Wednesday, August 2

Popularity of classes in cartooning and anime reflect a national interest in the genre

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Courier-Post Staff

In a Merchantville studio off Maple Avenue, half a dozen young students huddle over stick figures they hope to bring to life.

"In time, you add shapes of the character," said Mike Gorostiza, an instructor of the cartooning and anime class at Parsons Center for the Arts. "You articulate, and add eyes and nose and sometimes you put in expressions."

Students sketch circles, where hands, feet, joints and muscles will eventually go. Sharp lines form trapezoids, an upper one for the torso, a lower one for the trunk. It's a blueprint.

"Remember, don't make these stick figures too dark," advised Gorostiza, who lives in Delran. "They're eventually going to be erased. They're a template for the character."

In just a few days, students will create pictures and stories, two-frame cartoons showing a moment in time: a man falling, plop!, in the water, a couple under an umbrella hit by lightning -- and then warmed by a burst of sunlight.

Local interest in cartooning reflects a national trend -- comics as a hot property.

Like a ravenous superhero, cartoons, comic books and animation have taken a bite out of the cultural landscape.

Children grow up tuned into The Cartoon Network, watching Spider-man and Superman at the multiplex and playing video games starring animated figures.

Recently, USA Today reported on a new DVD, The Transformers: The Movie 20th Anniversary Special Edition. Also new is Who Wants To Be A Superhero, a SciFi reality show in which participants dress up in costumes and try to exhibit superhero character traits, like courage. The winner gets to be featured in a Stan Lee comic book.

The article can be seen here.

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