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Your pal, John K.
January 11, 2010 1:35 PM   Subscribe

"In 1998, aged just 14, aspiring young cartoonist Amir Avni decided to get in touch with the creator of Ren & Stimpy, John Kricfalusi ...To call Kricfalusi's response 'generous' would be an understatement."
posted by aldurtregi (37 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
joy
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:40 PM on January 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Allright Bastard, let's get to work.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:41 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's fantastic. Anyone that frequents his website knows that John K is incredibly generous with advice to people that are willing to make the commitment to learn the craft of cartooning. It doesn't surprise me to see that he was already sharing his passion and experience with fans in the pre-internet world.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:41 PM on January 11, 2010


This is awesome and how the "famous" should be to those asking advice.
posted by stormpooper at 1:43 PM on January 11, 2010


It doesn't surprise me to see that he was already sharing his passion and experience with fans in the pre-internet world.

Just to nitpick, on the very first page of his letter he asks Amir to post his animations on the web.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:43 PM on January 11, 2010


Just to nitpick, on the very first page of his letter he asks Amir to post his animations on the web.

I meant the time before John K had such a strong net presence with his blog, which really didn't kick in until a few years ago.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:47 PM on January 11, 2010


Yeah, 1998 seems long ago but it's not very "pre-internet" :)

I love the stuff in Avni's cartooning blog! I would have loved to see some of the work he sent to John K, but his current stuff is very polished.
posted by muddgirl at 1:47 PM on January 11, 2010


Compare this to Seth MacFarlane, who generally comes across as "Fuck off, go to film school, talk to me when you are important" to anyone who asks him for advice.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 1:48 PM on January 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Allright Bastard, let's get to work.

This is going to be my new morning affirmation.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2010 [18 favorites]


Kricfalusi just seems an all round brilliant guy. The amount of information he hands out on his blog is awe inspiring.
posted by fire&wings at 1:59 PM on January 11, 2010


Compare this to Seth MacFarlane, who generally comes across as "Fuck off, go to film school, talk to me when you are important" to anyone who asks him for advice.

Perhaps you meant "I will not read your fucking script critique your fucking animation"
posted by filthy light thief at 2:00 PM on January 11, 2010


Did anybody else read the whole letter in Ren's voice?

- Your Pal,

Ren
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:03 PM on January 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Different medium, but a similar story: In the late '80s I was at a sloshy spring convention in Winnipeg. On a whim signed up for the beginning writers conference. The host was someone I'd never heard of, but she certainly seemed to know her stuff. The room of 30 or so hung on her every word; every question was answered; every follow-up had follow-through. The fact that I took lots of notes meant it was useful, as I am loath to do handwriting. It went at least 20 minutes over time (the next seminar had to boot us out.)

At the end the host invited those who were interested to write down their addresses, and she would send them some more tips in the mail. More than half the room did so (as did I.) I left with a much better understanding of the basics, and feeling more comfortable about writing.

As with many things for me, the notion faded and I had forgotten about the promised writing tips until receiving a large package from the States. In it were hand typed - I'll repeat that - Hand Typed notes on writing, complete with inline corrections; I forget how many pages but at least 20. The postage from the States wasn't cheap, either. Then I took a trip down to the bookstore to see what books I could find of this pereviously unknown-to-me Vonda N. McIntyre, and realized the full scale of generosity this showed.

(Never took up the fiction, but this did free up my inhibitions in writing for my work. And of course I'll always remember her lovely gesture to a room full of strangers.)
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:03 PM on January 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


First, I envy John Kricfalusi's handwriting. A lot. Second, it's interesting to see how Amir Anvi's style is at points very similar to Kricfalusi's own style.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:07 PM on January 11, 2010


Hardcore, you really should read some of her stuff, if you haven't. She's an excellent writer.
posted by Malor at 2:07 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great on him for doling out the advice but not sure I'd want to meet him face to FAAAAAAACE!!!!
posted by hal9k at 2:11 PM on January 11, 2010


Very nice!
posted by amro at 2:17 PM on January 11, 2010


Compare this to Seth MacFarlane, who generally comes across as "Fuck off, go to film school, talk to me when you are important" to anyone who asks him for advice.

That sounds like something MacFarlane might say, but do you have any instances of him actually saying this?
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:23 PM on January 11, 2010


I want to send a letter to John Kricfalusi asking for advice on how to be patient and generous with people who ask for advice. He's really good at it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:23 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Woah, people used to write letters.

How quaint!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:38 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


John K is totally awesome this way. I get the impression this is a reaction to the lengthy quest he had to go on to get training from the past masters; to a degree I think he considers the knowledge he got at the feet of Bob Clampett and other folks to be a sacred trust. The favors they did him by teaching him their secrets are ones he can never pay back, only pay forwards.

More pragmatically, I know he feels like anyone fresh out of animation school is just gonna have learnt a ton of Wrong Approaches and need to be re-educated, so he's kind of investing in his own future: throw out lots of free lessons at eager kids, and some of them will knuckle down and learn the skills he demands - and thus he has an ever-growing pool of people to draw from when he gets funds to do a production.
posted by egypturnash at 2:41 PM on January 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Slack-a-gogo, in 1998, John K had the then cutting-edge spumco.com, which is now run by the ASIFA archivists. A few snippets of how it looked back then lurk on archive.org.
posted by scruss at 4:20 PM on January 11, 2010


This is awesome and how the "famous" should be to those asking advice.

Yeah, and those asking advice should keep it private. That was advice that John K. wrote to Amir, and it's not for us. If my correspondence kept going public, I wouldn't write anyone back.
posted by CarlRossi at 4:29 PM on January 11, 2010


Great letter!

However, I have a question about this: I'm sending you a very good how to draw animation book by Preston Blair. Preston was one of Tex Avery's animators. Anyone know what the title of this book is?
posted by spinifex23 at 4:42 PM on January 11, 2010


spinifex23, this was linked to in the comments on the Letters of Note post. It seems the book in question is Animation 1: Learn to Animate Cartoons Step by Step.
posted by aldurtregi at 5:02 PM on January 11, 2010


However, I have a question about this: I'm sending you a very good how to draw animation book by Preston Blair. Preston was one of Tex Avery's animators. Anyone know what the title of this book is?

Preston Blair's Animation. See here and here. And the $100,000 Animation Drawing Course.


Yeah, and those asking advice should keep it private. That was advice that John K. wrote to Amir, and it's not for us. If my correspondence kept going public, I wouldn't write anyone back.

No. This is incorrect. This is advice he very much wants everyone to hear.
posted by dgaicun at 5:04 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Though I've been a fan of Kricfalusi's ever since Mighty Mouse, I often thought he could come across as kind of a dick. So I'm glad I saw this letter, to remind me what it's like to be so passionate, so protective of your art. He's still dead wrong about Animaniacs, but in my book he's jumped back up to "class act." Outstanding.
posted by mgrichmond at 5:19 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dgaicun,

thank you!
posted by spinifex23 at 5:24 PM on January 11, 2010


He's still dead wrong about Animaniacs,

Wow, no shit he's wrong about Animaniacs. That's actually a bit shocking, and makes me wonder if he really groks cartoons at all. I mean, I loved loved loved the early seasons of Ren & Stimpy when John K was involved, and HATED the later ones when he wasn't. But those shows aren't part of my limited video collection, and I have all the Animaniacs sets (and wait impatiently for the last to be released.)

Still, Stimpy's Invention is as close to perfect as a cartoon has ever gotten.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I were a good guy, instead of a bum which is what I am.
posted by digsrus at 7:16 PM on January 11, 2010


He's doing an IAMA over at Reddit in case you've got some questions for the guy.
posted by spiderskull at 9:36 PM on January 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


He's doing an IAMA over at Reddit in case you've got some questions for the guy.

Maybe Wil Wheaton wants a cool handwritten letter from John K., too?
posted by defenestration at 9:56 PM on January 11, 2010


John K is an odd case for me, because some of the things he popularized in animation particularly the "Close up to a grotesque painting instead of a joke" are things I hate; 'The Ripping Friends' was as entertaining as eye cancer and he comes across as a self important ass whenever I hear him talk or see anything he's written.

At the same time, when it comes to encouraging animators, and creator driven animation his heart is in the right place, and he's done an incredible amount of work in that area.

Call it a wash.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:58 PM on January 11, 2010


My 14 year old boy, who loves animation and drawing, will absolutely flip over this link. So, thank you, submitter.
posted by thanotopsis at 9:49 AM on January 12, 2010


What a great letter!

'The Ripping Friends' was as entertaining as eye cancer

I never really watched it, but it is the source of my second-favourite sentence of all time: "Too long have I been imprisoned between the toes of others!"
posted by carmen at 10:32 AM on January 12, 2010


Allright Bastard, let's get to work.

Do you think this is a Crumb reference?
posted by cmoj at 10:54 AM on January 12, 2010


Compare this to Seth MacFarlane, who generally comes across as "Fuck off, go to film school, talk to me when you are important" to anyone who asks him for advice.

My girlfriend and I saw Seth McFarlane give a lecture at Cal State Long Beach last year, and he was perfectly engaging and happy to give advice to people during the "question and answer" period. He did talk more about writing and stuff than animating.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:55 PM on January 12, 2010


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