Monday, October 18, 2010

2010 Festival of Cartoon Art, Part One

Three years ago I was living in New Joisey, and heard about the Festival of Cartoon Art that was going to occur in Columbus, Ohio at the Cartoon Research Library.  That's all I knew, except for the fact that as a Cartoonist I really wanted to be there.  At the time I knew little about Ohio except that it was much farther along Rt. 80 than I had ever driven, and that I didn't want to drive 11 hours on my own!  Boring!

Of course, I couldn't find anyone at such late notice who could, or would, go all the way to the mystical (or mythical) land of Ohio. And so... I sent my regrets, and missed out on what I can only guess was a wonderful time.  It's an educated guess, though, because at the moment I am recovering from this year's Festival of Cartoon Art, and it was an amazing time!  The festival was pretty much tailored to my tastes, needs, and wants, so of course it was great. :0)

Lunch with old friends and new!

Let me start out by saying that the festival seems tailored to the a select group of Cartoonists.... until you think about it.  I'd say Syndicated Comic Strippers, but there were also Editorial Cartoonists, and some Underground types, and some comic book folk, and others such as Academics, fans, and people just thinking about cartoons and Cartoonists.  If I had to find a denominator, though, I'd have to say that MOST of us appreciate and even love the origins of the American Comic Strip, and it's Heroes through the ages from George Herriman to Charles Schulz to Bill Watterson, and all folk in between.  It IS a Festival of Cartoon Art, so Cartoon Art is what it's about.

So what better way to start the Festival than with a small gallery of original art from George Herriman's Krazy Kat, and his peers?  The show proved to me two things that I already knew: that George Herriman was a wonderful Cartoonist, and that all original Krazy Kat art is owned by Patrick McDonnel and Bill Watterson!  Well... I do have a Herriman original, but it's not a Krazy Kat. And I do suppose that if anyone was going to buy them up, those two I am sure will take care of them.  And thankfully they do loan them out to museums and such for the rest of us to see. :0)

And see them you should!  If you care anything at all about comic art, you need to study original art, and must see Herriman's art up close and personal like.

But back to the Festival!  Day 1 consisted of three sessions of Academic presentations.  Yes... I said Academic, and meant it.  Comic Art is an American institution, and has been around over a hundred years now, and yes, some of us study it.  Not as much as some of the speakers I observed, but study we do.  Admittedly, some of the talks were a bit dry, and others?  Well, let's just say they really should talk to some Cartoonists before publishing their papers.  Until you've spent some time with a pen in one hand staring at a piece of paper and trying to work out the nuances of telling a story with words and pictures, you simply are not going to have the insight you need to understand the Creative Process of Comic Art.  Honestly, we hone instincts, develop talents, and create our own unique processes that only another Cartoonist can understand.

This is not to say that the presentations were not enjoyable, and some of them did indeed teach me new things about my art.  The third sessions were all about Krazy Kat, and led up to featured Speaker Michael Tisserand, and his talk Searching for George Herriman.  Michael is writing a definitive biography on Herriman that I am really looking forward to reading, which is funny because one of my very favorite books is Krazy Kat: the Comic Art of George Herriman.

The first day concluded with a reception in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which consisted of the above mentioned gallery of Herriman art, a cake for Krazy Kat's 100th birthday, and a really crowded room full of Cartoonists, food, and a Garfield statue sitting on a bench.  There was also a board for Cartoonists to draw on, which was pretty much full by noon the next day.

Lynn Johnston sketching on one of the last empty spots on the Cartoonist Board.
Mine is the HappyGlyphs Sheep at the top right. :0)

More to come!  I have a deadline to meet, so come back in a few days for more.

Meanwhile, for a full set of my fun fotos from the event, please see the HappyGlyphs Comics facebook page link below.  There are 23 photos and counting, so far, with additional commentary.

JOHN :0)


Brian Hughes said...

Looks good. Ah to be in Cartoonland now the festival is here...

John said...

It was nice, Brian! I suppose I should get around to part 2, shouldn't I?

Then again, I was so inspired by the Festival that I've been actually cartooning. :0)

More to come! JOHN :0)