Monday, December 27, 2010

Sketching with Passion

Last September I blogged about the great time I had taking part in a Cartoonists Sketch-a-Thon at the Charles M. Schulz Museum. To help celebrate the 60th anniversary of "Peanuts," the museum gathered 18 or so cartoonists--all of whom had done previous "Cartoonist in Residence" gigs--and set us up at tables to draw for and talk to the public. It was a very nice event.

Also attending was videographer Jay Hamilton-Roth, who schlepped his camera from table to table interviewing many of us. Jay's subject is "Business with Passion," and if there's any group of people passionate about what they do it's cartoonists because there sure ain't much money in it. Anyway, Jay has now assembled his report and produced this trailer:

The full half-hour feature is posted at Jay's website (I don't see a way to embed it and I'm happy to direct traffic to him). My bit starts at about 13:20 but I think the whole thing's worth watching. Seeing it really makes me wish I'd had time to meet and talk to people like Lark Pien, Brent Anderson and Paul Madonna, but I never really had the chance. I already knew and got to at least say hello to Dan Piraro, Alexis Fajardo, Shaenon Garrity plus a couple of others who were there but weren't interviewed by Jay.

My first impression of the interview is that I brag too much, for which I have two excuses: first, Jay naturally had no idea who I was so I needed to establish my bona fides and explain what I was doing there very quickly; second, we talked for quite a while and those are the bits he went with.

I really wish I hadn't called Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow "a more personal project" than Mom's Cancer. Argh! I can't imagine anything more "personal" than the true story of how my family dealt with my mother's disease, and when I build my time machine I'll go back and stop myself from completing that sentence. What I meant--and how I've expressed it elsewhen--is that WHTTWOT is a book I could have done if Mom's Cancer had never happened. It's me. Its themes of futurism, Space Age utopianism, pop culture appreciation, and optimism are part of my personality and close to my heart. In that narrow sense it's a more personal work. But if I could only choose one book to put in the time capsule of my life, it's Mom's Cancer.

In any event, it's a nice feature and I appreciate Jay's time and effort very much.

I mentioned a while back that the cartoonists were all asked to provide a drawing commemorating the anniversary of "Peanuts" and that mine was one of a few chosen to go on display. That's now happened, and turned out much nicer than I expected! If you visit the Schulz Museum sometime in the next few weeks, you'll find my piece up the stairs directly across from the restrooms:

Mine's at the upper right (I posted a scan of it here). The other three are by Greg Knight, Lark Pien and Thien Pham. The group of four to the left are other pieces unrelated to the Sketch-a-Thon (I think one is an original of the comic strip "Pickles" by Brian Crane that mentions "Peanuts").

Seeing my work hanging on this wall in this building goes on my list of all-time personal lifetime highlights. Among the many extraordinary things that have happened to me in my cartooning semi-career, this one stands out.


Sherwood Harrington said...

Your drawing would have me smiling even if I had no idea who you are. One reason, of course, is because it encapsulates so many Peanuts themes so wonderfully. But, more even than that to me, is this: you did the crescent moon right. I'm sure you've noticed how often cartoonists have it oriented all wrong and/or have stars shining through the dark part a la Coleridge (Trudeau recently did the wrong-tilt thing.) I'd have looked at that moon and thought, "Well look at this -- a cartoonist who actually looks at the sky once in a while and actually sees things."

Jay Hamilton-Roth said...

It was a hard editing-balancing act to showcase everyone's passion and amazing abilities in a single episode. Thanks for being gracious/brave enough to be interviewed by me. Continued best wishes for happiness and success in 2011, Brian.

Brian Fies said...

Sherwood, in my preliminary sketch I had the Moon flopped left-to-right but decided Charlie Brown wouldn't be up before dawn or in the Southern Hemisphere. I am incapable of drawing stars inside a crescent Moon. However, that doghouse is freakin' HUGE.

Jay, thanks for interviewing me. No criticism of your work, just musing on things I'd hope to do differently next time. You could only work with what you got!