President’s Column: February 2015
Greetings fellow cartoonists, cartoon enthusiasts, and Northwesterners! My name is Jason Fruchter. I’m an animator and illustrator. It is my honor to serve as the new president of Cartoonists Northwest. Some of you may know me from the several presentations I’ve given over the past few years. Most recently, I presented at the January 2015 meeting (see the January meeting review). I always enjoy sharing my work and techniques with the group. For more about what I do, please visit my website at aandjstudios.com.
So a little about me. I was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1969 and grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey in a town called Matawan (exit 120 on the GSP for all you Jersey-ites out there). As I kid I loved to draw cartoons. I created comic strips featuring my own characters and fooled around with animation by drawing flip books on my mom’s notepads. In hight school I discovered what it’s really like to animate by reading the book The Illusion Of Life by veteran Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson. I was hooked! My goal was to someday be an animator for Disney. Well, my path didn’t quite go that way.
I attended college at the Rhode Island School of Design where I majored in illustration. In my junior and senior years I created my first animated films. Now this was 1989, before computers were what they are today. For a 7 minute animated film I had to draw 2,000 pages using hole punched copy paper, a peg bar, and a light box. I filmed each drawing one frame at at time under an Oxberry 35 mm camera stand mounted vertically. I edited my film on a Steenbeck flatbed editing deck. Nowadays of course all animation is created digitally. However, I value the experience of having created animation the “old fashioned” way, one frame at a time using good ‘ole pencil and paper.
After graduating RISD in 1992 I moved to New York City and began my career as an animator and illustrator with several production studios. I created illustration and graphics for commercials, TV station ID’s, product shots for sponsors, logos, and more. I also created scoreboard animation for the Knicks and Rangers at Madison Square Garden. I got into web animation during the big dot com bubble of the early 2,000’s. I worked on one of the first animated series for the web called WhirlGirl for Showtime. When the bubble burst I shifted my focus to illustrating children’s books based on popular kid’s TV shows, the most famous being Nickelodeon’s Dora The Explorer. The work was steady and I was able to establish myself as a children’s book illustrator for licensed properties. At the same time I maintained my animation career as a freelancer for companies providing animation for on air, online, and mobile content.
In 2007 my wife and I moved here to the great Northwest. We spent a year and a half in Portland, Oregon before finally making it up to Seattle where we live now. I continue to do contract work for children’s book publishers and animation studios both out of state and locally. I am now working to expand my business into creating content for kids & family focused intellectual properties.
But enough about me… let’s talk about what’s in store for the Cartoonists Northwest 2015 agenda! We have many great guest speakers and fun activities lined up for you. Among the speakers we’re planning on having include caricature artist Tom Hofsted (this month’s speaker) and Paul Tumey of Comics Journal. We also have some CNW members willing to share their creative wisdom with the group. These include Scott Ball, Ron Austin, and John Lustig. More info on all these presenters to come. In addition we’re planning several hands-on drawing activities. I will be hosting a night dedicated to learning to draw the Simpson’s characters based on the book The Simpson’s Handbook: Tips From The Pros. We’ll also have fun coming up with spontaneous cartoons based on random descriptions using Lo Linkert’s “Gag Situation and Idea Finder”. All this and more! I look forward to see you at the next meeting.