Tuesday, September 10, 2013

McCracken in Wonderland

A long-time pillar of Cartoon Network now works for Diz Co.

Craig McCracken made his mark in television animation with superheroes ("The Powerpuff Girls") and oddball characters ("Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends") ...

Now Mr. McCracken, who moved to California at age 7, is embarking on new series "Wander Over Yonder" with a science-fiction backdrop, and it's his first show for the Walt Disney Co.

Mr. McCracken said the series was inspired when he drew Wander in his sketch book.

"I liked the idea of a nomadic, wandering, do-gooder guy," he said. Then he met Jack McBrayer [of "30 Rock"], a fan of Mr. McCracken's "Foster's Home." "I put my drawing and Jack's voice together and this character developed and I wanted to make a cartoon about it."

Growing up, he never really dreamed of working for Disney as some animators do because at the time Disney's animation was primarily fairy tales and fantasy.

"I wanted to make funny stuff," he said. "When I went to Cal Arts, I worried the only job I would be able to get working in animation was animating deer running in perspective, which isn't what I wanted to do." ...

Mr. McCracken doesn't seem to have any phobias about drawing naturalistic deer now. When I see him at Disney Sonora, he seems quite content making his new series.

Nobody stays at one studio anymore. Truth to tell, few did even in the "Golden Age" of hand-drawn animation.

Frank, Ollie, Milt and Ward were outliers. Most animation artists who became veterans worked for a half-dozen different employers at least. Hopping around was almost required if you wanted to keep your career spinning.

We sometimes forget that.


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