Last Saturday I got to meet one of my all-time favorite animators, Eric Goldberg. He gave a great presentation at the Cartoon Art Museum, located conveniently down the street from where I work. If you don't know the name, you most certainly know his work:
Of course Eric has worked on many other things - including the Rhapsody in Blue and Carnival of the Animals sections of Fantasia 2000. He's also a huge Warner Bros. fan and does a mean Bugs Bunny impression. By the end of his presentation we were all wondering why he doesn't do voices for animation.
Eric talked about how he got his start in animation, which began as a young kid making flip books and watching 8mm animation films frame by frame. He showed us animated versions of the flipbooks he made in highschool...incredible. I can see why this guy is as great as he is. Not only were they drawn very well, they told stories and were very funny!
He eventually moved on to Richard Williams' studio in London and got to work with some amazing animators like Art Babbit and Ken Harris. He later started his own animation company and later ended up at Disney for a ten year stint. (Until Disney declard 2D animation dead. Boo.)
After Disney he worked on a variety of projects that we got to see some bits and pieces from. Apparently at one point Maurice Sendaks "Where the Wild Things Are" was going to be made as a fully CG film. Eric did a short pencil test of one of the monsters...terrific stuff. I would love to see a whole movie of that...unfortunately the film was canned. Only to be revived years later as the new version directed by Spike Jonze coming out next year. (Live action and CG/puppets...hope its decent.)
Eric was there mostly to support his new book - "Character Animation Crash Course." I've read the book (and had it signed, woo!) and it is hands down one of the best animation books I've seen. It's like the Richard Williams book, except it covers more than walk cycles and is very easy to understand without being dumbed down. Highly recommended!