John recently wondered out lout loud if he should continue his blog, http://www.johnkstuff.blogspot.com/ John's a natural teacher and he puts up a lot of training tools on his blog. The problem is that most of the people he helps to train won't make themselves available to Spumco but will take what they've learned to schlocky Saturday Morning studios where they can make more money. According to John this puts him in the position of training artists for the benefit of the big studios. Those studios don't pay him anything for it so what's the point of keeping up the blog? That's his argument, anway. Boy, I hope he rethinks this.
So far as I can tell John is the best practicing line artist in the world. No current popular or fine artist can beat him. Even the densest critic would have to admit that he and Robert Crumb dominated all of art in the last 40 years. Losing someone of that stature on the net would be a serious loss.
It's hard to think of an argument that might make him change his mind. I can only report what my own feelings are when I think about it. Whatever small things I've done to help out other artists - nothing that compares to what John's done- came about because I felt the need to express my gratitude to the people who helped me when I needed it. I remember Ben Washam (one of Chick Jones' best animators) who held free animation classes in his basement once a week. When asked why he did it he said, "I've had so much fun in this industry...I just felt the need to give something back." I know what he meant. This industry not only gave me a way to make a living but it gave me an identity, a sense of mission and a shared community. It connected me to something grand and magesterial and mind-blowing, something full of history and tradition. I'm not just Eddie, I'm Eddie the cartoonist. I'm not a cork on the waves, I belong to something worthwhile. In a modest way this blog is an expression of my gratitude for that.
John certainly doesn't owe us anything. He's spent a lifetime doing favors for the rest of us, including people he's never met. If he decides to discontinue his blog we've no ground to complain. We should just be grateful for what we've gotten already. Besides, that'll leave John with more time to do cartoons the rest of us can slaver over. Even so....