals.

I'll report back soon as I get back in two weeks. Meantime, I have halo-halo and bibinka in my immediate future.

Animahenasyon 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Society of Illustrators

Yours truly at the second floor dining area. That's Bernie Fuchs to my right and N.C. Wyeth to my left. I swear I couldn't have staged this better. Bernie Fuchs was illustrating sports magazines and Reader's Digest story collections when I was growing up and was truly inspirational. Made me want to draw. N.C. Wyeth, well, beside Howard Pyle himself, this man made Robin Hood live for all of us without the aid of movies.

My lord! Look at what's on these walls! We were invited by the esteemed Peter de Seve, Chairman of the Society's 50th Annual, to participate in the judging panel for their sequential art section. Imagine me marveling at being invited. Then flash forward to the day I walk into the the building on 128 East 63rd street and up to the second floor where I encountered the pantheon to classic illustration in America. I had to hold my jaw up.

The paintings, portraits, sketchbooks, memorabilia from artists decades here and gone...it was an amazing array of history and craft sure to amaze any illustration student or fan--myself being a rather exuberant, if not well schooled, example of one.

Top: Glass case holding memorabilia. Dean Cornwell letter, on his letterhead; a letter from Jack Davis, photos and sketchbooks. Ahh, if I could get get to handle those. Second row: Stairway lined with portraits of illustrators done by other illustrators. Our own Enrico Casarosa admiring the art. Third row: Hirschfeld tile (see below) and a bust of Charles Dana Gibson flanking a framed board of signatures by the illustration greats. Bottom: Framed poster for "The Girlie Show," a black tie affair that showcased a special revue held in 1963. Note it was stag only.

I've been aware of the grand works and storied names over the years: N.C. Wyeth, Meade Schaefer, Bernie Fuchs, Charles Dana Gibson, Brad Holland, Dean Cornwell...it goes on. But to stand in front of the originals (they made them big) in person was a tremendous treat.

Mead Schaeffer. This was quite eye-catching. I took a snap close up and you can see the masterful brush strokes. Click on the image.

The bar and library on the third floor has a hearth (right) in the center of a tiled wall. Those tiles were illustrated by the famed illustrators of the day and fired in a kiln.

The tiles were amazing to behold. A gallery unto itself of the wide range of styles and temperament of each of these greats. I could have stared at them all day. They continued this tradition on the second floor where they framed a wall-sized collection of drawn tiles, the Hirschfeld tile above being one of them, of the next wave of artists.

I knew about the Society--mostly from their annuals--but never thought to go there. Actually, I didn't even know you could. But if you take a look at their website you can waltz in and take a gander at these beauties yourself.

The great John Lagatta. Breathtaking, really. I did stare at this a bit.

Close up you can see how a master at his craft does it. Simple, fluid and direct.

My thanks to Peter and the all the folks we met in their magnificent building (did you know they own it outright? What a location) and for having us be part of their process for the next annual.

The Society of Illustrators
Peter de Seve

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