My wife and I watched the Disney film ‘Tangled’ again last night. I bought this DVD before I’d even seen it which was rare for me, but there was something in the trailers that told me that even if the story was weak, the artwork would be worth it. I wasn’t disappointed in either. I posted on Facebook that ‘this artwork makes me high,’ and I wasn’t kidding. There’s something about cartoons with a lot of life in them that just gets me excited. While Disney may not do it for everybody, and I’m not a huge fan of every one of their movies, this style makes me want to be a better artist. It makes me hungry to sit down and draw.
No matter what creative avenue you’re strolling down, if the scenery isn’t doing it for you anymore, and you’re bored, find something that will reignite that old passion and put a spring in your step. I have a few go-to books and movies that do it for me. Tangled is now added to that library.
I’ll often get people asking me if I want to animate, and the answer is a flat out ‘No.’ A number of years ago, when the general consensus seemed to be that Flash animation was the next step in editorial cartooning, I did create a weekly animated editorial cartoon called ‘Beaver Fever.’ Sort of a Rick Mercer/Jon Stewart wanna-be cartoon beaver with guests and commentary, that sort of thing. A lot of people liked it, including some big media outlets in Canada, but nobody wanted to pay what it would take to keep me doing it, so I scuttled that ship. I didn’t enjoy the work. It felt tedious and mechanical.
Knowing what you want to do is essential in any career, but equally important is knowing what you do not want to to do. I do NOT want to be an animator.
But I love movies. I mean, I REALLY love movies. I’m not obsessed with them, by any means, but I can watch some movies over and over again. Tangled will be one of those. I would love to work designing characters for movies one of these days. Not full-time or anything, just a commission once in awhile. It would be great to see some animal I created brought to life on the big screen. That’s one of those things I regularly throw out there into the ether, because it seems to have worked well for a lot of other dreams that have become reality in my career.
Never underestimate the power of passion. Glen Keane has worked on some of the best animated movies out there, often as Supervising Animator. I’m talking about Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and of course, Tangled. There are many others of course. Those who followed the comic strip, Family Circus, as I did growing up, will be interested to know that Glen is the son of cartoonist Bil Keane, and was the model for the character Billy in that strip.
While I have known and admired Glen’s work for years, I am most in awe of an artist who has been working in the field for as long as he has, a man who has done and seen it all in the world of animation, and yet still has that passion in his voice for his craft. You can tell he is still excited to be doing what he’s doing. Watch this video and you can see it. Listen to how he talks about this character. To Glen, she is real, she has life, and most importantly, she has passion.