Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Beautiful Career Installment 4

I attended my parent’s Alma Mater, Kansas University, for my freshman year, then transferred to Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, California, graduating in March of 1983.

I was living with my first boyfriend, Denys, and set aside my plans to move to New York City and break in to Comics. I needed work, and managed to con my way into a storyboarding gig at Ruby-Spears, which was a subsidiary of Hanna-Barbera, and located across the street from H&B on Cahuenaga Boulevard. The item in my portfolio that caught the eye of the director, John Dorman, was a school project: a marker comp advertising board illustrating the play of “Tempest”, an Atari video game. On my first day of work, John asked me, offhandedly, if I knew what a pan and a truck were. “Sure”, I said. As soon as John left the room, I turned to my new cube-mate, Dan Riba, another recent art school grad working his first professional job. “What’s a pan and a truck”, I asked him.
I was now a full-fledged storyboard artist, but I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing. I had to learn everything on the job. I would have preferred working my way in as a clean-up artist or assistant, but was thrown off the deep end and had to learn to swim as best I could.
I worked on “The Puppy’s New Adventures” and “Rubik’s Cube”. The studio was also doing “Mr. T” during this period, but I didn’t get to work on that series.
I found myself working alongside an unsuspected world of amazing artists: Thom Enriquez, Jim Woodring, Bob Kline, Curt Connors, Wendell Washer, among others. My question to them was, “Why aren’t you drawing comic books?” I soon found out the answer to that for myself, and I’ll tell you about it as we go along.
I also got to meet Jack Kirby, who I hadn’t yet come to appreciate, and Doug Wildey, who I fawned over like the slavish fan-boy I was.

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