“What’s the one thing that changed your life completely, how did it affect you and why did it change your life?”
I said yes. It surprised everyone at the time.
I had spent my childhood obsessed with animation. I read about it, watched it, and studied Super 8 prints of Jungle Book. My dream was to animate. I first attempted animating at age ten and drew, drew, drew. I attended CalArts and was in heaven. I picked up freelance gigs while I was still in college, and by my Senior year I was working full time at Marvel Studios on Muppet Babies.
Having firmly broken into the industry, you would think I would have hung on for dear life, but when someone came through Marvel Studios asking for artists to move to Muncie, Indiana, my hand shot into the air.
The person offering work in Muncie was none other than Jim Davis, and this was at the height of the Garfield craze. He had just launched a second strip (U.S.Acres) and needed pencillers ASAP.
See, my true dream was to be like Hank Ketcham and Walt Kelly, both started in animation and created amazing comic strips (Dennis the Menace and Pogo). All those years I spent learning animation, I was also drawing my own comic strips. At CalArts, I was publishing a weekly strip called Myron in The Newhall Signal. Myron, coincidentally, was the star of my sophomore student film.
After canvassing the entire industry, only two people applied for the job, myself and my close friend Brett Koth. Jim hired us both and we moved to the vast flatness of Indiana, Brett with his wife Mona and me with my fiancé Vicki.
How could I say no
The work was relentless. Brett and I were each penciling almost 2 weeks of strips per week. It was non-stop. And I loved it. I found my groove at Jim’s studio. Jim was a great guy – and I learned so much about gag writing from him. Plus, with a lot of ribbing, Jim taught me how to draw a bale of hay. I’m from Detroit; what do I know about hay? Brett is a true master of the funny drawing. I can’t count all the times he and I laughed ourselves to tears over one of his drawings. Take a look at his strip Diamond Lil and you will see what I mean.
Jim was an exceptional boss. As U.S.Acres was winding down, he opened a satellite animation department to partner with Film Roman. This gave me the opportunity to design, direct and animate a segment of the Emmy nominated Garfield: His 9 Lives TV Special. I worked on Court Musician. I got to design the characters in my own style. We had a small animation team living in Muncie and we animated the whole segment there. It was about 3 or 4 minutes long and so much fun to make.
Then Roger Rabbit hit theaters. Suddenly animation was on fire in LA. My wife and I had to go back to LA to be part of animation’s renaissance.
But that Yes was so important to me. I learned how to make Bear with Me a professional quality strip. And I made lifelong friends with Brett and am eternally grateful to Jim.
Bob Scott lives in both the world of comic strips and animation. Born in Detroit, Bob began drawing at a young age, copying what he saw in the funny pages. Acceptance and graduation from California Institute of the Arts opened the world of character animation for Bob. He has worked over 35 years in the industry as an animator, character designer, storyboard artist and voice talent.
His credits can be found on projects from Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny in Box Office Bunny (1990), Turner Animation’s Cats Don’t Dance and Pixar’s The Incredibles. He has worked for Jim Davis, co-penciling U.S. Acres and co-directing Garfield: His 9 Lives. Bob has always wanted a comic strip of his own, and so Bear with Me (aka Molly and the Bear) was born and became a syndicated webcomic in 2010.
Find out more about Bob and Bear with Me here
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