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Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

December 2, 2011 in Links

Bloghorn is sad to report that caricaturist and political cartoonist Richard Willson has died. Willson enjoyed a long career that included a 31-year stint at The Times, and the paper has paid tribute to him here (payment required). His passing has also been noted in touching obituaries by two of his other regular clients, The Ecologist and The Tablet.

Ronald Searle has been interviewed on his favourite books by The Daily Mail (thanks to the Searle tribute blog Perpetua for drawing this to our attention).

A copy of the first issue of Action Comics — which famously features the debut appearance of Superman — has been sold for more than $2 million.

Staying on a superhero theme, artist Kerry Callen has had some fun animating iconic American comic-book covers. Check out the results at Callen’s blog.

Finally, an animated short by Walt Disney that pre-dates Mickey Mouse has been found in a British archive, and will be auctioned off this month. Reuters has more here.

by Royston

Cartoons are about ideas, not tools

February 1, 2010 in Comment

Traditional animation: Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

You may have read about the new Disney film The Princess and the Frog, which is out this week. What you may also have read is that it is “a return to hand-drawn animation”.

Bloghorn would like to dispute this by pointing out a simple fact: cartoons drawn digitally are still hand drawn.

The tools may have changed, but it takes as much creativity and drawing skill to create a cartoon digitally as it does using pen and paper. Pixar Animation Studios did not create such awe-inspiring digital films as Toy Story and Up by hitting a key or clicking a mouse.

The Princess and the Frog is, rather, a return to traditional methods of animation, and it’s good too see that these can co-exist alongside digital.

What’s notable is that Disney’s first 2D animated film in five years appears now that Walt Disney Animation Studios is being run by John Lasseter, the creative force behind Pixar and a man who knows that it’s not the tools you use that matter, it’s the ideas and creativity.

Or, as Bob Mankoff, Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker, once put it: “It’s not the ink, it’s the think.”

Donald Duck hits 75

June 24, 2009 in Comment

Disney cartoon character Donald Duck recently celebrated his 75th birthday. He made his first appearance in the 1934 short The Wise Little Hen, and has gone on to appear in more than 128 films (more than Mickey Mouse) including a series of WWII propaganda films. In 2005 he finally received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Image thanks to

by Royston

Early animated cartoons screened

January 16, 2008 in General

While you’re waiting for the Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival, here’s another event to consider. Slapstick 2008 must surely be one of the first festivals of the year, of any variety, as it takes place from January 17-20. If you’ve not heard much about it, that’s possibly because it’s a festival of silent comedy.

Now in its fourth year, the Bristol festival will feature “Pencil and Plasticine” a look at early silent cartoons hosted by the Aardman Animation co-founder Peter Lord. Extracts screened will include early Disney, work by Willis O’Brien and the unforgettable Jerry the Troublesome Tyke (above).

For more information visit the Slapstick 2008 website

British cartoon talent